In the aftermath caused by the ongoing pandemic, many decision-makers have had to change their plans and go through rigorous testing of new strategies to build resilience as they shifted to a virtual world. With no playbook, operators across the board, including supply chain partners, customer service teams, and employee engagement have had to change processes to make the transition to virtual setup an easy one.
Even communication had to be rethought. It was no longer viable to pump in marketing monies. Each story had to be tailored for different sections of the audience and had to be made relatable. Many brands have altered their approach to ensure it resonates with the 'Bharat' sentiment and blends with the aspirational fabric of India.
From adapting a future-ready business model to staying resilient during these difficult times also meant upscaling operations to meet the sudden demand. Even the way we engage with our customers had to be reimagined to provide them with the same experience they would get in the physical world.
Here's taking a look at what brands have done and can do to survive
A bold new world
Last year, when physical events became a distant possibility, virtual events took over. They helped brands cater to a large audience while also enabling key stakeholders to engage with them. A lot of brands also saw a change in consumer DNA which meant search volumes, screen time, streaming services and mobile apps went up drastically and across the board. These changes have today led to a seismic shift in few strategies that can help navigate for a better tomorrow.
Taking the multichannel route
Today consumers are not relying on one channel to make purchase decisions. In fact, a recent study reported that 70 percent of consumers use three or more channels when it comes to making a purchase. The brand’s marketing mix needs to ensure a multi-channel method leading to an integrated approach for more resonance with consumers.
Digital is now the default
With digital channel usage spiking in the pandemic, convenience, accuracy, and ease will be the table stakes, and brand trust will become more critical than ever. It is also imperative to open virtual gateways viz. chat, email, social, online customer service availability to provide flexibility to win customers in challenging times such as today.
Newer formats of customer engagement
The age-old saying of two heads are better than one still stands true. Brands should explore new partnerships to drive customer engagement. It’s all about looking at ways to strike an emotional chord with the audience. This also implies that brands that are empathetic, flexible, and highly adaptable will have an edge as the industry is still juggling to come out of the crisis.
Rejig the service lens
While customer service has always been an imperative factor, current times now require brands to go above and beyond to drive experience for the user. Brands need to re-evaluate what value their services are providing to the consumer.
When the ecosystem has changed, the services will also need to be looked at from a new lens in order to stay relevant for the user. This transition was achieved by different food delivery apps brilliantly. These brands expanded their services to deliver other essentials during the lockdown. Not only this, a special service was introduced which allowed users to send any package from one place to the other within the city. The idea was not only relevant for the users but helped millions get supplies, medicines and send care packages to their loved ones. While the service remained the same, these brands successfully managed to innovate to stay relevant for the audience.
The last year has seen a transformation across the board, within a very short span of time. The process has not been an easy one for any, but some brands proved to be more resilient than others during these testing times. While there are no set rules for one to follow, the most important thing to remember is the 'need of the consumer', for that will always be the deciding factor. Understanding, adapting, and evolving according to the ecosystem is what drives resilience for the brands.
The writer is a Chief Marketing Officer of OPPO India
The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.
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