Social distancing should not end up in customer distancing, say brand experts at EEMA ‘Thought Leadership Webinar’

The webinar was presented by exchange4media & Red Carpet Awards and supported by BW Applause &


As part of its Future Ready Series, The Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) recently hosted its second ‘Thought Leadership Webinar’ on ‘Experiential marketing in the times of Social Distancing- the New Rule Book.’

The webinar was presented by exchange4media & Red Carpet Awards and supported by BW Applause &

The speakers on this webinar were- Sanjoy Roy, President EEMA and MD Teamwork Arts, Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld and exchange4media Group, Sunil Kumaran, Country Head- Product Marketing & THWINK BIG, Big FM, Amit Sethiya, CMO, Syska Group, Atit Mehta, CMO, BYJU’s and Sharat Dhall, COO,

The moderator for the session was Ruchin Kohli, Director, Occasion Expert Pvt Ltd and popular Emcee Freishia B.

Starting on an optimistic note Sanjoy Roy said that every crisis allows us an opportunity to reinvent, reboot and to look afresh at the future and this clearly was one such opportunity.

Roy also underlined that the challenge of the moment was communication and it raised the fundamental question: How does a brand communicate what it stands for and what it means? 

He said this would present an opportunity to activation agencies as they would be approached by brands and governments to take their communication forward  to the last mile.

Speaking about the new rule book that marketers would need to follow in the wake of zero touch and social distancing Atit Mehta, CMO, BYJU’s stated that there was no readymade answer or directive available as everyone was trying to come to terms with the crisis.

“The engagement and participation that we have created in the past continues to add value to our business and also to our consumers”, said Mehta.

Sharat Dhall, COO, added that as marketers they need to see how the situation evolves and how the consumer behavior moves in a post Covid world. 

“The sense we have today is that it is never going to be the same again. In our case a lot of things have also accelerated tremendously in the current scenario.”

“We are trying to ensure that our communication at this time is sensitive and provides a solution which is very important when you deal with a product like insurance which deals with an uncertain future,” he added.

Bringing in his perspective about experiential marketing and how it will continue to stay relevant for brands, Sunil Kumaran of THWINK BIG, Big FM said, “For us experiential marketing has been a part of the entire strategy. It addresses how do we engage with a certain segment of the larger audience base and give them a deeper experience as far as our service is concerned.”

Speaking about the learnings from the current situation, Atit Mehta said, “The big learning for us at BYJU’s is that education cannot stop because we are not dropping the entire year. Education has transformed on the digital media in the last few days. All brands in the kid’s space or the ones who want to talk to the schools have to figure out a different way of communication that is more blended and digital.”

Sharat Dhall said that brands that will manage to stay in the consumers minds in such a scenario will emerge stronger when all of this is over.

Amit Sethiya, CMO, Syska Group said that social distancing should not end up in customer distancing. Brands should not distance themselves from customers irrespective of the situation.

“The need of the pyramid has shifted from top of it to very basic ones, which is your safety and physiological needs. We recognized this need and were able to deliver grooming solutions by Syska to medical stores and  kirana stores to show that we were still operating in spite of the lockdown,” he added.

Dr Annurag Batra said that we have moved to a 3C Economy- Caring, Collaborative and Contactless Economy. “The digital transformation has got accelerated and we can now do a lot of things online. Brands will find new ways of engaging with customers and will re-imagine their businesses and engagement with customers. The quality of events will scale up and the value might come down. Everything will now boil down to quality.”

Speaking about the learnings for the event industry from the ongoing lockdown, Sanjoy Roy said that today was the time when we needed to collaborate across sectors. 

“Think through the USP and strength that you have. You have to have a unique idea and then build through that”, said Roy.

Speaking about the challenges faced by BYJUs Atit Mehta said, “The biggest challenge in any e-learning setup is the content. Especially when you are creating educational content- it needs to be enough for bringing excitement and engagement for the student to stick by you. You also need to sustain and retain it and keep on evolving it with machine learning, AI and tech.”

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