Brand New Resolutions MMXVII


brandnewresolutions2017

Yeah yeah someone hasn’t really lived up to his resolution of at least one post a month on ABVS. The lack of posts notwithstanding there has been a steady increase in the people following ABVS on Facebook and Twitter. So let me end the year on a thank you note and propose the customary Brand New Resolutions for 2017.

1 Start | Thinking about the environmental costs of your operations

Yes! And all aspects of impact not just the in vogue concepts such as effluents and carbon footprint. Brands as organisations need to lead the change. The long hours, the long drives it all adds up doesn’t it. How about mandatory Work from Home for 20% of the staff every day? That would take 20% traffic off the streets on a daily basis across modes of transport. How about having no fixed no long hours days in a week? At least a day in every office where things close down on time. No ACs running while for four individuals in an office of four hundred! Sure the feared loss of productivity shall be more than made up.

2Stop | Tele-calling: More importantly violating DND!

This one goes out especially for the financial product brands. I don’t know of anyone who actually has benefitted from the unsolicited advice or has actually gone ahead and bought something as a resultant of such a call. Acquaintances in the know of the business though tell me otherwise. With all due respect there at least needs to be far lesser invasion of privacy. A relook at the frequency, Do-not-disturb etc. is sure warranted.

 

3More of | Brand Extensions that are Relevant

Was heart-warming to see Paper Boat introduce Chikki.

paperboat

Not too sure how successful the exercise has been. Several factors such as pricing and distribution etc. shall determine the fate but presume its early days yet and wish the product the success it deserves.

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More of | Incentivizing Cashless Transactions

I know the Wallet companies have mastered the art of cash-back and discounts for consumers. It’s time now for the brands to give fillip to the dream of a less-cash economy if not a cash-less one. There is room for improvement and even some savings in the last mile of distribution if cash-less transactions are implemented.

5Less of | Random Celeb Endorsement

The shocker of Pierce Brosnan holding up a tin of Pan Masala in a full page ad is the example that comes to mind. panbahar

To the brands credit the category has for forever been trying to connect the habit of chewing pan masala to being classy even regal. Perhaps the Ashok Kumars, the Shammi Kapoors and more recently the Manoj Bajpais of the world were palatable. Getting Pierce Brosnan to endorse perhaps pushed the envelope a bit too far.

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Lost In Translation: Do Unrelated Brand Extensions Erode Brand Value In The Long Term?


Lost in translationIts election time in India.  Starting April 07, the world’s biggest democracy shall go in for a marathon round of voting that would be spread over a month.  The election jamboree has several contestants and in the fray are people from different walks of life.  The noteworthy ones though are the contestants who have been in the public consciousness but for totally different reasons.  If celebrities be considered individuals who are brands that they are courtesy their achievements/fame in their original profession.  Their foray into politics therefore, is akin to a brand extension.

Now as marketers we are familiar with extensions and have seen many such examples. It is the author’s humble opinion that brand extensions into un-related categories are detrimental to the brand.  Now I do not have empirical evidence to back this but more often than not, the brand attributes that made the brand successful in its space would not resonate with consumers in an un-related space.  Yes there have been brave attempts at looking at a core set of values and carrying forward those elements that are relevant to the spaces related or otherwise that the brand is being carried into.Marketoonist

Since there is a constant back and forth amongst marketers regarding brands as people and people as brands (also the starting point of the current discussion), it would only be fair to look at things through Kapferer’s Brand Identity Prism

Just to refresh the model suggests that there are six facets to brand identity. As with individuals there is what gets projected and communicated and there is what gets received and understood.Kapferers Brand Identity Prism

  1. Physique: The brand in Its physical/tangible form eg. colour, packaging, product form etc.
  2. Personality:  How the brand projects itself. Fun, young etc.
  3. Culture: A set of values that feed the brand.
  4. Relationship: the brand has with its consumers or stakeholders i.e. aspirational, inspiring, motivating, ostentatious etc
  5. Reflection: An image a brand creates regarding who its typical user would be. Example Blackberry with QWERTY phones for executives.
  6. Self-image: What the brand does to its consumer’s image of self. For example, ladies hand bags from fashion brands perhaps project “I can afford it” for a bulk of their consumers.

Coming back, the contestants in this election range from the “have-beens” to the “could not have beens”.  Movie stars, sports persons and business icons they are all there.  If one were to critically assess any one of them with respect to the brand that they have built in terms of elements 2 through 6 listed above with the assumption that physique is something they cannot easily change, most would find diminished relevance of their established identity in the new space.

Yes there have people who have translated their success in one field into success in another but the examples are few and far between.

I will defend my case with two examples one a business brand that made an extension into an unrelated field, another an individual.  Both brands that attained dizzying heights forayed into an unrelated spaces and ended up eroding if not decimating brand value in the final analysis.

Exhibit#1 The individual: Amitabh Bachchan arguably India’s biggest movie star and an icon for millions of Indians across generations.   The Big B as he is popularly referred to made according to him one of the biggest mistakes in life when he chose to enter politics.  A super-star he contested elections from Allahabad, UP, India and dislodged a stalwart.  What followed were years of turmoil as he got embroiled in allegations of corruption that tarnished his image.   It took Amitabh Bachchan the brand over a decade to rise from the ashes, a deed that not all can perform.

Exhibit#2 Kingfisher:  Originally a beer brand it was extended to an airlines.  The brand attempted to translate “the good times” value to the service industry.  From offering a low-fares to the concept of premium economy the brand threw everything including the kitchen sink at the customers.  Perhaps one of the better executed transitions only from a process standpoint. The change in logo from a perched Kingfisher to a flying one, the launch and the initial follow through were commendable.  However, the ambitions were all consuming.  The brand and the business were unable to reduce the revenues vs expenses gap and finally the airline operations that commenced sometime in 2004-05 came to a grinding halt in 2012-13.  There is sure to have been damage of the episode on Kingfisher the beer brand, pretty sure some enthusiasts would be out there collecting the before and after data for Kingfisher.