Today we are in conversation with the Industry leaders in the Digital space and business has been impacted due to the second wave. Also talking to them on what will be the strategies for their brands going forward
What a dramatic change this Covid19 has brought to our lives, whether it is the business or for us human beings. India was just recovering from lockdown, business was slowly getting on its feet and the second wave has struck. Past two months have been very stressful and most states have now gone into partial lockdown. Undoubtedly, all business establishments irrespective of their strength and type of industry have been affected.
Businesses, jobs, are still seeing great upheavals; the world is also seeing a tectonic shift in the way brands and people communicate. The digital space in India whether OTT, or E Commerce or Payment gateways are seeing a surge. Brands are now preferring to park their money on digital platforms and looking at innovative ways to reach their consumers. Communication has become more empathetic, more detailed, keeping in mind the sentiments and moods of the consumer in general.
Mohit Ahuja, Director (Brand Strategy and Client Services) at Mirum India
When the lockdown had happened last year, most companies, like most of us, were caught unawares. They had to adapt to home-delivery models led by e-commerce and promoted digitally. The journey of this so-called adaptation continued and business models evolved digitally. Most of the brands we handle have had adopted to this new way, and companies are bullish on E-commerce. In fact, most FMCG and liquor retailers have more been than ready when the lockdown was announced this year. From digital services, what we are going to witness is a lot of consolidation – single agencies handling promotions and supply chains; evolution of specialised services like direct sales linked models for SEO, digitisation of rural influencers, corporate and user collaborative promotions and increased emphasis on voice across offerings.
Prasad Shejale, Founder and CEO, Logicserve Digital.
It is really sad to see the second wave of the pandemic rising and affecting so many of us. I truly hope we are all able to fight this second wave soon and emerge as stronger beings.
With regards to the digital industry, I believe the second wave of the pandemic has reinforced higher adaption of digital and is accelerating it as the most critical channel for brands to reach out to consumers across the consumer journeys. The first wave of pandemic promoted more of a step-change among businesses and got them thinking about the digital space, especially the traditional businesses. Having strengthened their digital presence and following the digital-first approach, businesses have realised the importance of digital being a key touch point in the consumer journey. Having said this, I feel, with the second wave, brands will work upon speeding up and advancing their strategies while being innovative. For brands, the branding battlefield will shift to the digital space. How quickly they are able to adapt to the changes and step up their game will certainly play a vital role in managing their growth and sustenance.
We’ve already seen the way the pandemic has resulted in people & brands moving their focus on the digital industry and invest more here. I believe they will continue to do so, irrespective of the second wave because they’ve realised the quantum of people they can reach through digital and they will now use it in combination to their offline strategies even when things go back to normal. Digital industry is set to keep growing for the next couple of years, at a good speed.
Rajni Daswani, Director – Brand Experience & Employee Engagement – SoCheers.
We have been asking our brands to double down on e-commerce sales, focus on driving their business goals from digital primarily because their audiences are growing here. Millennials, Xillennials or GenZ, all of them are using digital platforms to fulfil their requirements and all brands can reach them and fulfil their requirements. Our focus is not just sales but also brand building because Digital gives an equal platform to a small brand VS a big brand. It’s important to not just focus on one-time sales numbers, but also repeat purchases which will be supported by brand building.
Ankit Saraf, Founder, Meraqi Digital.
Over the course of the pandemic, brands have had to be on their toes and re-evaluate their business models to survive and brands have adapted well and you probably have seen various examples around you. COVID-19 has changed consumer behavior, hence advertising has changed. Even though brands are better prepared this year, but consumer sentiment is still low. Print, OOH, cinema advertising has decreased and brands have prioritized spending on in-home media – i.e. TV and Digital.
Online advertising is favorable for brands at the moment as “direct response” campaigns – encouraging quick purchases by consumers – are an attractive proposition for brands spending cautiously and looking to drive sales. Additionally, now is the time for brands to be empathetic with consumers and stay connected. Show how much they value customer relations and communicate as per the context as things are changing fast, hence strategies need to keep evolving. There is no one set approach but digital content definitely needs to be a priority.
Brands need a find a balance between talking about their products and services but at the same time and not be ignorant and silent about the current situation at large. Above all spread some joy and positivity.
Snigdha Suman, Head of Marketing, Avon India
We have been working on Avon’s digital transformation for some time now and direct selling has already made in-roads online, but COVID 19 really upped the pace of our digital makeover. Online orders increased last year and have shown a spike during the COVID-19 outbreak. We have moved relationships to the virtual, but, in some ways, we are more connected than ever.
It was brilliant to see our beauty advisors embrace this change during lockdown. Many of them are already ‘micro-influencers’ and we have been encouraging them to embrace this challenge, using our iconic brand to build bridges to a new customer base.
Throughout the pandemic we’ve been working hard on strengthening our community virtually, including supporting Representatives through regular contact and video workshops on building their business online, as well as offering tips and insights on how to capitalize on social media. The result for many Representatives has led to outstanding results through the pandemic.
Product launches have been handpicked to suit the sensibility of the current time – and activations are focused on Social media and training platforms to our Representatives.
Avon’s brand tonality has always been very inclusive and caring for the people and planet, and we are strengthening this more by connecting more often with our seller and consumer groups virtually; and also taking our cause initiatives (domestic Violence and Breast Cancer Crusade) in a much stronger way through NGO partnerships.