JustPremium recently challenged professionals in the ad and publishing industry to share their new predictions for 2020 under the #MyNew2020Vision hashtag challenge. People from all across the ad landscape answered the call with their own take on how they saw the rest of the year playing out and what changes they felt would become permanent fixtures in their working lives. They posted these predictions on their LinkedIn and became part of a broader conversation about evolution in times of distress.

The answers were as varied as the numerous participants. Some were more focused on how the Coronavirus would change the world of work generally, such as those who predicted that many people would be compelled to change career paths or find new lines of work. Others focused more on the closer effects of how it would change advertising or publishing specifically. For instance, many of the participants predicted that global media buying would consolidate and become more centralized.

Consolidation of Media Buying Powers

This could apply to not just advertising and publishing, but many office jobs that span across a variety of industries. However, the next most popular suggestions were very singular to the advertising industry. Harmen Tjaarda of JustPremium and Katie Ewer of JKR Singapore both foresee a round of media buy-outs before the end of the year.

Rob Garber, Managing Director for JustPremium, said: “There will be an aggressive M&A focus post-COVID-19. With cash-flow a struggle and redundancies and government plans being used, there will be more consolidation in the ecosystem.”

Ad Landscape/Media

Giving Back and Making an Impact

Another trend that we’re already seeing is brands leveraging their compassion and their sense community responsibility to pivot their messaging to include more human values themes. A good majority of participants predicted that this trend will continue.

Corporate Social Responsibility will be a huge trend going forward, according to Siim Säinas, the Social Insights and Measurement Lead for Maker Labs, a partner of Google. He said, “Everyone around the world is in fighting Covid-19 together. Consumer data suggests that our collective empathy has increased over the past months and we have started paying more attention to the world around us. Maybe cause-based marketing will just become marketing. Maybe we are ready to take on global warming.”

This will no doubt be true, but other respondents pointed out that consumers can feel fatigue around these messages rather quickly, and brands will have to get creative to break through to their customers when so many companies are offering merely generic messages of compassion.

Kate Ewer, Head of Strategy for JKR Singapore, underlined this point by saying she thinks we will see heightened consumer skepticism. “If there’s one thing this pandemic has taught us, it’s that there are two kinds of brands – those that have made a positive impact in a manner authentic to their values, and those that have messed about with the spacing of their logo elements. Posture at your peril.”

This is also in line with the opinion of Anton Reyniers, Google’s Regional Strategic Partnership lead who believes that now is the time to invest in real branding to make an impact. Reyniers predicts “the effectiveness of long term brand building will be something that can’t be ignored. Tactical led CMOs will fade away replaced with those that understand that protecting a brand means building it over years not quarters.”

Consumer Behavior

Regular Remote Working

However, the most popular prediction was one that companies had already been putting in action. The majority of respondents indicated that working from home becoming the new normal would be the most likely outcome of this disruption. While people varied in their reasoning as to why this would be so, they all agreed that these lockdown procedures served as a great trial run for a more remote working industry.

Peter Phillips, Global Strategy Director at MediaCom, elaborated, “Office work environment will radically change with a greater emphasis on remote and distance working and cross-team collaboration. Increased workforce flexibility in order to reduce size and upskill employees to make them more fluid with increased transferable skills and improve productivity whilst reducing costs.”


Various Ways of Aclimatizing to the New Normal

Other popular predictions include an increasing dominance of e-commerce shopping as consumers are more wary of social interactions in brick-and-mortar retail establishments. Another prediction is that digital advertising will become one of the more preferred ways to reach users as OOH and even television advertising struggles. Even still, advertisers will have to prioritize how to break through on those channels by using more creative and interactive elements to grab user attention.