Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Reasons to be Cheerful: London’s digital media scene continues to thrive

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

We talked to Yasser Hussain, Country Manager at Exit Bee to discover what he had to be cheerful about. And find out how Exit Bee’s virtual pub is keeping Media Thursdays going.

What positive impacts have you seen on how your business operates?

They say necessity is the mother of invention. We have offices in three different countries and always used video conferencing for meetings, but now people seem to be making an extra effort just to chat, we all miss those ‘water cooler’ moments despite never admitting it. 

As recent events have affected everyone everywhere people seem much more aware of everyone else’s state of mind. In the past it was easy to assume the person you were talking to was fine, I think people now have that more at the forefront of their minds more often and I hope that continues after all this is over.

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

It’s easy to lead when everything is fine, and it is during the difficult times one can see people change.

The previously quiet and withdrawn types are really stepping up and motivating others. Our senior leadership was quick to reassure everyone about their many concerns, Communication at all levels has improved as people are more aware of how important this is now. 

I think there could be a nuclear war and the London digital media scene would still survive! It was impressive to see how clients and agencies all changed to a working from home model but business seemed to carry on flawlessly (despite many clients cancelling campaigns), meetings I had arranged were simply turned to video calls.

The crisis has not even got in the way of the traditional ‘Media Thursday’ drinks, and quite a few owners and agencies have set up their own virtual pubs in order to stay in touch and let off steam from the week (ours is “The Mouse and Apple” – all welcome!).

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

Sounds like an old cliche but this will hasten the demise of print at an even faster rate now. Users will be used to getting their news from 24-hour news channels or the internet.

I’ll not be surprised if many news organisations become digital only in a few months from now.

But it has also reinforced the position of many media owners who invested in quality content. 

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

I think it is still very much early days here, this is such a big one-off event (I would go far as to say Black Swan!) that the real long-term impacts may not be known for quite some time. I certainly feel that a brand’s values will be shaped for a long time depending on how it acted during the crisis.

Many brands paid lip service to ethical values but consumers will put this very much at the forefront of their minds now. It is simply not a case of a brand sponsoring a minority event or giving to charity.

Many of us have seen which ones stood by their employees and the nation and those that chose not to.