Pitch CMO Summit: Consumers value brands that take a stance: Preeti Reddy, Kantar
At the Bangalore edition of Pitch CMO Summit 2019, Reddy, CEO South Asia, Insights Division, Kantar, delivered a session on ‘Fast Tracking Brands in a Polygamous Age’
“Brands are actually magical things. If you do it right, there is an alchemy to it,” said Preeti Reddy, CEO South Asia, Insights Division, Kantar, as she began her session on ‘Fast Tracking Brands in a Polygamous Age.’
Accentuating how technology and digital have fundamentally changed consumer behavior and empowered them in unimaginable ways, Reddy said, “Digital is a social equalizer. Everybody has similar aspirations because they have similar exposure to similar things. And so, social class is actually disappearing, as we have also seen this in the recent election.” Adding further, she said, “Trust has become a very valuable asset. There is a genuine deficit of trust. Large corporations are not trusted any longer by consumers. Consumers trust themselves and their peer group which is why the mobile phone is used to check and recheck. The source of information is no longer the manufacturer.”
Consumers today are buying not just benefits but products. There is great affinity with brands that recognize this. “Consumers value brands that take a stance whether as social activists or breaking taboos. Today's consumer appreciates that and finds great value in it,” said Reddy.
Given this background, Reddy highlighted how consumers today are becoming far less loyal and more experimental when it comes to trying out brands. So how does a brand grow in this polygamist environment? “There is one school of thought which says that penetration is king. But the problem with that is penetration is actually a leaky bucket,” she added. Speaking about recent data, she pointed out that 10% of the brands grew by loyalty, 30% grew by improved penetration but 60% grew by improving both.
Is there a framework that we can use to help guide us in how do we make our brands grow? She emphasized that you have to look at both penetration and loyalty and one size fits all marketing does not work, it depends on the size of your brand and the category. “If in your category, there is less headroom for growth, grow outside your category. A brand that has done this exceedingly well is Cadbury's, which has taken on traditional sweet gifting occasions,” said Reddy. The other way to grow, she said is to redefine your category where she gave an example of jewellery brand Tanishq which reshaped the jewellery buying pattern from neighborhood jeweller to trust in a brand. The brand also premiumized the category and brought in far more modern attitudes to jewellery buying.
Giving more insights on ways to grow a brand, Reddy added, “If your brand is a small brand in a habitual category, then you're looking at driving differentiation and disrupting habits and a good example of this is Bira which just changed the rules of the game in many ways. For a small brand in an infrequent category, you actually have to create that desire. Start small, stay focused and drive differentiation, an example of this is the Saregama Caravan.”
Concluding the session, she said, “Differentiation is essential for growth, it’s like hygiene. But in today’s world, real winners don’t think only about differentiation, they think about disruption. And if you look at all the successes that have happened in the recent past, it has been about disruption. Disruption can happen in any part of the value chain. It can be functional disruption, emotional disruption or disruption in value.”
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