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Pitch CMO Summit 2016: Brand experience starts much before customers reach the point of sale: Sumeet Narang

10-March-2016
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Pitch CMO Summit 2016: Brand experience starts much before customers reach the point of sale: Sumeet Narang

The exchange4media Group held the annual Pitch CMO Summit recently at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai. The presenting sponsor of the event was Dainik Bhaskar and was powered by Colors. 

The Pitch CMO Summit is organised by Pitch, the marketing magazine of the exchange4media Group. It is a gathering of the best minds in the business of marketing. The agenda of the summit each year revolves around marketing in the present context and discussions focus on how best to market to the Indian consumer in this dynamic environment.

The event saw some of the top minds in the industry discussing different facets of advertising and marketing in today’s changing world. The Pitch CMO Summit also felicitated some of the top CMOs in the industry on the basis of their contribution over the course of last year.

Speaking on the topic—‘Brand experience beyond point of sale’, Sumeet Narang, VP Marketing, Bajaj Auto Ltd. explained how the retail and the service industry has mastered the art of brand experience at the point of sale while others sectors are grappling with this challenge.

Citing example of the auto sector in particular, Narang elaborated how brand experience starts much before customers reach the point of sale or the point of consumption. “In today’s scenario brand experience gets influenced much before consumers make a choice of what they are going to buy and it is posing a big challenge for marketers. I would say brand experience management is customer conversation stimulation and if we stimulate those conversations in the right manner we will perhaps build a better brand experience. There are many categories in which customers form an opinion about a product before experiencing it and I believe that is the complexity of the brand experience in today’s scenario. In fact there are many conversations already taking place that impact the brand experience and in such a case it becomes important for marketers to stimulate such conversations in order to manage brand experiences in a favourable way.”

Describing the new-age concept of brand experience as a result of four key factors, Narang highlighted how the combined influence of these factors can work in the marketers favour.  The factors are:

Stimulating anticipation

It is crucial to generate anticipation of the product before it is launched in the market. Terming it the ‘Harry Potter style of marketing’, Narang cited the example of Pulsar RS 200 campaign which used this marketing tactic effectively.

“To create anticipation for the product before you launch it is one area where different product categories can take a leaf out of the formula. Our ‘Pulsar RS 200 campaign’ is one such example that managed to create high anticipation levels before its launch. You have to romance your product, create chatter around it, and when you are excited about the product, the customer too will be excited about it,” he stated.

Product stimulation

Speaking about his experience of working in the FMCG, Telecom and Automobile sectors, Narang underlined the importance of ‘Product stimulation’ as a crucial aspect of brand experience. He stated, “It is important for others to endorse your product as this helps in building credibility and anticipation. Building evidence of performance using people outside the brand, like experts and celebrities, is a crucial aspect of generating product stimulation.”

Community stimulation

Narang also spoke about the need for delegating marketing to the brand evangelists to create the right influence. He cited the example of the ‘Gang Slang’ video which Bajaj has created exclusively for its biker community and reflects the attitude of the brand in order to drive conversations around the brand.

“We have to create content for the community of our users so they can share the conversations around the brand as they are the right influencers,” cited Narang.

Stimulative experience

“Entertaining your customers and becoming part of their lingo is critical for brands to take the brand experience beyond the point of sale,” added Narang. He spoke about the Pulsar ‘Burn Out Message’ campaign, that uses the elements of the contemporary lingo to bring the brand and the customers closer in an attempt to broaden the circle of brand influence.

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