Published on June 22nd, 2018 | by Saurabh Pandey


Are You Building A Loveable Or A Buyable Brand?

The definition of great brands seems to be changing. Brands like Google, Facebook, Airbnb Apple, Ikea, are perceived as loveable friendly brands as compared to behemoths and intimidating big brands of yesteryears (IBM, Ford, AT&T etc.)

You don’t need to be a branding expert to build loveable brands, at least not today in the digital age.

Why? Because the promise of digital resonates with the core concept of new age branding.

The new age brands focus on ‘interaction or relationships’ while the traditional brands focused on imagery and buy-ability.

That’s why most traditional brands or brands with traditional mindsets spend huge amounts on mass media advertising and tracking metrics like footfalls and unique users.

The new age brands focus on ‘usage’.

Usage triggers brand experience and this experience powered by word of mouth create further usage and that’s why the new age brands grow extremely fast.

Brand-genetics of new age brands is very different from traditional ones.

Brands like Google, Apple, Airbnb, Left, Uber have become cult in 1/10th of the time it took for traditional brands like-Shell, Hilton, HP, Avis etc.

Not just that, the new age loveable brands perhaps invest less than 1/10th of traditional brands on advertising and paid branding initiatives.

In fact, one of the ways in which Digital is Transforming Marketing is by allowing brands to converse and influence its users WITHOUT paying for it. (Traditional brands pay in the form of ad spends everytime they have something to talk about, new age brands use social media and communities to interact – without always paying).

How do brands focus and trigger ‘usage’?

Brands need to follow the mantra of –

A. Focus on Enablement– enabling users to do more, to achieve more by using their platform/set of products

B. Allow Co-creation– allowing users to become stakeholders (users define and assist in brand development), creating a community with users and brand conversations.

C. Resonate– resonate with the aspirations, culture and pain points of your users.

1. Uber/Ola enable people to become entrepreneurs and make money. They also enable users to access to a cab any time any location quickly.

2. Starbucks creates a community-oriented experience and enables youth, freelancers, startups to collaborate and achieve productivity (Free wifi, shared office like seating, startup office type environment, baristas calling you by first name etc.) Starbucks also allows users to often concrete menus and merchandise with them.

3. Red Bull – unlike a coke or Pepsi, this brand does not depend on mass media to show that it resonates with its users. Red Bull has created multiple platforms (magazines, events, video, image sharing etc.) where its users participate in what they like most- adventure sports. Red bull co-creates and shares this experience with its users. Users participate, Users create content, users consume the content and users share the content.

4. Nike- looks at itself as a coach to keep you fit. That’s why Nike has surrounded itself with participatory tools like mobile applications, Training clubs, Trainers, Expert Coaches etc.

5. This is why Flipkart and Amazon moved from being a transactional platform to being a marketplace where they enable retailers to sell online and buyers to receive the best value.

6. This is why Swiggy is growing fast- because it enables, roadside dhabas, small micro-restaurants to expand their footprint and scale up.

7. This is why Patanjali succeeded -in resonating with the aspirations and pain points of a large section of the middle-class population and enabling them to leverage Yoga & Ayurved at home for better health. Patanjali educated and participated with their audience.

8. This is why AAP Political party disrupted large behemoths- because they resonated + allowed participation of common people and co-created their manifesto with the people

9. By the way, Pepsi, a few years ago, started a brilliant campaign called Refresh Yourself, wherein it would reward social initiatives voted by people online but they failed to continue this initiative beyond a year or so + they were always looking at the wrong metrics (how many extra bottles could they sell)

10. Fair and Lovely started an initiative to empower women to learn new skills, get scholarships, get jobs, build resumes- essentially helping their users realise their dreams- this is a great foundation to become a loveable brand- but not sure if they are continuing with the same zeal and patience today as at the time of launch.
A brand needs to focus on USAGE and in creating a great user experience to become loveable. Everything else is just transactional and short term.

So, how are you going to make your brand loveable


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