Abhinav Anand
Planner's Journal

"Don’t do anything if you're unable to justify it to the brand, marketing objectives"

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.

We reached out to Anurag Prasad, national planning director, Lowe Lintas. Here's what he has to say:

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

Don’t do anything if you're unable to justify it to the brand/marketing objectives. If that is sorted, then don’t let anything delay its going live, even for a moment longer than necessary. The only thing that hurts the brand more... is losing out on doing something that could have been really meaningful.

What are the top 3 ways in which the Indian consumer has changed? And, how will these changes affect the way brand managers will sell to them (the consumers) in the days ahead?

It’s a complex matrix that is also dynamic. Different segments of our society will behave differently to the new reality. And, each will behave differently with different product categories. Furthermore, the altered behaviour will, in most cases, be transitioning to what life was in pre-COVID-19 times. While they should understand this, they should, perhaps, focus on estimating how long (in some cases, years) before the consumer mindsets return to what they were. Exceptions to this would be brands that have managed to create a habit of usage due to lockdown – like a lot of app-based services...

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

The obvious ones are those that are most difficult to operate with social distancing restrictions. So, travel, out of home leisure, retail, print media, etc. But, it will not be restricted to this, its fallout would be on related industries as well, in some cases, directly on account of dependency, and in other cases, due to altered consumer habit.

"We are likely to suffer from inability to afford, being a consumption society for a significant period of time, but that should not be mistaken for the humankind adopting a more balanced, or minimalistic approach to life."
Anurag Prasad

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

No, we are not, quite certainly not in India. We are likely to suffer from inability to afford, being a consumption society for a significant period of time, but that should not be mistaken for the humankind adopting a more balanced, or minimalistic approach to life. With the exception of Japan post the nuclear holocaust, no human tragedy seems to have impacted a nation, or a society, in a significant and lasting manner.

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

It will, and it should, not because the pandemic provides a strong context, but because it will be a time to renew the relationship with consumers, and nothing does that better than connecting at the level.