Reading list for March 30, 2020

Stories and resources worth bookmarking for the week of March 30, 2020.

As we become used to the idea of working from – and staying – home, I’m starting to read articles that go beyond standard predictions or trend watches; marketers are looking ahead and beginning to imagine their work (and the world) based on what we are all feeling during this time. The New Normal is still not clear, but some things are becoming… clearer.

Travel, tourism and hospitality are some of the most impacted industries in the world, and since so many of our clients are leaders in these sectors, it’s interesting to note areas where hospitality isn’t taking a hit: consumers are literally heading for the hills. Gartner calls this “nature-infused social distancing.” Yonder sells rural experiences exclusively. Airbnb is seeing a rise in bookings in rural areas. Isolation and silence have long been synonymous with luxury, so what happens next?

Hints may be coming out of China: With that country a month or so ahead of most of the world in terms of the economic impacts of the virus, the industry will look to that market to see what the eventual bounce back might look like, and, equally importantly, what the Chinese traveler will do once restrictions are lifted. Right now, there are glimmers of hope amidst some difficult numbers.

Speaking of glimmers of hope: Love always wins. People are still getting married. A lot. All over the place. So much so that “how-to” get married online articles are popping up. And couples are getting creative about it.

More good news: John Krasinski (The Office) has started a Some Good News “newscast” on YouTube. Film festivals and classical music (among others) have moved online (more on online viewing below). And the great Dolly Parton is going to start reading bedtime stories to all of us.

Some surprising things we’ve learned recently: Cameo, the celebrity video messaging service, which, frankly, we’d dismissed, is big again! Houseparty is having a real moment. Virtual gatherings transcend weddings. Museums went virtual long ago and now might be a good time to visit them. Same with travel. With kids. Drones are being used to deliver medicine, which might be a look into our future. The most (and least) surprising thing: Spotify’s numbers are down. As are podcasts. We’ve long suspected that without commutes, podcast numbers might suffer and now there’s proof. People are streaming video in record numbers. TikTok won’t stop and even brands are getting involved. Social media has changed in the era of social distancing. And people are watching the news again. Even network television numbers in the U.S. are up.

This means there is demand for advertising. Any sort of marketing during this time is fraught, but reports suggest that viewers don’t want brands to stop advertising. They want the messaging to change but not advertising itself. This is a time for brands to really tell their story, to hone their messages, to become integral parts of the wider community. It’s odd to use the word “opportunity” at this moment, but that’s what the moment can be. Suddenly, SEO is a popular topic again, for example, as clients become more aware of things they might not have before. And this is part of the larger debate about in-housing agencies that has been going on for years and is seeing a resurgence. We’re obviously biased, but agencies have lasted for a reason. Every company needs separation from their own bubbles, and agencies, working as partners, can offer a different perspective in terms of output and strategy. Content is very important right now and smart content is more important than ever. Because once we’re past this, in whatever shape, there’s going to be a need. And, yes, opportunities. But first let’s get there.

Stay safe and healthy.

Content Strategy Services