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The speakers of Episode 16 of HT Brand Studio Live, Season 2.
The speakers of Episode 16 of HT Brand Studio Live, Season 2.

The pandemic has made brand continuity planning crucial, now more than ever

As industries wrap their heads around the current global crisis, effective brand continuity planning can help them chart the way forward. In the 16th episode of HT Brand Studio Live, Season 2, five brand leaders shared their views on the same

The Covid-19 crisis has created unprecedented fear and chaos. Businesses have got affected, with revenues falling rapidly and employee health greatly at risk. How should they adapt to the ever-changing reality?

Karthi Marshan, Chief Marketing Officer, Kotak Mahindra Group said, “Brands are a promise of predictability. They should say, ‘everything’s okay, don’t worry, we are the same that we used to be.’ Our fundamental instinct is to feel good about ourselves. Any role that a brand can play in this meaningfully will have an opportunity to deliver results."

Marshan was speaking at the 16th edition of HT Brand Studio Live. It is a series that gets the brains behind India’s top brands to decode marketing innovations and more. It is anchored by Rameet Arora, Chief Operating Officer, HT Digital Streams, and co-hosted by HT Brand Studio and DMAasia.

Navigating this crisis is about remaining positive, and playing a meaningful role in consumers’ lives.

Pawan Sarda, Group Head-Digital, Future Group, said, “This is a time when any retail store format in the globe isn’t ready to react. Nobody was prepared for a 21-day lockdown; addressing consumers was a challenge due to lack of time and reaction. Our retail store formats are going through a lot of change and so will our communication. There’s a lot of hand-holding the consumer. We need to create positivity. Listening to consumers is crucial."

Watch: HT Brand Studio Live, Season 2

Priorities need to be set straight and brands should opt for solutions that are best optimized for productivity.

Manish Dureja, Managing Director and CEO, InterMiles, said: “The foremost priority is looking after the well-being of employees and their families. The second is to build resilience. We need to not only manage the current crisis, but also predict the changes that lie ahead of us. How can we communicate effectively with our customers? We need to focus on exclusive experiences that can be delivered to the doorstep."

Keeping the consumer first has never been more important. Aligning brand objectives to new consumer habits has become crucial.

Said Tarun Katial, CEO, ZEE5 India, “This is the time to reach out to new consumers, service them, convert them and re-target them. This is the time to keep them home and keep them entertained."

However, before that, brands need to re-evaluate their anatomy. Aparna Mahesh, Chief Marketing Officer, BankBazaar, said, “It’s important to realise if a brand will be as relevant after the crisis as it is now. A lot of deep-diving has to happen into the anatomy of the brand. If something is not relevant, brands need to figure out a pivot strategy for it. The lockdown has created new habits for all of us. Brand custodians need to figure out the short- and long-term plan based on this new reality, backing up consumers along the way."

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