New "brand" world - in a brand new world

MUMBAI: Content aggregators including TV channels have failed to convert products to long-lasting brands. There is lack of consistency and an inherent failure in marketing good content across multiple platforms due to a lack of proper strategy developed at the conceptualization stage. These words by Lowe's Initiative Media (IM) president Ashish Bhasin at the Ficci FRAMES 2003 seminar on "Branding across platforms - have we given it a thought?" set the tone for the future!

The session was moderated by Genesis CEO Prahlad Kakkar and had eminent personalities such as MTV India MD Alex Kuruvilla; Bennett Coleman's response director Bhaskar Das; BBC World marketing director Jane Gorard; and Equitor Consulting CEO Ramesh Thomas.

The following were some of the views expressed by the panelists who advocated the need for 360 degrees marketing and consistency of brand messages across media platforms. The panelists called this trend the "village idiot syndrome" as the fragile loyalty of the consumer is towards the content and not towards any particular medium as such.

Initiative Media president Ashish Bhasin

· Serial makers and film makers mar good content by using shabby posters, unplanned outdoor media and sensationalism.

· Channels must market themselves as a distinct personality as well as leverage their programmes.

· There is lack of consistency and application across multi media platforms

· In this era, the consumer is bombarded with media - in the 16 hours of waking state, the consumer watches TV for 64 minutes; reads print for 22 minutes; listens to radio for 17 minutes; visits cinema theatres five times an year; sees 15 outdoor panels in a month.

· There is a need for building relationships and pull in traffic by leveraging content.

· There is nothing like an universal entertainment programme. Cross branding synergies must be explored by channels not just for themselves but for their programmes as well. The same holds true for other content aggregators.

· Proper channels and other media must be used for promoting content in sync with the values associated with the content.

· Aamir Khan Productions and Sony Entertainment Television (SET) have done a good job with the block buster Lagaan. In fact SET's Lagaan Maaf contest actually raised eyebrows. Lagaan also leveraged merchandising options such as the Britannia contest, stationery, billboards and comic books.

· Connect with the relevant consumer with relevant messages.

· Create synergies for brand experience and brand extensions.

· Below the line promotions for TV channels is a must considering the fact that the conditional access system will be implemented soon.

MTV India MD Alex Kuruvilla

· The audiences have gone everywhere in today's scenario. If you are not everywhere, you are nowhere.

· There has to be a method in the madness and entertainment brands are not built by accident but through a properly thought out method.

· These media brands can be built by using multimedia, people, ground events, trade and multiple platforms. The clear need is to give consumers a chance to see, hear, wear, interact, experience and leverage.

· MTV India's online website has 1.5 million registered online members; MTV Citibank's co-branded credit card won accolades for marketing and promotions; MTV tied up with Virgin to provide the first piece of convergence marketing; MTV tied up with Mattel to create Bakra toys; MTV's 50 hour longest party in Delhi entered the Guinness Book of World records; MTV Style has set fashion trends.

· On the anvil are new products such as MTV deodorants and MTV's Tight Slap interstitial.

· MTV has also promoted social causes as AIDS awareness events and programmes.

Equitor Consulting CEO Ramesh Thomas

· The Indian media and entertainment industry hasn't realised the value of branding.

· More than 93 per cent of India's capital is channelised in destroying value. The cost of acquiring and retaining customers takes away the bulk of budgets and resources.

· Customer franchise is an economic compulsion and effort must be made to develop financial value (quality and stability of future earnings).

· There is a need for disruptive thinking and developing an ability to question existing ground realities, relationships across geographies.

· Marketers must seek a compelling idea which they can possess and own for the rest of their life.

· There is a need to galvanise the entire organization behind the essential ingredients and unique selling proposition of the media brands. Breakthrough culture would entail the following - the need to externalize training and internalize branding!

· There is a need to adopt an integrated approach to marketing and identify maintenance, control and manipulate brand connects with ruthless attention to detail.

· A brand is a relationship which secures and creates future earnings.

Bennett Coleman and company's response director Bhaskar Das

· Entertainment brands are ruled by frugality of tenure; fragile brand loyalty; constant need for buzz and hype; need for consistent renewal or freshness.

· Everything around us is a medium and the consumer is highly opinionated due to availability of multiple options.

· Brand management has evolved from the inside-out syndrome to link management.

· The prism theory wherein one beam gets converted into a spectrum holds true in the case of media brands.

· There is a need to straddle the consumer's mind and tech space.

· Sensory marketing should transform itself into experiential marketing.

· Move from point of contact to point of impact

BBC marketing director Jane Gorard

· The challenges in marketing involves consistency of branding messages across platforms.

· One should communicate the essential elements across geographic locations.

· Strike an emotional chord with audiences.

Well, the writing is on the wall! Its a "brand" new world in the brand new world!

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