Jul. 27

Panel looks at marketing in and after Covid-19 with EMBA class

The recent Strategic Marketing module of the BMI International Executive MBA was enriched by a panel of practitioners sharing experiences from the Covid-19 crisis for marketing communication.

The experts discussed how consumers and company changed amid the pandemic, what unique opportunities it brought, and what broader lessons it left for future communication practices.

Prof. Andrés Cúneo from ESADE Business School moderated the session, which featured Linas Šiautkulis, head of BPN Lietuva and chairman of the Lithuanian Marketing Association, Gediminas Judzentas, marketing director of Auga Group, and Andrius Barakūnas, the CEO of Havas Media.

“During the crisis, we’ve seen great examples of how companies should but don’t always operate – with market-driven marketing, looking closely at customers and adapting to meet their needs,” Linas Šiautkulis said. That included surprisingly rapid changes to add or develop digital commerce and new delivery formats, adjust offerings even merging categories, and rework communication content.

“The lockdown was an extreme period of creativity for how to pivot and give consumers a sense of assurance, trust, advice, even entertain them,” said Gediminas Judzentas, whose own company took advantage of lower demand and thus lower prices for media to increase its advertising. A major challenge for international brands, he noted, is achieving the right tone, sensitivities and relevance across diverse markets where the nature and depth of the crisis have evolved quite differently.

One key principle reaffirmed amid Covid-19 is that silence is the worst approach, even if your business can’t operate temporarily. “If you don’t communicate at all,” Andrius Barakūnas stressed, “consumers forget you and change their habits. Tell them something about the future at least, use the window of opportunity to show you are a responsible brand, which will stay in people’s minds.”

The head of Havas Media noted that while ad spending, on TV for example, has largely recovered since the end of the quarantine, uncertainty remains. “For all our clients we have two plans – one for continuing to move forward, and another one in case of a second wave of the pandemic.”

Prof. Cúneo, an international authority in branding strategies, noted that all three panelists are alumni of the BMI International Executive MBA. The active participation of prominent alumni in the programme adds even more practical and networking value for current cohorts, many members of which also shared their own managerial insights during a Q&A session with the panelists.

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