How and why to re-position a brand?

With competition stepping in from every possible door marketing and communications today has become a big challenge. A challenge that is questioning the very existence of even popular established brands. Today the brands have much less space to breathe and very small or no road to walk ahead. Market need is stagnant and supply is ample. Where do the brands go from here on is a big question no one dares to answer.

Well it’s not at all difficult. In fact it’s very simple. Go for the Kill!!! Yes. If there is no space create it. If there is no road build it. If there is competition kill it. Make way.

Kill? What is this word doing here in Branding and Marketing? It surely raises a brow when you think from the perspective of the serious brands that keep doing their work religiously and leave the brand equity to the experience its target group derives from its offerings. Killing is a criminal act and never a part of the dictionary to these established serious brands.

But on the other side it’s time to understand that to progress or even survive in this growing competition it is necessary to kill. To kill you need not poison or stab your competition. You only need to make them feel sick in their knees so that they forget to stand, leave alone leaping forward or winning over you.

Now this is where you need to create an aura, aligned with inner and external beauty that makes you stand miles ahead of the curve and differentiate you from competition in terms of class, style and deliveries. You need to concentrate on being an aspired brand rather than being a similar one in the clutter. This is challenging but certainly better than suffocating.

It’s here that you need to consider repositioning your brand. Repositioning traditionally will mean a new brand name or a new positioning line or a new look and feel for the brand, but repositioning in this new marketing world has a altogether different meaning and objective.

Today repositioning means aligning all concern, be it customers, employees, prospects or stakeholders to see the brand in new light that reflects the brand promise and reality to the larger world. By repositioning the brand reconnects with its current audience, and reaches out to new prospects. All others such as logo and marketing materials work together and provide a unified identity that the customer truly understands.

It is of utmost importance to establish an identity that has human attributes. Human attributes that are prominently present in legends or have made legends by their mere presence. Attributes who have made legends larger than life brands!

These Leaders, Legends or Brands must inculcate six human attributes that shall attract others to them, even though they have no authority over others. These attributes constitute a complete human being, one who typically becomes a role model. When brands want to influence customers as friends without overpowering them, they must possess these six human attributes.

The Brand needs to be physically strong:

A strong physically attractive person influences you better than others. A brand can become physically attractive with a well designed logo and well crafted tag line.  

The Brand needs to be more intellectual:

Intellectual people are more innovative than others. As a brand it is very essential to showcase your intelligence by launching or upgrading products and services that shall be firsts in the industry. 

The Brand needs to be more social:

A social person is more loved and possesses better verbal and non verbal communication skills. As a social brand you should engage in active conversations with the customers, listen to their needs, queries and solve them without time loss.  

 A Brand needs to be emotional:

People who connect emotionally with the society are more powerful influencers. Similarly a brand should connect with customers on an emotional level with inspirational messages.   

A Brand needs to have personality:

A good personality is aware, conscious and willing to learn. He is self-confident & self-motivated.  A good personality brand should raise its standards, accept own flaws and be responsible for its actions. 

A Brand needs to have morals:

A person with positive moral character has the courage to do the right thing and understand the difference between right and wrong. Brands with morals should be value driven and ensure appropriate ethical handlers comprise key part of all business decisions.  

That’s how brands will become Humans. A human-centric brand will be able to kill competition by adopting human qualities to attract customers.


Digital Marketing… Is it heading in the right direction?

Yes, digital marketing is an unbelievable way to reach a huge audience with much lower set up and spends as compared to the conventional marketing used for generations. It is need of the hour for sure and that reflects in every business gearing up to be digital ready.

When we read anything or talk about something digital; we land up discussing statistical figures more or less presented in eye catchy info graphics. These are used as tools to attract businesses to be digital ready by most from digital marketing industry. This works 9 out of 10 times as digital is fairly new and most business or brand owners still consider digital as a difficult and tech savvy form of marketing that can be performed by a selected few.

Where is the challenge?

Blossoming in today’s digital marketing world is a challenge as countless channels and messages compete for users attention, marketers are—more than ever—tasked with finding ways to rise above the noise and garner interest in their products or services.

What are the biggest roadblocks standing in a brands way?

It obviously is selecting the right partners to handle digital marketing. With the advent of this new marketing collateral opportunities have rained in the job market. There are short certificate courses on offer everywhere. New job seekers are cueing up to get certified and consequently a job.

The big question is “Do they qualify as marketing experts to handle your brand in this blossoming fraternity and bring back positive results to you?”

Obviously No! Marketing needs a good strategy, crystal clear objective, market understanding, competition analysis and so many other things. Yes Marketing Ps is traditional but they still work and have never failed.

Marketing needs experience!!!

Point to consider. What has actually changed in your business?

Objective… No!

Product… No!

Services… No!

Goal… No!

Business… Obviously No!!!

The only thing changed is the marketing platform. Then the question is how can your objective and strategy change in digital? Why should you look and talk different in digital? Being different in digital is crime that can slowly poison your brand and business.

To save your brand and business it is absolutely important to choose the right digital partners. Partners who have experience in marketing, who have a 360 approach towards an objective, who are promising enough to make you feel assured.


The penchant of small brand owners

It’s a welcome feeling to be back with a full service advertising agency after spending years heading communications for established brands. The atmosphere is nourishing to meet new brand owners / managers and seek their briefs, to take a deep dive in the brief and understand their true story, to design a communication objective and to prepare a creative interpretation for them.

All is not good though.

Unlike the bigger established brand custodians the small brand owners are yet to graduate to the retainer model of working with the agencies. Some look at retainers as waste of money when there is not much communication required for a specific time frame. But they do not understand the importance of a dedicated team comprising creative, art and copy sitting ready on the vigil to render services as and when required. A team that has researched every aspect of their brand and is equipped to justify any of their communication requirements.

That’s not going hand in hand. That’s not the right partnership.  Agencies and brands can’t seem to agree on the value of the retainer, and it’s holding back the entire industry.

This is digestible to an extent with a creative and design retainer but falls flat for a digital retainer. With lack of complete know how on digital marketing and its importance many small brand owners whisk you away when you demand a retainer for managing their digital marketing. It’s a nail biting experience to explain them that the retainer is not just about their facebook and twitter, it’s about the entire digital and social media marketing.

Hope the situation shall change soon. Hope I continue to have fun in a full service advertising agency and enjoy the commercial negotiations too… Especially Retainer!

As an industry, SME’s brand building and growth is our responsibility.

Excellent write… Must read for entrepreneur’s…

setu advertising

Branding for Entrepreneurs

“Entrepreneurship is an undertaking of the courageous and the passionate. These entrepreneurs are visionaries, with a strong drive and big ideas. And when such is the case, even the smallest nudge in the right direction can set them on the path to success. I feel, as an industry, we can give them that nudge. Their brand building and  growth is our responsibility.

SMEs have their own brand problems to solve. Few they are not aware about, and few are yet to reach to them. I am a strong believer of the problem solving methodology. I believe that conferences and forums should not be treated as ‘entertainment shows’, where ‘good presentation’ is often treated as a piece of entertainment. In fact, giving high-flying examples subliminally gives these entrepreneurs the message that “you will not understand this” or “this is not for you”.

This is why I decided to…

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Durga Puja 2014

Durga Puja Special

Breaking Free…….. A Galloping horse

5 Black Things that I want.

Ranu Chakraborty Bhaduri's Planet R


Black is a forbidden color in my family. As a child I was never allowed to wear black in festivals and functions. It is considered a sad inauspicious color. In my mums language “It spells doom”  😀  I have never been allowed to wear it. So for me it has always been a coveted color. The times that i have thrown tantrums and rebelled for that perfect black dress…… only to be allowed a very dark blue…… but never black.

After I got married I have wanted to change things but never really got around to getting the “black dress” as I never really had a place to wear it. My mum and in laws would have banned me at any social occasion. I found it a very trivial topic to cause grief so it is still on my wish list…… since for like “forever”…… Hence my first really…

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Driving in Pune…… a blessing or curse


Pune the cultural and green city of India, has over the years gained a new identity as the 7th Metro City of India or has lost its original charisma is a debate in every chowk, mohalla, katta or so-called congregations of local Puneite’s.

Pune now looks like a concrete jungle in opposition to its original look of a township spread amidst a sprinkle of greens. Traffic in the city is the nastiest compared to any other towns in India or for that matter any town across the globe.

It’s a common saying “One who can drive in Pune, can drive anywhere in the world…!”

That’s true to an extent as Pune is somewhat an unplanned city. The unbelievable growth the city has seen over the years has put the Governance is a situation where in the situation is getting more and worse even before they can think of a corrective action. Let’s let the Governance rest in peace.

The horizons of Pune are growing year after year and the number of vehicles on the road is the highest for per thousand population compared to any other city.

The lacunae of a robust public transport system, wide and good quality roads and most importantly public awareness are the major causes for the current gigantic and traumatic state of affairs. I would like to add to this list is the attitude of Puneite’s.


Puneite’s while travelling back home from the daily schedules after sunset are a treat to watch. All are so frustrated not by their hectic schedules but the inevitable traffic jams that they are willing to take any pass way and break every traffic rule in an endeavor to reach further down the journey thus making the situation more vulnerable.

I am one of the millions of Puneite’s who take the drive home once the sun sets. Till a few years back I too was a part of this frustrated mob trying out all possible measures to reach home fast for what reason I am yet to know.

Over the years it became a routine and then when I had at times taken the same route on a Sunday when the lanes are comparably traffic free, I did not in any way enjoy my drive.

I took a note of it and since then I have started enjoying my drives back home at the city pace and not my pace.

Now when travelling back I am looking for that guy on a racer back who can kill a few because he needs to be a meter ahead to be adjacent to the lovely chic who probably has not noticed him even.

I listen to all the yelling the hubby is receiving from his pillion wife carrying bags of shopping’s probably the hubby himself has spent for.

I specially get interested when two oldies begin with…. “In our times…” But cannot prolong as horns start yelling at you and you need to pace up.

It’s always a treat a stand aside a car with a sweet baby in the back seat. It’s such a good freshener to see the baby smile.

Overall Pune has not changed… It is still the cool city it used to be. The cool breeze welcomes you every evening… Yes the bird chirping is not audible but these days it’s been replaced by the loud horns of the vehicles that are in such a hurry to reach their destinations… Albeit… even they make good music… if you enjoy it…

Only thing you need to do is be happy and enjoy the situation. Enjoy travelling… Enjoy Pune…!!!

Indian Politics and Cricket.

The election campaigns for the 16th Loksabha are at the climax and both the colossal parties, Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party are profoundly engaged in attacking and counter attacking their arch rivals.

The ruling party, UPA (Congress along with its allies) is focusing on their achievements wherein they have already chunked out these campaigns like Bharat Nirman I, II & III. This is now being followed by a campaign focusing on self help “Har haath shakti… Har haath tarakki…” (Power in every hand; progress for everyone) showcasing their star Rahul Gandhi.

TVC’s (Television commercials) using celebrities, actors and models are susceptible to popularity upheavals. Animated advertisements using animated characters on the other hand do not suffer from the above issues live TV advertisements face. As far as a character is concerned, its popularity can be timeless if timed properly.

Currently India is drooling in the Cricket flavor. The whole nation is obsessed with the ICC World T20 Championship being contested in Bangladesh where India is predicted as the most favorite to espouse the championship.

That’s not all… The world cup will be followed by the most watched and followed Indian Premiere League (IPL).

Will the T20 fever justify the UPA campaign is a million dollar question…!!!

Bharatiya Janata Party on the other hand has overcome this dilemma in a very innovative way. They have rolled out several simple digitally animated TVC’s based on anticipated corruption in Cricket and captioned it with “to stop corruption… Vote for Narendra Modi… The Party Patriarch promoted to be the next Prime Minister”.

These TVC’s are so adept to the current situation and the cricketing season while being made very creatively that it automatically attracts the common mans attention.

Animated TVC’s are not new to Indian Television and not being used first time during Cricketing T20 seasons… everybody is aware about the success of the Vodafone Zoo-Zoo’s.

I took a while from my schedule to write this as I sincerely wanted to thank and appreciate the creative team behind the BJP campaign…. Hats off Guys…!!!

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