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How brands are dealing with the new normal

Marketing in the times of Covid-19: Select Citywalk

How brands are dealing with the new normal
  • In our latest interview series, we talk to brands to understand how they are coping with the new normal and their strategies towards navigating these difficult times.
  • Since retail has been impacted severely, we talk to Gitanjali Singh, Vice President Marketing, Select CITYWALK on how the organization is trying to bounce back and preparing for the post-Covid world.
The last one month has thrown a lot of unforeseen challenges to the entire world. As people across the globe are trying to cope with this new normal, there are a lot of things that might change forever.

The way businesses are being conducted might see a complete overhaul. People might be unwilling to venture out for a long time to come, at least till a vaccine is developed. This is also expected to bring about behavioural changes in consumers.
We might not go out shopping or watch movies in theatres for a long time to come. This might have a huge impact on the retail space. However, businesses are working around the current situation and thinking of innovative ways to ensure that there’s business continuity in a post-Covid world.

We recently caught up with Gitanjali Singh, Vice President Marketing, Select CITYWALK, to understand the impact on retail, their marketing strategies and also their future plans to minimize the business impact.
Edited excerpts:

Q) How challenging has the last month been for you considering the lockdown has led to the complete closure of malls?
The last one month has been of complete lockdown. It has been an unprecedented event, for all of us across the globe. It is a new reality and has been challenging, specially for us as we have witnessed a vibrant presence of people at Select CITYWALK across our years of operation. We do miss that. However, we have not completely closed down and still have essential commodity stores and pharmacies open for the public.

Q) Do you anticipate a behavioural change in consumers in the post lockdown days, when people might be scared of going to public spaces? If that happens, how do you plan to tackle the challenge?

During the lockdown, which still persists, a limited number of consumers have been visiting the shopping center for essential purchases only. There has been anxiety among consumers, and there will be a behavioral change in consumers post lockdown. Post the lockdown; it is clear that there’ll be hesitation in the mind of the consumer to step out. However, people want to travel, eat out, be entertained, and to have experiences in-person. These activities will be unchanged but the way we perform these activities will change and it’ll take time for things and habits to pick up. As a public space, we will have all the required necessary checks, which will be a must in the initial post lockdown stage such as:
  • Compulsory Masks for everyone
  • Temperature Checking at entrances
  • Sanitization at all entrances including entrance for goods at the shopping centre
  • Sanitization at the entrance of stores
  • Social distancing will be maintained
  • F&B and Cinema will be treated separately as per the new sitting policy
  • Encouraging more digital payments and having more options for customers
Q) During a crisis, it is important to keep communicating with your customer. How have you been doing that?
Earlier through several mall activities and regular celebrations, we were always in touch with our customers. Post the lockdown, this was a challenge for us, but we wanted to keep our customers engaged. To strengthen our connection, we began relevant content through the campaign #hereforyou.
We bring robust and engaging social media content that appeals to all our followers, in the same refreshing format as our offline experience has been. Our social media content follows our destination's diverse offerings for the entire family while taking the narrative online. Prepared with intent to help all followers, stay home, stay safe, and stay fit, the content is both engaging and interspersed with tips on navigating life through the lockdown. Ranging from fitness tips from well-known trainers like Zoe Modgill, and Mallika Dang, to mindfulness exercises from experts like Nitya Shanti, it also traverses fashion, skincare and petcare from experts like Ayesha Amin Nigam among others. Weekends bring 'lives' with well-known names like Vesna Jacob, Sunaina Rekhi for fitness, or Simar's Nail Bar for that perfect weekend indulgence. The content being shared brings together experts from across many categories, to bring the best across their passion points, learning and joyfulness for the entire family in this period. Bringing together a sense of belonging and community, the social media content moves between short video interactions with experts, as well as Live sessions on the weekend. Encouraging all visitors to stay home and stay safe, it is a way for Select CITYWALK to bring the spirit of positivity across.

Q) What have you been doing in terms of marketing? Has there been a change in your media mix?
The current focus is on digital as everyone is consuming content across webinars and social media. Apart from the engaging content as mentioned above, we have recently gone live with our #DilSeShukrana campaign saluting all those who continue to give us hope and for choosing to fight for us, and for our safety.

Q) What have been your biggest learnings from the Covid-19 experience so far? Do you think the experience has made you more resilient?
It is going to be a new normal for all of us out there; for all the industries and brands, this experience will be full of learnings of consumers and shopper behavior. Our biggest learning from this experience is that we all have time to innovate and think of the future in a much more empathetic manner, map out things in a proper way because change is rapid, and we all need to go with the flow. These experiences have certainly made us as an organization more resilient, and we all thrive on having the right value chain initiative in place.

Q) While communicating is important, the tone of the communication can be misread as being opportunistic. How have you ensured the intent of your communication was not misinterpreted by consumers?
At this time where all brands are adjusting and are trying every day to come up with something new and innovative, it can, at times, be misread by the consumers if not communicated well. For us, from the beginning, it was all for the customers, and we had a very simple thought of being with them at these tough times. To not be misjudged or misinterpreted, we have had communication, which builds a connection with our customers - Waiting for the one you love is always worthwhile. Mind if we take a break and Select CITY-WALK later? #HereForYou. With this campaign, we have urged people to sit back and take a break, and we will help them with all that they need to learn or probably help them keep busy.

COVID-19IndiaCases: 145,380Deaths: 4,167Recovered: 60,491
COVID-19WorldCases: 5.31mnDeaths: 342kRecovered: 2.23mn
COVID-19USACases: 1.59mnDeaths: 96kRecovered: 379k
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