Well this one is going to be my debut article as a hardcore “Brand Surgeon”,
Just 5 days ago, I shortlisted around 6 Articles for the Brand & Marketing or Corporate Strategies for this particular piece of writing.
But as usually “God has always a different plan”, this one is not from those 6, I shortlisted earlier.
It’s utterly different.
And the reason behind that, and a 5 days delay was just due to that ‘Dilemma’ I have,
And that confusion, “what to choose” from those 6 topics.
Whenever the Peoples have some option and when all the options having almost same strength, almost same potential, Goodness, richness, features e.t.c.
Confusion Arises, It’s Natural.
In the same way I found all my 6 articles equally weighing on each other in every aspect,
So I struggled to pick up that ‘one’ out of 6, and ran randomly around them.
(Obviously within a couple of months, I’ll write all of them, but the point is of ‘Now’ at this moment what to choose?).
Now let’s analyze the situation, the Dilemma.
The two biggest reasons behind that confusion were:
A) All 6 Articles having almost same weight/potential.
B) Due to absence of that 7th one, may that could have a bit more
potential/features, to make a difference.
Now some of you may feel its okay!!
But, what this has to do with branding and all that?
Now let me tell you, one of my “Extraordinary’ Experiences, when I was tracing a Consumer behavior Project for a FMCG company.
(As per the company policy, I am not allowed to take that company name Straight forward, in an open public platform like this).
As I was talking about my ‘Confusion’, let me talk about yours now.
This is the same degree of Dilemma, Consumer (Including myself) encounters on
day-to-day basic within the brands/Products/Services.
Most of the time they found it’s quite challenging to choose that Single ‘one’,
This is the most fundamental Characteristic of a Consumer, in my opinion.
As it’s 2014 and 40% companies in the market are offering the more or less same entity, in their respective sectors.
Doesn’t matter on which scale you measure them, whether it’s technical or on Marketing stuffs, whether it’s on price or Quantity, whether it’s quality or Brand Image.
In my opinion, 80 % of the consumers, don’t know clearly, that why they are selecting or rejecting XYZ product/services/Brand, most of the time.
They just blindly choose one (And hey! I am not talking about Good/Bad decisions they made, but the scenario), they done it ‘Unconsciously’, or sometimes simply follow the crowd or tradition.
Well I don’t have an Internet made Global Survey to prove my observation, but it would be hard for you to deny these facts.
Don’t you find yourself in an untidy situation and lacking a clear decision, when you are looking for a Mobile phone or Camera on shopping sites (Online or offline) and finds plenty of good one in the same price range, having almost same feature, same warranty, same rating, different Brand name, but almost same brand image with their respective celebrities faces,
Suppose you got 5 similar pieces, then after applying all your intellectuality and spending a bit more internet data, you reject 2 of them, then it again turns harder for you to get that ‘one’,
you look at the review from here and there, you find someone praising the same product, then someone criticizing the same, again you get confused.
Obviously, Confusion of customers/consumer doesn’t mean that they end-up buying nothing, they always posses one and they will.
But to analyze this situation is really an extravagant experience:
Here I would like to make some couple of observations,
First, Some people will say (and that’s a general view),
So what’s wrong in the ‘confusion’?,
it’s a good thing that we have a bit confusion,
it’s a good thing that we have a plenty of option in front of us,
it is required as we all have the different preferences and choice.
And there is always a customer for a product.
So, may be some people taking it as an Advantage!!
Now just get a bit deeper into the situation, it may sounds like an Advantage, and it is the one, up to an extent.
But somewhere deep inside the roots, there is a critical disease warming up,
Somehow, that’s an indication of some fever within the whole product/Brand mechanism.
Let’s talk about the company/Brand/product prospective,
I can say that the companies are itself responsible for this ‘Confusion’ or ‘Dilemma’ of consumers.
There is something wrong within the companies which makes the consumer confused,
We are praising something ‘Mediocre’, in overall scenario and that’s dangerous infection.
Let me give you an example,
we all are aware of the giant, Amazon.com (The shopping site).
Now there is a company called “Flipkart” in India, which can be called an Amazon of India.
The company started in 2006-07 (Obviously after the Amazon)
Now after flipkart, there came around 200 shopping site, similar to Flipkart.com,
And other 200 are still in the process.
100s of them are offering the same service, almost the same deals, and the same products.
Now that is why I call it “totally Rubbish”,
do we really need that?
10 sites were ample for that shopping process, but there is no point of having 200.
And I am not against the shopping sites, But why so similar?
I will welcome, even if they will be 500, if each one offers unique prospective of shopping or the service they have, (See, people are in favor of variety.)
But what I found is apart from the Brand name almost everything is similar (Again I am not talking about good/bad, but they are the similar to each other), even their marketing propaganda, e.g. Advertising and promotional features are almost same.
Now, here I am not that much worry about the ‘Dilemma’.
But, What I am worry about is, the rise of copycats with different face, who somehow pretend that they are innovators,
But the market is full of investors not the innovators, we all know that.
Here, what I am worry about is, that we really lack some innovative and out of box ideas in corporate sector.
Here, What I am worry about is, the way players are playing so safe, they want a sure shot success from some readymade formats and don’t want to push the envelope, as it contains some risk.
And needless to say, this is the biggest reason behind consumer’s confusion.
What we are lacking in today’s corporate scenario, especially in consumer sector is something “Distinctly ahead”!!
Even now most of you will say, that no we are not confuse at all,
I agree with few of you on few of the occasions, but not with most of you.
Because, in my 4 years of experience, I encountered many brand managers,
Analyzed more than 50 brands, especially in hard-core consumer sectors.
And let me tell you this, without any hesitation, that even most of the companies don’t know clearly, that why they are winning or losing the ground?
Doesn’t matter how much they look confident on a piece of news paper or in the corporate magazines, but most of them are really uncertain about
what they are doing?
Why they are doing?,
What it contains in the future ?
They lack the clear vision and mix up some arbitrary recipes.
Believe it or not, but this is the bizarre truth of corporate.
Obviously, I am not denying the fact that there are some companies/services/products, having creativity & Innovation in their DNA and have been being a ‘pioneer’ and an ‘inspiration’ in their respective field and they have proven that they are “Distinctly Ahead”.
As for example,
Johnson and Johnson (Baby products),
I really wonder, that was an era when everyone in beauty product segment,
targeting the women and women only.
Then this company came with the idea of ‘Baby products’, (C’mon there is no point of discussing the History, founders, foundation year, I am not saying that this is not important, but you can find all these on Wikipedia, e.t.c, let’s talk about the Idea.)
Even they got some storm in their starting phase and obviously it was a risk taken,
As no one knows that how the mass consumer is going to respond on the venture,
as it was not a ready-made format.
But that ‘risk’ was worth taking and even today they are distinctly ahead, due to their out-of-box approach.
Ditto for the NIVEA.
Even after that, people have an image that only soap, powder, shampoo, beauty cream means a FMCG company, and only eligible to become a brand anthem,
Then there came a company to break that myth,
The approach they have taken was so unique and refreshing at the same time ‘Innovative’,
Even today I am fond of their portfolio,
When I asked someone, “What’s your favorite Brand”?
People take some name like ‘Burberry’, Blackberry, Paul smith and other luxurious entity.
I revert back with Harpic (Seriously !! that Toilet cleaner),
It requires a lots and lots of gut to make the toilet cleaner a brand.
And it can be only done by a company like Reckitt Benckiser”.
The same company who made
Dettol, Mortein, Lizol, Colin, Harpic, Strepsils, e.t.c
Oh god I just love it !!
And even today people are not confused, whenever RB products came into the picture.
Now that’s another thing that Some companies , who always sound like a copy cat in their strategy try to make consumer ‘confuse’, by just following the successful recipe and formats and launching the parallel product.
C’mon the market is full of parallel products and that’s insane,
that’s not the diversity.
And wherever there is no confusion, in most of the cases it sounds like ‘someone Vs others’.
These are some of those few companies who can have this tag of ‘Distinctly Ahead’,
e.g. Google Vs Others
Facebook Vs Others
J&J Vs Others
RB Vs others
Maggie Vs others
Dettol Vs Others
There can be so many examples here, will talk about all of them separately.
Now, here’s some dilemma exits,
Apple Vs Samsung Vs Sony
Dell Vs Hp Vs Lenovo Vs Toshiba Vs Acer Vs Asus
Nikon Vs Canon
Nike Vs Adidas(Reebok)
The epic example would be
Coca-Cola Vs Pepsico (The whole portfolio),
I mean same bottle, same design, same price, Almost same portfolio, same quantity & Quality, so same taste, Almost same grade Celebrities to endorse, Same marketing strategy.
Well, one can’t ignore that pioneer is ‘Coca-cola’.
But dilemma exits here!!
Sometimes companies make some strategy to put themselves Ahead and unique in the current timeline,
But the problem is, whatever strategy they made to do that, within few hours their competitors got the same.
I would like to take a small example here,
Don’t know who came up with that beautiful and cool concept of ‘Can’ bottles in cold drink market, but before the concept melt some confusion of consumers, what we found that everyone came up with ditto.
But this can be appreciated.
And it’s quite debatable, as sometimes it sounds like an advantage.
Well, let’s see where the dilemma ends?