Mind your Marketing

Brands must sell a story

| Updated on October 04, 2019

Viswa Prathap Desu, Chief Sales Officer, Brigade Enterprises Ltd

This edition of Mind your Marketing features Viswa Prathap Desu, Chief Sales Officer, Brigade Enterprises Ltd. With over 20 years of experience in real estate and currently handling 25 million sq. ft. of residential development, he is considered an authority in the residential space in South India. He has been awarded the “Most Talented CMOs (Real Estate)” in 2013 by ET-Now and CMO Council and has won the Brand Leadership Award in 2017.

Marketing to Millennials and GenZ is a whole different game now. How have you adapted to the new generations?

Unlike other generations, millennials and GenZ are much aware and mindful about the content they consume; therefore, businesses are taking a storytelling and purpose-driven approach. The key challenge in targeting this set of audience is that they are aware of being marketed and most of them don’t mind it.

Also, they are not so particular about brand loyalty and may not necessarily be very brand-conscious. They try out any brand that matches their lifestyle, need, or wants. They have anything but time. Hence creating short-duration marketing content is the challenge.

What are the best ways to capture their attention and persuade these generations?

As mentioned above, it is the storytelling approach, and the perfect mix of ethos, pathos and logos that will help you connect with them. They are looking for credible brands that make logical content and give them emotional gratification. They go an extra mile to check the credibility factor and must get a sense of ‘value for money’ before investing in any purchase. Therefore, the right way to target this set of audience is by creating the content that bonds with them and by building a positive brand tonality.

What does it take for brands to stay competitive in today's dynamic economy and market? How has technology affected this new-age consumer behaviour?

It is the empathic nature, purpose-driven approach, and insight-driven communication that can help brands be more competitive in today’s market.

This generation’s buying behaviour has changed due to the technologies that they have in their lives. The dependency on online shopping has increased their research capability to check the credibility of a brand or product.

Also, the platform on which they consume the leisure/entertainment content is no more the traditional television set, but the newage OTT platform. They have rich, engaging, and more realistic content which pretty much explains why millennials are more attracted towards brands that tell or sell a story. This has brought an emotional behaviour in these audiences which is different from the earlier generations.

What wins in the marketplace - better technology or better ideas?

It is both the idea and the technology. However, the idea is the most important as technology can be customised, and it can always be built around the idea.

Customer experiences have become the future of a brand. How did this happen?

Customer-centricity is the buzzword across industries and brands are embracing this concept over traditional business-driven strategies. This is the best way to create a positive buying experience. It is not only about customer feedback or customer satisfaction results, but the discipline of seeing things from the customer’s viewpoint. This, upon practice, becomes an art. Brands today are spending more time and money to study customer behaviour, buying patterns, and purchase cycle to gather valuable insights. At large, the idea and focus are to create a favourable experience for customers and prospects.

In a nutshell, it is the experience that a brand delivers which stands out, not the product or service.

Viswa says…
  • My top three marketing mantras

Influencer marketing, purpose-driven content and customer centricity

  • One strategic change we plan to execute by 2020

Be purpose-driven than function-driven. The brand and employees should be clear that the key purpose is to deliver a pleasing customer experience and cater to the customer as they want to be catered to

  • Three words I believe define a hot brand

Mindful, empathetic and disruptive

  • A powerful ad campaign I liked

IKEA venturing into India with the campaign ‘Make every day brighter’

How do we bridge the gap between customer expectations and experiences?

Customer expectations are a moving and floating target. Every experience they have with a brand sets up a new expectation of how things should or shouldn’t be handled. Also, customers tend to compare the service they experience to the service they expect to receive. As both are quite subjective, it gets difficult to close the gap. However, one can minimise this by knowing what a customer expects and then communicating to him/her on what the brand can deliver, this helps in setting the right customer expectations. Therefore, a direct and proactive customer interaction is the best way to bridge this gap.

What are your top three suggestions to successful branding?

Story: Everything lies in what one has to say – be it the brand, the customers or the stakeholders.

Credibility: Put this right in front of your audiences, as this is what will make them believe in you.

Consistency: Be consistent in how you say it, use the same tonality, colour, font, etc. This will create a greater brand recall.

Can a blanket approach work in a diversified market like India? If no, how can brands achieve localisation?

Of course not! Millennials are much more complicated than the previous generations. This segment is extremely opinionated and seeks authentic/credible conversations. Therefore, traditional advertisements and branded content is just not going to be enough.

To think local, brands must first put the stereotypes aside and do a more credible research on the lifestyle of locals and then build a campaign around it. Localisation is not just about language, it is about taking that extra step to understand the local market and lifestyle.

For instance, Airbnb’s #LiveThere campaign targeting Indian millennials is a perfect example of localisation. While the global campaign took an experimental travel approach, for the Indian market they tookup the influencer marketing route. They believed that people in India want to travel where their favourite stars are holidaying.

You are a South Indian brand. Tell us about the best way to approach this market.

Our brand was built adapting to the local tastes and preferences. We are a category that needs emotional connect, hence we ensure that the brand is built around lifestyles reaching out to families rather than individuals.

This article is part of a brand initiative by The Hindu BusinessLine to profile marketing professionals from across India.

Published on October 04, 2019

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