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Khushboo Sharma Solanki, founder, Zero Gravity Communications

As brands try to find a sign of semblance post a period of uncertainty, it has become more important than ever to understand and evolve as per changing consumer expectations. From selling goods online to incorporating consumer feedback are some of the ways brands are trying to remain relevant. Khushboo Sharma Solanki, founder, Zero Gravity Communications talks about how brands and agencies can engage with their consumers–

On the playbook, brands and agencies need to adopt the new normal

The year 2020 was marred by the Covid-19 pandemic for a majority of months. Its impact was pervasive across sectors, with the integrated marketing landscape being no exception. As a matter of fact, Covid-19 has left behind a trail of learning for integrated marketing professionals. It has underscored the significance of resilience and agility to navigate through the dynamic landscape. Covid-19 has changed the world for the better; some of the new habits acquired by consumers are here to stay. Empathy has gained a currency during the pandemic and will continue to be a centrepiece of brand communication strategy from now on.

On the gradual return of the business, how much of it restored, and the new trends which can be spotted compared to pre-COVID- times

Covid-19 has brought a paradigm shift in consumers’ habits, preferences and choices. Some of the changes are here to stay, while we see a subtle curve back to normalcy for sectors such as retail, travel and hospitality. The onset of 2021 with the beginning of the vaccination drive has instilled optimism. As the world inches towards normalcy, health, hygiene and wellness concerns will become paramount for consumers. Equally significant will be the role of technology to boost efficiency and enhance the customer experience.



On how brands can create at-home meaningful experiences for consumers

Amid the health, hygiene and wellness becoming the central concerns of consumers, brands that tailor their business and communication strategies will have an advantage over others. Covid-19 has also ushered a shift in marketing communication strategy from hard-selling to addressing customers’ problems and grievances. Empathetic communication will be the key to gaining customers’ trust and loyalty. The focus will now be on providing a wholesome consumer experience rather than just a product or a service. The post-Covid-19 scenario presents a unique opportunity for every industry to add value and innovate. For instance, the financial and banking sector can add value for their customers with more banking options on the devices, FMCG brands can innovate on packaging and delivery to things more hygienically and attractively. The key takeaway is that the offerings should not be opportunistic, but it should be more humane.

On how brands can make the most of the shift towards digital

There would be hardly any national brand that would not have had a digital presence before the pandemic. Nevertheless, Covid has accelerated the pace towards digitisation. Brands can leverage this massive change of perception and digital acceptance through uniquely tailoring their strategies to enhance the customer experience experiences or products. For example, an FMCG brand in the grocery segment can come up with smart fridges to negate the need of stepping out of homes for groceries and automate the ordering process based on user consumption patterns. Digitalisation in the post-Covid-19 scenario will not be restricted to platforms and advertising alone; big data and how brands use this data and behaviour patterns to usher innovation will be the norm.

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