While the spread of coronavirus continues around the world, many businesses are trying to figure out how they can continue with their activity and foremost, how they can overcome the challenges of self-isolation, working from home and quarantine.

The creative and advertising world has been called upon to support brands during these critical times. Not to help them sell their products or communicate how good they are, but to add value to society in a moment where we, people, need it the most. The power and influence of big brands in today’s society is more impactful than ever. We all look up to influencers, no matter if it is a brand or a person. We all need inspiration, motivation, support, fresh air and above all else, hope.

Many of us, marketers and advertisers, have the responsibility utilise our brains for a greater good. For a better world. Social media is the focus of our attention, now more than ever. It is where we connect with those we can’t connect with physically, to check on them, to see how they're doing. We are seeing channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with increased daily active users in some countries. In Europe for instance, Facebook had an increase week-on-week of around 12%, with peak times around 8 pm (read the Socialbakers COVID-19 report at the end). But other channels, not commonly called social channels – instant messaging and VoIP call apps – like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Zoom and Skype (to name a few) are the most commonly used ways of communications. We prefer to connect with people rather than with brands. But brands have an opportunity to stay relevant by adding value to society, rather than sending transactional messages.

Who and why are we creating more content than ever?

Since day one, the internet and social media have been composed of Content Creators (5%), Echoers (80%), and Passive Readers a.k.a Stalkers (15%). Those figures have changed over time, with the inclusion of high-res phone cameras, influencer marketing, and quick and easy editing apps and tools. Now the content creator segment is growing at a higher speed. People are not reading blogs as much as they used to do, so they are fading out, or the traffic to them is very residual (I have to say I read more than I watch videos, to be honest, and hope you do too if you’re reading this). But watching videos, memes, gifs, podcasts, and way more granular forms of content are on the rise.

For those who know me well, you know I’ve been speaking for several years about this, and the content creator's ecosystem (core, everyday, and future creators), is more relevant than ever.

-      Core creators: those who create content for a living, they are professional creators, is their work.

-      Everyday creators: they create content for passion, ways of showing off their personality and authenticity, the majority of us.

-      Future creators: they create content as a result of imitation, those who are new social media users– either young or adults. They will become everyday creators in due course.

Everyone is a potential creator today, right? Boredom and a lot of free time at home has increased creativity and the willingness to create. Before the crisis, no one had time to create as much content as we are doing now. Viral challenges are seeing a huge uptake, and while Tiktok has been the preferred channel to do them, Instagram has seen a massive impact too. I’m sure you have seen videos like these on your feed this week:

So how can brands add value to society and inspire people to create entertaining content, keeping the little ones busy – in a world where big productions or old-fashion shoots are not allowed?

At Merkle, we have launched several campaigns for Kellogg’s, one for their cereals segment (#NourishYourImagination) and one for Pringles (#PringlesDIY). The content has been made by creators, everyday and future creators. While we don’t do content for a living per se – we do it for our clients hand in hand with production houses, directors, etc. Today, we are all directors, copywriters, models, cameramen, and directors of photography, all in one. We may not be the best in the business, but great quality content is still being created.  

With everyone at staying in, production houses have just become houses. The sets are our living rooms, bedrooms or kitchens, you name it. The talent or model is our own family members. And through remote collaborations, we have to transform raw content into ad worthy content. UGC (user-generated content) has turned out to be the most relevant form of content as there is no other way to produce content. So, find out how your brand can add value by monitoring content creators, trends and channels. Brands can add value and entertain people in a moment where both people and businesses need more support, especially small businesses.

Forget about transactions and think more along the lines of edutainment, these are some of the campaigns we have already rolled out. Some purely UGC and others, mixing home production to trigger further UGC collection and amplification.

Would you like to know more about how we could support your business in these difficult times by improving your brand relevancy?

Feel free to reach out to me and let’s have a (digital) coffee! Or send us an email to mkmena_info@merkleinc.com and we will get back to you.

Source: Socialbakers COVID-19 report: https://bit.ly/34mmHW7

#StaySafe / #StayHome / #EveryMinuteMatters

Victor Madueno

Senior Commercial Director - Merkle MENA 

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