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Shifting consumer communication strategies by brands during COVID-19

Some are not looking at commercial gains.

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MUMBAI: The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented situation for everyone around the globe. As far as brands and marketers are concerned, they are unsure of what they should be communicating to consumers. Though there is no fixed strategy, companies are coping in different ways.

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To seek the answers, indiantelevision.com arranged a virtual panel discussion including Timex Group India Head market Ajay Dhyani, Duroflex Mattresses India VP-marketing Smita Murarka, Mirum India joint CEO Sanjay Mehta and FBB future retail CMO Prachi Mohapatra. The panel was moderated by Indiantelevision.com CEO, founder and editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari.

According to Mohapatra it is not a time for any brand to implement push or pull strategy but to stay relevant to its brand ideology and think from the point of view of a consumer. A lot of brands and agencies are taking help from influencers and social media to engage with consumers.

She also mentioned that from a brand perspective this is not a space to be marketing everything. Mohapatra also believes that before becoming marketers they are consumers. “For example, from a fashion perspective, all I am going to do is keep my customers engaged. There is no push or pull going to happen from the brand," she said.

Understanding the importance of fitness and mental health Timex group has found a perfect way to tell consumers how much the brand cares for them. It even extended the warranty period of its watches through a push notification.

“We have one segment of watches which is focused on health and fitness. The communication slightly shifted towards communicating with our consumers, talking more about health and fitness tips. There are a large number of applications installed on the handsets of our consumer. We also have an app for registering people with quarantine. Apps were used to give push notifications to our consumers, and inform them about health and hygiene,” said Dhyani.

Mehta said that they did not have very high exposure to some of the sectors which are more impacted like travel and hospitality. They have faced a huge loss from the revenue front.

He added that a lot of clients have had to cut down on media spends, which is a large vertical that took a hit. Some of the conversations were around retailers choosing to pause marketing completely.

Mehta points out that if something is going to resume it is going to be e-commerce and delivery of all products with digital enabling that change. He believes that there won't be many people mingling in the future.

Murarka notes that before the COVID situation, there was an influx of brands, discounting and sales mechanisms. For Duroflex Mattresses, Covid 19 has been a good time to talk about what the brand stands for: sleep solutions.

She added, “We started looking at people with an intention of what relevant communication we can make during this time. So, we stayed true to our purpose and without commercial gains. I think that is when the real hallmark of longstanding trustworthy brands happen when there is no commercial gain involved." It has also tied up with a influencers to create awareness about sleep solutions.

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