It’s no hidden fact that consumers these days are spoilt for choice. In every aspect of their lives, their universe is filled with diverse products vying for their attention and loyalty. And mind you, each product is better than the previous. Brand building is an investment that yields long term results. For a business such as CredR’s, a used bike purchase is not a recurring one and the consideration set in the minds of the consumer is also quite diverse. To overcome barriers such as competition, price sensitivity, deferred decisions, recall, etc. brand building plays a vital role.
We’ve employed, from time to time, different ways to build the brand and engage with our consumers over and beyond just trying to sell to them. Our initiative ‘Off Ok Please’, was aimed at auto commuters, urging them to stop idling at signals, is a very successful example of this philosophy. The campaign received widespread coverage on social media, media portals, news dailies and TV. Another such branding initiative was our biggest collaborative campaign till date called ‘Move Your Life’. For the first time over 10 Indian startups joined hands with CredR to cater to the needs of those who move cities for academic or professional reasons.
As an industry, the used two-wheeler market is plagued with a bad reputation and so many consumer conceptions. Addressing the gaps in this market, through our content and commerce approach also increases our relevance in the minds of our consumer. We cover the whole gamut of information that there is to know about two-wheelers – care, upkeep, launch, lifestyle, travel, etc. This content consumption paves the way for commerce by incepting a favourable image of the brand in the minds of our consumers – the ultimate experts in two-wheelers.
That is the power of branding, where you create a pull instead of pushing for mindspace. Going forward also, we are committed towards investing duly in building the brand.
How has Branding Evolved with Time?
The evolution of branding is very similar to human evolution. Just like human evolution harps on the ‘survival of the fittest’, branding follows suit. At the onset of traditional branding, the number of brands were limited, media channels were few and for the consumer there existed an element of novelty. Grabbing attention was easy. Brands could remain arrogant and still get consumed. There was room for everyone.
However, this scenario has seen a 180 degree shift. With the advent of technology, explosion in media channels, and the sudden cropping up of so many brands, the story is now very different. The lines that defined social stratification and affordability are now blurring very fast. Brands cannot afford arrogance any more. They need to engage with consumers more consistently and meaningfully, just in order to stay relevant.
Where in the older format, brands were creating their own stories, today it is the consumer that builds the journey and the story of a brand.
What are the Various Factors that Affect Marketing?
The list of factors that affect marketing are quite diverse per se. If we talk specifically of CredR, the few aspects that affect our marketing strategy is conditions such as automobile sales seasonality – a surge of sales in the primary markets also sees a surge in the resale market. Also, our consumer data from the last 36 months shows that there is an organic surge around that time that cities see an academic or corporate influx – specifically the months between June to August, each year, when colleges and new recruitment cycles start.
Our marketing activities and spends are focussed a lot around the peak sales seasons for our business. In these periods, we invest heavily on sales promotions and performance marketing. In the months in which our sales are more conservative, we split our efforts between marketing and branding initiatives. With interesting formats such as influencer marketing, viral videos, user generated content and mall activations, we cover the whole spectrum of outreach to stay in our customers’ mindspace and consideration sets even when a used bike purchase is not predominant in their list of purchase priorities.
Marketing Musts as You Grow From Startup to Becoming a Global Empire
For any new brand, the challenges are very diverse as opposed to a brand which is present globally and has built a legacy over time. A global and mature brand has a loyal consumer base, a well known promise that consumers know of and owes a more stringent conformity to its quality standards. Any non-compliance would result in a loss of its brand equity. A global brand would definitely market itself more from a brand and promise standpoint as opposed to focussing on customer acquisition and awareness.
A new brand on the other hand, is looking to be recognised and adopted at the onset. Most startups would channelise their energies and resources at creating awareness, generating strong leads, pushing for customer acquisition through lucrative sales promotion offers, etc. With the current possibilities available in marketing through technology and smartphones, a new wave of innovative marketing tools have come to the fore. So while a conservative approach stands a brand in safe stead, innovation creates buzz, virality and conversations around a brand.
Importance of Technology in Modern Marketing
Technology in marketing is like a double-edged sword. While technology has its share of pros, it also has its share of pitfalls. The upside is obviously the ability to ‘target’ accurately on any given day and at any given time, who you’d like to speak to. The sheer focus and precision with which the same brand can communicate in different styles and different languages to different sub cultures with their target audience, at the same, is a definite benefit. Apart from that the detailed level of trackability and measurability that technology provides allows us to assess the effectiveness of our communication and marketing initiatives.
Today, consumers’ attention is the scarcest resource in this new world order. Without gatekeepers, anyone can create and broadcast media. As a result, consumers are over-messaged and exhausted. Unlike traditional advertising where a large capital is required by brands to market themselves, technology allows anyone with an idea or business proposition to market themselves using digital platforms and social media. Audiences are savvy and can easily differentiate between paid and unpaid communication. Automatically, they tend to blindside paid communication and engage only with those brands that create engaging and relevant conversations with the audience. This new dynamic between companies and consumers is very different from the traditional model. Where companies used to control their brand narrative through media channels, the power is now largely in the hands of the consumer.
Nikhil Jain is Co-Founder at CredR. He is fond of travelling and reading books on digital brand building. He is a driven problem solver who believes that the perfect blend of technological advancement & economies of scale are sine qua non to providing tailored solutions to real world problems. His latest preneur was building Coursewave.org with his colleagues, Sumit Chhazed and Nittin Mittal. Nikhil graduated with a dual degree in Engineering Physics (Bachelors’) and NanoScience (Masters’) from IIT Bombay in 2012. He also worked as the Dramatics Secretary. During college days, he also managed the Techfest, Asia’s Largest Science & Technology festival.