How to maintain trust with consumers, highlights Vadapalli
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. Kashyap Vadapalli, chief marketing officer and business head, Pepperfry, 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
At a time when everyone is still adjusting to the new normal, brands should base their communication and marketing strategy on two fundamentals – empathy and safety.
It is imperative for brands to recognise and acknowledge that every individual is facing challenges, be it from a safety, health, job security or any other point of view. In this high-stress environment, the brand should build empathy with the consumer across communication platforms – email, online, YouTube, et al.
Secondly, given the precarious and unprecedented situation, it is vital to not only enhance your role in the consumer’s life functionally, but also highlight the safety of consumers when they interact with the brand. For instance, we play a huge role in the work from home infrastructure requirements of consumers; however, we ensured that our communication reflected the safety aspect of the brand in terms of sanitization of the furniture at our warehouses and precautionary measures adopted during the last mile delivery.
Furthermore, businesses should offer good value for money and launch new products that cater to specific needs of consumers during COVID-19.
Dos and don’ts brands need to follow when communicating with consumers
In the ongoing unlock phase which began sometime around mid-June, things are gradually opening up and the new normal is co-existing with the old normal, both of which will eventually merge. In this scenario, brands should align their communication to reflect hope and optimism; bring in positive energy and highlight future-forward trends and patterns. The biggest ‘don’t’ for any brand is to ensure they do not indulge in scare mongering or fanning panic amongst people.
The periodicity of the conversation
Periodicity of conversations highly depends on the channel of communication. For instance on social media platforms, you would typically put out interesting content on a daily basis. So is the case with your database of regular customers to whom an email would go every day or once in two days.
While brands did toy with the idea of pulling back on communication because customers are concerned about other things, I believe it is important to communicate with your customer as frequently as before. If the content or messaging is well thought through, brands should maintain consistency in their communication with the consumers to keep in touch with them as they potentially have more time at hand.
How to maintain trust with consumers
Fundamentally, trust is built on communicating with and educating consumers about what you will do and then actually doing it well.
Another crucial aspect to bear in mind is ensuring good value. While there have been additional costs incurred due to logistical restrictions, it is important to ensure that the consumer does not have to bear the entire shock. This further helps organisations in building a strong connect and trust with them.
Communicating with consumers post COVID-19
The post COVID-19 period is going to be a period of transition. People will try to go back to being extremely productive, both in their professional and personal lives, whilst ensuring safety and hygiene. This transition will come with its own challenges and as a brand, we should recognise that and maintain positive tone and manner in our communication. The topics that we pick, while being relevant to our products and category, should bring out pride and hope in their lives, in their environment and in the nation.