Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Reasons to be Cheerful Federica Bowman, FirmDecisions

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

We spoke to Federica Bowman, Global CEO of FirmDecisions to find out what was keeping her smiling.

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

We’re seeing a lot of brands move money from traditional media to digital to “follow the consumer”. But there has to be a point of diminishing returns.

Digital has been great at capturing the bottom end of the purchase funnel, but a healthy media mix is vital to drive awareness, engagement, consideration and ultimately purchase intent.

It will be interesting to see if the industry rights itself in the next few years, once the impact of increased digital investment is properly assessed by those brainy econometricians.

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

I think there have been many positive impacts on consumer behaviour over this period. But I also feel that we must be careful not to swing so far in the direction of digital that we lose some of the more analogue activities that we have always enjoyed doing.

Activities like reading magazines, going to the shops, talking to others face to face. The pandemic has led to somewhat of a digital overload, while necessary it can be overwhelming. I think it would be great to safely get back to more of a balance.

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

Given the effects of coronavirus, like many businesses we have had to adapt and embrace new ways of working such as data sharing in secure environments online rather than performing on-site agency visits to deliver our audit projects. It was uncomfortable at first, but it has opened the door to new opportunities in the future.

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

The team at FirmDecisions has rallied around each other. We have always been a close-knit business and it’s been wonderful to witness how we have maintained closeness, even if we’re not together in practical terms. In these current circumstances, supporting each other within our team is vital.

What technologies have you been most impressed with during this new situation and do you think coronavirus will hasten their uptake or development?

Obviously, communication technologies have radically improved, however what’s been more impressive is seeing team members embrace these technologies and be more open to change.

Before Covid much of our work was done face to face or over the phone. Technology was not something we had really embraced, only a few clients wanted Zoom or Teams calls this time last year.

But now we run industry webinars, client meetings, agency audit projects, as well as managing our day to day with products like Microsoft Teams. It’s led to increased adoption of the other facets of the platform, making our work considerably more collaborative, with all our stakeholders.

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