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Facing the challenges, embracing change – by Nathalie Garino

By Nathalie Garino, Deputy General Manager for INFINITI and Renault of Arabian Automobiles Company

The undesirable arrival of COVID-19 affected countries around the globe. Little did we know that the ideas, plans, and strategies we formulated back in 2019 would have to be altered in 2020. With safety measures being introduced to help limit the spread of the virus, people are staying and working from their homes, and their consumption patterns have changed as a result. Luxury shopping has been mostly suspended to safeguard finances, brick and mortar stores were shuttered, and manufacturing stalled. Does this mean that the role of marketers has, for the moment, become obsolete?

On the contrary; we the marketers of today had the distinct opportunity to put forward our best marketing skills to cater to changing customer behavior and virtually engage with consumers in a progressive and updated manner; our teams are now required to incorporate more innovative and novel ideas to build brand equity.

However, irrespective of the changing work ethics and schedules, most of the content and communication with partners and suppliers was handled digitally and across social media, so the output never really slowed down; only the methodologies and machinations are what changed.

As digital experiences slowly replace the explicit need for in-person encounters, companies had to figure out a way to best interact with their customers while also leveraging technology to stay ahead of the curve. Over the past few months, organizations have come to embrace the need to be considerate of their audiences’ needs and employ intrinsic diligence to overcome challenges.

At INFINITI and Renault of Arabian Automobiles Company, we pursued a marketing strategy that was devised to deliver to customers ease of mind and comfort during this time. I believe that this strategy helped us maintain our customer loyalty and strengthened it in the process.

Our messaging evolved; from inviting people to visit our showrooms, they were now asked to stay home, and while customer priorities had also changed, they had to be ensured that the latest preventive measures and processes were being taken and applied to ascertain their safety and well-being.

When restrictions eased in the UAE, we shared messages in accordance with government communication and abided by the guidelines. Existing customers were also offered a variety of services, including access to complimentary pick-up and drop-off and ozone treatment for those whose cars required servicing. The sales team was also trained to host video product presentations as people were still reluctant to venture into public spaces. We also offered a novel car configurator option on our website that helped customers customize their desired vehicle, inside and out.

We also innovated outreach programs to further cater to customer needs and present them with a premier level of convenience. From home test drives with fully sanitized vehicles to the continuous development of our digital transformation, customers will soon be able to purchase cars online. We have spared no effort to deliver nothing but the best services.

In effect, two things changed as far as our offerings are concerned: everything is now available online, and people can either visit the showroom or make a purchase from the comfort of their homes. Additionally, with people currently becoming more and more price-conscious, we made sure to complement their purchases with premium services, consistency and convenience.

The silver lining of the pandemic has been the way we have adapted to the changing times with assertive readiness, reminding us that creative and efficient methods through refreshed perspectives are the building blocks of the future.

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