By Reham Mufleh, General Manager of Horizon FCB Dubai

COVID-19 is a human tragedy that has invaded the world & our region at large. It has impacted our lives, disrupted our norms and will change the way we live and interact with the world for a while. But every “tragedy” has a silver lining. In this case in particular, it may be difficult to detect, but if you look closely, you will find it is there nonetheless. 

Reham Mufleh – Horizon FCB Dubai

As we realize, the impact of COVID-19 along with the drop in oil prices has already created a recession and imposed behavioral changes on people and society in a way we have never witnessed before, and this was obviously reflected in our decisions, our priorities, our media consumption habits, our brand preferences as well as our purchasing habits. Naturally, brands and media owners will have to adapt, change and lead the way to partner the consumer into the future. 

However, recessions are also catalysts for dramatic change in the relative fortunes of competing brands and their media habits. They will accelerate the rise of some and the fall of others. Some brands will thrive in this situation, while others may suffer. 

During a recession the winners will be the ones who remained active, present and relevant. While many may go dark, we will see new ‘winners’ emerge, gain momentum and increase their market share as a result of the ‘traditional giants’ feeling too big to fail. We are already seeing brave clients leverage the situation to remind their consumers about what their brands stand for, advertise new products and deliver experiences that previously people had very little time to humor. People are now more receptive to adopting new behaviors as they are living a “new life”, and; with the beginning of the Ramadan season, people are expected to have even more time, undivided attention and a strong focus. 

What’s also important to note is that while spend cuts become significant, media becomes cheaper and therefore advertisers that continue spending in these times while their competitor are cutting back, will increase their share of voice without increasing their budget. In the past, growing a brand’s market share during a recession has proven to continue delivering substantial results post-recession. 

As Ramadan begins at a time when we all are still braving the pandemic, a lot more people will be staying home, more food and drinks will be consumed, and along with that, a lot more online/ TV streaming, internet entertainment, broadcasting and gaming, to pass the time. So, while these times are definitely challenging for each one of us, we should realize that there is indeed a silver lining present.  

So…let’s continue to entertain, educate and join those people at home with memorable experiences, and hopefully this will allow the brands that maintained their presence, to create new behaviors, become TOM and come out of this situation stronger than their competitors when this is all over… because this will be over. 

Ramadan Kareem!