Covid19's impact on the advertising & marketing world

Brands, marketers grapple with the spreading of the virus

MUMBAI: The deadly Covid19 has put every country in an alarming situation with the economic impact of the pandemic disease being immediate for certain industries.

To understand the effect of this global health crisis on the advertising, marketing, and consumer durables spoke to industry experts. They think that this crisis will have large-scale disruption in the coming months. They are of the opinion that the ad industry will be tremendously impacted as the two most important factors for advertising, product availability and consumer sentiment, are both headed south.

“Large-scale disruption is coming and the real impact is to be seen in the coming months. For one, on a global scale, events are being cancelled as a precautionary measure and this will impact the B2B marketing space. The impact of events and conferences is big on the marketing services industry and not so much the mainstream advertising or social media advertising industry. However, from the mainstream perspective, it's an opportunity to magnify reach and brands will jump to use this to spread public service messages veiled with their brand connections,” says Socxo CMO and program head Ajit Narayan.

According to Narayan, there will be supply shortage as many of the Asian suppliers and more Chinese suppliers have already started pulling back on raw material and other equipment needed to complete the product. Without products to supply, what will be advertised?

Additionally, there will be buying postponement by consumers and a recession like behaviour which nobody anticipated will come so fast.  The sentiments are already echoing in the stock markets.

Sharing the same views Godrej Appliances business head and executive vice president and CEAMA president Kamal Nandi said: “The coronavirus attack had a negative impact on consumer durables sector due to its dependency on imports from China - be it for finished goods or components. A price increase of up to 3 per cent for consumer durables, such as televisions sets, air conditioners, refrigerators, and microwaves is anticipated from March 2020 onwards. It mainly contributed to the short supply of components and finished goods due to Coronavirus outbreak, apart from the duty increase on certain components like compressors and motors and in some cases on finished goods.”

The ad business may take a hit in the near future as any health-related problem always lowers the market sentiment. “The Coronavirus is a big one given the huge impact it has on China and its spread across many countries. It adversely impacts business given China has millions of dollars of exports and this affects the world markets The stock market dip has a negative impact on the market and businesses. The first thing that gets affected is brand advertising, still seen as an expenditure. In a low sentiment market mostly the essentials get purchased and indulgence has to wait for better times,” echoes Havas Media chief executive officer Anita Nayyar.

With more than 4000 deaths, borderlines being shut and life at a halt there’s still so much we don’t know. In this scenario, media plays a pivotal role in providing correct information without blowing it out of proportion. This is the hype of panic which needs to be controlled.

Meanwhile there are necessary steps brands can take to manage Coronavirus crisis. Narayan says, “Brands will get recognition for active steps they take as precautions and not the typical advertising at this juncture. The trend of remote work which was very slow is gaining momentum now. This could trigger a pivot in the real estate industry as the towers of offices could get impacted without physical office presence needed. This is especially true for the tech industry where it's already finding fast adoption.”

He further adds, “If the businesses find their productive rhythms through remote work, the question that might arise would be one of reducing office space. Which is already a buzzing topic in global markets. Additionally, business owners need to proactively take steps to engage with mature information and fact dissemination among employees. Take action against false information and help employees get through this tough time.”

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