The Covid pandemic has had a huge impact on the global economy, with the lockdown forcing businesses to a halt and rendering millions jobless. India too is facing the pressure of an impending recession, with the World Bank already downgrading the fiscal growth for 2021 with the lowest predicted figures the country has seen in three decades. However, the government has been proactive and announced several relief packages and tax holidays so as to minimize the damage. In a bid to support the SME, MSME and the Start-up segment, a stimulus package of INR 20 lakh crore, which is 10% of India’s GDP, has been announced, coupled with an emphasis on buying local brands to boost the Indian market. This renewed emphasis on local brands over international ones is a vital step that can go a long way to prioritize growth and support for Indian businesses.
However, while the above are excellent policy initiatives, they can only help create a feasible environment for businesses to sustain. The post Lockdown era will be marked with several challenges like tough competition, changing consumer behavior, slow recovery of the service sector, compromised HR, reduced working capital, and, above all, bootstrapped marketing budgets. While the new market scenario demands that brands re-establish their relationship with the customer through a fresh narrative relevant to the new world order, adopting an apt communication strategy would be vital for brands to reach out to not only their customers but also to stakeholders across the ecosystem.
Anindita Gupta, Co-Founder, Scenic Communication lists 4 ways why it is crucial for brands to adopt an effective communication strategy so as to remain relevant in the post lockdown market scenario.
- Providing Information: It is very crucial for brands to inform their customers and stakeholders about the new business offerings/ discounted rates or packages and also inform internal stakeholders of new business policies. By keeping the concerned people informed the brand is keeping the focus on them, showing them that the brand values them as partners in their growth and will do what it takes to keep them satisfied. Keeping customers and stakeholders informed is vital in order to not only succeed but to build long term, loyal relationships, and overall brand credibility.
- Creating thought leadership: Currently with so much going on, customers, competitors, and stakeholders are all facing uncertain times and looking to understand the way forward. At such times, it can help if the spokesperson of a brand can engage with the ecosystem to clearly communicate not only the brand’s future agenda but also start a dialogue about the future of the sector, how government policies and other external factors can make this work and how one can expect a degree of certainty, at least from the brand. This initiative automatically helps build thought leadership, unite competition, and drive stronger engagement with consumers. Having a well-strategized communication agenda can thus go a long way in delivering a clear and impactful message that can translate to leadership in the market as well.
- Staying relevant: the post lockdown is going to be a time of transformation and uncertainty and it’s important, more than ever before, to stay relevant. It is also important for brands to reestablish new narratives that can hold value and significance in the world post-COVID-19. From creating consumer-centric messaging to showcasing product attributes that can help consumers in maintaining the new social distancing norms, follow healthy lifestyles, save money or be in touch with loved ones who are still far away, etc., could be the center point to fresh communication campaigns designed for the post Lockdown market. Respecting the policymakers and the sentiments of the consumer base, it is important to communicate the brand’s enthusiasm, responsibility, and ethical behavior during these times, showcasing them as a caring and responsible business entity.
- Collaborative category building: Just like the pandemic has transformed the personal lives of people, businesses too will need to transform in order to survive. Collaboration instead of competition is going to be the new world order in markets and thus healthy and effective partnerships will pave the way for a stronger and fast recovering economy. In order to secure such partnerships, however, brands would need to create a stronger messaging and secure a positive brand image so as to leverage the opportunity to form winning partnerships with leading brands. Having said this, effective brand image and recall also goes a long way in winning out on competition and creating a loyal consumer base, that can, in turn, help get better vendors, reasonable pricing or credits, and other benefits, that are going to be vital in keeping afloat in the market.
The post-Covid scenario is going to be a new market for brands and to be able to survive here, it is important for them to set their communication narrative and strategy right. A fresh and relevant communication strategy is needed to grow and be successful in this market and that is how communication agencies or PR can help to build that narrative and make a brand relevant in the changing times.
This article is authored by Anindita Gupta, Co-Founder, Scenic Communication.