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 Siddhant Kamath – Director at Naturals Ice Cream.
How are you coping with the impact of Covid-19 on your brand & the Organisation? How effectively have you used the lockdown period?
The raw material and packaging material and services such as machine maintenance, facility management, security, pest control etc. are all members contributing in our commitment of food safety.
The first step we took is to arrange training for all the suppliers and our own staff i.e. food handlers involved in manufacturing and storage of ice-cream and our staff at Natural’ parlours. They took online training on Covid-19 guidelines for food handlers by FoSTaC (Food Safety Training & Certification) and this training was delivered by National Level Resource Person for effective induction of knowledge.
We have also trained our outlet staff for the best safety practices from monitoring to documentations of SOP’s
We revised store layout with availability of sanitizers at multiple points to ensure social distancing and hygiene& also revised receiving and storage SOPs at our outlets to ensure utmost food safety.
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?
We started only with Sealed Packs which are directly filled at our factory in a safe environment and delivered to our stores and then to our customers through contactless delivery option. We are limiting human contact as much as possible.
We have come up with a sleeve (additional layer) that shall be on our packs with one of a kind “paper soap”. We want to educate safe and hygienic opening and consummation of our ice creams as well.
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?
We are opening our outlets in phases right now; our ice-cream tubs can be delivered through contactless` delivery through Swiggy & Zomato.
Take away has started at some outlets, this would help us having a big spike in terms to sale numbers & also helping us ease back into full flow of operations later.
What will be your communication strategy post the opening of the lockdown? Understandably bringing customers back to you would be difficult… What will be the objective of the communication/marketing strategy?
The next few months our focus is on assuring people about the safety measures we have taken in making sure our ice creams are safe and fresh to consume. We have started with StartAfresh Campaign which spoke about how we are starting late to start afresh met with great response from our customers. It became a kind of litmus test as to how our ice creams are always fresh.
In the next few weeks we plan to launch our new innovative packaging that helps our customers sanitize the box before they open it. This innovation would be a big part of our Starting Afresh campaign and we hope our audience appreciates it as much as they appreciate our ice creams.
How did you keep the morale of the employees during this lockdown period? On a personal note, what kept you positive?
Talking to the team on weekly and even daily basis, online conducting training programs with them & pushing them for doing courses online & attend webinars. Encouraged the team to come up with innovative suggestion as well.
The thing that has kept me motivated is the support received from the team as well as my franchise during these times. Each person knew what role he/she had to play when business finally resumes, what would be the focus & how to execute plans gave me strength & confidence from all the stakeholders involved.
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
We have believed in the power of ‘vocal for local’ since the time we started. In fact, all our stores across India are designed as an ode to local culture. Going forward, we don’t intend to use this powerful thought as just a hashtag but further embrace it. For example, the brand plans to come up with new ice cream flavours that are inspired from local desserts of different parts of India. We plan to grow nationally yet maintain our local touch. And you will see a lot of brand’s efforts at retail level and in communication going toward making that happen soon.