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BW Businessworld

Embracing Change In Covid World

As good ships are built to bear the storm, similarly a good marketing strategy goes a long way in withholding trust among existing consumers as well as winning new hearts.

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The only way to develop loyalty among consumer base is by paying attention to the current and estimated needs and by being a responsible marketer — be it increased health awareness which manifests itself in better food choices or better ways to take care of oneself, or easy-to-do DIY kits, differentiated entertainment or remote connect services. Combine it with easy availability, simple connect, rational- ity, efficacy and you have a winning mix. Easier said than done, though!

The pandemic is the new definition of global crisis ever since the World War II. With no possible predictive data based on past trends, the winning organisations are the ones that have adapted overnightand differentiated the critical from the important. As the saying — Sweet are the uses of adversity’ — goes, the pandemic has delivered valuable insights for busi- nesses in every sector.

As a marketer, I feel that businesses need to bemore responsible now and use this timeto keep themselves relevant and connectedin a greater way to the consumers. Amid the disruption that is go- ing to arrive even more in the times ahead, the only thing that is going to stay constant is CHANGE.

Change is the acro- nym for the six vital areas that are going to steal the who are advocates of the brand. This is a time when staying connected with the dentists is key, to facilitate-deliver content that enriches their world of knowledge, letting them stay in touch with patients remotely through common platforms and awareness programmes at marketers’ focus in the recent scenario. I see these as Creation of community groups; Hard listening instead of hard selling; Al- teration of business mod- els; New avatar of digital; Growth of the utilitarian approach; and Empathy in communication.

Creation of Community Groups                          

It is important for brands to develop, partner, nurture and value-add to relevant communities. For Sensodyne, it’s been the healthcare practitioner (dentists) community, their clinics. Meaningful partnership at this time will earn long-term respect and credibility for brands. Similarly, tapping into consumer cohorts and see- ing their food experiment patterns at home gives a meaningful connect with consumers.'

Hard Listening Instead of Hard Selling

One thing that marketers need to understand is that their potential customers are more educated and aware than ever, especially as we live in this pandemic.

Trust has become a critical differentiator for consumers. Does the brand really get me? Is the brand speaking to me or con- necting with me? This has changed the game greatly for marketers who are looking to establish vital connections with potential and existing buyers. It is advisable to listen more and understand what your consumer wants and de- liver to them accordingly.

Alteration of Business Models                   

The current scenario has affected supply chain, product launches, employee well-being and business continuity all over the world. As businesses start adapting themselves in a lockdown scenario, the challenge remains to again restart normal operations. Organisations need to learn from this experience and develop situation- resilient and situation- agnostic business models, that enable quick flexibility in future times. Digital will play an even more critical roleacross functions.

It is more about un- derstanding where the consumer is shopping and making sure you are available in that channel. It is also about prioritising the part of your portfolio which you should know will be in high demand rotation. Therefore, the entire alteration is about intelligent and fast choices, and clear communication to the frontline for sharp execution.

New Avatar of Digital The Covid scenario has opened doors for more ex- ploration of digital. Besides the flexibility in messaging, use of the right mix of digital enables us to garner valuable insights to under- stand the platforms that consumers are engaging in. We launched Sensodyne’s For The Love Of campaign on digital platforms, and the response received was incredible. The right data enabled us to talk to the consumer at the right time, using weather targeting to display specificads to the consumers. For example, when it’s raining in Delhi, we talked about ‘cherishing Delhi rains with your steaming hot cup of Chai’ through specific ads. In- novation remains a key for GSK, where we use the right dosage of digital to adapt ourselves with the changing times.

Growth of the Utilitarian approach 

One of the key takeaways from the pandemic is the kind of budget shortage that has become persistent in the economy. Brands should try to commu- nicate the utility of the product and try to remain as relevant as possible to its audience, whether in terms of product offerings or messaging. Brands have a role in the lives of the consumer — highlight the utility and relevance even more so.

Empathy in Communication

A Google survey revealed that consumers are not interested in passively con- suming content. Rather, they are actively seeking out content that prompts change, in both themselves and/or the world around them.

For Sensodyne too, the very existence of its launch in India was due to an insight on people suffer- ing from tooth sensitivity yet being unaware of the condition and associat- ing   its   treatment   with a toothpaste. Through expert led advertising, they let consumers know that their pain was treatable, and that it had a name. For years, Sensodyne has been considered as a leader in the sensitivity toothpaste segment and we feel this empathetic communica- tion has an important role to play in it.

Observing these aspects, marketers will have to stay consistent, relevant, yet agile for their consumers at all times. As good ships are built to bear the storm, similarly a good marketing strategy goes a long way in withholding trust among existing consumers as well as winning new hearts.