Eshwar N, Chief Marketing Officer, CASAGRAND says innovation in communications and a creative approach to get messages across is the need of the hour.
Businesses are always fraught with risks and this fact couldn’t be truer than now. The Covid-19 pandemic is perhaps the most disruptive of nature’s creation in the modern age. The pandemic forced a global lockdown for months playing havoc with all aspects of life and economy. To complicate matters, all this converged during the change of the financial year, when firms close books, consolidate sales, draw up budgets and plans for the year ahead. The situation has forced many businesses to reinvent themselves while marketers went back to the proverbial drawing board to be relevant to the changing times.
Innovation in communications and a creative approach to get messages across is the need of the hour. While consumers will still be driven by necessities and wants, the brands that will reap the most during the lockdown and the post lockdown era, will be those who enjoy the most goodwill and top of mind recall. To this end, many marketers will now have to redesign their narration of brands and services in line with consumer expectations. To achieve this, marketers must be sensitive to consumer sentimentalities that will redefine key aspects of the marketing mix.
Products: For consumers, the pandemic has shifted perspectives and necessities. Health and hygiene have now taken centre stage. The otherwise luxurious hand sanitizer has now become a staple product like rice and bread. Similarly, other priorities have also taken centre stage. For instance, real estate projects that focus on hygiene and wellness themed communities are now in higher demand. Spacious properties are preferred for people to ensure social distancing. Likewise, products that feature health and wellness as part of their USP will now have a higher preference amongst consumers. Product development will now have to factor these crucial changes for marketers to have an edge over their competitors.
Mediums: The common consensus is that normal economic activities and businesses will resume soon. However, there will be a large percentage of the workforce who would still be working from home. Social distancing is expected to be the norm and entry into most public places like malls, movie theatres and parks, will be regulated. This would mean that most consumers will now be predominantly reachable through social media, other online platforms and through TV channels followed by print and others
Creating Strong Brand value: Marketers will have to establish a strong brand presence along with product USP for better takers. Value for money will be the important deciding factor for a buyer because hence forth buyers will take extremely cautious decision while investing their money. Hence creating brand goodwill or continuing to further strengthen brands goodwill will be at the core of every advertising campaign. While value for money will still be a key element of differentiation for most products, hygiene and safety will take centre stage along with brand goodwill and trust.
Communication: To appeal to the change in consumer preferences, marketers will now need to change the narration of their products. The brands need to come up strong communication which addresses buyers query or doubts. Communication is the strongest tool to get buyers’ attention and trust. For example, home buyers will now opt for housing projects that are advertised as a safe haven, where social distancing is easily implemented and hygiene is of paramount importance. The more features rich a project is in these areas, the more its value as a desirable home will appreciate. Features like separate entrance and washrooms for house-helps and maintenance staff, minimum contact from vendors and delivery personnel will be valued over other popular amenities.
Campaigns: In the post Covid-19 era, innovative campaigns are going to play key role. Companies will roll out a slew of discounts, offers and other perks to attract consumer demand that nosedived during the lockdown. Marketers will focus more on leveraging these offers, discounts and government sops to attract consumers through innovative campaigns. Successful campaigns will aim at educating consumers on the benefits offered from all quarters that can add value to the purchase. Communicating this in an ideal mix will define the success of an ad campaign. This is truer for larger purchases like real estate, where consumers can take advantage of the offers by builders, negotiate better deals and also benefit from the recent relief measures announced by the government.
Covid-19 and its related lockdown will force all of us to take a closer look at our choices in almost every aspect of our lives. While the lockdown will help stop the spread of the pandemic, experts still speculate that the virus is here to stay. This will force us to change the way we live and companies will now look at new ways to make products relevant to consumers. For marketers, these will be challenging but exciting times.