Consumer Discretionary

FMCG Marketing Post-Covid

<p>They say &ldquo;When the going gets tough, the tough get going&rdquo;. As the world continues to fight the ongoing virus epidemic with unprecedented lockdowns, these are also important days for FMCG brand managers to reflect, plan and act. With people largely confined to their homes, with markets and offices being closed, consumption has already hit bare essential levels. So, the million-dollar question is: How should FMCG firms strategize marketing interventions in this scenario? It seems almost tempting to lay low and observe how this pandemic pans out while pausing the big bucks on marketing. Instead, firms need a proactive plan to adjust and adapt to how they lead their teams, speak to their customers, and manage their brands. When a brand shows a genuine concern for its stakeholders, the world will eventually notice and acknowledge it. Such brands will be remembered for their goodness when it mattered the most &mdash; the best possible marker of a truly great FMCG brand.&nbsp;</p><div class="slate-resizable-image-embed slate-image-embed__resize-full-width"><img src=";v=beta&amp;t=ieH6ULVbmTGhIBiyHgfZQsqTqo7v62_G1cku8Q3jT3Q" alt="No alt text provided for this image" data-media-urn="" data-li-src=";v=beta&amp;t=ieH6ULVbmTGhIBiyHgfZQsqTqo7v62_G1cku8Q3jT3Q" /></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>As COVID-19 continues to spread at an alarming pace through the country, industries across the board are bearing the brunt of low consumer demand, operational disruptions, and regulatory upheavals. Every aspect of running a business, including marketing, is changing every day in the face of a crisis. Whatever crisis response guides and standard operating procedures that may have existed a few weeks ago now seem to be from another era, and even the nimblest marketers &mdash; accustomed to evolving their strategies in real-time are finding the right way to meet this unprecedented moment. With uncertainty being the new normal, there can be no bigger mistake than one of lethargy and inaction. Proactive FMCG companies are taking the bull by its horns and leaving no stone unturned to educate their consumers while leveraging the marketing opportunity.&nbsp;</p><div class="slate-resizable-image-embed slate-image-embed__resize-full-width"><img src=";v=beta&amp;t=DFT8LtXUkSyxHDTjDnAwqLekDCQiK61sVZQnreKb4WM" alt="No alt text provided for this image" data-media-urn="" data-li-src=";v=beta&amp;t=DFT8LtXUkSyxHDTjDnAwqLekDCQiK61sVZQnreKb4WM" /></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>For instance, the beloved dairy brand Amul is well&nbsp;known for its extremely creative moment marketing strategy. With topical content that is educative as well as engaging, the brand is acing its COVID-era marketing interventions. Meanwhile,&nbsp;Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL)&nbsp;has&nbsp;launched a&nbsp;digital campaign called&nbsp;Protekt&nbsp;India Movement&nbsp;with a viral hashtag #ProtektIndiaMovement&nbsp;to create awareness about the regimen of washing hands regularly&nbsp;and&nbsp;Savlon&nbsp;came up with a social media campaign called #SurakshaApkeHaathMein.&nbsp;</p><p>Empathy builds brands, apathy derails plans&nbsp;</p><p>To&nbsp;manage the challenges arising out of adversity&nbsp;and to play their part as responsible members of the society, FMCG firms are going out of their way to show their empathetic side.&nbsp;As&nbsp;Channelier, our Sales Force Automation product&nbsp;is used by various FMCG companies, we can see the efforts that they are putting in to ensure the safety of their employees, as well as&nbsp;bear the social responsibility of minimizing the spread of disease.&nbsp;Keeping the safety of frontline employees in mind,&nbsp;brands like&nbsp;Nestle India, Godrej Consumers Products Ltd, Marico and Dabur are&nbsp;also&nbsp;securing&nbsp;their&nbsp;people on the ground with personal protective equipment&nbsp;while&nbsp;providing special insurance covers to the frontline workforce, including those of distributors, who are engaged in supply and distribution of their products during the coronavirus pandemic.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>ITC has pledged Rs 150 crore to enable &ldquo;frontline warriors&rdquo; in the fight against coronavirus.&nbsp;This fund will be utilised primarily to provide relief to the vulnerable and most needy sections of society who have been harshly impacted by the pandemic and have faced significant disruption in their livelihoods.&nbsp;Earlier, the company had reduced the prices of its handwashes&nbsp;under the&nbsp;Savlon&nbsp;brand&nbsp;to make them more affordable as the country races to contain the spread of the deadly virus.&nbsp;Dettol-fame RB also recently said that it will distribute 1 crore units of soap among the most vulnerable section of the society. RB has also pledged &pound;32 million in the fight against coronavirus.&nbsp;</p><div class="slate-resizable-image-embed slate-image-embed__resize-full-width"><img src=";v=beta&amp;t=GN03UU9YhISVLw_Kv1XV4KLUXzuORFPJuDpLC4ts-Q4" alt="No alt text provided for this image" data-media-urn="" data-li-src=";v=beta&amp;t=GN03UU9YhISVLw_Kv1XV4KLUXzuORFPJuDpLC4ts-Q4" /></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>This scenario is creating a culture of increased empathy towards the consumer and our communities. The companies that imbibe this culture, and use agility and adaptability as integral tools to quickly create innovative platforms, are the ones that may likely succeed in the long-term.&nbsp;</p><p>Ushering a DIY revolution&nbsp;</p><p>Consumers are realizing the value of becoming independent -&nbsp;being able to&nbsp;conjure&nbsp;a meal, ride&nbsp;their own vehicle and&nbsp;clean their own houses&nbsp;as access to their support ecosystem (maids, drivers, cleaners, sweepers and many more) vanished.&nbsp;FMCG companies must keep up with this with&nbsp;products that make&nbsp;buyers&nbsp;self-reliant and usher a DIY revolution of sorts.&nbsp;Some companies have already begun this process of adaptation.&nbsp;&ldquo;The innovation teams in ITC are identifying these unmet needs and racing against time to craft effective and innovative products in the health and hygiene space to serve these requirements,&rdquo; said Sameer&nbsp;Satpathy, chief executive (personal care products business).&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Feel good factor: the soul&rsquo;s search for optimism&nbsp;</p><p>Chances are that the souls&nbsp;horrified&nbsp;by the events of 2020 will continue to seek comfort.&nbsp;There is going to be a psychological impact of&nbsp;the long&nbsp;and indeterminate&nbsp;lockdown on people who relieve the stress to some extent currently by making and sharing&nbsp;positive content, or even COVID&nbsp;memes.&nbsp;There is a rise in everything that gives us comfort &mdash; nostalgic content (Ramayan&nbsp;and&nbsp;Friends), comfort food recipes and games such as Ludo (albeit, online).&nbsp;As&nbsp;the lockdown ends,&nbsp;FMCG&nbsp;brands must offer exhilarating and refreshing experiences to customers.&nbsp;The feeling of relief when this pandemic&nbsp;is ultimately&nbsp;defeated&nbsp;must be planned for in advance. The feeling will not be just about freedom of movement but also the exhilaration of having survived a diabolical killer. What as a retail brand are you going to do? Just join the bandwagon of templated, me-too events or come up with some truly memorable and unique &ldquo;victory over corona&rdquo; adventures?&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Ankur Gupta

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