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Asia Brand Congress 2008: ‘Understanding markets is understanding consumers’

29-September-2008
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Asia Brand Congress 2008: ‘Understanding markets is understanding consumers’

Day two of the Asia Brand Congress 2008, held in Mumbai on September 25-26, saw panellists discuss on ways to engage the consumers of a brand through various mediums. The two-day event was presented by Times Now, while exchange4media.com was the online media partner and Pitch and Impact were the trade media partners.

Speakers in this session included Patrick Collings, Founder Partner, Sagacite Brand Agency; Dae Ryun Chang, Executive Director, Brand and Business Marketing Centre, Yonsie University; and Jiggy George, Executive Director, Cartoon Network Enterprises India. Chandrashekhar Pitre, Head of Marketing, DHL Express India Pvt Ltd, was the Session Chairman.

Speaking on branding products through the digital medium, Patrick Collings gave a brief overview of the rise of virtual environments for brand marketing. He said, “Knowing the importance of virtual environments for brand marketing is a must. The avatar is the consumer’s digital persona in environments where traditional practices of brand marketing are struggling. If studied well, brand marketers can capture the audiences’ attention through the virtual world.”

He further said that a brand should immerse itself in the existing virtual environment and should not try to dominate as dominance in virtual environments would only bring failure to the brand. “Immersing oneself is the right way to go about it,” he advised.

Giving a brief understanding on the Asian markets, Dae Ryun Chang said, “Asia is becoming the centre of the world. Not just because of its varied culture, but mainly in terms of finance and marketing.” He also spoke about how Asian markets should target other countries, some key pointers being looking out for local competition and understanding the marketing needs of various countries to build one’s brand.

Speaking about the herd mentality, where brands and products were most often not individual choices, Chang said, “Individuals do not buy out of their choice, but out of group tendencies. Even if one does not want to buy a particular product, one does because of social acceptance. Thus, we need to understand groups and the mentality of different groups in the societies of various countries.”

Throwing light on the kids market, mainly in the broadcasting sector, Jiggy George cited the example of Cartoon Network. He said that kids were the future of a country and understanding them right from the beginning would give a greater insight into their lifestyle habits. “What works with kids is humour, music and filmstars. Using these techniques is the only way one can target kids while marketing a brand,” said noted.

According to him, the choice of media was very important in case of children simply because they might not be receptive to every kind of medium. He further said, “Kids today are the ones who encourage parents to buy certain brands, either because they know of someone who uses that particular brand or because they simply find it fascinating. So, it is not always necessary to target only the audiences who will consume the products.”

Chandrashekhar Pitre talked about acquiring and maintaining customers. “The customer and sales relationship is pretty much like a man-woman relationship,” he observed. On how a brand could maintain a relationship with its customer, Pitre said, “Having an overall view of the customer is very important, this helps in personalising the relationship, which makes the customer feel important. The most important point in maintaining a customer is feedback – whether good or bad. With feedback from the customer one knows exactly where the problem lies and can rectify it to ensure that it won’t happen to the same customer again or any other customer.”

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