In an era of filters, stickers, and “Insta-perfect” content capture, COVID-19 has exposed a new world for content creators: the realness of reality.
The new reality of video
Yes, you can certainly change your background on Zoom and “enhance” your appearance—which I, shamefully, partake in. But using these enhancement tools doesn’t put on your makeup, teach your kids, clean up your house, put you in an office, guarantee your job security, or make anything feel remotely close to normal.
Instead, it exposes the raw reality of our current state, which is a harsh juxtaposition of what we were used to pre-COVID-19 (the enhancement) and our new reality (the same sweatshirt you wore yesterday, your child or pet coming into the frame, or the mess of your room behind you).
This new normal has proven unique for brands in particular as they are no longer navigating down a strategically led, pre-planned, and paved road. Rather, they’ve been forced to take a sharp turn down a gravely, foggy trail that they hope doesn’t pop a tire.
Traditional production is no longer
A major reality check of our current situation is that traditional production has changed for the foreseeable future. Production no longer looks like a 30+ person crew on location for multiple days with celebrity talent. It feels completely absurd typing the previous sentence at all.
But that doesn’t mean content can’t be produced. It simply means brands need to be a bit more resourceful and reimagine how their content is created.
Strangely, COVID-19 has equalized the playing field, and brands who lean into reality will come out on top. Brands that can empathize and help normalize our situation with effective content will ultimately earn the trust and business of consumers now and after this is all over.
So, what can brands do?
Adapt. Consumers continue to want to hear from you, but expectations around the sophistication of that communication has shifted. Above all else, timeliness and relevance are the most important.
Take a look at Saturday Night Live, which was back with a new episode this past weekend and recorded remotely from each actors’ home. As viewers, we’re willing to forgive the show’s inherent obstacles to get another dose of Larry David’s Bernie Sanders impression or Kate McKinnon’s RBG.
So, continue the conversation with your customers. Solicit user-generated content (UGC), lean into influencers, tap into existing or stock footage, or reimagine a piece of content as animation. And make sure you’re still talking.
We’ll all find our way back to that main road soon. We simply need to use different tools to get us there.