Showing posts with label Brands. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brands. Show all posts

Friday, January 9, 2015

Digital Media Influence on Indian Consumer Buying Behavior

India has over one billion people with 120 dialects & languages. Three-fourths of the population lives in rural areas, contributing one-third of the national income. India ranks third, in terms of internet penetration in the world, while social media growth is by 37.4 percent. The e-commerce market is expected to grow from $11 billion in FY14 to $20 billion FY15. India is one of the most lucrative markets even though the per capita income is low, but has huge market for costly products. A recent development in India’s consumerism is the emergence of the rural market for several basic consumer goods.

Characteristics Of Indian CB 
“Indian consumers are noted for the high degree of value orientation; due to this Indians are labeled as one of the most discerning consumers in the world.” 
Even, luxury brands have to design a unique pricing strategy in order to get a foothold in the Indian market.

“Indian consumers have a high degree of family orientation.” 
Brands with identities that support family values tend to be popular and accepted easily

“Indian consumers are also associated with values of nurturing, care and affection.” 
Product which communicate above feelings and emotions gel with the Indian consumers.

Influence of Internet / Social Media / Ecommerce 
With the advent of eCommerce portals like Flip-kart, Amazon, Snap-deal, etc the buying behavior of Indian consumers has increased, as they meet shopping requirements of Indian consumers. 
Some of the facilities offered, which lead to growth of eCommerce in India are:
  • EMI options
  • Cash on Delivery
  • Huge discounts to buy online
  • Cheaper than brick – and –mortar stores
  • Increase in usage of internet through smart phones
  • Social reviews
But the major game changer being able to reach to rural India, since they already have disposable income, but no stores (Brick – N – Mortar) selling luxury branded products. With ecommerce and smart phones with internet, they are now able to order brands which they wish to wear, without traveling to city to buy those brands.

Different Segments of Indian Consumers

Socialites Consumer 
Socialites belong to the upper class. They prefer to shop in specialty stores, go to clubs on weekends, and spend a good amount on luxury goods. They are also brand and fashion conscious and would mostly shop at luxury malls, fashion designers boutiques or abroad.

Conservative Class of Consumers 
The Conservatives belong to the middle class; they are true reflection of Indian culture. 
Slow in decision making and seek a lot of information before making any purchase. Most often they look for durability and functionality of the product, but at the same time are also images conscious.

Working Woman 
This segment is the one, which has seen a tremendous growth in the late nineties and has opened the floodgates for the Indian retailers. Working women have disposable incomes and have their own buying decisions for products which appeal to them

Rural Consumer 
The Indian rural market has been growing at 3-4% per annum, adding more than 1 million new consumers every year and now accounts for close to 50% of the volume consumption of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) in India. The market size of the fast moving consumer goods sector is projected to more than double to US$ 23.25 billion by 2010 from the present US$ 11.16 billion.

Over the years, as a result of the increasing literacy in the country, exposure to the west, satellite television, smart phones, Bollywood movies, social media and newspapers there has been significant increase of consumer awareness among rural Indians. This awareness has made the Indian consumers seek more and more reliable sources for purchases such as organized retail chains that have a corporate background and where the accountability is more pronounced

The Indian consumers are price sensitive and prefer to buy value for money products. Here are few influences on the Indian consumer buying behavior, which a marketer should know.

Ecommerce Marketing 
Indian eCommerce industry is set to become a $0.5 trillion business in the next 10 years. With the sudden rise of eCommerce, most brand and cost conscious consumers are turning towards portals for buying or comparing product price with brick – N – Mortar stores. Currently the products Indian consumers are buying through online are smart phones, clothes, books, low value white goods, stationery, electronics, educational material and lately e Learning courses.

Celebrity Influence 
In India, celebrities are regularly used as brand ambassadors in marketing communication by marketers to lend personality to their products, increase trust factor and promote the brand. Celebrity endorsements work to a great extent for all class of consumers in India, as Bollywood and cricket plays a huge role in INDIAN life-cycle.

Quality Oriented Outlets 
Indian consumers looking for quality choose expensive brands as they feel that price is an indicator of quality. Most products in India have long shelf life, even after break down, they get it repaired. Most consumers ensure that products / brands have a service outlet in their nearby area for future break down repairs. If a product / brand don’t have any service centres, it is difficult to sell to INDIAN BUYERS.

Indian consumer’s buying behavior is influenced by freebies, discounts, one – on – free, 40% discount, etc. Freebies are consumer products given free of charge as gifts to purchases of selected products above a certain value. Freebies generally comprise tooth paste, soaps, detergent, cooking oil, cash back, USB, headphones, speakers, mobile covers, etc.

Changing Trends in Indian Consumer Behavior

Bulk Purchasing 
Urbanization is taking place in India at a dramatic pace and is influencing the life style and buying behavior of the consumers. Bulk purchases from hyper stores seems to be the trend these days with purchasing becoming more of a once-a-week affair, rather than frequent visits to the neighborhood store.

Trendy Lifestyles 
The current urban middle and upper class Indian consumer buying behaviour to a large extent has western influence. The Indian consumer has become much more open-minded and experimental in his/her perspective towards western trends. Most international Brands have presence in India and have gained wide consumer acceptance.

Buyers’ Market In The Making 
Post India’s economic liberalization, policies were initiated in 1991 for opening of market, many new product offerings have entered the Indian market and product variety has also increased manifold. Indian consumers have always preferred foreign goods and with liberalization, they have a choice vis-à-vis local products. 
The sellers’ market is slowly moving towards becoming the buyers’ market.

Social Media + Internet Influence 
Social media has played a spoilt sport, now people buy to get LIKE. Often, users check reviews on social media prior to purchase decision, even prefer movie review from friends rather than film critics. With lowest broadband connectivity, most Indians are turning towards smart phones with internet, often checking new offers and products on mobile app.

Consumer Spending Behavior 
Possibly the most challenging concept in the marketing is to understand the buyer behavior. The attitude of Indian consumers has undergone a major transformation over the last few years.  The Indian consumer today wants to lead a life full of luxury and comfort. Wants to live in present and does not believe in savings for the future.  
Consumers now have the power of information at their fingertips, enabling them to compare and shop wide range of goods and services anytime, anywhere. 
Lately, this trend has accelerated, as mobile apps have been playing larger trans-formative role to consumer fingertips.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Corporate Signature Tunes

Most of the telecom companies have their own signature tunes so people identify and connect with the brand and its products. There are some other companies which tend to opt for signature tunes; they are from the music and film industry. Also it has been observed some design and advertising firms/companies have instrumental music for their websites which help to showcase creativity of the firm.

But, what about the rest of the companies, shouldn’t they opt for signature tunes?

Most of the private sector banks, private hospitals play classical music and hotels most often play fusion music on the other hand some offices play whatever music they feel like playing. The corporate sector lacks Signature Tune which will help to identify the brand amongst its stake holders.

Every corporate invests to create a profiling video of their own company, brochures and newsletters to inform about the company, but nobody cares to create signature tune.
The Signature Tune should be played during displaying of the corporate video, played in the background at the workplace, ring tone, waiting tone and caller tone of the phones (mobile/landline), website, TVCs, etc.

This will help to increase the brand awareness and everybody will connect with the brand easily. This has worked for telecom companies and can also work for brands in retail stores where there is consumer walk-in.

Signature Tunes will open a new field of advertising and connecting to the stakeholders.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What a BRAND means for a common person?

For a common person or the people at the bottom of the pyramid a BRAND is an association, an emotion, an attitude and a sense of ownership. A common person associates his emotions with a Brand then relates his story with the Brand, this translates in the sense of ownership of the Brand, ultimately with a sense of ownership comes attitude.

Over the years even the common person has changed, his knowledge has evolved with the information available through TV, Radio, Internet and Newspapers. Also the outside world has changed quite a lot, even this made impacted on his knowledge. The common man is no longer common he might earn $ 50 (approx Rs. 5,000/-) per month but dreams to become a millionaire (Crorepati, thanks to Kaun Banaga Crorepati). The common man dreams to drive a 4 Wheeler (Nano, the Rs. 1 lakh car, new offering from Tata Motors). So dreams are being blown out of proportion by media. Banks are offering EMIs on anything and everything from buying mobile phones to buying houses, from blowing money on weddings to entry in elite clubs and all this drives the common man towards Brands.

The common man's aspirations towards Brands have led to Brand categorisation from super luxury and elite Brand to the most fashionable Brand. Marketers and Brand managers have differentiated Brands for each segment catering to different strata of society.

To take care of the common persons aspiration about Brands, stores like The Loot (Discount store, offering 25% to 80% discounts on international brands like Levis, Pepe, Banana Republic), Big Bazaar (Offering everyday discounts on grocery, utensils, electronics, etc: it provides common people shopping mall experience), Seconds outlet of Bombay Dying towels and bedsheets have been launched, etc. These stores to provide the COMMON PERSON experience on owning a BRAND and a sense of attitude about the BRAND.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

No new innovations by Indian Pharma companies?

Indian Pharma companies have experienced a lot of R & D developments in recent few years. The innovations have placed these Indian Pharma companies amongst the top elite Pharma companies in the international scenario. This industry according to Ficci reports is growing @ 26% which is more faster rate than the retail sector.

The Pharma sectors traditionally have been investing funds in R&D and Clinical Research Trials. But in the recent few years a lot of investment is put aside for International Acquisitions, Research in new molecules and Patents. Though these companies have been competing with international counterparts to reach the top position in terms of net value of the company, innovations at the bottom of the pyramid haven’t seen any light of the day. I mean the no improvement in the training of the MRs, the sales representatives and the Brand Managers. The sales reps still carry the same old visual aids and the research papers to pitch about the company product to the doctors. Actually to think about it, I feel the Medical Representatives are the most neglected lot in the Pharma companies, coz nobody feels they are driving the company’s sales.

By the statement What at the bottom of the pyramid? I mean to say the people who directly impact the growth of the company; the other people are indirectly connected to the growth of the company.

The Marketing & Sales departments haven’t seen any innovations in last 20 yrs. The MRs (Medical Representatives) still visit 10 docs and 5 retailers as per the set target, show them the same brochures and visual aids, the same pitch and lastly the research reports. The only new development that was seen, late in the year 1998 was KOL based PR stories in publications, but can we consider it an innovation?

On an average when a new product is assigned to a Brand/Product manager he is given a budget to market the product which is peanuts. In that budget the marketing manager has to

Conduct product training for all the MRs,
Brochure development providing a brief on the product,
Conduct Research on the product stating how superior the product is from its competitors,
Sponsor CMEs of KOLs which helps in spreading the word of mouth publicity on the product and
Prepare visual aids to be given out to the doctors when the MR visits the doctors.

The Brand Managers decisions are mostly based on RoI, leaving a very little scope for innovation. He has a target to achieve, and advertising is out of question because prescription drugs cannot advertise as per the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical research), so uses the age old techniques to push the product details to the doctors.

Now once this is done, the Sales Managers job is to drive the sales of the products so he sets targets for the MRs to meet doctors. The Sales manager thought process is simple meet doctors and more doctors, meet them often, also meet retailers and more retailers, this will drive the sales of the products. Actually the Sales Manager knows the doctors will listen to the MRs only once and the next time will skip the meetings, but he knows of only one thing that will drive the sales, he doesn’t try to innovate something new which will help his team to achieve the sales target.
Doctors are fed-up of the same old story of the drugs and medicines, watching the same old visual aids, pitches from MRs, etc; this often forces them to skip the meetings with MRs, which are then bound to be quite boring.
But the BIG question is, whether any Pharma companies are doing anything to improve this situation? If the Pharma companies are not able to innovate something new to help in marketing their products, sales of the drugs might be affected in the long run.

What the Pharma companies really need is some great innovation at the ground level where sales of the products are been driven, word of mouth publicity another big avenue yet to be tapped and recommendations of the drugs. The Pharma companies should hire some ad agency to ideate or pitch to NID to think of some innovation which will be the greatest innovation for the MRs.
The story appeared in Financial express was a review of a book named: The Marketing Mavens by Noel Capon: The article talks about Pfizers innovations at the Sales level, this is what the book had to say…
Pfizer rigorously schools its field salespeople to ask questions and feed information back to the firm. Target expects all employees who travel—whether on business or pleasure—to write reports on trends in other parts of the world. This kind of information gathering can give your business an edge. It can pinpoint needs that customers don’t yet recognise—needs that by definition won’t show up in traditional data gathering. You should be striving to meet and exceed customer expectations not only by solving their current problems, but by anticipating future ones, and then proactively devising solutions in existing and emerging market segments.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Innovations in BRANDS

When a child is small his habits, hobbies, needs are a lot similar to other children. He likes to play the same games like gully cricket, hide-n-seek, etc. They love Kellogg's cornflakes, McDonald meals, Pokemon, etc. But as they grow-up their knowledge increases with studies, books, movies and of course television. Knowledge leads to good decision making skills. So they start changing, their needs change, likes change. Now they also understand and decide what they want from life, from career, from social groups, etc. This leads to change in behaviour patterns of grown-up kids, their wants and hobbies takes a big turn. They also have more choices now with the opening of Indian economy and international products & brands available in India right into their nearest store. They are not dumb anymore to blindly follow what they are taught/shown, coz they have their own mindsets.

In the same manner Brands also have life, they are born, they reach the height of their image and slowly they perish, coz the brand managers fail to innovate. Brand managers who are considered the parents of the brands fail to understand this important aspect of the Brand i.e. to Innovate. Each new Brand/product is launched with a lot of budget on advertising, publicity, events, etc. But after some years of break even and profits the brand manager starts neglecting those same same Brands which everybody cherished.
Also since the Brands are targeted to a specific audience, if the audience changes or grows, the Brand managers again start targeting the same age group, so they start from the scratch the campaign for new consumers or customers. Again the same concept of advertising, same target audience and the things over again. If the Brand managers innovate then the target audience will increase, the marketing plans will change with a new challenge for the Brands to survive.

Take the example of Horlicks, earlier the Brand campaign was targeted for children and mothers as whole food for children. Then the team at Horlicks started changing the packaging of the brand with different flavours, so a new target audience I mean more consumers as every consumer has a different taste. Over the years Horlicks kept on changing the taste/packaging/campaign for the changing needs of the consumer. This was part of the Horlicks innovation team, which suited their product to each consumer requirements. Over a period of 15 years Horlicks campaign with many changes also began targeting working women and mother's as they also need energy to work. According to Horlicks the now the women are more career oriented, working mothers, they need energy to work, to meet their ends. Their are very less brands in the market who have changed the way consumers have changed their habits, Brands like Cadbury is one such brand which comes to mind when we think about continuous innovation in BRAND.

It's high time the brand managers think about long term benefits and offer long term customer service, rather than achieving short term targets/goals. Every Brand needs to innovate coz the consumers are changing, they are getting more options, more choices, more information. The consumer is more informed as ever about what is good for him/her, they understand what the meaning of reading the labels, so targeting these consumers a more innovative campaign need to be planned.

But, what I have seen is the Brand managers often goes in for a complete re branding of the brand. For a Brand manager this generates enough hype for its target audience with new hoardings, new advertisements, and press conferences, which is not the right solution.
Celebrities/sex is used, when creativity dies.

Companies need to planned for long term goals, conduct market research, innovate, invest in R & D, etc.

The competition is not with rival companies or products but with TIME and INFORMATION coz both these aspects are changing with the speed of thought.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


What makes people come back to brands?

What impact does brands have on consumers minds?

Why a consumer is loyal to a particular brand?

Why a customer promotes (Word-Of-Mouth) brands?

How negative news impacts a brand?

Every marketing professional has different answers to these questions, but the bottom line is a good brand is good business. But then the main question is what is a BRAND?

A brand is a collection of images and ideas representing an economic producer; more specifically, it refers to the concrete symbols such as a name, logo, slogan, and design scheme.

Brands are a means of differentiating a company’s products and services from those of its competitors.

A brand by definition is a product/service which carries its values, the customers who own/use the product/service cherish and remain loyal to it, and they also prefer to shell extra bucks for the product/service.

Below is a list of brands, that shows the world’s top 10 brands in 2002 (as measured by value):
{Rank Brand Value ($ billions)}

1 Coca-Cola ($69.6) 2 Microsoft ($64.1) 3 IBM ($51.2) 4 GE ($41.3) 5 Intel ($30.9) 6 Nokia ($30.0) 7 Disney ($29.3) 8 McDonalds ($26.4) 9 Marlboro ($24.2) 10 Mercedes ($21.0) Source: Interbrand; JP Morgan Chase, 2002

Every businessman wants his brand to become a leader in the market and the customers should define the category by his brand. Eg. In India hardly anybody will ask you to photocopy the document, everybody uses the word Xerox for photocopying; similarly everybody will refer bottled water as Bisleri. The brand itself defines the segment of products. Creating a new brand in the market clutter is a big task by itself, it involves Advertising, Public Relations, Events, etc. It also needs customer loyalty programs, relationship building programs, consumer educating seminars, etc.

The people who create brands are called brand managers. Brand managers are also considered the parents of the brand and they plan and cultivate the brand in the minds of the stakeholders, consumers and masses. The band managers have to decide activities which will cultivate the values of the brand in the minds of the stakeholders. The band managers have to decide of the course to be taken to create the particular brand like:

· Advertisements

· Public Relations

· Events

· Road shows

· Customer loyalty programs

· Consumer education seminars

· Internal staff communication

· Brand information creation and dissemination to target stakeholders

· In film product/service placements

The above mention is a brief of some of the ideas the brand manager can use to create a impact of the brand.

Brands have longed being attributed to the growth of the business in terms of sales, staff recruitment, consumer loyalty, etc.