Marketeers without borders: The show will go on beyond COVID-19
Rahul Tekwani, Group Brand Manager - Planning, Enormous Brands, takes a look at how the world is undergoing a renovation and adds that companies will have to reduce the research planning and execution cycle from annual, quarterly, monthly to weekly, or even daily.
Never before in the history of mankind has Heraclitus’s adage, “No man can ever step in the same river twice”, been truer. Even though he meant it in the best of time, but this is so evident now. In these fast-changing times, change is the only unchanging certainty. Even after COVID-19 passes into the pages of history, the world will never return to its pre-Corona days.
In a matter of weeks, the world adapted to a new normal of WFH, dressing for Zoom and doing virtual pitches. These changes have led the way on how work can go on during this pandemic crisis. With buildings getting sealed and no one allowed to leave their homes, people are spending the majority of their time online. Companies that are already catering to the so-called ‘couch-surfers’ are poised for better tomorrow and might even see an increase in sales, compared to brands that have just started to provide the virtual experience.
Work from home is expected to become a long-lasting norm in the industry. Many businesses have realised that they can function well without the physical infrastructure. The video conferencing tools, business intelligence tools, and easy and cheap availability of the Internet will be used for being in touch with your workforce and also implement the systematic and transparent style of working. It is visible, that to clients the infrastructure doesn’t matter, only the efficiency of work does.
The comfortable fixed time work hours are passé. During the lockdown, clients have become used to calling at odd hours and having their agencies respond to them. This ease of connection will not be reversed, even when everything becomes normal. Agencies who work according to the clients’ time will grow and the rest will struggle. Remember, if you don’t, someone else will.
COVID-19 has equalised the situation for all. Companies big and small will compete on the same ground with no added advantage. The merit of the work will be playing a big deciding factor in the industry. How the company will benefit the client, even beyond their monthly deliverables, will act as one of the major tools to determine success. At the same time, you will be as good as your last campaign. So, only the outlets which will be keeping creative merit will be able to retain the business of the clients regularly.
The world is undergoing a renovation. Travel habits won’t be the same post the pandemic, many off the early morning flights to New Delhi, Bengaluru and many such destinations for the business community will be getting canceled as the industry will agree for a video conferencing. Till there is no global cure to the deadly Coronavirus, the outside entertainment industry will take a major hit and will have to follow social distancing, eating out won’t be the same – the roadside gol gappe and vada pav cart will take the major beating as people will be paying extra for the sanitised food and places.
Mostly all the industries have gone online and the brands have spent big money in providing consumers the virtual experience of the products, but studies have suggested that the normal consumer hasn’t gained trust in the digital medium as yet. The post-Corona era will give birth to performance-based marketing so that the brands get enough surety if the marketing money is well spent.
All the industries will be looking at Artificial Intelligence as the next big tool for research as the brands will carry an unpredictable mindset. Companies will have to reduce the research planning and execution cycle from annual, quarterly, monthly to weekly, or even daily. Don’t fall in love with your strategy, be ready to change.
Even though the time is tough and no one knows what lies in the future, all one can try is to grow every day and every second. Almost everything in the past two months has gone digital – from buying a luxurious apartment to buying a Merc, but to survive in the long run we need to consider more digital solutions for all industries. Online delivery, video conferencing, OTT platforms, online medical consultancy services will grow in the coming time as they are contactless. Even during a time that feels like a struggle – there can be an opportunity to be grabbed.