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Embracing Brands – The acceptance journey in these challenging times

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Brands need to realise that there is Bharat that goes far beyond the major metrosBrands need to realise that there is Bharat that goes far beyond the major metrosBrands need to realise that there is Bharat that goes far beyond the major metros

By Divya Dixit

In this digitally enabled world, Aadya finds herself bombarded with brands across services and has a tough time selecting which one to be within the long run or just stay optimise her spends and flip through a host of them. For her to select a service amidst the clutter, pay for it, and stay loyal requires a huge strategic effort from the brand in today’s age. In the current digital times, where it is easy to get distracted with the array of options, building recognition that attracts and a bond that retains the consumer has never been more important. Read on to discover quite a few interesting examples of brands that dived into either changing or building the brand perception; after all one can’t be left with a formerly successful brand, while other brands end up connecting with target audience.

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Culture shift creation

How can we talk about culture and not talk about the rampant right-swipe culture that has taken the country by storm? Dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, OK Cupid, Hinge, TrulyMadly to name a few, have brought about a change in mindset that goes far beyond just ‘matching’ with a stranger or having someone else decide who they should be with. They allow a liberal approach where singles can choose like-minded individuals on the basis of their shared interests and compatibility. The focus on diversification has helped community perspective among people change immensely as well. And then, ofcourse the big eating culture shift that Nestle brought to India with 2 minute Maggi Noodles that went on to break only roti and rice habit of the country, making it till today one of the favourite all time meals of all ages. Bringing out change for the better always feels good. And that is what brands must do.

Core Product – The Hero

Brand perception is a top-level measuring stick of a product’s visual presence, goodwill, and emotional character. That is why the Hero product must stand out as they generate buzz and shine a light on a brand. Rayban has Aviators, Apple has iPhone, Hermes the Birkin bag and Levi’s its 501 jeans. All of these brands have massive product range however it is their core hero items that they leverage to push profitability and potential by making the most of them. According to Bain & Company, a hero product has to be kept ‘fit’ by updating, upgrading and animating. A hero can then be turned into a superhero, by addressing new needs and new occasions, For example, at Levi’s the 501 jean line was later expanded with denim jackets, shorts and t-shirts, to attract new consumers.

When brands stay on top of consumer needs, they can create new heroes by exploring new consideration sets. Designing a hero product from scratch is no easy task, but there’s opportunity in taking the feedback from consumers and making a hero of an existing product. If you are a niche brand, your core product is your strength!
Connect game on point

As brand owners, our job is to know our consumers deeply and celebrate their moments of joy. Be it individual snacking, sharing, or gifting on a special occasion, Cadbury, for decades, has been highlighting emotions; little moments of kindness, family togetherness, occasions, flavorism, chocolate charmer and what not. It has stayed at the forefront of consumer minds thanks to a constant stream of memorable marketing efforts across India and globe. And then again, while some brands struck a chord for spreading joy, some did the absolute opposite. With ‘Hari Sadu. H for Hitler, A for Arrogant, R for Rascal and I for Idiot’, hit the pain point amongst all employed people and gave them the reason to search and sign up for; relatable much?

Mass audience focus

Brands need to realise that there is Bharat that goes far beyond the major metros. That’s where the real growth comes from! As a homegrown OTT platform, we do realise that majority of video consumption comes from rural pockets. OTT platforms, when they entered India, appealed to a very urban and niche audience, however, the platforms are working extensively on Hindi and regional language focussed Original content to provide wholesome entertainment as well as enable the mass audience from the heartlands for easy access. The other examples of this mass audience focus are FMCG organisations that brought the sachet and small packs revolution for the mass adoption of their premium brands as well as telecom industry that helped connect billions of people across the globe. Scalability of the business model provides a huge brand connect and recognition.

Communication transparency

If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to lose. Instead of being worried, companies can eliminate this feeling by simply being honest and direct in their messaging. In the current times that we face, the faith that we once had in our favourite restaurants, and how the food is delivered has taken a slight hit. Food delivery apps of the likes Zomato and Swiggy have worked wonders in making consumers feel safe by promising contactless delivery with hygiene standards of workforce. By having all of the information regarding the restaurant and delivery boy’s hygiene available at one’s fingertips, their personal and direct communication has helped the consumer make an informed decision.

At the surface, changing brand perceptions may seem like a tough task, but good things don’t come easy, they say. With fine margins between winning and losing in the business, changing brand perception amongst audiences is one strategy that could make all the difference.

The author is SVP, marketing, analytics and direct revenue, ALTBalaji

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