the Asia Brand Congress 2008, held at the Taj Land's End, the central point of discussion was communicating a brand that connects, engages and inspires the audience.
Mark Stinson, founder, Stinson Brand Innovation, conducted a discussion which was nearly a mini workshop to establish the formula for creating brand chemistry with consumers.
Stinson expressed his surprise at having to conduct the workshop in a place which has been branded and rebranded thrice - and survived the branding exercise each time. Stinson was talking about Mumbai, the city which became Bombay during the British Raj and now is Mumbai once again!
He introduced the brand tool, CHEM, which defined the important parameters for building a brand.
The first element, C, represented the customer. Stinson asked the audience, consisting of brand managers and owners, to think of the target customer, picture the customer and actually see that customer in the mind's eye. After drawing a clear profile of the desired target group, Stinson said that it was imperative to connect with that customer.
"Ads on television and pop-ups while surfing the web are considered interruptions and the customer does not like these," he said. When one defines one's customers, it's easy to weave a brand into their lives without interrupting.
H stands for honesty, a difficult, though vital, attribute. "While being honest, say the best thing that you can about your brand," shared Stinson. Many brands, he said, while trying to entice the consumer, stretch the truth a bit too much and end up disappointing the customer. This results in losing out on customers.
Apart from missing out on a prospective loyal customer, the other down side to this is that today, with advanced technology, the customer can talk of his bad experience and warn other ignorant prospective customers. He could write blogs, create an anti-product/ service site and undertake many other such activities.
"With all the advances that we have made, it is important to remember that communication should be simple and easy to comprehend," said Stinson.
Easy (E) is the third element of CHEM. Stinson provided a solution to make "easy" simple. Observational research of the consumer was one of the solutions. Tracking how the prospective customer behaves, lives, stocks, uses the product/ service helps in creating easy to understand communication and also in creating a platform for the customer to relate with the brand.
The last part of the tool is to motivate (M) the customer. Since one cannot make a sale until it is closed, Stinson said that it is a better idea to guide the customer to take action instead of demanding it.
"Do not demand, but persuade in a non-intrusive manner. Build on that - one step at a time," he said. His advice for persuasion: First, ask the customer if he'd like to try the product; if yes, ask him if he's willing to buy it; if yes again, move ahead and ask him if he would talk about it to his friends and family; if the final answer is yes, too, take another step and ask if he'll be back.
Times Now presented the Asia Brand Congress 2008. Reliance Consumer Finance and Airtel were the sponsors of the event.