Brands eager for Onam to help recover Kerala ad market

The sales are however lower than last year.

NEW DELHI:  The first-ever virtual conclave by, ‘The comeback of Kerala: Onam returns’, focused on the growth of the Kerala market post Covid2019. The first session 'The National Perspective - Are Brands & Consumers Ready' focussed upon how brands are looking at cashing in on the festive spirit of Onam.

The session was moderated by TAM Media Research Pvt Ltd CEO LV Krishnan and the panelists were Wavemaker India VP Kishan Kumar Shyamalan, Zenith India COO Jai Lala, ITC Ltd head media and PR Jaikishin Chhaproo, Initiative India CEO Vaishali Verma and Godrej Consumer Products Ltd head of media Subha Sreenivasan.

According to Chhaproo, “Things are not back to the normal level. With Onam coming up, we have not witnessed any spike in the sales. There are still challenges in logistics, demand in the market is still low and many are facing issues to have products in the market.”

Sreenivasan said that things will pick up soon, but it’s not going to be an immediate curve. She adds, “We are not able to sense the bounce back really. Though, we have seen a recovery in the last two months across functions, it’s going to take some time to bounce back as the business has been impacted, it's going to take time to undo that part and as soon as that picks up, consumption will see a revival.”

Verma shared that as sectors are opened up most of the advertisers are back including retail. The auto sector was completely shut down, but from July onwards there is a positive trend. However, the consumer sentiments have been low. 

“We hope the next three months will contribute to a positive economy. In the offline market, there was a lot of pent up demand. From August onwards, planned purchase would continue to happen, however, ticket size or value might come down," she added.

Shyamalan said that while there is a need to celebrate the fact that local retailers are back, it's not a great start to Onam. The large local retailers are not doing the level of business they usually do. National brands need to innovate and create sub-segments and media partners can help to sustain it better.

Lala opined, “The need of the hour is to work together ever before; we need to get information at the ground level. The engagement has to be very deep; TV and newspapers have been impacted which need to get back to their pace."

Experts believe that digital will see double-digit growth and hyper-local content will be bound to grow.

Chhaproo said, “The sheer fact that original content was not available on television and disruption in availability of newspapers, everybody went to the digital medium. Hyper-local content and advertising will grow, there will be a significant surge in digital spends overall. We have also dabbled with local content partners in Kerala, which has helped us to connect better."

Krishnan asked the panellists how the next quarter looks like.

Verma said that with the announcement of IPL there is some bit of excitement. “There will be definitely a growth in this quarter over the last three months. As we exit 2020 December, our estimates see a deficit of 20 per cent over 2019. Even if the growth happens in the next three quarters, it is not going to compensate for the loss of the last three months. In a way, it’s a recession, but we hope there will be a revival in advertising. The coming months will define how the year would end up."

Lala also affirmed that there will be a dent this year. “The next three months are very crucial; if things return to normal then there are chances of a normal 2021. Categories like retail and auto are dependent on the festive season and if that scales up then it will be positive for the economy and push forward for the next year.”

He also pointed out, “If the brands are performing well in their respective market categories, then this is the right time to invest. But the problem is everybody does not have money to invest.”

Kumar Shyamalan added, “The H2 impact will be far lesser, and the next three months will be extremely critical to see how many opportunities we have while working together.”

Sreenivasan concluded, “As a brand, you need to think of a long-term rejuvenation to get out of the adversity that has stuck all of us collectively.”

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