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As part of our new series, ‘Marketers Playbook for 2020 Post Covid-19′, Srinivasu Allaphan, Director – Sales & Marketing, JK Tyre & Industries Ltd says that with cost saving measures becoming stringent, marketing spends will see massive cuts. He adds that targeted marketing is set to emerge as a key trend and it is important to weave character and purpose to the brands initiatives to break the clutter.

The global pandemic has created massive ripples around the world, where every aspect of our existence has been questioned. With demand shrinkages and operational challenges, every business is striving to maintain continuity and manage cost heads better. In such times, building market share has gained priority over building market space.

As cost saving measures become stringent, marketing spends are seeing massive cuts and will continue to witness reductions for the next two quarters. Clearly, this is the dawn of a ‘new normal’ for marketers for which we don’t have a rule book.

Today, consumer sentiment is at an all-time low, and is expected to remain subdued for months to come. While upgrading is a common character among Indian buyers, better value proposition and high innovation products have become key considerations for near-term.

In line with the sentiment, brands with high awareness levels are expected to focus more on conversations, to capitalize on the pent-up demand, and long-term brand building initiatives might get deferred for a few quarters.

With budget rationalization, OOH advertising mediums are expected to witness the steepest cut of up to 70-80%. Campaigns with high production costs will take a backseat; and print medium will see cut backs atleast till June this year.

Given this backdrop, targeted marketing is set to emerge as a key trend this year. Digital medium has already taken the centre stage where 20-25% spends are being channelized currently. While this is here to stay, it is also important to weave character and purpose to your initiatives to break the clutter and better connect with the audiences through information sharing, light-hearted content or cut through presentation.

While consistent communication in ‘no call to action’ time is critical, creating the right experience, centered on safety and wellbeing of society, is also integral for brands to stay relevant.

We, at JK Tyre, are highly focused on delivering the right experience, to not only our customers, but also to our larger stakeholder group. To ensure that our customers maintain social distancing and do not rush to our tyre care centers once the lockdown ends, we have extended warranty period on all our products. We are also handholding our channel partners, by not just empathising with them, but also helping them come out of this difficult situation.

In such an unprecedented scenario, it also becomes crucial for brands to act responsibly and leverage existing resources to engage with the public on national agendas. Our recent social media campaign #DistanceOKPlease is also aimed towards educating people on the significance of staying at home, but in a light-hearted and humorous manner, the kind of content audience is receptive towards in these times.

Every brand has clearly-defined objectives, which goes out of focus is such epidemic circumstances. For us, it is our journey towards brand premiumisation and we will continue with our efforts once normalcy is achieved in the latter half of the year.

COVID-19 has truly created massive disruptions for all our peers, but it is important that we use our resources effectively and stay in total control.


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Srinivasu Allaphan

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