Posts tagged ‘Branding’


You suck !!

You need to make it cooler !!

Your service is the worst I have seen !!

Negative but authentic consumer reviews are way more effective than positive made up reviews. The sooner that companies realize this, the better it is for them for they should not fear the consumer to review their products or services but act on their feedback.

With social media playing a critical role in online product/service reviews, it is easy for a customer to distinguish and authenticate genuine reviews from fake ones. A negative product review on a website lends more credibility on the feedback mechanism than just having positive ones.

In my line of business i.e. telecom value added services (VAS),  there ought to be customer grievances and feedback on social media that inculcates learning from mistakes and rectification rather than having all good reviews from their own employees. A negative review that gets corrected gets more buzz than a positive one leading to more brand awareness.

The biggest mistake a brand can make is thinking they could control social media just like they could control an ad campaign; fact of the matter is that you just simply cannot take any of your ad campaigns and migrate it to a social media platform. Social media can’t be a simple problem solver. Like you can’t segregate the rotten tomatoes from the good ones at a Tomatino fest, brands cannot erase the feedback they receive on social media however online criticism and fear should definitely not hold them back.


September 21, 2011 at 9:03 pm 2 comments


What does it take to send across a powerful message to the consumer?

  • Sentiments
  • Desires
  • Message Placement
  • Aspirations
  • Guilt
  • Belonging

How about a cocktail of all the above mentioned elements?

Marketing efforts have to leave a positive impression on the consumer’s mind on the very first contact. It’s no surprise that the fate of most products or services are written on the very day, they are launched.

I wish to share one of the striking examples with our readers. Each day I use the Metro to commute to office. On my way, I pass by an alley with numerous automobile showrooms with cars from all passenger segments including basic to super luxury. As I pass by one showroom after another, the usual messages shout out at me to get my attention. These would include ’15 Kmpl’, ‘Easy instalments available’, ‘Drive in comfort’, ‘Pocket Friendly’ and so on. However, at the end of the alley, I see something different (See picture below).

With powerful messaging like the one above, a couple of striking features can be observed:

(1) Sentiments: Imagine yourself in the shoes of the person who is travelling the Metro train. He is cramped among a bunch of co-passengers and in a way jostling for space. What’s the only thing in the traveller’s mind? ‘I wish I could ride back home in comfort’

(2) Belonging: The moment a brand places itself alongside such a strong statement, it instantly associates itself with a particular value. The first thing that would rub into the consumer’s mind is that – ‘This product is going to take me into the elite few who can own it. I belong to the group of people who are envied upon by the rest of the world. I have arrived.’

(3) Placement: This message is being read by almost a million commuters who take the metro to work daily. Just by its sheer location – the impact of the advertisement gives an instant connection that turns it into a lead generating engine.

The new age marketer needs to put some thought into; not only how the product or service will be positioned but also where will it be placed and what emotion should it invoke. So ask yourself, ‘How am I going to plant a powerful message?’

June 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm 1 comment


The great Phillip Kotler says that a brand is a seller’s promise to deliver a specific set of features, benefits and service consistently. According to Al Ries, a brand is a symbol, a name or a logo that someone owns in the minds of the customer.These definitions of a brand holds true across industries. The music industry may work differently than other traditional industries, but then is it so different as to be alien to the concept of a brand? Do we have brands in the music industry?

Take a look at the picture on the left. Does it remind you of anyone?  It  would be next to impossible to find a person who listens to music and not know the pictures represents the great King of Pop Michael Jackson. The man was a perfect example of a branding in the music industry.The signature Fedora hat and sequined glove symbolized none other than him. They represent the symbol part that the definition of a brand talks about.

Now take a look at this picture on the left again. The name itself screams the style of music they make. Heavy Metal. And they have remained loyal to their name throughout their music career with heavy metal songs. No person will ever look at the name and buy a CD expecting to find mellow romantic songs inside. That is delivering a specific set of features consistently part of brand definition.

I once read that the great guitarist Eric Clapton built his own guitar by using parts of three Fender Stratocaster guitars and named it ‘Blackie’. I was touched by the bond that he shared with his guitar to the point of naming it. Now when I look at it critically, with all due respects to his love, Clapton had been shrewd. He had created a brand out of his guitar. That again was a symbol, something which reminded people of Clapton every time they saw his guitar.

These are just some of the examples to make you aware of branding in music Industry. In the music industry, branding is as prevalent as it would be in any other industry.

February 3, 2010 at 11:40 pm Leave a comment


One might think that the importance of a logo is hugely overblown, especially if the business is not committed to branding. Branding is about positioning. It’s about living a promise and creating a relationship with your customer. It’s not about investing in a graphic design.

In today’s world, logos are important even after the brand is established. Even then effective logos don’t really need to be these super creative works of art with visualizations of your product or values but could be better off with just your name, using a unique font presentation.

The logo is a symbol that provides the customers with instant and powerful brand recognition of your business and the products or services that the company offers, but it is also critical to ensure that the logo sends across the right message to the customer to maintain a consistent brand image and increase customer recognition as a weak message could weaken your overall marketing strategy.

When you discuss Microsoft, one can’t recall Microsoft having a logo. So much for all the thought and money that went into that four-colored window pane. At the same time, there is probably not a person in America, and most of the world, who doesn’t know that the Golden Arches belong to McDonald’s. You don’t even have to see the name to know.

A logo can also clearly reflect that message the brand wants to convey, therefore a strong association between the brand and the logo is inevitable. A logo should not only reflect growth and professionalism no matter how small the company is today, but also ensure that the logo one selects is not dated but can be used effectively year after year keeping in mind how consumers would perceive the company in order to be continually associated with it in the times to come.

The mission of your logo is to portray the values and goals of your company to the stake holders and hence having clearly defined values and goals is preordained. A logo is not branding. While it’s common for people to mistake a logo as the ‘company branding’, the logo is only a part of the entire corporate branding/marketing strategy acting like a small ad for the company apart from differentiating you from the competition.

December 13, 2009 at 7:13 pm 3 comments


Have you ever wondered what the aroma of popcorn at a movie hall, the texture and smell of cornflakes, the smell of a brand new car or the popping sound of a new can has to do with branding?

Most marketers today use sensory branding as a tool to stimulate a consumers relationship with a brand and to enable a long-lasting emotional connect and build brand loyalty on that.


Our senses (Sight, Sound, Touch, Smell and Taste) help build emotion and thus remain in our memory longer. Sensory branding may or may not be related with the quality of the product yet they play a vital role in customers purchase decisions

Companies like Kellogg, designs the sound of their cereals in the laboratory. Singapore Airlines is considered as the pinnacle of integrated sensory branding and has a consistent visual theme. The color of the uniform of flight attendants is coordinated with the interiors of the flight. Rolls Royce emits a scent called “Old Rolls” from under its seats of all its new cars.

All though sensory branding is not a new phenomenon, companies today are integrating two or more senses to gain brand dominance. The most commonly used senses for branding are Visual (sight) and Audio (sound) however with so many advertisement cluttered on television and radio it is losing its effectiveness.

Marketers are increasingly moving toward the sense of smell in addition to sight and sound. The smell of scent reduces anxiety, enhances mood, brings excitement and triggers memory hence companies like Singapore airlines use the same scent (Stefan Floridian waters) in the perfume worn by flight attendants to the hot towels as well as other elements of service. 7-11 (Seven Eleven) introduced the smell of freshly baked bread and noticed a significant increase in sales. Research states that people stay 40% longer in fragrant places and 75% of our emotions get formed by what we smell.

Thus companies using multiple sensory branding are likely to be more successful and I’m sure the wait isn’t long before we see all marketers attract their customers via similar neuromarketing. Now thats something that smells fishy.

November 3, 2009 at 1:53 am 1 comment


We often hear the term “most valuable brand” day in and day out. Brand value calculates the future earning attributes of a brand over the products expected life cycle, which is then valued to its present day. The basic underlying assumption here is that the brand owner does not own the brand but pays for usage, like in a licensing contract. This way one can measure the true commercial value of the brand. The value is based on parameters like customer satisfaction, brand preference, quality perceptions, value for money and good service.

brandA brand value thus allows for products to communicate a specified message to its consumers. The message communicated to the target audience helps to decide the kind of strategic activities that the firm must engage in. Brands once established is associated with a set of values which is retained, changed or built upon depending upon this future strategy. The marketing strategy is also developed to plan how the brand value would be protected and further evolved. Here, it is important to note that any new product introduced would affect the brand value sometime in the future and hence it should be in sync with message to be communicated. Brand value marketing is thus a useful technique for marketing to be majorly used in two types of scenarios: pitches and on-going brand management.

Brand valuation in turn also acts as an effective way to measure the value generated by marketing investment. Marketing of brands adds value in the short-term through sales uplifts and in the long-term by increasing brand equity. Brand value if monitored regularly can enable both the marketing agency and the user client to react promptly to the market fluctuations and assign resources to the attention seeking areas.

As it is popularly said, “It’s easy getting to the top of the list; however it is difficult to stay there.”

October 14, 2009 at 4:11 pm 1 comment

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