The dos and don’ts for brands during the pandemic, reveals Chauhan
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. Nadia Chauhan, joint managing director and CMO, Parle Agro Pvt. Ltd. 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
The most important part of a marketing strategy designed during these times is to acknowledge the fact that this is a journey. Consumers are emotionally and mentally in an entirely different space today than they were a few months ago. And they will be in a different space in 3 months, and again in 6 months or 12 months. With such an intense change to our way of life, consumer behavior has changed just as drastically. Thus it is vital that brands adopt a marketing strategy that meets the new and changing needs of the consumer, but with empathy and care. The marketer will have to keep an eye on the changing consumer trends and constantly redesign their communication strategy and come up with a new plan on how to communicate sincerely with the consumers.
Additionally, given the capability of brands to reach out to a large number of consumers, it is important for the brand to deliver socially responsible messages like promoting social distancing and other safety measures.
Covid–19 has accelerated consumption of content from the digital space, hence it is important to plan marketing activities with digital platforms that reach out to the brand’s consumer base.
On the dos and don’ts brands need to follow when communicating with consumers
During current times of social distancing, it is critical to stay connected with the consumers in an empathetic and compassionate way.
Brands must also be authentic. They should communicate with consumers in a reassuring tone, offering information and a positive perspective while staying consistent with their brand values.
It is also important for brands to stay away from being preachy. Communication should be built on actions that help both the brand and the consumer rather than solely focus on driving purchase. It is imperative that brands adopt a high degree of responsibility and not exploit the situation.
On the periodicity of the conversation
Communication should be frequent especially during difficult times, however, it should be relevant and timely, keeping abreast of consumers’ changing needs. At the same time, brands must think about their tone and messaging as well, and communicate around their brand values.
On how to maintain trust with consumers
It is during unprecedented and challenging times such as now, that companies should show up and do their part to make a difference. Consumers pay attention to how brands respond during crisis situations and expect them to come forward to support the community. Companies should demonstrate how they are working beyond profits and fulfilling their societal roles with meaningful action and helping the community at large. Positive actions and communication by companies during challenging times will help forge strong bonds and strengthen brand trust that is likely to endure for years.
On looking after employees as they are also representatives of the brand
The employees of an organisation are not just the representatives of the brand but an extended family. Their safety and well-being must always be one of the top priorities. It is imperative for organisations to plan carefully and make the necessary changes in the company to ensure a safe and positive environment for employees. Constant communication to keep them updated about internal development and decisions and providing care and compassion during trying times are critical to ensure employees stay calm and feel safe.
On communicating with consumers post Covid-19
The current scenario has changed consumer sentiments and the way media is consumed. Brands and their custodians will have to keep evolving as we move along. Brands will have to closely observe and understand the changing consumer trends to determine the course of communication ahead. Messages, products and mediums would need to be recalibrated to the tune of the changing consumer behaviour. While this happens, long standing traits of communication such as transparency, authenticity and relevance will continue to stay true.