Wednesday, March 03, 2010
What's ahead in Marketing 2010
By Harish Bijoor
Q: As 2010 emerges, I thought it pertinent to ask you to paint the way ahead. What are the various business routes to market that are going to make it big in the future?
-Jayanthi Arya, Mumbai
A: Jayanthi, the years ahead in this decade are going to be very different in the kind of business routes to market that are going to be appreciated. Routes to market that embrace the long-term good of the people at large will be a big hit. Inclusive practices instead of the exclusive ones business-folk have followed in the last 65 years will work better.
Here are a few routes to market that will find appreciation:
1. The Birla practice of schools that take care of both the rich and poor alike.
2. The green car movement and the green-vehicle movement at large that does not pollute, de-grade and destroy.
3. Practices that replace valuable resources all the time. Green paper for instance, that is made not out of trees, but something else altogether.
4. Practices that afford the good of life to all and democratize marketing allure. E.g. The Tata Nano.
5. Advertising practices that embrace common causes: Tata Tea's "Jaago Re" for instance
6. The health-food movement, which is a practice on its own. This discourages many a commercial category being used as much as it is being done today. Such as oils, sugars, etc.
7. The clean-air practice that envisages moves in the realm of anti-pollution across air, water, sound, etc.
8. Practices that reap and harvest labor such as the Govt. Of India's NREGA scheme.
9. Clean corporate governance practices that discourage company promoters from going berserk a la Satyam Computers.
10. The practice of integrity back in branding, advertising, marketing, and indeed in every realm of business. A seamless adoption of ‘Satyamave Jayate’ by businesses!
Q: Is there a scope to look at Brand Planning from the “zero-base” perspective
and let the customers "proactively" discover the brand by
initiating some questions about the brand?
-Neha Arya, Indore.
A: Neha, brand planning as an exercise that can look at many creative and innovative formats. The formats can get as exciting as the brand manger and brand planner is.
Zero-base brand planning is a good and positive approach for the future and the present in many brand contexts. Some categories are ripe for it and others are not.
Within the Indian context, brands, which are in the luxury category, are totally ripe for this approach. Designer garments, footwear, diamond-jewelry, premium cars, premium-leather goods and many such adjunct categories.
Here, consumers are reasonably tired of being told things top-down. It has gone on for far too long in their lives. These consumers also believe that they are advanced versions of the just-new consumer. They are Version 6.5 in a consumer market that is still in Version 2.1.
Zero-base is a good approach as it allows brand-consumers, potential and existing, to discover different facets of the brand in their own contexts and formats. It allows consumers to discover brand s in their own time as per their social, economic, cultural, religious and political up bringing as base context.
It is important to understand here that consumers are becoming more and more a-clonal in the luxury segment. There is a yen for differentiation and this is shown in the rebel statement of consumers in this category to avoid the famous brand names that everyone wears and franchises. Such consumers enjoy the power of zero-base branding as it provides a format for a self-discovery of a brand, basis some small bits of engineered but random-looking brand stimuli.
As the future unfolds, and as consumers climb from Version 2.1 to Version 6.5 in every category, zero-base branding will gain ground.
Q: In 1999 there was this craze about using the word millennium in every
ad that got released. And sure it was a very big hit with people too, especially in the run up to the world cup that year. But now we see the craze for the letter 'i'. Ipod, Iphone i10 and i20 etc etc. Is this a fad?
Is it necessary to ape something, which sells in order to sell?
-Arun Nair, Chennai.
A: Arun, you have got the trend right. Marketers typically look at the biggest hit all around their lives, and then ape the brand-format, sometimes in the brand name, sometimes in the choice of color and sometimes dangerously in the choice of core brand propositions even.
The I-fad is the current rage around for sure. ‘I” is really very me-centric. It is also about the digital world all around us, as typified by the Internet. In India, you could even obliquely claim that it is all about India.
The one brand that gains the most from this rather free-use of the buzz-letter is the brand that started it all. Therefore the brand does not complain at all. In many ways, every “I”-brand benefits the I-Pod.
What next then? I do believe it is about “You”! It is about brand co-creation. You doing it all. Yahoo! Has used it, as has Lays and as has Dell for a long, long time now.
Expect more of “u” brand ahead then.
The author is a brand-strategy specialist & CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.