Friday, 7 February 2014

4 ways to improve brand building and ROI

Achieving the desired position in the market is impossible for a company without branding its product. A brand can be defined as a name, term, logo or punch line which differentiates them from  each other. Communicating and promoting the product is the most crucial part for any company. Building trust(as we have seen 'T' stands for trust in TATA group) among customers will do half of the work.

In Hindi we have a saying, "Jo dikhta hai wahi bikta hai", so the whole story relies on the brand image of your company. If we talk about brand building, customer satisfaction will come into picture. If the customers are satisfied with the offerings, it results into a strong and long term relationship. If the brand building process is weak, the company cannot reach its desired market share, even if the product is far better than its competitors. 

Problems in Brand building:

Lets see why some companies are unable to stand like a famous brand or why they face difficulties in maintaining the break-even point resulting in improper ROI(return on investment). Here are some areas where a company may not focus, which may effect their brand image:
  1. The company may not have proper exposure to the target audience, making end-consumers less aware about the company.
  2. The product/brand may not have any distinctive or better feature as compare to the competitive brands. The brand must have a X-factor which will make them stand out among all other brands.
  3. It is possible that the company is constantly focusing on one type of marketing tool for promotion and not considering other marketing options. One more factor could be, allocating same amount of budget to the same marketing tool each year.
  4. A company may not be taking much care about the ROI impact for different promotional programs.

Every industry faces different problems in building their brand image and for that, they implement different types of solutions. Lets see some of the ways through which we can improve our brand building and return on investment:
  1. Use different strategies available in the market for promotion and measure result of each strategy differently.
  2. Invest money in that marketing instrument which shows increasing effectiveness. There are many ways to market yourself like online marketing, media marketing, social groups, promoting in movies, TV series, hoardings etc.
  3. Calculate the financial investment and estimate the ROI impact from your investment. All these things should be planned in advance to get a profitable results.
  4. Try and maintain long term relationship with the customers.

In today's market, branding has gained a lot of importance. For example, Red bull is one of the healthy drink which came into market. When they first launched their product, they did different promotional activities like offering some free samples and information about Red bull in front of shopping malls and super markets. And now after years from its launch its a brand image and they are readily available in all stores.

Red Bull Health Drink
Red Bull (Image courtesy :

We can also see in case of Horlicks brand. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer introduced one more flavor in their product category recently, 'Kesar Badam Horlicks'. The other competitors of Horlicks like Complan, Bournvita and Protinex are also delivering different variant of product in the market. The Complan brand also came up with kesar badam flavor to increase their sale. And in case of Bournvita, they introduced 'lit champs' which targeted the kids of age between 2 to 5. To be in the market, the Horlicks also came up with 'Keasr Badam Horlicks', but on top of it they introduced a promotional kit which includes lunch box for kids. With this strategy, they may attract the consumers of Complan by giving an additional benefit to them. The span of being leader in the market is getting lesser, the companies has to come up with unique things to maintain its position and always trying to be step ahead of their competitors. Consumers pick those brands which they trust and those which deliver 'value for money'.
Kesar Badam Horlicks
Kesar Badam Horlicks (Image courtesy :

Complan with Kesar Badam
Complan with Kesar Badam(Image courtesy:

To create a great brand, a company should think out of the box to satisfy their customers. Although its totally depends on the customers to make or break the brand, but still companies should try all the possible way to build their brand. Every time they should come out with different branding strategies to be success in this competitive market.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Product Placement: Entertainment with advertising

Marketers and advertisers are always on the quest for innovative ways to reach their target audience in the most effective way. The concept of product placement(also known as In-film advertising) deals with the placement of a specific product/brand in a movie in order to attract and persuade the target audience. This strategy has been gaining momentum not only in Hollywood but also in Bollywood and Tollywood. Cut-throat competition and increasing consumerism is encouraging advertisers to find more creative ways to communicate with audience in order to win the market.

In-film advertising helps advertisers and brand owners, to penetrate this clutter in order to receive the utmost attention of the target audience. The product/brand should be placed in the movie, in such a way, that the audience feel it is natural and tend to develop a positive opinion towards that brand. This is one of the innovative and best way of advertising, since it gets viewer's attention when they are in a relaxed mood.

Why this mode of marketing communication is more profitable for a company over other modes of communication?
  1. Product placement allows advertisers to place the company's offerings along with the movie stars, as a result it gets instant brand visibility and that too at a price cheaper than the celebrity endorsement.
  2. This strategy gives an additional push to the brand, even though the star do not directly endorse the product.
  3. Products/brands, if placed effectively or as per situations in the film ensures high brand recall.
  4. Helps in fast market penetration and customers mind too.

Bourvita brand in Krrish movie
Bournvita brand in Krrish movie

The movie 'Krrish' came recently in movie theaters. The film featured Hrithik Roshan in a lead role and was playing a character of superhero. As you can see in the movie, in starting few minutes only you can find a Bournvita ad in the movie. The Bournvita company realizes the motive of the film and placed their brand to get visible among their target audience.

Shahrukh Khan promoted Nokia Lumia in chennai express
Shahrukh Khan promoted Nokia Lumia in chennai express

Another one is in movie 'Chennai express'. Here Shahrukh khan has promoted the Nokia brand. While conversation with Deepika in the movie, he enumerated the features of Nokia Lumia. This concept of product placement is not new but it has given a remarkable results to the companies.

Indian women's hockey team with Ultra Tech t-shirt in Chak De
Indian women's hockey team with Ultra Tech t-shirt in Chak De(image courtesy:

The movie 'Chak De! India' came on the floor in 2001 and was again featured by Shahrukh khan. This movie placed many brands like McDonald's, Puma, Bisleri and even Ultra-tech Cement. The Ultra-tech brand was shown as the official sponsor of the Indian women's hockey team in the movie. It is not about big or small company, everyone is incorporating this strategy to get maximum profits out of it.

According to Chuck Blore, "Advertising is the art of arresting the human intelligence just long enough to get money from it". Marketers have realized that the attention span towards a brand is becoming small day by day. Hence movies have become an integral part of our life and marketers have discovered this concept of In-film advertising to get long term success in this cut-throat competition.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Vampiring: Manipulating customers mind

It is also known as Vampire ads or Vampire effects. It is a stage where a celebrity becomes so dominant in promoting a particular brand that the main advertiser's message is lost. The main product message become secondary and the celebrities are in the limelight. Advertiser's are well aware of the categories which needs celebrity endorsements. Although, it looks very simple but lot of in-depth analysis has to be done before choosing a celebrity for a particular brand. The personality of a celebrity should match to that of the brand which will persuade a consumers to have same brand image in their mind.

Advertisers generally targets celebrities for advertising lifestyle products, because these products are used in our day to day life. This type of brand association with the celebrity will definitely increase their brand image and at the same time profits too.

Sachin Tendulkar in boost ad
Sachin Tendulkar endorsing boost ad
Take a simple example, whenever we ask our children which health drink they would like to have, they will prefer Boost, not because they like it, but because Sachin Tendulkar is saying 'Boost is a secret of my energy'. They just associate their role model to the brand which he is promoting. Here, the boost is an energy drink which will keep you fit and healthy, so they have chosen Sachin for endorsement which perfectly goes with both, celebrity's personality and the product personality. So, this kind of brand association plays a vital role in building the brand image of a company. People treat celebrities as god, so whatever product they will promote, the customers will use the same product and they will think its right for them. 
One of the common example is lux soap. This brand is endorsed by so many celebrities, but here in this advertisement Shahrukh has worked with so many of his co-star to promote lux. As a result, when we think of buying soap, without any second thought we think of lux.
Katrina Kaif in lux ad
Katrina Kaif in Lux ad

Shahrukh Khan with his co-star in lux ad
Shahrukh Khan with his co-star in lux ad
Customer should be aware of the  situation where the celebrity is overwhelming the image of brand. Customers  should go with those products which are really genuine and worth consuming. They should not  buy any product just because their role model or celebrities are promoting. After all the Celebrity is associated to the brand not the vice verse.
Here is a link with more information on vampire effects.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Is your company not sufficiently market focused and customer driven?

Now a days, understanding the consumer behavior is the most critical part for any kind of business(either its product oriented or services oriented). There are many factors which contribute to the success or the failure of any product. One thing which plays a major role is information, right information at right time can bring you out from any critical conditions. Correct information can help you to improvise your products to better meet the consumer needs. Most of the company constantly adds new and latest technologies to get the competitive advantage in the marketplace. This competition results into lack of focus towards their customer needs which leads to downfalls of the market share.

The marketing guru 'Philip Kotler' in his book(The deadly marketing sins) has explained many such situations which company generally don't consider, and the solutions for such situations which will led to better productivity and profitability.

Generally, companies lose their way when either they are not sufficiently market focused or they are not customer driven. For the entire life cycle of the product, constant monitoring is required. They should always have focus towards their target segment which will form their major market share. Understanding the customer requirements and making the necessary changes accordingly throughout the life cycle should be a constant behavior for any company. Here are some signs faced by companies and their probable solutions. These signs and solutions can vary from industry to industry(or for service industries).

Why a company is not market focused or customer driven?

  1. Poor identification of market segments(when the end consumers are not defined)
  2. Insufficient prioritization of market segments
  3. No market segment managers(generally companies don't concentrate on segment managers which is a very special position in a company to have a better result)
  4. There are no training programs to create a customer culture(basically it is for sales force because they are the face of the company who deals with the end-users)

Possible solutions:

  1. Adopt more advanced techniques in segmentation such as:
    • Benefit segmentation: One of the segmentation strategies based on the specific benefits that different consumers looks into the product.
    • Value segmentation: Another segmentation strategy, which deals with the values placed by the customers on the product.
    • Loyalty segmentation: The strength of relationship with the customers should be understood which helps in decision making.
  2. Prioritize the most important segment which leads to higher market share.
  3. Specialize the sales force(can be done with the help of various training programs or necessary tools that are required during their field work).
  4. Develop a clear hierarchy of company values with customers at the top.
  5. Easy access to the customers through fax, email, suggestions, phone and respond them quickly.

    Nokia - Connecting people
    Nokia-connecting people
    All these strategies sounds very simple but following them will only take the company to the desired results. For example, Nokia was the market leader in smartphone market from year 2000 to 2006, but gradually their market share started falling in the mid of 2007, and to recover their position they announced a partnership with Microsoft. Although they have changed their operating system but still they are unable to cope up with their customer demands. So, as a result, at this point of time they fell from its number one position to the tenth position in the terms of market share. The downfall has been showcased in nokia wikipedia website itself( Here is one more article describing the partnership happen between Nokia and Microsoft (

    Here is one more example, of one of the leading fast food chain, McDonald's. Although its one of the most favorite food chain among people but still they are unable to place them among top 10 restaurant chains. They have introduced lots of choices in their menu over the years to give a tough competition to Subway, KFC and many more such food chains. You can read more about this news here:

    McDonald's - I m loving it!
    McDonald's - I m loving it!
    All these example showcased above tells that how even the big shots are unable to position themselves in front of customers. Most of companies face lots of problems in terms of positioning, focus towards their target segment and to be a customer centric. Even they have to put a great effort to maintain their value and positions in market place.

    Sunday, 12 January 2014

    Lukewarm Market

    It is an intermediate stage between the warm market and the cold market. Lets understand these two terms first, in warm market the company is well aware of their target audience and they already have a healthy relationship with them. They both understand each others requirements and even the customers have the knowledge about the company and their products. But in cold market, the company which is targeting their niche segment are unaware of you and your company. The products or services of your company are totally new to them.

    So, lukewarm market is a market where prospects which are neither in your warm market nor in your cold market, but somewhere in between. It means, the customers have information about the company but still the company enables to grab enough attention from them to convert them into consumers.

    Generally the banking sectors and the financial firms experience this kind of situations. When the sales person gives you any information about the loan scheme, mutual funds scheme or the customer goes and asks about it, the customer will be in lukewarm market for the firms(because of the uncertainty whether the deal will close or not). But once the scheme is clear with all the terms and conditions the customer will gain interest and they will automatically comes to your warm market. So, converting the customers from lukewarm to warm market is not tough, it simply requires a good and a smart strategy.

    Wednesday, 8 January 2014

    Cartel Strategy

    One of the frequently adapted strategy in this fast growing market. It is a situation where two or more firms come together and attempt to have a monopoly to control the market share and market price. 

    Although, its an illegal relationship between the firms but it results in win-win situation for all of them. Its one of the easiest way to reduce the competition among the same line of business. This kind of strategies can work only when all the member adhere to the contract and follow the same set of protocols(especially when the pricing is a concern). 

    There could be a disadvantage, that is, they can possibly decrease their production to increase the demand and hence the price. 

    Lets take an example, in any Airline industry, they imbibe this strategy to grow in a cost effective manner. They generally apply it to the luggage and cargo department. They combine all the different parcels which have the same destinations. By having a healthy relationship they can grow even better as compared to an individual firm. 

    One of the recent cartel was between the Belarusian Potash Company (BPC) and Belaruskali for exporting potash, although it didn't work out because one of the member cancelled the deal.
    You can find an article about this here, and the reasons for the breach in their contract.

    Well, sometimes this kind of breach will give lots of benefit to the competitors. At this point of time India and China both are trying to have this deal. You can find more about this here.

    Cartel strategy is very old and being followed even today by growing digital markets. But, I believe this type of strategy can only result in success if it is followed by some ethics. It will definitely work well where there is no room for cheating!