CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE – HOW TO DELIVER AN ENRICHING EXPERIENCE

To deliver on an excellent and enriching customer experience an organization has to ensure that every touch point for the consumer has to be delightful experience. It could be as trivial as a call centre script or actually sending him a greeting card on a special occasion all of them are equally important. And most leading brands don’t consider this a priority and hence don’t pay enough attention to this critical aspect of the business that is the new mountain to be conquered. A lot is written about this but seldom brands practice this and those who do like Harley, IKEA, etc have made their brands EPIC.

CX Steve jobs

  1. Reviewing the current CX practices

Understanding the current practices or the performance of the organization in the customer experience (CX) domain is the first step in upgrading the current CX. This exercise will involve challenging the obvious and looking at other evolved categories like airlines, banking, insurance, etc that map their customers and use that information to offer better solutions in a customized way. Every process in the organization will have to be rigorously monitored like call monitoring, constant feedback from customers at all touch points and research on how the current CX can be bettered, CSAT (customer satisfaction survey), etc. All this data combined will throw up insights about how the customer wants the sequence of activities to take place and which are the non-value adding activities that are to be removed from the current CX. For e.g. banks have now started automated IVR services to cut costs but from a customer’s perspective it at times resulting many call-backs which spoils the entire customer experience.



Various malpractices, false promises by marketing, process disobedience and lack of control over customer facing teams is often the cause of lower customer experience. For the sake of selling products services or converting prospect into leads sales/call centre team give false promises and convert the prospect to customer. But eventually over the course these prospects become hostile and start negative reviews over social media which hampers overall brand’s CX. Lack of processes whether it’s the sales pitch process, script adherence or interaction with teams is another big pain area that spoil the customer’s experience. One simple thing like when a customer lodges a complaint he is given a ticket number and is asked to give that the next time he calls but often he has to narrate the entire story of his harrowing experience again and again till the resolution is found. This happens not just with local players but also with global MNC giants as well. Rather than recording the data and using it as an opportunity to delight the customer by resolution companies make the customer go through the experience 10 times before giving an answer forget about the resolution.

Infographic on CX

  1. Analysing Key Customer Journeys

This is the most important step in uplifting the CX for an organization as it will tell you where you need tweaking or revamping in the current CX. This could be data driven or gut driven (informed estimate) or could be as simple as laying down certain processes and asking the team to follow. Ideally it should be a mix of all since each method has its own merits.

To cull out the pain points within an existing CX one could start research that helps gather data on the customer volume in a given journey, reasons for call center complaints, and obvious gaps in performance—for example, discrepancies between promises made in marketing materials and services actually delivered. This will give a laundry list of key issues that now plague the CX and the same 80:20 rule applies here as well where 20% of the nature of complaints will impact 80% volume. This helps narrowing down the focus and next steps are thought upon.




A company should gather customer and employee surveys along with working data across various functions to assess performance and gauge how it is doing on the competition. Best-in-class companies use regression models to understand which journeys have the greatest impact on overall customer satisfaction and business outcomes, and then run simulations to get a picture of the potential impact of various initiatives. This exercise isn’t a small task and may take months to get a true picture of the current CX but the benefits far outlast the effort put in to do the exercise. This allows the CXO level to find various aspects of CX and decide which ones will worked upon on priority in their experience strategy.

customer_experience_lifecycle

  1. Re-modelling the Experience and Alignment

This first step in this phase is to actually show entire customer journey cycle to the respective team along with the pain points as identified earlier. The priority pain points are to be highlighted well with an impact in monetary terms to make the team understand the depth of the issue. Even if a fix appears obvious from the outside, the root causes of poor customer experience always stem from the inside, often from cross-functional disconnects. Only by getting cross-functional teams together to see problems for themselves and design solutions as a group can companies hope to make fixes that stick.

Secondly the most important aspect is to set up a goal or a benchmark which the team needs to meet, this will enable them to draw up plans about how to meet the goal and what help it needs from the management team. This ensures that there is complete alignment to a common goal and work towards the same with full conviction.

  1. Changing the mind-set

Plans made on paper are of no value till they are executed well. And even here re-modelling the CX is of no use till all the teams live and breathe the new model. Getting the changes done is hugely important and at the same time extremely challenging as well since it will mean a shift of mindset from the current ways of working. However, delivering at scale on customer journeys requires two high-level changes that merit mention here: (1) modifying the organization and its processes to deliver excellent journeys, and (2) adjusting metrics/KRA and incentives to support journeys, not just touch points.

And since CX does not fall under any particular teams KRA, it may mean there needs to be a team of people under the leadership of Chief Customer Experience Officer who would look into this, in case of a smaller organization added responsibility is to be given to members of the functions. This team needs to drive change by aligning and pushing the agenda in every aspect of the business keeping the customer in mind.

Once this its done the biggest differentiation for the brand would be the CX which cannot be duplicated by any other brand and will definitely help bring in more business at much reduced costs.

Great CX for a brand then translated into commercially rewarding experience for the brand as well

  • Amazon Q4 14, net sales increased by 15% over Q4 13
  • Apple 39.9% profit per product (3 months to end Dec 14)
  • First Direct Moneywise “Most Trusted” and Which? Best Banking Brand
  • John Lewis profit before tax up 12% in 2014 vs 2013
  • Disney Earnings per share up 27% in year to Dec 2014
  • Air New Zealand Earnings before taxation up 20% in H1 15 vs H1 14
  • Mercedes Revenue increased 12% from 2013 to 2014
  • Starbucks Revenue rise 13% in Q1 FY15
  • BMW 7% increase in vehicle sales in Jan 15 vs Jan 14
  • Boden Shipping 12,500 parcels each day

Customer Experience – The Next Warzone

Quote on Customer expereience

Treat your consumers like royalty and they are yours for life

In today’s era where the brands are at the mercy of the consumer and products have become more and more like a commodity, it become imperative for brands to up the ante. Earlier the brands edge was purely based on product superiority and that era has ended as most brands have figured a way to match competition products. Today these brands want to offer more than products more experiences and touch points for the consumers to engage with the brands. And hence brands that strive for excellence customer experience triumph in today’s world.



Everyone wants to be treated like kings and queens and the ones that do get this treatment are the ones that solidify the brand pyramids for brands. Look at cult brands like Harley Davidson, Apple, Ikea, Zappos, etc. These brands don’t just offer products but offer an experience to their consumers which makes the die-hard fans of the brand.

harley, ikea, wwe, VW

According to the 2015 Forrester Research Customer Experience Index, improving the customer experience management is a strategic priority for 73% of businesses, yet only 1% of companies deliver an excellent customer experience.

marketers-the-dreaded-customer-experience-gap_54de4101492a0

Leaving apart a few brands (not considering local ones) most brands have understood the meaning of having a world-class products and they strive for product excellence. It enables them to confuse the consumer with stronger claims that are further amplified via marketing and more often or not that tilts the buyer preference towards their brands. This makes it extremely difficult for the consumers to decide as again they face a problem of brands being seen as a commodity.

The deal just gets better and better for marketers as first we need to first get a great insight and then make sure the insights is relevant and profitable enough to make into a good product. Then make sure the product is delivered as per the brief and better than competition. Post which the create excitement in the market via a robust communications strategy that is in-line with that the brand stands for. This used to work till sometime back but today most brands as mentioned deliver these things so how can one differentiate your product?

One of the key ways to differentiate the brand/product is the uniform experience across multiple touch points. Normally in a business the phase which is the decision-making cycle where the front-line team are interacting with the customer is considered to the most important  focus area. Here the businesses make sure that they create most satisfaction for the prospect to actually become a customer. These organizations fail to recognize that it’s not just about bagging a deal it’s about how this deal becomes beneficial to all in a larger context especially for service industries.

For e.g. an organization would receive hundreds of calls in a day and their priority would be to ensure all calls are handled with extreme care and understanding of the prospects need so when one does a Customer Satisfaction survey on that aspect the rating are normally high, but post experience rating for most organizations drop significantly due to the experience falling short of expectations.

This tells me that every organization that believes in retaining and excelling at customer experience needs to map the customers journey that will throw a tremendous amount of learning’s for the organization which will make sure that customers at every stage are provided with the best customer experience journeys with the brands. By doing so it help the organization in ensuring 2 things – better retention of customer lower acquisition costs and second they being our brand ambassadors and give of more business via more revenue per customer and referrals.

There are multiple ways of improving the Customer Experience or customer journey with brands, will list down my thoughts in my next blog.

WILL BE CONTINUED….

Fresh is the new healthy….

heinz

Do you think this bottle of ketchup is strange, yes it is since its got no sauce in fact its got only the ingredients that is fresh tomatoes. The need of the hour is that consumers today want everything fresh, unfortunately for certain products fresh isn’t possible as of now. Like a ketchup which is bottled but like the pepper seeds which now are available in a bottle where you twist and freshly cut pepper pieces come out there will be some technology in future where the same pepper concept will be available across food and beverage items.

Imagine a bottle fill in with juicy oranges that can be converted into a juice in an instance instead of a tetra pack filled with preservatives. Now imagine drinking the freshly crushed juice as compared to a canned juice you can feel the difference without even drinking it. Since technology is advancing at such a rapid pace they are discovering ways and means to ensure how can the shelf life of a product be increased but is this what a consumer wants is the question to be asked.



Consumer demand is to give them fresh foods may be as fresh as plucked from the field directly to their house. A similar example of that is pepper in a pepper crusher where at least instead of having pepper in powdered form the consumer feels that at least one of the processes is done by him/her making the pepper slightly fresher.

pepper crusher

I perceive that the consumers believe that fresh is healthy and hence the dire need of having food/juices/drinks fresh and they are willing to pay a hefty premium if this is done. A lot of nutrients are lost in the process of ensuring better shelf life and more importantly freshly derived food items have a higher water content and therefore offer natural hydration that is important for cellular health. In comparison to that preserved things would have more salt and ultimately unhealthy.

This means that current organizations who deal with F&B categories have a huge task at hand to make sure that the consumer demands are met. Am sure that they are currently thinking about how they can make this and pretty certain in the near future we will have a bottle of ketchup full of real tomatoes and not crushed.

The next set of claims these FMCG companies will come out will be 2 days since tomatoes are plucked and the race will be who get the fastest to the consumer.

Marketing in the Future – Push Button

3d-push-button

Today we all are aware of the different channels or mediums through which marketing is done. And one of the biggest challenges that any manager today faces is integration of channels and more importantly simultaneous launch timings of each channel.

But I think in the near future also of these things will ease out and rolling out and a massive marketing campaign will be as simple as pushing a launch button like you see in some of the movies (like launching rockets). Take for e.g. Google they know exactly where a person is going to click next through their tracking mechanism that is embedded in most browsers. So if they were to come out with a product like this where from their knowledge they can predict the next move of every consumer, this will make way for a new way of launching impact campaigns. This will enable corporations to launch campaigns globally with just a click across multiple mediums and countries assuming in a few years time everything will be digital right from hoarding, print, on air TVC, etc. Impact marketing will achieve new heights with this phenomena.



All the creative’s will be online and all the media vehicles & channels will also be digital which will bring in pin point accuracy for decimating information via creatives. We are now experiencing global launches but in a few yrs, one will be able to see global launches in a true sense as all countries will see a launch of a product or service at the same time across the globe.

I know everyone would be thinking that implementation is the easy part but today a lot of time and efforts goes behind implementation. I find the most difficult part is to have a creative thought which is executed well via a Creative. Taking this into consideration I think the role of traditional marketer is bound to reduce due to the influx of digital mediums and penetration of digital medium across the globe. Clearly one would see 2 very important teams in an organization, team 1 which is the brand team (who would work along with the agency to come up with fantastic creatives) and second would be the digital marketing team who would look after execution.

I hope the automation stops at the execution bit else there will be no creativity/dynamism left in marketing and everything becomes boring and predictable. Making creatives is a challenging proposition since its subjective and involves different skill set which currently is dominated by us and should stay that way.

The Apple Story

Apple, formerly known as Apple Computer, is today a multinational corporation that creates consumer electronics, personal computers, computer software and commercial servers & content.  Founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created Apple Computer on April 1, 1976, and incorporated the same in 1977. Back then the company was a manufacturer of personal computers only but they went through a rough patch which coincided with the period when Steve Jobs was ousted from the company.

Today Apple’s market capitalization is higher than Google and in fact from Microsoft as well, which still dominates the operating system platforms for desktops/laptops. Apple dropped the word computer from the company name in 2007 post their launch of IPod and ITunes. 2007 also marked their foray in the smart phone category which as we know revolutionized the entire category.



Apple financial statsThe first iPhone came in giving its consumers new and innovative features, such as a multi-touch interface and a new operating system. And they adopted a unique strategy of introducing new phones every year, where competition like Nokia believed in providing customers with phones that last for a lifetime. The models that followed the first generation are the iPhone 3G (July 2008), the iPhone 3GS (June 2009), the iPhone 4 (June 2010), the iPhone 4S (October 2011), the iPhone 5 (September 2012), the iPhone 5C / 5S (September 2013) and the iPhone 6 (September 2014).

Sales of the iPhone have risen strongly over the years, from around 1.4 million iPhones sold in 2007 to almost 170 million units worldwide in 2014. In total, Apple has sold more than 590 million new iPhones from 2007 to 2014 all around the world. In 2013, Apple has held a market share of 15.3 percent of new smartphone sales worldwide.

When it comes to smartphone upgrades, there are three different types of people. There are those who can’t wait to get their hands on any new model their brand of choice churns out. There are those who upgrade their device whenever their contract is up for renewal and there are those who stick to their device until it no longer works or becomes totally obsolete. Apple has truly taken innovation to a new level and it benchmarks its own products an year on year keep coming up with a better version.  And this strategy has worked wonderfully well for the company as they tapped a the first segment that is constantly wanting to update their gadgets. Although this segment may be a smaller segment as compared to the others but this segment has deeper pockets and hence in terms of revenue Apple scores far above competition.

Apple CEO Tim Cook told Bloomberg Businessweek in an interview last year, “We never had an objective to sell a low-cost phone. Our primary objective is to sell a great phone and provide a great experience, and we figured out a way to do it at a lower cost.” Even his predecessor Jobs believed in generating more profits than capturing share. The company has always come up with products that are distinctly differentiated, making its products unique and attractive to consumers. They focussed on a particular customer segment and maintained a premium price that has created an artificial entry barrier for all its competitors.

Interestingly, was going through a Gallup study which revealed that iPhone users tend to upgrade their phones more frequently than those using Android devices. This chart shows how often smartphone users in the United States upgrade their devices.

apple iphone upgrade cycle

This clearly tells us that if there is well thought out long term strategy that is based foresight and on a excellent product / its experience the outcome will be beautiful. Take examples of companies that didn’t move with time IBM, Canon, etc they had excellent products but they didn’t move on and got stuck and today are paying the price for the same. Apple went on from Personal Computers to now Smart phones and media/content which is how they are at the the top of the pyramid.

Apple product portfolio

Microsoft Spent $7.2 Billion on a Sinking Ship

Some say the best way to grow quickly is via acquisitions. The moment you buy into a ready product or technology that is well established and all one would need to do is better it. But many a times this inorganic way of growing, back fires and the buying company is wondering what is wrong with the newly bought organization?

Nokia that dominated the world handset market in the earlier decades is looking down the doldrums. The former market leader decline started from 2010 and hasn’t been able to recover since then.Nokia downfall

Apple entry into the world smart phone market changed things for Nokia and instead of learning from the competition they continued doing what they did. Key things that led to the downfall of once the market leader:

  1. Relying on Symbian OS and a wrong deal with Windows
  2. Failure to keep up the pace in the smart phone category
  3. Unable to sustain grow shares in high-end smart phones and in the lower end of the market as well
  4. Couldn’t make an impact with an umbrella branding strategy like Iphone, Samsung Galaxy

Although some of the points particularly the 2nd and 4th they did make some headway but it was too late by then. They introduced the Lumia range that catered to the smart phone enthusiast. But then again it had a drawback of apps not being made for their platform as the category sales were going in favour of Android and OS which made life difficult for the Windows phone users. They even started giving Andriod phones but again its too late, it looks as if only desperation get them to act and not being proactive and turning the tables in their favour.



Clearly Nokia was clueless about what is happening and they were playing a laid back catch up race that even I suppose high rank officers at Nokia would have known. So for Nokia they got an easy way out by them selling their brand to Microsoft that now control all assets and trademarks that are registered in Nokia’s name.

Less than 2 yrs after Microsoft completed the acquisition of Nokia’s mobile phone division for $7.2 billion, the company announced a new plan to restructure its phone hardware business. The plan that involves a massive write-down and the layoff of up to 7,800 employees is all but an admission of defeat, as Microsoft still hasn’t managed to gain traction in the smart phone industry.

Going forward, Microsoft plans to capture 2 ends of the spectrum the high-end as well as the low-end market. But i just feel if there is a hole in the ship’s hull one can fix the hole by plugging the gap but if the hull is rotten and holes keep springing up then its time to change the hull. By this I mean come up with a completely new strategy with a new brand name but make full use of the trademarks in a clever way.

I think with new leadership at Microsoft, in Satya Nadella the company is taking bold steps and instead of spreading wings everywhere they can concentrate on developing markets and give them phones that a feature rich and not smart. This is what made the company big and its their biggest strength and not fighting wrong battles.

Coke no label cans in Ramadan

Coke Ramadan

Masterful advertising yet again by Coke. With each campaign Coke bring out something new and unexpected which in today’s competitive world looks seemingly impossible. Its their way of to promoting a world without labels and prejudices. Coke wants to encourage people not to judge each other based on their appearance.

Coca-Cola is removing its logo from its cans of soda in the Middle East to encourage people not to judge one another throughout the Ramadan. One side is blank, other than the brand’s iconic coloring. The other side reads: “Labels are for cans, not for people.” It’s an excellent attempt at abolishing prejudices based on religion and to forget stereotypes.

Coke no label cans

The film starts with introducing a few strangers in a dark room and they are asked to talk on various topics and what is common between them. And when the lights come up and it shows that the diverse group who normally wouldn’t interact with each other ever had a good chat. The group consisted of a guy with facial tattoos, two men in Arab dress, a man in a wheelchair, and another man in smart business dress. This tells us that based on our own mental perception about others determines our behaviour towards them which may not be always right.



And this isn’t the only campaign where the campaign idea is based more on a social cause with a product’s ability to help resolve/elevate or at least bring that issue up and highlight it.. Earlier Coke had also come up a with a campaign Choti Badi Khushi (open happiness) which was based on the fact that  in today’s world, we have become insular and self-focused. The ‘I’ tends to stop caring for the ‘we’. Being kind to a stranger is often considered crazy. When you do something good for others, happiness is inevitably the result.

Coca-Cola-open-happiness1

Over the years the Cola war is dying down and I suppose both giants Coke and Pepsi are focusing on more meaningful campaigns.

pepsi-vs-coke

Co-branded Marketing, is it the in thing?

 The Unilever Yum Brands Tie-up 

kissan and pizza hut

Co-branding as a concept has been around for years, but recently we have witnessed considerable activities in this space. But still relatively this is an unused strategy, that helps  boost revenues and brand equity scores for their respective brands that tie-up.
This recent tie up of behemoths Unilever and Yum Brands via their respective brands Pizza Hut and Kissan is a live example of co-branding and executed well via multiple mediums like TVC, POS, etc in the market.
Co-branding is increasingly becoming important as a marketing strategy, as it allows brands to combine their strengths and loyal customer bases, while sharing advertising and promotional expenses to get a better ROMI. With this kind of strategy one brand gets exposed to the consumers of the other brand and increase their prospective consumer base instantly.  More importantly each brand gets a massive sampling via the other brand which if done via the traditional route would cost millions that mean more cost efficiencies.

nike_apple

Why Pizza Hut and Kissan decide to Co-Brand? To start off, both the brands are popular and one of the strongest brands in the food industry which makes them an even match. It’s a powerful way of introducing one company’s products and services to the loyalists of another.



Co-branding also help a brand to get some brand equity rub off from the other brand to oneself, in the current case both signify quality food and naturalness both the brand compliment each other very well. In some cases, companies co-brand to charge a premium, such as Ford’s (F) two-decade partnership with Eddie Bauer and its more recent creation of the “450 horsepower supercharged Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Super Crew” with an MRP of more than $42,000.

Harley and Ford

Co-branding is an often-overlooked strategy by which the whole can truly be greater than the sum of the parts. While it should be used sparingly and judiciously, it could generate a new level of interest and excitement around your products and services. In this case I truly believe it’s a good fit as in India Pizza is not complete without the tomato ketchup. It’s not just a matter of having the correct brand fit but sometimes it’s also about organization/brand beliefs and goals that may help unite 2 brands.

Maruti Suzuki’s premium segment strategy

Maruti is setting up a chain of retail outlets under the Nexa brand which will cater to only premium products. The first car to be launched through Nexa is the S-Cross and soon will be followed by Kizashi. The move is specifically done to cater to a premium audience who want a much richer buying experience which I suppose in the current outlets is difficult to achieve as the company has always been known for its small/economical cars.

Maruti, Suzuki, SCross, Maruti SCROSS, Suzuki SCross, Premium Maruti
Suzuki S-Cross

The company plans to take off the ‘Maruti’ brand from the new premium models it will be rolling out henceforth, which could also mean the end of Maruti brand in the coming years as already Suzuki has started taking charge of the company in the day to day working.



To start with they have  replaced the ‘M’ logo, which stands for Maruti, on the grill with the ‘S’, which stands for Suzuki. And with this setting up of 100 dealerships this year under the Nexa brand may the death knell for the brand Maruti and may be its dealers if they don’t choose to upgrade to Nexa.

And to offer this premium luxury experience the company is hiring aggressively from the service industries like hotel, tourism, aviation, etc to ensure the differentiated experience is delivered.

In light of the Japanese companies new mantra of aggressive growth the organization is taking up the easy route of expand the base, increase the segments and reap the benefits. Now does that really work for a brand like Maruti is really a question mark.

Maruti has struggled in the past to be as successful in premium cars segment with Ciaz & Kizashi. But rather than learning the lesson and staying away from this category they are introducing a new premium variant S-Cross to test the waters for the 3rd time now. Not a very wise move despite knowing that their brand stands for reliability, economical/value for money and good resale value they have again dared to enter into this segment.

As mentioned in my earlier blog about marketing & branding, the marketing team did a fab job in terms of launching the S-Cross at the IIFA awards where they would have got considerable traction as the hosts and guests mentioned S-Cross more than IIFA. But the issue lies in the branding where is this the right brand strategy to launch a premium car under the Maruti or now Suzuki that is known for its low maintenance and value of money attribute. Does the premium segment like other automobile companies need a different brand name altogether for the new lot of premium cars to survive.

Premium Maruti, Nexa, Suzuki Premium

Classic example of multiple brands to different segments in the market are General Motors with 4 brands or Toyota and Lexus or Fiat and Ferrari or Ford and Lincoln. And most of these brands have been successful with their brands as each brands caters specifically to a segment and more importantly to a specific need of that segment.

For now we shall just have to wait and watch the how the launch of the S-Cross unveils the entry of Suzuki in the premium segment.

 

Marketing and Branding, how are they different?????

BRANDING IS STRATEGIC WHEREAS MARKETING IS TACTICAL

Branding defines who we are while our marketing defines what we do for whom. We create a brand strategy first and then follow it up with how through marketing we shall deploy resources to decimate information w.r.t what we stand for. A true brand strategy will also entail detailed insights about the targeted consumers which will help build the strategy in the first place.

Through branding an organization wants to create a pull for its brands and underlie any marketing effort. It is communication of characteristics, values, and attributes that clarify what this particular brand is and is not. It defines why this particular brand is different from its competition and lets consumers know why they should go for a particular brand. In plain words it says “This is what I am. This is why I exist. If you agree, if you like me, you can buy me, support me, and recommend me to your friends.”



Unilever, P&G, Canon, Ebay, CAT, Levis, Shell, WD, Apple, Harley Davidson
Global Brands

Building a brand isn’t a onetime exercise it’s an ongoing one with multiple variables impacting a brand. Very important among these things is the lived experience of the brand. Did that car deliver on its brand promise of reliability? Did the maker continue to uphold the quality standards that made them what they are? Did the sales guy or the service center mechanic know what they were talking about? All of this together, is a part of the making of a brand.

Brand is bigger than any marketing effort I feel since the brand is what remains after the marketing activity has happened. It’s what sticks in your mind associated with a product, service, or organization—whether or not, at that particular moment, you bought or did not buy. It communicates a promise to your intended audience, and creates a distinct and memorable image in the mind of your customers.

Brand manager, marketing manager, marketing jobs, digital marketing Consumers become loyal to brands and not to their marketing efforts. Marketing activity will drive the consumer to the store or the website but it’s the brand experience which will make him buy or reject the customer. Good brand management will make loyalist, advocates and even evangelists in case of cult brands which will drive the brand equity scores.

Branding Strategy highlights:

  • Branding is a pull strategy
  • Branding is strategic — it involves crafting out the vision, strategy and evolution
  • Branding build loyalty and conviction in a brand pyramid
  • Branding simplifies the existence of a brand
  • Branding differentiates a product, services from those in its category
  • Branding influences purchasing decisions by occupying a place in the mind

Then, there is Marketing….

What is marketing, marketing management, brand management, digital marketingMarketing strategy is basically a road-map to deploy the brand strategy using various media vehicle, it is in lay man’s term actively promoting a brand’s product or service. It’s a way of reaching and engaging people. Effective marketing ensures that one’s brand is always top-of-mind among its consumers and awareness scores in a brand equity model are high.

Everything that includes communicating a brand strategy to a consumer is Marketing. This includes running a TV commercial on channels, full-page or half page print ads, signage’s on streets, leaflet distribution, events, banner sign, business card, social media management, gifting, etc are part of the marketing plan or a strategy. Basically a marketing strategy is something where millions of dollars are spent on and hence for most people marketing is an extremely important function as there are huge investments made apart from CAPEX.

Marketing Strategy Highlights:

  • Marketing is a push strategy
  • Marketing is tactical — traditional, digital and unconventional
  • Marketing develops customers by making them aware
  • Marketing is one-on-one communication, no matter what the form
  • Marketing promotes a brand’s products or services in the market
  • Marketing can trigger a customer’s immediate decision to purchase

The main difference between branding and marketing is that marketing highlights the intended value of a product or service whereas branding reinforces the same. If you have a substandard product to begin with, marketing may help you make the first time sale but repeat sale will become an issue as the product experience during the first time was not convincing.

Branding is “What you are”

Marketing is “What you do”

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