Owning the ‘new normal’ and doing business differently

This month marks one year since the first Coronavirus case was reported in South Africa. One year of us being in a Lockdown (of sorts), and one year of the ‘new normal’ of working from home and embracing a fully digital world. Although it might not be fitting to blow up the balloons and pop the champagne yet, it is worth reflecting on and celebrating our tenacity, adaptability and ability to survive in these ‘bizarre’ times.

Just about every business had to reposition their offering to survive the world of COVID-19. At Total Exposure we adopted the PESO model which allows for truly integrated communication & strategy across Earned, Shared, Paid and Owned media.

But, just as we were navigating this crisis so were our clients, who were challenged to take bold stances and roll out communication campaigns that bridged the gap between crisis and resolution, without losing sight of their core values, brand voice and behaviour. It meant moving the real world to digital - virtual press conferences, Instagram live, masterclasses and live streamed performances - tactics we would have generally never considered just months before. Yet, as often is the case, out of adversity came some stand out ‘new normal’ campaigns.

Jameson Connects: The Stay Inn

Jameson Irish Whiskey connects their consumers through culture and collaboration. During Level 5 lockdown, when activations, events and the sale of alcohol was not permitted, the brand came up with a playbook of virtual events that lived on their Owned media channels. They live streamed performances headlined by Kwesta and friends, offered aspiring rappers the chance to collaborate with Kwesta and gave consumers plenty to laugh about with live streamed comedy too.

We created an integrated campaign across influence, partnerships and Earned media, all of which pointed to Jameson's owned live video streams. The outcomes were significant - over 1.3 million video views, a reach of 16.5 million people and the best response the brand has ever had to a competition - more than 1 400 entries for the chance to Rap A Verse with Kwesta. More importantly The Stay Inn kept Jameson top of mind during the alcohol ban, which meant they bounced back quicker when the ban was lifted.

For the second annual Red Bull Shay’Imoto not being able to have a live audience meant creating a new playbook that ended up drawing an even bigger virtual audience. The brand partnered with earned media to broadcast the event alongside Red Bull TV. It meant sharing our owned stories across multiple platforms. On the face of it, it was a simple solution but it addressed a real problem faced by the media - they had little to report on from an entertainment perspective and yet they had audiences hungry for experiences. Reaching over 29 million people the campaign exceeded targets by over 45%.

As we enter the second year of the “new normal” and a prolonged period of uncertainty, we will continue to meet this challenge with integrated and creative communication strategies that get our clients noticed and help their brands grow.

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