The Anchor: Ramanujam Sridhar on 7 ways brands can stay relevant to their consumers

28 Sep,2011

#1 Be a student of brand history
Why is that some brands struggled to remain relevant to their consumers. Will studying their life cycle and history teach us something to avoid? Remember, wise people learn from the mistakes of others and don’t make new ones.

#2 Study the consumer
Preferences are changing and consumers are changing even more dramatically and brands sometimes get left by the wayside. Rasna which was the leading soft drink concentrate in the country lost share of mind and market share as the consumer moved to bottled drinks in the nineties from the concentrate that they were mixing at home. Soft drinks became fashionable and the trend took over the consumer.

#3 Is your brand evolving with the times?
Immortal brands like Coke, Pepsi and Nike have evolved with the times and newer generations of customers continue to find them cool. Others have become dated however. Be objective in evaluating your brand.

#4 How innovative is your brand?
Brands like Titan continue to be relevant to their consumer as they constantly keep the excitement flowing with new product launches. Titan edge the slimmest watch in the universe at that time created a ripple in the market and gave consumers like me a reason to upgrade their watches. The market leader has to expand the category and Titan has been doing this for years. Ask yourself an honest question. When was the last time you had an innovation in the brand?

#5 Is your advertising the best in the category?
A simple benchmark is to strive to ensure that your brand’s advertising is the best in its category. Not in terms of awards but in terms of consumer preference, liking and interest. Don’t look for industry approval, look for consumer endorsement.

#6 Is your consumer getting older?
Constantly track the sales data. Is your consumer getting older? Are younger people looking at hepper brands? If I were McDowells’ No. 1 whisky, I would be worried that younger tipplers are drinking more of Royal Stag. It is important to be relevant to youth especially in a country of young people like ours.

#7 Relevant brands engage their customers
Too often companies forget that the real magic is in the customer engagement not only high decibel advertising. Do consumers talk about their experience with your brand or are they complaining bitterly about something that your company did in some blog. Watch what is happening around you. You just might be surprised.

Ramanujam Sridhar is CEO, brand-comm.

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