The impact of Covid-19 has had a significant impact across the board with the marketing and advertising industry in 2020, but there is hope for the industry to swing back this year.
The field, along with the professionals, has evolved based on these events. How will the industry continue to change? What are the skills industry professionals are looking for in new hires?
There have been several skills that have changed both professionals—and the industry—forever, that we need more of, such as:
Being agile in moving fast, efficiently and immediately to share ideas, insights and perspectives is the requirement as more agencies, brands and organizations are under pressure to perform and deliver on their work: learning new platforms at a moment’s notice, embracing a new workplace environment, engaging with audiences in a time of crisis, and providing value on a subject like NFTs and other digital collectables to your team to educate them on the trends.
Audiences want to be entertained; that’s been known for years. However, how can we tap into pop culture moments that resonate with audiences at the right time, place, and with the right brand that aligns with the moment? Brands have made moments work for them (e.g., Ocean Spray) and others have had to learn the hard way with viral moments (e.g., Burger King) that have not produced a result they were hoping for.
It is not just a skill only a PR professional needs to have; it is a skill every person needs to have. Based on all of the incidents and significant events that have happened in 2020 around the world, being able to handle a crisis situation on and offline has become an essential skill for professionals. Training, education and support to professionals are crucial for mental health and professional well-being. Actions speak louder than words, and understanding how you respond and react to a crisis is as important (or more) than how you prepare for a crisis.
A community is the lifeline in creating a supportive learning, growing and thought leadership environment. Not only cultivating a community to help support others related to a brand (e.g., HubSpot), but also coming together related to a topic (e.g., #MarketingTwitter or #AdweekChat) to learn, grow and brainstorm ideas with others. Other brands such as Slim Jim, Sour Patch Kids and Aviation Gin have found out the benefits of engaging with their audiences to build brand loyalty and advocacy through digital engagement strategies and executions.
Learning does not stop after graduation, getting a promotion or landing a leadership position. Professionals have to be aware of what is not only currently relevant, but also what is happening in the future. Certifications and workshops can help in achieving these goals while also sitting in on Clubhouse sessions, webinars and Twitter chats.
Imagination has no bounds, and there will always be a need for having fresh, original and unique takes, stories and perspectives to be shared within the community. Gen Z as an audience has been dubbed one of the most creative audiences in our history, and brands and professionals need to embrace this through their own work, as well as recruiting them for talent management. Creative content strategy and execution across the board from short videos to social audio to traditional content is key to formulate strong relationships and memorable experiences. TikTok has created a platform for entertainment and creativity for brands and audiences to showcase their skills through video editing and music execution with students and young professionals getting opportunities for jobs and internships based on what they have created along with their experience and expertise. Going beyond what is expected is the name of the game moving forward.
We have all experienced a lot this past year as a community and industry. Taking a deep breath and being kind to others, and ourselves, is crucial. Understanding and being mindful as an ally during tough and positive times is key. We are all in this together and have to support, advocate and create actions to support our communities, fellow colleagues and industry professionals. Take what happened with Cinnamon Toast Crunch and “shrimpgate,” where the social media manager in the midst of the situation was put on notice for how they responded in the situation. We have to be kind to both ourselves and others, and at the end of the day, treat people how we would want to be treated