Brand New Resolutions MMXVIII

BNRMMXVIIIHere’s the good thing about resolutions. You get to make new ones regardless of having lived up to them!

ABVS is back with its 4th edition of Brand New Resolutions MMXVIII. Here goes..

Start | Looking at BRAND COMMUNITIES seriously.

We have read about them and perhaps even are a part of them. There are very few brands though that realise the goldmine that they are sitting (or not sitting) on. We live in an era of co-creation. Brands especially consumer brands today are a lot more in the perception/imagination zone than they were ever before. What has changed? The level of consumer involvement, the accessibility and more importantly the influenceablity!

In an Indian context, some brands that have already a community feel to them are Bullet (Royal Enfield) and the surprise candidate Maggi (Nestle). The community in fact rescued the brand during its quality crisis a couple of years ago. Brands like Renault and Sunsilk also have tried their hand at building communities but they were lacking sufficient amount of emotional adhesive!

ABVS hopes more brands (re)evaluate their potential and give communities a serious thought!

Stop | Randomly using SUNNY LEONE for brand endorsements.

Yes this was in the less of category last year and no I have nothing against the lady in question. These random celeb endorsements really have to stop! While it was Pierce Brosnan last year it’s Sunny Leone Dholpur Ghee TVC this year. Brand managers/business owners who chose SUNNY LEONE as their ambassador need to really think hard rather than just feed a fetish! Came across this ghee (India clarified butter) ad. What were they thinking?

BiraMore of | Re-imagination. An INDIA take on things.

The way BIRA has built it’s product and brand over the past couple of years has been amazing. The beer is giving a serious fight to some premium beer brands of international stature. The beauty of it all an Indian take has not meant “MASALA FLAVOUR”. Another example from the same category is “Amrut” a brand of Indian Single Malts that has stormed the high castle of the Whisky world. So here’s looking forward to more Indian takes that are aimed for the world.


Perhaps the makers of these ads did not approach it that way. Perhaps they thought they were actually quelling the associated stereotypes. I use these two ads as examples of how stereotypes get reinforced. The problem? The messaging of these ads is nuanced.  The audience these brands target not necessarily so. In wanting to depict a new, evolving face of modern India the communication of these brands has in my humble opinion has reinforced the stereotypes.

A working woman needs to cook for her mom-in-law, that there is a difference in saying Mummy and Mummy ji, that contribution to a household has to be in cash etc. etc. Our culture code and conditioning might just filter the progressive message. It’s about time communication took stereotypes head on and not in a round about fashion.




The Green Mile : Are Brands Walking the Talk?

Are Brands Walking the Talk?

Are Brands Walking the Talk?

When was the last time you paused to think of the environmental consequences of our actions? Wait. Did I just say environmental?  Right. Most of us find it hard to believe that the choices we make at an individual level as consumers are of any consequence to anyone else.   However, as marketers we have many a time attempted to speak to this very side of the consumer and awaken their conscience.  Green Marketing as it has come to be known has been around for quite a few years now.  Several brands have incorporated “green” into their scheme of things.  As the world environment day nears we shall yet again witness brands trying to associate with green in turn expecting consumers to associate with them/make the right choice.

The question that needs to be asked though is, “Has it had any impact?” How many brands reported back on the impact “the choice” really made in clear quantifiable terms?

It is tough for the cynic in many consumers to actually believe that the brands have their heart and soul in the causes they espouse. The responsibility of making the consumers believe in a purpose beyond the commercial lies with us marketers.  It is for us to not make the consumers think of them as “gimmicks”.  What good is a commitment that is doubted?

Several brands have in their own way communicated their “Green” intent.  Some have coaxed the customers to partake in their cause whilst others have demanded a premium on account of being green.  However, not all have done a good job of sustaining (pun unintended) the conversation.  The efforts by most brands have tended to be sporadic.  A TVC here, a print ad there and oh yes the digital led activation too!  In short the treatment has been that of a campaign.

One wonders whether these efforts are less owing to intent and more due to regulatory pressures.  Atleast as far as India is concerned there is the mandatory 2% CSR rule (not necessarily to be read as green initiatives though).  Are the brands then doing whatever it is they wanted to do in the first place and giving it the green tint? There are no easy answers for that one.  The day is not far away when organisation shall need to start reporting their carbon credits along with other financials.

In all fairness there are some brands that have visibly stuck to the task, brands that have integrated green into their way of working beyond product and design. Some are already putting these principle into practice whilst others are preparing to.  Some me that demonstrate sincerity and commitment while some smack of commercial opportunism with little follow up.  Here is an attempt to showcase some of those efforts that caught the author’s eye. Please judge for yourselves.


More on Sustainability from Nokia


Toyota NDTV Greenathon


Killer Jeans

Minus One Project (Cheil/Samsung)

The Green Mile is a long arduous path, there unfortunately are no shortcuts.  Brands do not need necessarily turn crusaders, they have every right and responsibility to ensure profits for their stakeholders. Point is, once they signal intent they must walk the talk.

ALIENS: The Destruction of Brand Delhi (and India)

AliensThe past decade has witnessed a surge in the social networking space from a digital perspective. The by-product of this from a marketing perspective has been the renewed interest of brands in building communities. There have been brands that have been at it even before the dawn of the digital era. All of us as marketers have read and discussed about how brands stand on communities and not campaigns.

This post though, attempts to look at the flip side. How communities through their actions build (or in some cases destroy) brands. In a hyper-connected world every and any incident has the potential to trigger a mass reaction. Malcom Gladwell, in his book The Tipping Point has given several examples of how seemingly disparate events can be cinders that light up and cause a wildfire!

Delhi, the capital city of India has been at the centre media attention for a while now. As a city and as a brand Delhi has always been a city that evokes reactions that are on the extremes. At this very moment however, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) of Delhi would perhaps be very low.

Just under 7% of the GDP of India comes from tourism. The 12th Five Year Plan (FY2012-17) puts its bets on Tourism as a sector that can deliver above the national average growth of between 10-12% whilst creating 5.5 to 6.7Mn jobs from the impetus that it can give to allied sectors. Traditionally, the so called focus on tourism has meant multi-million rupee campaigns by State Tourism departments and crass commercialization has ensued around the “destinations”.  The bare necessities such as infrastructure and hugely warranted “social conditioning” have at best been given lip-service.

Delhi has been touted as the Soul & Spirit and the Gateway to India. A city where the ancient and the modern blend seamlessly.

In the spotlight as far as this post is concerned are 3 recent incidents that I believe are pushing closer to the point of imminent disaster. These are incidents that depict how Delhi (Aam Aadmi and the Aam Aadmi Party) treats Tourists, Foreign Nationals and does not spare its own nationals from the other parts of the country! All of these certainly have had an impact on Brand Delhi and on Brand India. Let alone “Atithi Devo Bhav” we treat our guest worse than how Aliens get treated in cinema.  Ranging from ridicule to suspicion, objectification to torture.

  1. The Vigilante Incident (Read More)
  2. The Tourist (Read More)
  3. The Different Looking Guy (Read More)

If we have to serve our own interests as a community this is as good a wake-up call as any before we hit the tipping point.  The onus therefore, is on us as a community and a society to build Brand Delhi or Brand India.