India is currently battling a pandemic as, what some might call, the epicentre of the outbreak. However, this period also marks the beginning of the post-COVID or what has come to be known as the new normal. It has been established time and again that the new normal will witness a massive change in the way we deal with everyday life and give way to a changing landscape driven by digital transformation, across industries.
In such a scenario, consumer behaviour is also bound to see a big change and marketers need to keep a check on these changing patterns and pivot their efforts accordingly. A report by Gartner indicates that consumers are now expecting increased mindfulness from brands in these testing times. They are expecting brands to address the larger issue instead of being opportunistic.
At this time, it has become increasingly important to communicate around the brand’s purpose and values. Consumers would expect that instead of adopting product push strategies, brands will gravitate to empathetic communication to connect with consumers on a deeper level. Let’s look at a few factors that will drive this change and how marketers can step up to adjust to the changing consumer.
Customers prioritise trusted relationships
Customers in the post-COVID world are willing to choose brands that are working towards the larger good instead of just propagating about their products or services. In fact, according to EY, close to 62% of consumers say they would prefer to buy products from companies, which are doing good for society – and 29% are even prepared to pay a premium for these brands. Brands need to make sure that these efforts are a part of their digital strategies as well.
Digital strategies for brands should now focus on reflecting brand values and pay attention to representing social activism and outreach. Not only will this help brands gain consumer attention but also allow greater loyalty in the long run. Aside from this, it would also help in driving consideration, purchase, and feedback from consumers.
Spend on conversions and brand value
The changing consumer behaviour and their difficulty in trusting new brands have made it increasingly important for brands to strive to build this trust. They need to utilize a purpose-driven & human-centric approach to conquer new & loyal customers with the funnel dynamic. This is why your digital marketing strategy needs to Spread awareness by building brand power, meaningfulness & value for money.
Aside from that the strategy should also focus on driving consideration & maximise ROAS by utilizing innovative performance tactics to generate interest & connect with the consumer. Ultimately, it should accelerate conversion by focusing on innovative & personalized campaigns.
According to Forbes, Online sales have grown 43% between February and May 2020 and are accounting for 19.3% of all sales. This is just one of the examples that prove the importance of an online presence in the post-COVID world. The necessity of staying indoors has made consumers more open to online experiences.
This has made it clear that brands now need to allocate a higher budget to digital marketing and go Phygital by adopting an omnichannel approach. Some new-age brands are also deploying virtual platforms to connect customers with real-life experts, places & events to create social trust and provide a familiar environment. Now brands need to reimagine virtual communications, commerce & brand experiences that leverage social, AR, VR, web platforms for engagement & delivery
Marketing localisation will become increasingly important in the post-COVID world in light of the social distancing norms and travel restrictions. According to a report by Facebook and Boston Consulting Group, as consumers adjust to the “new normal,” businesses will require a hyper-focused market strategy to increase sales. For this, brands need to redirect budgets to digital channels to reach homebound consumers using marketing localization & increase consumer loyalty.
Building a long-term digital strategy that is focussed on retention & audience engagement in a specific local area and focussing on local ratings & reviews is a vital step to scale-up your localized marketing strategy. You can leverage tools like Google My Business to update local listings with relevant information to save your consumers time & confusion. Brands also need to carve a niche for themselves by diving deeper by market and data into their operations
Boost customer engagement
The unprecedented times that we’ve found ourselves in has made it clear that we need to be incredibly agile in adapting to customer needs. Once brands have built the trust of their consumers, adopted an omnichannel strategy, and leveraged local marketing, brands also need to focus on driving more strengthened customer engagement.
This is why brands need to conduct immediate social listening to assess consumer sentiment. Moreover, it is also important to accelerate customer segmentation, digital lead generation and nurturing to boost engagement.
For this, you need to build a new communication plan to bring evolved brand vision & values to the market. Another great idea could be to Refresh loyalty programs to account for new digital & experiential means of engagement & new customers. Moreover, building a feedback capability to incorporate changes in customer behaviour & evolve to meet changing expectations across products & services can prove to be incredibly helpful.
In order to be in sync with the changing consumer behaviour brands need to adopt policies that establish strong trust among employees, customers, partners and the community and need to reflect this in their digital efforts. This helps them ensure transparency & clearly communicate the information to various stakeholders for visibility into business practices.