By Deepti Karthik
As a marketer one swears by David Aaker’s brand management strategies, however, brand marketing has metamorphosed in the last decade. Traditionally, market shares have had a direct correlation to distribution and CPG companies have been racing to reach every village in India. However, at the dawn of this century, the internet levelled the playing field, and distribution is no longer an advantage; the digital era has heralded an age of abundance in terms of brands, communication, options, and information.
Online consumers today can get the brand they want in any nook and corner, e-commerce companies have taken over the distribution mantle and even a small brand today can boast of PAN-INDIA presence with no brick and mortar obligation or investment requisite.
This GTM strategy has impacted the communication goals and the shape of media spends across brands. And D2C brands are leading the way when it comes to the new age brand marketing.
Brand marketing in digital era
In the offline world, brands would pump money and look at a frequency of a minimum of 3 and up to 8 to ensure the brand will be recalled by the consumers who had an Opportunity To See (OTS). Brand Recall and Spontaneous awareness scores in the digital world have taken a steep turn with an OTS of upto 15 being expected. Brands today must bombard the consumers regularly, frequently, and with varied communication to make an impression.
Brand marketing unlike campaigns is a long-term strategy play for marketers to establish what the brand essence is, what the key differentiators are, and to establish core values. Over decades we have been conditioned to see colours, messaging and consistency as means to establishing a brand in the consumers’ mind space but not anymore. Unlike the strategy of mass producing products for all kinds of consumers, today’s brands are finding niche consumers who vibe with the brand based on the lifestyle — consumers portray and take pride in finding new and upcoming brands that are unconventional, innovative, and environment-conscious.
The new age Brand Marketing thus doesn’t communicate brand philosophy, rather it focuses on Brand Essence packaged in trending content formats using nano influencers as vehicles of transmission.
The era Of content
Brands have realised that audiences that consume their content are 4x more likely to buy products from them. Thus we can deduce that the era of Content-driven Commerce has truly dawned upon us. Content is overflowing in the form of websites, blogs, infographics, whitepapers, podcasts, and more. Personalised content tailored to the consumer type and platform is driving purchase intent and brands are looking at fast-paced bottleneck resolutions – a clear content strategy and in-house content production factory is the new way of life.
Brands today look at experience-based marketing campaigns than product-based, this new content approach has made marketing gimmick-free. As a consumer one has a higher affinity to brands than just seeing it as a problem solution, and with the content-first approach brands have become that accessible friend who embodies the lifestyle and philosophical choices which the customer wants to keep company with.
Content today must inspire, inform and entertain which might be an overwhelming task and at times calls for a new team structure. Content and Commerce can no longer work in silos, the study of the consumer journey, understanding consumer cohorts, and creating content to help consumers through magazines, lookbooks, tutorials, how-to guides will determine customer success. Futuristically, this will give rise to a new breed of growth managers – The Content Commerce Managers – who will usher in the next wave of growth across Brands. Content, Social Media, SEO teams, and CRM teams will have to work together to create and market content – Own, Curated, and Paid – Brands will look to create intellectual properties that hook prospective customers and command loyalty.
Content thus is set to drive consumer advocacy in the new era and brands caught napping will have to truly step up their game. As the consumers swipe up on their devices to start watching the next content, every marketer will have to ask themselves – What are we creating next?
(The author is the vice president, marketing at DaMENSCH. Views expressed are personal.)