Covid has transformed the definition of at home tech communications: Hill+Knowlton Strategies-PRmoment Friday Zone series

With Covid, all of us are using technology more than ever before. Our homes have become the center of both our work and family lives. Living and WFH  with consumer, home, medical and household tech is fast becoming the new normal.

What does this mean for the communicator, how do they provide an authentic experience of products and services to a fast changing consumer.

The latest Accenture report titled, “ Life Reimagined: Mapping the motivations that matter for today’s consumers”  shows 71% of those surveyed in India are coming out of the pandemic with a fresh perspective on their values and behaviors.

An emerging trend is the customers commitment to their personal purpose in life. This impacts why and what they buy.

This is exactly what Neeta Linz, DGM – corporate communications and CSR, LG Electronics has observed for the last 18 months that, "Earlier home appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators these were more of a functional usage. But now we could see a very, you know, a very good transition in terms of health and hygiene.  Earlier when somebody was buying a washing machine, that person who just looked at what is the size of the washing machine and what is the electricity consumption? How are the aesthetics and that's it and that person will buy the washing machine. But today they talk about technology, which ensures that you know, it kills 99.9% bacteria."

Subramanian M, practice lead for technology, Hill+Knowlton Strategies India agreed, "Brands are going out of their way to ensure how customers feel comfortable with the brand. Technology tools like AI, are being used to heighten customer experience.  So as we look at the return to normal there are several questions that are still left unanswered. What communication strategies change? If yes, How different would they be? would print make a strong return? "

Hygiene and Entertainment: Twin trends influencing Covid-19 communication 

Sharing her views on the topic, Neeta Linz, DGM – corporate communications and CSR, LG Electronics, said that functional use of household goods such as refrigerators, TV sets and washing machine has expanded greatly during the pandemic.

She also outlined how they are communicating to the customer at home in the absence of offline promotions. 

Also participating in the discussion was Nikhil Chawla, founder of 'The Unbiased Blog', and tech expert. 

Listen in:

The following observations were made during the discussion by Neeta and Nikhil:

1) Has the humble microwave moved away from the usual heating function that Indian consumers prioritize?

2) Rise in demand for larger fridges, bigger TV screens and gaming monitors.

3) Combining online and offline lunch modes when offline options are limited.

4) Launching Covid suitable everyday consumer products for home use. 

5) Educating people about the pros and cons of elective procedures during the pandemic.

6) Handling the increasingly aware consumer online. Should brands have a separate customer complaints handle or just one?

Medtech can reduce burden on the health care system

In the second part of the webinar, Masooma Pathre, director - communications, emerging markets (India, Indo-China, Frontier Markets and Thailand) shared insights on the fresh challenges and opportunities of healthcare communication, "You see a demand which is increasing for remote monitoring . When you have implantable technologies which can be remotely monitored and you can decide whether this is the right time for me to go to the doctor for an actual visit.  This data can also be monitored by health care professionals directly on their mobiles. So medtech has also evolved. And we see this trend continuously increasing. It's an ask from the customer."

To understand more about the latest in health communication trends, take a look:

Masooma also shared the following insights on healthcare communications

1) Ensuring communication about non-Covid illnesses ( such as heart disease and stroke risks) during the pandemic.

2) Rising consumer awareness about how to evaluate and access medical devices. 

Nikhil Chawla, founder of 'The Unbiased Blog', and tech expert also commented on the overall tech trends and data security. 

Chawla shared that when it comes to your data, "You have to make sure that you're buying products of the companies that you are aware of, and they're not like some random company.  Because you will get, you know, variables for 999 rupees also. But where is the data going? Are they encrypting your data? I mean, it's important health data, they can just give it away, heartbeat and whatnot. So it's very important to buy those brands like you know, a Fitbit or Apple for that matter, not just by any random medical device, and, you know, let go of your data."

Nikhil also commented on how he used advanced medtech like a home ECG device during the pandemic.

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