Rewriting the marketing playbook for the new normal, by Catch Communications’ Injeel Moti

By Injeel Moti, managing director, Catch Communications & Catch Academy.

As the world grapples to come to terms with the ‘new normal’, brands continue to transform in real-time and lay the foundations for future growth.

Consumer behaviour has changed drastically with the onset of the pandemic and in turn, marketing and how brands communicate with their customers.

Rethinking marketing budgets and how to invest was one of the first things that brands and stakeholders were looking into as the economic effects of the pandemic began to set in the region. Overnight businesses had to shift their models in order to remain accessible & available for their consumers which was no cakewalk.

Shortly into April 2020, as the National Media Council (NMC) put a hold on circulation of all print materials, and with the government encouraging everyone to stay indoors, outdoor advertising, events, activations too came to an abrupt halt, with brands having only online sources to turn to.

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E-commerce channels, website, blogs, online influencers & social media became the immediate focus and now on a scale much larger than ever before.

So how do marketers continue to build lasting relationships with customers? How do you drive more business from existing customers, and figure out key spend areas?  The question of relevance too comes up. As the need for luxury depletes and necessities increase, how do brands that provide non-essential goods and services remain relevant and continue to do so?

From an agency standpoint, marketing has most definitely had a complete facelift. Marketing a brand effectively has a lot to do understanding consumer behaviour and withstanding the inflow of changing market dynamics, thinking outside the box and being quick on your feet.

  • Tonality & conversation

HOW you communicate to your consumers has taken precedent over WHAT you are saying. Creating conversation whilst touching upon human emotions is key. Speaking in an empathetic voice that conveys concern, assuring consumers almost saying ‘ We understand you” which means marketers must communicate a strong sense of their brands’ purpose, a cause that the brand stands up for, or an area where the brand aims to make a real difference. Brands can do this through the projects they choose to be involved in, the nature of campaigns they run, the way they treat their employees and how they communicate with consumers directly via online channels.

  • Digital footprint expansion

Digital footprints for brands will only grow moving forward. Social commerce is on the rise with a large percentage of people using social media for recommendations, reviews and direct purchases. This shift is likely to stick, to a large extent simply because e-commerce is more efficient, less expensive, and safer for customers than shopping in physical stores. For marketers, this means rethinking how to connect with consumers on digital platforms. Clearly, a stronger emphasis on e-commerce and social media channels is crucial,  whilst considering all the analytical data to better understand customer preferences and how to target them via campaigns that are relatable and will draw them in closer.

  • Localizing brand experiences

With restrictions to travel still in place in many parts of the world, the local consumer has become a key point of focus. Businesses seeking to expand their connections with consumers, therefore, can reap benefits by localizing their marketing campaigns all the more.

This could include messages tailored to different neighbourhoods, different nationality segments in the region, age groups & genders and delivered through the older and many of the newly established community networks. Another way to do this is by using their existing retail footprint to support local businesses, sponsor community centres, and host community events.

  • Partner & collaborate

Collaboration and working together towards a common goal is key and definitely the way forward. Partnering with like-minded brands that have a similar target audience to cross-promote the benefits of each to a wider audience tied into a single experience would be beneficial to a business. This would attribute towards increasing consumer confidence as well contribute towards delivering on the lines of affordability comforting the customer.