Brands must be relevant, Chopra said, in the way they position their campaigns and frame their advertising narratives. For instance, the new campaign for Sensodyne crafts the brands story around love for traditional recipes and a nostalgia for the long-ago. Both are popular conversation starters online and helped the brand slip easily into online conversations and amplify its pitch.
It is not enough to use the medium to showcase their products or demonstrate the purpose of the brand, instead advertisers must know how to think digitally. Google has just released its 2020 Insights for Brands in which it notes that the lockdown has increased digital dependence (as one would expect), but it has also led to a new habit, which is that social media and other digital channels of information are no longer seen as an intrusion.
Always-on search, the report said, has become an established habit for Indian consumers.
Brands must know how to weave their way into their search patterns and their online chatter. However, the Google report is also clear that there are no playbooks for a time like this and even the most agile and nimble advertisers who are accustomed to evolving strategies and changing directions real time are struggling for an answer.
Relevance is what Sensodyne and Eno are playing for. If a brand that knows what to say in times of crisis, it is more likely to keep its customers loyal, note several consumer reports that have studied the way the Chinese market has behaved once the lockdown was called off.
Naveed Ahmed, area marketing lead, Over-the-Counter, GSK Consumer Healthcare explains that building relevance means using a multi-layered communication plan.
Also the brand must understand the functionality of digital media to be able to adjust its tone and pitch according to the need of the hour and the consumer.
For Eno, the team used social listening to keep a close watch on the emerging trends. With work-from-home, people had more time on hand and were not ordering their meals from outside either, the campaigns were built around these insights, Ahmed said.
It is not enough to mine the social media insights however. Both Ahmed and Chopra said that they test their campaigns extensively using a basket of metrics to measure their effectiveness. Real-life case studies make the content believable and digital makes it trackable, Chopra explained. She said that they look at reach, impressions, the number of mentions in online conversations, the time spent on the content and the bounce rate, among other things to see if a campaign has hit the mark.
In a lockdown, it is doubly important that brands track and measure every piece of communication, they said. It is also critical that brands are quick with their communication. Given the disruption in the advertising ecosystem with everyone working from home, this can be a challenge.
The solution, for Eno, was to break down the campaign into different phases. The first phase was a series of animated films that took just five days from idea to execution, the company said. In the second phase, the narratives were based on the insights picked up from the conversations in the first phase and the films took longer to make as they were shot entirely at home. Speed, agility and being close to what the customer thinks, the brands hope, can pave the road to trust, and loyalty.