Sunday, July 13, 2008

India Inc: Branding Strategies

Branding involves a gamut of activities the sum total of which lead to the creation of the brand. A successful brand has high awareness, depicts a desirable and unique image, gets easy recognition and is highly trusted by customers. A brand derives strength from its experience with its customers. The most important strategic decision facing the marketing manager during launch of a new product is in choosing not just appropriate brand name, but to select a good set of identities. (Robertson, 1987). A brand identity is an outward expression that includes the name and visual appearance. It originates from the company that is responsible for creating a differentiated product with unique features. We can cite the case of the cola giant- Coca Cola that has been able to maintain its strong presence in the soft drink market because the trade marks Coke and Coca Cola denote values that go beyond mere physical attributes and product labeling. For the communication strategy to be successful, companies have used strong brand identity as foundation with differentiated products that have high awareness and a good image perception in the minds of the consumer. The marketing mix strategy also plays an important role in establishing a brand identity. For example the tangible attributes that comprise the product will send a message to the consumer about the important features of a brand. However with time the functions, or the essence of brand has changed. Today it is what they do for people that matters more, how they reflect and engage them, how they define their aspiration and enable them to do more. The objective of brand has become more of emotional and psychological than that of mere recognition and differentiation for which the concept of brand came into existence. Powerful brands can drive success in competitive and financial markets, and indeed become the organization's most valuable assets. Marketers engaged in branding seek to develop or align the expectations behind the brand's experience, creating the impression that a brand associated with a product or service has certain qualities or characteristics that make it special or unique.

India is a country which is witnessing robust growth and a booming economy. The growth in the country is happening at a steady rate as foreign funds flow to fund infrastructure and consumer markets that seek to tap the domains in an extensive manner. The opening up of the Indian economy has given a level playing field for foreign brands against Indian brands. Several MNCs have begun to focus their attention on Indian markets. Global brands are threatening the existence of Indian brands which have strong presence in the minds of the customers all round the globe and have performed consistently for a long time. Customers buy brand not only for the intrinsic values associated with it but also because the brand has surprised them in the past with newer and more novel experiences. Branding is a promise made to the customer that will deliver values beyond expectation. Branding strategy hence should also involve continuously communicating to the customer of the novel experiences that he/she has had with the brand.

The film Love Story 2050 which exhibits the sky rails and ultra-high rises of an almost star-wars-ish Mumbai--has been created by Sun Microsystems. The SUN brand appears in the film through some innovative in-film placements, hoping to reach out to millions and help create a positive disposition towards their brand alongside the glamourous Priyanka Chopra and the newbie Harman Baweja.

So, how do the dynamics change with the change of settings ? Should the biggest democracy in the world go for branding? US see India as a resource for intellectual capital. Some of the Asian and Arabian countries consider India as a place for quality medical services at affordable prices. Koreans look at India as their market place for selling consumer durable and some of the European countries view India as one of the important tourist destinations in the World. Different countries look at India in different approach but every one is optimistic. Therefore even a country like India has to go for her own branding.

(Full paper presented in a National Conference in India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, February 2008)

2 comments:

Mujahid said...
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Mujahid said...
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