GREY Group’s Sandipan Bhattacharyya on the relationship between brands and agencies during Covid-19

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July 13, 2020 10:01 AM

The dos and don'ts for brands to follow while communicating with consumers, highlights Bhattacharyya

Sandipan Bhattacharyya, MD and chief creative officer, GREY Group IndiaSandipan Bhattacharyya, MD and chief creative officer, GREY Group India

At a time when everyone is trying to look beyond the pandemic called Covid-19, communication needs to be crafted carefully. There resides a chance of either too less talking or more. It is here that agencies play a significant role in hand-holding and telling brands the dos and don’ts of communication. In a candid chat with BrandWagon Online, Sandipan Bhattacharyya, MD and chief creative officer, GREY Group India, talks about how brands need to act and react during such difficult times. (edited excerpts)

On the art of maintaining a relationship in a turbulent environment – brands and agencies

In the same way that it’s a new normal for us, let’s not forget it’s also a new normal for brands. In this new normal, consumers act out of sync with their normal purchase choices, because of the general sentiment and cautiousness that prevails. Therefore, brands need to make that much more effort to be relevant to consumers. Similarly, in times like these clients are feeling the pressure and they are likely to act out of character and go for choices that deviate from the normal. It’s our job to make that much more effort to demonstrate our relevance and add real value to the brands we handle.

I think there’s a strong argument in the fact that if brands need to be more relevant to consumers during this period, then clients need their agencies even more now. They need creativity to break through the current consumer outlook, more so now than ever before. Fact is, the brands that invest in building relevance through creativity, are the brands that will grow through this crisis.

On the dos and don’ts brands need to follow when communicating with consumers

Don’t be an armchair supporter. It’s better to stay quiet and ensure your product reaches consumers rather than scurry to find a tenuous link between frontline warriors and your brand, hoping you don’t miss the Covid bus. Put your money where your mouth is. Show some action. And that too, in a way that tangibly makes a difference.

There are too many flimsy tributes to frontline workers and poorly made ‘lockdown films’ reminding us about how wonderful and idyllic this new normal can be, when for the most part people are feeling miserable at home with the prospect of pay cuts, layoffs or losses looming.

On the periodicity of the conversation in these times

No rules here. Pace it based on how relevant it is for the consumer. So, if you’re a ready-to-cook mix, I would imagine your relevance would have gone up significantly because of the convenience and choice you’re affording in times of limitations. I would amp up your periodicity and the channels of communication with more information about range, evoking emotions of taste, sharply targeting with recipes and working on innovative ordering and delivery modes.

On the role agencies play in the life of brands and advertisers

Agencies and brands need to see creativity as a business multiplier, in normal times or in exceptional times like these.

On the mantra that agencies and advertisers should follow to beat the Covid-19 blues

It’s a great time to revisit your strategy, realign brand priorities and deep dive into the social and cultural changes that lie ahead. That to me is a great way to utilise any downtime that brands might have. Agencies and advertisers should both be sensitive to and honest with each other about the fears and challenges they’re facing. Don’t lose faith in the transformational power of creativity and radiate hope. If you come out of this together, you’ll be inseparable.

Read Also: Dentsu Impact’s Amit Wadhwa on the relationship between brands and agencies during Covid-19

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