Abhinav Anand
Planner's Journal

"Brands should avoid 'class participation' for the sake of it": Rasika Fernandes, McCann

In a new series Planner's Journal, we explore what the world looks like from the perspective of those in charge of mining consumer insights every day.

Here's what Rasika Fernandes, senior VP and head of planning, McCann Bangalore, has to say:

If there was one piece of advice you could give all brand marketers now, what would that be?

Avoid class participation for the sake of it. Focus instead on finding a meaningful role for your brand keeping in mind the consumer sentiment during and post lockdown.

What are the top 3 ways in which you feel the Indian consumer has changed? And how do you see these changes affecting the way brand managers will sell to them in the days ahead?

1. We’ve always adjusted and accepted less than ideal hygiene standards. That’s obviously changed now and brands, especially those in the food business are going to have to reassure people on that front continuously.

2. People are spending more time online, doing things they had never done before, be it working, learning, socialising or purchasing. It’s an opportunity for brands to reimagine communications, engagement and commerce.

3. Having spent so much time at home, there’s a renewed appreciation for the home and the comfort and little joys it sparks. Brands will try and leverage this ‘home-coming’ and help people create meaningful experiences at home.

Which product segments do you feel have the toughest road to recovery? And which categories will bounce back faster than others?

Travel and tourism of course. Even when state/international borders open and flying resumes, people will be too anxious to travel. There are certain categories that have only experienced a decline because of production and delivery limitations due to the lockdown, but once the lockdown is lifted, things will look up for them, eg. beauty, food and beverage, home improvement, etc.

Are we headed towards a world in which consumerism will become a bad word? What will happen to marketing in such a world?

People will still spend money and buy things. However, we will need to redefine things like value, indulgence or luxury in a world where people are likely to prioritise needs over wants or choose conscientious over conspicuous consumption.

"People will still spend money and buy things. However, we will need to redefine things like value, indulgence or luxury in a world where people are likely to prioritise needs over wants or choose conscientious over conspicuous consumption."
Rasika Fernandes

Do you see purpose led brand communication increase or decrease in the days ahead?

They say in good times we talk about values, in bad times we live them, so yes I do believe brands will choose to communicate and live their purpose in the days to come – we are already seeing that but I hope they continue to do so, even when times get better.