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Patanjali is India's Buzziest Brand; Amazon, Jio follow...

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Marketing | March 24, 2017
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In the 12th edition of India's Buzziest Brands, the most exciting edition ever, Baba Ramdev's Patanjali has emerged has the No.1 brand. At No.2 is last year's winner Amazon. At No.3 is Jio, a first-timer at the Buzzies.

The results of the 12th edition of India's Buzziest Brands are out. This time, Patanjali has emerged as the Buzziest of them all, followed by Amazon and Jio. Incredibly, all three brands are relatively new to the Buzzy Brands list. This is Amazon's third, Patanjali's second, and Jio's very first outing at the Buzzies. Moreover, it's brand No.4 Paytm's second, and brand No.5 Apple's fourth time here. So the top five Buzzy Brands of 2017 are all relatively new to the Buzzies.

India's Buzziest Brands 2017

This year, of the top 10 brands, two are from the FMCG segment (Patanjali, Vivel), four are from the consumer electronics/handset segment (Samsung, Vivo, Oppo, Apple), two are e-commerce players (Amazon, Flipkart), one is a mobile-based digital brand (Paytm) and one, a telecom brand (Jio).

Four of the brands on this year's top 10, were also on last year's top 10: Amazon, Apple, Samsung and Flipkart.

Methodology:

This time there were eight jurors for the Buzzies (more than usual; typically we have around five jurors) and each of them had five votes to cast. In line with Buzzy tradition, the jury vote got 30 per cent weightage and the popular vote got 70 per cent weightage.

The number of valid voters in Buzzies 2017 was 2,424. Additionally, 1,562 voters participated in choosing the Buzziest Brands by category. This year, the brands were classified under 24 product categories.

The jury votes were entirely unprompted; that is, each juror used the unguided, free recall method to put down the names of five brands she/he thinks are Buzzy.

As for the popular vote, voters were given the freedom to type the names of five brands they deem Buzzy; as they began typing, though, in the interest of helping them get the spelling right, they were prompted with a list of brands the names of which began with the letters they typed, much like Google does when one begins to key in a word in the search bar. The voting process was water-tight and all voters were given a verification link via email.

For the category voting process, voters were required to select three brand names from a list, the length of which varied from category to category. They also had the option of adding a name they felt was missing from the list. The jury did not weigh in on this leg.

India's Buzziest Brands 2017 (The Jury)

The Jurors

1. Amarjit Batra, chief executive officer, Olx India

2. Avinash Pandey, chief operating officer, ABP News Network

3. Rajan Bhalla, group chief marketing officer, HT Media

4. Rohit Ohri, group chairman and chief executive officer, FCB Ulka

5. Sanjeev Handa, vice president and head of marketing, Maruti Suzuki India

6. Shalini Raghavan, chief marketing officer, consumer products division, L'Oréal India

7. Shivani Dhanda, director, marketing, eBay India

8. Suparna Mitra, chief marketing officer, watches and accessories, Titan Company

This time there was sharp polarisation and unanimity in the jury decisions. Usually, the jury tends to be very scattered.

Note that mobile wallet brand Mobikwik has won a Special Award at the Buzzies this year; it has been named the Most Innovative Brand.

Now, a look at the Top 10 Buzziest Brands of 2017. The awards were given away at a glittering function at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Gurgaon, last night.

1. Patanjali

Baba Ramdev-led power brand Patanjali has mastered the buzz-asna. In just a year's time, Patanjali has jumped from No.34 to No.1, in what might just be the biggest leap, and biggest upset, at the Buzzies, ever. Upset for last year's buzz supremo Amazon, that has been pushed to the No.2 spot this time.

In a very short time, Patanjali has managed to make its presence felt in the consumer market as well as among its competitors; established giants like HUL, Colgate, Dabur and Emami have all taken turns re-looking their respective Ayurveda-based product portfolios.

What makes Patanjali's victory even more special is the fact that 2016 was the first time the brand made an appearance at the Buzzies. No slow gradients for this brand; Patanjali believes in jumping straight into the big league. Over the past year Patanjali has been very active on the advertising front. In fact, the brand has not shied away from the blatant, we-are-better-than-them type of comparative advertising, something that's landed the Acharya Balkrishna-led team in some serious ASCI-flavoured trouble more than once.

Of out eight jurors, five voted for Patanjali.

Brand gurus and soothsayers are unanimous in their opinion that the Ayurveda-based brand is set to further its buzz quotient in the days ahead, what with plans to market its products in China and other markets in Asia. But then again, one never knows. Will a hot new brand dethrone it at the Buzzies next year? Or will Patanjali manage to hold on to this precious buzz? Well, that's the beauty of buzz, isn't it? - it's as transient as it is unpredictable.

Interestingly, on this year's buzzy list, this victorious FMCG player is followed by five tech-backed brands, namely, Amazon, Jio, Paytm, Apple and Samsung.

By the way, Patanjali is as old as the Buzzies; the company was set up in Haridwar in 2006.

2. Amazon

Last year's winner Amazon has been dethroned, but not too unceremoniously. Though it's a big upset, the e-commerce brand hasn't slipped too much; it still sits tight at No.2. In a world where buzz can vanish in a jiffy, that's not too bad, we'll say.

This is Amazon's third year at the Buzzies. In 2015, the brand was ranked No.25, after which it landed the top spot last year, after dethroning rival brand Flipkart (which by the way has slipped to No.10 this year). Though it doesn't have the most forthcoming spokespersons, Amazon always manages to find itself in the news. Of late, the brand's online video offering Amazon Prime has become a big buzz-generator for the parent brand.

On the advertising front, Amazon has been, for years now, cracking insight after Indian insight. From 'Aur dikhao' and 'Kya pehnu' to 'Try toh kar' and 'Apni dukaan', Amazon has consistently been generating buzz that readily resonates with the Indian e-shopper. Most recently, the company released a campaign titled 'India ka naya prime time' for Amazon Prime Video.

Just like the brands it is flanked by -Patanjali and Jio- Amazon has also fetched five juror votes.

3. Jio

A first-timer at the Buzzies, Jio, a brand from the house of Reliance Industries, has fared very well. Right from the word go, Jio has been in the news for myriad reasons, of which the biggest one has been the free data carrot it used to lure the nation. Getting Shah Rukh Khan to play messenger only amplified the buzz.

Recently, Jio was written about in the context of TRAI. The telecom regularity body got flak from telecom disputes settlement authority TDSAT for inadequately examining Jio's tariff plans.

On the advertising front, the battle for buzz was fought by Vodafone's pug (a mascot the brand revived recently), the 'Airtel Girl' Sasha Chettri, and the face of Jio - Shah Rukh Khan. Meanwhile, Idea Cellular advocated the idea that 4G is not just for the urban elite, but for one and all.

Interestingly, the gap between the top three brands is very marginal this time. The gap between the No.3 and No.4 brands, though -Jio and Paytm- is vast.

As mentioned above, five jurors voted for Jio.

Can Jio maintain the buzz it has garnered thus far? Or will it fizzle out once the data-related carrots vanish? Let's wait another 12 months to find out.

Just an aside: A telecom brand that has, historically, done exceptionally well at the Buzzies is Airtel. The brand has topped the charts five times (2006-09 and 2012), has stood second once (2016) and has stood third once (2013). This time, Airtel has missed the top 10 bracket by a whisker; it's at No.11. By the way, Vodafone is at No.56 this time. Idea Cellular is at No.55.

4. Paytm

If buzz were a man, he'd probably look and sound just like Vijay Shekhar Sharma, for a lot of Paytm's buzz has to do with its verbose, candid and media friendly founder. And of course, to demonetisation.

Paytm debuted at the Buzzies last year at -brace yourself- No.53. Within a year, the hot, young mobile wallet brand, that was launched in 2010, has climbed to the No.4 position. The brand recently crossed the '200 million users' milestone. The founder's ambition to get 500 million users by 2020 only adds to the brand's buzz.

This tech brand that looks to solve the country's 'Chuttay ki jhig jhig' found wings when the prime minister recommended using it in a speech. Subsequently, the brand used PM Modi's photos in a print campaign, got into trouble for it and apologised. Buzz has many hues, after all. (Jio did the same thing, remember?)

Paytm was quite popular with the jury as well - three jurors voted for this brand.

5. Apple

Score-wise a significant distance away from Paytm is Apple at No.5, with a couple of jury votes on its side. The brand has gained buzz over the past couple of years; it's 2016 buzz rank was No.7, in 2015 it was No.15. In its debut year, 2014, Apple finished fourth. Sometimes it's maintaining buzz and staying on the list that matters more than improving the score year-on-year. And Apple has stayed put since it first appeared on the list, so all's well.

Just the mention of Apple brings to mind the gorgeous 'Shot on iPhone' billboards that are part of a global campaign. In fact, the team has routinely been changing the images on the billboards. This has helped keep the buzz around the campaign alive.

On the product front, Apple's buzz has a lot to do with the relaunch of the iPhone 6 in India (at a cheaper rate), the e-commerce-led discounts around the iPhone 7, the company's plans to manufacture in India, and of course, predictions around what the iPhone 8 will look like and offer.

Earlier this month, Apple was also in the news for its campaign aimed at promoting its subscription-based music streaming service Apple Music.

6. Samsung

Despite a global product failure, which led to the withdrawal of its faulty smartphone Galaxy Note 7 -post which, for weeks, airline cabin crew made announcements to remind passengers that this is a dangerous, banned product- Samsung has retained its place in the top 10 Buzziest Brands list, albeit two ranks down from last year.

Earlier this year, Samsung put its most customer-friendly, humane foot forward by launching a touching, digital ad campaign, that featured a visually impaired protagonist, to underscore its after sales customer service.

Samsung has an interesting history at the Buzzies - the brand topped the charts in 2013 and 2014, only to be toppled to the No.2 position by Flipkart in 2015. Before entering -and sustaining- the single digit rank bracket in 2012, Samsung was a backbench-er for six years.

The brand didn't garner much jury support this time; only one juror voted for it. Which means, it managed to stay in the top 10 thanks to the popular vote. We saw the same trend last year as well. The buzz on the wall is clear. Never mind the crisis Samsung faced on the product front... our voters continue to adore this brand.

7. Vivel

If one were to graphically plot Vivel's performance at the Buzzies so far, one would get a sharp, steep inverted 'V'. The brand went from No.4 in 2015 to No.28 last year to No.7 this time. Before that it wasn't on the charts.

As far as relative scores go, Samsung and Vivel are very, very close. The gap between Vivel and Vivo, however, is small yet fairly significant.

Vivel appears to have hit refresh on the communication front of late. Not too long back, the brand was spotted in a video produced by digital media company Culture Machine in which Amitabh Bachchan made a strong case for gender equality.

What's most striking about Vivel's presence in the top 10 Buzziest Brands this year is that not a single juror voted for it. The rest of the brands in the top 10 list have had the support of at least one juror if not more. This means Vivel has made it to the top 10 solely on the back of the popular vote.

8. Vivo

Chinese handset brand Vivo has done very well. In just a year's time, it jumped from No.37 to No.8. And this is the brand's second outing at the Buzzies.

Vivo has played its cards right in this market. Recall that it was Vivo's association with the BCCI, as title sponsor of the IPL for two seasons (2016 and 2017), that first put it on the buzz map, over a year back. And then, the brand went ahead and got the most buzzy celebrity ambassador on board - Ranveer Singh. Vivo's ads starring Singh have been all over the place these past few months.

Two jurors voted for Vivo.

9. Oppo

Just like Vivo, this Chinese handset brand has also had a great year. From No.42 last year -the brand's very first year at the Buzzies- to No.9 this year, Oppo has gathered a lot of buzz along the way. And recently, just like Vivo, Oppo too has found its own pot of cricket-centric buzz by forging an association with the BCCI; the brand has won the sponsorship rights for Team India for the next five years, starting next month. This includes the right to display the brand logo on the players' jerseys, among several other opportunities to associate with the cricketers.

Incidentally, Oppo won these sponsorship rights, by outbidding rival brand Vivo. Oppo and Vivo, by the way, belong to the same parent company BBK Electronics.

Actors Sonam Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan have also contributed to the brand's buzz.

One juror voted for Oppo.

10. Flipkart

Though Flipkart is one rank below Oppo, its relative score is very, very similar to Oppo's. Flipkart has had an interesting run at the Buzzies over the years. The brand debuted with a bang in 2012 at No.3 and, after slipping to No.5 and No.10 in the next two years, respectively, jumped to the No.1 position in 2015. Last year, the brand finished third, after archrival Amazon and telecom brand Airtel, respectively.

Ongoing e-commerce wars (on the product launch, flash sale, discount and communication fronts) aside, Flipkart has also been in the news for changes on the investor and funding side of things. Flipkart reportedly raised around a billion dollars last week. Other than this billion dollar buzz, the company was talked about a lot when Tiger Global executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy was named CEO, earlier this year. Tiger Global is Flipkart's largest investor.

One juror voted for Flipkart. Given the e-commerce player's mass appeal, it's no surprise that the public vote pushed it into the top 10. Given the rapidly changing e-commerce landscape, it will be interesting to see whether Flipkart manages to stick around in the top 10 next year or whether it slips away into oblivion.

Buzzy Sponsors:

Indias Buzziest Brands 2017 sponsors

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