How brands can make the most of the shift towards digital
Kartik Johari, vice president, marketing and e-commerce, Nobel Hygiene
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. Kartik Johari, vice president, marketing and e-commerce, Nobel Hygiene talks about how brands and agencies can engage with their consumers–
On the playbook, brands and agencies need to adopt in the new normal
There are more phrases trying to describe current times, than there are relevant explanations. It is a very turbulent time, and even with a vaccine on the horizon, we are atleast 18 months away from even commenting on what the “new normal” is.
Having said so, there are clear changes in some ways that a brand needs to function.
Be Kind: People around the world are stressed. A brand doesn’t need to induce more micro-stresses onto its audience. Thus, tone down the “boldness”, “rawness” or “high notes” and be more empathetic.
Inventive Communication: Brands need to go beyond the obvious and try daring new steps. No one wants another branded-webinar about a vague learning, or funny commentary. There is now enormous traffic online, and you need to create content that will work harder at providing value, thus attracting attention. Try video calls for product reviews, try video calls for seeing trade marketing activities, use recorded calls for employee outreaches, use video calls for consumer research, run easy UGC campaigns, do something different. The field is very competitive, and you only have minimal chances to be seen sans prejudice.
Spend wisely: Evaluate the change in your marketing channel-mix. Re-look at what is working and how effective it is.
Shoot it all: For instance, videos are the new obvious way to communicate. As more traffic has shifted onto mobile, video consumption is sky-rocketing. Thus, as a brand, get very comfortable shooting micro-concepts internally. Invest in a good tripod and green-screen. No agency will iterate as fast as your own internal team.
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
The rise is dependent on the sector you are in. As we operate in the “essentials” category, logistics was a primary challenge. But now, we’re close to striking our pre-covid targets.
In terms of trends, there are some noticeable shifts in consumer behavior for sure. Health is garnering a renewed focus, with families investing time and resources toward working out, eating better, and sleeping better. The pandemic bought our “Human Condition” under sharp focus. Consequently, we also realised the importance of community, and realised how empty life feels without our close-ones.
Consumption patterns have shifted to accommodate this new paradigm, and you need to be conscious of the trends for your categories.
On how brands can create at-home meaningful experiences for consumers
Digital communications are a feature of our lives now. We will never go back to the 100% working capacity of pre-Covid times. Thus, as the time spent at home increases, it requires additional effort. Brands have lost the “commute-time” to blast ads and content. You need to work with the micro-slices of attention that a consumer now gives to his “black mirror”.
Thus, stop with long-form content. Make shorter, snappier content. Try to engage more meaningfully with your consumers. Leverage the wealth of technological solutions available to you now.
Can you take a consumer/client/buyer through a tailored virtual experience now? Yes. Private Insta concerts on one end of the scale, to Travis Scott’s blowout virtual concert in the middle of Fortnite, the definition of experiences are changing. This calls for unparalleled honesty and courage, to bring your consumers within your midst and hear what they have to say.
For meaningful interactions, please remember to be honest, empathetic, consistent and entertaining.
On the contribution of online versus offline outlets and how brands can make the most of the shift towards digital
The online versus offline battle won’t be resolved anytime soon, but Covid has helped online get stronger. Brands who were ignoring digital are now suddenly astounded by the quick growth and metrics based selling. But, one needs to leverage it.
One also needs to be dynamic and honest for the digital-shift. Most traditional Indian business are perturbed by direct consumer feedback, thus honesty is the first requirement
If you are committed to your online existence, then you must quickly get fluent in the following:
SEO: The roads of the internet. Usually, as you arrive at your destination immediately, you don’t realise the path taken to get there. Please learn this and improve on this fast.
Keywords: Everything on the net is tagged, so the algorithms can make sense of the content. Start assiduously tagging your content. First the basics, and then with consumer trends and shifting keyword metrics.
Advertising: After all, digital exists to serve content. And advertising is a key function of it. Learn to serve video ads/content first, as these will require a deeper understanding on relevant platforms. For instance, reels on IG, and how a seven-second non-skippable ad on Youtube works.
Converse: Converse with your consumers, and really listen. Start creating word clouds to identify themes, do daily tracking reports, listen to the best plus worst comment of the day. If you’ve done the above well, you’ll have no shortage of conversations to pick from.
Improvise: Digital is all about rolling with the punches. The environment and the customers evolve daily. Thus, if your digital strategy is not unique, or not metamorphosing fast enough, you’ll be left behind. Work hard, track keenly, and change rapidly. Use vernacular content, try rapid A/B testing, use geographical specific strategies, and don’t forget ORM.
On how brands can establish a connect with Tier 2, 3, 4 markets and beyond
Not surprisingly, the growth from the lower tier markets has been even faster. Now with the digital change firmly upon us, leverage the learnings from the urban to rapidly assist the tier-2 markets.
Be multi-lingual: India has over 300 languages; surely you can utilise more than 4 in your communications. Tailor them to suit a specific audience.
Research: Do not be condescending in your approach, and recognise that each market has different consumers with a different hue of the problem. Thus, please do not shy away from research. Quick and actionable insight is usually what builds brands in the long term.
Be consistent: It always takes time for a new strategy in a new market to work. Be patient, and keep learning.
Remember Offline: Remember, that offline has not disappeared. There still exist roads and trucks who take your product to the interiors. The best of digital strategies work better when amalgamated with offline efforts.