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As brands try to find a sign of semblance post a period of uncertainty, it has become more important than ever to understand and evolve as per changing consumer expectations. From selling goods online to incorporating consumer feedback are some of the ways brands are trying to remain relevant. Himanshu Arya, founder and CEO, Grapes Digital, talks about how brands and agencies can engage with their consumers–
On the playbook, brands and agencies need to adopt the new normal
Due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, advertising, marketing, promotional and media spends have forced brands to re-evaluate their current and future advertising and marketing campaigns in order to maintain a steady stream of income. Subsequently, digital agencies are taking an active role in the brand’s communication strategies. With digital media rising significantly, brands are focusing on real-time metrics, building real-time data dashboards, re-formulating brand strategies which have benefited digital agencies to an extent.
Now even brands are fully aware that all their competitors are focusing on digital medium aggressively hence, avoiding the clutter and reaching out to consumers with the right messaging has become crucial than ever. Companies understand that having a digital agency will not only solve the purpose but will have the ability to attain users attention in the shortest time. Hence, brands are aware of the fact that they can’t avoid the millennials on the digital medium, and it becomes essential to have a digital agency on board for their marketing plans.
Digital is measurable and more and more brands have taken the full-funnel approach online, from lead generation to actual sales, Digital marketing plays a vital role for any brand right from FMCG to education to automobile, the scope is widening gradually.
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On the gradual return of the business – how much of it is restored and the new trends which can be spotted compared to pre-Covid times
Last year brought a lot of challenges, but this year seems tougher at least the first financial quarter. If we look at the recent months, brands and agencies were all eager to return to pre-covid days but it’s not going to happen soon, with IPL suspension there are dark clouds on the horizon.
We witnessed a decline in the initial period of the lockdown but later on, we were doing some great business. With brands leaning towards digital, it has led companies like us to expand our portfolio. Marketers are focusing on digital medium while charting out their marketing budget because of two reasons, first, this is the need, and second, it is cost-effective also which doesn’t put a burden on their financials.
For example, FMCG has seen a strong shift towards D2C models to be future-proof ready, automobile brands have moved to online sales model. In general, most of the brands have done great investments in digital vs mainline, and are considering digital as the first medium of communication post-pandemic.
We saw an increase in our revenue in the last few months and we hired over 50 per cent additional workforce in the last few months due to the rising demand for digital. But the concern is, if the coronavirus cases will keep us daunting then it will become tough for many businesses to survive.
On how brands can create at-home meaningful experiences for consumers
In a time of social distancing, brands are facing challenges in finding ways to create a branded experience with their audiences. With the majority of consumers spending a large amount of time at homes, brands can create successful branded experiences directly at home with their target audience.
For brands to build real connections with consumers, they have to meet them on their preferred mediums and focus more on having a direct conversation rather than focusing on sales. The people should be the core of the brand’s communication at the moment. These are the times when companies have to sharpen up their marketing gimmicks. In today’s time, when there’s so much data available, marketers can leverage this to interact with their audience to give it a more personalised appeal.
However, the foremost challenge is, brands have to be quick and smart enough if they want the results. For example, by focusing on some of the factors companies can be on the silver side with the help of their digital agencies if they adapt to-
- Discover your purpose
- Focus on storytelling
- Find opportunities to engage with audience
- Be consistent
On how brands can make the most of the shift towards digital
In the last one year, consumers have also shown a very strong digital-first approach, the overall digital penetration has increased in pandemic leading to much more decisions being taken online. Pandemic has accelerated the overall digital shift which would have otherwise taken a long time to reach this stage.
Brands who have never opted for digital have to understand that if they won’t adapt as per the need then they are missing a lot of potential. Innovation is essential in any business to evolve and grow.
In the last one and half year, the key focus areas which have been in the highlight are social media, influencers and content marketing. Brands have to understand that social media is a crowded place, and all of them try to build the attention on the same set of audience. Brands are effectively leveraging this potential, but one needs to understand that strategies should be tailored in a unique manner, rather than imitating what others are doing.
Opting for the right approach can increase brands visibility among people.