Brands are as large as the people who make them
With products flooding the markets, consumers are getting a variety of choices regarding purchasing products. But it is not the most recent 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? To a great extent, the answer to this question 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 is a big way to contribute to what a product is at the end of a time span. In other words, a product’s benefits over a period of time determine the creation of brand value.
Several aspects could be considered when it comes to making or creating an effective brand. The tools among the several that could be tapped are mnemonics. One of the advantages of creating a brand that goes against the normal conventions of marketing principles is that it could negate or prolong a product life cycle (PLC). One of the chief purposes 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 contradicts 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 1980s to endorse its shaving cream, an effort that turned out to be a mega-success, with the tag line- ‘Palmolive da jawab nahin’.
One other initiative which goes a long way in changing the way a product is received is its packaging. A classic example is the Halo shampoo sachet which created a revolution when it was launched in the latter half of the nineties. The concept, though, was not received with open arms when it was introduced. It created a revolution and opened the RURAL markets for major FMCG firms, an arena where entry was considered virtually impossible! The impact of this packaging initiative was too fierce that it dislodged the then market leader Sunsilk!
Apart from packaging, even the visuals go a long way as far as identifying and recalling the brands is concerned. Taking the same example, many Indians would recollect that it was the swirl of the lady’s hair in the advertisement that symbolized healthy hair and created an 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 fundamental aspects need to be considered while creating a brand, such as competitive pricing policy, smart measures to make the production process leaner and sleek apart from others! It becomes imperative for a brand to get things like pricing, above the line, and below the line strategies right. In this light, an effort such as promotional offers for a product reflects that its calculations such as Profit before income tax (PBIT), EPBIT, and others also determine the creation of the brand.
Innovation and novelty go a long way in creating 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 of a brand is strategy formulation which is more important than the brand-building itself! A successful brand requires dedicated teams that work cohesively towards the making of the brand. These teams are in touch with ground reality around the brand, such as the culture & ethnicity of the populace. A tab on these trends implies a better understanding of the consumer’s expectations, 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 that could be seen in the cough syrup category where the honey flavor came as a watershed and changed the entire image of cough syrup- that of a bitter-tasting concoction!
Brand building is a long process, and it cannot be denied that brands have equity that needs to be rekindled over a period of time.