Brands need to motivate consumers to buy during Onam

People are still cautious about spending.

MUMBAI: As Kerala preps itself for Onam celebrations, brands are trying to recoup some of the profits that had been forsaken because of pandemic. 

At's ‘The Comeback Of Kerala: Onam Returns’, the fifth session was about understanding overall brand sentiments.This panel was moderated by Kalyan Jewellers independent director Anil S Nair. The panellists included Lodestar UM, IPG Mediabrands executive vice president Laya Menon, Asianet News Network VP Unnikrishnan BK, Malayala Manorama VP marketing Varghese Chandy, Zee Entertainment enterprises limited south cluster head Siju Prabhakaran, Mathrubhumi Group national cluster head Sunil Nambiar and Blue Star Ltd VP sales and marketing cooling and purifications products division C Haridas.

According to Nair, for the past three years, Onam in Kerala has been affected by floods and now Covid2019. It has impacted the consumer requirements and sentiments.

C Haridas said, “Though there is an air of caution, people will start spending from Onam. People are positive and they are hoping that the spending spree will start. Onam is the first festival in the long list, it is a melting ground for all product categories. However, consumers will need the right kind of value and motivation then they will be happy to spend.”

He further added that consumers are actually spending on the basis of a need. In Kerala there is a surge in the sale in water purifiers and air conditioners to maintain the humidity. As per him it is a brand's responsibility to create a need in the market.

Nambiar shared that in the past six months, there has been a total change in the way in which people have accepted this as new normal. He also added that except for the first few months consumer sentiment is more positive now. However, he believes that the Onam market is going to be very dynamic, but there needs to be a right plan to pull the consumers. Media also has a major role to play in that.

Elaborating more about the media's role in influencing consumer sentiment, Unnikrishnan highlighted that the month of April came as a blow, but post 15 August he believes the market will pick up and from being in a saving mode people will start to spend.

Menon pointed out that the usual classifieds are still coming and the level of briefs have not come down. As per her, Kerala is still doing better than other states, giving it a reason to become more optimistic. She also thinks that marketers across categories are looking at spending and advertising rates will go up.

Prabhakaran said that brands should look at how they are responding during this crucial time. According to him, over-reliance on Onam is not a very good sign, there needs to be another festival where consumers have the propensity to spend.

Panellists are of the common opinion that Onam is just not Kerala’s interest, it is nations interest to make it successful. It is the right time to sell products but for that there needs to be proper advertisement and promotions.

Also, they noted that brands should not wait till 15 August to see how the market is performing, but they should start advertising now. Offers need to be floated now in order to create a buzz. Brands should give irresistible offers during this Onam to attract more consumers.

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