To say that COVID-19 has completely changed business-as-usual in 2020 almost seems trite at this point. For the marketing industry – from brands, to media owners, to creative and media agencies – this challenging period has required tearing up the rule-book, and adapting to constant change.

Establishing a ‘new normal’ still seems a long way off. But, several months in, as the initial crisis response of the COVID-19 pandemic moves to a new phase, successful new strategies are emerging at a category and channel level. The COVID-19 crisis has forced brands to become more agile, prioritise consumer insights, and get creative with new business models. Many of these new changes are likely to stick around for the long term.

Here at WARC, we’re getting a lot of questions from brands, agencies and media owners about how to build strategies which will not only ensure resilience through the COVID-19 upheaval , but will position their company for growth during the recovery.

To help you stay on top of changes to the marketplace in this new reality, we're releasing a new series of ‘What’s Working In’ decks with a curated selection of the best content on WARC. Grounded in WARC’s own data, journalism, and exclusive advice from industry experts, these ‘What’s Working In’ reports focus on the category and channel-specific approaches which have been successful during COVID-19.

As always, this new series prioritises what we do best at WARC: practical insights, actionable takeaways and best practice examples.

What’s working in financial services: COVID-19 recovery edition

The first category-specific release focuses on Financial Services – one of the categories hardest hit by a decline in marketing effectiveness and brand trust in the wake of the 2008 recession. In 2020, many financial brands are navigating similar challenges as another global recession looms in the wake of COVID-19.  In this deck, learn more about how Mastercard is prioritising brand trust, how American Express built an innovative app-based solution to support its core small business customers, and how NRMA Insurance pivoted its TV advertising to COVID-19 themes using existing creative assets.

What’s working in mobile: COVID-19 recovery edition

On the channel side, ‘What’s Working In Mobile’ examines the mobile channel strategies which have found success during COVID-19. Covering topics such as mobile payments, gaming and user experience, this report examines cases from Sainsburys, Activision Blizzard, Starbucks and WH Smith alongside insights into the mobile ad spend market.

What's working in FMCG: COVID-19 recovery edition 

The FMCG category has been one of few during COVID-19 that has remained resilient, or even tentatively positioned for growth as demand for household goods has boomed in recent months. But for large companies, pivoting strategy on a dime during a crisis can be even more difficult. The ‘What’s Working In FMCG’ report examines how some of the world’s biggest companies - Mondelez, P&G, PepsiCo and Unilever, to name just a few - are adopting new approaches on innovation, e-commerce, consumer insights and supply chain management in response to COVID-19. 

What's working in TV: COVID-19 recovery edition

Buoyed by the prospect of the Tokyo Olympic Games and US presidential election, 2020 was meant to be the year that TV ad spend globally returned to growth. The reality is very different. However, for those still advertising on TV, opportunities remain: CPMs are down, and brands including Bose and Birds Eye have found ways to plan and create TV commercials within days. The ‘What’s Working In TV’ deck also examines the enhanced role of TV in delivering live sports experiences, and why Budweiser revived its classic ‘Whassup’ ad during the peak of the pandemic.

Coming up next week is retail and social media. Stay tuned for other new releases in the coming weeks.