Q] Everyone in the industry has been speaking of how the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of Digital by brands and consumers alike. Can you single out us the key 2-3 major shifts that the pandemic has brought about in the past 6-8 months?
The pandemic has disrupted the economy and the brand marketing categories. This year has compelled many brands to either accelerate the adoption of digital or encouraged them to innovate. The major shifts that the pandemic has brought about in the past 6-8 months are:
1. E-commerce and digital migration: The new norms of social distancing and stay-at-home has led to increase in demand of online and digital offerings. According to a recent CMO Survey from Deloitte, the online sales grew 43% between February and May. Essential items – including groceries, personal-care products, OTC medicine and household items will continue in regards to online purchases, exceeding 35% growth, according to McKinsey.
2. Availability and Convenience: The marketers have responded to the shift in consumer needs and market conditions by investing heavily in digital experiences. Marketers have revisited their strategies and reworked their messaging to have an opportunity to reach, engage and convert new audiences.
3. Remote communications and virtual experiences: Every organisation has encouraged remote WFH arrangements, employees and employers are having to adopt more robust remote work technologies and processes.
Q] How have your clients’ expectations and mandates changed this year?
The three major shifts in client expectations that we have observed are –
a) There was a major shift from outdoor, print and radio to digital
b) The clients are expecting more from digital, they are not looking at digital to only drive awareness but to drive full funnel. A lot of brands have gone to e-commerce to drive full funnel.
c) Clients are today looking more seriously at full digital marketing strategies. Our engagements have gone beyond just doing some good social campaigns to full digital marketing strategies for our clients.
Q] Largely for most digital agencies, the impact hasn’t been as harsh as it has been on the likes of agencies in OOH, creative and media. Would you agree with that?
Yes, I agree. The industry that was affected the most was OOH, especially when people were locked indoors. We adapted to the new normal and the OOH media locations at public spaces saw a major downfall in footfalls, which resulted in 50% of media spends being pulled instantly across APAC region. There are so many things that the pandemic has taught us. It has forced organisations to move from pen and paper to implementation of new technologies and go digital. We shifted from meetings to virtual meetings and calls to Google Meet or Zoom calls. The pandemic has impacted the business of digital agencies as well, but the agencies were quick to adapt the changes and catch up to the new demands on time.
Q] How is Grapes Digital adapting to the current challenges in the ecosystem?
All industries and sectors the world over saw really tough times this year, and we at Grapes Digital were no different. The nationwide lockdown started with calls and emails from the clients to put communications activities on hold or discontinuation of services. It was heart-breaking for any person who has put in countless working hours to build their clients. We adapted and came with a new strategy for our clients that is well suitable for them during the lockdown.