Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Reasons to be Cheerful: Dale Lovell, ADYOULIKE

As the coronavirus pandemic has quickly become the new normal, NDA wants to celebrate the positives of our current situation,

Dale Lovell, UK MD and Co-Founder, ADYOULIKE

What have you been most heartened about in how your staff, partners, customers or clients have reacted to the new normal?

It’s a tough ad-space environment at the moment and there’s understandably a lot of anxiety out there. I’m encouraged by our staff and their attitude to continue to work as hard as possible for each and every campaign, our supply partners and maintaining our business in trying times. All departments have stepped up.

On a personal level I’m heartened that our staff have put their trust in us to make the right decisions at this time – and I’m sure like all business leaders at the moment I feel a genuine responsibility towards them to manage the business properly through this crucial period. In the UK we have always operated a lean ship – both Francis Turner, Co-Founder and CRO and I are very hands on with the day-to-day running of the business, now more than ever.

In many ways I think as a business we are better equipped psychologically than many others to handle this ‘new normal’ from a business perspective. I’ve championed ‘Start-ups’ on NDA before, but it’s in disruptive environments where this pedigree kicks in.  We started life as a disruptor by launching the native advertising format in the UK – doing the hard work and creating new revenue streams that others were not capable of doing – and we believe we are better equipped than most to deal with disruption as a result.

I’m heartened by the largely pragmatic approach the UK ad industry appears to be taking in the face of this crisis: in comparison to the US and EMEA I think the UK is holding up better – largely, I believe, down to the advanced and sophisticated nature digital plays in the lives of UK consumers.

What, if any, positive long-term impact on the digital industry will coronavirus have?

There will be an even greater appreciation among businesses for digital’s ability to reach consumers – even when they are locked at home – and the ability digital provides in maintaining business as usual in times of crisis.

Ecommerce and online shopping have obviously flourished over this period – ingraining behaviour that was already well established in the UK – even further. This will stay.

What we’ll also see is that businesses that were previously not concentrating on online sales, or home delivery options, will double down in the coming months and years to make sure they have these capabilities in place. The businesses that previously thought digital was a bit too much hassle for them will undoubtedly need to step up efforts.

What positive impacts on long term consumer behaviour shifts will it have?

I think a lot of people are sat at home right now thinking about what really matters most to them. Is it buying and having more stuff? Working and commuting crazy hours to buy that stuff and not seeing your family much? Or is it something else?

For others I’m sure they are sat at home thinking “My living situation over lockdown has been shitty, I’m committed to making sure I have a bigger place, a garden, a partner (or not!), pet, or less annoying housemates should I have to go through all of this again.” All of this will influence consumer behaviour. 

I was reading a post by Martin Lindstrom (who I recommend everyone follow) recently where he said it takes around 12 weeks for something to become an ingrained habit.

The way we are all living now may bring about big changes longer term for many of us – others, I’m sure, will revert to business as usual once the initial scare as worn off. How we shop, work, commute, travel and entertainment are all going to change. How exactly, who knows? 

The real question is how is all of this going to impact our collective mental health? Brits – and Londoners in particular – are a sturdy lot, so we may be less impacted by this global shock to the system compared to other countries.

But I know I’m not alone in media when I say I’m looking forward to sinking a pint or two down the pub one Friday afternoon once this all over!