Brand New Resolutions MMXV


BrandNewResolutionsMMXV

It’s that time of the year again and A Brand View Story is back after a break! A break meant some time to think and what better to think about than how the next year should be from the perspective of brands.

So here are 5 Resolutions for 2015….

Start using “Radio” more effectivelyNo1

First up a disclaimer, I hold no brief for the industry. What I write simply comes from the understanding; however little, gained by virtue of being a part of the industry.  I believe that brands have tended to overlook the benefits that radio as a medium affords them.

The reasons for the brand apathy perhaps are not as much related to the lack of understanding of the benefits but to the lack of measurability.  Apart from the commercial broadcast service of the AIR, there are over 200 FM stations across 89 cities and towns today.  The estimated listenership at or over 300Mn is certainly higher than newspapers as medium in terms of penetration. Sadly though, from a measurement perspective listenership data is tracked only in four cities by RAM.  The other source of listenership data the IRS is too little to go by.  Given this lack of measurability brands and agencies both are reluctant to plan better campaigns on Radio.

To justify spends and existence Radio stations are in today’s context de facto activation agencies.

With the Phase III of FM set to take FM radio to 300 towns the time is ripe for brands to relook their media strategies.  It also is high time the industry came together and invested in a better, more robust and representative measurement system. With the C&S explosion, the ad-spends on Radio moved towards the lesser/niche channels that were available for a bargain and lately Digital is the blue-eyed boy.

The Prime Minister of the country has already made the medium his own with his “Mann ki Baat”. Question is, are the brands alive to this low hanging fruit in the media-scape?

Stop “SELFIE” campaignsNo2

I for one have had enough of brands using the “selfie” phenomenon. I have in a previous post titled “SELFIE Obsession” aired views on this. Just like other fads it’s time to bid this one goodbye.

No3Stop confusing “INVOLVEMENT” with “ENGAGEMENT”

I don’t mean to split hair here. These are adjacent words and I am aware that context defines their use. It is a fine line and as marketing professionals we have got to understand the difference between consumer Involvement and consumer engagement.   I am sure we are in agreement that we have had enough euphoria around campaign activations and saying wow. The difference between the two terms essentially lies in the degree.

The basis of activations is for brands to have a “conversation” with the consumer affording them an opportunity to “engage” with the brand.  The passerby, the bystander and the participant are different entities.  The smart(er) brands are looking beyond the numbers, looking for patterns leading up to consumer participation.

Patterns do not emerge if you look at the data only when you need it; they only emerge if you are constantly looking at it.  In a manner of speaking, analysts need to be like alchemists.  They need to keep mixing stuff with the singular belief that they will produce gold!

More of “Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan”No4

Sincerely believe in this one.  If all the brands and corporate house pledged their CSR budgets towards this movement we can make a visible difference.  SBA is not a one-time thing it has to be a constant endeavor.

There was a very poignant scene in Sir Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi wherein the Salt Satyagrah is depicted.  The undeterred peaceful protestors keep coming at the British to face their assault.  That’s the kind of perseverance the Swatchh Bharat Abhiyaan requires.  We have to shame those who litter into mending their ways.

It’s not just the government alone who will need to keep at it.  Individuals and organisations need to adopt blocks, localities, towns etc and guard (read keep them clean) zealously.  The government should consider offering exclusive branding rights to corporates for zones that they maintain.

Charity as they say begins at home and this is as much a note to self.

Less of Cricket (T20) sponsorshipsNo5

Again this is one that has been done to death.  Especially the T20 variety.  Brands have put money on any cricket that has come their way.  From Celebrity Cricket Leagues to Gully Cricket Leagues all are attracting marketing spends with questionable returns.  Planners and bean counters would well be advised to look at options in 1 & 4 above.

Those were my two cents. Here is wishing all a very prosperous 2015!

The Brand Legacy


BrandLegacy

We live in some very interesting times.  A competition or contest of any kind makes for an interesting read or watch.  Politics perhaps has been the longest running entertainment show known to civilization.  Politics is also an important teacher of strategy as much as it is a practitioner.

Ever since the new BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) led government has been sworn in, its predecessor in government, leader of the alliance and hitherto India’s principal political party, the INC (Indian National Congress-I), has been fighting a battle of existence.  Its diminishing relevance to the political context has its leaders vexed and despite the bravado, extremely worried.

No, this is not a post on politics.  It’s a brand view on the latest tiff between the two that has been hitting the headlines.  One may argue that it is media created but the fact is spokesperson from both sides are eagerly firing salvos.

The allegation is that the BJP government at the centre is systematically hijacking and ‘appropriating’ the icons of the INC.  Mind you, the reference is to tall leaders of the nation such as Gandhi, Patel and Nehru; the makers of modern India.

How so?  Well first up (and well before they came to power), the BJP took up the cause of reviving the forgotten legacy and contribution of Sardar Patel.  Next, one of BJP government’s biggest initiatives – a cleanliness and sanitation drive “Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan” was dedicated to the memory of Gandhi.

Now, for long years these brands have been considered property of the INC simply because they were members of the same and for over 50 years of independent India the INC was also the ruling party. They were the inheritors of the ‘legacy’!

Roads, railway stations, bridges, schools, universities, hospitals, you name it, have been christened or re-christened to keep the memory of the leaders alive. Scores of government schemes too have been named after them.

So what is new, one may ask. Well, it is the bold in your face use and invocation of the names of these leaders by the BJP that seems to have ruffled some feathers.

In what may in hindsight have been a strategic masterstroke, the BJP think tank instead of creating and building new “brands” read use the names of their founding leaders chose to stick with the mega brands that were already present.  Not that there have been no great leaders in the BJP or the Janta Party from which the BJP was formed.  Jaiprakash Narayan or Dr. Shyama Prasad  Mookerjee or Deen Dayal Upadhyay or even former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee they were all stalwarts.

What then are the benefits of sticking with the likes of Gandhi, Patel and Nehru?

  1. The positive perception that BJP government is embracing the leaders of yesteryear. Thinking of them in their capacities as icons of the nation and not a specific party.
  2. Not creating new brands also shows the BJP as not practicing the sycophancy that INC has often been accused of.
  3. Brand Gandhi, Patel & Nehru do not need to be explained. Their values and what they stood for atleast at a surface level is already known; for generations.  They are names you come across everywhere from textbooks to airports.
  4. This is a young country eager to move forward, something we referred to in a previous post as well. 60% of this country was born after the emergency era and over 40% post liberalization. The romance of living through the emergency, the ideological wars have no relevance since they were never eulogized outside of the so called intelligentsia.  Establishing JP or SP Mookerjee or Upadhyay and their values would take years bringing out from the intelligentsia to the masses.
  5. Even in the use of the brands the BJP has hit the nail on the head as far as using them for what they stood for
    • Gandhi for equality and human dignity. Connected with Sanitation as a human right and linked with his famous quote “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”.
    • Patel for unity. Often accused of being divisive in ideology, the BJP’s use of Brand Patel has been masterly.
    • Nehru for progressiveness and scientific temper. The last nail in the coffin so to speak. With the 4th generation of Nehruvian descent vying for the top job, the INCs last minute scramble for Nehru’s 125th birth anniversary celebrations has been subject of ridicule.

Lessons in marketing again, a seemingly successful strategy of taking latent brands, connecting them to contemporary requirements in a relevant manner. For the bean counters fantastic Return on Marketing Investment!