2020 will be historical, brands and agencies are in for a ride. We are in a global recession, and companies operating in Vietnam for the first time in a long time are facing the need to overcome this.

Alan Cerutti - CEO Happiness Saigon

We don’t yet know the impact and longevity of the COVID-19 crisis to Vietnam, and our market.

We do know from evidence outside of Vietnam, with absolute certainty that the short-to medium-term impact on business and consumer confidence, and in turn the economy, is going to be negative.

This means brands should be seeking a new level of consultancy to navigate their way through the change, particularly as this is the first time many of us, in a young and growing economy will experience a recession.

Here's 2 key principles that are handy to keep in mind.

1. Creativity Means Business, especially in a recession

It’s not as simple as “continue to invest, and you’ll be fine”, we believe that brands should invest, but thoughtfully and while tapping into the power of creativity.

Evidence from last recessions (IPA study here) confirm that sustained investment in a crisis delivers greater long-term business value. Data from previous recessions shows us that cutting media investments is setting brands back for years. A dangerous place to be, especially when others do the opposite because they believe it is easier to get extra « Share of Voice » in a recession.

As we look the recession in the eyes in Vietnam it can be tempting for brands to go low, lean too heavily on short-termism and KPI/performance plays. Yet, data points out that advertising effectiveness and brand health (Les Binet study on WARC here) drop especially if there is a lack of creativity and brand-building to this.

When share of voice dips below share of market, it opens up a space for competitors to move in.

Invest, but wisely.

Go for media investment, boost your « Share of Voice », sure. But whatever you do, tap into « Share of Choice » through the power of creativity because consumers are and always will remain be the biggest media channel for your message.

2. The Power of Creativity along the new consumer journey:

It’s fair to say that a recession generally triggers a desire for simplicity and a demand for trusted brands that are able to demonstrate value by tapping into these new habits.

Happiness is working from home, we have shifted our entire way of working to 100% freedom, 200% responsibility, our team’s online behavior shifted to ultra-connectivity, across multiple devices and platforms. So is yours. As most of people are requested to stay at home new behaviours are adopted that are better for family, society, the environment in line with shopping, consumption, health/hygiene, wellbeing outside, etc.

Brands who are thriving in a recession are those with a deep understanding of their customers redefined buying and value decisions. Those brands adapt their sales / consumption funnel alongside the newly found consumer journey.

In today’s light, aside from investing in the power of creativity and building value it’s important to adapt to this newfound reality. Here’s a compilation of the rules we stick to:

  • Avoid being opportunistic: Put ethics over profit. Don’t come across as commercial for the sake of being commercial. Show empathy and care for the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of your audience
  • Happiness is the best medicine: Laughter leads to happiness, and happiness leads to a better immune system. Build your brand’s light-hearted side on System 1 thinking, avoid being too rational
  • Be comforting: Bring out the values of the brand and develop your soft, human side through thoughtful copy and visual cues
  • Go virtual: Obviously! Be where your audience spends their time most. Adapt to this side of the new consumer journey
  • Acts of Kindness: Show you care with small acts that show your love for consumers. Don’t overthink it, just do it
  • Help people pass time: Make your content worth their time, if it isn’t they’ll switch off faster than ever before
  • Get through the crisis in style: Don’t be clichéd, have a voice and show personality. Your personality.

Brands have reach, brands have power and we’ve all got the assets available to make a difference.

In good and in bad times creativity is a means to adapt to the situation, find the solution and drive more positivity. More than ever it is creativity that will get brands through this.

Brands of Vietnam, let’s tap into the power of creativity!


About Happiness Saigon
Happiness Saigon, an FCB alliance, is an award winning creative connectivity agency based in Saigon, Vietnam and Brussels, Belgium. The agency is well-known to design connected brands that trigger emotions that trigger business. The agency believes in the power of creativity, the power of humanity and in happiness, that fuels both. The very multicultural and multitalented crew of Happiness has won numerous awards, including Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions and have signed for Vietnam’s most awarded creative idea with UNICEF #NoFilter. Some of Happiness’ work is even featured in the V&A Museum London.
Enquiries : info@happiness-saigon.com Website : www.happiness-saigon.com Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/happinesssaigon

Happiness Saigon