Is a Mont Blanc customer affluent or a broadband connection holder? Is a Tata Safari owner in Rohtak affluent or a technology company manager driving the Honda City? This target group is a nightmare for media planners who are grappling with getting the right mix of medium and media to reach out to the target.
Unlike brands in the luxury sector (Bentley or Armani), affluent brands are more easily within the grasp of ordinary consumers. Says Nandini Dias, COO, Lodestar Universal, "The traditional way of profiling an affluent consumer by demographics, psychographics or through SEC classification is passé. Now we map by the number and kind of durables in a household." Affluent products are considered by consumers to be those which are better than the norm, but still affordable - a plasma TV or a C-segment car. "With technology being able to map consumption pattern it is now possible to gauge affluence by mindset mapping, through credit card usage, financial investments and lifestyle indicators," she adds.
Identifying the medium
Says Amin Lakhani, head, exchange, Mindshare Media, "I would be cautious and go according to the client's need before working out the right media for the product and brand to reach its desired target." Take the Tata Sky set-top box. Amin recollects the debate revolving around this product was largely if it was for the affluent or not. "To ask someone to spend Rs 4,000-odd on a box and then pay monthly charges to watch TV was daunting," he recounts. With multiple touchpoints reaching this target, it is important to get a mix that appeals them.
"Different companies have different strategies. For example, companies have tied up with magazines like Elle, Cosmopolitan and Vogue to launch affluent products catering to women," says Dias. In-film placement of premium brands in the recently-launched Aisha is an example of using a medium to target the affluent. "OOH, too, can reach the affluent in a very effective way. The placement of screens and the streaming targeted advertising in recent years has been very effective," says Lakhani. "For the super affluent, a credible platform for engagement is critical. Brands usually work on customised events and media properties to engage this TG," adds Natrajan.
Cut the clutter
Advertisers and media planners agree that a mix of above the line (ATL) and below the line (BTL) advertising is what works in good dose. For a brand like Samsung that has products for the affluent across geography and class, a combination worked well. It adopted road-shows, event partnerships in KUTs and ROUI for BTL activities, while advertising on mass media.
High-end affluent consumers are best targeted by creating environments for them to feel their power and exclusivity. "Limited access to word-of-mouth experience is fairly common with this category," says Lakhani. But, these are found to work most often with luxury brands, where the snob value is more. Since luxury consumers place a high premium on heritage and exclusivity than the price, it is best left to create an imagery that fits into this target through BTL initiatives. Traditional advertising for this class is more a matter of information. "Placing ads in niche magazines, airport lounges or duty-free shops tend to work better for these products and targets," adds Lakhani.
There are instances when the communication fails to achieve the desired results. "Direct mailers are assumed to work with this category, but I have found instances when it has failed to do so," recounts Dias. The mindset that luxury products are best advertised in glossy magazines is also a myth. Mont Blanc and Rolex find equal placements in newspapers.
The affluent mindset is one that is driven by knowledge (most admit to doing a lot of research before a purchase) and practicality (they look for value in their purchases and need to see the tangible benefits of spending more on a product).
Media planners can play the role of helping the affluent with information, while reaching out to them through their most preferred media platform.
Inputs by Ankit Bhatnagar