As part of our new series, ‘Marketers Playbook for 2020 Post Covid-19′, Karan Kumar, CMO, DLF Limited says that consumers today expect brands to not just deliver on their promises, but to go above and beyond and lists 10 pointers for a marketer navigating the current crisis
During an unprecedented challenge like Covid-19, all brands face a similar concern:
- Should we communicate with customers right now?
- If at all we do, how should we communicate?
- And lastly, are customers ready to hear from us?
Customers are real people, with real concerns. And today, they are worried more than ever. In times like these, the approach we take as brands is of utmost importance. Brands must be more empathetic and do what they can to make customers feel comfortable and secure.
How you treat customers today will decide how they engage with you – not just now but also in the future. In a crisis, consumers expect brands to not just deliver on their promises, but to go above and beyond. We will be judged not just on the services we deliver, but on how we behave in this time of virus.
Now more than ever, it does not matter whether you are a tiny start up or an established business. Brands need to communicate appropriately and empathetically, while also looking ahead to the rebound.
People remember what brands do at times like these.
As brand custodians it is crucial to understand your consumers and their context/reality. Identify and decode their anxieties, anticipate their needs – and how they could change. And then, use this knowledge to help redesign products with contextually relevant communication that furthers the proposition.
Here are ten things to keep in mind as a marketer navigating the current crisis:
- Observe your audience and pay attention to what they are saying.
- Understand the changes in their behaviour due to the pandemic.
- Do not try and profit from the crisis, even if your product is contextually relevant.
- Make promises that you can not only keep, but ideally exceed, and over deliver on. Promises that are definite, demonstrable, and deliverable.
- Be sensitive and straightforward in your communication. Communicate with brevity and clarity.
- Care for existing customers first before you seek out new ones. Your existing customer base will become an invaluable brand advocate.
- Value and reach out to address concerns of stakeholders who are not your usual target audience. They invariably either are, or will potentially be, prospects.
- Evaluate and redesign existing business models and mode of engagement. Because the world we head towards now is not the one we came from. There’s a new normal to pitch for.
- Revisit your communication – its visual and verbal vocabulary. Remember the core message must suit the current context and needs.
- And last and most important of all, nourish and sustain the consumer – build relationships over and beyond delivering tangible benefit. This is what you will be remembered for.
As far as choice of channel and tools are concerned, digital technologies will help brands come closest to replicating physical interaction and immersive engagement.
Industries which relied heavily on a face-to-face buying and selling approach, will have to move online.
The emergence of the digital model – for engagement, sales, and transactions will demonstrate more flexibility with improved outcomes. And, it will continue to be relevant long after the lockdown is over.
Marketers need to once again dedicate themselves to the basics of what lies at the core of marketing – customer centricity. Focus on keeping head down and ears close to the ground. Because from what you hear you will be able to create products, propositions and processes designed for the new normal.