In an unprecedented situation for the entire global community, we are all grappling with the humanitarian and economic challenges posed by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes, “coronavirus disease 2019” or COVID-19. As a nation, within our specific organisations, businesses, environments and our own families, we all continue monitoring the effects of the pandemic both here and abroad.
We all find ourselves in uncertain times and have no idea how severe the outbreak will be, how long it will last. We all wonder how it will truly affect our people, our morale, our economy. Through all of this, however, it is time for the spirit of Ubuntu to be amplified as we face this common threat as a cohesive and determined nation.
As a nation and as an industry, we should all heed the call to help #FlattenTheCurve through practicing social distancing, avoiding unnecessary contact with others, working from home where possible and adhering to the regulations.
At the ACA, we are fully aligned with the government’s declaration of a National State of Disaster and the nationwide 21-day lockdown period and fully support the efforts to contain and minimize the spread of the disease. We remain focused on addressing a number of business concerns. Key among these is ensuring the health and safety of our employees, industry stakeholders, agencies and their clients. Our offices remain open in a virtual format and all administrative, membership and advisory services continue as normal.
There is no better time than now for our industry to underscore the value we offer to clients, highlight our creativity, prove our effectiveness. This is not a time to slow down, but rather it is time to step up. Continue working and delivering effective business solutions. Work with clients to develop messaging that is timeous, messaging that ‘works’. Develop effective and creative communications that respond to and deliver against the business challenges posed by the pandemic.
The communication industry has the tools to inspire change, and today, more so than in recent memory, the world will look to us and judge us on our abilities to fuel and strengthen the business.
And in tandem, marketers should not discount the value agencies can deliver, and particularly under such difficult conditions. A force of nature has been unleashed and we are all affected in the same way. Now is not the time to review costs, extend payments or cancel campaigns. It is a time of continuity of client-agency partnerships, of reassurance, of retaining and reinforcing brand love with consumers.
There is a risk of losing brand equity when advertising goes dark. Brands and their agency partners should use this time to mitigate against this. It may take a few weeks or a few months, but we will return to a state of relative normality and we should all be prepared.
This time will pass, perhaps as quick as it arrived, but through all of this, consumers need brands and services that are continuously present, that reassure them, that innovate. Brands may need to tread carefully and alter their messaging, but as always, there should be long-term thinking and preparedness for a quick and effective return to the ‘new normal’.
Together we can beat this pandemic. Together we can, and should, ensure that continuity - in whatever form it may present itself – remains a priority.
Stay Safe. Stay Home.
About the ACA
The ACA is the official, representative body for the Communications and Advertising profession in South Africa, representing agencies in the profession (who at present contribute approximately 95% of South Africa’s measured ad spend) to government, media and the public. The ACA is a voluntary body formed by and for the industry, focused on and committed to self-regulation and to defending the highest standards of ethical practice.
For more about the ACA visit www.acasa.co.za or call the ACA on (010) 880 3399
Association for Communication and Advertising (ACA)
Mathe Okaba – CEO ACA
(010) 880 3399