Companies around the world today are under ever-increasing pressure to respond quickly and authentically to ever-evolving events. Ashish Verma, Global Head of Creative for Bloomberg Media, explains how his team is using a new Rapid Response Video capability to help brands do that.
Q: Amid uncertainty, businesses still need to connect with customers — in fact, today there’s an enhanced expectation that they do so. How are we helping them do that?
A: Our audience has always trusted us for timely, unbiased information. That’s only been magnified by what’s happening in the world, and the effect that has on markets, business, retail, technology and so much more. In fact, we’ve seen record numbers of people turning to Bloomberg Media as a way to help them think about how to navigate all this.
We realized that our partner brands also have knowledge to share that can help Bloomberg’s audiences understand how things like public health and market volatility affect businesses. And immediacy — being there at the moment someone needs you — is of critical importance.
That led us to develop what we call Rapid Response Video. This new capability allows our clients to use us as a conduit to reach our audience, but also as an intermediary and partner to help them craft the message.
Q: We’re providing two different types of Rapid Response Video to clients. When would you use each one?
A: The first type is released within 48 hours after a trigger event happens, getting the message out in a super timely, relevant way. We partner with clients closely to craft a content strategy and calendar that anticipates key triggers and corresponding messages and infuse it with storytelling techniques that help get it out there as quickly as possible.
The second type allows brands to provide a recap of what just happened and a look at what’s on the horizon. This is released weekly, creating cohesive messaging around events that helps audiences digest what’s going on and understand what it means for them.
In both cases we apply similar production methods but the weekly message allows a little more time to contextualize and look at events more holistically.
Q: What makes this different from what we’ve done before?
A: The main difference is the speed at which we’re infusing our data and intelligence into clients’ messages.
Data gives us a deep understanding of how our audiences like to consume and what they’re looking for. We’ve always used that as a lens for client messages, to make sure they bring the insight and utility Bloomberg users want.
But now, we’re condensing production techniques that took days or weeks into hours. Production can take a long time, especially the high-quality docu-style storytelling we have used. We had to rethink with speed and meaning at the core.
So we’re accentuating messages and driving points home with motion graphics, with footage sourced from social media, and other high-efficiency methods. We’re not compromising on quality — but we are creating a new production model that takes a page from our editorial side. For decades they’ve worked as one global newsroom, reporting stories from more than 120 bureaus around the world; they’ve had to be virtual since day one. And we’re now mimicking those editorial practices in a virtual creative studio “newsroom.”
That’s worked well because people appreciate the timeliness and relevance of the message. There is higher receptivity. We are activating our entire distribution network, from owned platforms to social channels, reaching the right audiences in the shortest amount of time.
Q: Do you see rapid response becoming the norm in the future?
A: The intensity of this moment and what’s happening now will pass. But the need for brands to be timely and relevant, and for us to be able to create solutions that allow our partners to do that, will always be there.
It reaffirms our point of view that brands need to be out front with messages that are not always strictly promotional. Brands need to have their own values in order to engage audiences in a meaningful way. As storytellers, we need to be equipped to help them deliver that in a timely manner.
What will be the norm is that everything will need to have a reason and a purpose. Audiences will want to know: why are you saying what you’re saying? And how does this help me make sense of my world? They are going to be more discerning about how brands speak to them. Everything will need to have relevance for a person’s life, work, and role. We have always believed in that.
Watch: How Bloomberg Media Studios is helping brands create compelling messages