Worldwide companies can sometimes go wrong in understanding how brand value is created for the consumer. In other words, companies lack to understand value creation in branding at all. Instead of creating efficiency, effectiveness and experience, the most of companies have their good-for-nothing approaches without any insight that it is important to understand that experience is gaining in importance when it comes to creating value for customers and notion that brand image in the minds of consumers, not on shelves and other spectacle strategies. The very problem is with these companies that these companies have failed to illustrate the difference between what the consumers think that it might be quality and what quality is when it comes to products.
Let’s put this theory into motion and before the reader of this blog goes further it is important to understand that every product is an experience in its way. For example, think of products like a Nespresso, which has taken the art of coffee making into a whole new dimension. Nespresso is a coffee making machine. Which has been ritualized compared to the solutions that were there earlier?
Or you might think of any DIY brands where what they’ve done is that they’ve outsourced the whole production process. You’ve got unmake things to create a whole set of experiences, a whole ritual around making those things of your choice. Now imagine someone came to you, and said, you are doing all wrong, this is kind of cheating that you make people make their things and instead of giving them concession and comfort and for that, you are charging them, you would have probably laughed at vender. But it’s a very successful concept. Therefore, when it comes to products, there are experiences and everything that surrounds them, like, shopping for the products, using them, disposing of them, getting service, all of those are separate experiences which add up to an overall experience. Experience is an occurrence, an event, an episode. Something that happens to someone and that engages all of the person’s senses. Our senses are not just, sight, smell, touch, hearing. It’s also a perception of time. It is maybe how people relate to others, certain thought processes that might have. It’s how all of these add up together and these episodes, they leave impressions on people, sort of indelible impressions on the mind and that’s what really what the brand image is.
If one can think about how to build a brand image, well, it’s that combination of many, many different experiences. It’s not how we thought about brand building in the old days with a mass advertisement, where you had a big bang about your product or service. It’s much more about that collection of many, many different experiences. Many of them might seem rather mundane. Experiences when it comes to building the brand image, are also very, very powerful, and they also are a part of the self-definition. If companies build a brand with which customers identify, those tend to be the more powerful brands.
Let’s explain it with another example, some years ago, there was this movie called The Bucket List, and it was this movie about two patients with terminal cancer. They escaped the cancer ward and they create this bucket list which comes from the notion of you’re going to kick the bucket or die. And on this bucket list were all kinds of experiences. It was visiting the great pyramids, going to Paris, skydiving, all kinds of unusual things that people wanted to do. And that’s the focal point, it’s what we do rather than what we have in terms of possessions. When people look back upon their lives and when people think about what enriched them, it’s more the things they’ve done than the things that they have owned. There’s a lot of research that shows this, and many of you might have a bucket list too, and you might want to take a look at your bucket list. So, if the experience is so important in our lives, then the challenge is, well, how can we surround our brands with these experiences? How can we use experiences as a way to build our brand and maybe to prevent some of the not so good experiences from destroying our brand?
Now marketers tend to know this and some research shows that experiences are increasingly the way brands are trying to differentiate themselves and that other levers like product quality or price are increasingly less effective at differentiating the brand. Similarly, if one can think about, for example, why does the person want to stay with a company, what drives that person loyalty? It turns out that experiences, by far, are the biggest driver of loyalty and this is across different segments, in business-to-business or business-to-consumer. They’re less the reason you might join a new company. They’re still important. But of course, customers would not have experienced the brand before you’ve tried it. Thus, switching is not driven as much by the experience, but certainly leaving a brand. Customers switch brands because of bad experiences and if companies think about, they might want to ask their customers what were the things that delighted them about companies’ brand? What are the things that are memorable and positively stick with them?
What are the things that upset customers that made them switch brands, or consider switching? Companies should think about what kind of aspects those are and also think about who stands behind those aspects. They are very often people who stand behind those experiences. Not just products, but people. This gets into the realm of customer satisfaction and the way companies tend to think about satisfaction because satisfaction is actually when companies offering met their target expectations. Now customer delight or surprise is when companies exceeded those expectations and disappointment comes when they have failed to meet them. If companies think about that simple equation, that satisfaction is the difference between what customer expects and what customer experience, whatever that might be then thinking about the role traditional marketing plays in its communication to what degree does advertising build the experience versus the expectations? An obvious answer, it raises expectations. Companies should switch marketing, or brand-building, from focusing on building expectations, to building the experience because that’s a step change for the marketing function and the organization as a whole.
I am saying it a loud, please do listen carefully, in branding being different is not the same as differentiation.
By differentiation and by brand differentiation, we’re really talking about a difference that matters. That matters to consumers. A difference that’s relevant and it’s a difference that they’re willing to pay for and they are willing to acquire.
When we think about brands and the purpose of brands, often communicated through things like slogans, it’s good practice to actually think about what these slogans or these brand positionings, their brand DNA, their brand essence, whichever term you might give it. What does it actually mean?
It’s important for a variety of reasons. One reason is, that if your own people don’t understand what the brand stands for. It will not affect their behavior, they won’t know how to react.
But the question then is, how will their brand shine through? Will the customers actually know what you stand for? And I thought I’d give you a couple of examples of slogans, which are not exactly the same as the brand purpose, but they can get pretty close.
One of them is from United Parcel Service (UPS). Until 2010 the brand slogan was, ‘what brown can do for you.’ Now that’s a very internally focused slogan and part of their visual identity. That’s basically taking the brown of UPS and making it as part of their brand promise. It’s taking a colour, and that’s what the brand is about, the brand is a colour. And that’s not very powerful. This year they re-branded their slogan to, ‘united problem solvers.’ Now, that might seem a bit of an odd term, it sounds bit of like a labour union but what the brand is trying to signal is that the brand is about solving problems, not just logistical ones, but business problems overall. It’s taking their acronym UPS and given it secondary meaning.
Very much like BP, which used to be known as ‘British Petroleum’ rebranded as ‘Beyond Petroleum’ when they focused on green energy. It’s a shift more towards the customer in terms of solutions for UPS and towards the value to the environment for BP.
Let’s think about this in action for a brand which many of you will know, Pampers. These are diapers or nappies depending on which market you might be in. If we go back to 2001, they were by then the largest single brand for P&G. It was a $3.4 billion for P&G. The problem was, it was shrinking. And it was a drag on the earnings of P&G overall. And it was about to be, well, activists were asking for them to spin it off. Push forward 10 years to 2010 and it became a $10 billion-dollar brand. Entirely through organic growth.
It’s a story told by Jim Stengel in his book ‘Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies.’
And it’s one of the chapters where he talks about the story. It’s a story which was also presented on several occasions by ‘Saatchi and Saatchi’ which was the advertising agency that accompanied Jim and his team on this journey.
What did they do in order to gain more relevance for the brand? They did something very simple. They took a deep dive into the lives of their customers.
They tried to figure out what motivate mothers? Not just to buy diapers, but in general. Especially first-time mothers because that’s when they make their decision about diapers. And they typically then stay brand-loyal. Is it just about price where Huggies had really enjoyed market leadership? As a matter of fact, Huggies had become the number one brand in the US, the home market for Pampers, which was very, very painful.
It’s not just about that. If you think about being a mother or a parent, it’s about babies’ health. Babies’ development. That was the key consumer insight. And the question then was, how do I make these diapers relevant to baby development? The major commonality here was that most of these diapers, for them and their competition, it’s all about dryness.
Now how does dryness help baby development? It turns out, and Pampers did these studies, it helps baby’s sleep. If baby sleeps, they got the little sleeping habit here, if baby sleeps, that’s when the baby develops it’s mind and muscles. And of course, the parents get a bit of extra rest as well. So, P&G turned that into the foundation of their Pampers brand. They went away from dryness to better sleep. And that was a fundamental change. It was a change that did not just affect the slogan, if you will. Before the change Pampers was a very male dominated engineering culture. People in white frocks focusing on dryness and dryness metrics, focusing on product attributes. There were very few women comparatively speaking to other P&G brands working for Pampers, which is a bit surprising.
As part of this change, Jim Stengel and his team changed fundamentally everything about Pampers. The new headquarters became more baby and mother friendly, the colours were pink and apricot and the parking spaces close to the building were reserved for expecting mothers. The key metrics by which to evaluate the quality of the products went from dryness to better sleep. The values of the brand were aligned with the values of a parent.
Literally everything changed, including something that was almost holy to a P&G, which were the two-year rotations that the staff went through going from one brand to the other.
What P&G realized is even though it was a packaged product, they had to build the brand from the inside out. They hired people who had a passion for babies. Even if you’re in finance or if you’re the accountant, if you didn’t have a passion for babies, there are lots of other brands you might qualify for. But not so much Pampers. They also aligned the corporate social responsibility. Working with UNICEF about baby development, keeping babies healthy. That became the fundamental, and core purpose of the brand that also allowed them to move away from just dryness and diapers.
They moved into baby development into wipes, into products where baby had its first soap. Where they could wipe themselves for the first time. Literally, anything that had to do with baby development was now a fair territory for Pampers to compete in. That also built a very different relationship with mothers. Mothers don’t want to talk about dryness with a brand. That’s just a product attribute. Pampers village, which is a new website they developed, they can now have a conversation with mothers. Another core insight was that mothers thought of developmental stages. P&G engaged with mothers before baby was born, when baby was born, when it was a toddler, and so on. They built a true relationship over time with the mothers. Which also fuelled the development of different stages of diapers. Training diapers and so forth.
P&G have changed everything about Pampers, and it was driven by core consumer insight, which became the purpose of the brand that motivated the brand from the inside out, and even a packaged good category, it made it a huge success, so huge that it actually added to Huggies pulling out of European markets. With their lower cost diaper because Pampers had taken over that space.
May 06 2017
A marketing department is not a waste of money! In fact, it is the best way to make a lot money and good marketing department can take a company to a new level. Companies without marketing departments are like “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” Marketing is power; it is the booster and a magical tonic. If not then Coca-Cola, Apple, Nike, Google, BMW are not what they are now – the most recognisable logos in the world.
It is not the only brands’ recognitions, but it is evaluation through the years from a humble sales department to the most modern money making process. It is not the “single kill” department, but it is functions and processes of cross-disciplinary teamwork to achieve better financial benefits and for brands’ equity.
Not having marketing departments mean disorganisations, denial of functional specialisation, zero focus on geography and regionalization, product and brand management, and market-segment management. Moreover, companies will not establish a matrix organisation consisting of both product and market managements.
Marketing is the strongest link to create progression and cooperation R&D, engineering, purchasing, manufacturing, operations, finance, accounting, and credit. It is also a bridge between customers and companies.
Marketing is the great involvement in all elements of any company’s operations to work closely with its suppliers, channel partners, with the understanding that each element or function provides an opportunity to market the product to the ultimate consumer.
Buy and selling is a tip of marketing iceberg. Marketing is deep. Money making is one benefit, but taking brands and companies offering to the new level is the real gain to have the good marketing department.
Without marketing, there is no increase in customer baseline and companies without marketing departments in Pakistan are “living in a fool’s paradise.” Marketing, in general term, is to create and exchange value with customers. Peter F. Drucker in his famous book “In the Practice of Management” while defining the concept “there is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer… [Therefore], any business enterprise has two – and only these two – basic functions: marketing and innovation… Marketing is the distinguishing, the unique function of the business.”
Without marketing companies are directionless because marketing has a major role to play in setting a company’s strategic direction. Companies without marketing departments are lacking management responsibilities. Marketing is the source of providing the foundation of organisation development and strategies to deal with wide variety of situations. Therefore, achieving marketing excellence in the future will require a new set of skills and competencies.
Marketing is not just yet another function; it is also be concerned for the welfare of society as a whole. In this world, the biggest tangible and intangible source of welfare work is being financed by companies through their marketing based incomes. Strategically emotional currency is more precious in today’s corporate world and through company-consumers engagement as more and more companies are turning to corporate social responsibility in order to bolster their reputation, as well as their profits.
Companies can make names among corporate compatriots by practising social responsibility through their legal, ethical, productively link social responsibility to consumer marketing programs. Social marketing is done by a non-profit or government organisation to directly address a social problem or cause.
The marketing department is the solution to recognise and to diagnose marketing problem, assessing where the problem exists, and evaluating results through. Having no marketing department can lead to chaos in monitoring and control of marketing activities. Marketing plan control ensures the company achieves the sales, profits, and other goals in its annual plan. The main tools are sales analysis, market share analysis, marketing expense-to-sales analysis, and financial analysis of the marketing plan. Profitability control measures and controls the profitability of products, territories, customer groups, trade channels, and order sizes. Efficiency control finds ways to increase the efficiency of the sales force, advertising, sales promotion, and distribution. Strategic control periodically reassesses the company’s strategic approach to the marketplace using marketing effectiveness and marketing excellence reviews as well as marketing audits.
So, not having marketing department is a big, big, big mistake!
This is time to change, time to progress and time to exploit digital riches by letting go traditional views of marketing and adopt the new digital realities to benefit from this buzz technology. This is not only time to change, bring change and enjoy the change. The new marketing digital realities are fun, favour and financial forward. This is the magic of the moment and the future’s in the air.
But listening to the wind of change is not so promising in Pakistan. The local companies are not in the mood of listening or accepting the rationale that it is important to focus on how and why the traditional view of marketing has changed and to introduce the various ways of measuring performance in the market for their own profit.
An irony is that companies with the vast operational experiences in Pakistan markets have great difficulty accepting the encompassing role that marketing has on the other functional disciplines within their companies. Their reluctancy has exposed them as a gifted “Seths,” (proprietors) who have never been exposed to proper marketing and its components, they are there because it was “Allah’s will” and a gift of “Sethism” has been bestowed upon them. They have nothing to do with the world of marketing, nothing can excite them nor can they educate themselves about the “world of marketing.” To them “Buss, naam hee kaafi hai!”
In this new marketing world, the new normal is willing to spend for greater digital social coverage to gain more and more customers’ traffic. There is a fundamental disconnect between willingness versus spending to cover higher grounds during the ongoing instance digital era. It is a Herculean task for the marketing strategists to convenience “Seths” that their companies’ digital presence has potential to spectacularly increase their ROI.
Tacking new marketing digital realities is nowadays new imperative for every leader, manager of the field. It is worthwhile playing field, which is also transforming marketing landscape and not adjusting and exploiting the potential is not at all good strategy to compete in a crowded market.
This is important to understand that adopting and practising new digital realities is not about the current quick gain, but it is planning for the future. Companies must look up and must keep looking up, make future from the present strategy and make their past to make their future perfect.
Pakistan is now rapidly improving its digital image and this is the best time for local companies to synergise their potential for better uplift. The recent and ongoing proliferation of mobile devices with faster 4G connectivity and tariff cuts can be greater fuel for larger benefits as the use trend of social media is gearing up to the new levels.
Consumer behaviour and their purchasing decision have been transforming to new dimensions in the country. Consumers are now taking their purchasing decision after surfing on social media for the better reviews and judgments of connected consumers’ experiences. They are getting more conscious to choose brands and always on the look regarding consumer promotions. They keep themselves updated with the product, price, placement and promotions. They want that their purchase would be well researched, informed and exact. They are well alert to word of mouth and conscious admiration for “word of mouse,” too. Their acceptance and rejects are very blunt.
It’s time to realise that “the wind of change blows straight into the face of time” and acceptance and adaptation are the best bet for the companies and their “Seths”!
Marketing Companies in Pakistan is sure to familiar to art of advertising, but understanding science of the field is somewhat not very clear to them. Most of them are sure of advertising as the only tool to build their brand, but not aware of the fact that advertising is one portion in marketing, not the complete marketing.
Advertising is true to be the most visible tool of marketing and on the contrary the greater cost in the marketing process. Advertising is just one more thing on the marketing plate, it is not the whole plate!
What might present challenges to some companies is to understand the ideas surrounding advertising process involved: set advertising objectives, establish a budget, choose the advertising message and creative strategy, decide on the media, and evaluate the effects?
To a large extend companies advertising complexities is the direct results of advertising agencies lack of scientific approach to support and facilitate companies’ most valuable assets, their brands.
It is a widely believed concept that advertising is a magical tonic to build great brands is somewhat is fading fast as modern art of branding is making companies to realize that brands cannot be built by totally relying on advertising.
The connection between the brand and advertising is no more just a creative message to inform, to pursue and to entertain. Advertising complement brands and showoff for brands. Completely relying on advertising to build brand is not strategically-fit stir. Nowadays brands are more than promotion. Catchy creative messages through ATL and BTL activities to a mass audience is not utterly effective in isolation in today’s brand building, but they can be more advantageous if utilise with new and practised brand building paradigms.
What lack in Pakistani advertising agencies are talent, technology and tolerance. No fitting talent is charmed, no understanding of agency related methodically technology like creative tools, ideas tools or brand tools and lastly no tolerance to acceptance.
As I have mentioned in my book, Branding Matters! 2016, Chapter 5, – Brand Building before Advertising – “Today, brand building is not only about advertising and selling to beat the competition, but brand building strategy necessitates a necessary knowledge of the internal culture of the companies, financial systems, business operations, Human Resources policies and Consumer Relationship Management, which the ablest advertising agency cannot even capable of dealing such requirements. Above all, the most resourceful advertising agency in the modern scenario often even has difficulty or is ignorant to comprehend how their clients make money.”
In my country the greater source of companies’’ inspiration that advertising build brand comes from their observation when they see big brands, spending money on their integration marketing communications (IMC). They are not aware of the fact or have experience that advertisers can maintain the brand through their professional art, but cannot build a brand on it exclusively.