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Writer: exchange4media News Service - Thursday, Jun 21,2012 4:05 AM

Touch emotions in a low involvement category: Madhusudan Mokashi

In a low involvement category such as chewing gums, salt, ghee, steel and cement, it is difficult to bring about much differentiation. The challenge for marketers is to build brand recall. Madhusudan Mokashi, VP, Marketing, Hyderabad Industries, speaking at the Pitch CMO Summit 2012 – South, yesterday in Hyderabad, said that brands have to move beyond product benefits to build a successful brand.

Mokashi's topic for the day was 'Marketing in a Low Involvement Category: Building a Brand in the Building Materials Sector'.

He said that while in a high involvement category, a consumer spends maximum time in taking a purchase decision, one can measure the benefits, like and dislike the product, and are usually high priced, the same cannot be said true for products in a low involvement category.

While one can touch and feel a product in a low involvement category, it is difficult to measure the benefits, and like and dislike may not exactly matter, he added. In most of the cases, Mokashi said, a low involvement category product is an 'intermediary' and not the end product. For example salt, cooking oil and cement are additives to a final product, such as food or a wall.

Considering that there is least involvement in the category, the biggest challenge for a marketer in a low involvement category is to build brand connect with the consumer. Also, since there isn't much product differentiation, which can be measured, say for example, salt.

The challenge, he said can be overcome by going beyond product benefits to propositions. Emotions need to be tapped and a feel good factor is a must to be built around.

Captain Cook, Tata Salt, Dalda, Safola and Annapurna are some examples in a low involvement category that have managed to become big brands as they have been positioned thoughtfully, Mokashi said. These brands, according to him have been positioned on health and hygiene platforms, so much so that some of these brands have become generic to the category itself.

Another successful example, he said, was Cafe Coffee Day, which went beyond the drink to touch the emotional chords of consumers, with its positioning: A lot can happen over coffee.

He also gave an example of Ultratech Cement, a company where he has worked earlier, how the brand, which was positioned on product benefits, has evolved in its positioning over the years to touch the emotional chords of the consumer, while retaining its catchline: Iss Cement Mein Jaan Hai.

While initially the word 'Jaan' was used to bring about the product benefit of 'strength' of the product, it has overtime evolved into meaning 'life', Mokashi said, adding that people build homes and not houses, where they live and the cement breathes life into construction.

In all of the above, the positioning has helped these brands to build intangible long-term benefits, which are based on emotions, feel good factor, positivity and something that goes beyond the product.

The title sponsor for the event was The Economic Times, and associate sponsor was TV9. It was supported by Ad Club Hyderabad and Ad Club Madras.

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