Sometimes we need to be in difficult situations to think out of the box: Suman Varma

Shrugging off the disruptions of last year, businesses and agencies are looking for a strong revival in 2021. Adgully – as part of our annual TRENDING NOW endeavour – has been 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.

In conversation with Adgully, Suman Varma, Chief Marketing Officer, Hamdard Laboratories (Medicine Division), speaks about how the emphasis on holistic wellness, immunity building, and staying safe will continue to be the narrative in the year 2021, as prevention is better than cure.

Outlook for Healthcare industry in 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has disrupted businesses, leading to the emergence of newer consumer trends and behaviour that shaped the market. Region-wise lockdowns and shifts in consumer sentiment have resulted in a boom in business due to the high demand for preventive healthcare supplements and medicines. Individuals are proactively shifting to a more balanced lifestyle to stay healthy and adapt to the pandemic effects. A recent Google report highlights that queries in this category are mostly pivoted towards immunity-boosting products and have increased by at least 500 per cent. Evaluating the last six months, sales of herbal immunity booster products have accelerated and even Hamdard Laboratories has had a similar impact. However, being part of the wellness industry, the challenge at hand is to ensure the availability of our products, especially immunity boosters that were affected due to interstate transportation and supply chain movement.

The second wave of COVID-19 has just hit the country and almost all the State Governments have implemented night and weekend curfews to restrict the virus spread. We believe that this may have a minor impact on the supply chain and business in the short term and discouraging complete lockdown is a good move for the economy and business. 

Read more: "There won’t be uniform type of recovery across the entire spectrum"

Great expectations

The emphasis on holistic wellness, immunity building, and staying safe will continue to be the narrative in the year 2021 as prevention is better than cure. The power of natural and herbal products will continue to be in limelight with more and more transitions to alternative and holistic wellness methodologies.

In the year 2021, brands will have a continued focus on digital, health, wellness, and marketers will go on with their consumer-centric approach. The ongoing revival of demand will lead to rising in traditional advertising, with a heavy focus on digital and mobile marketing. Several brands and advertisers will choose OTT platforms to interact with their customer base with the medium’s increasing popularity. 

Key learnings from 2020

For me, 2020 has been a digital year on both personal and professional front for staying connected with family, friends, and colleagues or for that matter consumer base. During this COVID time, my mantra has been on enjoying the little things in life and staying motivated. Those small things may not be very different at that moment, but if we look back and assess, they were the big things in life.

Dwelling into my learnings for the year 2020 has been on the importance of digital mediums for staying connected with the customer base, acquiring new “consumers” through digital platforms, having a consumer-centric approach and adapting to a balanced and healthy lifestyle. These learnings can be applied to our professional and personal lives and will be the core mantra for the coming year.

My biggest learning has been that change is good. Sometimes we need to be in difficult situations to think out of the box and sometimes taking baby steps to do something new helps the brands too. In such times, we opened up to newer possibilities and a consumer base that works as a win-win for the brand. My advice to everyone will be to stay safe, stay positive, cherish the little moments of happiness, and spend time with family and loved ones.


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