How to Survive the Industry in the New Reality

Many crises that the advertising market faced (1998, 2008, 2014, 2020) threw it far back – in terms of volumes and budgets, agency business size, and production quality. But at the same time, some companies were more successful than others in coping with challenges and adapting to transformations.

How to Survive the Industry in the New Reality
How to Survive the Industry in the New Reality

As academicians of the Russian Academy of Advertising noted, the current situation does not mark another crisis in the industry but the beginning of a new reality. We still do not fully understand how events will develop further and where and how the market will go. Experts from the professional community who have witnessed previous ups and downs in the advertising industry shared their best practices for businesses.

Karina Ohanjanyan explained the context of the current situation in the advertising market by reviewing several typical crises (and how they affect the agency team and clients).


  • The Russian advertising market has already encountered the outflow of the budgets of European and American clients, the freezing of budgets, and their redistribution. From a media point of view, it is essential to find unique opportunities with sellers for those clients who save budgets. The unifying role of industrial organizations (for example, AKAR) is necessary here.
  • The limited activity of Western clients and the possible activation (after a pause) of local brands is an opportunity for new players to become leaders. For example, on this wave, we helped build the Faberlic brand at one time. Talk to brands, help increase market share and strengthen market positions.
  • Communication groups should shift their focus to other areas of activity  – replacing creative campaigns with special projects will be an excellent opportunity for PR in the new conditions.
  • The availability of free money among the population and the desire to invest it in the necessary goods and services – now aggressive investments in promotion through SOV (Share of Voice) will bring an advantage in the share of purchases of your brand or object. This is where marketers often need your expert opinion.
  • Support for CMOs and marketers their companies also have a lot of issues, so it is important to support each other (agency ⇔ client), to be really helpful in solving marketing problems of the new time.


Support at all levels is important  – from directors and top management to novice specialists.

Formulate a clear position of the company on the situation– what is happening and where we as a business are going. The problem can be complicated and confusing, but you most likely have a “Plan B” in reserve. Present it to the whole team — on the intranet, corporate Telegram channel, or using any other resources.

Bring the team together on a regular basis to talk  —react to immediate questions, support each other (and set the team up to do so), and check the course. Do it constantly.

Organize a hotline for employees with key persons of the company for prompt response to any questions at any time.

Carry out those corporate practices that were introduced in the company earlier  – this is extremely important for understanding stability and continuing the course for the development of the company.

Igor Lutz, drawing on personal experience from past crises, advises today’s leaders to adhere to the following action plan:

“First, if possible, stay calm. Stress and excess emotions are not the best backgrounds for analyzing the situation and making decisions. Remember, everything ends sooner or later; this tsunami will also pass. At the moment, it is essential to save yourself, your loved ones, employees, and the company. Their well-being depends on you.

Decide what your crucial expertise is and what services will be most in-demand right now? Natural maximum resources to their preservation and development. Try to strengthen the team working in these areas.

Remember, now resources will be in short supply, there will be fewer customers, cut budgets, refuse some services. This means that you must be ready to get rid of everything redundant and unnecessary, to squeeze costs as much as possible.

Revenue, revenue, revenue! Profit here and now! Try to negotiate with your customers about prepayment, offer discounts, and do pro bono work.

In turbulent times, leaders need a clear position, goals, and plans for their implementation. Consolidate your team (top managers and specialists): discuss and develop an anti-crisis project, define areas of responsibility and allocate resources.

Let employees know what is expected of them and what they can expect, answer their questions, and dispel their fears and doubts. It is difficult for employees to be in a state of uncertainty – establish constant communication with them. Keeping afloat requires a cohesive and motivated team.

Control your emotional state and health. Your performance and efficiency depend on it – limit your consumption of news and social networks, do not forget about physical activity, and spend more time outdoors and with your loved ones.

A considerable part of what is happening now is beyond your influence and control, do not exhaust yourself; focus on the matter. Keeping your business running requires your motivation, energy, and focus in the current circumstances.

Try to monitor the environment, communicate with employees, customers, and contractors, dialogue with competitors, and follow industry news. Such crises radically change the business landscape: some sources of business disappear, while new ones inevitably appear. Do not miss your chance!”.

As part of her version of the “anti-crisis plan,” Ekaterina Selyavina recommends not immersing yourself in the information flow of many Telegram channels (they contain fake information) and copying all the data.

Leaving the advertising field with consumers should not be interrupted: this is the law of stability and sustainability. Now all academicians of the community are focused on finding new digital solutions, having the creativity and potential to develop ideas for living in a new reality.

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