As many countries worldwide begin the tentative steps out of COVID-19 lockdown, one of the biggest tasks facing governments is to reinvigorate the economy.
The pandemic has had historic impacts on the financial well-being of all countries. In the UK, the economy contracted by 2.2% in the first three months of 2020 – its sharpest decline in more than 40 years. Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that gross domestic product fell by 6.9% in March, even though the government-imposed lockdown only came into force with nine days left of the month.
One of the hardest hit sectors has been retail. From the end of March to June 2020, non-food sales in stores for items such as clothing were 46.8% lower, according to the joint British Retail Consortium-KPMG monitor. The slump has led to widespread job cuts, with big brands including Boots, John Lewis, Harrods, and most recently Marks & Spencer, downsizing their workforces.
We are also starting to see market consolidation through acquisitions, with some well-known high street names already confined to the history books. In June it was announced that Boohoo had acquired the online businesses and all associated intellectual property of Oasis and Warehouse in a deal worth £5.25 million from Hilco Capital. Oasis and Warehouse will now join Boohoo’s growing portfolio which includes PrettyLittleThings, Nasty Gal, MissPap, Karen Millen, and Coast.
In today’s fragile financial environment, we are likely to see more merger and acquisition activity over the coming months as brands fight to capture market share. While such agreements are often kept under wraps during the early discussion stages, once the deal has been agreed marketing teams play a crucial role in ensuring a smooth transition.
When managing such significant corporate changes, marketers often rely on digital asset management (DAM) solutions to help in three key ways:
- Providing a central location for all assets to be stored, organised, and controlled. This allows all files to be effectively searched and shared on demand, and then repurposed across multiple channels, including print, TV, web, and mobile;
- Helping to ensure that brand guidelines are followed, templates are made available, and asset rights and access is controlled;
- Facilitating the analysis of asset performance to clarify which files are used most frequently and how customers engage with them.
But, perhaps the biggest benefit of DAM use during an acquisition is through the facilitation of clear and effective communication. Messaging can be securely segmented – by business group, location, department, or other – to allow the right information to reach the right stakeholder through the use of different roles and permissions. By implementing a DAM system – a central source of truth for all parties, team’s time is saved, and you reduce the risk of mixed messages.
DAM tools ability to support communication is strengthened through system adoption and employee training. Change can require employees to understand new reporting structures, processes, and policies. And collections are an effective way to deliver training materials around any subject, through documents, images, and video/audio files (such as videos from the CEO or HR documents).
In addition to customised messaging and employee training, DAM tools provide ways to communicate brand guidelines and promote brand consistency. All essential files – along with clear usage parameters – should be readily available to the stakeholders who need them during the change. Providing easy access to logos (old, transitional, and new), layout templates, and photos, helps avoid the creation of unapproved materials that threaten to dilute the brand. This is especially true for global organisations which share materials between offices around the world.
And finally, DAM tools help manage communication to the media. A public collection of pre-approved assets, including press releases, logos, and media kits, can allow the press to access and download what they need, when they need it. All that is needed is a link to the collection webpage.
So, in this time of unprecedented – and unexpected – change, whether that be an acquisition, brand transformation or leadership changes, marketers would be wise to consider how a DAM solution can make the change a positive one for everyone involved.