New Creative for the New Normal, Part 1

    The following is part one of a three-part series on the challenges of creating engaging content in the Covid era.

    By Guan Hin Tay - Nov 2, 2020
    New Creative for the New Normal, Part 1

    Engaging content needs to have the three Rs. It must be Relevant, it must be Relatable and it must be Real. It’s always been a challenge to create award-winning content and to break free from the digital clutter, and this the way it was even before the pandemic.

    So, how do we deliver engaging creative content in today’s Covid digital era? It’s essential to understand the climate we are living in and how that will affect our creativity moving forward.

    New Creative Content for the New Normal

    Today’s creatives have had to adapt, adjust, and evolve into a changing world.

    According to a write up on WARC’s website, Brands have to adapt to certain creative modifications. They need to display empathy for what the world is facing; more than ever, brands need to demonstrate they are here to help, not just to sell.

    This could mean that they need to pull out their most hard-selling price-focused messaging. Or that they have to start to craft new ads from existing footage to ensure cultural relevance.

    Some may need to stop and scrap creative executions that are not representative of the current climate. They may need to try and avoid specific lifestyle imagery such as large groups, travel, or anything that doesn’t show social distancing.

    All of these adjustments could remain the norm until we see more countries starting to open-up, global travel return, and normal become normal again. None of this can happen if we don’t have a vaccine, and that’s a big “IF” considering these vaccines must work for most of us.

    Since we don’t know when a new normal will be, we should instead focus on the here and now. We’ve learned a lot so far, so here are the first two of six key takeaways on how you can execute new impactful creative work.

    Being Relevant

    The first takeaway is about using existing brand assets to make products relevant in today’s climate.

    Brands who have strong own-able visual assets, connect with their customers faster, because their customers can quickly identify with it.

    We are all familiar with the IKEA brand.

    What visual Brand assets do they own? When you buy furniture from Ikea, it comes with this simple Step by Step B&W illustration direction manual.

    Let’s take a look at how Ikea took this visual brand asset and adapted to fit different messages.

    When we are all told to “Stay at home.” Ikea in Israel came up with this inventive post. It’s the most accessible set of IKEA directions you’ll ever come across. You need just a key, a lock, and one hundred rolls of toilet paper to follow the instructions.

    Next, how do you keep kids occupied when they are staying at home with you? Can Ikea sell their furniture and make it useful?

    How can Ikea give you imaginative ideas to keep your kids entertained while lockdown?

    Like the same visual brand asset of the B&W Illustration manual, Ikea Russia came up with a set of six instruction manuals that convert everyday pieces of furniture into playhouses for children.

    Choose from a wigwam, castle, house, tent, cave, or fortress. Ikea, naturally, recommends using furniture and accessories from its stores. They are all designed to overcome family lockdown boredom.

    The second visual brand asset from Ikea is their catalog. Ikea turned their famous catalog into a “Stay at home” workbook to address family boredom. It’s a coloring book cover and it’s also a puzzle and maze.

    The catalog comes complete with more games like Battleships, called Pencil Ships, and can be played as a tic tac toe game.

    Being Relatable

    The second key takeaway is to show empathy in today’s situation/setting/behaviors while retaining brand relevance.

    Heineken is about bringing people together by social drinking, but how can people come together in today’s world?

    From air hugs to elbow bumps to 1.5m cheers, there are plenty of ways to #SocialiseResponsibly to keep the bars open.

    Video conferencing and FaceTime have become part of everyday lives; they’re relatable. So, Heineken showed us different ways to connect with our friends and hang out together while staying at home. They then use the great line, “It’s not the best to get together, but it’s the best way to get together.”

    The world has changed and creatives need to keep up. If we focus on these key insights, we can continue to connect to our audience and do so in an even more meaningful impactful way than ever before.

    New Creative for the New Normal, Part 1

    New Creative for the New Normal, Part 2


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