Even if brands are not relevant to the Covid-19 situation, they’ve to show compassion and empathy to the unprecedented situation: Joy Chatterjee, Mankind Pharma
Mankind pharma's Joy Chatterjee on relevant advertising during the second wave of covid-19
How pharmaceutical giant Mankind Pharma has pivoted its marketing strategy

Even if brands are not relevant to the Covid-19 situation, they’ve to show compassion and empathy to the unprecedented situation: Joy Chatterjee, Mankind Pharma

How pharmaceutical giant Mankind Pharma has pivoted its marketing strategy
  • In India, brands are trying to figure out the right way to communicate with their audience during a national emergency and change their message, which makes marketing – and the role of CMO – more critical than ever.
  • In our latest interview series, we speak to a few CMOs to understand how they are helping out their organisations find the right ways to connect with consumers.
  • Today, we talk to Joy Chatterjee, General Manager of Sales and Marketing, Mankind Pharma about how his role has changed during the second wave of COVID-19.
As India continues to grapple with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, frontline workers are racing against time by fighting through the lack of supplies and increasing number of fatality rates to contain its spread. To extend its support during such testing times, Pharmaceutical giant Mankind Pharma has pivoted its marketing strategy by using its advertising tools to spread awareness and spark more empathy towards our frontline workers.

Telling us more about the company's larger marketing strategy now, Joy Chatterjee, General Manager of Sales and Marketing, Mankind Pharma said, “We are using our social media handles to put out the right knowledge and positive messages for the consumers. In the past few months, we have observed that people are tagging us to help them out the relevant information with regards to medicine, vaccination and others. We have ensured to extend our help, and are trying our best to respond to all the queries.”

While COVID has been around for more than a year now and we are now used to working from home, this year feels nothing like 2020. Every social media post reminds us of the severity of the situation. At such a time, brands are trying to do their bit by donating, amplifying SoS requests on social media or volunteering.

For Chatterjee, 2020 was a test match that helped him prepare for the storm and shift in the digital landscape. Now, he is trying to focus more on helping out his employees, finding a valid cause to associate with and come up with empathetic campaigns.

“During the first phase of lockdown, we all witnessed numerous changes like the sudden shift to WFH, the two months imposed lockdown disrupted the supply chain. E-commerce business observed a tremendous response, as people relied on such apps for the delivery of products. However, in the second wave, all of us are more prepared and equipped for WFH and supply chain management. The situation related to lockdown vis-a-vis corona cases is different. The earlier experience has helped us on how to perform, and what sort of strategies should be implemented to avoid the hurdles,” said he.

As an essential service provider, the major challenge for Mankind Pharma right now is to maintain its supply chain but it is focusing on digital mediums to reach out to a wider audience.

Chatterjee shared, “There has been a lot of restriction due to lockdown in many states which is resulting in slow movement in our logistics. However, lockdown is necessary also to break the chain, and we strongly support the government. There is no doubt that the Pandemic has come with a shift in consumer preferences as well in terms of media consumption, people are spending a lot of time on digital media platforms and we are also focusing on such mediums. For instance, we choose mediums as per the demand, and right now we are highly focused on the digital medium to reach the target audience.”

Mankind Pharma had launched a campaign three weeks ago with brand ambassador Anil Kapoor as a tribute to frontline warriors. It also contributed Rs 100 crore to families of Frontline martyred warriors and allocated Rs 40 crore from its CSR funds to help COVID patients and their families struggling for oxygen cylinders and concentrators.

This lockdown, a few Indian brands have put a pause on their advertising to give their consumers space to process or they have launched empathetic campaigns as a reminder of togetherness and better tomorrow.

According to Chatterjee, if a brand is communicating during such times, he said that relevant and empathetic communication are the key areas that should be visible and adopted in the strategy.

“Times are such, even if brands are not relevant to the Covid-19 situation, they have to show compassion and empathy to the unprecedented situation. Brands are apprehensive of not being compassionate and empathetic to the situation. Riding on a trend is important but it's always for short-term benefit, brands always try to explore different opportunities to communicate about their benefits keeping the core message universal,” elaborated Chatterjee.

The second wave has pushed all leaders to prioritise their employees’ wellbeing and keep their business’ goals on hold. As a leader, Chatterjee’s focus areas have changed too.

“Our employee wellbeing is our utmost priority,” said Chatterjee. “We have created a separate to-do list for employees to keep them safe which includes regular updates about their health, how to take precautions or preventive measures to keep themselves and family safe. We are keeping track of the vaccination, and we are making sure that all our employees get vaccinated.

Mankind Pharma works on three core principles – People, product and seamless process in functioning the business across the company. In these hard-hitting times, we have ensured working remotely for everyone and have offered support to those in need to promote positive mental health amongst employees. Mankind Pharma has also increased the insured amount for medical urgencies.”

However, Mankind Pharma’s revenue goals and growth targets remain the same. Chatterjee is optimistic that the company will continue to grow this year as per their plan.

“Our numbers are still intact, and we are quite optimistic that the numbers will surpass this year due to our thoughtful preparation. There are no changes to our predefined goals,” said Chatterjee.

According to IQVAI report, Mankind Pharma is the fourth largest pharmaceutical company in India. Indian pharma industry will have to grow at a CAGR of 12% to reach $130 billion by 2030 from $41.7 billion in 2020.