Rajarshi Choudhuri
Rajarshi Choudhuri 28 August 2020

Engagement Frameworks to Grow in a Post-Crisis World

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed customer behavior and spending patterns across industries and geographies with user confidence taking a dip and out-of-home activities hampered as a direct result. While some verticals have been negatively impacted, others have observed unprecedented growth owing to more usage during the mandatory lockdown period. It is high time marketers re-look at their engagement strategies and ensure they sustain the newfound growth or bounceback to pre-Covid numbers soon. In this article, I have laid down a few of the key focus areas marketing teams need to be aware of in the post-crisis new normal business world.

The unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic has massively affected the global economy with some experts even dubbing the uncertainty- ‘coronavirus recession’. While the sweeping trend across most countries was one of negative impact on the economy, the mobile app businesses, however, observed a much-nuanced effect i.e. certain verticals reported a sudden increase in app installs and daily active users while others observed a marked decrease in app activity and user engagement during the peak of the global health crisis. 

Up until March when most countries imposed mandatory lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus, industries like travel and hospitality, real estate, and mobility were the worst affected across all major geographies. With offices and workplaces announcing work-from-home as a business continuity policy, organizations around the world turned to video conferencing apps like Zoom, Google Meets for virtual meetings, thus boosting their usage globally. A few other industries noticing a growth trend across geographies included social media, online gaming, and media and entertainment.

The healthcare vertical observed growth in North America, Europe, and the Middle East while the growth has been mostly sluggish in Southeast Asia.

Another interesting trend observed during the peak of the pandemic was the effect on online food delivery as a vertical, noticing increased usage in North America with the slowdown in business across India and the Middle East due to strict operational policies.


Here’s the impact quadrant for you to gauge where your business lies:

  • Explosion: Industries that have seen huge demand in terms of new user downloads and active users
  • Growth: Industries that have shown a rise in active users but not a considerable rise in downloads
  • Slowdown: Industries that have seen a steep decline in both active users and new app downloads
  • Emergence: Industries that have shown promise with getting new users downloads but not active users

Eight months into the pandemic, unlock procedures have started in all major countries helping businesses return to some semblance of the pre-Covid situation in terms of revenue and user engagement.

However, one important thing to note is owing to the new normal customer behavior has changed forever.

  • Users have become more judicious with luxury spend instead preferring essential spending, viz. Food and shelter, healthcare, and safety equipment
  • User confidence in out-of-home activities has taken a hit with preference given to online shopping, online grocery, and food delivery, e-pharmacy, online banking, and more
  • The interest in self-drive vehicles saw an increase in comparison to carpooling and other modes of transport
  • The Healthcare sector has seen massive growth in telemedicine and video consultation as patients are more comfortable with getting diagnosed virtually from the safety of their own homes   

Adjusting to the new normal with massively changed user behavior and spending patterns, it is time for marketers (across all verticals and geographies) to reassess their marketing strategy to ensure their business continues growing. For verticals like media and entertainment and online gaming which noticed an upward trend, the aim is to ensure the sustained growth post-Covid. For verticals like travel and hospitality, the idea is to bounce back to pre-Covid numbers.                

The ebook dubbed as ‘Customer Engagement Playbook During a Crisis’ serves the exact purpose the name suggests: help marketers re-look at their engagement strategies and perfect them while navigating a crisis. The playbook contains: 

  • An exhaustive checklist with questions about app engagement and activity patterns, acquisition costs, impact on ROI, and LTV. Answering these questions will help you assess the growth trajectory of your app/business i.e. growth, slowdown, or relatively unchanged.


Sample of the questions covered in the checklist

  • Three separate tracks based on your business trajectory, i.e. growth sustaining path for brands who have observed an upward trend in usage patterns and want to continue growing, the bounce-back path for brands wanting to return to pre-crisis numbers, and finally growth accelerating path for brands whose business remained largely unchanged or observed sluggish growth.


Here are the three paths that any brand/business can identify with  

  • The focus for each of these paths is quite different, while for growth sustaining path, the focus is on engaging the newly acquired users, the bounce-back path asks marketers to focus on retaining the loyal users and growth accelerating path employs a mix of engagement and retention. The playbook lays down certain milestones that can be followed by brands and marketers before delving deeper into specific strategies and use cases.


Here’s an example of the milestones to be followed to sustain growth

  • Practical, real-world proven tactics from brands like Asus, ixigo, PhonePe, 7Mind, Landmark Group, and other global brands. One of the strategies that can be implemented by brands to sustain their newfound growth is: reevaluating the value props and offering ones that help users at the time of the crisis. The value propositions that you offer can range from free delivery across the country to something as humble as priority delivery for certain products.

One example of adding value props which genuinely helps users come from Disney+Hotstar who plan to offer premium fitness content apart from their usual entertainment content. The brand has partnered with Sarva Yoga, Cult.Fit, and Brilliant Wellness to provide tailor-made fitness videos for users while they’re working from home.

  • Insights from marketing leaders across top brands about their Marcom strategies, changes in tone and messaging, initiatives were undertaken to help users, and overall response to the crisis.
  • Interesting use cases from global brands across geographies spanning several verticals in terms of agile changes they made in their business model and processes to continue solving actual user pain points while growing.

In March, with the peak of the pandemic, Australians started panic buying toilet paper which in turn created a scarcity. The Australian alcohol delivery brand Jimmy Brings, noticed this genuine user need and made toilet paper available for delivery using their platform.

Apart from these, you’ll find plenty more insights that can help you bounce-back, sustain, or accelerate growth for your brand. Check out these strategies in detail here!

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