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.

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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.

4

 

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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Brand New Resolutions MMXVI


Hello!

Thank you all those who kept your faith in A Brand View Story…I am conscious that this blog lost its steam post April this year! Guess this is what happens if you back RaGa as a brand. Well…the real reason was that I got busy with the launch of my debut novel Eighteen The End Of Innocence. Incidentally though I started the morning with a troll on RaGa..so I am gonna give him a break and come back to Brand New Resolutions for 2016. We are gonna stick to my by now familiar format so here goes…

BrandNewResolutions2016
START

No1Sustainable Packaging. Made a train journey recently and trust me the sight along the railway tracks was not a pleasant one. Tonnes of branded litter just lying around. From PET bottles to bags of wafers there they were strewn across boldly displaying their brands. If plastic is bad for the environment and use of paper leads to cutting of trees isn’t it about time we had more environmentally sustainable options? I would pay a rupee more if I had to. Hoping we all would.

STOPNo2

Overcharging! This one is a plea more as a consumer. A lot many restaurants organized and stand alone alike take their customers for a ride when they present the bill. This overcharging is mainly done under the garb of taxation. Larger populace is ignorant or unaware with regard to the taxes that are applicable when they are dining out and succumb to this con. It is not appropriate to take names or paint the industry with a broad brush but it is  reality that a sizable number indulge in this malpractice. It would bode well for chains if they ensured their billing practices are in accordance with the law. Fortunately for them India is not a land where class action suits are filed else quite a few brands could potentially be caught on the wrong side of law.

No3MORE OF

Wearables!  We have seen a flurry of watches in 2015 on Android and iOS platforms and they certainly have piqued curiosity in many of us. Would like to see this go beyond watches during 2016 and within the watches space itself; more utility apps would be nice to see.

No4Non-cricket leagues! It was heartening to see brands support sport other than cricket. The Football league, Kabbadi league, Tennis league all survived another season. The fact that TV ratings saw an increase for Kabbadi and also for the  Football league (except on days when there was cricket featuring India) augurs well for both the future of the sport and the potential that exists for brands.

No5LESS OF

Meaningless Brand Associations with Bollywood movies. Believe that brands tend to risk their credibility when they associate with motion pictures. These associations more often than not are led by stars rather than any synergies between the content/story-line of the film itself. Brands would do better than to just chase good money behind their brand ambassadors bad professional choices.

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!

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.

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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!