Research shows that strong ESG programmes may also help to buffer the impacts of the current crisis, hasten recovery, and reduce risks to additional crises in the future; Image: Shutterstock
1) Mental wellness is out of the closet
A welcome change that the pandemic has brought about, is the openness to conversations around mental wellness. What was once considered a taboo subject in our country, no longer is. Mental health issues have in fact been brought to the forefront, and we have come to learn that these are far more common than we once thought. There is no more merit in hiding and not speaking up about it. This is only the beginning of a new phase towards building a healthier society, and 2022 will bring a lot more open dialogue in this space.
2) It’s a hybrid life
So many aspects of our lives that we thought of in black and white, have seen a complete paradigm shift. Covid-19 has taught us that a hybrid way of life is possible. Going forward, we will work in hybrid offices that are location agnostic.
Hybrid forms of entertainment will become more common too. The big bang releases of Rs 100-crore-a-week blockbuster films in theatres will give way to a simultaneous launch of movies in cinemas, OTT and other digital platforms
, which will be viewed by much wider, global audiences.
The world of learning – for children and adults alike – will also continue to be hybrid, comprising classes that are online and offline.
3) Emerging omni world: Omni shopper, omni channel, omni media
Riding on the wave of tech adoption, the omni-shopper has arrived. And the role the omni shopper will play in defining how businesses operate and innovate, will only become bigger. They will shop across platforms – whether it be at online platforms or in person at Modern retail or at local kirana stores
or simply through digital app led delivery platforms from the comfort of their homes, searching and exploring across multiple services.
The boundary lines between physical and digital shopping have already blurred, and the journey from demarcated channel models to omni-channels will only accelerate further. Similarly, we will see the brands adapting deeper omni presence across multiple consumer touch points.
4) Brand advocacy over brand speak
The source of brand trust will increasingly move from brand speak to brand advocacy. Consumers’ inherent trust in a brand will gain more importance and this trust will neither be associated with the age of the brand or might of the brand, nor correlated to a company’s resources and ability to spend on their communication and reach. Rather, it would emerge from more and more consumer led advocacy. This is clearly visible to us from the way many digital-first and new age brands have performed in the last couple of years, and advocacy by actual consumers will outweigh other realms of branding.
5) Responsible growth through ESG
Finally, brands and organisations which genuinely and authentically align their purpose to sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) programmes, will have a clear edge in building long-term value and business resiliency. In fact, research shows that strong ESG programmes
may also help to buffer the impacts of the current crisis, hasten recovery, and reduce risks to additional crises in the future.
This will no doubt lead to businesses being appreciated and admired more for their large-scale impact, and at the same time a lot more will be expected of public-private partnerships. This phenomenon is still in its early stages in our country but will become more prominent, going forward.
Sunil Kataria is CEO - India & SAARC, Godrej Consumer Products Limited. Views expressed are personal. Views expressed are personal.