Reviving Business and Consumer Connect – Building Marketing Resilience

Reviving Business and Consumer Connect – Building Marketing Resilience

Shalini Gupta

Marketing & Brand Evangelist;Former CMO Reliance Broadcast;Regional Brand & Communication Head, Bharti Airtel (West)

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For businesses and the marketers of today, it is as if the world has totally converged on to the online platform. Everything is happening online; be it conversations, innovations, learning, unlearning, neo-learning and lots more. Therefore it is important to relook at what is being offered by you and what need can it fulfil for the consumer.

Re-evaluate the products or services and re-bundle them with empathy, creativity and easy last mile reach to build customer connect afresh. The marketer has to re-assess the consumer needs and re-package existing products; or innovate and develop new products or services that will be of greater value today. Like an auto maker delving into sanitisers, or an apparel maker creating Covid proof garments etc.

It’s the time to re-think, re-engage with teams to instil fresh ways of doing business.

Welcome the Neo ‘Masked’ Consumer

Society is undergoing a transformation. The world of professionals is unfolding into the world of entrepreneurs; parents and kids are opening up to the world of personal hygiene; education is transcending into the online space; and the explosive growth of internet and use of social media is enabling creative outpouring of consumerist expression.

Meanwhile, with people still reeling under the fear of touch, spends on home delivery, sportswear, food, personal growth and hygiene continue to dominate the online purchases.

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With 574 million internet users now, video, voice and vernacular are driving the internet growth, while 264 million of these are coming from rural India. Internet, mobile and OTT have evolved as the faster go to market routes to reach homes for consumer connect.

The social media is also empowering a lot of senior citizens, busting the myths about its usage and welcoming new users. The human mind needs a diversion and perhaps that is where learning has a role to play to help refocus on our strengths and core capabilities. A fear for tomorrow is inducing savings. Online and direct connect is the new way to reach customers.

Emergence of new business orientation & new media

Entertainment is now confined within homes. Which is why News genre on TV witnessed a 43% rise in viewership in H1 2020, as per BARC-Neilson report. The report also highlighted that GEC and movies viewership grew by 2% and 19%, respectively in the full day viewership.

Meanwhile, the kids category saw a 32% growth in viewership at nonprime time with kids spending more time at home amid the lockdown phase versus H12019.

As per RAM (Radio Advertising Report) June’20 findings, the main categories of top advertisers on radio have been insurance companies – both life and health, banking and new categories such as sanitisers, education, online facilities (Adex report by TAM in June over April 2020).

With movie theatres shut, home entertainment with OTT has shown a tremendous growth and early movers here have thrown up interesting customer analytics on trends and behaviours centred around content. A new medium of advertising is perhaps emerging in the OTT world, after the television and digital media.

What the consumers are actually doing, is what the world is really all about. Hence the sentiments of consumers, their issues and mental agonies, their work from home compulsions and resulting issues etc need to be addressed. Storytelling with empathy through PR and social media will be the key to effective consumer connect.

Spend reduction is obvious and therefore optimisation tools are uppermost. Discovering new smarter ways of doing business will be paramount.

Re-building old ties in new ways, doing business without physical meetings; creating new consumer propositions; all these call for quick learning, empathy, swift reorientation, transformative thoughts and re-modelling of the business.

HDFC Bank, Saregama are just a few visible examples of  brands that have started connecting with customers in newer, interesting ways. Others such as Nokia are doing launches online using influencers and opinion makers.

The way ahead for Consumer Connect

Today we are living with uncertainties as businesses have undergone massive issues and changes. Digital is clearly the way to go; which is why learning about digital ways of doing business is the latest trend. Everyone, young or old, is gearing up to learn this new phenomenon. This zeal to quickly learn is good for society, since it means there is an urgency to evolve and develop.

Businesses, big and small, including self employed professionals, would do well to quickly realign to these changes for effective consumer connect. Some of the steps they could do are

  1. Build Agility – Look at new online business models and contactless operations
  2. Be Creative – Generate new abilities, building capabilities, re-looking at existing opportunities and constantly evaluating the scenario.
  3. Go Digital – Realigning websites to drive business, reworking on SEO factors, building smart collaborations and interconnects will be critical to complete business transactions online.
  4. Be Authentic – Connect with stakeholders – employees, customers and partners, help everyone weather the crisis.
  5. Build your Brand Online – With consumer presence and attention on social media increasing rapidly, devising new ways to connect with the target customers must happen asap. A mix of personal connect, organised PR and paid promotions – all will become the new way ahead.

It is now the time to bounce back, embrace the new and move on, as The Show Must Go On!

*All brands mentioned here are from personal experience of the author; data derived from published sources.

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Mani Padmanabhan

Great article. Innovation is the key. Digital is only the medium

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