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Create virtual experiences to turn the tide: Facebook-BCG report

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With the COVID-19 pandemic causing significant changes in consumer behaviour, businesses need to embrace hyper-localisation, create virtual experiences and build messaging around new habits such as increased focus on health and hygiene, a report from Facebook India and Boston Consulting Group said on Wednesday.
The report titled ‘Turn the Tide’ shares actionable guidance for brands to build for the new consumer journeys in times of COVID-19 and beyond.
The research revealed that only one in six companies emerged stronger in past crises.
Those businesses which show the agility to reinvent their value propositions, go-to-market plans and business models to address these demand shifts are more likely to emerge as winner, suggests the report.
The research showed that it is important to engage with consumers in their context and connect with them where they are. Micro-targeting can help brands get the first-mover advantage, it added.
As people turn to virtual experiences for every facet of their life, it becomes important for brands to build for this new customer journey.
More brands are already exploring Facebook and Instagram ‘Live’ to connect with their followers and customers.
Now brands are thinking about using social media platforms for new product launches too.
“We have seen massive growth in use of our services since the outbreak of COVID-19. Going ahead, I think the role of the influencer will increase significantly in marketing or products,” Sandeep Bhushan, Director and Head, Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook India, told IANS.
As people, creators, and celebrities are on social media platforms in an unprecedented way, and brands have an opportunity to leverage this massive engagement to build stronger dialogues and deeper connect with users.
The Facebook family of apps continue to be popular and valued in India with 328 million monthly, and 195 million daily users on Facebook, and 400 million on WhatsApp.
In April, the social networking giant announced that for the first time ever, there are now more than 3 billion people actively using Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger each month globally.
That includes 2.6 billion people using Facebook alone, and more than 2.3 billion people using at least one of its services every day.
“The ‘Turn the Tide’ report outlines the opportunities that businesses need to embrace in the context of new consumer journeys and category needs,” Bhushan said.
“In response to consumers embracing the digital medium, brands need to focus on solutions that are relevant for the new normal such as hyper-localization, creating virtual experiences, re-looking at the media-mix to build efficiency, or building messaging around new habits such as DIY and the increased focus on health and hygiene,” he added.
Facebook and Boston Consulting Group also said they will share vertical-specific insights to help businesses gain almost real-time insights, enabling them to ‘Turn the Tide’ in the coming weeks.
“We are experiencing unprecedented shifts in consumer attitudes and behaviours – 80 percent+ consumers will continue to practice social distancing and are bringing the outside inside, over 40 per cent of consumers are dialing up on health and wellness spends, e-commerce adoption has already advanced by 2-3 years – to name a few,” said Nimisha Jain, Managing Director and Partner, Boston Consulting Group.
“These aren’t just temporary surges, and many will last longer and become more defining traits,” she added.
The report especially calls-out the massive acceleration in digital led by social media, the emergence of micro-market opportunities, and a definite increase in spends on health, hygiene and wellness, and a rise in do-it-yourself (DIY) trends.

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