The Parable of Branding – Part 1 – Evolution
In the last few decades, we have witnessed a flurry of products and services – with their unique benefits, presentation, pricing and promotion – capture our mind share and make us dependent on frequently using them in our daily lives. With globalization, evolving lifestyles, easy credit, technological advancements and our enhanced appetite for choice, companies from all over the globe aggressively churned out products and services, which either satiated an existing need or created a need in our increasingly complex lives, to make them simpler.
So, on the one hand, while consumers started enjoying the focus, attention and variety that they were getting, the life of businessmen, on the other hand, started getting complicated. Initially, a businessman would invest in manufacturing a product or trading a product, primarily in his home geography and would get decent returns to keep the business going. With changing times, however, not only did businesses had to come up with multiple, feature-loaded, wellresearched products for varied audiences, they also realized that the traditional approach of focusing on the product was long gone.
As the ever expanding Indian population transitioned from Baby Boomers to Gen X to Millennials to Gen Z, the paradigm shift in consumer behaviour coupled with an expectation to pay less in return for more, eroded the sales capability of even those firms which were manufacturing best-in-class products and services. Consumers started recalling firms with their product names and the better experiences provided by them, which started translating into better top-lines for such firms. Daily need items such as sugar, salt, rice, oil, soap, clothes etc. started getting recognized with names and shopkeepers had more reasons to sell those items which struck a connect with buyers rather than showcase every product on their shelves.
So with increased product offerings, shorter shelf lives and even shorter span of recall, what was originally being referred to as a product name, started getting popular as a Brand – an intangible Value which could connect with the audience’s need, was more visible (through media) to the buyer, gave the user satisfaction of usage, was packaged and presented nicely, was at times endorsed by a popular face and above all – had a good word-of-mouth for it from all nooks and corners of the buyer’s accessible network. For a business, the significance of getting noticed and connecting with buyers, gained prominence over the last few decades, but required focused branding efforts to be able to consistently carve an impression and recall for its audience.
The touch-points for a business to interact with its intended audience have also evolved drastically – from traditional offline media to primarily establishing online visibility – of products and services. Today’s discerning youth expects to interact virtually with each brand, above par benchmarks of customer experience and social listening by brand through any (and every) digital touchpoint available. While businesses have started taking cognizance of the fact that Digital Branding efforts are more of a necessity than a luxury, in the present era of digital disruptions, what needs to be prioritized is the formulation of a Brand Identity, effective Positioning of the Brand and consistent Communication about the Brand through a balanced combination of offline and online media.
Taking cue from their industry’s leading businesses, the widely spread small and mid sized businesses in India should also start planning and investing in their Branding efforts from their initial days itself. Also, taking into account the present situation due to Covid, all Businesses should reflect upon their long pending Branding Exercise, as with the changing dynamics of sales and marketing, the last thing they need to lose is their connect with their existing customers and prospective buyers. At present, each business needs to be more candid, empathetic, connected and visible amongst its small, medium or large audience, in a Single Brand Snapshot, across all traditional and new age media, than ever. If you miss the train now, then breaking the clutter again might prove even more painful than it ever was.
Toggle Interactive, with its expertise of working with a multitude of Brands across industries, has played a pivotal role in the Re-Positioning and Evolution for the Brands by creating a consistent recall and lasting impression amongst their audience.