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Brands: A few thought starters

By Bobby Pawar
May 17, 2010 14:17 IST
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The kind of feeling a brand evokes dictates the kind of relationship it will have with it consumers. Many a times, strong feelings remain long after the message fades, says Bobby Pawar.

1. These days very few products have a unique selling proposition. Great brands, however, have a unique emotional promise. Coke has optimism. Harley Davidson has freedom. Apple has creativity. What does your brand live by?

2. If all you are interested in selling, the only relationship your brand will have with its consumers will be transactional in nature. And it will break the moment a better transaction comes along.

3. Brand loyalty is a dated ideology from not so long ago, when marketers had all the power. It implies that consumers are subservient to The Brand, when they never were. In an increasingly social media networked world, what a brand should seek is companionship. Everybody is equal in a companionship. Everyone gives and everyone receives.

4. As a corollary to the former; brands will be better off helping to create communities, or participate in them, rather than start clubs. The community cannot be built around your brand, unless it has a cult following. It has to be built around a value, or a passion that the brand shares with its core consumers.

5. Communication research mostly confirms your fears, or it raises new ones from the fertile ground of your predispositions. Don't get me wrong, I am in favour of studying the consumer. It's the best way to get insights into his behaviour that are relevant to your product, or service category, and your brand.

Don't use it to test if the consumer gets the message? If you did, she will too. Don't assume you are smarter than her, only life's circumstances put you in a marketer's chair and her in the kitchen.

6. Feeling as important as the sales pitch. We put a lot of thought and a lot of research money into crafting exactly what the brand should say to the consumer without paying much attention to how we want her to feel.

The kind of feeling a brand evokes dictates the kind of relationship it will have with it consumers. Many a times, strong feelings remain long after the message fades.

7. Assume nothing. Question everything, including yourself, and your experience. Knowledge is relative. In a fast changing society, yesterday's information becomes tomorrow's liability.

You are only as good as the stuff you are aware you don't know. Start from a position of ignorance and learn as you go. It will open your minds to things you'd never ever have considered.

8. Digital is not a medium. It is several media. It is a newspaper that you can interact with. It is TV channels you can customize. It is radio on your terms. It is your own mirco-society; living, connecting and thriving within a universal society.

To use digital for just lead generation, or as an online brochure, or even e-commerce is like using a Swiss Army knife to only pick your teeth.

9. A branded experience is greater than any message, no matter how compelling. Experiences create memories. And our lives are nothing but a tapestry of memories strung along the nerves in our brains.

The more happy memories one person owns in another person's life, the stronger their relationship. The same holds true for brands. What comes to your mind when you think of your first love? How you first touched her finger, them slyly slipped your hand into hers? Your first fight? Your first awkward attempt to make up with her? You know what I'm talking about here.

10. Cheers. And may the gods of the brew lead you to happy places.

The author is Chief Creative Officer at the Mudra Group.

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