Thursday, June 3, 2010

OOH Advertising: Passive yet Effective Medium

I have recently been seeing a lot of Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising. All industry sectors, whether its tourism or technology, are leveraging on OOH advertising. I have been seeing good advertising gimmicks on billboards on bus stops, prime locations of cites like airport and even the exteriors of buses/volvos.

OOH advertising is a great branding strategy as this medium exposes the consumers to a brand a number of times which are enough for the brand to stay on top of consumers' minds. However, if OOH Media is such a great and powerful medium of branding, why not all brands resort to such advertising?

If we talk about OOH in India, the best of infrastructure is yet to come. Our OOH medium is passive and not interactive as it is internationally. As such, a lot of companies would prefer to use their marketing budgets on interactive media like television ads and online banners. Also, we are yet to develop in terms of "technology-enabled creativity" which could otherwise give a new dimension to OOH medium.

Despite some loopholes in Indian OOH advertising scenario, an integrated marketing approach is the need of the hour. India has been a preferred destinations for top MNCs and retail chains. All of the new upcoming brands which are targeted to the fast growing middle class, offer almost the same value proposition, which is great quality at affordable prices. As such, the brands which are able to be a part of the consumers' consideration set would win consumers' loyalty and revenues as well. To be a part of your target audiences' evoked set, it is important to always be in front of them. A brand has to chase consumers and go wherever they are, offices, home, malls, streets, etc. You can get the most out of OOH advertising if you take up an integrated marketing and advertising approach including all the prime media like TV, newspapers, magazines and internet.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Diversity of Facts - Star News

In today's competitive era, media is a powerful advertising tool. However, there is competition in various media groups and each of them are resorting to all means to gain viewership, news channels being no exception.

The word News is derived from the initial alphabets of the four cardinal directions namely North, East, West and South. The reason for the unique derivation of the word can be attributed to diversity of the updates from all directions of the universe. News is supposed to reflect facts with no tinge of fiction, and this is what contributed to the proverb, "A pen is mightier than a sword".

However, the increasing competition has moulded this powerful medium for expression of fact, truth and strong beliefs. News channels have resorted to telecast of irrelevant content to gain TRPs. News channels have come up with shows that talk about movies, daily soaps and film actors, which have altered the domain of a news channel. News channels are now dominated by content high in entertainment value and low in informational value.

In such times when audience is looking for a news channel that depicts the reality of the universe, Star News has come up with a commendable campaign (Click here to view the print ad). If you see the print ad, you will notice that they have tried to use the derivation of the word news (which is diversity innate in the four cardinal directions), which I think will help them break through the clutter.

This campaign highlights the difference between contemporary news channel which are now nothing more than money-minting businesses, and its own brand which promises to bring the essence of news, which are as diverse as the world and people around.

I am not sure about how well they have used the campaign, but in all, this campaign is good and if advertised well, will definitely help the brand meet its promotional goals.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Causal Marketing: A Great Marketing Initiative

"Marketing is what you do when your product is no good". What do you think of this quote? I came across this marketing quote while browsing the net and was flabbergasted to comprehend it. My inference of this quote is that there is no great product on earth as there is hardly any product that is not marketed.

If you do not market your product, it will not sell. Remember, consumers do not buy your product, they buy the benefits associated with it. If you do not communicate the benefits of your product, your competitor will..and you will loose your potentials.

When I talk about marketing in contemporary era, it is taking new forms and dimensions with each passing day. I would like to talk about marketing for social cause.

If you see the latest commercials of Aircel and Nokia, you will very well realize that these companies have resorted to a known but merely implemented form of marketing, Causal marketing. Nokia takes up the much talked about issue of deteriorating vegetation while Aircel picks up the sensitive issue of meager population of tigers in India.

You may say that these companies are committed to their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR). Well, probably yes, but if you think that is the only reason for their current marketing campaigns, cerebrate for a while.

Companies are in business to earn profit and not for social work. However, Corporate Social Responsibility is a factor that increases the goodwil of companies and the brand in the minds of consumers. In this competitive era when companies are resorting to comparative and anti-advertising campaigns, hampering the goodwill of the brand, Aircel an Nokia are on the right track.

There is no element of abashing competition, rather, the brands attempted to showcase their CSR and have registered in the minds of consumers, which is what these brands aimed for. These are already known brands, but consumers may forget these brands if not advertised. As such, Causal advertising to stay on top of mid of consumers and build goodwill is a great strategy to beat competition.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Brand Mantra

New Year is a time to celebrate the success of past and hopes for future. This New Year has been truly special for me as I got to know a significant fact of life, "We must try to be skillful than being successful", which means that success is a function of skills. This comes from the biggest Bollywood hit of 2009, "3 Idiots".

Well, we all know such things but human character is such that they know a lot of things, but they still need to be reminded. In times of recession when jobs and pay scales are being cut, I think a fact link the one mentioned above can be a breath of respite and a motivating factor for recession hit people.

My motto of starting this blog post with a note on the movie is not to talk about recession, but to initiate a conversation on the power of a brand in recessionary times.

Brand is the most powerful thing on earth, which could make human beings do what the band intends to. Brands are not just material things, but celebrities are brands as well. Brands are associated with an innate element of trust and integrity, which differentiate them from products and commodities.

When we talk about the success of 3 Idiots, it is not just the brand value of the actor that is credited with the success of the movie. However, the box office statistics for the movie are just amazing. The movie earned more than 75 crore rupees in the first week of its release.

Well, generally people are reluctant to go to multiplexes without the review of a movie, but when it comes to an Aamir Khan's movie, people are just not concerned with review as they trust the potential of the brand "Aamir Khan". Aamir has always identified with the common man and has sensitively addressed their issues. He has performed better than customer expectations earlier and the trust element on the actor is ever lasting. Consumers know that they are not just gonna be satisfied as the actor is a master in delighting the consumers.

There are other renowned actors in the industry, but Aamir Kahn is the among the very few who is regarded as a "Perfectionist". This is the reason that his "one great movie every year" concept earn him more money that "2 idiotic movies every quarter" funda.

Every brand has a special and differentiating element, which may also be referred to as brand association. However, the element of customer delight is common among all brands. When consumers spare their hard earned money, they want the best return on their investments and that is when the quality assurance of a brand comes into play.

Brands are powerful, but it is extremely challenging to build a brand. The foundation of a brand lies in a good product with sustainable quality over years.

Hats off to the brand AAmir!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Experiential Branding and Technology products

I came across an interesting article on by Rishad Tobaccowala on marketing in Post-digital world namely Up Next: A Post-Digital World. He says that it is important that marketers use a blend of the traditional brick and mortar selling model and the contemporary online marketing environment. The partners and customers for a brand think beyond the narrow specialties.

Rishad has mentioned about one of the iconic brands, Apple which has used its brick and mortar exclusive outlets to create brand experience, the Apple experience and its online stores for convenience of tech-savvy buyers who reside in the post-digital contemporary world.

Well, in this era of ample examples of commoditized brands (or products!!! Commoditization leaves no room for brands), Experiential branding can be a break-through strategy for tangible products. However, how can we do experiential branding for intangible products like technology to create a "Wow" element to associate with the brand. Technology products cannot be physically demonstrated on account of intangibility.

Well, product demos can be experiential for technology products, but technology products are yet not commoditized. Technology products are best marketed in the online environment as the tech savvy target consumers are present online. As such, the best way to create brand awareness and recall for technology products is greater visibility among the target audience. You got to be present everywhere the competition is to build and identity and thereby customer base.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Brand extensions at a glance

I recently came to know that Nirma has entered into a new category and as such, has introduced Nirma salt. I was flabbergasted to see Nirma entering in to this entirely new category.

When a company wants to extend its products or categories, it may go for line extension, multibrands, brand extension and new brands. In the respective context, Nirma must have followed a strategy of introducing an entirely new brand rather than having the same brand name for an entirely unrelated category like salt.

Nirma has a huge brand equity in the detergents category and as such, product extension or multibrands would have been a good strategy, had it maneuvered in the detergents category only. Nirma has followed the brand extension strategy wherein it has extended its category as well as brand. Well, I am really not sure how well is this gonna work. I think that Nirma should have introduced an entirely new brand to enter a new category like salt or condiments.

Brand extension generally works when consumers tend to generalize the stimuli, that is, people relate the quality of a brand to all the brands from the same stable. On contrary, consumers tend to differentiate the stimuli when the categories are entirely unrelated as in case of Nirma.

I think P&G has been really smart in have multibrands and new brands for brand development. It is into a lot of categories like personal care, home care, grooming and many more. As such, multibrands is feasible for product extensions and new brands for category extensions. Nirma is known for its presence in the detergents category and not in the category of edible products. As such, consumers would not generalize the brand equity of Nirma in these two unrelated categories.

Let us wait and watch how Nirma fares in the highly commoditized category of salt.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Name of the game - Differentiation

A few days back, I came across the new packaging of Kinley mineral water, a Coca-Cola company product. Mineral water is more like a commodity now with minimum level of differentiation among various brands of the same. Click here for information on brand commoditization.

Mineral or bottled water category is one of the foremost to get commoditized. In the Indian scenario, Bisleri was the market leader to the extent that the category of mineral water had become synonymous with the brand, Bisleri. Now the competition is intense as the number of players in the category have increased significantly.

If you consider the category of mineral water, the scope of differentiation is really low. As such, the core product cannot be differentiated but the components of augmented product like packaging can be modified so as to survive in the market.

Evian, a French bottled water manufacturer and distributor followed a differentiation strategy long back when it modified its packaging to cater to the premium segment. The modified packaging marked the entry of brand in all premium restaurants thereby creating a niche for the brand. Well, this has been a brilliant differentiation strategy.

Well, differentiation is always different and if it isn't different, it is not differentiation. So is the case with Kinley mineral water. It almost tried to copy the packaging of Evian without alteration in its pricing. Well, it is difficult to say, but the strategy behind this could be to cater to aspirational need of people by providing them a look alike of a premium product in affordable prices.

Let us see how this new packaging and the underlying strategy works for Coca Cola Inc.