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“120 new fatalities in state; in Mumbai, toll at 2182”

“In 19 days, 200% strike recorded”

“Highest single-day spike of 3,752 cases in Maharashtra”

These sort of bitter statements are all we read nowadays. Newspapers, our phones are full of such horrifying and sorrowful news. Corona Virus has affected many lives, in incomprehensive ways. Economically – most of our work is on hold, physically – many people are stranded and stepping out of our homes is quite scary, mentally – everyone just wants this to end.   It not only has brought the country to a halt, but also is life threatening and fatal. Its spread around the country is alarming. With this all our business strategies and techniques need to be changed.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going” is a popular saying in American English.  This is what a lot of brands and organisations are trying to do in these times. From spreading awareness about the current scenario to spreading positivity through various marketing campaigns, brands are trying to ensure that they don’t lose out on their personal touch with their customers and create value.

These times have been rough and rugged but businesses must move forward and should do so with empathy and precaution.  Impressively, some brands have already produced fascinating campaigns that speak about the realities and existence of this precarious pandemic. Anand Mahindra of the Mahindra & Mahindra Group offered to provide Mahindra resorts as care facilities for those infected. His company is also working on making ventilators for Covid-19 infected patients. Several companies such as ITC, HUL, RB, Adani Foundation, TVS Motor Company, Tata Group and Godrej have pledged material and monetary aid to help the government. This is a great example of being of service to consumers in these crucial times. HDFC released a song which beautifully portrays how we shouldn’t lose hope in these tough times (https://youtu.be/2VqBlZZ4H6E ). It is great to see such creativity in these marketing campaigns, but marketers must realise that this is not enough. They should push their companies to do more and better. This is the time to move forward and give as much value as possible to their customers and the society.

Customers should feel that the brands are standing with them and for them. They want the brands to do more of solving and tackling the problem rather than selling. Customers want the companies to partner with government or NGOs for the greater good. Companies who behave responsibly, give back to the society in these times of crisis are certainly going to be rewarded honourably by the customers.

 Safety is of utmost priority in these times. Organisations should take safety measures for their employees as well as customers. Hygiene is of topmost priority and must be maintained at every step of production. Right from sanitising the factory area and the raw materials to the safe disposal of waste, all the measures must be taken. Employees are asked to work from home in order to avoid physical contact and practice social distancing. Customers should be assured that they are receiving products that were handled carefully.

 Advertising on all sorts of platforms has increased tremendously. Brands should use these platforms not only to stay connected with their customers but also to educate, spread positivity and awareness about social distancing. They should encourage their customers to use this time effectively. This time should also be used by companies to take online surveys and innovate their products and services. During these times; advertising should be done with utmost care. Using humour might make customers feel that the problem is taken lightly.

Post COVID 19

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change” -Stephen Hawkins.

 The coronavirus “may never go away”; the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated this. The only way to survive is to adapt. There is a “new normal” that is going to emerge with consumers adapting to it. This lockdown and the COVID impact are definitely going to result in new trends once the current period ends. There will be an increase in “in home” food consumption and deeper penetration of e-commerce platforms, and the need for convenience.

Marketers may have to tackle quite discernible changes in consumer behaviour post the lockdown. Understanding these changes will be important to both sustaining their business and capitalising on new emerging opportunities. Consumers are expected to be more risk-averse post lock-down and therefore, expect an increase in demand for durability and reliability in products and services. In fact, demand for extended warranties on products is expected to increase.

Consumers must be feeling a lack of control due to uncertain situations around them. In such situations, they are expected to look for services that are structured and planned. COVID pandemic has created financial crunch and economic hardships. People have started valuing money and savings even more than what they did before. Therefore, a lot of consumers are expected to opt for low cost alternatives of well-known brands i.e. products and services that sell ‘value for money’.

 Apart from this, many feel that it’s the need of the hour to buy Indian products over foreign manufactured products. This is the only way to revive the Indian economy.   

A lot of consumers have expressed and explored their other interests and hobbies (like cooking, painting, etc.) during the lockdown. Reach 3 Insights recently found that 76% have recently picked up new habits, behaviours and routines in the wake of COVID-19. Of those people, 89% said they plan on keeping some of their new habits. Consumers are trying new products, from which 36% are planning to continue using new brands that they’ve tried after COVID-19. Therefore, demand for life-style and holistic (organic/eco-friendly) products and services are expected to increase.

 Our life is like a moving wheel and needs to keep moving forward. Just like stagnant water contaminates itself, not moving forward in life will destroy us. We do not know what the future holds for us and should accept and adapt to life as it comes.