A new order for the new normal
Guest Column: Meghna Apparao, Chief Business Officer, Licious, says consumer changes, due to the lockdown, will be a lot stickier with the emergence of a critical and aware consumer mindset
We are living through what might be the most historically significant event of the last 100 years. However, we are far away from being thrilled about it! This is the new normal. Unprecedented times, as some might call it. We haven’t been here earlier and have never done this before.
The pandemic has been transforming ways of living life and doing businesses, globally, for almost six months now. While we all have been forced to slow down and adapt to the new routine, this time is also providing us with a golden opportunity to go back to the drawing board and put our thoughts together about how to approach the new world order.
Observe, Unlearn, Relearn
Marketing is an almost ideal mix of art and science. As marketers we often tend to rely on the science part of it — carefully garnered data, thorough insights and reliable statistics forms the basis of it. However, in absence of such time tested, reliable metrics, the art takes precedence. Marketers will have to be hyper observant about their consumers now and keenly follow the changing behavioral patterns and evolved preference for better, safer, high quality products.
This will involve a bit of ‘crystal ball gazing’, as we pick up insights from the marketplace and use our judgement and intuitions to shape marketing strategies. It is also very important to understand that we are in this for the long haul. We will need to keep going back to the consumers, engage with them better and understand exactly what it is they are looking for.
At the same time, marketers would also have to maintain the delicate balance between consumer-want and brand-offering. Every brand has a unique personality that has been built painstakingly over many years. It is crucial to hold on to that soul, as we rewrite our script for the operative parts. For instance, Licious has been built on a rock-solid foundation of great quality, world-class safety measures and consumer delight. We will need to communicate these core brand qualities better and with more impact, while proving consumers with the reassurance that their food is in safe hands.
Plan For The Permanent
Even as we move on to known ways of life, some changes will be permanent. Socializing will be more cautious and infrequent, at-home consumption of both goods and services will increase, quality will take precedence over convenience and luxury will be redefined to imply safer, more private and exclusive. A lot of effort will also go in recreating otherwise outdoor experiences at home like cooking exotic cuisine, exercise routines, gaming, self-care etc., and there will be a rising need to aid these. Brands that can foresee these needs and adapt quickly will continue to stay relevant in the consumer’s mind.
Re-thinking Your Media Mix
For the past several weeks, millions of families and individuals are stuck at home. The digital screens have converted into virtual windows for consumers to find news, shop products, consume entertainment, and innovative solutions to enhance the at-home experience. As per BARC & Nielsen data, TV viewing has increased by 38%, with non-prime time programmes and news channels contributing to this surge. Time spent on smartphones has significantly increased too, with gaming, social media and dating apps being the biggest time guzzlers.
People are actively seeking information, and many of them look up to brands to provide better clarity. It is more important now than ever to create branded properties that has the consumer at its heart. This, however, is easier said than done. Striking the perfect balance amongst publicity, credibility and awareness creation is no mean feat. Brands will have to really be invested in understanding this ask and fulfilling it.
The lockdown has had a prolonged influence on people, and it is only normal that the changes we see now, will be a lot stickier than anything we have ever experienced before. We will see the emergence of a far more critical, aware, and non-forgiving consumer mindset, that will actively seek superior products and experience. A good marketer will prepare for this inevitable, but a great one will pre-empt it!
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