FaceBook has announced that it is introducing new features on WhatsApp which enable brands and businesses to sell faster online. These new features are related to shopping and payment; and they focus on three aspects: shopping, FaceBook hosting services, and business sales.
- Shopping: The purpose of developing the features on WhatsApp is that both consumers and the brand/business can benefit from having a customized online shopping platform along with all the suitable payment options. FaceBook is extending all the ways in which customers can purchase products directly from WhatsApp Chat. It is also concentrating on combining WhatsApp with the existing eCommerce applications which the brands and businesses have been using previously.
- FaceBook hosting services: FaceBook has stated that it is releasing new mechanisms to enable SMBs (small and medium sized businesses) to oversee their chat and sales presence. Brands and businesses can use these mechanisms which have also been proclaimed to ease the process of conducting transactions while the employees are working from home.
- Business Sales: FaceBook has announced that services such as chat, messaging and video calling will be offered free of charge while other services will be charged a certain amount.
A consumer opens WhatsApp to connect with a vendor, chats with the business, browses the catalog/inventory, adds product(s) to a shopping cart, reviews the order before paying for it, and then receives confirmation in a chat window on WhatsApp.
Indian hospitality chain OYO Hotels & Homes has commenced an advertising campaign which recently released its first advertisement featuring Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, who is also an asset owner at OYO. The ad has been broadcast across television, radio, as well as across the brand’s accounts on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
The brief advert shows Sonu Sood (wearing a face mask) playing the role of a member of the OYO staff who sprays a hotel room (including the door knob, the switchboard, the TV remote control, the AC remote control, the table, and the curtain drawing rods) with disinfectant in front of a guest (who is also wearing the face mask) prior to his settling in. The actor uses the phrase ‘pehle spray, phir stay’ (first spray, then stay); in an effort to reassure the guest that OYO has been following and will continue to follow protocol by taking each and every safety precaution during these testing times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Actor Sonu Sood has also been associated with brands such as: PC brand Acer India, airline brand Spicejet Airlines, online medical consultation brand MFine, insurance brand Edelweiss Insurance, education and training organisation ISM Edutech, aerated drinks brand Pepsi, fruit import and export brand IG International, and so on.
The recent advertisement by Tanishq Jewellers has garnered attention, which has mostly been negative. Instead of highlighting their trademark jewellery and ornaments, the brand had chosen to portray a seemingly thought-provoking advertisement about interfaith community harmony in a single faith household.
The advertisement is okay, per se, although when viewed through the perspective of the current state of the world, it is provocative (and not thought-provoking). The responses and reactions to this ad have been polarising in several ways. With both Hindus being offended by this ad as well as the Muslim community being outraged and issuing a fatwa against the brand, this is clearly an example of a no-win prospect. The advertisement is not even significant from the brand’s perspective (whose purpose is to showcase their products (the jewels and other ornaments)) as there is a blink-and-miss glimpse of the gold necklaces that the woman in question in the advert (the pregnant daughter-in-law) is wearing; thus defeating the brand’s very purpose for creating the advert, in the first place.
Tanishq Jewellers is a well-known and reputed brand which has been in business for quite a long time now. So, this one time blunder committed by the marketing team at whatever agency the brand had hired to develop the ad should not be held against the brand, nor against its founder.
Webinars are online seminars. Conducting webinars is a powerful method for a brand/business to grow. The webinars can also establish and increase the authority of any brand/business in the industry, and generate a multitude of leads. They can be repurposed in the form of blogs, videos and other types of content.
Webinars enable live and direct interactions between the presenter and the audience. They can help in reaching people all over the world. Webinars help in establishing trust in the minds of the audience and in gaining leads (since registering for webinars requires the visitors to submit their email addresses). Knowing about the attendees to the webinar is to be considered first and foremost while organizing a webinar. Visual branding needs to take place within the webinar, in that the brand logo should be inserted in such a way that it can be retained in the minds of the audience long after the webinar has ended. The webinar organisers should also make sure that they are using those colours, fonts and other visual elements which match their brand’s style. It is a good idea to increase the size of the text and visuals so as to enable mobile users to easily watch the webinar. It is imperative to choose a webinar platform that supports mobile.
Offering products and/or services as add-ons within the webinar is also an excellent way to build brand awareness. Sometimes, it is better to organise a paid webinar series in which the visitors need to pay for participating in the webinar. It is highly imperative to focus on the content first by choosing a relevant topic that is informative to the audience. Using a compelling title can grab the attention of the audience and prompt them to probe further, thus enabling them to decide whether to sign up for participating in the webinar.
Brands and businesses are now viewing the practice of ethical data usage as a way of gaining and retaining consumer trust. Day by day, with more and more people being conscious as well as concerned about their privacy online, businesses need to make sure that there is no data breach.
Ethical Data Usage as Brand Strategy
Ethical data usage is also one of the means of increasing awareness and solidifying the brand reputation in the market. Data is a crucial aspect for any brand conducting its business online and offline as well. Whichever way the data is used, it has an impact on people’s everyday lives. It is an ongoing debate as to whether the use of data is acceptable in mitigating circumstances owing to the rising concern regarding privacy. Research has proved that users tend to share more of their personal information with businesses that are clear and forthright about their data usage practices. Mobile app users all over the world are searching for credible options online where they can place their private data up to a limit. They are aware of the fact that companies can be held liable for their data management practices if the practices are found to be unlawful. Brands and businesses with good and strict privacy policies take precedence over others.
The Union Cabinet has approved the draft Indian Personal Data Protection Bill. It is just a matter of time before the Bill is passed. Indian businesses need to tighten their privacy policies in lieu of the circumstances.
Snack brand Kurkure has rolled out a new ad campaign celebrating the solidarity expressed by Indian families in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Highlighting the Indian culture of mostly large joint families living under one roof, the ad campaign symbolises the harmony and support among the family members through thick and thin.
Kurkure Rolls Out New Ad Campaign
With the imposed self isolation and social distancing, more and more people are remaining at home. This, in turn, is leading to increased interaction and connection among members of the household. The ad campaign portrays the strengthened bonds of affection and caring among the members of a family during these trying times in a quirky and unusual manner. It showcases how they are entertaining themselves and one another with light-hearted banter, as well as how they are keeping one another motivated and optimistic through heartfelt conversation and fun-filled moments. Created by WPP, the ad campaign titled ‘Chatpata Shukriya’ also features actor Akshay Kumar, the brand ambassador of Kurkure, expressing gratitude to the ‘chatpati Indian families’ on behalf of the brand. The ad campaign is being broadcast over multiple social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn in the form of a 360-degree surround plan.
This latest campaign is in keeping with Kurkure’s long-standing tradition of featuring families in its advertisements.
With the global lockdown caused by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, consumers are turning more and more toward online transactions. The crisis has significantly impacted consumer behaviour altogether in other ways, as well. This scenario has created an unprecedented surge in demand for the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies.
Reasons for Brands to Align with Consumer Behaviour
There is a notable boost in the consumption of traditional and ayurvedic food items. Most of the brands have responded appropriately to these changing circumstances and have developed innovative products for the consumers in accordance with their requirements. Experts believe that this trend of online dependence is going to continue even long after the crisis has passed. Brands which make the most of this opportunity are much more likely to benefit in the long run. Presently, consumers are opting for digital services and platforms in almost every walk of life. It is imperative that the FMCG brands learn to swiftly align themselves to this shifting consumer behaviour. For instance, partnering with online delivery service platforms in order to better serve the consumers can help the brands to maintain their credibility in the long term.
The social impact of the crisis is likely to last for a longer duration than the economic impact. So it is highly essential that brands are prompt and amenable to align themselves to the changing market conditions.
Consumers are attempting to acclimatize themselves to the current circumstances following the lockdown now. Brands are setting up communications that guide the consumers towards going through this phase smoothly.
Brand Communication post Lockdown
Listed below are a few examples of the way some of the brands have been communicating over the past few days:
McDonald’s – Hungry Houses
In order to motivate people to stay at home and pick the option of ordering food to be delivered; McDonald’s, in association with Leo Burnett, has rolled out an integrated campaign which is titled ‘Hungry Houses.’ The campaign underscores the need to #StayHome but not hungry.
ICICI Lombard – #RestartRight
With consumers resuming their professional duties post the lockdown; ICICI, in association with Ogilvy, has rolled out a new campaign that prompts people to ‘restart’ their life in the ‘right’ way. It also communicates the upgrading of its health insurance solutions in light of the pandemic.
Ikea – Home Lessons
Furniture retail company Ikea has rolled out a campaign titled ‘Home Lessons’ which showcases the lessons that people have learnt during their isolation at home following the lockdown; such as: experimenting with new recipes, redecorating and other DIY (do it yourself) projects; as well as enjoying a night in.
The State Bank of India (SBI) has revealed a new brand identity for its insurance company, State Bank of India General Insurance (SBIGI). Both the logo and tagline of SBIGI have been redesigned. This brand identity is set to portray SBIGI’s future-ready services (traditionalist as well as modernist) to the evolving customer.
SBIGI Reveals new Brand Identity
The swipeable buttons represented by the logo indicate the digital age; while the use of gradient denotes future readiness. The tagline ‘Suraksha Aur Bharosa Dono’ fortifies the promise made by SBI General Insurance to provide ‘suraksha’ (protection) to the customers during their times of adversity as well as strengthens the faith (bharosa) placed in the parent establishment, SBI, by the customers. The purpose of the new logo and tagline is to reassure SBIGI’s customers of the company’s commitment to serving their needs even during the current challenging times.
SBI General Insurance (SBIGI) is a joint venture company majorly owned by the State Bank of India; along with investments from Axis Bank Asset Management Company Limited, Premji invests, and Warburg Pincus Group. SBIGI offers a diverse range of insurance policies; such as home, health, two wheeler, four wheelers, motor, personal accident, and travel insurance in the retail sector; and: construction and engineering, marine, fire, aviation, and liability insurance in the commercial sector.
In this age of digitization, it is highly imperative that businesses step up their brand endorsement efforts in order to remain at the forefront of consumers’ minds. The businesses need to ensure that their brand is able to attract the attention of the customers as well as retain them.
Brand Recognition amid Evolving Times
Listed below are a few tips for gaining brand recognition among the customers, corresponding to the constantly evolving times:
- Creating products/services as per the changes brought about by the shifts in culture is the first step in keeping with the ongoing circumstances. This also helps in influencing consumer behavior.
- It is a great practice to take advantage of any brand’s core product’s popularity and then to leverage this product’s awareness among consumers in order to attract their attention towards the other products offered by the same brand.
- Businesses need to concentrate their marketing efforts towards creating campaigns that relate to and resonate with their audience. Campaigns that highlight the joyful moments during special occasions in the audience’s lives (e.g. Cadbury Celebrations ads) remain in the audience’s minds for a long time.
- There needs to be a focus on the mass audiences as the majority of consumption happens in rural areas (e.g. small packs, sachets of the products of any brand).
- It is highly essential that brands remain open, direct, and honest in their messaging.