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Guest column: Brands have to re-strategise for impactful engagement with consumers

It’s never been more important to stay connected to people and embrace flexibility.

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MUMBAI: 2020 has been a year of hard lessons that will leave an impact across industries and societies for decades to come. The year of the pandemic made us change the way we conduct business, and rethink our strategies, compelling us to adapt to the changing realities of the times. We’ve already witnessed a fundamental shift in how companies approach their marketing. However, one thing is clear to all of us: the pre-Covid2019 world is gone for good and 2021 is going to be about how brands amend and adjust their strategies for the new normal. We don't know yet if schools will open anytime soon. We don't know about the functions of vaccines, however, we have to re-evaluate, gear up and think of a way forward for 2021 and beyond.

1. Digital expansion

When the dust from the Covid2019 crisis finally settles, it will be clear that we’ve dramatically accelerated the adoption of digital technology into our lives. The pandemic has shown us how this digital transformation has made many aspects of our home and work continue almost as normal, despite the abnormal circumstances. Agile marketing and a presence on both online and offline platforms is the need of the hour. Our online presence and digital engagement have always been high and we would also be focusing on how our brand can work on making the digital community stronger.

2. Reconnecting with the normal world and fostering human connection

As we’re navigating a new way, we know that many of those activities we took for granted have transformed. From going to the grocery store to children attending school, our lives have changed for good. For many of us, work has also shifted from full time work in an office to work from home. This has impacted the ways we humans interact with each other and we’re transitioning to virtual relationships. Now that we all are getting to grips with the new normal, it’s never been more important to stay connected to the people and embrace flexibility. Brands will have to re-target and re-strategise to engage with consumers in newer and more impactful ways.

3. Ease of purchase

As the pandemic has compelled consumers and us to adopt e-commerce/door-to-door services and dependency on digital means at a rapid pace, 2021 will see brands working further to improve product accessibility for consumers as India's digital revolution gathers pace after a subdued economic year overall.

4. Climate change and sustainability

Even though it might not be obviously clear, the Covid2019 pandemic has highlighted the fragility of human existence itself, and that in turn has forced consumers to prioritise sustainability and climate change issues that might have been overlooked five years ago. The rising penetration of social media in every aspect of lives has also compelled consumers to signal to their peers that they care about the planet. Caring for the planet and sustainable ecosystems along with proselytisation of veganism have become key virtue-signalling elements in our thought process. Brands across the world have responded to this change and even fossil fuel conglomerates are presenting “Green, sustainability” funds to mitigate the effects of climate change. The world is witnessing the power of mass behaviour change and everyone is remembering the importance of leading with purpose. Consumers prefer to connect with brands that display a sense of sustainability ethic.

In 2020, Faber-Castell launched its recycled range of paper pencils, made with recycled and repurposed paper. The rainbow shavings in this product underlined the brand’s priority to promote inclusivity. Added to this, the water-soluble seeds found at the bottom of the product emphasized its eco-friendly quality. Through this one product, we are forwarding our goals of sustainability as well as inclusivity. This is not to say that we are resting on our accomplishments. Through advanced research and product development, we are constantly attempting to further improve our sustainability score through innovation in our packaging and products. The consumers have always positively responded to this and we hope that we will continue to be appreciated for it.

(The author is marketing director of Faber-Castell India. Indiantelevision.com may not subscriber to her views.) 

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