The marketing strategy to be followed by brands during a crisis, reveals Aggarwal
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. Shirish Aggarwal, head of brand and marketing communications, Panasonic 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
There is no readily available playbook to help marketers navigate this unchartered territory. However, the pre-requisite for us during the first few months of lockdown was and continues to be employee and customer safety, as well as business continuity planning in line with changing environments. Moverover, it is imperative to think of innovative ways to engage with our stakeholders while staying relevant and adding value.
On the dos and don’ts, brands need to follow when communicating with consumers
Authenticity and relevance – In such tough times, brands must focus on instilling confidence in customers. Innovation, empathy and resilience should be marketers’ tools to survive the negative sentiment and the slowdown. Brands must be genuine in their efforts and must deliver right information and means to cope with the situation.
Proactivity – As a marketer it’s imperative that the brand proactively reaches out to its customers where they are. And digital as a touch point is playing a key role here, be it during the lockdown period or now when we inch towards normalcy. While the transformation from offline to online has been rapid in the last few years, it has now become vital for brands to focus on digital, as the platform is not just limited to promotion, but is also becoming a preferred point of purchase.
On the periodicity of the conversation
Quality and frequency of conversations remain two critical pillars of engaging with the consumers and COVID-19 has proved to us that empathy is one of the most powerful ways to connect with people. In the current scenario, brands need to listen closely to what their audience is saying and sharing on different platforms and then respond accordingly in a way that builds trust and is relevant.
On how to maintain trust with consumers
There are two key aspects to build and maintain consumer trust – being authentic and relevant in your messaging and product offerings. Communicating informative and value oriented messages with empathy should be the approach to connect with the consumers.
Secondly, social listening plays an important role in tracking and responding proactively helps building a positive perception for the brand.
On communicating with consumers post Covid-19
Technologies, tools, industries, and consumer preferences are rapidly changing, which essentially means that companies/brands need to continuously evolve to keep pace. While the digital platform has gained traction in the last few years, it has now disrupted the way brands communicate with their consumers. As people continue to avoid stepping out, it has become essential for brands to reach out to them in their home, with the right product, right message and at the right time. There is a growing need for brands to reconfigure their operations to a digitally compatible model where technology takes precedence and transformation from offline to online is faster. We’ve seen a significant increase in content consumption across social media platforms and that, I think, is an important tool for marketers to consider. There needs to be a behavioral shift in the way brands communicate with their consumers – which is more ‘solutions-oriented’.