Ogilvy’s Piyush Pandey on the relationship between brands and agencies during Covid-19

How brands need to react and act through communication reveals Pandey

Piyush Pandey, chief creative officer, Worldwide and executive chairman India, Ogilvy
Piyush Pandey, chief creative officer, Worldwide and executive chairman India, Ogilvy

At a time when the world is battling a pandemic like Covid-19, communication needs to be crafted carefully by brands. 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, Piyush Pandey, chief creative officer, Worldwide and executive chairman India, Ogilvy talks about the journey that brands and agencies need to embark upon to walk through such difficult times. (Edited excerpts)

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

Brands and consumers need to converse all through the time, when it is a difficult situation like the current one brought upon us by the pandemic. While there is no specific rule book a brand needs to follow to talk to the consumer, it is important to communicate with empathy. A brand is like a friend to consumers and so cannot desert her during difficulties. The tone of communication needs to be friendly.

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

It is imperative to not overdo things in order to maintain a credible relationship. This comes from your own sensibility towards your relationships. As a brand one need not be ‘too sugary’ while talking to customers. There are no formulas or books on this and it cannot be taught. Only life can teach you that. Caring for society in general and human beings will teach you that.

On the periodicity of the conversation:

In this day and age, you can’t run a campaign for a year because things keep evolving at an extremely fast pace and you need to refresh things accordingly. Hence, it is important to keep refreshing your relationship with the consumers.

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

For creative partners, it is paramount to assist brands in the following ways- what is the right thing to do, when is the right time to be out there, when is it that you need to be sensitive, when is it that you have the fear of being syrupy. That is what an effective partnership between clients and an agency is all about. I have never believed in selling things to clients, rather put your joint experience and wisdom together and play out there.

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

One needn’t panic if a small battle is lost. There is no need to think that the loss means that everything will end. After every calamity that happened in the past, life came out and came out better. If you compare life to the last 100 years, we have only moved forward. To say life after Covid-19 would be different and we will be required to reinvent ourselves would be incorrect. The mantra here is, ‘Cheer up as we will live today to fight another day and we will come out stronger.’

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