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.




Brand New Resolutions MMXV


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!

Brand New Resolutions

As we bid 2013 good-bye some of us revisiting resolutions made at the beginning of this year, some are looking for the little slip on which they wrote them down yet others are smirking wondering what this resolution fuss is all about.

Effective execution or not, resolution making is a seasonal conversation topic that rears its head every new year eve.

So here’s a brand take to resolution making. Stuff that yours truly as a marketer and consumer would like to see brands do or in some cases, not do.


Consumer Chairs
Every brand worth its salt keeps talking about how much time is spent with and understanding consumers. We conduct home visits, focus groups etc but for most organisations owing to whatever constraints this is sporadic. Brands in 2014 should commit to institutionalizing “Consumer Chairs”. Dedicate a day every month where your consumers are chairing your meetings.

Whether its one or ten is up to you but its about time brands co-opted consumers into their core teams. Processes tend to benefit immensely if consumer perspective is blended in and who better to get it from.

Youthful vs Frivolous
Don’t know why but most brands that want to target their communication to the youth insist on coming across with “attitude”. Invariably, this gets translated into either or all of these; Irreverance, High on innuendo, Slap-stick/wise-crack plots.  Brands need to be cautious of the long term.

While such communication can be entertaining it is seldom enduring.  One common thing amongst great brands has been longevity.

New Improved -Zapping’em with Science
The oldest trick in the book,done to death.  Every time there is a price move to be made, a pack size change or sluggish sales this seems to be the most accepted move.  Get a new pack-if possible or put a sticker, a new TV spot or a tag, push R&D for a new colour and a whacky acronym and say abracadabra! Brand managers for generations have resorted to this.  Would like to see an end to it especially the “micro-shine crystal” variety.

Brand Forums & Passion Groups
With evolved and connected consumers of today brands need what I call brand vectors. Forums & passion groups as brands like Harley Davidson have realised are an extremely potent brand tool. Members are in it for the passion and commit to your brand by extension and spread your message becoming brand vectors much like the anopheles mosquito!

Hugely recommend brands that can identify strongly with consumer passions to come forward. Time for brand epidemics!

Facebook Contests
For God’s sake please stop asking us to post pictures of ourselves doing things and “tagging” you. I am sure all of us could do with less intrusion!

So here’s wishing all a fabulous New Year!