The four-day harvest festival of Pongal sees the people of Tamil Nadu travel to their hometowns to celebrate the festival with their family and friends. This year, the start of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has seen the state government impose restrictions. This has led to Pongal celebrations being restricted to homes.
Brands therefore had to renew their strategies to connect with their consumers. Vivek, the sustainable consumer goods retail chain, has taken a three-pronged approach, as explained by BS Vishal, VP of Marketing: “Our approach for Pongal is three-pronged: digital as the primary means of communication, as well as BTL activities and giveaways. These have become something of a norm with Pongal and attract customers.
Although sentiment was weak, the company continues to see consumer appeal. “Our format is more offline and sales figures will be spread over a week as the government announces an extended holiday. Currently, we are seeing a good number of inquiries through our chat and other customer interaction mediums,” Vishal added.
Meanwhile, incense and prayer product maker Cycle Pure Agarbathies has launched a video e-commerce catalog for prayer products on the occasion of Pongal. Arjun Ranga, Managing Director of Cycle Pure Agarbathi says: “We communicate using relevant content through online and offline media. Now is the perfect time to introduce our full line of prayer products to our consumers. In fact, this Pongal, we are launching the world’s first interactive video e-commerce catalog for prayer products. It’s a visually stunning film created by a special team of creatives over a year. It’s a new way to shop for prayer products in the new normal.
A major category during festivals is jewelery and Ramesh Kalyanaraman, Executive Director of Kalyan Jewelers, says, “Gold has always been a favorite saving option for Indians and lately it has also become the long-term asset. safest and most lucrative term. The buoyant market scenario and the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic sparked renewed interest among young consumers who embraced the idea of gold jewelry for the first time.
With Tamil Nadu being one of the largest markets for paint and paint products manufacturing company, Nippon Paint, Pongal is an important time to connect with consumers looking to renovate their homes. Mark Titus, Marketing Manager, Nippon Paint (India) Decorative said, “As a brand that has Tamil Nadu as one of its priority markets, the Pongal festival season is one of the most important times in the year, when consumer spirit is high. and the markets are buzzing with activity. From an industry perspective, this is one of those seasonal times when people freshen up their homes. »
Omnichannel meat retailer TenderCuts is looking to build its base this festive season. Aruna Jathar, Director of Marketing at TenderCuts, says, “TenderCuts follows a thematic marketing schedule to engage with customers on different occasions throughout the year with regular offers for Diwali, Christmas, New Year and Pongal. TenderCuts is currently running a healthy resolution campaign that focuses on different recipes that are necessary for daily nutrition and rich in protein. Our communication leading up to this Pongal season was well received. We have gained popularity and feelings are very positive towards the brand. We aim to continue this season as well.
Build a consumer connection
The ongoing pandemic has led brands to accelerate digital adoption, which has led to changes in the media mix. According to Kalyanaraman, “In terms of our customer outreach strategy, one of the biggest trends that has emerged from the nationwide lockdown is a huge increase in screen time spent by Indians on digital platforms. With this in mind, brands have started aligning their marketing budgets with digital, social media and OTT, especially when it comes to placing new content.At Kalyan Jewellers, we have introduced temporary changes in our media mix with a more digital-centric approach.
“To address the ongoing digital transformation and target tech-savvy millennial consumers, we are strengthening our omnichannel strategy and focusing on creating a holistic ecosystem, making the ‘phygital’ model more seamless,” he said. -he adds.
For its part, Nippon Paint launched two campaigns this Pongal season. The first campaign, the Walltron Patrol campaign, focuses on its sealing solutions segment, for which the brand has also launched a new TVC and digital campaign. The second campaign is for Spotless NXT, a premium interior emulsion paint. The brand has also launched a special program for its Tamil Nadu painter partners. Painters were given Pongal kits containing items like containers, rice, jaggery, cashew, dhoti, saree and travel bag and this program has benefited over 9000 painters across Tamil Nadu. Titus adds, “Given our large TG, we are taking a full 360 degree approach to our campaigns. A cross-platform engagement strategy that encompasses all possible media platforms – TV, print, radio, digital and display has proven beneficial for us. »
For Viveks, its marketing activities were primarily focused on digital formats and also included BTL, print inserts, radio (minimal), digital, including influencer campaigns. 50% of its media spend was targeted on digital, with the rest split between other mediums.
According to Ranga, Cycle Pure Agarbathies’ media strategy is constantly being adapted to the ever-changing market landscape. He says, “We maintain a sustained presence in high-affinity consumer genres such as general entertainment, movies and address commerce through news channel associations as well as product and media innovations. Our constant presence on social media also helps us create and grow our own community of like-minded consumers. »
Jathar says, “Being an omnichannel brand, we have a healthy mix of customers with people preferring online and offline. We build relevant campaigns offline and online, our media strategy is specific based on segment and reach. Our communication strategy is also very targeted.
Map consumer demand
For Cycle Pure Agarbathies, changing consumption patterns have led the brand to adapt to this change. Ranga says, “During the pandemic, trust has become the most important factor influencing consumer choice, and our consistent quality backed by values seems to be paying off. Demand for our products has been constant throughout the year with peaks expected at festivals. Like other FMCG categories, shopping habits have changed with the onset of the pandemic, with purchase frequency declining and demand for larger packs and families increasing.
On the other hand, Vishal from Viveks says there has been a clear preference on what consumer demand is. He says: “Demand was mixed, but few products such as kitchen appliances, vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, heaters, large screens and washing machines were high. Sentiments were slightly low. However, this Pongal festive season being a long weekend, we hope to reach last year’s sales figures.
On a final upbeat note, Titus says, “We usually see a 15-20% spike around Pongal. Given the current Covid situation, this may not be in line with previous years, however, we remain optimistic. Consumer sentiment remains positive despite the current challenges as analysts say it would be a short wave. At the moment, demand seems to be better than last year.
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