Thursday, September 26, 2019

Brand Communication to Millennials

On a rare occasion, I switched on the television and while channel surfing I came across a commercial for a car endorsed by a popular Bollywood actor. This actor definitely belonged to the millennial generation and hence it was safe to assume that the brand was targeting the millennial generation among it other target audiences. 

Now the question was what are the millennial generation's media consumption habits? Of course, the writing on the wall is very clear. The millenials consume an array of digital media and the traditional media channels may be non-existent for this cohort. However, brands continue to invest in television advertising to cater to their other target audiences and to be visible on the medium, among various other reasons. 

That brings us to another pertinent question. What is considered a credible message by the millennials? Can we continue to create brand messages the way we did a decade ago with done-to-death themes like emotions, hard-sell and celebrity endorsements? 

It may be a good idea to understand the millennials foremost. 
Let us have a look at the Deloitte's Global Millennial Survey 2019

Millennials and Gen Z are wired differently from the generations that were born during the Old Economy and hence their world views, tastes and opinions are interestingly different. So let's cut straight to the story and understand how brands should communicate to millennials. This generation values experience. Brands are required to amplify these experiences either physically or virtually. Wisdom says immersive experience can result into specific brand outcomes. And hence experience matters for the millennial customer.

The millennials do not really care about how great your product is. What they definitely are concerned about is how the product was created and in the process were any stakeholders at a disadvantage. They do not take cause campaigns seriously for they know that getting a celebrity and creating an appealing visual and using the digital medium will neither save tigers nor reduce pollution. They want brands to walk (back) the talk. Or rather they want brands to look into their value chain and rework on their business models to commit to a cause. This means sourcing of raw materials, vendor pricing, employing children by vendors, usage of scare resources, waste treatment, fair trading and ethical practices, employee practices and finally offering what is considered 'value' by customers.  

Several companies in telecom service, FMCG, electronic consumables, passenger vehicles target millennials. It is essential to relook at what millennials want and address these wants through better products and meaningful communication.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hybridity in Indian Advertising

From colonialism to globalization, there are stories aplenty in India. These stories, some good and some ugly, convey the triumphs and trial of the Indian middle class, the zeal to adapt and lead by the industry, the dawn of the consuming class and several others. One such interesting story is the hybridity in Indian

It is believed that the colonial past divided India into two parts – the colonizer and the colonized. Over time, this difference led the colonized to believe the existence of two dichotomous worlds – home/ world, inside/outside, material/spiritual and so on. This ambivalent relationship between the ‘traditional home’ and the ‘modern world’ continues even today.

Indian advertisers, when faced with the challenge of selling a modern product, have tried to embed the product among Hindu imagery – like use of Gods and practices, draping women in saris and dressed in traditional attire, local values, etc. One of the earliest representations of this dichotomy is the creation of a character, Lalitaji for Surf. The character is described as a shrewd housewife who manages her modern household efficiently without compromising the traditional values. As India embraced globalization, one of the home-bred brands, Bajaj launched the popular ‘Hamara Bajaj’ campaign, which illustrates the hybridity of the Indian culture. Thus Indian advertising illustrates a fine tapestry on which both traditional India and the modern outlook is woven into an interesting design of multicultural contemporary global India.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Snob Brands

Can brands turn snobbish? Yes. Aren't brands a reflection of human personality? So there are possibilities for a brand to become snobbish. When do brands become snobbish? When a brand becomes either the undisputed leader or one of the top players in the market; when it startes to think that there is no brand close to its repute; when it does not face a challenger brand; when it thinks that it can be the leader endlessly and stops to innovate; and most importantly when it stops listening to its customers - both external and internal.

What happens next? Disaster is just around the corner. Haven't we seen top brands falter and fall primarily due to their own fallacies? Hence it pays to acknowledge brand success, and at the same time be focused, watch competitor's growth meter, innovate, motivate employees and remain customer friendly. Like in life, snobishness does not take one ahead.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Over the years, both as a student and a teacher of branding, I have been enamored by the brands that surround me. The day has arrived where the average Indian consumer lives, eats and sleeps brands. I have also noticed how people from various age groups have grown brand conscious and brand specific. Even a three year old knows the difference between unbranded potato wafers and Lays. The young seem to take great pride in displaying brands.
Today brands connote various meanings to its audiences - saviour, partner, aspiration, love success, joy and so on. Such seems the power exuded by brands in our lives.
At the same time, I cannot help remember the Moral Science class at school. My teacher defined God as Omni-potent and Omni-present. hhhhmmm.......did I say brands being all so powerful and ever-present?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Emerald
My experience as a teacher is filled with several life lessons, anecdotes and memorable interactions with students, peers and others. I began teaching in 2000 to the students of an under-grad business management program. During the first year, a certain student seemed to stand apart from the rest of the group. She, lets call her Emerald, was smart, ahead of the class, proactive - everything that a teacher wanted in a student. Later during the course, she regularly absented from the sessions. Since it was a small group, it was easy to track the students and help them to sort out issues if they sought any assistance. So I tried to find reasons behind Emerald's absence. She was supposed to be suffering from chronic headache. the absence continued and finally Emerald quit the course. I learnt later that she had some problems in the family.
I made several attempts to get in touch and convince her to continue her course. All my calls went unanswered. Years later, in a shopping area, I felt a familiar face pass by. It was Emerald. But I never bothered to stop and say hello to a "dear student". As it was not crowded, there was a higher probability of Emerald noticing me. But she didn't. My ego as a teacher convinced me that it was the student's duty to walk up to me and converse.
Then it happened. During the first week of July 2008, the local papers reported that a young woman jumped from her apartment and ended her life. A note by her mentioned that she was frustrated in life as she couldn't find a job. I looked at her picture and yes, it was Emerald.
I wish I had pushed myself to convince her to continue the course. I wish I had taught them how to be strong. I wish I had let go of my ego. I wish.......