Revival & Survival: “We have seen 2 yrs of digital transformation in just 2 months”

Chandrahas Panigrahi, CMO and Consumer Business Head, Acer India
Chandrahas Panigrahi, CMO and Consumer Business Head, Acer India

Prepared or not, India has to gear up for an exit strategy for the lockdown period. It is definitely a changed world that India is entering now, and we will have to learn to live with the Coronavirus in our midst.

A lot has been written, debated and discussed over how much the economy and business operations have been hit. We, at Adgully, aim to look at the revival story. What does it take to jumpstart an economy? That is the great narrative that we are following up as part of our ‘Revival and Survival’ series.

Chandrahas Panigrahi, CMO and Consumer Business Head, Acer India, assesses the changes that India has gone through in these two months of lockdown and the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives and businesses.

What does the new normal look like? How much has the COVID-19 crisis disrupted business operations?

With the COVID-19 pandemic changing life as we know it, it is inevitable that a new normal will emerge. This includes changes in lifestyle, and consequently consumer behaviours as well. We have seen 2 years of digital transformation in just 2 months by implementing end to end enterprise resilience tools for the complete organisation that should become a crucial pillar of business continuity. At Acer, too, we are focusing on efficiency and digitalisation in our business, adapting towards the changing requirements of COVID-19 and marketing strategies in the new normal. From remote teamwork and to sales and customer service, we are working alongside stakeholders every day to help them stay open for business in a world of remote everything. We are also leveraging our e-store to further accelerate our customer’s omnichannel through our partners. This special initiative is built to ensure ease of purchase, keep partners and customers safe, and promote business continuity. This is a future-ready experience enabling our customers and channel partners in the post-COVID world.

What should be the blueprint for a post-COVID-19 economy?

Each major crisis brings about a change in behaviour and business operations. By adapting the right communication across channels, brands can optimise customer engagement and work to retain customers during these unprecedented times. Most consumers will be unsure of how to navigate a post-COVID-19 consumer world. They might be tempted to continue on the digital commerce journey forever. As a brand, we are looking at measures to help consumers navigate between online and offline experiences seamlessly by investing in an omnichannel world.

What are the 5 key measures needed to ensure a speedy business revival for the IT industry?

By taking pro-active measures now, you can put your business in a more secure position to stay strong and recover faster once the crisis settles. At Acer, we have come up with the 3R strategy to regain business from COVID-19.

Respond and revolve:

The key to ride the crisis wave is by being nimble and useful, hence rethinking one’s marketing strategy is critical. Reaching the audience with timely, relevant communication is imperative in this situation.


In unpredictable situations like these, a lot of our focus has been towards driving greater consumer intimacy to predict changes in consumer landscape in the upcoming months.


During this time of a crisis, it’s tempting to label any major disruption as ushering in a new normal. And this time of such uncertainty, I urge to adjust communication and marketing practices in order to hold consumer interest and maintain a strong brand voice and be ‘Fit for the Purpose’.

How are you strategising for the remaining quarters of this Financial Year 2021?
As a leading PC brand, our top priority is supporting our customers and channel partners. Hence, a lot of our plans are attached to theirs. For the year 2020-21, we already have a goal-setting process in place based on the annual business plan. However, with the ripple effect of COVID-19 being felt around the globe, we understand that the plans we had originally set out to achieve need to be re-filtered. In other words, we quickly rethink what business-as-usual looks like when business is unusual. Therefore, we have set out all our plans quarter on quarter depending on how the situation will unfold and also the response from the customers in the business scenario. In these rare situations, we have put in the time, learned what we needed to, and pushed ourselves to transform and navigate the disruption.

How do you see businesses and the Government working together to undo the lockdown disruption and address the market uncertainties?

The world today is united by a common cause: overcoming COVID-19. The importance of tackling this issue cannot be overstated, and we all must do our parts. Government and businesses are taking necessary steps to flatten the curve and easing of lockdown. Businesses are extending their support to the Government to defeat this crisis and the economy as well as through the stability of business operations, support to customers and employees to help everyone overcome this financial crisis. Businesses are coming forward with innovative ways not only to mitigate the challenge, but also capitalise on them and come up with solutions that can benefit the society at large. I believe, the combined effort will help our economy to revive soon from the current situation.

How do you visualise the economy and your sector a year later? How much would it have recovered by then?

Massive shifts are already in motion as society changes from a care-free world to one under lockdown. New consumer behaviours formed during the pandemic will become habits the longer these actions last. We have seen an increase in demand for laptops both from the enterprise and consumer side. What was before a shared device, now laptops are becoming a personal device with each household needing to have two or more laptops as mobile phones hit the ceiling in terms of capability. I believe the business to largely recover in a year’s time and that there would be no significant drop in consumption or distribution.


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