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Ben Foster 

Our media plans need to adapt as customers' moods change

Our media plans need to adapt as customers' moods change

Creating a comms framework which is adaptable enough to flex into different spaces is crucial, explains The Kite Factory's director of digital

National morale has certainly been on a roller coaster in recent weeks, whether it's because of the success and then last-hurdle failure of the England football team, or the government's decision to end social distancing restrictions next week amid rising Covid-19 case numbers.

People's moods are obviously highly influential on their behaviour, but how often do you consider the mood and mindset of your target audiences when you are running campaigns and buying media?

We use lots of tools to understand which media channels our target audiences engage with at what times and which messages resonate with them to trigger engagement. But this process often happens at the start of the planning cycle and is fairly rigid in its implementation, rather than evolving with wider context.

'Mood moments' are being ignored

When the first Covid lockdown was imposed in 2020, the natural reaction was to pause and postpone campaigns and take stock. However, as soon as organisations realised the situation was going to last months rather than weeks, marketers pivoted their messaging.

These marketers realised they couldn’t risk the brand equity that had been built up over many years being eroded and all they hard work being undone.

Campaign themes moved with the different phases of the pandemic starting with empathetic messages of support that transitioned into messages of hope and finally celebration as the country gradually re-opened.

However, each of these phases lasted several months and within them “mood moments” were left ignored and unexploited.

We already think about mindset in our planning in terms of the content our messages are embedded in. For example, Lovehoney know which programming will drive response for their TV campaign (pictured, above) based on its content more than the audience the programme was designed to reach.

The same audience at the same time watching a crime documentary wouldn’t be in the right mindset to trigger engagement. However, what about the next layer up outside of that hour? What was the context of the day or week?

Think back to the first weekend of Euro 2020 and that horrifying incident in which Denmark's star player Christian Eriksen collapsed and required CPR during a match against Finland. In the following hours, people feared the worst after he was carried off on a stretcher.

The global footballing community went into shock, those who saw the incident on TV were left upset. People didn’t care about the scoreline or how Denmark would fare without its best player. There was only concern for a human being's welfare that was quickly followed by a huge sense of relief as news broke that he was stable and communicating in hospital. We witnessed a togetherness between footballing rivals around a united desire to wish the player well.

During this time, a broadcast message went from irrelevant and insensitive to simply irrelevant and out of touch.

Flexibility is your friend

Think about whether people are in a position to commit or just register their interest.

For example, in travel at the moment there is a super-keen audience that wants to go on international holidays regardless of cost, hassle and risk - compared to the mass market that is more anxious and risk averse. They dream of big holidays and are doing their research but are currently making do with staycations.

Creating ongoing comms with this audience is crucial so you are front of mind when they do return to market to book.

If you push them to book now, they will be put off but equally if you only join the conversation when they feel confident to book then you’ll be too late it’s about adapting the customer experience and the ask to their mindset.

Creating a comms framework which is adaptable enough to flex into different spaces and still seem like the same campaign is no mean feat but it’s crucial to allow you to ride these waves of national mood and mindset.

So, choose channels that provide a platform for creative changes, short term reactionary changes and proactive variations of messaging.

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