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Right Time for Marketing? How Brands Are Tackling The Dilemma Amid COVID-19

Right Time for Marketing? How Brands Are Tackling The Dilemma Amid COVID-19

In our own ways, each of us can step up to express and deliver care.

Associating your brand with a pandemic can go two ways, and defining the fine line is something we’re all struggling with.

So which is it? Should a brand build a campaign associated with any form of COVID-19 communication, or should it hibernate until this is over?

Effective marketing and vision-sharing have the power to keep industries active and instil hope in the minds of customers. Still, the murmuring around the slowdown expected by our economy compels marketers to rethink these costs, which may not yield in any short-term quantifiable returns.

What we can build, though, is trust. ‘Cause marketing’ and purpose-driven efforts by brands across the globe have gained increasing popularity – and rightfully so. Marketers have acknowledged that building brand love and trust, has over time, helped strengthen inelasticities and propelled growth.

So how can we, in this testing phase, build trust that helps us sail through recovery later?

The Trust Barometer Special Report on ‘Brand Trust and the Coronavirus Pandemic’ released by Edelman emphasises that impact created by brands needs to be ‘tangible and fast’ as opposed to ‘impressionistic and conceptual’.

Can our marketing efforts steer away from chasing the ‘vote in the wallet’ and instead, be designed with action-driven communication with genuine solutions that impact our lives today?

Here are some unique ways in which brands have taken the first step towards gaining trust:

1. Fee-waivers for new-age ‘essentials’

While educational institutes across the country called off in-person lessons, online learning reinforced its importance. Learning platforms such as Byju’s, Vedantu and Coursera, have been quick with initiating free services across the board.

Prateek Chatterjee, Head of Partnerships at Vedantu, in conversation with The Better India, talks about how “Edtech is the one sector that has the responsibility of disrupting learning right now. This is, in fact, the right time for a brand to take up responsibility, communicate, and realise its vision.”

2. Manufacturing new products with existing facilities

In quick response to the need of the hour, multiple FMCG players such as Dabur, L’Oréal and CavinKare, have stepped up and added to their product range with essentials such as hand sanitisers.

When the market grappled with sanitiser stocks and plenty of newbies entered with unreliable versions of the product, falling back to these known names was comforting. In fact, studies have shown that 89 per cent of consumers expect or appreciate brands that are shifting production to create products that can help combat the current COVID-19 challenges.

3. Meaningful Collaborations

If we can have our pizzas baked and delivered in 30 minutes, imagine what more is possible on the delivery front! In an innovative collaboration, ITC and Dominos have come together to announce that Dominos’ delivery partners will be delivering whole wheat and essential spices on request.

While the retail sector takes a considerable hit, Britannia combats its distribution challenges by partnering with delivery partners like Dunzo. Such partnerships are the need of the hour. And while this service is currently only available in Bengaluru, recognising the supply chain and distribution challenges, Britannia and Dunzo are working to make it available in seven more cities across the country.

4. Relief and Generosity

There are heartwarming gestures by corporate entities who have extended their services to those directly affected by the pandemic like meals for health workers by the Taj Group, and free footwear for nurses on the frontline by Crocs.

In our own ways, each of us can step up to express and deliver care.

Over the last five years, we, at The Better India, have been working with partners to design campaigns with meaning, and quantifiable social impact. Now more than ever, we find a reason to collaborate and continue using media as an agent for change. If you have thoughts around initiating communication with meaning, I’d love to have a chat!

(Edited by Shruti Singhal)

About the author: Riddhi Jhunjhunwala is a development sector enthusiast and believes that enterprises can scale impact as well as profits. At The Better India, she drives Partnerships and has worked with over 75 brands to create purpose-led campaigns. Get in touch with her on

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