How brands can maintain trust among consumers during a pandemic, highlights Singh
At a time when everyone is trying to look beyond the pandemic called Covid-19, communication needs to be crafted carefully by brands. From creating awareness to showing empathy – are some of the ways brands can remain relevant. Vineet Singh, group CMO, Embassy Group and country head, Brand and Marketing, WeWork India talks about how brands can remain pertinent in the time of Covid-19. (Edited excerpts)
On the marketing strategy brands should follow to remain relevant
COVID-19 has called for a reset where ‘new normal’ is gradually taking shape. With screen time at an all-time high, brands need to re-evaluate and pivot their businesses to suit the changing needs of consumers. What remains unchanged is our continued yearning as consumers, for a sense of community and togetherness which is more important today than ever before. I truly believe that touching on this unique human need will be the cornerstone of communication for any smart and future thinking business. Marketing strategies, therefore, will take on a new look as they shift to focusing on bringing the brand to life and connecting on a human level. As internet consumption soars, it’ll be imperative for brands to forge powerful digital connections.
Moreover, the need of the hour is to rethink and consider the experiences we’re all going through and practice empathetic communication while also sustaining a meaningful conversation.
On the dos and don’ts brands need to follow when communicating with consumers
In the last few months, it has become more important than ever for brands to communicate effectively with their consumers. With a majority of consumers shifting online and spending more time on social media and other websites, constant engagement has become imperative. It is important to understand what interests a consumer and what are the possible unique ways to reach them. Companies will also need to become more transparent, sustainable and purpose-driven. Marketing must serve a larger narrative by being more authentic, thereby adding value to the overall communication mix with consumers.
Brands and marketing professionals need to note that at this time lots of consumers are going through periods of change and it is important not to swamp them with information overload. As marketers, we have to ensure that our communication is crisp and relevant and not intended to overwhelm them. Communication should stay focused and not veer towards macro-targeting.
On the periodicity of the conversation
Communication with consumers is key, but during the pandemic, there have been various challenges for marketers and brands in terms of constant communication. The frequency with which a brand now reaches out to its consumers depends on the services provided by the brand. For some, constant engagement will still be important, through information, newsletters, alerts, etc. While for others, it will be significantly less while having a similar impact. It is therefore vital that brands invest in understanding the need of the consumer and steer their communication accordingly. Churning out new information and ideas may seem overwhelming or insensitive to many consumers, therefore marketers must gauge and go into the fine details of new campaigns and thoughts.
On how to maintain trust with consumers
It is extremely important for brands to truly invest in customer relations in today’s time which will lead to a positive outcome. This can be done through:
- Brand Promise – Living up to one’s brand promise that made your customers believe in you in the first place is important. With consumers keeping a close watch, it is imperative to live up to their expectations in terms of delivery and experience.
- Transparency- Keeping consumers informed through transparency in communication about where your brand stands or the challenges that the brand is facing during times of uncertainty like logistics, high demand, etc will be appreciated and respected and is also a thoughtful way of building a brand community.
- Consistency – Being consistent with products and services will help maintain consumer trust as it only goes onto show that consumers can depend on your product and services at any time without having any second guesses or looking for other available options.
- Reassurance – Giving consumers a sense of reassurance that their time, money and energy that they have invested in your brand is valued and will be given all due diligence to ensure that they have the best experience will go a long- way in adding confidence to the customers on your brand.
- Feedback- Giving consumers the feeling that they are being heard will not only help in maintaining trust but will also bring them closer to the brand.
On communicating with consumers post Covid-19
While it is too early to have a clear thought on what a post-COVID-19 world would look like, brands need to constantly be self-assured that consumer preferences will remain dynamic depending on their then state of the situation. What will remain unchanged in the post-COVID 19 world, I believe is the use of digital consumption. Online platforms will continue to play an important role in the overall marketing strategy, hence, brands should continue building their digital presence with communication that is educative, emphatic and adds value to their brand.