Friday, May 31, 2013

Is your brand recharged?

While a “new look” is important, it is equally important to offer value to the customer either by way of a sharper focus or a clearer position. Recharger Brands have to constantly keep examining and contemporising themselves for consumers, who are constantly looking for newer and smarter options, is what Ramanujam Sridhar, Founder and CEO, Brand Comm has to say about ‘Rechargers’, one of the ten categories of the Pitch Brands 50 –Awards For Excellence in Marketing, presented by ABP News, in partnership with Percept.

According to Sridhar, the recharged brand is one that has rejigged itself and has done changes to it over the years while retaining its original characteristics and properties, making it attractive to an increasingly demanding younger audience.

While more than 25 brands made it to the shortlist after going through investigative –scrutiny of the Pitch’s editorial team, 10 were selected to go to the next level. While the jury has locked five winners, let’s take a quick-peek look at the 12 names that went to the jury.

One of the brands that made it to the shortlisted list of Rechargers is ‘Cinthol’, which revamped its identity with its adventurous -‘Alive is Awesome’ campaign with a new range of soaps, shower gels and deos.

Ageless Brands: Date the beginning of an everlasting legend!

Ageless Brands are like mighty rivers, which have been flowing throughout the year for centuries as their market remains unchanged and power unchallenged, is what Sharad Sarin, Senior Marketing Professor from XLRI has to say about ‘Ageless Brands’, one of the ten categories of the Pitch Brands 50 –Awards For Excellence in Marketing, presented by ABP News, in partnership with Percept.

While more than 20 brands made it to the shortlist after going through investigative –scrutiny of the Pitch’s editorial team, 10 were selected to go to the next level. While the jury has locked five winners, let’s take a quick-peek look at the 12 names that went to the jury.

Lux is one such brand from the list which has come a long way from early days of Leela Chitnis, Prema Narayan, Rekha, Zeenat Aman, Hema Malini to Sridevi to Shah Rukh Khan to Katrina kaif and still remains one of the leaders in the beauty soaps category.

According to Pitch Brands 50 jury member Sunil Gupta, Marketing Partner, South Asia, Results International Group, all brands want to remain relevant to the changing consumer as well with the changing time. “Ageless brands should not be considered as ‘Old’, and this perception needs to be changed as they evolve with time. “Sticking to their core promise, ageless or everlasting brands have evolved to ensure that they are relevant to the changing consumer,” says Gupta.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Brand IPL has seen it all

The Indian Premier League has been a hot bed for controversies right from the start. From one player slapping another to a owner getting banned from a stadium, players getting caught in rave parties to teams getting scrapped and now — cricketers getting caught in spot fixing — one can say that the brand IPL has seen the best and the worst of all.

Not surprisingly, these controversies have hit the brand equity of IPL. Advertisers and experts say that the brand needs to urgently take some measures to clean up its image, else the equity will further be dented.

“Incidents like this leads to loss of credibility. And this is not the first to hit IPL. Owners and organisers need to show it to the audience that they are making efforts to clean up the mess, else the opportunity to be a fast growing global brand will take a beating,” says Sridhar Ramanujan, CEO-Brand comm.

Loyalty programme | A brand is a lot more than a trade name

Malavika R. Harita, CEO of Saatchi Focus Network, spent the first six years of her career at HMT Watches. She was fixated on the brand. Though she moved on from the company, the love story continued. Her mother still wears the HMT watch she gifted her when she got her first salary in 1982. But now Harita looks depressed when she hears about HMT, as an inept management has destroyed the iconic brand and the company is on the verge of a shutdown.

So what is it that makes people like brands? Harita is an expert in branding, who knows how brands are created as a marketing tool. Still, she is not spared from its influence. Harish Bijoor, CEO of Harish Bijoor Consults, likens brands to human beings, who take birth, grow, flourish, live, die and eventually decay. Even iconic brands, with whom we have grown up, follow the pattern.

Many brands that have a bit of history attached to its name have become a thing of the past. The iconic magazine Reader's Digest recently filed for bankruptcy. Legendary music company HMV has faded into oblivion. Earlier last year, Eastman Kodak, which revolutionised photography, filed for bankruptcy. Vimal, which was at the forefront of the textile revolution in India, was shut down by Reliance Industries earlier this year. Dunlop Tyres also shut operations recently.

Sensory consumerism

Japanese scientists have developed a 'smelling screen' that allows you to see as well as smell the coffee or food displayed on it. It works by feeding odours from vaporising gel pellets into four air streams, one in each corner of the screen. The smell of Johnson’s baby lotion connects Jayanti Shroff, 43, to her daughter’s childhood instantly. “It has developed its signature years ago; the recall and association are instantaneous,” Shroff said. This signature baby products smell takes people back to their own childhood.

Software engineer Amulya Batra, 29, says, “The smell of coffee beans when I’m out on the roads or in a mall invites me to have a cup – I turn into a potential customer for the nearby coffee outlet.”

“In India, marketers are finding different ways to use smell. Coffee companies use the ‘beans’ aroma outside their outlets or in the mall, which instantly lets you know there’s a coffee shop nearby,” said Sandeep Kapoor, founder, RelioQuick, an integrated marketing communications agency.

“For a coffee chain like Tata Starbucks, the aroma of coffee lends our stores a strong and inviting appeal. A brand’s experience is not just about the medium but also about something less tangible and beyond the product offering,” said Sushant Dash, senior director, marketing and category, Tata Starbucks Limited.

Friday, May 3, 2013

All year round

It was the perfect battlefield. The enemy was there, the viewers had taken position, the ammunition was all ready, even the timing was right – a scorching summer. Only the two warriors refused to go to war. The sixth season of the Indian Premier League tournament with beverage maker PepsiCo India as the title sponsor would seem to have presented the perfect opportunity for Pepsi and its arch rival Coca-Cola to take digs at each other. After all, the ad war between the two is legendary with the two rivals brands known for their aggressive comparative advertising which poked fun at each other. But Pepsi has launched its marketing blitzkrieg at the start of the season sans any fireworks. Coke, in turn, seems to have given the tourney a cold shoulder and is quietly going about doing its own thing. So has the fizz gone?

The fizz is still there but it is now directed at the market instead of each other. In the last decade, as the market for aerated drinks matured, so did the manufacturers, who now prefer to concentrate on building the category. To start with, both the players are looking to reduce their dependency on the summer season, the peak season for their sales, so much so, that this year they began advertising as early as January. Coca-Cola India hit the first salvo with the launch of its brand campaign, ‘Crazy for happiness’.