“You can have a brand without a profitable business but you cannot have a profitable business without a brand,” stated Vinita Bali, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Britannia Industries.
Successful brands from various categories may look as if they were born with an unconventional idea but the fundamentals of marketing exercise of these brands are crystal clear and that sets them apart. Bali drew from her many years of branding and marketing experience a very clear rule that a great brand has simple characteristics.
Highlighting what makes a brand great, Bali emphasised that, “A great brand first looks at the relevance and differentiation in the market. It then takes into consideration the pricing and staying power. Thirdly, great brands will own the issue and ‘dimensionalise’ their idea. And finally, great brands energies people, galvanise action and become icons in categories they operate in.”
Bali gave an interesting example of how Starbucks in America took the decline of home coffee consumption as an opportunity and entered the market then. Starbucks not only strategised on smart pricing but was the first in generating a new whole new experience of coffee consumption at a third place which was in between home and work.
Bali also compared the old incumbent and the new insurgent way of branding and marketing. “The insurgent way looks at an opportunity very differently and creates new business models as compared to the incumbent model. Incumbents miss opportunities that insurgents see; insurgents play to win, change the rules and represent choice and change; insurgents set an example of bold initiative, target the opportunity – they take control of the dialogue and end up creating a basis for action.”
Bali also emphaised that great brands don’t need celebrities for endorsements because the fact ultimately remains that consumers buy the brands irrespective of any other influences. Celebrities should come into advertising process of a brand only if they add value to it. Bali interestingly pointed that brands such as Café Coffee Day and Barista have never indulged in television commercials, yet are ahead in the race of rapid expansion and popularity.
According to Bali, marketing is changing from being sporadic, functional and episodic to becoming a disciplined process that is recurring, integrated, continuous and enduring. Bali said that the view of marketing to build brand equity is the old way because equity serves no purpose unless it can be converted into sale. “Marketing is about how you manage the marketplace, how you go to market and how smartly you craft a business model that supports the brand and the business,” concluded Bali.
Bali was speaking at the 12th CII Marketing Summit held on August 27 at Mumbai.