Brand Owner's Summit: Surviving opinion turbulence

By Rashmi Menon , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | February 15, 2013
Mahesh Murthy, managing partner, Seedfund, explained how in a fluctuating marketing space today, brands need to engage with customers in innovative ways to be on top.

In a world where most people have easy access to information and express their opinion, it's a tightrope walk for brands. In fact, many of the old reputed brands, some even a century old, have been collapsing at a rapid pace and much faster than before, said Mahesh Murthy, managing partner, Seedfund; founder CEO, Pinstorm; and founder and principal, Passionfund. Murthy spoke during the Brand Owner's Summit held recently in Ahmedabad.

Mahesh Murthy

According to him, most brands are unable or unfit to handle volatility. Brands today are swept by the tsunami of public opinion that can either build them up or break them. "As a brand manager and investor, all this makes me nervous," he said. Therefore, it is not enough that brands survive these tsunamis of consumer opinion and perceptions; they need to thrive on them.

"Traditional marketing is not working and the battlefield for brands has moved from shelf to consumer's minds. In other words, the brand image has shifted from atoms to neurons. And, the brand's premium is based on what you want to be now," Murthy said. In fact, brands appear differently to different types of customers now. For instance, the traditional way of pricing is obsolete, making way for variables. In order to attract new customers, the same brand might provide more discount, while the discount for its loyal customers would be different.

The mutation in marketing can be found even in distribution system and promotions. "Out of the top 44 top brands in the world, one-third don't advertise," he pointed out. As a result, investors are looking for brands that thrive in the turbulence and can not only cope but use it to their advantage by generating remarks and conversations from the public. For instance, when one of the coffee chain brands in the US was facing losses, it approached the customers through the digital platform to ask them how it could improve itself.

The event was powered by, supported by associate sponsor Bestow and dinner sponsor Khushi Advertising.

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