Debashish Chakraborty
Points of View

What are marketers of ‘non-essential’ segments thinking?

A lot of product segments are in a tricky space right now. The ongoing lockdown has brought the demand for their kind of products, i.e., 'non-essentials', to a screeching halt. They can't advertise as usual; hard-selling is out of the question. We spoke to the heads of four non-essential brands on things, as they stand.

Sunil Suresh, group chief marketing officer, MakeMyTrip

These are unprecedented times, and travel and tourism has been one of the most severely impacted sectors due to the COVID-19 outbreak. While travel is the least of priorities for people right now, we know, for sure, that their longing to take the next trip is growing with every passing day. And, this is exactly the moment where we would like to meet our customers through our communication across social platforms.

Sunil Suresh
Sunil Suresh

On Goibibo, our brand communication currently focuses on encouraging people to mollify their travel aspirations for a while, and prioritise social distancing by #stayingindoors. The core theme, i.e., ‘time to’ is a reminder to people to welcome a shift by travelling back to some of the basics of life, such as TV time with family, enjoying personal time at home and something as simple as practicing utmost hygiene.

On MakeMyTrip, our narrative weaves around an interesting and compelling callout to travellers on behalf of nature; which is understandably worried and is willing to wait as people stay indoors during this period of crisis.

Overall, the creative play, for both the brands, balances two key aspects – educating people on the measures to fight COVID-19 and motivating them to stay positive – while keeping the conversation spirited in unusual times like these.

Peeyush Bachlaus, AVP – marketing, Kansai Nerolac Paints

In times like these, a brand has to accurately understand its stakeholders' requirements and needs. Only then can it successfully work towards the larger benefit of society. In our case, painters, dealers and customers form an integral part of our stakeholder ecosystem. It is imperative for us to stay connected to them and understand their needs.

Peeyush Bachlaus
Peeyush Bachlaus

We recently announced an early disbursement of funds to our painter community through the Nerolac Premium Painter Pragati (NPP Pragati) Programme. Through this Nerolac initiative, over 30,000 painters can benefit (up to Rs 36,000 per person). Further, awareness and social messaging is the need of the hour to help humanity tide over these tough times.

Sandeep Anand, chief marketing officer – food delivery, Zomato

Sandeep Anand
Sandeep Anand

Food delivery has been acknowledged as an essential service at this time. So, it was important that we use all the communication channels to educate our users about our precautionary practices. We then mixed it up with some engaging and humorous content relevant at the time when everyone is staying home. Our strategy has always been to offer content that is simple, relevant to the moment, and may get some laughs.

Udit Mediratta, director global brands – South Asia, AB InBev (parent company of Budweiser, Corona, Stella Artois and other soft drink and brew brands)

Udit Mediratta
Udit Mediratta

The health and well-being of our people and communities is a top priority. Music has always emerged as an indisputable passion point that unites individuals, irrespective of differences. With this sentiment at the core, we, at Budweiser, recently introduced BUDXHOME, bringing together leading music artists of the country for a unique livestream experience on the Mixmag Facebook page, which our patrons can enjoy from the comfort of their homes.

Through this initiative, we also aim to provide financial aid to at-risk nightlife workers, impacted by the global pandemic, in partnership with India Nightlife Collective. We stand in solidarity with the underground artists, DJs, technicians, producers, sound engineers and other members — the driving force of the nightlife and music community — by uniting key stakeholders from the industry to work together, help protect and give back at this time of need.

We have already showcased special sets from Anish Sood – acclaimed DJ and music producer, BLOT! – a homegrown electronic DJ, Audio Units – a recognisable face in the electronic music scene, and Likwid – who has been at the forefront of the underground scene on the Mixmag Facebook page.