- Covid-19 has changed the way we shop, eat, communicate. It has also flipped the
marketingplaybook. Dev Batra, Co-Founder and CEO, Lyxel&Flamingo and Nishant Singh, Creative Director - Copy, Lyxel&Flamingo write about a few of the changes and trends that have come in play and what will help CMOs succeed in the post-Covid world.
The real question is that will we pick up from where we left in the pre-Covid era or will the new normal be different? We believe things will have changed in the post-Covid world. Old habits and ways of living would see paradigm shifts while average consumers will continue adapting to the changes around them.
Hence, the longer this pandemic stays, the stronger the force of these ‘new habits’ will get.
The effects have started showing already. India’s online retail as percentage of total retail was around 3% a couple of years back and now it’s projected to be at 8% by next year.
Well, the average consumer is enjoying immense attention from brands. They’re witnessing an unprecedented convenience & ease with which they can shop online today. While that’s the initial trigger for the surge in online shopping, a much more evolved brand experience with augmented reality, predictive cart, hassle-free & safe home delivery etc. will only see this digital migration rise further.
Today, customer experience has overtaken price and product as the key differentiator for brands.
So, as we crystal gaze into 2021, we divide the changes we might witness in compartments-
Old trend, new scale: Trends that pre-date the onset of Covid but have accelerated significantly because of it in the past few months, will be even more visible at scale and at an accelerated pace.
- Deeper penetration of mobile internet in rural pockets of the country as well as SEC C, D audience will give a greater push to this segment who aren’t just casual users but those who are actively engaging in online shopping, entertainment & education. Taking the impact of Covid-19 into consideration, the penetration of e-commerce is projected to increase by almost 7% with an estimated 100 million users by mid-2021.
- The rules of video content development have changed. Big brands are creating low-production pieces and promoting them aggressively. Today, content is actually the real king.
- Brands have experimented with influencers for many years now but 2020 has seen the rise of vernacular & micro-influencers. This trend will gain a much stronger momentum in coming years, especially with the steep rise in social commerce.
Brands are looking at newer ways of employing and even evolving these new trends with sheer marketing genius to outplay the competition.
●The rise of the ‘Atmanirbhar’ philosophy has become even more prominent with multiple Indian D2C brands actively communicating about their Indian roots. A similar tune is now being sung by MNCs who are manufacturing locally. One of Micromax's advertisements featuring its founder Rahul Sharma as an earnest evangelist ofthe ‘Atmanirbhar’ movement is a great case in point.
●Focus on the erstwhile ‘Invisible’ – A very short while ago, empathetic content was synonymous with issues like feminism, equal pay, environment and other ‘educated’ matters. However, the nationwide lockdown & the plight it entailed for the marginalised communities inspired an awareness around this largely ‘invisible’ population — daily wagers, dhaba owners, delivery guys, vegetable vendors, small-scale entrepreneurs. Hence, our empathy is now more empathetic and we are more aware of THE India that was ignored.
●Online as an experience & not just a utility: It is clear that we can do a lot more sitting in the comfort of our home, on our laptops & mobile phones. The need to step-out has reduced significantly. So why step out tobuy only groceries or running shoes? Brand marketers can no longer think of online as only a place of final purchase. Rather, they need to use social media as the place where experiences are created & information is disseminated to their customers.
●Loyalty: As consumers, we are exposed to thousands of brand messages everyday. And today, acquiring new customers has become extremely expensive. Which makes it critical to retain existing customers through better customer marketing automation, loyalty programs, personalised communications and offers that can help create better long term value for the customer as well as the brands. This trend is bound to accelerate in 2021 given the pressure that brands are facing on their bottom-lines — limiting the monies that are available to acquire new customers.Two sides of the same coin: CMOs will have to take into account trends that are seeing faster pace as well as newer methods of execution.
For almost half a decade now, digital media has been an important tool in every marketer’s arsenal, albeit as a subsidiary of mainline advertising. Enter 2020 and suddenly Digital Media was expected to do all the heavy lifting due to lack of investments in traditional media. And boy, did it deliver!
Given the internet penetration in this country, now it’s quite possible to build a brand purely by leveraging digital media and many brands have been able to do that successfully. Even those who relied heavily on TV and other traditional media have started making considerable investments in building digital assets (e.g., product videos, Hotstar campaigns during IPL or pre-roll ads on YouTube).
Will this trend grow in 2021? As brands learn more about digital analytics & transparency of the medium and hence their ability to correlate outcomes with investments, absolutely!
So, what remains to be seen is how brands and their CMOs subsume these trends in their marketing strategies and prepare for the post-Covid world.
- This article has been co-authored by Dev Batra, Co-Founder and CEO, Lyxel&Flamingo and Nishant Singh, Creative Director - Copy, Lyxel&Flamingo