EXCLUSIVE | Neha Bahri, Bconnect Communications: The right mix of comms [Year-Ender 2020]

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Neha Bahri, Founder and Director of Bconnect Communications, is an entrepreneur and strategic communication professional with more than nine years of experience in the marketing communication and PR industry. Her expertise lies in media relations, event planning and execution, and strategic alliances.

In this exclusive piece for MediaBrief.com, Neha writes about the changing consumer behaviour, the need for digital adoption by brands and about the importance of the right communication mix in the post-COVID world. Read on.

The COVD-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down and led to fundamental shifts in the way of thinking and living for people. These unprecedented shifts have presented many questions before brands with respect to building communication and connecting with their audience.

There is no denial in the fact that businesses had to navigate through the uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. They had to adjust marketing plans to ensure appropriate, timely and empathetic communications and solutions, be it external or internal.

Most of the brands were quick to create and make resources available to their communities which has been an incredible rally by organizations and individuals to provide enriching and helpful solutions. 

There will be longer-term opportunities to reinvent business offerings with new functionality and launch entirely new tools. This crisis has undoubtedly uncovered gaps and weaknesses in business continuity plans, ability to communicate with employees, moving paper-based and in-person (events, meetings, etc.) to digital and many more: Neha Bahri

At the same time, there will be longer-term opportunities to reinvent business offerings with new functionality and launch entirely new tools. This crisis has undoubtedly uncovered gaps and weaknesses in business continuity plans, ability to communicate with employees, moving paper-based and in-person (events, meetings, etc.) to digital and many more.

Most businesses had a communication plan in accordance with their business goals but due to this unprecedented crisis, many companies will have to put in place new priorities based on the situation and how it has affected their industry.

Therefore, to align with the new set of immediate objectives, companies will have to go back to rethink their communications strategy and come up with a new plan on how to relay it sincerely to their audience. For instance, if a company’s previous immediate goal was to raise funds or get more business, the crisis might have affected that particular company to re-prioritize survival.

To keep all the stakeholders engaged and stable, a company would need to quickly redraw a short-term and long-term communication plan for the same. Communicating internally with the team is a need that should not be overlooked. Crisis communication should occur with regularity as developments unfold.

A company shouldn’t avoid communicating about the risks and challenges facing the company. Communication in all companies works top-down and in a situation like this keeping your core team informed will help them effectively communicate downwards. This will keep all the stakeholders on the same page and saying the same things. 

This spread of COVID-19 has led to a paradigm shift in consumer behavior, changing the way a consumer thinks, works, shops and communicates with people more than any other disruption in the past. Post the pandemic, the inflection point for marketers will be primarily shaped by two major shifts in consumer behavior, the reluctance to mingle in crowded public places and a higher propensity for digital adoption.

A company shouldn’t avoid communicating about the risks and challenges facing the company. Communication in all companies works top-down and in a situation like this keeping your core team informed will help them effectively communicate downwards: Neha Bahri

In the times to come, we will be seeing a sudden change in consumers’ behavior where even traditional buyers who were apprehensive of shopping online, will start turning to that. The change that we will notice more evidently is that consumers will now opt to do the product research online and spend minimal time in the store. 

Also, it is critical for a company to establish mediums for two-way communication with all its stakeholders. A company should need to know how they are feeling and what is on their mind as fear levels are rapidly escalating which impacts our society and the economy. People panic when they feel a lack of control, and if a company is consistent, calming, and communicative, it will be supporting those who matter the most and protecting its best interests. 

While consumers may have always been aware of how various brands behave, today they’re actively analyzing every detail of a brand’s actions. The key to address the new normal and the shift in essential needs post this pandemic is to activate the brand’s purpose as a means of engaging consumers.

A crisis of a magnitude like COVID-19 has shown the world two things, the need for permanent behavioral change and a new wave of innovation to address that change. Digital events, experiences and engagement will thrive; opportunities in new media technologies (voice, video, community and group-based channels) will need to be mastered. And like it is said, make hay while the sun shines, early adopters will win the day on all these fronts. 

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