The dos and don’ts to be followed by brands, highlights Das
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. Puneet Das, senior vice president – marketing, packaged beverages, India, Tata Consumer Products 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
In wake of the pandemic, there is a behavioural shift in that way consumers have started to engage with brands. Hence, it is critical to make sure your messaging, strategy and communication is authentic, credible and positive right now in order to be relevant.
Today, consumers are increasingly attracted to ‘how the brand behaves’ and the fact that is the brand able to alleviate their life or society at large.
Make ‘Purpose’ as the core of your brand. One thing is for sure, if consumers were looking towards companies and brands doing their bit for ensuring a better and sustainable future, this expectation will now increasingly become a necessary requirement Hence, in a post COVID-19 world it is not just important but possibly a necessary requirement for brands to continue to build long term relationships with consumers in a ‘purpose driven’ manner. Brands should also not just talk about it or use it as a ’gimmick’, but also ‘Walk the Talk’ as per the need of the hour.
On the dos and don’ts brands need to follow when communicating with consumers
Be genuine and empathetic – In such times, the need of the hour is for brands to be ‘genuine’ and empathetic in their communication. This is about being able to put yourself in the ‘shoes of the consumer’ and ensuring that the brand communicates in a thoughtful manner and connects at a ‘deeper emotional level’.
Innovate and ‘Think digital’ – While the current pandemic has caused a lot of disruption across the industry, it has also accelerated underlying trends such as increase in online content consumption and grocery shopping through e-commerce etc. Brands can look at leveraging these ‘behavior shifts’ and innovate in terms of communication and brand messaging.
Adapt and be agile – As we all start easing back into our ‘regular lives’, we need to be mindful that things may never go back to the same pre-crisis. Since all of us are dealing with ‘unexpected /new’ situations, brands need to ensure they are adapting to the ‘new normal’ in their communication (and media choices) too, in order to remain relevant.
Create unnecessary ‘fear psychosis’ – Brands should avoid creating unnecessary ‘fear psychosis’ through their communication while working towards alleviating consumer’s lives.
Be Gimmicky or opportunistic – Today there is a ‘perceived pressure’ on brands to be part of the ‘everyday social narrative’ in order to be relevant. However, there is a fine line between being authentic and being gimmicky. Hence, brands should ensure they are clear about their ‘purpose’ and are engaging with consumers in an authentic manner rather than using an event for its ‘newsworthiness’ and risk being ‘opportunistic or gimmicky’ in the eyes of the consumer.
On the periodicity of the conversation
In the current situation, it is even more important to consumers on ‘how you make them feel’ and are you able to genuinely make a difference in their lives in a meaningful manner. Hence, brands can frequently engage with their consumers by being agile and adapting their communication to the ever-changing consumer patterns due to pandemic and lockdown situations.
On how to maintain trust with consumers
Authenticity and Consistency – Consumers want companies to stand up for the issues they are passionate about and are attracted to brands they perceive have a shared value system. To build and maintain trust to consumers, brands must be ‘authentic’ and need to be consistent in responding to the challenges faced by its consumers.
Positively impacting society – In times like these, brands should aim at bringing genuine change in society and should work towards making a meaningful difference in the lives of their consumers.
On communicating with consumers post Covid-19
We have observed some significant changes in consumer behaviour. Some of them are meaningful accelerations of existing trends, some are only emerging now. What follows are suggestions for how marketers can begin to respond to them.
In a post COVID-19 world, brands should look at creating value through content and experiences and not just talk about ‘being purposeful.’
Another trend seen is an increased shift to online content consumption and grocery shopping through e-commerce. This in turn provides opportunities for new customer acquisition and upgrading existing consumers.
Innovation needs to be leveraged to meet emerging needs. Innovation not just in terms of products, but also innovations in business models.
We saw companies collaborating in order to cater to the last mile, during the lockdown. However, the safety-first mindset will continue to prevail. Hence, there will continue to be opportunities for brands and companies to look at transforming consumer touchpoints as contactless experiences will continue to be a key consumer expectation. You can already see that getting reflected in the travel and leisure industry as some of the key players, have already started innovating in terms of their business models to cater to today’s consumer mindset.