Sennheiser gears up with post Covid-19 business strategy

Vipin Pungalia, Director, Professional Segment, Sennheiser India reveals the business strategies adopted by Sennheiser post Covid-19 in an exclusive interview to Broadcast & Film.

1. What is the impact of Covid-19 and the lockdown on the business on the broadcast and pro-audio markets in India?

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a very tangible impact across all sectors including broadcast and pro-audio market. All on-ground events, music festivals and concerts have been cancelled or postponed until future updates and change in scenario. There is no doubt that the current situation has presented a challenging circumstance for the entire audio industry.

Like every other business, pro-audio market is facing some turbulence too. However, when things become normal post COVID-19, professionals would want to invest in better technological tools and audio products to enhance communication with customers/audience digitally. Moreover, Broadcast sector is an extremely important segment for us and we are expecting some upgradation in our products soon.

This is an opportunity for us to grow- as technology has become the biggest enabler in assisting businesses and communities to sustain through this crisis. Audio solutions has now become an integral part as there is a growing need of such solutions to bounce back in business. Sennheiser will continue to deliver exceptional solutions to our customers who want to take their business to the next level.

2. When do you see likelihood of investments in the business happening – be it broadcast, pro-audio or the other sectors which your company targets within the entertainment domain?

COVID-19 has disrupted the way the world is functioning today. This is an unprecedented situation which multiple generations are seeing for the first time. The entire ecosystem is extremely volatile and historic numbers no longer hold any stand in these challenging times. The spectre of a post COVID-19 world is still uncertain. Businesses who identify and implement changes and address new risks- will have an advantage over others.

The pandemic’s outcome is still uncertain as brands are currently navigating through the giant wave of uncertainty. Currently, Sennheiser is expecting investment in AV industry- and will share the update regarding this.

3. How badly has it impacted the business of Sennheiser and how is Sennheiser dealing with the current situation?

This pandemic has led to drastic changes in our everyday lives. Coping with stress, anxiety, panic, running households, and working ends up taking a huge toll on most. This pandemic will affect the realities of brands. It is important for brands to neither be too pessimistic, nor overtly optimistic. The over planning of post COVID-19 may turn out to be futile. What will become most important, however, will be how agile and resilient brands are – that will play a huge role in determining how we move forward at the earliest and our ability to bounce back.

Sennheiser is a family owned company and we have always believed and cultivated the spirit of entrepreneurship. Here, employees are aware about their responsibilities- hence there is no culture of micromanagement. Globally we have provided virtual collaboration trainings for our staff to be effective & efficient. As a company we are encouraging & guiding our employees to focus on self-development and learning by taking online courses. Our employees have been active in taking online courses to upskill themselves. Through this, we are adding value in employees’ productivity, and preparing ourselves for the future.

4. Has Sennheiser started preparing for a post COVID-19 situation?

Yes, we have started preparing for a post COVID-19 situation. We are expecting to see a change in consumer behaviour and content consumption patterns. Brands will come out with products that will seamlessly integrate in the new lifestyle of consumers, as purchase decisions will be rationalised in discretionary categories.

When it comes to employees’ health and safety, we have made a checklist as and when the offices partially open. Sennheiser will always have a strict policy of wearing masks at all times along with mandatory temperature checks, observing social distancing (Minimum of 6 feet), avoiding face to face meetings, mandatory medical insurance for all our workers, amongst other initiatives.

5. Will Sennheiser change the brand strategies post lockdown?

This year marks the 75th year of Sennheiser’s existence. We did have plans in place which were not able to convert due to the on-going crisis. We have planned important announcements through digital medium. Post COVID-19, we will focus on our webshop to cater to demand and minimise reliance on distribution network and avoid allocating spends for traditional BTL spends and events, as consumers will avoid such gatherings.

Once the markets re-open, we will provide our consumers with a choice of both offline as well as online channels. We will maintain all safety checks at our facilities and keep our products sanitised in all the stores.

6. Are there any initiatives taken by Sennheiser during this lockdown?

We have been cognisant of the current scenario and wanted to utilize this opportunity to encourage learning amongst our Professional Segment customers, and partners. Sennheiser initiated a campaign #DontStopTheEducation – a series of free online webinar sessions as we believe that there should be no reason to stop educating yourself even in the current social distancing and working from home situation.

Through this, we encourage our employees, customers, and partners to stay relevant in today’s technologically advanced world.

Additionally, we have been working simultaneously with artists to create better music for the world. To support our community, Sennheiser initiated #DontStopTheMusic campaign which was an exclusive streaming concert on Sennheiser’s Instagram channel. We had a line-up of artists such as David Guetta, Bob Sinclair, and Third Eye Blind amongst others. Through this initiative, we encouraged people to support the WHO in its fight against COVID-19.