Tanishq ad incident – a potential problem for the entire industry

Guest Column: Ronita Mitra, Founder, Brand Eagle Consulting, writes why large, reputed, influential organisations need to come together to develop a combined strategy to address such situations

e4m by Ronita Mitra
Published: Oct 19, 2020 9:15 AM  | 4 min read
ronita Mitra

A particular incident during the last week involving a  large, respected brand  has left a lot of  people in the marketing industry with a deep sense of consternation.

Yes, I am referring to the recent Tanishq ad, telling a beautiful human story rooted in inclusiveness and love. The role of the mixed faith marriage was only a backdrop to communicate a larger message of harmony, inclusiveness, acceptance and love. In fact, not for a moment did the setting of the mixed faith marriage appear as exceptional, leave alone jarring, since a mixed faith marriage is not an uncommon occurrence in a country such as ours, a constitutionally secular nation where it is also common practice for people from different religions to come together to celebrate each other’s traditions.

Tanishq is among the more progressive brands and has created communication in the past that resonated with consumers because of unconventional stories which seek to celebrate  and liberate sections of society who are shackled by the conventional mores irrationally hardcoded by society.

The attacks by a section of society on such a loved brand and a genuine story is therefore not only unfortunate but difficult to comprehend. It is even more unfortunate that a large reputed organization, that too one belonging to the Tata Group, had to cave in to attacks on its brand and pull out the ad.

However, the action taken by Titan is understandable as no organization would want to take  any risk after an attack on a store and its employee. After all, the safety and lives of  employees and office property are of paramount importance to any organization.

The larger implication that such an incident has is that by pouring vitriol and resorting to violence, any section of society can today hold an organisation to ransom.

At a tactical level, marketers will need to start thinking differently about how to design the entire process of developing a communication and reaching its consumers with it. An entire aura and surround effect will need to be created around the brand purpose and
positioning and communication through various media and touchpoints on a consistent, day--to-day basis. Consumers will need to be engaged with, through conversations across touchpoints, regularly.

Marketers need to have an unrelenting focus on customer centricity and deliver a superior customer experience to its customers.
All this will help create a groundswell of support from its consumers who will be willing to display their brand loyalty through conversations and purchases, even when brands are faced with difficult situations.

Media is an important influencer in shaping consumers' mindset. Marketers and agencies need to play the role of responsible corporate citizens while finalizing media plans and focus on the content environment as much as the TRPs and CPMs. If marketers stop investing their advertising monies on programmess that have regressive content (regardless of the  numbers), content creators will have to modify their content, eventually changing the
cultural fabric and consumer mindset towards a more positive and progressive one.

However, all this can only have a limited impact.

Developing a meaningful solution to another potential attack on any organization is beyond the scope of a single marketing team or organisation.

A Tanishq like attack is a potential problem that other organizations cannot consider themselves to be insulated from. Large, reputed, influential organisations will therefore need to come together to develop a combined strategy to address this issue. And marketers will need to play an active role in escalating the issue along with the need for a compelling joint strategy by boardrooms and CEOs.

Industry bodies will need to be critical partners in this process of strategy development.

It is imperative that organisations come together on a collective platform to find a roadmap to create a healthy, safe way of conducting business and building brands.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com.

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