With industries across the spectrum getting affected, advertising can hardly be immune. DAN’s Ashish Bhasin talks about the impact of COVID-19 on the A&M industry.
Dentsu Aegis Network is a global agency. Though it’s Wuhan offices continue to remain shut, certain normalcy is returning to the work culture in Shanghai and Beijing. Will India follow the pattern? Ashish Bhasin, CEO APAC & Chairman India, Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific shares the know how of the current situation.
In a conversation during Samosa Talks, he speaks about the impact of COVID-19 on the Indian A&M industry with lessons for business and agencies.
In India, he hopes for things to start getting better for the advertising industry around Diwali. This would heavily depend on how soon the threat of COVID-19 gets contained and how good the monsoon is for the country this year. “We must not underestimate its importance in a rural economy as ours,” he quips.
The production side has been hit badly and thus, brands don’t have the money to spend on advertising, he says. It would require a lot of advocacy and conversations to retain businesses for agencies.
Currently, agencies and industries need to look at the scenario realistically and prepare wartime strategies. This would require tough decisions and significant cost-cutting measures, says Bhasin. They should look at cutting the fat and not the muscle, he says, when it comes to retaining human resources, clients and cash. Hiring is bound to be tough for all but even retaining employees will require strategic cost-cutting.
Given the information overload in the current scenario, especially with negative stories taking lead, it is important for brands to concentrate on adding value to the life of consumers.
Leveraging such a tragic moment is bound to go against them in the short as well as long term, as people may just choose to unfollow. It is important that they educate, inform and/or entertain people with a sense of utility in the communication. “Forcing brand communication is not a good idea, especially now. There needs to be a reason to communicate,” Bhasin adds.
You can view the entire Samosa Talks session here: