As part of our new series, ‘Marketers Playbook for 2020 Post Covid-19', Amit Tiwari, Vice President – Marketing HAVELLS India Ltd, India says that the challenge for companies is building a relationship beyond what they sell and focusing on helping, not selling.
Corona virus is proving to be the biggest challenge that humans have faced in the living memory of a majority of the population. There is absolute consensus that its impact will last for generations to come.
With no cure in sight, social distancing seems to be the only way to limit the damage Covid-19 is causing across the globe.
During these times, when people are staying home and working remotely, buying patterns have been drastically altered. This implies that marketing strategies will need to evolve in these uncertain and unprecedented times. There is no better time to keep the consumer engaged, to understand how these uncertain times impact them and the way they are going to engage with brands, during and post the Coronavirus pandemic.
Crisis are Opportunity: This one is for the Marketers to observe consumers
We, at Havells, are also cognizant of the changes happening all around us; in fact we were already getting ready unconsciously even before the Coronavirus pandemic started, by adopting new strategies and modifying existing ones to engage with consumers in the ‘new normal’ circumstances.
This article talks about a few key strategies that we have adopted.
The immediate marketing challenge for companies is building a relationship beyond what they sell and focusing on helping, not selling
- Re-Inventing Your Brand Purpose : Human Side Of Brand
. The focus changes from the product to how you can support users in getting through this. Cause-related options can be used to build visibility. Acknowledging changing consumer behavior and offering help is relevant. Empathy is an important tone. We are now seeing influencers partnering with fitness apps to help people stay fit at home, education apps to enable learning, gaming apps to engage people.
Connect with consumers like never before; Educate them - Inspire them; Making a Difference should be a theme that Brands must pursue with utmost seriousness now, more than ever before.
- Digital Presence: Ignorance Is Not An Option
The current crisis shows how products and services powered by digital channels provide maximum convenience, ef?ciency and accuracy, both empirically and emotionally. The Covid-19 outbreak has pushed consumers to shift their shopping habits online. As people stay at home, time spent on their mobile devices, and online platforms is already on the rise. The pandemic has surely caused a short-term economic downturn, but there are also new opportunities for digital transformation that brands must see as they plan their future strategies.
BARC & Nielsen report on Covid-19 impact on television & digital media says that in India average time spent per viewer saw a significant increase. People are spending more time on chatting (+23%) & social networking (+25%) apps. Almost all social networking apps - have seen significant increases; understandably due to the logistic & delivery challenges, e-commerce platforms, travel apps and food delivery apps have seen a significant drop.
Covid-19 has also disrupted marketing and advertising initiatives, we all must keep plans fluid; tweaking ad-spends to reach customers most efficiently, where they are most active right now.
- Customer Will Always Be The King; Now Is The Time To Focus Experience
In times of utter distress, like today, it is imperative for brands to instill confidence in customers by going beyond to help customers. Being empathetic and prioritizing customer experience will not only enable a brand to stand out but also lead to a long-lasting loyal base of customers.
Brands must follow the ‘customer-first’ approach. Make sure that customers do not face any issues despite everything that’s going on. The service support must be constantly in touch with customers, aiming at resolving issues that customers might be facing, provide immediate virtual resolution; focus on self-help; Educate Customer – Hand-holding is must during these critical times.
- Leveraging Technology To Ensure That Whatever Can Be Done Gets Done
These are challenging times indeed, wherein brands need to figure out ways to best serve their customers with limited resources, social distancing and lockdown constraints. Organizations, especially e-commerce giants are over-burdened with rising online orders, stocks running out, prioritizing essentials, and ensuring the health of employees and customers.
Brands must understand that ‘Charity begins at home’ and in order to serve the end customers well, every brand needs to ensure the well-being of internal resources (employees & business partners) as well as external customers. IT infrastructure is proving to be a critical factor during these difficult times to ensure virtual connection at all times. Brands which are able to ensure smooth transition from offline to online are in a stronger position to serve end customers better.
COVID-19 is teaching us to adapt to new ways – of working, shopping, exercising, entertainment, and learning at home. It seems very much plausible now that digital experiences can replace in-person experiences. Some of the things we are forced to do today as a compromise, may become the new normal – even after the crisis is over. Looking ahead, the strong brands will now prepare for how to meet these sudden changes in the needs of consumers, when the recovery period begins. It would be advisable for brands not to expect consumers to return back to the older habits as soon as the crisis is over. In order to survive and rise beyond the current crisis, we must stay sharp, understand, anticipate, go above & beyond to fulfill customer needs by being agile, and leveraging the right technology to stay ahead of the challenge.
It is after all survival of the fittest…only the best of the best Brand shall survive & ultimately thrive!