Category Archives: Brand Image

Branding lessons by example: Why spending big money can’t save a weak brand?

Slide48Snapdeal’s recent 200 Cr rebranding exercise “Unbox Zindagi” during 2016 Diwali and other festivals is yet another example of the marketing myth that spending huge money can make or remake a brand.  

With a lot of fanfare, it was announced that Snapdeal’s co-founder Kunal Bahl and some other seniors personally visited a number of customers’ homes to get an insight into what is the customers’ experience when they shop with Snapdeal. 

And…. they found out that the best moments occur when the customers open the box which brings the merchandize. And hence, a 200 crores brand repositioning exercise of “Unbox Zindagi” involving new box logo and new colors.

I think the copywriters and the creative directors at the agency must have patted their own backs for coming out with such a brilliant term “Unbox Zindagi”, and for their profound practical genius in using the word “Zindagi”. So Indian, you know?

Seedfund founder Mahesh Murthy, described this exercise as “Rs. 200 crores for a new paint job on the Titanic”. He said that this expensive exercise will not save the sinking ship called “Snapdeal”.

He was so right. The paint job has not worked. The ship continues to sink deeper.

In my opinion, there were two big mistakes.

One: Lack of differentiation. 

The joy of opening the box of the newly shopped article is same regardless of whether it was purchased from Snapdeal, Flipkart, Amazon or some nearby shop. What is so unique about the joy of opening a Snapdeal box versus other boxes? Nothing really…

Two: Bad copy

If only the founders, senior managers and creative people had confirmed with the people whom they met about the meaning of the word “Unbox”, they must have realized that the majority of them really don’t understand it correctly. The English copywriters failed to understand that 95% of Indians don’t understand English as well as they themselves do.

Brand managers live in their own worlds. They think that their own vision of the world is the only true picture and they have figured it out so correctly.

High vocabulary, creative copywriting skills or linguistic abilities don’t compensate for lack of common sense. If it would have been, all the authors and poets could have been great brand building wizards.

Brand communication is a black hole. If used unwisely and without any strategic thought, it can suck a lot of money. Snapdeal’s failed, expensive English extravaganza has proved yet again that marketing and branding are majorly responsible for destroying many companies and people don’t learn. 

Many brands fall prey to such wasteful and poorly thought-through branding initiatives and burn big money.

No wonder, in the sea of branding more ships sink than those which sail through smoothly.

ब्रान्ड पर से कस्टमर का भरोसा कब उठ जाता है?

जब कोई ब्रान्ड अपने Logo या Tagline के विरुद्ध काम करती है, तो कस्टमर का भरोसा उस पर से उठ जाता है |

ब्रान्ड जो प्रोमिस करती है, वहीं करनी चाहिए, और वही सच्चाई Logo या Tagline या किसी भी प्रकार के मेसेज में अभिव्यक्त होनी चाहिए |

अपने पेकेजिंग पर “बेस्ट क्वालिटी” लिख देने से अंदर की प्रोडक्ट बेस्ट नहीं बन जाती | और अगर वह प्रोडक्ट निम्नस्तर की होगी, तो कोइ कस्टमर उस “बेस्ट क्वालिटी” वाली बात पर भरोसा नहीं करेगा |

कुछ ऐसा ही मुंबइ म्युनिसिपल कोर्पोरेशन के सफाई विभाग का है | मुंबइ में आपने देखा होगा की सफाई की ट्रक, सडकों पर रखे गार्बेज-बीन या सफाई कर्मचारियों के युनिफोर्म पर लिखा है  “Clean-up चकाचक मुंबइ” | लेकिन मुंबइ शहर की सफाइ का निम्न स्तर देखकर तुरंत पता चल जाता है कि इस “चकाचक मुंबइ” स्लोगन का कोइ मतलब नहीं है | शहर तो छोडो वह ट्रक, वह गार्बेज बीन या वह युनिफोर्म में से भी कुछ साफ सुथरा या चकाचक नहीं है | “चकाचक मुंबइ” सिर्फ लिखनेवाले की कल्पना से आगे कहीं भी नहीं है |

ब्रान्ड का स्लोगन या टेग-लाइन बिना सोचे समझे लिख डालेंगे, ब्रान्ड उस के अनुसार काम नहीं करेगी, तो ब्रान्ड की कथनी और करनी में अंतर रह जाएगा | ब्रान्ड की प्रोमिस और पर्फोर्मन्स सुसंगत नहीं होंगे, तो ब्रान्ड पर कोइ भरोसा नहीं करेगा | गलत स्लोगन से ब्रान्ड को फायदा कम और नुकसान ज्यादा होता है |

Club Mahindra – an example of a poorly executed marketing strategy

How do you feel when a time-share company
1) Invites you for a 45-minute presentation with a promise of a FREE gift.
2) Follows up enthusiastically to fix an appointment.
3) When you confirm an appointment, reminds you emphatically that “Please do come because the FREE gift vouchers once made in your name cannot be canceled.”
4) Sends an SMS with venue, time details and seeks SMS confirmation ftom you.
5) Just 15 minutes prior to the appointment time, calls you up and asks “Where are you? We are waiting for you.”
6) When you arrive 5 minutes before the appointment time, the receptionist tells you that ” We can’t accommodate you. Our presentation venue is full.
Either you come after an hour or some other day. ”
7) Wastes your precious time and does not even bother to express a simple “Sorry”.

Club Mahindra did just this last week with us.  It created a lot of hype around the presentation and the free gift and in the end, failed disappointingly. A telling example of an extremely poor execution of a marketing strategy.

A lot of characteristics of a company are reflected in the way it conducts its operations. It is natural to doubt the quality of services of a company that cannot coordinate its regular marketing activities properly.

Club Mahindra has a lot of work to do in its marketing activities coordination. Till then a lot of advertising and promotional expense will continue to go in drain creating a lot of avoidable bitterness among its prospects.

Only name does not make a brand

Kutch Mandvi Dabeliwala.
New Mewad Icecream.
Shankar Vilas Hindu Hotel.
Kanifnath Rasvanti Gruh.
Udupi Hotel.
All these are popular brands in Mumbai. Each one of them has multiple outlets, across the city.
But, you can’t be sure about what will be the product range, quality, price, taste or service at different outlets of the same name.

In fact, other than the name, there is nothing common among them.

That is because these brands are not owned by any one person or company. There is no thought behind these brands. There is no soul. No cosistent brand proposition or personality.

These names are a classic example of brands which have no identity of their own. Because of the absence of the self-concept.these brands don’t have any definite image. Nobody knows what these brands stand for.

It is like naming a girl Aishwarya does not make a girl as beautiful as the Miss World or similarly, a boy named Sachin does not become a Cricket legend.

Names fail to create an image if they are not supported by an appropriate identity.

With the right combination of talent and identity, a Priyanka can come and eclipse any existing beauty queens, by creating her own image.

Or. a Sachin can do a better job at batting without calling himself Sunil.

Rather than copying names, the brand should focus on creating and nurturing a unique identity.