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Marketers discuss impact of pandemic and optimism around festive season

Anuj Jain of Kansai Nerolac Paints, Elizabeth Venkataraman of Kotak Mahindra Bank, Navnit Nakra of OnePlus India, Ravi Desai of Amazon India and Sadashiv Nayak of Future Retail participated in the panel discussion conducted by ISA

The Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) recently organised a panel meet to discuss preparations for the festive season, and the needs and aspirations of consumers.

The panel discussion held on Friday, September 17, consisted of marketers such as Anuj Jain (Executive Director, Kansai Nerolac Paints); Elizabeth Venkataraman (Joint President, Consumer, Commercial and Wealth Marketing, Kotak Mahindra Bank); Navnit Nakra (Vice-President and CSO, OnePlus India); Ravi Desai (Director, Mass and brand marketing, Amazon India) and Sadashiv Nayak (Chief Executive Officer, Future Retail).

The session was moderated by R Ramakrishnan, Chairman, ISA Events.

Nakra of OnePlus began the chat by pointing out that despite the pandemic, positive sentiments among brands is on the rise this festive season. “In Q2, we noticed an all-time high; a whopping 82% jump in the smartphone industry compared to last quarter. We believe because of the pandemic, the need for quality electronic products was more than ever,” he said. 

He said due to the socio/pandemic situation, marketers need to follow a targeted commerce strategy, be it for online or offline content and also look at where the consumer is headed.

The pandemic left an emotional scar on millions of families directly or indirectly and the first theme we anticipate this year is customers wanting to reclaim their lives, said Amazon’s Desai.

“The other noticeable trend is that consumers are excited about going back to fulfilling their wants rather than focusing only on their needs. If we talk more about the sectors that will remain customer favourites, personal computing could be leading the way, followed by beauty, home apparel etc too,” Desai said.

Moving ahead in the session, Venkataraman of Kotak Mahindra Bank said the vaccination drives have instilled confidence among communities. She said, “Vaccination has helped increase mobility and movement. From a bank’s perspective, we see increased revival in certain sectors, whether it is credit, home loans, auto loans, etc. We see the cautious pandemic spending trajectory changing. We have revised our home loan rates in order to usher in the festive season and many changes as such.”

Jain said, “If we start at the inception of the pandemic, people were reluctant to let painters enter their houses. Despite all of that, we saw an increase in demand greater than anticipated. After the second wave too, we saw an immediate return of demand. The demand in the paint sector might take a halt but can never die. People are attracted to long-lasting, good quality paints, so consumer confidence is definitely high.”

Future Retail’s Nayak said that the pandemic didn’t stop consumers from browsing and gifting, be it online or offline. He said, “Two new things that we saw come up were caring and contributing towards each other. We built three pillars for our business: delivery commerce, a value departmental store and building a family ecosystem.”

The panel ended with the thought that at the end of the day, in any given situation in the country, it is important for companies to connect with their users as a community.

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