Day two of the Asia Brand Congress 2008 began with a session on ‘Driving customer engagement by delivering your brand promise’. The two-day Congress was held in Mumbai on September 25-26 and was presented by Times Now. exchange4media.com was the online media partner, while Pitch and Impact were the trade media partners.
The panellists included KV Srinivasan, Deputy CEO, Reliance Consumer Finance; Amitava Chattopadhyay, The L’Oreal Chaired Professor of Marketing-Innovation and Creativity, Insead Singapore; Indraneel Ganguli, Head-Strategic Initiatives (Global Marketing and Communications) Satyam Computer Service Ltd; Tapio Hedman, Senior VP-Multimedia Marketing, Nokia; Prasad Narasimhan, Chief Marketing Officer, Virgin Mobile India; and Rajesh Jejurikar, Chief of Operations (Automotive Sector), Mahindra & Mahindra.
Walk the Talk
Speaking on ‘Driving customer engagement by delivering your brand promise’, KV Srinivasan said that every member of the company represented the brand. He was also of the opinion that one would not need advertisements to showcase one’s brand if one walked the talk. He also spoke about how that one defect in a product could send a wrong signal about the brand. He had a solution too.
Srinivasan said, “The ad that we see in the media is only the starting point of what has already happened. Whatever happens next depends solely on the experience the customer of the brand goes through. The way the receptionist of any company greets you, etc, tells you a lot about the brand. If you are the unfortunate customer of that one defect, then he will lose the trust in the brand. In this case, the service manager has the power to tell you that you can replace the brand, this will allow positive response from the customers.”
He further said, “A brand should be so trustworthy and personal for the consumer that he is even willing to pay a high price for the same product he had purchased earlier. What is most important is that the organisation should respect the sentiments of the customer, and if you manage to do just that, you won’t be needing any celebrity as your brand ambassador as the employee of a company itself plays the role of a brand ambassador, and if you simply walk the talk, there won’t be any need for advertisements.”
Emotional connect is the way to a successful brand
Amitava Chattopadhyay spoke of the five things one needed to worry about – articulated brand identity, aligning competitive advertising, business activity to undertake (that is, functional and emotional benefits), proper infrastructure, and communicate internally. He was also of the opinion that one needed to build an emotional connect to the brand without which it would be difficult to build the brand.
Chattopadhyay added, “The only way of building a brand is to look at branding as strategy, brands that connect, engage and inspire consumers. It is the job of the CEO to manage the brand. One should know what his brand stands for. Take for instance LG, it stands for people, trust and innovation, and these are tied together with the tagline – ‘Life’s good’. You need broad values that you can interpret and re-interpret with your brand even after a very long time.”
“Emotional benefits are real, we cannot discount them, and emotions are what buy people. Brands have to make an emotional connect with its consumers, and if they don’t, then the brands will not have the power to connect to the consumers. If you want to build a powerful brand and if it applies to whatever brand you want to build, the four steps will lead you to it,” he added.
Indraneel Ganguli elaborated on brand Satyam – ‘Transforming the future’ and spoke about how the brand Satyam way was the highway to success. He also elaborated on the need to adapt to the changing environment for the benefit of the brand.
He said, “Everyday, we are asked how we can bring in an outstanding change in our business. The recent developments in the global market shows a trend of mixed capitalism emerging and change is another thing coming up that we need to embrace and become ever ready to work in even uncertain environment. We have to embrace transformation with every transformation we have to put a pre and a post to it.”
The Nokia Story
Tapio Hedman shared his ‘Nokia Story, engaging with an audience of a billion’, where he spoke about the mission and the vision of Nokia and about its future plans.
Hedman said, “Nokia currently has a 40 per cent in the global market share, its market share is bigger than the three biggest competitors put together. What enabled Nokia to this position is its mission and vision – its mission of connecting people through human technology and a vision of our connected life and 3G technologies were heroes to play in this category. We became a global brand with a local voice as we spoke to consumers in a way that is relevant to them. We want to continue connecting to people with a target group being everyone.”
Breaking through the marketing clutter
Prasad Narasimhan shared his vision for the Virgin Mobile brand, the latest entrant in the Indian market. He said, “The mobile industry has more than 13 per cent of the advertising spends in India and there was already a clutter in the mobile market. Our choice in this already cluttered market was to play a different game and to find out what is it that others just cannot do, and we found out that they just cannot focus on any one segment. We began to focus completely on the Indian youth, where we can put all our efforts and energies on that one segment. Our aim was to be the favourite mobile service brand of the Indian urban youth and we tried to be just that by focussing on the commonality of the youth.”
Making customers your brand
Speaking about the automobile industry, Rajesh Jejurikar said, “Since cars are the second most valuable product, it is very important that we allow our consumers to buy brands that will project them as their aspirations. Make customers your brand and talk to them directly. Our strategy was to treat every customer as a guest and to create a delighted evangelist, In order to make them our brand, we have projected ourselves as the most customer caring brand in the country and the result is that the number of satisfied people has gone up since last year.”