It has been two and a half months since the country went into lockdown mode due to the pandemic. We are hoping that the lockdown will be finally lifted on the 30th June. Though some States have opened up partially now. The recent outbreak of the COVID – 19 is also seeing a tectonic shift in most people’s lives. There are so much stress and anxiety about job losses, loneliness, and other factors. But this lockdown has also changed the way organizations are thinking, the way they work, etc.
MediaNews4U spoke to Kapil Arora – Co-Chairman & CEO, 82.5 Communications on his thoughts on the Lockdown and its impact.
It’s been 70+ odd days since the lockdown, how are you coping and boosting the morale of your team?
I have looked at this phase like a team distance-cycling event. Where after the initial burst of energy and excitement, you realise there is a long way to go. So you adapt – your pace, your breathing, your oxygen intake – to settle into this new rhythm.
What has been key, is keeping the mind focused on the goal, continuously communicating with the team and being flexible enough to adjust strategies quickly.
As a core leadership team, we are like the lead cyclists – who need to work harder to cut through the uncertain air in the front, so as to give the rest of the team the benefit of some slipstream. In doing that, as a team, we continually make progress and of course, retain that energy and motivation for winning the long distance.
The Lockdown is in the 5.0 phase 82.5 handles some major clients, what is your way forward strategies for them?
It is a phased and tentative revival period even now for our clients. Some sectors like travel, hospitality, events, construction, heavy vehicles etc. will take relatively more time to get back, but our clients across FMCG, foods and dairy, media, beverages, durables, handsets, education, electric mobility, financial and IT services are all at different stages of rebuild – in a geographical and government policy aligned approach.
From a brand strategy and brand building perspective, to say that nothing will change or that everything will change, are both extreme. The answer lies somewhere in the middle. And finding that answer begins with honestly evaluating the impact of the extended lockdown and the shadow of the virus over the next 12-18 months – on consumer motivations and behaviour, across each of our product and service categories. And we are doing that, across our portfolio. This has prompted a reaffirmation of our path in some cases, a modification of plans in others and even thrown up potential new opportunities that we are pursuing with our client partners in a few cases.
What is the strategy for 82.5 to stay ahead of the curve?
We set up the 82.5 Communications offering in early 2019, on a few fundamental pillars – an India-first focus, an elbows-in depth of involvement work philosophy, an Ogilvy source code of creativity that works and a WPP open source partnership model, that works as a force multiplier for our clients. And given all that we have seen unfold over the last 3 months, I’m even more convinced that it is the ideal mix to deliver for clients in India, in the near future.
So we’re going to keep at it and continue honing our product, so we do not just ask you to be ‘vocal for local’ as a catchy slogan, but because 82.5 Communications will deliver to you global standards of excellence, in local.
What is that one special mantra you want to give to the millennials?
Dear millennials, you have more to teach us, than the other way around. But the one thing we can tell you, as your generation faces its first full blown impact of a truly globally crisis – is the power of patience and resilience. Add that to your already fabulous armory and this too, shall pass.
Post-Covid what would be your advice to your clients on ways to do effective communication?
Be mindful of the environment you operate in, but not led by it. Continue to lead from the brand’s core and what value it adds to consumers’ lives.