This year has been a strange year when it comes to future-proofing any business.
After the initial ‘stop the presses’ reaction when restrictions first hit, businesses have been enthusiastically dipping their toes back into the ad space, searching for what’s been dubbed ‘the new normal’.
Yet, even though brand marketers are keen to keep creating, complicated social distancing regulations, public liability issues and border closures have meant that businesses are nowhere near ‘normal’.
So how to negotiate content creation during a pandemic?
The most overused word of the year is perhaps the aptest in this regard: pivot.
Content marketing, broadcast and out-of-home advertising, as well as other visual materials, can still be made during a lockdown, it just needs to be made a little differently than before.
Here are five ways Australian businesses are continuing to create content in 2020.
One of the easiest ways to get around border control and social distancing is to remove it entirely from the equation.
Businesses that once leant heavily on live action capture to create TVCs and social content are now looking to 2D and 3D animation.
Animation is produced wholly online. Teams can collaborate remotely, solo operators can be engaged from afar, and a variety of animation specialist agencies have upped their capacity to deal with the increase in demand.
Many businesses have had to develop a brand style or animated language to create a sense of cohesion and consistency, but investment is bearing fruit as customers become used to associating brands with a particular style.
2. Cinemographs and animated static motion
Animation created from static images is a process that has been around for some time, but its popularity has grown in recent years, owing to its fast turnaround time and associated cost efficiencies.
Motionless event, e-commerce or travel photography can be quickly turned into moving images that increase interest and engagement and increase sales.
They have a wide variety of applications, including social media and corporate presentations, as well as digital signage and websites.
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Cinemographs are also a great way to refresh or update old content, extending the life and bettering the original return on their investment.
3. Live-streaming and webinars
The event sector took a huge hit when social distancing restrictions effectively put an end to every PR company’s plans to activate this year.
Music venues closed, conferences faltered and big trade shows had to find a new way to bring 100,000 people together to talk about shoes, watches or any other product niche you can imagine.
Live-streaming and webinars have experienced a sharp rise in popularity owing to their flexibility and cost-effectiveness at being able to bring an inordinate amount of people together online.
Everything from cook-a-longs and corporate AGMs, to fitness brand activations and citizenship ceremonies, are now streamed digitally using professional live-streaming and webinar services.
And, we not talking Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams here.
4. Small crew production
TVCs have notoriously encompassed large crews often baring remarkable resemblance to the set of Hollywood blockbusters.
But like Hollywood films, many of the big budget TVCs operators have had to rethink how they work with their clients in order to maintain social distancing and minimise transference as well as swerve the associated legal liabilities.
Small crew productions have been one way that content production houses have looked to keep making, using two or three man crews to create simpler (none the less creative) executions for the ad industry.
Clients and non-essential personnel can even remotely dial-in to set using dedicated, secure software.
Just when you thought you might not hear the word influencer for a while, social distancing made it more advantageous than ever for companies to experiment (or continue to dally with) influencer marketing.
Content creators that can shoot and edit their own content for commercial use have been kept busy during the pandemic.
But it’s not just social influencers that have seen a boost. User-generated content sourced from the internet has also been used to great effect.
Whether it be content recorded on smartphones or licensed for commercial use through YouTube, content from the general public is finding its way back into content marketing language.
Not only does this type of capture alleviate the need for crew and acting talent, but it also helps build a sense of connection and authenticity between the brand and the viewer.
And this is something everybody is looking to find in 2020.