None of us had expected the lockdown to last for over 2 months; the fight against Covid-19 has only united us and in a way has prepped us all to adapt to the many ‘new normals’ that it brought with itself.
Some of the new normals include us washing our hands multiple times a day or using a hand sanitizer. The nation-wide lockdown is slowly being lifted across orange and green zones and life is crawling back to a new-normalcy.
These ‘new normals’ bring a plethora of opportunities for preventive healthcare brands to innovate and provide solutions and products that are preventive in nature to customers.
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’.
Well, Covid-19 is not over yet, but it’s definitely the start of good. It’s time for Back to Business…
In this story of Medianews4u’s new brand series, Back to Business, we caught up with Suman Varma, Chief Marketing Officer, Hamdard Laboratories (Medicine Division)
How are you coping up with the impact of Covid-19 on Hamdard Laboratories? How effectively have you used the lockdown period?
The covid-19 outbreak has brought various behavioral and operational changes and challenges for brands. In the context of communication, we saw brands reiterating “STAY SAFE. STAY HOME” messaging to stay relevant. There has been more focus on digital communication and the lockdown also saw increased usage and adaption of the internet especially in rural India.
The nationwide shutdown impacted businesses across industries including the consumer health and wellness segment. Multiple organizations have implemented work from home policies which wasn’t a usual practice and even Hamdard had a similar effect. It has allowed brands to revisit and rethink their communication/marketing strategies and going forward there will be a more consumer-centric approach by the marketers.
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 Hamdard Laboratories?
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to several behavioral and lifestyle changes and having a strong immune system has been at core to avoid such infections as guided by the Ministry of AYUSH. Simultaneously, the on-going clinical trials of AYUSH medicines to test their effectiveness against Covid-19 will propel the demand for alternative healthcare and wellness product segment that has been part of India’s age-old culture.
In a post-Covid era, consumers’ priority would be health, wellness, and sanitization to avoid any infection. Brands like us who are into wellness and healthcare will play a vital role to meet the consumer requirement and help them to have a healthy and better life. Moreover, with the Government’s ‘Vocal for Local’ push, individuals will switch to Indian companies further spurring the growth across industries including health and wellness space. Today, the biggest challenge is to have a strong immunity of the body and we, at Hamdard, are committed to offering products that can be beneficial to improve body immune system.
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?
At Hamdard, we are going to do everything that is possible by adhering to all Government directives in order to fight the pandemic and ensure the wellbeing of every individual. With cities like Mumbai and Delhi still in a lockdown situation, interstate sales, transportation of goods, and their distribution is going to be impacted, however, we will begin with our operation in a phased manner. It’s an unprecedented time for brands and business and the journey ahead will not be the way we had envisaged, but we will try and maximize opportunities that is possible. Our first priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our employees.
What will be your communication strategy post the opening of the lockdown? What will be the objective of the communication/marketing strategy?
Being a healthcare wellness brand, it has become more important for us to spread awareness around holistic wellness lifestyle and emphasis on the benefit of alternate medical treatment methodologies. Brands will thrive on purpose-driven communications, there will be consumer centric-pricing for various FMCG and wellness categories as they will continue to grow manifolds post Covid-19 times.
There will be an emphasis on sustainable living and products with health and wellness benefits at the core will be preferred and will enjoy an accelerated customer base in the coming times. We are positive that products from Hamdard Laboratories stable will gain more and more popular as they are based on a holistic wellness concept and come with a reasonable price tag.
Moving forward, we will flex different brand muscles differently in our brand narratives. Digital platforms have played a vital role in keeping us connected to our consumer-based and has helped us attain the desired results.
How did you keep the morale of the employees during this lockdown period? On a personal note, what kept you positive?
Initially, individuals were struggling to manage the nationwide lockdown as our normal life came to a standstill. There was anxiousness among individuals about their jobs followed by the unpredictability of life getting back to normal. At Hamdard, we were periodically connecting with our employees through video conferencing, internal brand engagements, and brain storming sessions for future projects to keep everyone motivated, involved, and positive towards professional and personal life.
With the implementation of Lockdown 3.0, our offices had begun with 33% attendance given the nature of the industry we operate in. However, the silver lining is not yet visible because fighting an invisible enemy is the toughest. In times like this, we have to take extra care to keep our immunity up & keep going.
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?
The consumer healthcare and wellness segment will continue to witness surge in demand for its products as a preventive and safety measure from various bacterial and viral infections. The industry will see shift towards a balanced lifestyle, adapting and practice of sanitizations etc. in order to build a strong immune system and stay healthy especially in metros and mini metros.
We are all living one day at a time; hence, we don’t want to jump to any conclusions right now. Yes there are strategies in place, but we are keeping our fingers crossed for now and are optimistic normalcy of operations. Our Wellness Centers across cities are operational now. Furthermore, our doctors are meeting patients, pharmacies have opened and we are marching towards the pre-Covid-19 times.
Tell us about the MainDarpokHoon campaign? How did it do for Hamdard Laboratories?
Recently, we launched Covid-19 awareness campaign – #MainDarpokHoon that encourages people to stay indoors and take preventive measures. It features renowned personalities like Phogat sisters and Rifle Daadis to create a paradox by describing that even fearless are worried about the pandemic and it’s wise to stay indoors to defeat the Coronavirus. The campaign garnered over a million views within a week on Facebook and was well received on multiple social media platforms.