Balancing between positivity & opportunism: Marketing during a pandemic

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Kartik Johari Nobel Hygiene on marketing during pandemic

Kartik Johari, Nobel Hygiene sheds light on perils of marketing during a pandemic, the thin line between optimism & opportunism, and the need to offer value to customers, along with goods & services.

There’s already too much that has been said about marketing during a pandemic. Everyone understands that sensitivity and care should be paramount, but with everyone crowding in the same domain, it can be tough to have a unique voice.

Having said that, it’s an exciting time for communications. There exist great opportunities in the market for unique communication, digital has been given an unprecedented push, and TV + Radio are posting incredible numbers along with a semi-captive audience. When all of 2020 seems daunting, with floods, locusts, deaths, and a stagnating economy, mythological shows are providing a much needed mental respite to people.

So, how can one balance positivity while not coming across as crass or opportunistic? The key, as with most things, lies in intent.

If your excitement at marketing stems from lowered TV ad rates, Aston's presence and lowered CPIs online then sorry to say mate, but you’re on the wrong bus. Taking advantage of rates without first understanding consumers is a waste of time and money.

Will consumers really remember the 5th hand-sanitizer brand around? Will plastering your brand name 10X times really result in increased consumer preference?

Opportunistic marketing will never compensate for consumer insights or well-designed creatives. It’s the classic, creative vs media paradox, and it makes sense for a majority of marketers without evergreen budgets to focus on the creative first.

Also read: Drive lasting e-commerce performance with native advertising

If your excitement however stems from being unshackled in your messaging, from reconnecting with your consumers and from bringing them value or a better product, then we are on the right track!

Fresh thinking will always yield newer ideas. Dunzo’s creative paying homage to the Delivery Heroes is a great example of an excellent creative that addressed a common concern of millions. Additionally, they broke competition barriers and made an inclusive move. It was only possible when the feeling of respect was genuine.

Apple's video on WFH issues resonates across geographies because everyone feels the same frustrations of their work lives and home lives merging; and the loss of control that blossoms with the rise of parallel responsibilities.

Or Burger King's "Social Distancing Whopper" with triple onions; hilarity to drive the point home. Laughter can soothe shared pains if done well, which the brand did.

Further, opportunism is very short-lived. For me personally, it seems criminal to do any work on your brand with only a short-term objective without it being synergized into your long-tailed plans. One shouldn’t forget the difference between marketing and promotions.

So, to put it simply, if you are motivated to help people through your brand, you will do fine. The world needs more such emphatic moves by more brands. Powerful brands like Pepsi, Cadbury’s, Reliance, and Godrej can move consumer mentality and psyche through their messaging. They are entwined into the cultural ethos and can provide great comfort and value to the population at large. Ariel’s 'ShareTheLoad' resonated even stronger in the lockdown, echoed consumer sentiments, and offered reassurance. In times of 'every man for himself', being considerate is the least we can do.

This article piece is authored by Kartik Johari, Vice President, Nobel Hygiene

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