Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Reasons to be Cheerful: How tech is strengthening human relationships

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

We spoke to Hossein Houssaini, Founder, Ho/Pe Advisory, to find out what he has to be cheerful about.

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

There will be a significant focus on the user journey and brand relationships more than ever.

If the challenging conditions of remote working have passed their test stage and we accept this as an established work alternative, some will take advantage of working from home delivering the same or even better results, improving productivity caused by a better work-life balance and improved mental health.

The fusion of the workplace and the private space will remarkably stimulate the senses for good advertising and meaningful experiences. Brands will re-evaluate how to navigate the consumer to their assets and how they connect to them to create a longer-lasting relation.

The consumer’s online behaviour will grow to a more value-focused attitude, where they expect a meaningful and relevant experience. This time for real!

This new era is a vast opportunity to prove value with a smart, creative and strategic mindset to address consumers with relevant ads, not irritating them with irrevelant messages.

Otherwise, there will be a considerable new wave of people choosing ad filtering as a chance to engage with content less distracted through meaningless ads.

This extreme influence sets a new significant pressure point next to all the challenges in the ad industry like transparency, consumer experience, privacy, measurement, targeting, fraud and cookie tracking prevention. This crisis must drive us to rethink our advertising practices, focussing on quality rather than on quantity.

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

We have to accept that the world will never be the same.

Judgments before the pandemic are now being reassessed. Consumers will re-evaluate their choices and behaviour. All generations are forced to learn using digital tools to stay connected, which leads to an increased awareness of privacy.

It is therefore crucial for brands to recognize the importance of consumer privacy more than ever before.

Digital-led experiences will continue to gain awareness once the coronavirus is under control and businesses that respond expeditiously to innovate their distribution model to support consumers navigating the pandemic safely will establish a definite advantage.

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

I founded my company over a year ago. Intense travelling, flexibility, but as well operating remotely as part of my daily business helped me to adapt to this situation quickly.

Due to schools and childcare remaining closed, for now, this new situation challenges most of my partners and clients. Sharing the day with the family and working at home is not easy.

It has a beautiful and positive side effect, though, in spending more time with the family and re-evaluating the meaning of the term ‘family time’. Therefore, my clients and partners require more flexibility, meeting by voice or video.

Sometimes a child jumps into the camera or asks a question in the middle of the discussion. In the past, it would have been seen as unprofessional, but surprisingly now it has been positively adapted quicker than most processes in a company. Everyone agrees on it, and it makes calls more pleasant. You get to know your colleagues, partners and customers from a unique perspective and with real people, which is lovely.

We have been building facades for too long that have nothing to do with our personality.

So enemy number one has united us and shown us what matters.

Next to that, I believe that we are finally using technology in the right way for digital transformation. Of course, it is essential to meet in person at some point, but I meet now more people virtually than I could have done in person.

In the past, everyone was too busy or too self-focussed. So, in the end, we transform back into humans. In times where technology should have given us the freedom to be ourselves and spend time with family and friends, we became victims of the economy, working faster, longer, faster and longer.

This crisis shows us that the future might look different.