There are a number of brands that have been successfully built through an effective communication program. In fact, it would be wise to say that brands that care for their future and the story they narrate to their audience, invest in robust PR campaigns that effectively communicate their story.
Brand building and commanding equity in a cluttered market place is a tough task but isn’t the toughest. What’s important however is to know and outline the outcome that you are expecting. Getting a brand known, seen and heard shouldn’t be a myopic plan. It needs to involve a long term vision, clear segmentation of the consumer, understanding of the market dynamics and off course a genuine intent of being in the game for a long time. Well, having said that can I also include patience in the list, which by the way most brands or should I say people who manage brands tend to lack.
Spotting an exceptional brand is easy. Building an exceptional brand, however, can be one of the most overwhelming and elusive challenges.
I am not a pessimist on advertising but I believe that most brands fail to command attention and market equity because they were introduced into the market place with advertising instead of Public Relations.
Why I say this is because the times have changed. Today, successful brands don’t just scream from the billboards about their products but great brands communicate ideas that celebrate dreams, spread hope, challenge our thinking in unexpected ways and reflect the world we’d like to see around us. Over the years in communication industry, I have realized that brands that resonate deeply with consumers are the ones that drive insight to impact, not to mention that they are admired for their quality products.
In fact in late 2014, when I joined YU, and we were working on announcing its launch, everybody asked the same question repeatedly, How will you establish a new mobile brand, aren’t there many already? In fact, that was a challenge as well as an opportunity purely from a communication perspective. There was a clear need to differentiate the brand, be seen and heard and communicate the ethos and vision clearly.
Here is what I learnt from the experience
1. It’s like an Actor’s entry in Bollywood:
Yes, you are a new brand on the scene. You may look different, not fitting into the clichéd typical lead actor or people may complain about your looks or lack of it, what’s important is that you know what you bring to the table. Establish that. Talk about it. Be heard for it.
The analogy is filmy but PR folks draw a parallel to know that it’s important to introduce the brand in a right way, choosing the right channels.
2. Choose your scripts well
Every actor has to choose the script wisely. And what I mean here is that it’s important to align your messaging well. We have heard enough that PR is about story telling. Yes, it is, but we play a crucial role in determining that the story telling isn’t a work of fiction.
3. Co Actors do matter
In a communication scenario, who are the Co-actors? Well they could be your stakeholders who would support you in your journey, mentor you, lead you or in most cases follow you in your path to success. When a brand wants to be seen and heard, it’s important to work with key stakeholders including media, consumers, reviewers, industry commentators to name a few.
4. Is it an Actor’s project or a Director’s
A Salman Khan movie gets a huge opening but so does a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film. What audience choose as a deciding factor in both scenarios is they choose between an actor’s movie and a director’s movie. What is learnt is that who peddles your message better. Many a times we have great brands, great messaging but a not so great messenger. At that time, it’s critical to choose who would resonate with the audience better- the actor or the director?
5. Challenge what you should !
Right amount of action, drama, emotion and romance made movies a success back then, well some still do but it’s what’s thought differently and implemented differently that catches the attention. Communication or PR isn’t just about the old age tested formula anymore. A press conference and a few meetings regularly won’t establish you differently. Being different, creative and trying to challenge the redundant ways of just issuing a press release definitely will.
6. Be Genuine
There is nothing in this world that can hide the fake. Being genuine in what you do is a sure way of letting people know your intentions. You may make mistakes, fall down or get trolled (that’s the new trend) but try to convey your stance. Through every interaction (on and off line) become known for who you are.
Disclaimer: These opinions and suggestions are my own and not all learnings have been penned down. There are many other things that we have done to get the brand YU known amongst its consumers and I would love to know if you have spotted some of them.
Sheetal Singh is head, external Communication for Micromax and YU Televentures, a new age technology brand under Micromax. Sheetal has been instrumental in setting up the brand messaging, its social footprint and also building the brand separately from its parent brand.