'Post COVID, marketers will need old practices as well as a redrawn communication plan'

Guest author Ashesh Dhar, Head – Sales, Marketing and Customer Care, Electric Mobility Business Unit, Tata Motors, shares insights for marketers to craft electrifying communications post pandemic

e4m by Ashesh Dhar
Updated: Jun 4, 2020 9:09 AM
Ashesh Dhar Tata Motors

The current pandemic has challenged individuals and businesses across the world which has led to the emergence of a ‘new normal’. In such a scenario, electric vehicle marketers will have to take a two-fold approach -one that revisits old marketing practices and another that redraws communication strategies to fit better into these current dynamic times. Consequently, today the focus for marketers, as always, will remain on having an insightful understanding of the changed market conditions and adapt to them accordingly.

Changing Customer’s Habits:

One of the key marketing focuses of an electric car manufacturer has always been that of awareness. India is a relatively new, all-electric car market and thus for marketers it was important to focus on dispelling myths that surround its adoption. This is in addition to the several other shared focus points that automobile marketers adopt in their strategy. However, today Covid-19 has brought about not just a change in lifestyle but also a change in consumption and buying habits and thus it makes it all the more important to tune one’s marketing strategy based on these changing needs and desires. For instance, there has been a rise in eco-conscious living. More and more people will consider new-energy vehicles, as there is already a lot of talk about pollution getting visibly reduced during the lockdown. Another change will be in buying habits. A recent survey suggested that close to 54% of respondents from India suggested they will buy a car online if available. Thus as a marketer, the focus will now be using an integrated approach that employs both ongoing messaging as well as new ideas of sustainability and online buying.

Leveraging Digital Platforms

As consumers spend more time at home, the spotlight will now be on accelerating conversations on the digital space. Additionally, there will be a significant reduction in face-to-face marketing events. In such cases, the digital platform provides the best remedy to reach your consumers in a targeted fashion and influence them where they are most active. Today brands need to communicate in a way that showcases emotional intelligence and empathy. Creative campaigns need to build saliency and bring meaningfulness into the prospective customer’s life. One must also remember that Digital marketing is not just a platform to sell your brand, but also share the values that the organization holds in times of crisis. Engagement and advocacy are crucial in these times. For instance, Tata Motors ran a campaign, advising their newest customers on Nexon EV Care Tips and the precautions they should take while keeping their newly acquired Nexon EVs in good condition, during the lockdown. Thus it is important to bring the human aspect of the brand across those virtual channels too. A digital platform also benefits from the fact that it gives marketers a chance to experiment with mediums not previously capitalized on, like vlogs and live-streams. Moreover, a targeted strategy, also allows marketers to quantify their ROI and help develop and adjust messaging tactics better.

Redefining Customer Experience

In challenging times like these, a brand's focus must be on instilling confidence in their customers through the right information, awareness and proper engagement. As such customer experience will need an overhaul. For instance, the crisis has made people more cognizant of hygiene and cleanliness. This is why marketers will have to tap into information sources to assure customers that cars used for test drives have been properly sanitized. It is important to be honest with your customers about what’s changed and surprise them with unexpected, caring gestures. Even after the long and indeterminate lockdown ends, brands must find ways to offer experiences to their customers. There is going to be a psychological impact of this lockdown and thus it is important to focus on marketing efforts that help relieve stress and truly provide an experience for customers.

Ultimately, COVID-19 will bring in an undeniable change in the marketing landscape. The focus now will be to put people first, as interaction and collaboration take on a new meaning. Brands will have to tell their stories in different ways and adapt to changing circumstances to ride out the challenging times ahead.

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