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In this time of global health crisis, brands must be able to fill the void with hope and optimism

Anirban Sen, VP and Head of Business (Chewing and Confectionery) of Godfrey Phillips India, writes why the task for brands in hand — when the world is going through a common crisis due to Covid-19— is to examine what changes to make permanently in the value chain for long-term sustainability

Anirban Sen

“Just like us humans, brands too are social! In times such as these, brands too are constrained due to the lack of physical and tangible interaction with their consumers, this is a time when brands can imbibe new value system of care and social awareness permanently, a fine balance of core brand expression in the new context can create even stronger affinity with brands”. Of course, brands need to go beyond just messaging and engagement…

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This is a good time for brands to think about new values that they can permanently integrate into their value system. A flurry of brands (particularly the ones not directly linked to health care through either products or services) have suddenly taken the mantle of informing and messaging about “wash hands”, “stay home” and “safe distancing”, etc. There is no doubt that such messaging is helping spread the core message to a large number of people and helping the larger cause, but what beyond? How will brands be true to the cause of “now” and in future? 

Also read: Will the ad rates on TV see a downward spiral despite surge in viewership during Covid-19 crisis?


Every industry, brand, product or service will have to think about permanent changes seriously, simply because we don’t want a repeat of this. Another repeat of this kind and many brands will have such deep financial impact, that they may have nothing to say. So, the task in hand is to examine what changes to make permanently in the value chain for long term-sustainability.  It may be as simple as taking these hygiene messages permanently forward, say in packaging design. Improvements in packaging, perhaps more application of packaging material that is resistant to viruses or increasing seating distances in airlines or auditoriums. Small or big changes but aimed at protecting the future.

Now, while brands think of how they can protect their future, they have a task of protecting their present. There have been sudden disruptions and consumers are at home, isolated and distanced. Brands must be able to fill this void with hope and optimism. Most brands are highly social; brands have forever relied on personal endorsements building up to community endorsements. This is a great opportunity for brands fill the “social” gap in legitimate ways and hold their communities together and perhaps recruit new members into their community.

It is but obvious that digital media offers great benefit to fulfil this cause but is important to note that brands’ perspective need to undergo a slight change. It is meritorious to shift focus from “personalised-communication” to more broad-based “community-communication”. This disruption offers brands to build “micro-communities” to take care of diversity, eliminate redundancy and re-plan completely their marketing agenda for now and future. This is also a time when consumers won’t mind if brands deviate from their core purpose and show some versatility. A good opportunity to cut across geographies and follow consumers on what they are doing how they spend time. Online exercise sessions, cooking classes, sharing a quick dance or something that can make you laugh and gaming …are all riding this wave. Brands have yet to find meaningful existence in these online genres.

What about the consumers who are not digitally active or are still not on the network? For them perhaps the best way is to reach out through community service and be selfless. Brands have to actively look at coming together, creating partnerships for the greater good of the society.

But again in the enthusiasm of being active in the short term, organisations should not lose sight of the permanent changes that are required to be undertaken in order to prepare for a more prosperous future.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of BestMediaInfo.com and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)


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