How brands can maintain trust among consumers during the pandemic, reveals Chopra
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. Anurita Chopra, area marketing lead- oral health, GSK Consumer Healthcare, talks about how brands can remain pertinent in the time of Covid-19. (Edited excerpts)
In the times of Covid-19 – what is the marketing strategy brands should follow to remain relevant
Marketing leaders have spent the past few months navigating the global crisis and figuring out ways to effectively communicate their brand message. It is important to strike the right tone with advertising and marketing efforts without coming off as opportunistic.
We at GSK Consumer Healthcare, firmly believe that being authentic, genuine and truthful is the mantra to remain relevant to our consumers. If a brand is genuine and chooses to be honest with its consumers, everything will fall into place.
A recent survey reported that only 18% of consumers trust business leaders to be truthful. At its core, a business is just as human, and we want to engage with consumers that share similar values. It all boils down to authenticity, and authentic marketing; and hence should be the focus for all brands now.
On the dos and don’ts brands need to follow when communicating with consumers
Businesses need to be more responsible now and use this period to make themselves useful in a greater way to the consumers, especially in the post COVID scenario. Consumer groups are changing, and so are their behaviours. It is extremely important to stay close to what our consumers are looking for and understand their needs.
One must keep the pulse on the consumer right now – be close to what they are feeling, really get them, and then the connect is inevitable. Ready pulse, quick adaptation, fast dissemination, and repeat. Real-time feedback so that we know what’s working. But unless we try, we won’t know. So, keep trying. But stay true to who you are as a brand. You then can’t go wrong.
Therefore, while we understand that our communication needs to keep evolving, we have formulated three ground rules that we are and will follow:
Stay close to them: As we adapt ourselves to a new normal, the best way to understand what our consumers want is by staying connected with them. The key focus is to study prevailing trends and understand the consumer behaviour and keep adapting. We have in the past leveraged data analytics to stay connected with different consumer groups basis regional food preferences or weather predictions and it has worked very well for our brands.
Design content as per their needs: Understand the need of the hour and stay relevant in the changing times. Taking the example of the latest Sensodyne campaign #ForTheLoveOf, which was purely designed by social listening of food experimentation and visual imagery is trending.
Reducing turnaround time: Consumer needs are dynamic. So, brands must be super-efficient and try to ensure they communicate with their audience at the right time and place. Due to social distancing norms and restrictions, brands cannot shoot big ad films but that doesn’t mean that they don’t communicate to their consumers. It’s the art of making the most of a situation, finding quick solutions and continuing to be effective.
Similarly, in the post Covid era, brands should utilise their consumer listening skills and use insights to develop empathetic messaging that will help it gain preference in the long term.
On the periodicity of the conversation
It is important to maintain sustained visibility for your brands among consumers and other stakeholders. At present, we are not observing any specific periodicity of delivering content while the focus has been to continuously remain relevant.
However, there is a very thin line that distinguishes this content from spamming. We make sure that we target the correct audience and deliver the right content to them rather than bombarding them. It’s all about having a targeted and focus strategy.
Once a consumer perceives your content as spam, they will try to avoid connecting with the brand values and choosing your products. This is a critical proposition, and hence brands have to be extremely careful when it comes to listening to your consumers.
On how to maintain trust with consumers
The simplest way to gain your consumers’ trust is by being relevant to them- both in terms of product offering as well as messaging. The brand should maintain a rhyme with its values, and all the communication should be in line.
Being dishful and relevant is as important as maintaining the genuineness and authenticity of both messaging and offerings.
Satisfaction of your consumers’ requirement that too at the exact time of need is how they realise their brand loyalty.
On communicating with consumers post Covid-19
For the post COVID world, agility is the key. We need to be agile enough to change course, if needed.
Marketeers are going to bring a lot more diversity in their marketing mix. The ecommerce boom is likely to happen now. At the same time, traditional channels are critical as well, since consumers will look for their familiar brands at their familiar places as things start opening up gradually. While the disruption is going to remain constant, marketers will need to adapt to this changed ‘dual’ behaviour quickly.
Keeping the current situation in mind, I think this is the right time for marketers to experiment. Stay relevant, stay innovative and take chances!