With almost everything going online, various educational intuitions took to the e-learning mode of education and in a very short time have adapted to a new normal. In a world post-lockdown where the rules of the game are set to change, or rather have already changed, stationery brands are now targeting E-commerce platforms.
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’.
In this story of Medianews4u’s grand brand series, Back to Business, we spoke to Sonali Shah- Marketing Director, Faber-Castell India.
How are you coping with the impact of Covid-19 on your brand/company/organization? How effectively have you used the lockdown period?
This involuntary period of complete standstill has actually been a blessing for us, to take a moment and reflect on the way we function. This time period has forced us to think, brainstorm and plan better. In our normal day to day working, we never find time to understand what is right and what is easy.
This lockdown has been like a long brainstorming session, which otherwise we spend a day or two in office or outside, with lots of disturbance, to come up with a roadmap for the future.
So overall it’s been both fruitful when we talk about future ideas and strategies, and equally risky and scary not knowing what the future holds for all of us, and when will get back to business.
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 has or will the Covid-19 pandemic bring to your brand/industry/category?
Absolutely right on crisis forcing people to think of new opportunities and innovations. For us the business opportunities that are now in our face is to go hyperlocal. Ecommerce was always an area of growth and now it has become imperative that we focus strongly on this model.
With less and less people wanting to venture out and wanting everything delivered to them at their doorstep, exploring other delivery partners also become important for our business.
In terms of product innovations, the shift from traditional writing and art products to digital was already something we are vary of. But stationery can never go out of fashion, and trend towards eco-friendly stationery is what we are and now will be focusing on. Besides that, our recently launched, Made in India, Creative Studio Water Colours as well as the Acrylic range have been received extremely well. We will continue to innovate in that area.
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?
Slow and steady, with new distribution opportunities, is the way forward for us. Traditional shops are our lifeline, schools are our bloodline so as long as they are open, we will service them. Our sales team is one of the best in the country and with our relationship with the trade, we are assured that business will be rocking and not just back to normal.
What will be your communication strategy post the opening of the lockdown? What will be the objective of the communication/marketing strategy?
Post lockdown, the requirements for our products isn’t going to change. So our marketing strategies will also not change. Giving our consumers a great product at the best value will still continue as our brand ethos will continue to be what it is.
Yes, the current pandemic has changed the way we will respond and respect nature, and hence the eco-friendly product line which we have been working on relentlessly will now be in the forefront.
How did you keep the morale of the employees during this lockdown period? On a personal note, what kept you positive?
It was a difficult task not just to keep the morale up, but to also sensitise everyone about the situation and why it needs to be taken seriously. We have had regular calls with the team and have provided all the help that has been asked for.
Personally, this period has been productive. Like I said earlier, with day to day fire fighting, one never finds time to think about ‘what next’. This period forced all of us to sit down, relax, reflect, think and plan not just the near future, but also where we want to go, what we want to do and how we will achieve it. Apart from that, staying at home has its benefits like you have lots of time in hand to do things that you love but don’t get to do like catching up on all the reading, trying your hand at cooking, dabbling in painting etc.
What are some of the post-lockdown business strategies that you will use to bring the business back on track or at least get it in the right direction and also create demand for yourself?
As I said before, our strategies will not change, if at all they will be executed better, as now we are going in with a fresh vision. We will continue to bring the best products for our consumers, with the best quality. Our brand values have come out even stronger in these trying times and we will continue to unleash the creative potential in everyone.