Saturday, June 26, 2010

puma making football in public

so we decided to do a flashmob in bombay for football... we wanted a coupla freestling footballers, dancers and a love equals football formation... and of course we expected the audience to join in... but our guys love to watch a show...they dont really want to participate ....watching is more fun than being part of it... !
Overall it turned out pretty well...we had about 1500 people stopping in their tracks and watching us make love (football) in public... for those of ya'll who haven't seen it.. here's the link to the frickin video... ole ole ole ole ole....

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Brand skeleton

Brand values and positioning are the most important foundation for the brand. They form the basic exoskeleton without which the brand will not be able to 'stand' the test of time...
I feel the brand can be fleshed out by giving it visual, audio, tactile, olfactory and taste dimensions.. (not necessarily all but I'm sure there are innovative means to capture all...)
for e.g. every new car that you buy has a new car smell... did you know that that smell is 'manufactured' specially because customers love the smell? Even the sound of the door shutting can be manufactured and it has been for some brand (can't recollect which one - but Martin Lindstrom's book - Brand Sense will tell you which one)
If airtel can have a hugely associative musical brand sense when as an industry it has nothing to do with music per se...I'm sure brands can manufacture offerings for all senses.

When umbrella branding won't work for a brand

Recently MTS billboards have sprung up aplenty all over Bombay.. I'm sure they're ubiquitous all over the country or at least in the ... ahem.. metros and Tier I cities...
But the more I see them all over the place the more I feel that the brand launch is pretty poor. MTS India is, I think, worth over 600 Crore ruppees. It is a 74-26 JV between Russia's Sistema group and the Indian Shyam Telelink Group. It apparently has over 2.5 lakh subscribers in India under the brand name Rainbow.
Moving on from the boring stats... what I fail to understand is that if they have a brand name 'Rainbow' why they haven't bothered promoting it in their extensive OOH campaigns.
Secondly even if they do not want to promote Rainbow (which I think is a mistake because Rainbow already has a 2.5 Lakh plus customer base) they definitely need to have a telecom brand and move away from leveraging on their coporate brand (MTS) and communication elements (egg shaped logo).
The logo which is an egg is suppossed to symbolise 'simplicity' and 'genius' which don't seem to be brand values in sync with the industry they are operating in i.e. Indian telecom!
Furthermore, none of their communication builds on the 'simplicty' and 'genuis' values (keyword being 'and').
Even tho' they are a CDMA provider, afterall they will have to compete with GSM operators like Vodafone and Airtel who have very effective, emotional and loyalty inducing communication... I really don't understand MTS's brand strategy. They have a good, although temporary offering (although I have my doubts about the efficiency of the promo strategy as well) which is 10,00,000 minutes free for life and the ad copy for that is.. 'Now I control time' which is okay but the image is just so cliche!!! (Some people may see the 'simplicity' here but I ask where is the 'genius' necessary to make it effective).
Which brings me back to the today's turf with stalwarts Messers Airtel and Vodafone (Shah Rukh Khan and the ZooZoos) it will be difficult for MTS to make a mark and increase its brand equity in India, even tho' Millward Brown and Brandz count MTS among the Top 100 brands. And at the end of it all, it is the brand that matters today.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Brand sounds for a higher equity

I read a book called 'Brand sense' by Martin Lindstrom, which talks about how the most successful brands cover as many senses as possible in their touchpoints...thus exhibiting a direct co-relation between brand success & number of senses incorporated.
Now every brand will have some inherent senses that it can exploit through touchpoints..e.g. a fragrance brand will marinate consumers in their offering.
Talent lies in incorporating more senses than the only the obvious one (or two) and thus capture a consumer's imagination through multiple stimuli!
This is where jingles and musical intelligence comes into play big time. I personally think human beings are more susceptible to auditory input than to visual input. Every brand can create a musical touchpoint... something distinct... and build communication into this avenue. The trick is to get the tune right... sometimes the most annoying tunes get stuck in the mind but they've served the purpose.... awareness and recall... bingo's bbooiinnnggg is a classic example of an annoying sound that automatically and distinctively brings the brand into my mind.
As a brand I feel adidas is very foresighted... they realized the power of music and have gone ahead and created a special soundtrack with 'welcome to adidas' throw into the track for all their retail stores.... and the stores are only allowed to play this track... I'm sure such effects register in the consumers mind and will justify their investment in time because such tactics will sub-conscioulsy make the consumer choose adidas over another brand. Airtel is another brand that has effectively gained mind-share through the route of capturing the ears of consumers and they've done a great job.
Jingles can serve as an anchor for a brand... you start off with an innocuous tune and suddenly you see the ad, text and whatever else the brand wants to communicate in the mind's eye. However, unfortunately not all brands are exploiting this sense.
Brand managers should, at every step, see how many senses they can incorporate. In the Philippines, HUL organizes events and creates a whole 'cooking extravaganza' experience for their consumers - Hotels, cafes, chefs... very innovative... don't you think? I agree with Martin Lindstrom, a brand which incorporates as many senses as possible will occupy foremost position in the customers mind. Once that is done, you can be assured that the customer lifetime value will be skewed towards your brand even though the customer is an experimenter... we all like our comfort zones... we'll try something new but return to refractory position and once a brand occupies that refractory position, it needs to stay there.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A new twist to BUMming - Brand under management

To keep a brand alive and kicking is the brand manager's only mandate... sounds simple but it actually involves looking at the BUM (brand under management) as a stand-alone business because keeping it at the forefront of the consumers mind is no mean task.
Why? ... because a brand should stand for something and what it stands for should be repeatedly delivered to the customer... satisfy him... everytime and delight him as far as possible.
So basically the brand has to maintain relationships with the customers, his preferences which are in constant flux and also with its backbone - i.e. the guys who work it... the employees who manage the BUM
It is the brand managers task to figure out the integrated marketing and communication plan, and which functional, rational and hopefully self expressive attributes will be communicated.
Communication, I feel, is the key to kickstarting or boosting a business but it's so easy to get it wrong because even though the objective is decided, suppossedly, this objective which should be the centrum turns out to be the most fluid part of the campaign!
That's where the brand manager needs to ensure that he doesn't lose sight of whether the campaign is an Awareness, Interest creation, Desire generation, Call to action, Reminder campaign.
While preparing the brief it can be easy to lose sight of the main objective, try and do a bit of everything because we as human beings are greedy and end up spreading ourselves too thin.
Communication budgets are too material an amount to make this mistake. Usually research is conducted at the end of a campaign to determine how successful the campaign was... can you imagine the difficulty in getting quality and accurate feedback for a campaign with a confused objective? And then the brand manager will mostly have to resort to window dressing to save his bum (of the arse variety)!
At the end of it, even something like brand management comes down to basics:
1. Knowing exactly what the objective is
2. Sticking to the objective
3. Establishing and maintaing relationships - with not just consumers but business partners and employees as well, a because a successful brand will have each of these stakeholders as a brand ambassador.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The brand-trend continuum

A brand occupies top of mind position in a consumers mind only if it repeatedly delivers value (read promise) over time. Is a brand successful if it comes up foremost in the consumers mind when he thinks of the category of product it falls under or is it successful if it elicits a certain response or association in the consumers mind?
I guess these are two strategies brands can employ:
1. Try to become the category
2. Create a specific position in the consumers mind i.e. stand for something, mean something to the consumer
Choosing option 2 and succeeding is more difficult than making option 1 work because creating a specific position in the consumers mind and staying put there is a really difficult task.
Because consumer trends keep changing. Every change represents an opportunity for a brand to deliver on that trend and occupy numero uno position in the consumers mind.
So for a brand to set up base in the consumers mind, it needs to be endowed with crystal ball powers... well something like that...
However, it can be done... brands in the past have done it, if not globally at least in the countries of their birth... Nike, adidas, Harley, IBM
And doing it repeatedly builds up alot of brand equity and firmly places the brand at the right end of the trend-brand continuum.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Colour your brand with a story

Neck-ties have descended from cravats which apparently were introduced to the French by the Croatians during the thirty year war. If you notice, the most popular print on ties today is the diagonal stripe. Coming back to the origin, the tie's true origin can be traced to pieces of cloth worn by warriors around their necks with the sole purpose of wiping the blood off their swords after destroying an enemy. Wiping the gore off the sword left behind a diagonal stripe. This cloth was never washed and the number of 'stains' denoted the ferocity of the warrior.
Ties today are an essential power dressing item for men. But I haven't seen any apparel, accessory brands use brand stories to engage the customer. Me thinks the origin of the tie makes for a very powerful story that a brand can use to great effect.
I find that brand stories are an excellent engagment tool. I've personally found my response to a product change after reading a snippet on the packaging or have been given some trivia alongwith the product. Not only does my attitude to the product change, but I'm subsequently bound to tell my sphere of influence about the story. And I'm sure I'm not that much of an outlier to state that consumers are likely to react the way I do to a good brand story... of course the keyword being 'good'.
By nature we humans love stories... using brand stories automatically encourages us (consumers) to share 'em coz everybody runs out of a personal story sometime but always wants to have a one to share...