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Think beyond the usual discounts, advices Raghu Vishwanath

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MUMBAI: The festive season is here and the brands have gotten busy with new and innovative communications to make the most in today’s volatile market.



After a slowdown of the economy for a couple of years now, at least in terms of consumer sentiment, economy seems to be looking up, mainly due to an expected stable government at the centre. Hence, the coming festive season is significantly better than the ones of the last couple of years.



The media agencies have also revised ad spends for the year looking at the trends especially post general elections.



However, even after spending lakhs or sometimes even crores, a brand is not able to create the correct connect with its TG.



“The marketers should think of more innovative promotions this time round. The usual discounts and freebies are no longer attractive to today's consumers,” says Vertrebrand managing director Raghu Vishwanath while adding that promotions should aim at creating memorable experiences for the whole family.



The end-to-end brand management consultancy, which focuses on improving the customer connect of any business through a rigorously scientific, structured process, says that a brand is a bundle of functional benefits and added values that the selected core target customers/consumers value enough to buy into repeatedly. Therefore, a brand, which dynamically keeps connected to its target group of customers to deliver both functional and added values, that they value, will stay ahead in the category even in today’s volatile market.



After having created early success stories with leading brands like Apollo Hospital, Vodafone, Dainik Bhaskar, Shriram Properties, Mom & Me and many more, Vertebrand has, over the years, worked with a number of national and international clientele spread across industry sectors.



Today’s consumer is very well networked and informed. The very definition of ‘Brand’ is that it is for a selected consumer, so how can one survive by ignoring them? “We have to move from firm-centric paradigm of value and its creation to engaging with our targeted customers. We have to shift from traditional goods-services mind-set to an experience mind-set. For example, most self service outlets offer similar branded products in tea/toothpaste/soaps etc. but consumer choose one over the other,” highlights Vishwanath.



 India is a land of entrepreneurs.  We have businesses which feature in the list of Fortune 500, but not Indian brands. The reason behind this is that most Indian businesses think brand is a luxury for large businesses and mostly about pretty pictures. “Whereas VB believes brand is equal to business and business equal to brand,” he adds.  



The consultancy has various tools  like V-Trak, V-Cap, V-Shape, which help brands across sectors create a strategy which will help them know what will work for them or not.

It mostly works on Brand Quotient (BQ), which helps to measure the effectiveness of the brand. The branded offer is measured against four major aspects of the brand, namely: Brand Strategy – strength of differentiation, Brand Alignment – internal alignment of the organisation to brand essence, Brand Communication – clear position communication and Brand Execution – consistently driving the brand experience in the real world.



The BQ number shows the strength and areas of improvement for the brand.



However, lately, many brands have been caught in controversies as well. The favourite being the fairness creams. Is any publicity good? Answers Vishwanath, “Controversy always will bring attention. If it is unwanted, the brand will get negatively impacted. Laws can be made tighter but the moral code of conduct should be applied by all marketers and brand owners to keep the commercial landscape clean and positively charged.”



“Lately, there is more consciousness building to invest in branding, yet far from ideal,” he concludes.   

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