As brands try to find a sign of semblance post a period of uncertainty, it has become more important than ever to understand and evolve as per changing consumer expectations. From selling goods online to incorporating consumer feedback are some of the ways brands are trying to remain relevant. Naila Patel, executive creative director, Mirum India, talks about how brands and agencies can engage with their consumers–
On the playbook, brands and agencies need to adopt in the new normal
New normal is a relatively illusive term, as it means different things to different people, brands and agencies. Even with the short-term memory people have, this scenario is going to remain in public memory for a long time. Therefore, the playbook needs to connect the dots between multiple behavioural, societal and environmental changes.
Digital- Digital has by far emerged as the sole largest influencer in the so called new normal. It has impacted even the lowest common denominators of the society and will remain a force to reckon with for brands, agencies and consumers. It has also for the very first time created an equal playing field for big and small brands — Brands with and without brick and mortar presence, with and without large legacies and marketing budgets.
Wellness- Physical, mental and environmental wellness has become important. This has been a common thread of conversation across Gen Z, millennials and boomers.
Adaptability quotient- Beyond all the marketing mix quotients, the adaptability quotient has taken centre stage for brands, agencies and consumers alike. Hone it for businesses, celebrate it in people.
Study data seriously, understand changes in behaviour, account for the new key influencers and enablers, be agile and authentic. Be emphatic. Beyond sales and revenue figures, understand contribution avenues and numbers and you will be home!
On the gradual return of the business – how much of its restored and the new trends which can be spotted compared to pre-Covid times
A lot of it has been restored in businesses that had digital as its core or quickly adapted to digital during the lockdown.
Be it intent driven (search), behaviour driven (social media platforms) or transaction driven (e-commerce), digital helped businesses deliver even during the pandemic. In-fact digitally-driven businesses saw a growth surge. As a digital agency, most of our clients did not face the “To be or not to be” question. But not all of them had an end-to-end digital experience. Most of them upped their game during this time. Some of the trends that emerge are:
- Office will no longer remain a 5 day, morning to evening phenomenon. A lot of companies will remain fluid with offices and structures even after the return to business happens, giving rise to home offices, redefining work wear, reducing centralisation of residences and doing away with extremely large offices
- E-commerce will become centre stage to sales and create huge opportunities for fresh, new and relatively small businesses
- Priorities will see an incremental shift and wellness will become more and more important
- Seamlessness will become key to brand experiences and those who understand this well will make data their religion to ensure unbroken experiences for customers
- Regional languages will play a very important role in making digital inclusive across the country
On how brands can create at-home meaningful experiences for consumers
Digital, Data, Technology, Artificial intelligence and Virtual Reality will play a big role in helping create ‘at home meaningful experiences’ for customers.
Being safe, spending time with family, shopping, entertainment, food, upgrading skills, online schooling, unending zoom calls would probably stand out if we had to make a word cloud about conversations or priorities.
Let us select shopping. A brand can connect with consumers, based on their intent or interest and offer fabulous merchandise, fantastic deals, convenience and safety of shopping online, technology to make the product or the experience come alive and the last mile of great packaging and a safe delivery home. Then seek reviews and feedback to ensure that the relationship keeps getting better and richer. If brands were to connect all these dots flawlessly the experience can be truly meaningful.
Customisation adds to meaningful experiences. With marketing automation, it’s easy to create customised journeys at scale, providing unique and delightful consumer connects.
On how brands can make the most of the shift towards digital
Digital cannot be another spoke in the marketing journey, it must become the nervous system. Controlling movement, balance and senses.
Every marketing initiative be it offline or online must find its core in digital.
In the age of contactless interactions, large brick and mortar business must take the digital touchpoints seriously. For example, an investment bank would have extravagant physical offices and state of the art infrastructure, but if their digital touchpoints do not reflect a similar image it’s an opportunity lost.
Make data your religion, invest time, talent and money in getting the right business intelligence from data to build strong, thriving business.
Understand that some aspects of the business have changed forever and digital is here to stay, so nurture your digital marketing relationships well.
And lastly, like you have started taking digital seriously, start taking digital agencies and their advice seriously too.