Archive for July, 2009

Strong content needed for word of mouth marketing

Few days back a buzz went around in my area where I stay, almost everyone in my area knew about that news.

That’s when I came to know that word of mouth is a very powerful tool for marketing. Before I share my view on this topic I just want to share my thoughts about this incident. The news which I am going to share with you is a perfect example for word of mouth marketing but the example is not right to take into this context. You guys will come to know after reading the entire incident.

As I said few days back a buzz went around in my area, the incident happened in a nearby gymkhana where I stay. A person use to visit that gymkhana almost every day for playing cards. One fine day he left his house for gymkhana & while playing cards he suddenly collapsed. Everyone present over there were shocked but after examine by a doctor people came to know that he had a cardiac attack & unfortunately he died.

This news was shared with few people but the incident was so different & unusual than a regular life that encouraged people to talk about it.

I will tell you how it must have happened. They must have shared this incident with their wife’s coz majority of the people present over there were adults or they must have chatted with their friends while travelling & then their friends must have shared with their friends & wife’s & it goes on & on & on. This is how buzz spreads right?

The point I am trying to prove over here is word of mouth is very powerful & the oldest tool in marketing but if a marketer wants to use it to market a brand or a product then it should have some talking value to it.

I will conclude by saying, in word of mouth marketing three things are very very important & i.e.

Content Content Content

Perception is greater than reality

I work for a marketing consultancy & we come across different brands, recently I was working for an apparel brand. For that brand we had to look at the competition scenario.

We study different brands in the market & we look at different things like:

  • What they communicate?
  • Which sub-brands they have?
  • What are their future plans?
  • Which positioning they have taken? and many other things.

In that I came across brands which are Indian but perceived to be International brand.

First let’s look at these brands:

  1. John Miller – Future Group
  2. J.Hampstead – Siyaram’s
  3. Reid & Taylor – S.Kumar
  4. Allen Solly – Aditya Birla Group
  5. Louis Philippe – Madura Garments

Can you beat it these all & many such brands are perceived to be International but are Indian.

Strange but it’s true, they know how to sell & market their brand.

Retail is all about proximity if these brands come in consumers way & if they have seen their ads which has international name, international look & feel, international quality than I will at least try it. That’s it marketers job is done.

If a consumer buys it or not that completely depends on the material of the product or design of the product. But as a marketer the job is done that he has put the brand in the consumers consideration set. After some time consumers start believing that it is an International brand like I use to feel for Louis Philippe.

Power of strong positioning…!

What if you have to launch a toothpaste brand in a cluttered environment?

What you do when market is cluttered with different brands.

Brands like Colgate, Colgate Fresh energy gel, Close-Up, Pepsodent, Babool & Ajanta are already present with strong market share.

In early 1996, there was a company who wanted to launch its brand in this environment. When I heard the strategy I felt it was simply amazing.

They differentiated themselves with only one line which says 100% Vegetarian toothpaste, the brand is called Anchor.

When it launched multinational companies like Colgate-Palmolive and HUL dismissed Anchor as low cost & inferior quality product.

But you know what in 2002, it killed these type of statements, Anchor was No3 toothpaste brand.

In 2006 Anchor displaced Pepsodent from the number 2 spot in Rajasthan & Gujarat. The funda over here is Rajasthan & Gujarat are states which have large number of vegetarian population and they were very responsive to Anchor.

The success of Anchor signifies that ethics is a cutting edge tool. Brand Anchor has precisely done that and has discovered that the brand has to be in resonance to the ethical frame of reference in the society where it operates.

Anchor also ran promotional schemes around vegetarian positioning of the brand.

What I think, Anchor saw an opportunity in Vegetarian toothpaste market and took a positioning called 100% Vegetarian toothpaste. By coming out with different variants & innovative promotional schemes they narrowed their focus and stood for one thing.

Anchor Brand has created a space in the mind of consumers and it stands for that & nothing else.

Anchor = 100% vegetarian toothpaste is set in the mind of consumers for years to come.

Now this is power of positioning….

“Cloud 9” amazing song but what about the drink?

What you think about the brand called Cloud 9 ?

When I saw this brand’s communication, first thing that strike me was Indian brand competing international brand Red Bull.

Cloud 9 stands for stamina, concentration & alertness three things does it make any sense?

On the other hand Red Bull was first to create a category called energy drink and it stands for that and nothing else.

Taking one position for a brand & that’s exactly what Red Bull did. Here is a Indian drink which promises itself for 3 things.

Indian market is full of competition with many energy drinks like Rhino, Bullet, Shock, Power Horse etc.

What Cloud 9 should have done in this scenario is to take any one attribute for e.g. Cloud 9 increases concentration and should have focused on that particular thing.

In this 500cr energy drink market, Red Bull is undoubtedly a leader and what Cloud 9 thought that if they price their brand higher then the leader they can target premium segment but I am sorry that’s not how brands functions.

Cloud 9 wants to target premium segment which is absolutely fine but with R.P.Singh is that possible.

Why R.P.Singh as their brand ambassador? I don’t have any problems with R.P.Singh but to target premium class is Singh the right option. Does Singh appeals to the elite class? I have my doubts with that.

One more thing what made me laugh was their latest promotion they came up with an offer called Buy one get one free. Howzz that!

If Cloud 9 was for Rs 90 now you will get 2 in that price. That means Cloud 9 wants everybody to try the product.

On other hand Red Bull also has an offer which gives 4 Red Bull in Rs180 but I think so having presence in India for more then a decade & having a leadership position they can take this step but Cloud 9 should do this at this stage?

I am scared, next is what with Cloud 9?

Will the brand ever make it big? May be may be not

Will they ever beat any of their competitors? I have my doubts with that though.

I seriously feel Cloud 9 should come out of the sky to earth and study Indian Consumers before taking any step.

Ashish Shakya

Writer. Stand-up comic. General idiot for hire.

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