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Ushering in the new and bidding farewell to the old - Entrepreneurial sustenance during a pandemic: Mazhar Nadiadwala, Managing Director, Dome Entertainment

Tech-assisted and AI solutions have been the heroes for businesses and brands looking to reach out to audiences writes Mazhar Nadiadwala.

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The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has been an eye-opener for corporates around the world. Values that were previously underrated – flexibility and adaptability – have now gained prominence in the corporate structure. The pandemic has forced corporates to let go of brick and mortar structures and swiftly adapt to a work from home culture. From giants like Google and Microsoft to mid-sized and smaller startups, all companies have been quick to adapt to new norms and have shattered the traditional 9 to 5 office hours structure; the focus has now shifted to timely delivery of goals with flexible work schedules.

In addition to internal changes in terms of work routines, many companies have also considered venturing into newer avenues of business due to the spike of demand in sectors such as pharma, healthcare and delivery aggregators. With the pandemic causing economic upheaval, brands have been forced to think outside the box and innovate to be at the top of their game.

For many companies, striking the right tone with messaging and communication has been a major challenge. The pandemic has caused disruption and led to sorrow for millions of people, hence, brands cannot be putting out ads and messages that can seem opportunistic. Communication and messaging has to be subtle and brands need to extend a helping hand to people as opposed to marketing their products. It is a tightrope that many companies have successfully walked, for example, IKEA recently created an ad encouraging people to reconnect with their homes during lockdown. The ad very aptly packaged a social message that asked people to stay at home, along with empathizing with its consumers and indirectly selling IKEA as a brand. Creating content that connects with audiences where they are right now has become key to brand communication.

Technology has taken on a whole new role during this pandemic. Tech-assisted and AI solutions have been the heroes for businesses and brands looking to reach out to audiences. Scores of companies are using tech-based solutions to enhance customer experience. From 24X7 customer service centers to virtual assistance services, brands have been constantly adding newer services to keep customers satisfied. Product launches now happen over live-stream videos, conferences have turned into Webinars and in-person doctor appointments have turned to telehealth services. Restaurants have also completely adapted to delivery services and some are even offering unusual services like pre-booking vouchers and gift cards.

Another industry that has risen to the challenge of Covid-19 is the fitness industry. With strict social distancing and lockdown norms in place, initial predictions for this sector seemed very grim. However, the industry has now successfully adopted the digital fitness model; with more and more gyms launching their apps, and fitness instructors taking to social media to provide virtual workout sessions, the fitness industry has managed to make the best out of a bad situation.

Although the Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across world economies, it has also forced companies and brands to reinvent and relook at traditional practices. In some cases, it has led to a much-needed overhaul of work cultures that were previously considered standard. All these changes have made the entrepreneurial community hopeful about the future that will be increasingly characterized by hybrid business models and more tech-based solutions.


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