A first-generation entrepreneur, Dr Jitin Chadha is the Founder Director of the Indian Institute of Art and Design and the Indian School of Business and Finance. Dr Chadha was awarded his Doctorate in Finance in 2011, in a grand ceremony chaired by the HRD Minister, Kapil Sibal and Prof. Dinesh Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Delhi University.
Post pandemic, many things changed, including consumer behaviour, trends and attitude. Another key component that changed was the value of content creation and distribution and its impact on brands and businesses. Yes, earlier businesses did operate on the premise that content is king, but now it reached a sovereign state.
According to the Consumer Sentiment Survey, Indians acquired newer habits during the crisis.
- They’re progressively turning to digital and reduced-contact ways of buying online, performing tasks and accessing services.
- 50% have become mindful of how and where they spend money.
- 43% now research brands and product choices before buying. Value and quality are the top drivers when considering trying a new brand.
- Video alternatives to communication work better.
With health, safety and social distancing becoming critical, consumers have started looking inwards, increasingly depending on broadcast, cable television, mobile, social media, e-commerce and other media sources for work, education, financial transactions, information and entertainment. Uncertainty, vulnerability and changing circumstances have made the adoption of digital access immediate and mandatory. People are less resistant and more flexible about trying something new.
Increasing demand for content creation
Even though the crisis significantly reduced advertising spend, content consumption increased substantially. Content began evolving to elicit emotional connect, inspire leadership, and brand reputation while addressing consumer’s pain points. It’s becoming subtle in its messaging while remaining socially relevant. Also, the need for quick responses is encouraging collaboration and adaptability to evolving technologies.
Alternatively, with a decreasing attention span, consumers’ browsing behaviour has changed. They’re quick to move between content, indicating the lack of retaining capacity. Multiple and repeated messaging is required to establish the registration of brand content and name. This jostling for space and attention makes it imperative that brands remain genuine and transparent across platforms, create useful, original and unique experiences they can connect with to maintain brand equity. Brands need to consistently show up so as to remain relevant. It’s indeed challenging to stand apart from competitors while blending in with people’s shifting concerns and behaviours.
Effective content strategy doesn’t require big budgets
Content plays a significant role in marketing to millennial consumers who represented the highest-spending generation in 2020 and Gen Z, who aren’t far behind, projected to hit $33 trillion in income by 2030. This tech-savvy digital generation is comfortable communicating on social media, sharing their lives and buying journey online and are quick to adopt contactless activities. They’ve shifted brand loyalty, and value has replaced luxury. Their online behaviour highlights the potency of cost-effective authentic user-generated content (UGC). It encouraged businesses to collaborate with influencers across social media to optimise costs further and ensure their campaigns’ effectiveness. UGC is the validation, and social proof consumers need to foster connection, confidence and trust in brands. Alternatively, this allows brands to embrace their humanness and be honest, deepen their relationships with consumers and increase sales.
As businesses change their operating models to succeed, be efficient and recover revenue, outsourcing content marketing needs ensures cost-effectiveness. Simultaneously, analysing large amounts of data to track preferences and thereby nudging behaviour is core to responding to opportunities and threats, personalising offers and messages and enhancing shopping experiences wherever the consumers might be.
The way forward
An increase in consumer confidence to use e-services has seen a surge in cross-promotion of benefits across interconnected service platforms, engaging with smart devices and interfaces to initiate two-way interactions and rethinking media mix across video conferencing platforms, virtual reality and video games.
The prevalent notion now is that it’s the consumer seeking products and services, negating the earlier need for straight push oriented brand advertising. This change has reinforced the importance of quality and informative content. While work from home became a necessity, many brands reinvented themselves. They seized people’s moments of relaxation or boredom by maintaining engagement through creative content catered to their needs.
Branded content is still effective in engaging consumers, developing brand presence, creating competitive advantage, and encouraging educated purchasing decisions. Content and communication are fundamental to environmental, commercial, socio-cultural and political practices. Understanding and designing appropriate content is the pressing need for the business world today.