Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Reasons to be cheerful: Davina Dunlea, CEO Crate Media

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

We spoke to Davina Dunlea, CEO of Crate Media, to find out what she found to be cheerful about.

What positive impacts have you seen on how your business operates?
For the first time we are all syncing for at least 30 minutes every morning, allowing everyone to be exposed to all aspects of the agency. The informal nature has allowed for more open discussion, helping us to deliver better results across Strategy, Creative and AdOps. We’ve also spotted new talents – our Creative Director has an aptitude for campaign optimisation, our Social Media Exec is a dab hand at new business, and our Lead Analyst is a serial trend spotter in all aspects of our new normal, using his love of data to help us make decisions on what boxset to consume next!

What have you been most heartened about in how your staff, partners, customers or clients have reacted to the new normal?
The clients and partners we work with are approaching every day with a new-found sense of purpose and responsibility which I hugely respect. As many of our industry peers are furloughed or potentially worse, there is a positive, ‘can-do’ attitude for the rest of us as we must pivot and adapt to ensure those peers have job security in the industry to come back to. Communication all round has been clearer, more focused and productive – long may that continue!

What technologies have you been most impressed with during this new situation and do you think coronavirus will hasted their uptake or development?
We’ve always used Slack, Google Docs, and Dropbox to allow us all to work remotely, but we needed a simple task manager. We onboarded Monday in week two of lock down and would definitely recommend for a bird’s-eye view on work flow. It’s so simple to use, and has given the team a fresh perspective on our agency goals.
Outside of the obvious video conference platforms, it’s been amazing to see the explosive growth of TikTok, with even our ‘mature’ staff members sharing their latest discoveries. It will be interesting to see if the platform can continue to maintain engagement levels post lock down.

What, if any, positive long-term impact on the digital industry will coronavirus have?
Direct to consumer brands that have been able to responsibly maintain their service levels, albeit at extended deliver timings, have had the opportunity to onboard new consumers faster and more cost effectively than ever, especially those in Grocery and Health categories. It’s been so positive to see some of our D2C clients adapt new strategies and messaging to respond to the crisis, and in turn deliver record breaking sales. Across client media planning and buying we’ve had the benefit of increased consumer attention across social media and reduced floor rates across display due to large brands blocking perfectly safe content mentioning Coronavirus. This crisis has positively highlighted the agile and convenient nature of most D2C brands for consumers.  

What positive impacts on long term consumer behavior shifts will it have?
We will see brand loyalty for those brands that supported consumers during the crisis continue to grow – perfect for those D2C brands that spotted the opportunity. The enormous positive impact we’ve seen on the environment will ensure a wider consumer set scrutinise packaging, production and a brand’s ethical standpoint overall. There will also be a huge shift towards local and British made to not only adhere to environmental concerns, but to support British businesses. Let’s hope the sense of community remains.