Aishwarya Ramesh
Marketing

Designing and creating content for a world in lockdown

As marketers increasingly turn to the digital medium to connect with customers, how can the medium be used to work collaboratively? This webinar explores…

There’s a popular saying that implies that isolation fosters imagination. However the COVID-19-led new normal has challenged everyone’s imagination by creating an unimaginable set of challenges for creative leaders across the globe. As more creative minds work from home, the way we design and create content has also undergone drastic changes.

In the context of the coronavirus, more marketers are increasingly turning to digital mediums to stay connected with their consumers. At this time, the challenge becomes to pick the right tone of messaging to communicate with your customers as well as the right tools to communicate and collaborate with team members while working remotely.

In a session hosted by Adobe and afaqs!, titled ‘Designing for the new normal’, a panel of creative, marketing and design heads discussed the tools that businesses need to keep handy, so that they can successfully create a creative, customer-focused, digital and future-ready business.

The session saw participation from Jaibeer Ahmad, senior vice president, Cheil India; Shekar Bhadve, founder and director, Lokusdesign; Karan Kumar, senior vice president and CMO at DLF; Nida Naushad, head, brand, strategy and campaigns, CARS24; and Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, CEO and co-founder, GOZOOP. The panel discussion was moderated by Ashwini Gangal, executive editor, afaqs!, and also featured a presentation from Chetan Jadhav, a creative evangelist at Adobe India.

A glimpse of the participants of the session
A glimpse of the participants of the session

Kumar of DLF began the session by addressing the fact that technology has now become an indispensable part of communication, but as of now, the definition of the digital medium of communication has been reduced to its lowest common denominator – social media.

“Technology needs to play a stronger role in customer engagement and we need to be able to facilitate a customer exploring and experiencing a product and its features virtually,” he says. CARS24’s Naushad agreed, stating that now is the right time for tech innovations and marketers to spend more on digital marketing.

But how does one bring about those innovations, while creating content in a lockdown? Ahmad of Cheil India admitted that when the lockdown began, it completely disrupted their regular way of working, which was quite reliant on in-person collaborations.

“Clients are quite insistent on physical meetings. So, our first challenge was, how do we communicate with our clients and among ourselves on our team? There was already a lot of tech we had access to, we just had to learn to utilise it better,” he said. Ahmad added that it took a lot of thinking out of the box to conceptualise, create and execute shoots, while working remotely.

GOZOOP’s Naqvi agreed that technology was the most powerful and easy way to connect to audiences, and it was important to do so at this time, since there was an overall air of pessimism. “Brands and their custodians need to understand how different tools that technology offers can be leveraged to create connections,” he says.

DLF’s Kumar mentioned that since the lockdown started, the real estate sector saw no movement, but technology enabled them to work better and make sales, even while working remotely. “This is a period when we should ensure that technology, or lack of accessibility to the same, doesn’t affect sales processes. We should use this period to explore properties and features of existing platforms,” he says.

Talking about the role of design in the communication designed for customers in lockdown, he explains that right now, because of the Coronavirus pandemic, marketing is at a crossroads between technology, design, and a humane touch to communication. He added that we need to stop looking back at the past, and start thinking about the future.

“We have to understand what to do with the technology that we have access to and how to create for the future. Since these are unprecedented circumstances, we need to design for disaster and design for collapses too (mainly, what can we design and build if our product collapses again?),” explains Bhadve of Lokusdesign.

The unanimous consensus was that it’s now more important than ever to be tech savvy. Cheil’s Ahmad added that they had started designing their own platforms and modules to host webinars, virtual events and product launches. CARS24’s Naushad also agreed, stating that it’s now time to think of digital marketing as more than just a secondary medium.

“Getting consumers to share their data for digital marketing purposes is not an issue if you can approach them accordingly. You have to treat customers as human, as your friend, and then you’ll be able to appeal to them to request data and information,” she said.

GOZOOP’s Naqvi agreed that a digital first mindset is a must and for marketers, it's paramount to listen to understand, and not just listen to react to market trends. “Speed and agility is important and now, more than ever, marketers need to adopt the principles of lean marketing – to act with more resilience, more flexibility and to accept change instead of resisting it,” he said.

It is, indeed, challenging to coordinate, work and create content remotely, and it is also the need of the hour to communicate with customers. Jadhav from Adobe India spoke about the different tools a person could use to coordinate and create content while working remotely.

Jadhav spoke about the different creative tools that Adobe offers, to empower creativity and collaboration. This included a feature to save and share Photoshop and Illustrator files on cloud, an online version of the popular photo editing tool Lightroom and a feature to work collaboratively with Premiere Pro.

Adobe is also now integrating its ‘Stock’ offering more closely into its products (including Photoshop and Lightroom) so that designers have an option to access Adobe’s database of stock footage, stock photos and clip arts, while working on the creative within the software itself.

Jadhav emphasised on the importance of bringing collaborators together smoothly and seamlessly, even while working remotely. He concluded by saying that (with) the ability to share assets and libraries on cloud, the collaboration process becomes simple and seamless.

Watch the full discussion here.