World’s leading evidence-based insights and consulting company Kantar and multinational holding company WPP, have released the BrandZ study, which highlights the most valuable brands in the MENA region. With a combined value of $50 billion, the ranking includes consumer-facing brands from across a range of categories, from food to energy, which reflect the changing lifestyles and attitudes within the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Communicate had an exclusive chat with Amol Ghate, CEO Middle East, Insights Division, Kantar to learn more about how to approach the brand building process in the post-pandemic world.
What key themes from the BrandZ list can we carry into the post-pandemic market?
In this [edition of the] BrandZ study, we focused on five key themes which should be carried into the post-pandemic era:
(a) Building meaning via a connect with consumers
(b) Innovating for growth
(c) Ensuring seamless online-offline experience
(d) Building purpose
(c) Addressing diversity
We found that all the five themes continue to remain relevant and in fact will be heightened in post pandemic times. The fact remains that brands still need to focus on knowing the consumer and being meaningfully different.
Will the world of branding undergo any massive changes in its approach in the post-pandemic world?
Branding is all about knowing the consumer and being there for them at the time when they need you. It is about recall value and coming to mind when a consumer thinks of a certain category. This will continue to exist.
Predisposition has become even more important; more so now since consumers are not spending as much time browsing and experimenting with different brands and shopping has become a quicker activity. They are on auto pilot mode and seek familiarity with the brand. Therefore, it is even more critical that the brand remains strong in the consumer’s mind.
Situational context is different and that might need some changes and tactical adaptation. For example, certain aspects such as health & hygiene have heightened even further, and brands will need to ensure they are playing on the right codes.
Consumer targeting is another aspect that is required to evolve since consumer behavior has changed and they are not doing the same things that they used to do.
What challenges do you believe we’ll face when it comes to changing our approach towards branding in the post-pandemic world?
One thing we cannot ignore is the relevance of online presence and the consumer behavior shift to online. Additionally, since the consumer is straddling between the online and offline world, brands would need to ensure that they provide a seamless online and offline experience.
How do we build strong and resilient brands in the post-pandemic era?
The only way brands can reach consumers is by being meaningfully different, ensuring that they amplify it and stay relevant to consumers at all times.
Let’s imagine a hypothetical universe where Covid-19 didn’t happen. Would the world of branding have undergone any dramatic changes? If so why? Alternatively, if not why?
It’s interesting to note that Covid-19 has accelerated some of the trends we were already seeing – whether it is about use of e-commerce or digital payments and openness to them or the increased awareness about health & wellness. But other than that, the tenets of branding will continue irrespective of the world we are in today. Having said that, this pandemic has taught us that brands can no longer fly blind, they can no longer be complacent and no longer follow status quo. They need to be ready for evolution.