Sunday, April 24, 2016

The power of authenticity

Philip Kotler in his eponymous book on marketing (Marketing Management: Millennium Edition), page no. 404, says "branding is the art and cornerstone of marketing".  The soul of branding, remains AUTHENTICITY.  The brand promise has to be honest.  The deliverables of brand marketing should be genuine and perceivable.  If BotroClot or Clotase TS are haemocoagulase pharmaceutical preparations that provide superior wound healing and avoid subcutaneous haematoma during surgical wound closure, then this brand promise should be honest.  The targeted doctor should experience this brand benefit in his or her surgical practice.  Marketing is thus a value delivery system that generates customer satisfaction and revenues.  Marketing approaches that offer brands create brand assets for a company.

In the Bangalore consumer market, today, there are three stand-out brands, with their own interesting stories.  These three authentic brands connect with their target audiences and if you are a target audience, these brand marketers make you want to connect to the brand.  In the tough contemporary world of scarce attention economy, with a plethora of brands vying for a prospect's mind share, these three stand-out brands are super successful through their differentiation, pertinence with target audience, and the enduring value they offer.

These three brands now powerful in Karnataka and Bangalore markets; come across as honest, hardworking and appear to strive to relate with their consumers:

a) Vijayavani - a Kannada language daily newspaper.  Through superiority of content and presentation style, Vijayavani has brought back readers to Kannada language newspaper sector.  This morninger has evidently expanded the Kannada language morning newspaper market rather than just take market share from competitors (which is also one of its marketing triumphs).

Vijayavani stands out through its relevancy of content to prospective and current reader population.  Vijayavani being an aggressive start-up newspaper in ethnic language space, is energetically innovative without diluting its cultural values.  This unique innovation paradigm, based on cultural values of Kannada readers, has good vibes with Kannada readers.

The brand challenges of Vijayavani will of course be to remain relevant, try and scale up continuously profitably, and adapt to futuristic digital templates with a digital revenue model, since digital is a growing trend in the market space.

b) Paperboat: is a stellar creative beverage brand reflecting the boisterous start-up and innovation scene in Bangalore (which is popular for being an IT hub).  While Biocon is an iconic biotechnology major with first-generation leadership and ownership, based out of Bangalore, it is a wannabe international giant making rapid strides in US and Japan markets.  Biocon is well on its way to becoming a global success, it will be a trump card of Bangalore (Trump pun is intended!).  Republican US Presidential aspirant Donald Trump ought to become friendlier with friendly Indians and Bangaloreans, because the various call centers and Indian generic pharmaceutical majors, innovative Ayurvedic and nutraceutical companies are becoming part of American business and social ecosystem.  It will not be a surprise if Paperboat which has sailed to US and other geographies conquers the palates there; and inadvertently Donald Trump sips Paperboat aam ras (it is Mango season now in April 2016, India!).

Hector Beverages is a great non IT start-up story, they are splashing this hot summer with hot sales!  With a factory based at nearby Mysuru and another at Delhi: Paperboat offers authentic traditional fruit based beverages.  Paperboat is loved by consumers of all generations, the drinks are safe, tasty and healthy, Paperboat has captured the imagination of Indians.  Despite several sourcing problems, you see... Indians are large in numbers and have hefty appetite, Hector Paperboat is trying hard to meet market demand for its pouch based drinks.  The best part is, Paperboat is a guilt-free product.  You can proudly stock Paperboat in your home refridgerator, offer Paperboat to your children and guests.  And be rest assured the highly palatable healthy drinks will be loved by all.

Hector Beverages is also struggling to market Tzinga, an energy beverage brand, however, it fails to find patronage for Tzinga in families.  Tzinga will continue to struggle, as their passionate inventors will not want to stop marketing it; the reason why Tzinga marketing is an uphill task?  Simple, India is a family-oriented market.  No well-meaning conservative mother or parent will either patronize Tzinga or let her children consume it regularly.  Tzinga will probably find pockets of consumption from westernized people and rebel teenagers/some youth.  However, Hector will find it hard to script a mass market story for Tzinga.  Paperboat from Hector, is however, a different story, it's brand promise is genuine and, importantly, strikes a chord with Indian families.

The caveat is, if you want to be a successful marketer of consumer healthcare or other products, which are addressing mass markets, make sure the brand promise is agreeable with families (particularly mothers and grandmothers).

c) Narendra Modi, PM of India: Brand Modi is rocking.  His radio talk program, mann ki baat, is popular and invigorating listeners.  There is promise and hope listening to him on radio.  Brand Modi stands for development, patriotism, solution based activity, being a doer, dynamism, no-nonsense, hard work and aggressive defense of Indian cultural values and strategic interests.  This brand promise strikes a chord with mass voter markets.

Closing remarks:

The beauty of above three brands is, they are start-up first generation brands (including Brand Modi, who has a tea seller legacy).  They have found success through dint of merit and finding a market-gap.

Vijayavani filled the market-gap for a no-nonsense, trustworthy, daily Kannada newspaper based on the cultural values of Kannada language readers.  Vijayavani has created waves through its integrity and commitment to readers to deliver authentic Kannada (unmixed with English) and progressive writings.  High quality articles in Vijayavani reflecting diverse news and views, do not have a parallel even in English newspapers that are regarded as mainstream and elite.  In fact, Vijayavani can take credit to becoming a mainstream media vehicle with aspirational brand value, in Karnataka (including mega innovation city Bangalore).  It looks great, today, to keep Kannada Vijayavani on the tepoy of your drawing room.  

The success of these home grown brands ought not to create complacency in its creators.  India is a vast market.  It is a growing market even for print media products.  Market situations are dynamic, hence, it becomes all the more important to avoid resting on laurels.  It is better to have an evolving time-bound blueprint for future forays of the brands.  Growth in sales and profits through customer satisfaction is a healthy mantra of marketing. 

Pharmaceutical marketers have key learnings in above success stories of consumer space.

From Vijayavani Kannada newspaper, we learn how to triumph by respecting the cultural values of the potential market: in this case the market is - Kannada newspaper readers (potential and actual).  Kannada Vijayavani is a print product based on the cultural values, and the creators have succeeded in presenting the product scientifically/authentically, with superior content and style.

It will not be wrong to infer from above case study that good Ayurvedic products will continue to see traction in Indian market, since Ayurvedic products will match the culture of Indians.  There is a large market-gap in healthcare market, here.  Baba Ramdev's Patanjali range of products is filling into this market-gap.  However, Ayurvedic and other traditional healthcare products will surely require to be authentic and scientific, this is the challenge ahead.

From Paperboat, Hector Beverages, we learn the enormous potential of presenting ethnic recipes in modern convenience formats (easy to use and portable packaging).  Again the traditional authentic scientific trend is evident from the success of Paperboat.

Brand Modi represents devotion to hard work, aspiration to improve and become world-leader, high self-esteem, connecting to people through various media (conversing and seeking feedback) to hone improved developmental good governance programs for a hopeful future.  Brand Modi promises authentically, a good future, and improvements to people, from present status quo.

Pharma marketers can surmise from Brand Modi case study, the importance of having constant two-way communication with potential and actual prescribing doctors, and other stakeholders (chemists, stockists, healthcare providers and purchase agents), to generate value - added profitable marketing programs.

Thanks for reading this analytical account, please scroll down to read all other posts (click on older posts if required), recommend this blog to your acquaintances for healthy reading!  Cheers!!