This lockdown now is nearly 100 days; 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. The nation-wide lockdown is slowly being lifted across orange and green zones and life is 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 super successful brand series, Back to Business, we spoke to Ajay Dhayani – Head Marketing of Timex Group.
How is Timex coping up with the impact of COVID-19? How effectively have you used the lockdown period?
This pandemic is a health crisis that the world is currently dealing with. This, in turn, has impacted the economies and businesses around the world. It is extremely challenging as multiple generations are witnessing something like this for the very first time. Our communication is strong on maintaining social distance while being virtually connected with our loved ones.
This effectively while navigating through this rough and uncertain weather. Currently, we are closely monitoring the trend on changing consumer expectations in these changing times. We are aiming to mould our communication and marketing strategies to serve our consumers better. In this VUCA World, brands that are adding value and fulfilling customer’s expectations, will bounce back stronger.
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 will the Covid-19 pandemic bring to your brand?
In this current lockdown scenario, the trend of virtual collaboration has increased. The current pandemic will boost digital media consumption across the globe. Apart from the impact in businesses, dynamic changes will be witnessed in the ways of working too. The trend of smart working with the available digital tools for virtual collaboration will become the norm. It will further enhance the productivity and efficiency of employees. Virtual meetings instead of face-to-face meetings will be the new trend and companies will now focus more on technology and adaptability over procedures.
There will be a sea of change in the consumer buying behaviour. Consumers will look for the hyperlocal delivery model due to the ongoing pandemic. Consumers will look for brands that will add value to their day-to-day lives. Hence, brands need to adapt to the changes in the buying pattern in order to bounce back from the slow growth.
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 zone?
Our Timex World showrooms are now gradually opening in the safe zone areas. We are taking all the safety precautions to serve our customers better. Our authorised retailers are also taking precautions by sanitising the stores thoroughly. Additionally, we are educating our partners to take every safety precaution. Our warehouses and factories have been completely sanitised and we are taking hygiene seriously at every touchpoint.
What will be your communication strategy post the opening of the lockdown?
The on-going pandemic is drastically changing the consumption pattern of the customers. Undoubtedly, the pattern will remain the same even in the post COVID world which would require brands to re-visit their strategies and add more value and meaning to peoples’ lives. As social distancing and digitalisation is becoming the new norm, we have planned to focus our communication through social media.
Communication with consumers on quality, reliability, and durability will be critical. Post COVID-19, consumers will shift their preference to online purchases, however, brands are taking a holistic approach through omni-channel strategies to have a 360-degree view of their customers. Brands are taking strict measures to ensure safety precautions to win the consumers’ trust As a brand, currently, we are focusing on the omni-channel approach so that our products are seamlessly available to our consumers as per their convenience. Additionally, we need to look at the market from a humanised perspective- as the purchasing decisions of consumers will be based on ethics and values that brands bring on the table.
Brands that can quickly adapt to the changes in consumer behaviour and are resilient- will be the ones that will witness quick recovery and bounce back stronger from the pandemic crisis
How did you keep the morale high of the employees during this lockdown period? On a personal note, what kept you positive?
Coronavirus has changed lives across the globe. The way of working too has completely transformed- with work from home being the new normal now. This could be a challenging time for employees as they might feel isolated. To uplift employees’ morale, we keep checking in on employees through various available virtual collaboration tools – and help them by providing solutions in case they are facing any challenges in personal as well as the professional front. Through this, we show that we truly care for them and listen to them- which in turn creates a more energetic and motivated environment.
Timex initiated a campaign #WeDontStop wherein employees are connected with each other via an online platform to share various details from their personal life. The management is continuously encouraging the employees to engage in different activities like taking part in online courses, learning new skills and share fun and creative videos internally. Through this initiative, Timex is creating an engaging environment which further strengthens the bond not only within the team but also across different departments.
What are some of the post-lockdown business strategies that you will use to bring the business back on track and create a demand for the brand?
For us, customers and employees’ safety are our topmost priority. When the markets will re-open, we will ensure that all our warehouses, service centres, and offices are completely sanitised. Our top priority is to serve on both online and offline channels- to empower our customers with the choices as per their convenience.
As a brand, we take sanitising and hygiene quite seriously. All our offices, warehouses and factories will be completely sanitised for customers and employees’ safety. Moreover, for consumers, sanitisation will be the most important criteria for choosing a brand. They will also be ready to invest more for products that come with guaranteed safety. We are ensuring that every product we deliver will be completely sanitised and hygienic- to protect the health and well-being of the consumers.