Our strategy for & after COVID-19 will be customer-centric: Sanjeev Shukla, Muthoot Blue
Shukla, the Group Chief Marketing Officer for Muthoot Pappachan Group, speaks about the brand’s COVID-19 strategies and importance of keeping customers first even during a crisis
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, many brands are overhauling their marketing strategies. Brands across the globe are constantly communicating with their audience through various platforms in the hopes of staying relevant and ensuring there is brand awareness in their communication.
Sanjeev Shukla, Group Chief Marketing Officer, Muthoot Pappachan Group (popularly known as Muthoot Blue, a diversified conglomerate in the financial services industry) in a conversation with exchange4media shared marketing strategies that brands can implement in order to keep their consumers engaged and attain brand affinity.
“Our strategy for COVID-19 and post the pandemic will be customer-centric. We want to address every customer and closely understand what he/she is going through. We know for instance that the cash flow is affected, so we want to remodel our products accordingly as soon as the lockdown is over. We might look at restructuring products to make sure that we recognize the fact that it will take some time for customers to repay the loans,” Shukla shared when asked about the strategy post lockdown.
He added, “During this period, we are reaching out to customers one to one and talking to them. Not for any business or transactional purposes, but for asking about their well-being. There is a certain amount of saliency that we are giving to our customers. We have around 3600 branches all over the country. These customers live within 5 km of those branches. The branch staff and customers know each other at a community level. We talk to our customers on a day to day basis. For us, communication is key.”
MPG has created a whole new terminology, from Work from Home to Loan from Home. With their new campaign Loan from Home, anyone can avail a loan with a SMS and the money will be transferred into their respective bank accounts. One can register themselves on 24x7 service and get an instant top up on existing Gold Loan. MPG is also engaging with their own colleagues and involving them and their children in spreading awareness about COVID-19.
Since the Muthoot Group has many other companies under its banner, we asked Shukla about the business that has been most impacted during this time of crisis.
“We are into various financial businesses, from gold loans to affordable housing loans to two-wheeler loans, etc. What has been impacted in the past few years is the automobile business and that is because the industry itself is so badly affected by the slowdown. It has somehow has affected our financing business. But I think in the coming times, we will see a boom in that industry because people prefer two-wheelers or personal transport rather than public transport for commuting, according to few surveys and also it is part of the basic requirements,” he pointed out.
Being in the business for many decades, Muthoot Group has stayed afloat and successful even after the recession hit the year 2008-09 and demonetization year 2016. How has coronavirus impacted the business? And are companies going through more harms and losses? We posed these questions to Shukla.
“COVID is not impacting that kind of losses as of now, but we were badly impacted by demonetization. It impacted our customers because we all used to operate in cash. COVID-19 is another speed breaker to the economy. Our country has been recovering after demonetization, then there was an economic slowdown. We will walk extra miles to make sure we are not impacted as much,” Shukla expressed.
While social media consumption is high, advertisers are shying away from any big campaigns. Muthoot Group is also tackling this present crisis and taking steps to grow the brand stronger despite the challenges. First up is keeping the conversation buzzing by reaching out to its stakeholders like media, PR. “We will channelize other platforms including TV, social media to reach our TG. And the other part is that we have our own customers and 30-35% of customers are repeat customers. We are reassuring them that we are there for them. We want to build trust amongst our customers, so that they can also tell in their networks that we are the brand they trust,” he concluded.
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