Branding and marketing professionals have rapidly come to terms with the extended suspension of business as they knew it before COVID-19, adapting at work as well as in their social and personal lives. They’ve found that coping with the new normal calls for a more nuanced and human-centered approach to customer engagement.
The idea of social distancing has made the virtual world their main avenue of engagement and prompted them to rethink their marketing strategies, at least for the near term. Many have begun testing new ways to integrate data and digital technology to connect with audiences and to create enhanced, albeit virtual, customer experience.
Uncertainty demands creativity
Given the current situation, brands are expected to be extremely sensitive and supportive of customers. To do this, they can leverage data from a wide range of channels and platforms creatively to deliver personalized, contextual journeys for customers across a carefully chosen set of digital touchpoints. As brands engage and manage prospects, leads, and customers digitally, empathy and generosity will play a major role in earning customer trust and loyalty. There is also a huge competition among brands trying to engage the same customer and only the ones with the highest level of creativity will succeed in getting the relevant engagement and thereby conversion.
Virtual is the new format
Social distancing has become the new norm, with important events across all industries being cancelled or postponed. In response to the calls for safety, organisers, corporations, and marketers can now choose online/virtual models to conduct such events. Interestingly, many of the companies that have moved towards virtual formats as temporary alternatives are considering turning them into longer-term offerings. Virtual formats also are highly engaging as they can be availed at the comfort of one’s home and focus on sections that are relevant to them.
Forging deeper customer connections
The non-existence of face-to-face interactions has given online marketers a chance to mass connect with audiences on surprisingly personal levels. As the world fast-tracks into virtual experiences, marketers are deep-diving into the minds of customers to better understand behavioural patterns to inform new engagement strategies. At the same time, brands must evaluate how they can engage digitally and maintain a human touch without pushing sensitive boundaries. AI comes to aid in such a situation where you really know what you want to communicate to a customer or prospect rather than having a spray and pray approach.
Brands turn agile in the wake of the crisis
Marketers can adopt agile methods to mitigate crisis circumstances. This is the time to increase digital engagement, strong messaging, and interactive immersive brand experiences. As the situation remains fluid, brands must devise sharp digital strategies to connect with audiences and keep the business relevant.
Digital transformation has remained a key issue for nearly a decade. Instead of making an existing business model more digital, it calls for integrating digital technology into all aspects of business in a way that fundamentally changes how businesses operate and how they deliver value to customers. COVID-19 has amplified the need for this customer-centric initiative and accelerated its adoption for countless organizations.
The successful digital business model
Digitally transforming a business model is a complex endeavor, necessarily tailored to the specific circumstances of each organization. However, there are some common considerations that brands can take into account while charting the path of transformation.
- The product or service offerings should be simple, sustainable, and viable. Employees need to know how products and services will be delivered to customers. They will have to acquire sufficient knowledge of how customers will be supported throughout their journey, including beyond purchase
- Brands need to analyze how effectively they will engage the target consumers and market their offerings based on the new value proposition. The new business model has the capability to expand the organization’s customer base without incurring excessive overhead, a key consideration for digital models
The complexity of digital transformation demands a change in mindset for every stakeholder involved, especially when it must be accelerated. Ability to bring a new model for business and engagement is key rather than trying to automate legacy systems. The scenario is not only dynamic at the moment, but it’s paving the way for major changes that will impact the brand and its customers long into the future.
By Subramanian Gopalaratnam, CTO, Resulticks