Guest Column, latest-stories

Empathy, Courage, And Humility Will Be The Differentiators For Brands In The Post Covid-19 World

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As part of our new series, ‘Marketers Playbook for 2020 Post COVID-19″,  Anjali Malhotra, Chief Customer, Marketing and Digital Officer, Aviva India pens down some evolving strategies to follow in the new normal and plan for success post the crisis.

Covid-19’s sweeping impact on business is already being seen worldwide in unprecedented ways. In response, many companies have closed their doors for weeks or even months and are conducting the world’s largest work-from-home exercise. All this disruption has made us rethink how to ensure business continuity and manage sales, marketing, customer support and compliance. It is condemnatory for marketers to look beyond this situation and adopt a long-term view of the picture when it comes to marketing their product.

Post the crisis, brands will change and adapt to new communication strategies. This situation has taught us to prioritize, ration and collaborate. In a matter of a few weeks, consumers have changed their pattern and have made a seamless transition to digital mediums. Therefore, marketing will be redefined, and brands will invest in the right places to ensure the mediums are more effective and collaborative. Our focus should be on recalibrating the strategies and communication keeping in mind awareness, safety and empathy. Here are some evolving strategies to follow in the ‘new normal’:

Empathy, courage, and humility: The pandemic has uprooted the old ways and a new normal is being formed where the way people react, purchase and behave will be changed. What will matter now and when things get back to normal is that consumers would like to see a brand being more considerate with purpose – driven actions and messages. Amid this lockdown and virus outbreak, people are reacting and absorbing positive and inspiring content. Customer trust is the new currency for brands, and it is important for them to earn, sustain, and grow every single penny.  During this tough time, messages delivered to the audience should include empathy, courage and humility and not necessarily a ‘buy-now’ call to action. Over a longer time frame, this will help brands strike the right chords with people and create the right resonance. Overall, marketing communication will have to be reassuring, relevant and more purposeful than before.

Go Omni-channel: Digital adoption is rising day by day during this lockdown and the insurance industry has also seen an increase in their digital platforms. People are engaging with video conferencing, DIY videos on social media, mobile phones etc. In India, brands look more for multichannel marketing and for decades they haven’t taken the route of omni-channel due to various hindrances. In the new normal, omni-channel will be a norm and not an exception. It will become the heart and soul of many advanced strategies for customer engagement and customer retention. Omni-channel Marketing is also about the brand’s goal and content mix along with a purpose. Further, using digital data, brands can focus on distribution strategy and atomized content with defining the best fit for each element for a plan with an integrated omni-channel experience.

Brand Safety: With the steady increase in extremist content, fake news, and brand advertising appearing next to unsavory content, brand safety has now been thrust fully into the limelight. Marketers’ should strategize their messages to avoid misinterpretation, logical fallacies and inappropriate content to ensure brand safety. With evolving government policies each day and new business consumer segments, brands need to be more self-aware of how and what they say. It is imperative for marketers to remain vigilant, especially with the proliferation of user-generated content. Tactical steps are needed to protect the brand image and reputation in such situations. We need a more robust approach to identify content devoid of any risk to brand safety and adopt tailored approaches relying on data analytics and machine learning to assess the context and what we deliver to our audience.

Data Security: Transformation to digital means has its own pros and cons. Customer engagement on digital platforms has increased and it has become crucial for marketers to consider the privacy and security of their consumers and the trail of data left by consumers. As marketers, we must educate the customers on the company’s privacy and safety measures along with ways to protect their data. An industry like ours, where the organization collects heaps of consumer data and uses it to provide products and services, should wrap up all the measures required to control data breaching and secure the data.

People are already consumed with a lot of Covid-19 content right now. The guiding principle for everyone is to be helpful. Businesses need to retain their brand presence. It’s time for all industries to redefine marketing strategies, strengthen connections, enhance customer support and experience with digital adoption and plan for success post the crisis. The world will not be the same post this situation, but one can certainly plan for a relevant comeback in the new normal.


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Anjali Malhotra

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