Since March 2020, the pandemic has brought about several changes. A slew of new brand launches, product launches, new ways of shopping, more contactless payments and many more. These have become an integral part of our daily life. In Communication landscape, what has become more relevant during this time and continues to be so is Situational Communication.
The pandemic can also be considered a natural crisis. Very few saw it coming let alone be prepared to handle it. Covid-19 has put normalcy, be it in life or in business, out of gear. Restoration of normalcy is seeming like a long haul with numerous unpredictabilities likely to be faced.
Lockdown blues on business
During lockdown and post that in May, one of the businesses that took an inordinate time to return to pre-lockdown days (I don’t know if it has even now) is saloons and barbershops. Consumers feared to visit their regular and favourite hairdressers. There were questions about hygiene and safety.
Gillette in India launched the ‘Gillette Barber Suraksha Programme’ with the aim to educate, protect and provide resources to the barber community as they return to business. Loreal in India in its new campaign said, “Love is in the hair.” It was meant to be a solidarity campaign urging customers to visit their hairdressers. The brand says, this campaign topped up a multitude of virtual training and up-skilling it imparted to salons during the lockdown. Amazon’s Rakshabandhan campaign, “Deliver the love this Rakshabandhan” and Tanishq’s “Dua Ka Sona 2.0” are a couple of other campaigns (among numerous others) that are relatable and stokes up human emotions of love and kindness respectively.
There are several such examples of situational communication that we see all around us today than ever before because it is relevant and in fact need of the hour. In the case of Gillette and Loreal, the brands are faced with the hazard of operational disruption due to a natural crisis and allaying fears among the general public was critical.
Situational Communications helps organisations and brands to take the problem head-on and communicate effectively. It sends out a message that the brand is listening to consumers. It values their concerns and has come up with solutions to address them. It also helps in the effective development of collegial and collaborative relationships between the brand and the consumer.
The daily struggle
Let us face it. It is a daily struggle for all of us to navigate through numerous unpredictable situations we are facing day in and day out. Lockdowns, containment zones, quarantines, restrictions, protocols are changing frequently and with very little heads up. Organisations and brands are no different. From production to delivery to resolving a customer complaint, everything is changing. These are not times for bragging rights, and everyone realises that.
These are also not times for customer participation all the time and in everything. Humanising communications making consumers understand and empathise works better. Transparency, honesty and timeliness are important in situational communications to build the brand credibility. It makes it more authentic and real.
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