How has the consumer changed in a post-Covid world?

Tushar Vyas, President, South Asia, GroupM and Co-Chair of the Digital Advertising Council at IAMAI and Siddharth Banerjee, Managing Director and SVP, India and Asia for Pearson, talk about how the consumer journey has changed over the past few years

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How has the consumer changed in a post-Covid world?

Tushar Vyas, Siddharth Banerjee

The past few years have disrupted the world as we know it. It has also changed the way people consume and shop for products.

Tushar Vyas, President, South Asia, GroupM and Co-Chair of the Digital Advertising Council at IAMAI and Siddharth Banerjee, Managing Director and SVP, India and Asia for Pearson, engaged in a fireside chat about how the consumer has changed at the 18th Marketing Conclave by IAMAI at a session titled, Unlearn/Learn marketing in a post-Covid world.’

According to Banerjee, there is no straight path for the consumers to discover your brand today.

“The AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) model is no longer straight, consumers can make choices in nanoseconds or they can be recommended brands that they have never heard of and make choices because the barriers to entry, payment or return have been reduced significantly.”

He gave an example of how quickly ChatGPT has picked up when it wasn’t even a product even a month ago.

He said marketers should keep in mind that if consumers can discover your brand, they can also move on easily. “The role of consumer psychology in retaining the audience is important. In a world where they can discover you easily, they can also move on easily. Here, you should pick up a little bit of an understanding of consumer psychology and the role of nudges in that.”

Banerjee further advised brands to establish meaningful partnerships. “No brand or organisation is sitting in vacuums. You can establish partnerships from anywhere. You need to have friends or partners. Partnership with like-minded partners is a great way for you to put up competitive mode and give delightful digital experiences to consumers.”

He also advised brands to focus on the digitisation of the entire value chain to offer the best experiences.

“When you are in the gym doing dumbbells, you are exercising both your hands. Your left hand could be data and the ability to decode data. Your right hand could be creativity. However, the heart of this is still understanding consumer insights. As marketers, we are very keen on jumping on the next thing. I would say spend time in building data and creativity and keep the consumer insights at the heart.”

“As we move more towards automation, brands will be undifferentiated. This is why consumer behaviour is the core to then offer a seamless digital experience to the consumer,” explained Banerjee.

The consumer in a post-Covid world

According to Banerjee while consumer habits stay the same, they have transformed in the past few years. He said the three things which have been established today are:

1. An increased emphasis on health and wellness- The consumer is more conscious about health today. “Don’t think of health and wellness only in categories like medicine or preventive health. Ask yourself does your brand care for you (them) to give you the best possible experience in an increasingly fragile world.”

2. Digital transformation has democratised digital experiences- “You can have a child learning coding at age 7 at the same time a 74-year-old who has always shopped for groceries from the market is a little more comfortable ordering groceries online. 

3. Banerjee said given the amount of economic shakedown happening globally, there will be consumers who will ask brands for increased value. They will make highly discretionary choices and brands will have to offer more value.

New rules of marketing

Asked how will he rewrite marketing rules /textbooks to suit today’s world, Banerjee said, there are three new rules to market in a post-covid world.

1. People have moved beyond products and are looking for products associated with values

2. The role/ importance of omnichannel: As per Banerjee, while one can build all the brands in the digital domain but at the end of the day, humans are emotional creatures. He said there needs to be an element where they can touch, feel and buy your brand in ways that are different from the digital experiences.

3. Disruption from anywhere: He said it is not necessary today that only your direct competition will disrupt you. “For example, classic watch brands were threatened by Apple when they launched smartwatches. Big watch brands were threatened by someone who isn’t even present in the category. ChatGPTwhich is a conversational AI tool is being seen as a rival to tech giants,” explained Banerjee.

Siddharth Banerjee consumer journey Tushar Vyas IAMAI marketing conclave