Over the previous 12 months of Russia’s all-out struggle in opposition to Ukraine, our group at The Tellers Company has thought of closing up store twice and searching for alternatives elsewhere because of the state of the promoting market.
On the outbreak of the full-scale invasion, 1000’s of workers straight and not directly associated to the promoting business misplaced their jobs in a single day. For a lot of industries struggling to outlive in Ukraine in the intervening time, promoting has change into one of many final issues on anybody’s thoughts.
However as an alternative of whole collapse, the promoting market has somersaulted from pre-war confidence sooner or later, to zero revenues, to lastly, an evolving and partial restoration. No person sells traditional promoting anymore. Model tales about assist, rescue, motivation, unity, and patriotism got here to interchange conventional promoting in Ukraine. The business has discovered to adapt to a very totally different work surroundings alongside the way in which.
The next article is an try to know the adjustments that the promoting business has skilled within the final 12 months, in addition to a roadmap of how the promoting market within the media in Ukraine is presently being constructed.
Promoting within the media earlier than Russia’s struggle
The Ukrainian media market was rising actively earlier than Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Increasingly unbiased and area of interest media appeared (e.g. SPEKA), giant market gamers grew to become engaging to traders (Tomasz Fiala purchased Ukrainska Pravda in 2021), and donor-dependent media started to actively generate industrial revenues (Zaborona, Hromadske).
In 2021, the media promoting market grew persistently, largely on account of delayed demand. All of the deliberate campaigns, occasions, and sponsorship tasks that had been alleged to happen through the Covid-19 lockdowns had been lastly in a position to see the sunshine of day.
In keeping with estimates of the Ukrainian Promoting Coalition, digital media promoting (which additionally contains promoting on social networks and banners) grew by 50% in comparison with 2020.
The media business actively developed throughout this time, with numerous retailers competing with each other not a lot when it comes to income generated or within the variety of manufacturers marketed, however fairly when it comes to picture. Media corporations appeared to construct a selected model within the enterprise and promoting group.
Media corporations additionally started to experiment with native promoting on the short-form video sharing software TikTok; interactive layouts and video games appeared on web sites, attracting the eye of the viewers and creating the next demand amongst manufacturers. Whole manufacturing departments with their very own designers, creators, producers, editors, and journalists fashioned new industrial media groups. It appeared that all the pieces was gaining plenty of momentum and the one problem quickly could be to enter the blue ocean of non-competition — to provide you with such a worth proposition that was not but in the marketplace. One may solely envy the media corporations with an promoting mannequin that allowed them to be self-sustaining.
The expectations for 2022 had been extraordinarily optimistic and inspiring. Many corporations ended the 12 months with signed contracts for cooperation for the upcoming 12 months. Every little thing modified on Feb. 24, 2022.
Russia declares struggle in opposition to Ukraine
On Feb. 24, 2022, the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the manufacturing of all deliberate commercials got here to a halt. Contracts had been left unsigned. The “unexpected circumstances” clause in contracts had change into a actuality.
My final “regular” work name was on Feb. 23 with a pharmaceutical firm, simply 12 hours earlier than Russia’s full-scale invasion started. With the specter of struggle looming, I proposed the concept of a marketing campaign round how you can pack a primary support equipment. The consumer mentioned they would favor their merchandise to be related to peace, not struggle. We by no means returned to our dialog. With the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion, the corporate continued to work with pharmacies even in areas the place the Russian navy was advancing and raised cash for Ukraine’s Armed Forces.
The monetary disaster attributable to Russia’s full-scale invasion has affected most Ukrainian media corporations. These depending on commercials suffered probably the most, as companies both suspended their operations or refocused on volunteering. Most media corporations didn’t even have funds to cowl operations for a couple of months. As an alternative of suspending operations, nevertheless, they started to search for alternatives.
Donors grew to become the primary “life jacket” to assist their operations. Within the first weeks of the struggle, worldwide organizations offered pressing assist to permit editorial groups to proceed working, overlaying a lot wanted funds for relocation, insurance coverage, and transportation.
Nevertheless it shortly grew to become clear that counting on donors was not attainable in the long run. Ukrainian media wanted to rebuild and diversify their income fashions. Since reader income couldn’t cowl the excessive price of operations, media corporations needed to get again into promoting.
However how do you even speak about this when all anybody is doing is monitoring the information about Russian assaults, making donations, evacuating, and dealing to adapt their enterprise to the brand new and always altering surroundings?
That is how our firm, The Tellers Company, did it.
The Tellers Company (known as Infopoint Company previous to 2023) got here out with an official launch within the third month of the struggle. The primary objective of our service was to assist unbiased media corporations work with companies via promoting. We gathered a robust group of gross sales managers and artistic producers and started working. However as an alternative of reaching out to corporations to supply our companies, we began with market evaluation. When contacting corporations we wrote a easy, “How are you? The place are you now? Is your organization nonetheless working?”
The questions ended up offering actual perception. Some corporations replied by telling us that they had been not working on account of a missile assault on their warehouse that resulted in main monetary losses. We then created a “map” of enterprise areas and the extent of their losses because of the struggle. We started to adapt promoting concepts to new realities. All previous approaches and concepts had been now unethical and outdated. Tales about profitable entrepreneurs had been changed by tales about civilians on the entrance strains. As an alternative of selling the corporate’s merchandise, we supplied to speak about their volunteer initiatives.
By the spring of 2022, market gamers had been able to proceed speaking about model communication within the media. The market by then could possibly be described as the next:
Corporations diminished advertising and marketing budgets or had been unwilling to spend a lot on account of excessive ranges of uncertainty.
Communication departments of manufacturers had been afraid to be seen within the public enviornment because of the concern of society not accepting different info besides that which was associated to the struggle.
The media business suffered from an absence of specialists (some joined the navy, some went overseas and located a job there, some had been laid off on account of funds cuts).
On account of a excessive demand for info associated to the struggle, media retailers didn’t have the bandwidth to concentrate on promoting.
Some giant corporations that had suspended their work in Ukraine because of the struggle stopped interacting with the Ukrainian promoting market.
Some retailers in Ukraine themselves refused to work with sure shoppers as a result of they continued their actions in Russia.