How marketers can forge strong consumer connections during and after Covid

September 18, 2020 7:02 AM

Effective communication with consumers plays a key role in providing a holistic positive experience

During any crisis, dependability and trust are key attributes that should exude from any brandDuring any crisis, dependability and trust are key attributes that should exude from any brand

By Saahil Kumar

The past few months have been unprecedented. Everybody across the globe is grappling with the new health and economic crisis. In these testing times, several businesses have been forced to shut shop, while some are facing turbulent times. The way of conducting business has evolved drastically in the current scenario. This is the time for brands to reflect on how to become more resilient, agile and relevant to consumers, and be better prepared to face such adversities in the future. It has also taught brands the importance of communicating effectively to all stakeholders.

Effective communication with consumers plays a key role in providing a holistic positive experience. A few businesses have flourished by creatively engaging with their customers. During any crisis, dependability and trust are key attributes that should exude from any brand. Allowing consumers to fulfil their needs as per their convenience is bound to leave an everlasting impression on them. Customers, additionally, want to know how a brand is helping the community during the crisis, as their purchasing decisions are not based on aspirational value anymore now. For example, Google rolled out the advanced Hangouts Meet for free, to help other businesses — a move that was lauded by many.

Quick to adapt

This pandemic has made it imperative for brands to adapt to changing strategies in order to remain relevant, ensure customer stability and revenue growth. The ‘new normal’ in the post-Covid world will see brands rush to address the pent-up demand and look to incentivise both offline and online channels. Marketers should restrategise to propel consumption by looking at refreshing their customer experience through end-to-end sales processes, and engage with them across channels. Brands will also have to now dig deep to identify customer challenges and address them to provide meaningful experiences.

Focussing on short-term goals by implementing marketing tools and gaining valuable insights on customer behaviour will enable marketers to make rapid changes to protect revenue. A sound pricing strategy is an effective way, and can help brands improve the margins. Lockdown restrictions have led many businesses to rapidly pivot to e-commerce as well. However, they should not completely neglect the offline comeback. At this point, brands that are agile and resilient will bounce back stronger from the effects of the pandemic. 

Show that you care

Ever since the pandemic occurred, more and more consumers are preferring ethical and purposeful brands. Their purchasing decisions are not based purely on aspirational value; consumers want to know if their money is being used the right way, and what initiatives brands are undertaking to support their employees, among other things. It is imperative for a brand to understand the concerns and fear of customers, and take a stand in building enduring relationships. Several brands are now coming up with innovative ways to show that they care. For example: since health and hygiene are key drivers of consumer needs, a lot of brands are now taking extra measures to ensure safe packaging. Modern grocery brands like Nature’s Basket are switching to paper bags that can be disposed of after use. Smaller brands such as Kopiko have donated beverages in over six hospitals covering 1,500 health workers, and 25,000 military personnel within the first week of community quarantine in Manila.

In the current scenario, brands have the opportunity to step up and show solidarity for the community. This crisis has acted as a catalyst that pushes consumers to change their habits. And the brands that are resilient and agile enough to change, can handle this crisis well and create strong brand equity.

The author is head, marketing, Sennheiser India

Read Also: Vistaprint’s Bharath Sastry on life beyond work

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