Digitalisation will make consumer experience more seamless this year: Gaurav Sinha

Shrugging off the disruptions of the year gone by, businesses and agencies are looking for a strong revival in 2021. Over the next few weeks, Adgully – as part of our annual TRENDING NOW endeavour – will be presenting the strategies and views of a cross-section of industry leaders as they go about reclaiming lost time and market opportunities and build for a stronger future, armed with the lessons of 2020. 

Gaurav Sinha, Head of Marketing & PR, Audi India, recounts the key challenges and learnings from 2021, how COVID-19 has been by far the biggest teacher of our time and the increased focus on customer engagement and Digitalisation. 

Outlook for 2021

2020 was an extremely challenging year that accelerated the adoption of newer ways to work even in the field of marketing. Consumer Marketing has adopted digitalisation faster as that became the primary channel to not only share the message, but also offer sales and post-sales experience.

There will of course be an uptick in people going digital in 2021, owing to not only convenience but also more inherently a ‘need’ as they limit their physical engagements. Therefore, digitalisation will continue to be a popular route to engage with, not only immediate prospective customers but also a broad set of customers who are brand enthusiasts, fans, and advocates.

Digitalisation will make consumer experience more seamless this year. Social media will act as a medium for brands to gain deeper customer insights apart from representing their purpose and brand DNA. We have seen that Digital media has become the dominant channel for Audi customers as well as fans.

Today, customers want to have an authentic experience with the brand. With customers expecting a response at every touch point, conversational marketing is going to continue to be an important factor in a successful marketing strategy.

Marketing has moved beyond the traditional methods of advertising, with digital marketing becoming a focal point. While AR/VR technologies are still on the periphery, it is going to play a significant role in the marketing strategy of brands going forward. With Audi’s AR/VR technology, we are taking digital experiences to the living rooms of our customers and creating a simple and seamless path for them to purchase. 

Great expectations

2020 was a year of reinventions. The pandemic led brands to change not only the way they communicate with their customers, but also the tools of communication. Digital mediums became an integral part of communication for all brands. This will continue through 2021 and beyond.

Digital media has become a dominant channel for Audi customers and fans. However, traditional channels are still important, given our customer base, and will continue to play an important part in our media mix.

For Audi, brand communication on our digital and print channels will further focus on leveraging the Audi attitude and creating a direct connection with our customers and fans in 2021. We are focused on strengthening the pillars of prestige - awareness and premium luxury. 

Key learnings from 2020

COVID-19 has been by far the biggest teacher of our time. The past year has been a year of upheavals and challenges and altered the way the world functions.

The year brought with it a great set of learnings, illustrating the need for newer ways to operate. In 2020, the major disruption has been the adoption of Digitalisation by almost every brand and business irrespective of the size or scale to ensure business continuity and efficiency.

With customer engagement and Digitalisation being the key focus areas for us, we recharged the brand in line with a holistic customer experience. As a brand, we followed a digital-first approach with an increase in the consumption of content through digital and social media platforms.

We have been prudent in our marketing practices and have been adopting innovative online initiatives and focusing on developing an emotional connection through personalised experiences. In the COVID era, where customer behaviour highly depends upon external factors, another major disruption was to track customer trends, analyze and gather insights from them, and accordingly formulate marketing decisions as per the appetite of the customer, and our fan base.

The key marketing message in 2020 revolved around ‘Empathy’. All our campaigns and initiatives were solely targeted towards empathizing with the consumers and making the purchase decisions easier by instilling confidence about the safety and sanitisation standards being up to the mark. Brand accountability is a very important aspect of marketing and this was one of the major learnings from the year 2020.


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