“The Coca Cola Kid” and Brand Quilts
By Harish Bijoor
Q: What happens to a brand when it stops advertising? Does brand equity vanish?
-Adit Khanna, New Delhi
A: Adit, depends on the age of the brand and its residual equity accumulation over the years. Also depends on the category, the profile of consumers and the clutter of competition and competitive action in the category in terms of advertising. In short, the reply depends on context of specific brand in question.
Let me take the case of an old brand with a Residual equity accumulation (REA) factor that is high in its favor. Amul.
Amul's fundamental equity in the butter segment is unparalleled. Even if Amul stops advertising for the next 11 years for its butter, it will still reign. The word of mouth on Amul is terrific. The word of taste is terrific. So is the word of emotion. Generations have enjoyed this butter, and Amul butter is quite like the friendly old quilt in the house. Tattered maybe, but nevertheless something you will not give up. Never mind the great new quilts that have hit the market.
In contrast take a newer brand. Take Covo the chocolate bread-spread launched by Lipton many years ago. It was a big hit when it reached the market. It had focused advertising for a couple of years. And then it was over. The brand sales volume could not afford advertising input. The brand vanished slowly. Advertising stopped. And so did the brand, in its tracks.
Q: I am a recruitment consultant. Which do you believe in the most difficult position to manage in tech organizations today?
-Rahul KS, Mumbai
A: Rahul, world over, there is one position that is most difficult to fill. The sales position.
Sales positions of the senior and middle levels are the most difficult to
fill as of today. This is particularly so in the B2B selling arena. This is
affecting industries that operate in the Knowledge terrains of IT, ITES,
Biotech and related arenas.
Sales positions are the most critical to fill as these are positions that
bring in the revenue for the quarter-after-quarter growth numbers that firms
are vying with one another to achieve. These positions are positions that
demand domain specialists who have a significant amount of market
experience. These selling positions are all about leveraging not only
existing contact-profiles, but look at leveraging aggressively into the
market-shares occupied by competitors.
The US market in particular is a tough one to fill. So are several locations
in Europe such as Germany and UK as well.
Competition in terms of pay packets, profit positions and ESOPs are deep at
these levels. Commissions offered for these jobs are significant and
competitive as well. Despite it all, the challenge continues. In the bargain, recruitment specialists such as you will thrive. Enjoy.
Q: In –film advertising seems to have perked up in recent years. What’s the 'gyan' to keep in mind here?
-Jyoti Manchanda, Mumbai
A: Jyoti, here’s the 'gyan' then. In-movie branding can be overt at one end and covert at another. Overt in-movie branding is all about the huge Manikchand glow-sign that keeps popping up at every dance sequence and the rather larger than life cut-outs of a Bournvita peeking out now and then, from your favorite movies.
Covert in-film branding is all about using the brand within the script in a rather non-intrusive manner. In a manner where it seems accidental even.
I do believe covert branding works better in films than overt. When brands are woven into scripts subliminally, and when the script itself speaks the language of the brand, efficiency is at its highest.
Cinema is a popular medium of the masses. Mass brands can utilize cinema with efficiency to promote their line, tone and tenor.
Have you seen the “Coca Cola Kid”? A whole movie was made with the brand in the title itself. This was a big hit. Try and catch it. There is more ‘gyan’ there to pick.
Q: If you were to distill insights for a successful brand of the future, what would they be?
-Mathew Joseph, Bangalore
A: Mathew, one of the biggest ingredients for a successful brand of 2010 is the honest and hard working product or service. Good brands cannot be built on the foundation of the faulty product or service.
Add to this the element of integrity and honesty. All consumers are essentially honesty seeking entities. Offer it with sincerity and open-ness and the brand is bound to find its place in the sun.
Patience is yet another ingredient. Brands cannot be built overnight. They are properties that take time to construct, and even more time to consolidate as integrity oriented properties that can build, sustain and nurture consumer trust.
Mathew, that’s how much I distill for now.
Q: I am just on the verge of entering a career in PR. What would you advise me at this important part of my working life in PR?
-Shivani Lobo, Mumbai
A: Shivani, my advice to someone like you entering the realm of PR would be to stick to the knitting of
integrity all the while. Never sell your personal integrity level for short
term goals of any kind. The company is important and so is the client. But
remember, what you will carry with you all the while is your personal self
and its reputation. Manage your reputation well and manage it with
integrity. Everything else will fall into place.
Never allow PR to get the bad name it just might be on the verge of getting
due to the behavior of a generation of people who have used it rather
Harish Bijoor is a business strategy specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.