Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Of Condoms and Brand Valuation
Moods does it differently here in its latest sets of executions. Moods actually uses a quiet and suggestive language altogether. It uses the branding opportunity provided by the condom inner-pack very well. It is a highly campaignable piece of advertising that can use any and every situation to brand intent. It is quiet, sedate, and happily does not use sweaty half-nude bodies in a state of presumed coitus. Despite not using all these visuals, it leaves you behind with a clear brand message that Moods is it! That everyone is using Moods! Whatever the mood, whatever the age, and wherever. That everyone you ever thought would never use Moods is using Moods as well. That sex happens everywhere, never mind whether it is inside a Museum or
in the cramped quarters of an aircraft toilet. Interesting.
I do believe the creative is very well handled and can be a true-blue
global piece of communication, relevant to every copulating culture.
India is also besieged by every geography today. The US has deteriorated to be just 'one among many', rather than the status of the 'one and only' which it enjoyed in the past.
Monday, May 07, 2012
Outdoor Advertising and the Liquor Market
Saturday, May 05, 2012
Akshay Kumar, Cold-drinks, hot-markets and the Hindi heartland of India
Brand endorsers age. Brand endorsers go through cycles of achievement and non-achievement. Brand endorsers have hits and misses. Brand endorsers are human beings with limited life cycles of appeal. And brand-endorsers age. Brands don't. Brands have two choices then. They can either age with their brand endorsers, or they could change their brand endorsers. Thums Up chose.
As of now, Thums Up has many brand endorsers. In many ways, having 4 brand endorsers versus one, is hedging. Each endorser appeals to a different class of consumer. Every endorser has an appeal that could even be region specific. Having 4 brand endorsers in many ways is the ultimate brand revenge on the brand endorser of yore. Brand endorsers, particularly film stars are very promiscuous in their brand endorsements. Some endorse as many as 14 brands simultaneously, changing their clothes, their hairstyles and at times even their accents, tone, tenor and decibel of talk and walk.
Cheekily speaking, the idea is a simple one: if a brand endorser can endorse so many brands simultaneously, why can't a brand take on more than one brand ambassador? After all this is the best hedge against bets that could go wrong with solus stars. This is a hedge on the popularity of stars, hits, flops, region of appeal and more.
With this change, I do believe the brand is looking peppier by the day. This piece of advertising adds zing to the brand. As Pepsi ages in the Indian market, Coke and Thums Up are looking refreshingly younger and younger in their brand profiles. “Aaj Kucch Toofani Karte hain” resonates with the young of this country and their current mood as of now. To “toofani “ then.
India is a very young nation. These states have a solid representation of the young. These states are therefore excellent markets for young-oriented products and services. The robust growth numbers in the education sector is proof enough. Add to it the entertainment market, the market for mobile phones, gadgets of every kind, clothes and accessories, cosmetics, shoes, physical exercise-oriented products, and you have a solid market of the future emerging.
Marketers need to be careful and cautious though. Marketers need to stay humble, talk the language of the people, and offer solutions that are relevant, original and innovative. Marketers need to tailor-make themselves to the market, rather than take their tailor-made solutions to the market. Bottom-up marketing is the mantra to adopt. Not pompous top-down marketing norms that we have imported, imbibed and practiced with lack of success in the past.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Of Kingifsher, Apple, Brand-valuation and Brands
A: Purnam, brand valuation is an objective exercise done with the subjectivity that the brand valuing organization, its peoples, consumers of the brand and the current environment in which the brand lives bring to the table. In this rather complex exercise, one looks at current financial strength, potential value and future earnings. In addition one is looking at consumer strength the brand enjoys. The more consumer-centric you make the exercise, the more subjective it gets, and the more financial statement oriented you make it, the more objective it gets. Both have their own pitfalls though.
A: Sabapathi, Apple is the gold standard brand in the telecom handset market. The allure of an Apple is much beyond advertising. The brand depends heavily on peer group influencers in the market. To an extent, the Apple device is slowly but surely becoming a ubiquitous cult symbol in the hands of the young. Something that is beyond advertising. If I am to use Pharmaceutical language, the brand is prescriptive. Prescribed by the peer. And this peer-to-peer prescription holds immense value. Much more value than mere advertising tout.
Q: How have brands evolved in India? Can you help me trace history?
In the beginning, brands were all about the things we ate and drank. Then they got into the realm of what we wore. And then into realms those touch our lives and make them happen, stuff like education and Medicare and more. In each of these categories, branding happened only at the top end of each category. The bottom end remained a commodity. Over a period of time however, the brand started touching the bottom-rung entities in each category as well. Take tea for example. The category had a large loose tea orientation in the days gone by. Today, literally every tea is a branded option. The movement climbed top down and not bottom up, as has happened in other countries. The same is the case with salt and every ingredient and eatable there is. Stretch this to beverages as well...and you have a pattern.
The economy and its affordability indices spurred this on as well. As more and more money started getting the spend-tag of being a disposable income, more and more brands came in. The movement from cycles to mopeds to motorcycles to small cars to big cars is yet another aspect of this evolution. As India went through adjunct categories such as mopeds, the economy signified that it was in its adolescence. Products were kid products, adolescents and then mature products. The cycle is a kid product, the moped that of an adolescent India and the motorcycle of a grown up India.
Have brands kept pace with change? Not really. Brands have watched consumers evolve and have offered them products. The early ones which offered mature-market products had a bad time and a long gestation period towards profits and break-even. Therefore, most others learnt the tough way and did things as consumers wanted them, rather than give things that consumers might want. The Tea bag evolution on India is a classic example with Taj Mahal tea bags doing evangelical work and struggling with lack of profits for as long as 20 years.
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
The Facebook Farmer and Rural Twitter
A: Malik, social networking sites hold immense potential for a range of applications. These applications need not necessarily be for urban educated folk alone. The opportunity is ripe for the rural farmer as well.
On the other hand, for the Corporate, the social networking site does away with the one big issue most corporate organizations grapple with: access to market. Access to market today is defined not by physical product presence in the market, as much as the access to information about the product. Imagine a fertilizer or a seeds company that can network with the farmer online, offer prices on quantities, offer consulting and counseling services, and then finally sell. All this is today possible, thanks to the social networking site.
In the old days, a corporate entity would define for itself the urban market space as the space it could manage to cater to, due to distance. Today, every corporate can have an e-presence and an e-commerce and e-consulting and e-counseling plan in place. This means that no corporate is too far away or too close to the market. In many ways, the social networking site re-invents the model of Pure competition, where no player is too far or too close from the market. The potential is therefore pregnant.
Farmers can use these sites in several steps. Step one would be to garner information. This can relate to weather, cropping patterns, crop-volume-estimation across growing areas, rainfall patterns and more. In addition, farmers can network with brethren-farmers across the world and utilize the power of peer group influence in terms of buying and selling. Add to it the possibility of a more knowledge-enriched farmer, and you have the potential of a shift of power back to the farmer, from the current days where the power and margin largely rests with the middle-man. In many ways social networking sites can help dis-intermediate the market and help the farmer retain larger margins.
A: Shephali, yes, premium advertisers think radio as a non-premium medium. There is just too much of it, and there is ample research available that tells you that the premium-category shopper does not depend on awareness scores for luxury brands from radio. In fact radio tends to negate effort for luxury brands as of now. Proves counter-productive to effort. Radio is much too mass for luxury brands.
Premium luxury brands will still depend on niche mediums. Niche mediums such as niche print for instance. Airline in-flight magazines work beautifully here. Even for the small town traveler. In fact he carries away these in-flight magazines and salivates and shops. Works better than radio for sure.