Ajay Dhyani
Sep 25, 2020

Opinion: How brands are engaging creatively with consumers during this 'new normal'

Investing in digitisation and combining the elements of brand messaging with the current scenario can go a long way in providing meaningful experiences for consumers, says the author

Ajay Dhyani
Ajay Dhyani
Over the months since the pandemic took over the world, the narrative around the normalcy in day-to-day life has changed radically. The pandemic has changed the usual ways of working and disrupted businesses across the world. In this unprecedented situation, the consumer attitude, behaviour, and purchasing habits are changing. People are shopping consciously, buying local, and are embracing digital commerce.  Even as the crisis continues to evolve, marketing will continue to be relevant to gain consumer insights. Building brand strategies, and customer retention through digital, social, and mobile strategies will remain pivotal even in the post-Covid world. 
During this unprecedented time, the effect of Covid-19 can also be seen in the watch industry. Due to this, various brands are re-strategizing marketing initiatives to align it with the needs of the customers. 
To strengthen the bond with consumers, several brands are using nostalgia as a marketing tool. Why it works and especially during these times is because it transports us to a simpler place where the current problems don’t matter and focuses on things that are already great. Case in point - when Doordarshan announced that it would show re-runs of popular shows such as Ramayana and Mahabharat, Amul jumped into the conversation and soon, the brand started running their old ads- keeping in line with the original broadcast date of the shows. This execution required a minimal marketing budget and managed to creatively engage with the audience that many brands are still struggling to achieve. 
On a similar note, Cadbury India too has re-introduced an old jingle from the 90s to thank people for not giving up during this on-going pandemic. The campaign featured stories of people celebrating important milestones like graduations, anniversaries, birthdays while remaining home during lockdown. The campaign was then backed by "Kuch Khaas Hai' jingle from their classic advertisement. 
The increasing use of digital marketing has also been one of the key trends especially during this pandemic. As per a report by Forbes, internet hits have surged by 50-70%.   
Brands are identifying new ways to create personal experience with consumers and be more visible across social platforms. It becomes imperative for any brand to communicate effectively during this unprecedented time. Case in point - The recent Converse campaign on #CreateAtHome encouraged people to dance, paint skate, or create and showcase their talent on Instagram, and Twitter handles to narrate the Converse story. The campaign received overwhelming feedback on social media.  
Influencer marketing has also become one of the buzz words for brands as they are constantly looking to collaborate with influencers to reach out to a wide set of the target group. As per a report published, 80% of brands are planning to spend more on influencer marketing in 2020 due to their high business impact of the past campaigns. Now that people are bound to being home, the screen time has increased due to which a greater number of people are spending time on social media and look forward to the content that influencers create.  However, leveraging influencer marketing can be tricky during the lockdown. A few things need to be kept in mind before any campaign planning, for example, not force fitting the brand and make content relatable. 
Brands have witnessed dynamic changes in the past 7-8 months. Due to the changes in consumption pattern, strategies of marketing have also changed significantly. The consumer base of e-commerce shoppers has almost doubled in India. Hence, investing in digitisation and combining the elements of brand messaging with the current scenario can go a long way in providing meaningful experiences for consumers. 
The author is head, marketing and e-commerce, Timex.
Campaign India