15 Oct 2015 19:56 IST

In a time-poor world, strong brands are time-saving devices

A good brand factors in authenticity, benefits beyond basics and collaboration with consumers

In a mobile-first world where time is a precious commodity, a strong brand is determined by its ability to save time for its consumers.

Addressing the 14th MMA All-India Management Students’ Convention organised by the Madras Management Association (MMA), with the theme `Winning Strategies of Strong Brands’, here on Thursday, D Shivakumar, Chairman and CEO, Pepsico India, said the world and its citizens are not starved of money or education but time.

Service, the differentiator for alike products

“We try to balance the certainty of yesterday with the adaptability of the future. And in this context brands are time-saving devices thanks to their familiarity,” he said.

Shivakumar said that to build strong brands five things, which he termed `ABCD’, were needed. They are: authenticity, benefits beyond basics, collaboration with consumers and ecosystem, design and experience. “A strong brand will do all these,” he said.

Session on how to brand a commodity and turn it into a premium product

While delivering benefits was sufficient in the past, today’s world expects much more. Companies should build consumer trust as their collaboration is important to sustain a brand. Stating that design will be a major focus for brands in the next 10 years, Shivakumar said product design should be simple and intuitive.

Tactical advertising

Earlier, in his keynote address on Breakthrough Branding Strategies for Brand Success, MG ‘Ambi’ Parameswaran, Advisor, FCB Ulka Advertising, illustrated, with a series of videos of popular ads, how brands achieved their goals with tactical advertising. Amul, for instance, approached his agency to make milk appeal to the young. Ulka’s approach was to do a TVC by animating milk itself into figures playing high-performance sports, calling it the Original Energy Drink. Parameswaran said a company should be able to leverage unique points and magnify them through advertisements.

Personal branding is who you are

Another aspect of brand building is the how brand communication can change consumer behaviour. Parameswaran explained how the advertising for Nivea told women they could ‘Go Sleeveless Anytime’ if they used its whitening deodorant.

Market leaders

T Shivaraman, President, Madras Management Association, said a brand should go beyond the products and companies. Urging management students to focus on building their own individual brand, Shivaraman said: “You need to develop your own personal brand. You should deliver on promises to customers as an individual.”

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KS Ramesh, Director, Suguna Foods Ltd, and Convenor, said a strong brand is determined by its market share and profit share. Brand strength, he said, is built on six principles: concept, superior product performance, high value for money, creating brand experience, and impactful channel presence. “If these six basic elements, which follow a hierarchy, are strong, the market share tends to expand,” he said.

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