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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Grofers’ Prashant Verma on the marketing strategy which brands need to follow in the time of Covid-19

At a time when everyone is trying to look beyond the pandemic called Covid-19, communication needs to be crafted carefully by brands. From creating awareness to showing empathy – are some of the ways brands can remain relevant. Prashant Verma, Head – Marketing, Grofers, talks about how brands can remain pertinent in the time of Covid-19. (Edited Excerpts):

On the marketing strategy brands should follow to remain relevant

While consumer behaviour has now evolved to ‘acceptance of the new normal’, there is still an element of uncertainty in people’s lives. Therefore it is important to add empathy as a critical emotion in our consumer experience mix. Moreover, marketing strategy needs to be centered around honesty, transparency and agility to come up with real, meaningful solutions during this period. 

There are four key principles that brands need to follow today:

  1. Listen to your customers – They have been affected by this pandemic as much as us. We need to empathise with them, get a handle on their pulse and evolve our business as per their needs.
  1. Build and innovate with meaningful solutions – Solve their problems and create interventions in their daily lives to help them adapt to the changing times. Agility would be key here.
  1. Focus on building lasting trust – I’m a firm believer that brands which can build trust with consumers during this crisis will cherish lasting relationships with them, long after the pandemic leaves us. 
  1. Deliver value during the festive season – An unfortunate after-effect of the pandemic has also been shrinking household incomes. With the festive season upon us, brands would need to deliver greater value during this shopping period.
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On the dos and don’ts brands need to follow when communicating with consumers

  • Be honest, real-time and transparent

Being an essential service provider, we saw a period where we had limited delivery slots and 20 times the demand. We maintained a consistent flow of real-time communication on our app and social channels to update consumers of city-wise status. It helped being transparent about our constraints during the time as they could see the human side of the brand and empathize with our efforts on adding more delivery capacities. 

  • Speak their language 

As online grocery witnessed mass adoption, our acquisition mix saw 64% first-time online grocery shoppers and 20% first-time online shoppers. This brought about a diverse profile of consumers and prompted us to start building systems with multilingual interfaces.

  • Do acts of kindness that build trust

Communication is not just said, it is also felt through acts. Going out of your way to help consumers in urgent need would help build long term trust. 

On the periodicity of the conversation

Regular (literally every day) and transparent communication with our customers on our operations and surges in demand, innovating on our feet by solving real problems for them and showing agility to execute quickly have formed our learnings and have been appreciated by consumers.

On how to maintain trust with consumers

It is important to focus our efforts on the 3 Es:

  1. Empathy for our customers by understanding them in this time of need and maintaining a consistent flow of honest communication.
  2. Educating new-to-online shoppers by smoothening their transition journey.
  3. Empowering them with impactful solutions to their everyday problems.

On communicating with consumers post Covid-19

Marketers need to double down on their digital strategy as online media consumption has grown rapidly during this period. Then getting your e-commerce game in order is a must if you are a consumer goods or services business. 

Communication with consumers needs to be honest and relevant with respect to their most important needs today. Most consumers will look for value in the coming few months. The festive season is upon us and brands should provide better value for money on their shopping, which will have a greater online share this season. 

I’d say keep building consumer trust and delivering value. Business will follow.

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