The last two months have not been easy for all of us. In some way or the other, all of us are fighting the Coronavirus pandemic; either by being the frontline warriors or by simply adhering to the lockdown rules and norms. Whatever the case may be, we’re amidst a crisis that certainly has been the worst in the history of mankind.
The nation-wide lockdown is slowly being lifted across orange and green zones and life is slowly crawling back to a new-normalcy. Businesses and brands are now are making their way back into the business; planning their communication plans for a new world post the covid-19 lockdown, keeping a note of some of the new buzz words such as ‘social distancing’, ‘work from home’ and the latest one; ‘atmanirbhar’.
While staying at home has not been easy, listening to music has certainly been a stressbuster. And the reason I mentioned music here is because the brand that we are featuring in our series, Back to Business, is a brand that has certainly helped a lot of us get through the lockdown, with their great quality headphones or earphones. I am sure that a lot of people reading this story today would have or must be using Sennheiser products.
In this story of Medianews4u’s new brand series, Back to Business, we spoke to Saahil Kumar, Head-Marketing, Sennheiser India who shared insights on their post-lockdown comeback strategies in a world where the new normals have changed.
Well Covid-19 is not over yet, but it’s definitely the start of something good. It’s time for Back to Business…
How is Sennheiser coping with the impact of Covid-19? How effectively have you used the lockdown period?
Like any other brand, this pandemic has led to dynamic changes at Sennheiser. In this lockdown phase, we took several initiatives for our employees, partners, customers, and artists.
For our employees, we encouraged them to enhance their skills through various courses available online. This not only ensures employees’ growth in their professional careers; it also enhances the company’s overall efficiency and productivity. We initiated #DontStopTheMusic campaign which was an exclusive streaming concert on Sennheiser’s Instagram channel
To encourage learning amongst our Professional Segment customers, and partners, we initiated a campaign #DontStopTheEducation – a series of free online webinar sessions as we believe that there should be no reason to stop educating yourself even in the current social distancing and working from home situation.
The quest for a solution to a particular crisis helps invent new business opportunities and sometimes leads to a revision of existing business models. What sort of innovation will the Covid-19 pandemic bring to Sennheiser?
In this unprecedented time, the way of working and conducting businesses have started to evolve and change drastically. The digitalization of the workforce will be the new normal for any company’s success. Businesses will witness a more fluid, networked environment post the lockdown. Additionally, work from home will become the new normal since managers have become more trusting and employees have become pro-active when it comes to taking responsibility. Face-to-face meetings will take a backseat as clients and stakeholders will now prefer to connect virtually to save time and companies will focus more on enhancing audio solutions for virtual collaboration.
While some parts of the country have become Covid-19 free, cities like Mumbai and Delhi are still in a lockdown situation. How are you planning to resume business across cities that are not in the red zone?
Providing safety and well-being for our consumers is of the utmost priority for Sennheiser. Currently, we have started our business in the Green & Orange zone and we are following all the guidelines provided by the govt. and also ensuring proper sanitization at our warehouse.
What will be your communication strategy post the opening of the lockdown? What will be the objective of the communication/marketing strategy?
To build communications with potential, new and existing customers, brands will have to come up with innovative solutions. Brands also need to look at the market from a humanized perspective, since consumers will prefer ethical and purposeful brands and their purchasing decisions will not be based purely on aspirational value. Additionally, being empathetic to consumers’ needs will keep brands informed about what type of messages will be welcoming. Sharing information and educating the audience will be crucial. Moreover, it is an opportunity for brands to showcase that they genuinely care about the customers.
At Sennheiser, we have been constantly engaging with our consumers via our social platform to keep them engaged and motivated in these tiring times. In these challenging times, we have extended the warranty period for the customers that were about to expire during the period of lockdown.
In times like this, it becomes crucial to stay connected with colleagues and loved ones. The Sennheiser line of products-headphones and earphones with Active Noise Cancellation feature helps in blocking out all the noise so one can focus and stay connected.
How did you keep the morale high of the employees during this lockdown period? On a personal note, what kept you positive?
COVID-19 has altered the way of working across the globe. Companies are adjusting and implementing work-from-home policies for employees’ safety in such a short phase of time. When social distancing becomes the new norm, employees tend to feel isolated and demotivated during these difficult times.
Here are a few tips that are helpful in motivating employees:
Staying connected: By checking in on employees on a weekly basis and addressing to the challenges that employees are facing will show that they care. By encouraging them to talk about other issues they are dealing with, will go a long way in solving work-related issues
Setting the right goals: Encouraging teams to have a short-term goal will set the objectives in place. The deliverables should be easy to achieve to boost employees’ morale. Additionally, talking to them about their long-term goals by questioning on their learnings, area of improvement, what do they want to achieve in the next two years- will paint a positive picture and show that the company is investing time on their personal growth.
Leaving onus on the employees: Leaving onus on the employees on expected deliverables will not only help in building the culture of entrepreneurship- it will boost employees’ confidence of taking responsibility and closing their assigned tasks end-to-end.
What are some of the post-lockdown business strategies that you will use to bring the business back on track or get it in the right direction and also create demand for yourself?
This year marks the 75th year of our existence. We had plans in place which could not see the light of the day due to the current situation. We are now planning events and other important announcements via our digital platforms. We will focus on our own web shop to cater to demand and minimise dependence on distribution network. We will further avoid allocating spends for traditional BTL spends and events, as consumers will avoid such gatherings. For most of the brands, the media spends will shift to digital, with focus on existing consumers and in-market audience.
Once the markets re-open, we will continue to provide our consumers with a choice of both offline as well as online channels. We will maintain all safety checks at our facilities and keep our products sanitised for the safety of our customers.