Focussing on the 3As of Six Feet Economy, Deepali Naair takes us through the ways pandemic is changing brand communication.
Over the last few weeks, a number of reasons have caused brands to change the way they approach communicating with consumers. They are unable to truly sell their products as directly as before. The communication has become more subtle with a focus on ‘I am here for you and we will get through this’ kind of conversations. Kickstarting #SMLive 2020 as the keynote speaker, Deepali Naair, Chief Marketing Officer, India & South Asia, IBM talks about 3As brands should be mindful of while navigating the Six Feet Economy. These are Authenticity, Agility and Ability.
It is extremely important for brands to seem authentic in their communication. They cannot afford to make claims they won’t be able to see through due to, say, non-availability of the product in stores. They need to prioritise employees and communities. “During the current crisis, brands need to be authentic. They need to support consumers and not market at the moment,” Naair says.
Influencer marketing is an important part of the mix when it comes to authentic brand communication. This is because influencers have an audience that tunes in to hear what they have got to say and the resultant post doesn’t feel like an advertisement. The loyalty influencers bring to the table is something brands should look at more seriously.
“We need to relook at the influencer marketing. Some influencers have millions of followers, some are niche experts and then there are regular consumers who each can influence 200 other regular consumers,” explains Naair, adding how brands should understand the importance of each and leverage them accordingly as per need.
Currently, selling at offline stores is not possible. Should that mean brands will stop trying? No. It just means they have to find better ways to connect with potential consumers and solve the problems they are facing in the current environment.
They can innovate on digital models to find one that works and expand on home delivery options as people are staying inside their homes. Since safety is a key concern, contactless operations need to be explored and it has to be kept in mind that despite everything going on at the moment, consumers should get the value they seek.
In regards to agility, she explains, “It is the responsibility of top leadership to ensure the brand displays agility. They need to innovate with digital models and expand home delivery options.” Otherwise, they won’t be able to stay relevant to consumers and potential consumers.
Stressing on the importance of social listening in planning for the time when markets would open up properly, she says, “When the markets open up, brick and mortar stores will come up in a new avatar. Brands need to prepare for possibilities and social listening will help in the process.”
Further, she focusses on how customer experience is the need of the hour and it is important for brands to pivot their abilities accordingly. Social media should be used for market research and it is extremely important for brands to understand and learn from their failures as well as of others in the category. And, to keep experimenting.
One of the most important points put forth by Naair in her keynote address was how the education sector needs to be more like gaming. “They need to be as absorbing if they want to hold the attention of students. It is a challenge for edtech brands to achieve that,” said Deepali Naair.