Shifting sands – how evolving consumer landscape is impacting purchase decisions: YES BANK CMO

In a spirited conversation, YES BANK’s Chief Marketing Officer Jasneet Bachal discusses the changing behaviours of consumers in a post-pandemic world, the need for agility and empathy in marketing strategies, and her personal mantra for sustainable living..
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The ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic have been unprecedented and widespread, resulting in a paradigm shift in the very way that humans carry out their lives. As a result, consumer behavior has also undergone vital changes. As the chief marketing officer of YES BANK, Jasneet Bachal had some great insights into these shifting patterns in consumer behaviour, and the new tools and approaches by marketers to adapt to these changes.

“We have had to recalibrate our relationship and our sense of interconnectedness, not just on an individual level, but as human beings. The dominant emotion all these months has been anxiety, both financial and emotional, and our resilience has also been tested. These factors have resulted in major shifts in consumer behavior,” she told Shradha Sharma in a special interview on consumer marketing in the new normal.

In the pre-pandemic world, consumerism was a religion. However, today’s consumers are making rational purchases; buying things they need rather than what they want. And as consumer sentiment and behavior continue to reflect the uncertainty around the future, it has compelled marketers across sectors to adjust and respond to this evolving behavior with agility and provide the right solutions with empathy, Jasneet added.

Evolving the marketing playbook

On the new strategies that YES BANK has pivoted to in these times, Jasneet said that they had to evolve the marketing playbook in itself, across all levels. This became especially crucial when the digital arena became the new playground as social distancing and contactless approaches took center stage. To leverage the opportunities that this new arena offered, YES BANK built multiple consumer journeys that were focused on the convenience of its customers. Be it with contactless banking, allowing users to convert savings, change investment plans, simplify payments, and overall experience.

“Personalisation became key in the early days of the pandemic. We also had to leverage new-age marketing technology (Martech) tools, and data was the crucial enabler to help us run these tools. It was a whole new playground,” said Jasneet.

While experiential marketing became the norm, YES BANK’s marketing team had to find ways to cut through the distractions faced by customers and engage with them. It was here that Martech and data played a key role in making their approaches agile. However, while agility was a crucial aspect, Jasneet said that being empathetic to the customer and their needs, and providing them with the right solutions is perhaps the most important.

Launching campaigns that resonated with customers

A crucial part of marketing is building the right communication, and YES BANK doubled down on this aspect by launching a campaign ‘Kuch Naya Socho’ during the nation-wide lockdown. The campaign encouraged people to strike the balance between life and livelihood. This was followed by a campaign that reiterated the importance of safety measures in the unlock period, while the festive season saw another new campaign that communicated with customers to take time out for the small joys of life. The bank also ran internal campaigns for employees focused on keeping them motivated and to internalise the value in giving to others and sustainability.

The latter is a concept that is close to Jasneet’s heart — an ardent believer of mindful and sustainable living. This passion for sustainability is what drives and motivates her, she told Shradha. “When your mantra is mindful living, your priorities and choices are governed by it. I see mindfulness in the parlance of Karma and Dharma - every civilization has elements of nature worship. But when we look at the dharma of today, the planet is missing. Karma too is people-centric. If we include the planet in our dharma and karma, it can change our life as humans.”

Leadership through a gender-agnostic lens

It is this concept of mindful living that has also shaped her views on leadership. She says leadership must be gender agnostic, and not a rank or title. “We need to stop looking at leadership through the lens of gender and work towards building trust, and not give in to inherent biases.”

As for her goals for 2021, Jasneet says she hopes to be more empathetic, build a deeper connection with consumers, and use Martech to solve the evolving consumer needs. Her parting bit of advice? “When thought processes evolve, actions will follow.”

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