India Brand Conclave: Experts discuss how to maintain brand relevance in fast-paced world

A session chaired by Partha Sinha, Vice Chairman & MD, McCann Worldgroup India, highlighted the importance of word-of-mouth & how people are believing each other more than brand messages

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Nov 30, 2019 11:04 AM
Partha Sinha Panel 2

In a time of constant change and heightened customer expectations, the greatest danger facing most brands today is loss of brand relevance. People have become ultra-connected with markets constantly shifting and new trends emerging. Competitors enter and shake things up and customers expect more from the brands. As a result, many businesses are trying to get ahead of the competition, adapt fast enough, and maintain their position in the market.

At the high-powered e4m India Brand Conclave, brand experts unravelled ways in which brands need to evolve to differentiate them from competitors, and at the same time meet the needs of customers.

A panel comprising Rahul Pansare, Head Marketing & PR, JEEP; Jiten Mahendra, Sr VP Marketing, Max Fashion; K Majid Khan, Chief Business Strategist, Vikatan Group; Sapna Arora, CMO, OLX, and Samir Vora, CMO, Dailyhunt, deep-dived into the key to unlocking brand relevance in a fast-paced world. The insightful session was chaired by Partha Sinha, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, McCann Worldgroup India.  

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Sinha posed the panel the question of what happens to brands due to the deluge of information that consumers have at their disposal today.

Echoing this sentiment, Pansare said, “Consumers today have over 24 touchpoints and 50 different channels that they have access to and scan through before they buy a vehicle.” He noted that while the information is helping consumers with their decision-making, it is confusing buyers to a greater extent. “Differentiating and putting metrics to the information is of essence today more than ever,” Pansare added.

Furthermore, Arora said that despite the information burst that consumers go through, there must be a threshold point. “There might be surrogate methods or you might just go and ask a friend,” she pointed out. The panellists noted the importance of word-of-mouth and how the era has led to people believing each other more as compared to brands.

In this world of information overload, brands which have kept themselves relevant are the ones that rule, the panellists contended, giving the example of Apple. 

Meanwhile, Khan said that for brands and publishers, it’s very important to be right than to be first. “Today, everyone is a content publisher. They want to be the first to fetch visibility and that’s where the larger issue is because it leads to the problem of fake news,” he explained.

Vora concurred with Khan’s point about fake news and said, “It’s not about the fastest finger first. It is extremely important to know what's happening in the market before believing and publishing on your platform. There has to be a sense of responsibility because for consumers if there’s no authenticity, there’s no trust,” he opined.

The experts also delved into the point that while there is a case of influencers reaching out to consumers, it’s also for marketers on where to draw the line. To Mahendra, evaluating the influencer strategy, reach and authenticity is critical when it comes to influencer marketing. 

“You cannot mismatch or make the wrong choice when setting your influencer strategy,” he remarked. 

“Brand needs to be powerful. Influencers add only 5-10 per cent more to what your brand is already doing,” added Pansare. Meanwhile, Arora opined that today the opportunities for the brand to speak to the consumer are fewer as compared to the number of options that consumers have to speak about brands. “Brands do feel the fear about negative comments, there is a sense of insecurity. In traditional media, it was never a problem but in the digital media it surely is,” she said.

The panellists thus established that the larger story is about getting back to the basics: maintaining authenticity, transparency, consumer trust and walking the talk by creating interesting brand stories and staying true to that. 

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