Being boring can destroy a brand. Hence, brand leaders need to be passionate, creative, humorous, emotional and fun-loving, instead of boring, serious or product-led. Brands have to breathe the category they represent, since only then would they talk like a thought/category leader and have a 360-degree view. Whether it’s the topmost point (mass communication) or the bottommost point- the retail touch point, which I fondly call ‘the moment of truth’, the key insight here is to showcase the brand through suave communication and execution.
The journey from indifference to likeability to lovability is the path that brands have to traverse. The sooner brands realize this and travel this course, the better it is for the company as this will drive profitability. Once the brand is loved, the entire value chain - starting with vendors/ suppliers, retail stores to consumers, falls in place, since everyone wants to be seen as loved, good and successful. It’s here that the company gets better prices and lowers its cost of customer acquisition.
Most of the categories, at least in India, have a large number of producers, few sellers and very few marketers. The marketers command a premium, the sellers float and the producers become OEM suppliers. A lot of marketers have a big idea with which consumers connect, and thus they remain loyal to the brand. These ideas get contemporized with changing times, but continue to enjoy customer stickiness. The best example of such ideation is Amul.
In today’s time, being socially responsible (apart from being right and good) is being rewarded by consumers with more love and affection, since it fills the intrinsic human need to be seen as good. Added to this, social media is also helping the brand to communicate it at an optimized cost to the right target group.
Boring people and brands generally get stuck in data, analytics and percentages. Since consumers get 5,000 plus messages every day, they hate another data point which claims superiority that only time and experience can testify to. So, the key question at the moment of truth is, ‘why should I believe you?’ unless you are an age-old brand which has become synonymous with a certain pedigree/claim. Today, most new age companies don’t have this liberty (of time). In fact, more and more treasured brands are joining the new digital age where ‘disruptive innovation’ is key. Hence, brands only have that much time to be seen as exciting, happening and lovable.
In a nutshell, data suggests that consumers love brands which resonate with them and the lesser the journey time to being loved, the better it is for all stakeholders!