The dos and don'ts for brands, reveals Ramakrishnan
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. Rajesh Ramakrishnan, managing director, Perfetti Van Melle 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
Brand building is always a long-term proposition. Consumers consume products that fulfil their functional needs and they connect with brands at an emotional level. This is not likely to dramatically change during or post the pandemic. I believe that brands need to stick to the fundamentals – understand and anticipate consumer needs, offer differentiated products, build strong consumer engagement and drive distribution. In fact, we have observed that consumers become less experimentative and prefer to stick to their trusted brands. Brands which have stronger connect are doing better during this period because of the trust they have built over the years.
On the dos and don’ts brands need to follow when communicating with consumers during crises
Some do’s: Stay true to core positioning, adapt your strategy to the new reality, get a deeper understanding of the consumer behavior shifts, be sensitive to what the consumer is going through.
Some don’ts: Don’t get into knee-jerk reactions, don’t sacrifice long-term for the short-term.
On the periodicity of the conversation
I don’t see the periodicity changing very much as compared to the pre-covid period. Depending on the target audience, it will be a mix of offline and online communication at the appropriate frequency. These days, there is a lot more consumption of online media across consumer segments hence brands must invest on social media on an ongoing basis with relevant communication and engagement for the target audience.
On how to maintain trust with consumers
Brands need to be true to their core positioning and be authentic in their communication. During these times, consumers are looking for more fortification in F&B products, and are redefining value to an extent and also cutting down on discretionary spending. Marketers need to see how their marketing mix can adapt to the changing consumer behaviors and become even more relevant in today’s times.
On looking after employees as they are also representatives of the brand
In these times, it is important to stay connected with employees, keep them informed of what is happening in the organisation and demonstrate a high level of empathy.
On communicating with consumers post Covid-19
It is important for brands to stay the course, listen to their consumers and be authentic in all communication. Staying relevant to changing consumer needs would be a critical aspect of how brands are able to quickly adapt themselves in the new reality.