Thursday, August 09, 2012
Malls. deodorants and renting brands
This category is today image led. Imagery and brand propositions will morph in this country from the functional to the emotional to the ridiculous. The dominant imagery as of today seems to be the woman-magnet and man-magnet theme alike. Use this deodorant and you will have women sticking to you! This is a basic first-generation deodorant market brand proposition. We will evolve. Later than sooner. To higher end benefits and needs.
The challenge in this category ahead is one of market clutter. The challenge is equally to stay relevant, original and innovative to a changing consumer profile, which gets fatigued with the brand and the scent a bit too fast. Faster than before. The deodorant category is therefore young, aggressive and on the morph all the while. A marketer who keeps pace with this is the marketer that wins.
When you buy something you get locked into the product for its entire lifetime. There is fatigue and there is indeed a feeling of being locked in. The innovative idea around is therefore of marketing things out to borrow rather than own. This works for both low end and premium products alike. Take for instance the case of a cosmetic accessory such as a ladies bag. When a lady spends a fair (and in most case, unfair) amount of money and buys a bag, she gets locked into it for well nigh nearly a decade. Instead, if she joins a lending library of bags, she gets variety, and she looks different with a different accessory at every party she attends. The idea therefore works on the key insight of the consumer being a variety-seeking animal! And animals are not loyal to the same look, the same design, the same color and anything that has sameness about it.
Q: What’s the problem with the Franchising industry?
A: Suhail, your question pre-supposes that there is a problem. I will answer from that perspective.
The big problem is that we are yet to pay enough attention to the end-user and end-consumer dynamics in Franchising.
There is an important need for the industry to be besotted not with the Franchisor or Franchisee. Instead, one needs to be devoted to the consumer who brings in the money. One important thing to remember is that Franchising as a business with potential is not about the Franchisor or Franchisee. Instead, it is about he consumer at large.
Focusing on the delight end of the business is important. Delivering seamless service that is consistent is the imperative. This is where the failure lies. And this is going to be the big emerging trend as well.
The Franchising industry will progressively start relying on the practice of delivering high quality service. This is an experiential business. Creating the right experience for the right segment, and staying one step ahead of the consumer and his expectation is going to be the cutting edge, if not bleeding edge stuff to focus upon.
The industry faces the key problem of people as well. That is the biggest challenge to handle. This industry is unable to keep its hold on people. People remuneration practices are also antediluvian. There is a great emphasis on out-sourcing, which is not necessarily a great practice as well. Add to it attrition numbers in the industry, and we have a potent cocktail that points at business inefficiency at the point of consumption. And that is the biggest challenge of them all.
While everything else in Franchising can be bought off the shelf, customer service positive strokes can only be earned. Earned by hard work, consistent delivery and very high standards and norms that are Internationally benchmarked, and more importantly, delivered.
Harish Bijoor is a business strategy specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.