Porto, Portugal. Tiago Barquinha (CEO and CCO at Mojobrands)
What lessons has Tiago learned in 2020?
This year was a year of great expectations although it started with a huge challenge. I was elected CEO of our new Iberian group and I was supposed to develop it with my partners. Unfortunately, we had to postpone these plans to adapt to a new reality. So, the first lesson is that, more than ever, we need to learn to be fast when adapting to new realities. The second lesson that I’ve learned is that you need to cope with your fears to be able to move on. This was a very strange year that we have experienced, with a lot of canceled projects and budget reduction from our clients. We struggled with financial restrictions, but we trust in what we do and we are always looking for new solutions and opportunities to overcome these challenges.
Finally, I realised that we also need to invest time in developing new skills and capabilities that will help us prepare for a changing world. Apart from getting into a better physical and mental shape, I started studying growth hacking and digital strategy to give me a different perspective in the way we will do business in a near future.
What lessons has Mojobrands learned?
We have experienced a great downsizing in our business because we were focused on creating personalised brand experiences through activation and events. As you can imagine, with the pandemic many of our projects were canceled or postponed. We also struggled with the industries we were working with once our main clients were in the fashion and tourism industry, and those areas are extremely affected by the global economic crisis and circulation restrictions. So, we had to re-invent our business model and leave our comfort zone. We started by brainstorming some fresh ideas for new clients and we created new proactive projects for existing clients. We also began to invest in other industries, like the technological and the pharmaceutical. This investment was made through a LinkedIn campaign so we could reach new potential clients and push digital branding services. We also reinforced our new business team so we could manage all the effort that we were making. All these efforts were made to maintain the actual team and the quality of creativity that our clients expect from us. The lessons that we have learnt this year is that our creative approach to problem solving has aided the way we handled this global crisis. We came up with new ideas and concepts fast, we got out of our comfort zone to look for “gold” and we started to see and feel results coming. There is still a great job to be done but we feel we are on the right track.
How do you think agencies will be redesigned after Covid 19?
Above all, agencies must listen the market and adapt to their client’s interests. Nowadays, we feel that clients are more excited about digital communication and performance marketing. This means that creative agencies must think on new ways to reach target groups. In order to bring new solutions to the market we need to bring to the agencies people with technological skills to work with the creative people. Brands also need to create better content to impact their followers and customers, where they find the fit between the brand purpose and their audience interests. I also feel that agencies must invest more time and resources in their strategy department in order to understand what are the relevant changes in the market and consumers.
How have you seen the role of advertising and advertisers during the pandemic?
I think the industry raised to the occasion!! We saw a lot of agencies and brands giving the right answer to consumer’s feelings and needs. We have seen that the role of advertising is changing in the last years and I believe that this change will be even greater in the future. We have been seeing brands communicating more and more their purpose and values, but I think that brands will go a step further and start to be more activist and defend causes that they really believe and that resonates with their target.
What do you think the Portuguese consumer will be like after the pandemic?
It is very difficult to predict the way the Portuguese will be because it is impossible to see the end of this pandemic and we cannot understand the dimension of this global crisis. We know that everyone has been through a traumatic experience and we are all more sensitive and more anxious, that led us to feel more uncertain about our future. Therefore, we think consumers will be more conservative when it comes to spending their money and making investments. On the other hand, there are people that are not going to suffer financial problems and can even gain spending power from this crisis. For those, I think they will be willing to do everything that they were not able to do during the pandemic and those will have a sort of revenge spending.
What I really hope is that people gain more conscience that we need to take care of our planet and start to take action to protect the environment. I also wish that brands follow this movement!
Will society avoid luxury purchases and return to the basic after the pandemic?
I think that the concept of luxury has changed, and it might change even more. I believe that we will appreciate more simple and authentic things rather than shiny or glitter things. In that way we will return to basics where we will value more the time that we spend with our family and friends, the simple pleasures of life and the authentic flavours of products.
Many say that the world will never be the same, how would you like the world to be?
I would like that we took more action to save our planet. I strongly believe that the way we are dealing with the world problems is not getting us to a better place, so we need to come up with new ideas, new solutions and work together to put them into action.