The new normals in a world where Covid-19 unfortunately is becoming a part of our life will bring about many changes in the way businesses will be conducted, and more importantly the way we live our life.
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.
In this story of Medianews4u’s new brand series, Back to Business, we spoke to Shenoy Muralidhara, Commercial & Country Director – Huntsman Advanced Materials.
How are you coping with the impact of Covid-19 on Araldite? How effectively have you used the lockdown period?
Covid19 has been an unprecedented disruption to our business and our lives in many ways. In Huntsman we’ve used this unwelcome opportunity to work in the following areas:
- EHS– In line with Huntsman’s strong commitment to EHS, we’ve remained engaged with our associates, sites and partners to ensure their continuous safety and wellbeing
- TEAM ENGAGEMENT – Continuous engagement with the teams, to motivate them, to address any individual challenges, impart on-line training, etc
- CUSTOMER CONNECT – Our sales & customer service teams have maintained connect with our customers and distributors, to understand the developments in their markets, operations, specific geographical challenges, if any.
- PLAN FOR FUTURE – We’ve held extensive internal meetings amongst teams, to revisit our business plans, develop post-covid scenarios, reconsider innovation plans, generate any other ideas including cost optimization, leakage control, etc.
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?
We’ll focus even more on maintenance and repair applications and further intensify our end-user engagement programs as the markets open. We’ll use every available opportunity to promote our brand in targeted & localized manner, to optimize costs & further sharpen the reach of our communication campaigns.
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?
Fortunately, Huntsman has a large and widespread footprint in India, consisting of many offices, warehouses, manufacturing/tolling sites, distribution partners. Therefore, continued lock down in Mumbai or in any other city/area has not prevented us from restarting our business operations in the rest of the country. As a matter of fact, in the last few weeks, we’ve seen several markets opening up partially and we have started servicing them in a seamless manner. Huntsman is a very IT savvy company with sophisticated IT infrastructure that helps us to manage our commercial and control functions in a remote, flexible and compliant manner.
What will be your communication strategy post the opening of the lockdown? What will be the objective of the communication/marketing strategy?
Post Covid19, we anticipate a big shift in terms of customer behavior, preferences and purchasing priorities. Reverse migration of the labour force in India will have an impact on our business, particularly in construction and MSME sectors. Our communication strategy will be readjusted to this new reality, with more focus on maintenance and repair, household applications, targeting DIY enthusiasts.
The “what next” approach has changed to “what now”. As India becomes more digital, it is time that the world’s strongest adhesive also makes its foray into e-commerce. If you can’t move out of the house, Araldite will be delivered to your doorstep. This will enable us to serve the consistent needs of bonding, fixing, repairing, waterproofing across India.
How did you keep the morale of the employees during this lockdown period? On a personal note, what kept you positive?
Huntsman has a close-knit team, with a strong culture of connectedness and a shared common purpose. We’ve had team connect sessions, online training programs on a continuous basis, at all levels. As for me, maintaining a positive attitude was not difficult – I am an optimist by nature and have seen many ups & downs in the past, to realise that this too shall pass. Further, if we look around, we find so many sections of society which are far more disadvantaged and challenged – helps us to put this crisis in perspective, count our blessings at an individual level and to do whatever little we can, to help the community around us.
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?
Covid19 has enabled us to deploy & test our BCP (Business Continuity Plan) in a real-life situation of this magnitude and duration. We’ve learnt many lessons at the level of our business, organisation and at an individual level. All our collective experience will be used to redefine some of our business strategies, processes and control protocols, to be better prepared for any such scenarios in the future.