Authentic communication & brand safety will be more necessary than ever post-pandemic

Manasi Narasimhan, VP and Head Marketing & Communications South Asia, Mastercard, says marketers will need to protect brand reputation and incorporate privacy & security in brand building

e4m by Manasi Narasimhan
Published: May 4, 2020 9:31 AM  | 4 min read
Manasi Narasimhan

COVID-19 is affecting every aspect of business and economies and stock markets around the world are already struggling. With the sustained impact of COVID-19, individuals and companies alike will be forced to adjust to the new normal. With the advent of social distancing norms, work from home will be standard, with a lot of daily activities moving online such as home delivery of groceries and online shopping. A report by LocalCircles mentions that 42% of Indians have increased digital payments during the lockdown, bringing a lot of first-time users who were not tech-savvy closer to the digital payment’s ecosystem as well.

Transparent and ongoing communication with all stakeholders is what will tide us through these difficult times. However, there are several other aspects that marketers need to take into consideration as well.

Communicating With A Humane Approach

In our communication post-COVID-19, people are uncertain about what is happening, and what to expect. Being empathetic to their needs will let you be more understanding as to what type of messages will be appreciated. During these times, every action you take could be good or detrimental to your brand. However, by using empathy to craft an informative social media campaign or internal communication campaign, you could reach your audience in an authentic way and build trust. With the amount of data that one consumes, it can cause anxiety and stress. At such times brands need to be cognizant of their role as an enabler and friend and engage responsibly.

Need To Address Misinformation And Reassure Stakeholders On Business Continuity

This is an opportunity for your brand to show that it genuinely cares about its customers and stakeholders in this new normal. One should be proactive in creating an eco-system with partners and relevant stakeholders to build a sustainable business. Stakeholders include consumers of your products and services, investors and shareholders as well as employees. Brands need to reframe their values to what is relevant to their stakeholders and communicate their continuity plans in a way that empowers. Timely information, updates and a transparent approach from the organization’s end can go a long way in reassuring them. Ultimately this will help a brand evolve and endure during difficult times.

Digital Integration Capabilities

In this new normal it is important to understand how brands will become part of the digital consumption story. Organizations will have to invest in AI technology to understand different sets of the target audience and give them customized offerings. This can be accomplished by investing in big data analytics, machine learning, and other processes to gain insight into your target audience. With these insights, you can create more effective customer touchpoints. Whether you're engaging in e-mail marketing or providing customer support, AI eliminates much of the guesswork involved in customer interactions. Not only will businesses be able to hyper personalize interactions, but I imagine they'll also be able to predict future customer behaviours based on the data collected.

Protecting Brand Reputation

In a post-pandemic environment, marketers will also have to be on a lookout for any possible risk to their brands. This includes brand reputation risks; brand safety risks; privacy risk; cybersecurity risks; financial risk, all within the context of marketing. This is not only about making sure that the brand is not seen at an undesired place. It is a more holistic approach regarding identifying and addressing any threat before it becomes a real challenge.

Brand reputation will need significant investment and focus, intelligent brands will realize they need to activate their purpose now. If brands start communicating authentically, they will be perceived as trustworthy and this will help them gain in the long term. Consumers will have less patience for brands that are looking for immediate gains. Brands that understand their customers in a crisis and stands by them will significantly increase affinity for themselves.

Incorporating Data And Privacy In Brand Building 

With the rise in the number of connected devices, there is an imperative and opportunity to protect the digital ecosystem. As a financial brand, a potential privacy or security breach could result in a huge reputational or financial hit. We recognize that earning and maintaining the trust of our customers, cardholders and consumers are critical for our future. That’s why we need to incorporate privacy and security in the design of everything we do. Security and safety of online or any digital transaction will build significant armoury for brands thus resulting in attributes like trust, safety and become perceived as brands one can bank on in these uncertain times.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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