Redefining customer engagement for brands in the times of Covid-19

By Sachin Karweer, Business Head, HGS Interactive

The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the biggest crises that mankind has witnessed. It has impacted all walks of life. Some organizations are still struggling for business continuity while some have mounted the right track. It has never been more important for brands to relook at their marketing strategies due to the change in customer behavior and consumption due to the new normal. During the pandemic, brands must look at innovative methods to engage with their customers. Survival and growth during this time will depend on a proactive approach, thoughtful communication and capital infusion. Only those who can predict, review and adapt will be able to see through these testing times.

Brands that use this time to be promotional and commercial will not fare well. Although the main goal of a business is to sell and generate profit, many brands have addressed the crisis in a non-transactional way, be it free access to content, donations and volunteering or extended loyalty memberships. Consumers recognize authenticity and keeping a real-time pulse on changing customer preferences and rapidly innovating to engage in a way that matters will be the key for all agencies.

Everyone who can move any of their services online is moving online

During this pandemic, even most traditional brands have taken their services online and adopted digital considering online has become the most effective means to engage with customers. Brands are using smart social and other media strategies to attract/engage their customers. For one of our clients, a well-known hospital brand, we changed our marketing strategy to clearly communicate how the hospital is addressing the uncertainty of the situation and fear in the patients’ minds. With our marketing efforts, since the pandemic began till today, online queries and engagement have increased to a staggering 87%. 

Video format is on the rise, with brands looking for new ways to engage and interact whilst social distancing

Organizations around the world are faced with new, unprecedented challenges. Many of these include finding new ways to produce engaging media, develop innovative marketing strategies, and reach diverse audiences. Video content has become an important driver for growth of marketing campaigns. It is widely consumed by people and used for educating, sharing information, collaborating and a lot other purposes.

As per a recent Mindshare India and Vidooly report, the video platforms of YouTube, Facebook and Instagram aim to highlight the new ways people are looking to entertain themselves as well as be socially connected with their friends and families. According to Cisco, video has and will continue to take over the content creation realm. Forbes says that by the end of 2020, the average person will watch 100 minutes of video per day. There are ample reports and predictions that video consumption will take the center stage and will engage more viewers than other content forms. Therefore, investing more in video content is a smart thing to do for success for marketing campaigns.

The pandemic is changing influencer marketing like never before

During the pandemic, the brands out of compulsion are forced to explore new and innovative ways to reach their consumers. Most people are staying at home and spending a significant amount of time browsing social media content and watching videos. More and more individuals are following influencers and diligently follow the content they create and post. Influencer marketing has been an effective marketing strategy. The pandemic has however changed the landscape. Today, it has become about how well the influencer is able to connect to the consumer. Many people have lost their jobs, staying at home, focusing more on necessities. Influencers also have shifted content in staying at home and adapting to these situations. Influencer marketing is even more effective now because people are spending more time than double on social media than they used to before the pandemic.

To conclude, in a time like this, even our stark new normal is beginning to get clearer. Together, we will see these tough times through. But here lies a golden opportunity; to discover new ideas, re-access old assumptions and create new magic. For brands and agencies, it is time to re-think and revive in order to create an engaging customer experience.


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