Catalyst

A new framework for recovery

Chitra Narayanan | Updated on October 01, 2020 Published on October 01, 2020

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Mullen Lowe Lintas Group offers a toolkit for brands to navigate Covid-19

Topsy-turvy times call for radical solutions.

“With the pandemic, our clients’ problems have got a whole lot bigger. It’s so big that advertising cannot fix it,” admits S. Subramanyeswar (popularly called Subbu), Group Chief Strategy Officer, MullenLowe Lintas Group.

Covid-19 has reset behaviours, changed how consumers think, destroyed some businesses and thrown a spanner in all the plans and strategies of the others. Nothing is the same any more.

As Subbu says, this is a time when clients are grappling with their basic products, or services and yes, while they need to advertise eventually, they need other solutions before that.

Rather than wait till then, Mullen Lowe Lintas has jumped into that arena, creating a framework to help marketers get on the recovery path.

It is called “Restart and Restrat: A strategic framework for Brands in Challenging Times.” According to Subbu, the agency looked at past disruptive events from the Spanish Flu to the Wars to other epidemics, looked at various recovery patterns and picked up clues from there to come up with an actionable strategy. It attempts to identify and predict the shifts in consumer attitudes and behaviours and offers a “recession beating growth strategy”. Sounds a tall order? “There is a pattern to everything, and our research has found that,” argues Subbu.

So what exactly is this framework?

When the crisis first hit us, brands were quick to come up with messages of solidarity and hope, says Subbu. But that time is past. The next phase is all about real solutions.

So the framework is built on three axis — hyper retain, hyper reframe, hyper reinvent.

Hyper Retain is all about loyalty, and acknowledging the customer’s power. The need for the brand is to emphasise the utilitarian value of its offering and develop this.

Hyper Reframe is about the proposition — it’s up to the brand to create an emotionally uplifting brand experience and personalise the process. It’s about a brand making itself very accessible, transforming customer care and connecting with empathy to the user.

The final axis is reinvention. “This is the best time to restructure brands that are losing relevance,” says Subbu candidly. Being innovative is a must.

Post purchase in focus

According to him, in the past, during the consumer journey, brands have chiefly focused on pre-purchase and purchase. But now, post purchase will assume far more importance.

So has anyone adopted this framework yet? “We have done walk-throughs with most of our existing clients, the Unilever brands, etc,” says Subbu.

It will be offered through the agency’s consulting arm, LinConsult.

One thing is clear — ad agencies have to now think and go beyond the brief to stay relevant.

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Published on October 01, 2020
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