The first edition of Brand Derby, a conference presented by Tata Docomo and organised by BS Conferences, a part of Business Standard, at Gurgaon's Leela Kempinski Hotel on July 16 helped marketers and business professionals understand how various brands achieve success.
For the past 13 years, the Brand Derby initiative has been a print property. As part of this, Business Standard collects and analyses information on all new products launched in a year and conducts mass surveys about these. Based on the response, the winners are determined.
The key speakers at the conference included Raj Jain, president, Walmart India and chief executive officer and managing director, Bharti Walmart; Shailesh Rao, MD, Google India; Anil Arjun, CEO, Reliance MediaWorks; Ankush Arora, vice-president, sale, after sale and marketing, General Motors; and Gurinder Singh Sandhu, head, marketing, Tata Teleservices.
Getting straight to the point, Jain shared five perspectives on brand building. According to him, the mushrooming of modern retail is one of the major developments in India and it is something that will progress by leaps and bounds over the next two years.
The second perspective notes how interests of the consumers and the environment must go hand in hand and how this can be ensured by keeping CSR activities as one of the key components of brand building. Jain substantiated this by showing how, with the use of energy efficient lighting solutions, Walmart stores worldwide are able to save 35 per cent of energy.
Also, as part of an initiative with General Electric (GE), the retail giant sold more than 260 million squiggly bulbs in the US.
Jain's next perspective focused on sharing value with the customers and looking beyond their material needs. Walmart realised that in the US, as teenagers continue to spend long hours glued to TV screens, their mothers are concerned as the content is high on sex and violence. With a view to provide family oriented entertainment for the whole family to enjoy together, Walmart joined hands with Hollywood and released a TV movie in April, titled 'Secrets of the Mountain'.
The fourth brand building perspective delved into how brands should build momentum with impact. Jain elaborated this by devising a formula by which retailers can grow sales by operating for less, buying for less and selling for less. In the last perspective, he shared values which Walmart swears by - humility, respect for individuals and integrity.
Anil Arjun of Reliance MediaWorks was the next speaker, who spoke about the marketing strategy of a movie that everybody present in the room had seen - 3 Idiots.
Talking about one of the biggest challenges faced while designing the communication strategy for the movie, Arjun said, "Between October-December 2009, 38 Hindi films were released, out of which 26 were big budget films. The communication had to be very different. Since December 24 was zeroed on as the release date, we had the advantage or challenge of keeping the audience hooked for long."
Also, the makers of 3 Idiots were eyeing the overseas market (which brings in hardly 8 per cent of the total box office collection in India) in a big way.
A 40 member team of marketing professionals planned a multi-media campaign and the ground work began four months prior to the date of release of the film. Special screenings were organised for all the stakeholders, including the distributers and the team members of Vinod Chopra Films to get the first feedback. The first trailer of the movie was put together to generate curiosity and ensure that the movie was perceived as a must watch.
The music launch of 3 Idiots was broadcast on a microsite, idiotsacademy.com, marked by the absence of media. Users visiting the site on the day of the launch had the option of chatting with the stars present there.
As part of an alternate reality game, actor Aamir Khan said (through a video message) that he would travel through India, leaving clues about his whereabouts and the participants of the game got two weeks to track him down. Interestingly, most of the destinations for the journey were Tier II and III cities - places that are rarely covered by marketers for movie promotions.
The idea for Khan's nationwide journey came from the story of the film, where his friends go in search of him. The difference here was that media and fans were trying to spot Khan. Obviously, this journey was captured by many news and entertainment channels and became free publicity for the film.
If that was not all, an anti-piracy squad was formed, which successfully tracked and sabotaged 21 lakh online downloads of the movie.
Sharing some numbers, Arjun said, "Released on 2,000 screens worldwide, within six days of its release, the movie made a box office collection of Rs 100 crore. A few weeks down the line, we were able to touch the Rs 425 crore mark. The best part is that 18 per cent of the total box office revenue of the film came from overseas."
Sandhu of Tata Teleservices presented a case study on the launch and the journey of Tata Docomo. According to Sandhu, the company conducted a survey on customer satisfaction levels in the telecom industry and found out that close to 75 per cent customers of leading operators were not satisfied with the services and wished to switch.
Going forward with this insight, the brand saw a hunger for transparency and simplicity in the users of mobile telephony. A flexible brand identity was created for Tata Docomo by keeping a three-color palette for the brand and coming up with a tag line which is flexible and not boring - 'Do the new'.
The brand did not try to provoke with an attractive tariff plan - a regular bait in the category. Rather, in a bid to do away with the complexity of tariff plans, Tata Docomo launched 'pay per second' and 'pay per character' - two unprecedented offerings not provided by any operator in the country then. "Even though other players were prompt in switching to the new model, we continued to grow," added Sandhu.
Next, the brand launched experience centres where customers were educated about mobile phones and the latest technology. Also, the brand is aggressive online and reaches close to 8.5 million people through social media. Close to 47 per cent of Facebook users in the country are reached by Tata Docomo.
Ankush Arora of General Motors was the last presenter and spoke on how, despite GM's bankruptcy, with the right marketing, the Chevrolet Cruz found its place in the Indian car market.
The 100 men strong marketing and sales team of GM decided to talk to the customers directly. Because of what had happened overseas, consumers were not sure if the brand was there to stay, followed by apprehensions about the cost of spare parts and servicing. To deal with these concerns, the team came up with a two-fold communication strategy, which reflected the company's intention to stay long and also set base for the new launches.
Apart from launching a multi-media campaign across 25 cities to build the trust factor, the company's service stations were opened for not 9 but 12 hours a day and in some cases, even 24X7. While a touch and feel activity was organised to create buzz on ground, the skull of the vehicle was shown in the print campaigns.
The main objective behind the launch of the Chevrolet Cruz was the resurgence of Chevrolet in India. Here, too, Tier II and Tier III cities were targeted with the distribution plan.
Appreciating the success stories of all the brands, Rao of Google India came on stage to throw some light on how brands can use the online medium to their advantage. He began by pointing out that nowadays, brands serve a purpose beyond utility and customers wish to be represented with what they use. According to him, digital, which is a sum total of mobile Internet and the web, will be a centre of many initiatives to reach various target groups in the future.
Speaking on the potential of the medium, he said that even though Internet penetration may be low in some parts of India, more users will be added eventually. "What's interesting about the online medium is that it serves as a research platform for what one sees on other media such as television or print. Also, constant conversations are very important and online comes handy in this," he adds.
He shared how great results can be achieved with the right data and analyses. For instance, before the launch of a movie, many users go online to watch the trailer on YouTube. Google can actually track down the number of times a trailer has been used and help marketers in predicting the weekend openings.
afaqs! was the online partner for Brand Derby 2010.