February 3, 2010

Branding and Blogging today.....


So, I finally succumbed to the blogging bug. My skin is itching and my hands refuse to scratch the area where it has bitten me. But I'm happy, I feel this itch will pass on to all those, who come in contact with it.

What's this blogging I used to wonder? And now eventually, I'm a part of it. Sometimes we run away form things only to bump into them en route. This is not going to be a blog or an e-diary as some call it, this is going to be something much more, a blatant expression of my point of view and an indefatigable attempt at corroborating marketing and branding efforts in today's world, albeit in a different language altogether.
I may not have the credentials of doing so but then marketing like the element Carbon
(Scientific symbol-C) is pretty much ubiquitous today and encompasses people from all walks of life in its shadow. As such, I have gained a lot of insight into this field and the knowledge that followed rendered me capable of starting this venture, and I am still learning.

Marketing today, has evolved like many other fields, it has become more dynamic and consumer-focused in its approach. Yes, that's the buzz word today, Consumer! The Big C we may call it, if we wish to! The Consumer today, has become more evolved, more modern in his approach and more aware of the environment around him at a global level thanks to our growing media penetration and increasing education levels (perhaps).
The Consumer of today is more like your wife, whom you have to take care of even though you don't want to, because she keeps running your house. The only difference is that she is unfaithful and beds every other product that appeals to it more than you do. So that involves taking safety precautions much like 'slipping on that condom' before you venture in the field, as you cannot trust your 'wife' any longer.
The so called 'wife' has become more price sensitive as well as quality conscious, so the challenge for marketeers lies in 'not just marrying but also maintaining her,' a 'divorce' filed from her side can prove to be a real costly 'alimony' for you. Hence, the focus on CRM practices by most behemoths. It has helped them to maintain their position by keeping the consumer engaged in their relation measures.
As the mindset of the consumer changes, marketeers are striving to put in a constant effort of gathering precious data and aligning it with secondary findings, to produce something more valuable than their competitors, that will eventually make their 'prospective wives' select them as their 'groom'. The only problem is that the wife is 'too demanding' because 'other grooms' are constantly trying to woo her and their presentations and affectations make her lose focus on your diligent efforts to imprint your mark on her mind.
As in the animal kingdom, the huge alpha wins but in the actual case scenario, the 'burly groom' might have to face tough competition from a 'tiny tot in the making' because of the latter's advantage over the former. Such 'small tots' are usually in a better position to understand the prospect because of their grassroot level positions. This creates a challenge for the burly ones to have a more diverse yet organised sales force to 'convince' the wife head-on, this is where the 'small tots' lag behind and then there emerges a vicious game of pull and push that causes the rope to break and the 'wife' falls down into the lap of someone in the middle, who had his priorities planned out in the same manner.
The first challenge for any of these grooms would have been to gain the wife's attention and they each vie for a piece of the pie making her become a modern Draupadi ka syavamvar, in which actually she ends up selecting the wrong groom, all the grooms or worst still none at all! A lose-lose situation for both!
Marketeers practice the theory that they have been thought in the B-schools that they attended and follow the A of AIDA without realising the Faida. It was a good approach, the only thing is it does not yield results anymore. People encounter more than 55,000 advertisement in some form or the other every year. By the end of his life, the average consumer spends one and a half-years of his life watching television advertisements alone. Time-wasted, he might say on reading this, and worst still decide to shut the idiot during the breaks! Then too, marketeers go on creating advertisements to gain attention of the consumer. They fill the radio with their jingles and bombard the television with their thirty second commercials and use their ink in print and even stick the glue in loos but what ultimately comes out of it-is not consumer attention, they are vying for but clutter.
Today's marketeers realise and accept this fact and wish to solve it, the problem is to solve the clutter, they create more clutter, lying and cheating their way into the prospect's mind who also is a human and forgets them the very next instant the other fish start swimming in front of her eyes. As Godin who says that 'all marketeers are liars' writes in Brand Equity dated June 4, 2003,
"Marketeers are doing exactly the wrong thing. They're running more ads, they are putting ads on parking meters, in hotel elevators, in washrooms. Because they think that the answer to clutter is more clutter. That's why there is so much spam in your inbox, marketeers are desperate." Desperate to win over their 'wife' before she turns her head towards some other 'groom'.
To gain that position in the wife's mind, the groom has to pass on such a strategy that will make his product stand out form the rest of the clutter, in easy language something either more obnoxious or something more charming, to ignore, and the latter is a lot more difficult than the former. To achieve the former, most companies only have to strive a little harder than what they are doing currently.
The competitive advantage for the marketeer's product will come from his own inventiveness with regards to meeting the 'wife's demands, which have to be satiated almost immediately and immaculately, lest she takes offence. For this, the marketing system has to be in sync, not just with the actual market but also with the other departments that coordinate its efforts. Mostly, major organisations falter in their marketing efforts due to lack of coordination between the supposedly coordinating departments, which has been said so in their statements but rarely practiced.
Meanwhile, the 'wife' is continuously in search of newfangled approaches that would satiate her unfulfilled desires. It then lies upon the 'groom' how he does so, whether he uses 'what he has' or 'outsources' the duty to someone else. In the end, the 'wife' is to gain, as always, literally!

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