DIRECT MEDIA United Solutions
Conclusions of the webinar DIRECT TALKS From Home: Insights vs. Myths: What really awaits us after Covid19?
Whether they were created before or after the coronavirus pandemic, brands will settle their problems in a new communication with younger generations. Virtual events have become must in strategies. Not all influencers have the same prospects for survival. The gaming industry is big-time mainstream. The users for large screens are finally discovering their functionalities – these are the conclusions of the 7th edition of DIRECT TALKS From Home webinar, with the participation of:
Sanja Dimitrijević, Group Account Director, We Are Social, Germany
Katarina Todorović, Product Owner, United Cloud
Jelena Stošić, Strategy Director Kids Industries, The Family Agency, London, UK
Miloš Skokić, Managing Partner, Žiška
Discussions moderated by: Ljubica Vukčević, Head of Research & Insight, DIRECT MEDIA United Solutions
The desire of youth to belong
From the very first day of the lockdown in the UK, the Family Agency from London has followed the changes in the habits of families, which changes indicate that we are on the verge of more lasting changes of behavior with that target group of consumers. According to Jelena Stošić, mental health has gained in importance. Teenagers report anxiety at a 13% greater rate than before and parents and children attend to such issues together. “It’s sad to see that a 10-year old child is worried because their father has lost his job and the majority of the population is concerned whether they will have enough to eat, which is quite a new and unusual concern for England”. Children for the most part miss school as an opportunity to move around freely and socialize with others. Furthermore, one of the main trends is the acceptance of the digital world by the parents. As yet another proof that the world has moved towards the online realm is Travis Scott’s concert in Fortnight, which was seen live by 12 million people. Until then, the most visited concert was that of Paul Mccartney for 3.5 million people”, Jelena says. In her words, these changes open new opportunities – ones in the field of communications and others in area of product features. “The communication aspect must be carefully managed and as for product development, this generation will be marked by a desire to belong and seek out for their respective communities. All this has to be identified and properly used by the brands,” Jelena indicates.
The virtual world as a must
According to Sanja Dimitrijević, the German-based agency We are Social stepped deeply into the world of virtual events during the pandemic, believing that such events will become an integral part of 360 strategies. “We had an experience with our clients from Audi, when the Geneva Motor Show was cancelled 36 hours before the launch of the new A3 model. We did a live stream for the first time and it all went brilliantly. The outcome is that even much more conservative clients have now realized that it’s not such a big deal anymore, but perhaps the only way to organize events in 2020 in a completely legitimate way,” Sanja says. She points out that virtual events can be incredibly complex and that it is important to include social networks for support, in order for interaction to happen and people to feel engaged. “Those clients that are not willing to risk with stream opt for microsites with pre-prepared content; they are also considering AR and VR and while nothing can replace human touch, I am sure that strategies will include at least one or two virtual events per year. First and foremost for the financial savings they generate, as well as the more accurate targeting, simplified follow-up, etc.” Sandra says.
New habits for larger screens
The number of subscribers on streaming platforms skyrocketed during the pandemic, but it was already up nonetheless. According to Katarina Todorović from United Cloud, the coronavirus situation has proven to be a golden age for streaming platforms that gained in popularity. “The ratings of streaming platforms at weekly level increased by 400 years and by the end of 2020, these platforms are expected to gain an additional 45 million users. In Serbia, SBB unlocked its content at the very start of the pandemic; content ratings have increased, as has the number of competing streams, namely the number of users watching simultaneously a specific content, by almost 50%. As for the type of content, TV remained at the same level but VOD content, series and films are up 30%, just like radio on our EON platform, which is a good indicator of people becoming aware of all the functionalities of the platform. New channels have grown as expected, children’s channels remained the same, sports channels have gone south, entertainment is up and adult content has tripled. The number of devices used at household level increased – three devices in average are used, which is good”, Katarina says. In her words, the use of mobile phones during the pandemic is down, which indicates that the smart phone is a “fast device” in terms of consumption, as evidenced by the fact that only news content watched on mobile phones is up, while the use of larger displays has increased significantly. “While the ratings have fallen after the state of emergency was lifted, the good news is that the consumers have become aware of all the functionalities of the platforms and are expected to retain certain of these newly acquired habits going forward,” Katarina says.
Influencers will survive
When it comes to influencers, according to Miloš Skokić from the Žiška agency, there will be no full return to the old situation and the recession will most definitely result in a decrease of consumption for this channel. “As for the influence and role of influencers during the pandemic, it was observed that content creators survived, as opposed to influencers in the narrow sense, who were focused on self-promotion. We also have cases of high-quality content creators who were marginalized due to the inability to use physical space in terms of content production. In Serbia, the perception is that the influencers are the icing on the cake and if the brand managers are put in the position to have to renounce something, I think it will be them. The value of that market will go south, but only temporarily. The end of 2020 and beginning of 2021 will be more marked by an ad-hoc, timid collaboration with influencers,” Miloš says. He stresses that the global trend related to influencers and the bureaucratization of the process of cooperation via intermediaries or agents exists here too, which is, in his words, a good thing, since it opens up the possibility for better managing that cooperation.
“The value of content means a great deal. What we see as a trend with children is that the main influencers, which are from three main areas – gaming, toys unboxing and challenges – are relatively resilient categories. They switched to TikTok and that is super fun for children. Generally speaking, influencers here are more resilient to such changes, since it is officially a well-organized industry and they have become the standard for campaign planning”, says Jelena Stošić. She indicates that the most desirable job for children 7-11 has until recently been the influencer. This changed in the last month, when the top of the list was overtaken by the doctor, while interest in medicine and science increased. “A very interesting example is the toy brand Matteo, which identified the new trend and quickly launched a line of toys representing postmen, doctors, personnel helping in the pandemic… In normal conditions, this process lasts in average 12-18 months from the emergence of the idea to the realization thereof.
In Germany, the influencers are on the rocks, since their ratings, according to Sanja Dimitrijević, have plummeted due to the declining trust of their audience. “With this new phase in people’s lives, the perception of influencers is even more black and white. However, we have also noticed that last year, user-generated content suffered a serious setback, only to jump by 24% now that people stay at home. Creativity is valued and that is why people love TikTok and anything that challenges them, without requiring major investments of time and money,” Sanja says.
Gaming is big-time mainstream
According to Miloš Skokić, in terms of gaming we will see a short-term growth, followed by a mild decline mid-term and renewed growth on the long run. “Let me first explain the distinction between gaming and Esports. Gaming includes any type of mobile games, from Candy Crush to serious console games, while Esports is professional and competitive gaming such as Counterstrike, League of Legends, Fortnight… While gaming is on the rise, streaming and the time spent gaming are up, the number of Esports events is down, since tournaments involving actual team competitions have been cancelled. What is also a good thing is that most Esports leagues continued to function,” Miloš says. In his words, while gaming has been a niche for a long time now, it has become mainstream big time. “The biggest brands are now sponsoring Esports competitions, such as Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola, while BMW is the main sponsor of each of the best teams in places where Esports thrive, such as the US, Korea, Europe and China. This is a precedent in terms of sponsoring, because you also have Gillette, as well as brands from the sector of banking, insurance and savings that sponsor various segments in the live transmissions and create relevant content for the users on this platform,” Miloš says.
According to the participants of the webinar, values will be the most affected by the changes and accordingly the perception of certain products, services and brands.
“When we talk to 10 or 11-year olds, we can see that things are changing dramatically. Young people have different values, starting from the respect for life resources and changed perception about the actual possession of products. The entertainment industry, which profits from the sale of products, are having a hard time creating love for the brand in times when everything is short-lived and there is no long-term memory. What’s lacking is something that will generate love for the brand and the content”, Jelena Stošić says.
According to Sanja Dimitrijević, premium brands in the car industry will survive only because they have recognized on time the problems that emerged before the coronavirus pandemic – namely that the younger generations prefer car sharing to owning a car, which used to be the Holy Grail. “Turning to sustainability is the path many brands will take”, Sanja says.
“The narrative is changing. Games are becoming an important social mechanism, as evidenced by the popular virtual concerts and cooperative games. We can expect more games in the most general sense, in the virtual space, where we can socialize, hang out and discover aspects of our personality that we don’t see in the online world”, Miloš Skoric concludes.
Watch the entire webinar: