Brands are as large as the people who make them
With products flooding the markets consumers are getting a variety of choices when it comes to purchasing products. But it is not the most recent of product or one with low prices that sells the most. This brings us to think, what is it that determines a product’s voluminous sales and drives up its profit margins? And the answer to this question to a great extent would be THE BRAND behind the product that drives its sales.
Looking at a product, the consumer gauges it by the amount of benefit it offers. This in a big way goes to contributing what a product is at the end of a time span. In other words, the benefits offered by a product over a period of time determine the creation of brand value.
There are several aspects that could be considered when it comes to making or creating an effective brand. The tools that among the several that could be tapped are mnemonics. One of the advantages of creating a brand which goes against the normal conventions of marketing principles is that it could negate or prolong a product life cycle (PLC). One of the chief purpose behind creating a brand is to create shareholder value. The growth of a company or a brand depends on its shareholder’s wealth.
A misleading trend nowadays which is often misinterpreted as a brand building activity is endorsement advertisement. Not all endorsements fall into this category but some do for sure! This is most glaring visible in certain brands such as a glamorous Bollywood endorsing a leading public service telecom provider like BSNL or a superstar endorsing a bank. The problem with the above endorsements lies in the absence of the “CONNECT” element. It also defies rationale as to how a superstar actor or actress identifies with a bank or a PSU telecom provider which is contradictory to the actor’s image!
Instead the approach should be to create relevance through the endorsement and add brand value. A classic example of this would be Palmolive shaving creams which brought cricket legend Kapil Dev in the early 1980’s to endorse its shaving cream, a effort that turned out to be a mega success, with the tag line- ‘Palmolive da jawab nahin’.
Some other initiatives which go a long way in changing the way a product is received is its packaging. A classic example in this regard is the Halo shampoo sachet which created a revolution when it was launched in the later half of the nineties. The concept though was not received with open arms when it was introduced it went on to create a revolution and open the RURAL markets for major FMCG firms, an arena where entry was considered to be virtually impossible! The impact of this packaging initiative was to fierce that it dislodged the then market leader Sunsilk !
Apart from packaging, even the visuals go a long way as far as identification and recall of the brands are concerned. Taking the same example, many Indians would recollect that it was the swirl of the lady’s hair in the advertisement that symbolised healthy hair and in turn ended up creating a everlasting brand recall for that brand!
This brings to the fore the aspect of understanding the aspirations of the consumer. Manufacturing without knowing the pulse of the consumer won’t help in the creation of the brand. And this requires constant interaction with the needs and the aspirations of the consumer.
Building brands is a serious business and goes way beyond the confines of plain advertisements as perceived by many. It is different from advertising as it transfers brand ownership. Several latent but highly important aspects need to be considered while creating a brand such as a competitive pricing policy, smart measures to make the production process more lean and sleek apart from others! It becomes imperative for a brand in the making to get things like pricing, above the line and below the line strategies right. In this light an effort such as promotion offers for a product reflects that its calculations such as Profit before income tax (PBIT), EPBIT and others that also go in determining the creation of the brand.
Innovation and novelty too go a long way in the creation of a brand and none conveys it better than Halls which switched to pillow packs from wrappers to turn around the market share from Vicks the then leader and speed away with the tag of the market leader.
One of the most important aspects pertaining to brand is the strategy formulation which is more important than brand building itself! A successful brand requires dedicated teams that work cohesively towards the making of the brand. These teams are in to be touch with ground reality around the brand such as cultural & ethnicity of the populace. A tab on these trends implies better understanding of the expectations of the consumer which in turn would mean a holistic requirement for the product attributes and the creation of an effective strategy.
Creating value in products goes a long way in building a brand which could be seen in the cough syrup category where the honey flavour came as a watershed and changed the entire image of a cough syrup- that of a bitter tasting concoction!
Brand building is a long process and it cannot be denied that brands have equity that need to be rekindled over a period of time.