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The importance of sending out the right message this Ramadan

The importance of sending out the right message this Ramadan

Brands that traditionally see increased business during Ramadan should maintain increased communication with their consumers during the current crisis

The holy month of Ramadan this year is being observed under extraordinary circumstances. Most of the world remains under some form of lockdown, with many businesses operating remotely and ways of working and living completely redefined by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Traditionally a time for sharing, Ramadan customarily sees many organisations send gift packages – frequently comprised of chocolates and dates – to their partners and peers. But in the current scenario, will premium corporate gifting continue?

“Our expectations are that gifting will continue, however we anticipate that customers will opt in for delivery services following all precautionary measures. Even if people will not be able to gather, as a sign of care and love, gifting will continue,” says Isabelle Jaouen, CEO and founder of Forrey & Galland Chocolatier, which has a boutique store in the Dubai Mall.

In line with the directives issued by the government, Forrey & Galland – similar to other retail operators – initially closed its Dubai Mall store and is mainly fulfilling orders through its e-commerce platform.

“Like many other businesses, we are navigating an unprecedented situation which comes with difficult decisions,” explains Jaouen. “We are taking all safety measures from a manufacturing and logistics standpoint. In the interest of our employees, we are working with a minimal workforce to safeguard them, and mainly our workforce operates in the logistics/ delivery field.”

The company has also implemented additional measures such as thoroughly and regularly deep cleaning its production facility, as well as conducting a temperature check on all the employees before they enter the factory.

Joauen also stresses that they are focused on communicating constantly with their customers. “We want to ensure that we are there to support them in these uncertain times and through communication, our discerning customers are kept informed,” she explains. It is vital for brands to keep their communication lines open in the current situation despite uncertainties in the market, agrees Zaib Shadani, managing director at Shadani Consulting.

“One of the biggest misconceptions that brands have is that consumers don’t want to be engaged or communicated with, in periods of crisis. However, a global survey of more than 35,000 consumers by Kantar during the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak revealed that only 8 per cent of respondents thought brands should stop advertising, while 75 per cent agreed that brands should not exploit the situation,” she states.

“With Ramadan coming up, people want to express love, exchange gifts and reconnect with their friends and family, and as long as companies are not operating from a position of greed and are helping people do this, they will not suffer any backlash.”

Brands should be conscious of the devastating impact of Covid-19, the sentiments of the customers and must not place self-serving interests over supporting their customers in these challenging times, she stresses.

“There is a very fine line that brands will have to walk though, to ensure that they are not seen as ‘hard selling’ because they see Ramadan as an opportunity to be exploited,” says Shadani. “Consumers are very smart and will reject brands that are not engaging with them in an authentic, genuine and responsible way.”

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