New-age brands are inclined towards performance

Authored by Amit Koserwal, Chief Creative & Strategy Officer, Orcomm

Hare Hare Everywhere!

You must have heard about the Hare - Tortoise tale in school on how they compete against each other. Do you remember the result? Despite Hare being the faster one among the two, the tortoise claimed victory at the end as the first one decided to relax right before the finishing line.

I have been an agency professional throughout my life and when I recall that story, I draw its parallel with the new gen brands as Hare and traditional players as tortoise. 

Interestingly, the new-gen ones (brands) are not even acknowledging the existence of the tortoises. They are racing against time. They want to win the race, right now. That is their mantra. For them, the finishing line of one race is the starting line for the next. For them the fast and omnipresent always win the race. And do too. But what is it costing them?

I am talking about almost every product, service and platform that has surfaced in the last decade or so. They have become great platforms, products and services. Spending hundreds of millions in advertising, content marketing, influencer marketing, data driven campaigns and what not. They enjoy good sales, have millions of downloads, thousands of DAUs and MAUs, millions of investment and even valuation of billions. But do they have the customer's undivided attention? Do they enjoy customer loyalty? Do people know them (like KNOW them)? Are they brands?

You can argue that a customer in today’s day and age has an extremely low attention span but if you walk to any individual, he remembers more traditional players than the new gen ones. For every Uber, Ola, UrbanClap, Swiggy, Zomato, a consumer remembers atleast two-three traditional players from auto, food, FMCG, FMCD, handset, telecom, electronics, grooming and others. Take the test, think of 10 brands and you will be able to analyse it.

Undoubtedly, the new-gen brands are problem solvers and convenience providers and have gained a massive momentum but they are creating functional recall value that is dependent on the discounts they offer or marketing spends they make.

But does the audience remember them like a Parle G - Desh ka Biscuit, or Coca Cola - Nothing Official About it, Hamara Bajaj, Maruti - Kitna Deti Hai and many such others.

Unfortunately, NO.

Most of them, despite all their fancy top lines and bottom-lines and advertising lines, are just that, a product, service or platform. A means to an end. An option which can be swapped for the next best thing. Not something the customer relates to on an emotional level. Not something the customer wants to talk about until incentivised.

For instance, a customer relates to Maggi or a Skoda or a ParleG, Tea in a very emotional way, vs to a classified, app based car rental, home cleaning or e-scooter service. Why? Because they are a service at the end of a day and yet to become brands in real sense.

Trivial right! Not actually. If you look closely, you’ll find that everyone wants to ride this new consumerism wave. A share of the customer’s frenzied buying urge and newfound purchasing power. Armed with data and not empathy, they are chasing numbers and probably getting them too. Their motto “build business first we will have a lifetime to build the brand.” And that’s where the age old fable comes to bite them in the …

Are they able to create ‘THE ICONIC’ campaigns that live longer than time or generations.

Brand building is the tortoise way. Slow and steady. Nurturing a value driven and not transactional relationship with the customer. Earning her trust before her money. Like the race, it starts right at the beginning, not just to win the race but to win hearts by staying true to the purpose, promise and spirit.

It is not like chasing numbers. It will never bear fruits as fast as your last lead campaign. It will not increase your numbers exponentially in a quarter or a year. But it will make your customer your friend, well-wisher and spokesperson. It will help you become ‘THE’ option. It will help you sail through the tough times with your customer by your side and not in the competition’s boat.

One question someone asked me, does this tortoise methodology work in the fast changing world? Yes, it does because the funding dries at a certain point of time, then there is an emotional attachment to the brand. People pay a premium to visit their favorite fine dining experiences or buy a luxury car without bothering for discounts but look for discounts at every e-commerce player. They are paying for products at both ends but one is attached emotionally and the other is functional.

The Hares of modern times want to create the next Tata Sons but they are answerable to the investors and need to show quick growth.

So, Hare of the world, here’s the immortal truth. No matter how fast you run, in the end the tortoise will still win because it will have relationships that carry it to the finishing line and beyond.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it. 


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