Connecting the Dots?

26 Jun,2019


By Sanjeev Kotnala


Brands Connect Dots To Remain Future-Proof

Agencies are trying to go beyond the brief and pleasantly surprise clients. It is an excellent thing to do. The new purpose-led advertising is keeping the client happy and the agency busy. There is some talk of this purpose-led advertising strategy, engaging the consumer and resulting in some revenue realisation.

This is the era of niche. Everyone is an expert busy connecting the dots. Some are busy creating the new dots that the new purpose-led campaign will rationalise at a later date. All are interested in riding the new wave, trapped in a cycle of deliberate differentiation and disruptive design. And now you have dots of different creed and importance. The emotional dot that makes the consumer feels. The functional dot explains the product or unique service features. The yellow and red coloured e-commerce dot shouts how much the consumer can save.

There are too many dots searching for the invisible thread that will bind them together. Maybe it is best to get that invisible thread and then create or pick the dots that you want to be the part of your brand necklace of promises and experience.


Connecting Dots Is An Illusion.

No one captures the illusion of connecting the dots better than Steve Jobs. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, and karma, whatever.  This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Jobs knew what he was talking about. He focussed on creating fantastic product design and interface experience for the consumer. He was ruthless in his philosophy of no compromise.


Consumer Connects The Dots.

It was the consumer who was connecting the dots. The brand ‘I’ or and Apple were forming the experiential dots; an incomparable brand and company.

Samsung, IBM, Nike are examples of perfect understanding of the current dots in the ecosystem. They are all aiming to further enhance an already nice experience. No doubt, the consumer sees them differently.

For the dots to connect themselves, the brands must remain focussed on their karma. Their identified reason for existence. It must continue to have the hunger to create a new pattern by re-arranging the dots.

With a focussed approach, with time, many unconnected dots get created. More the dots easier it is to see or create a pattern. And for that, the brand must survive the threat of time and constant rejuvenation in sync with changing consumer needs and profile.

The world desires Instant gratification. Brands must survive to fight another day. The solution lies in speeding up the process of delivering customer-centric relevant dots in highly information-democratised market.


Connecting Dots Does Not Give You Purpose. Purpose Gives You The Way To Create Fresh Dots.

Every brand wants to be purpose-driven and disruptive. It is complicating things. They are driven by the desire to find the purpose they can claim from the dots in the business ecosystem. Many patterns are being forced. They are sometimes not relevant and many times not natural and fluid. They don’t exist, so they don’t survive. Then a Nokia, Polaroid or a Kodak happens.

Like an acquired taste, strategic planners on brands now only think outside the box. The box is defined differently in everyone’s mind. The brands are jumping in without mastering what has been inside the box. What they really good at. The need they are really catering to. Every project is an exercise in design thinking. Divergence and convergence are spoken as if it was the most refreshing and most straightforward task at hand.


Dots Are Never Permanent.

Every marketing head is busy making a dot that will pass the test of time. The marketing managers and custodians know these are like lines on sand. They are trying to create and understand the patterns before the next tide of shifting consumer priorities strikes. They force their perceptions and unique model of the market understanding reflecting the biases and experience.

The stakes are significant. The failures are costly and the fears real. The success is transitory.  Success and failure are also the new dots that help re-define unspoken boundaries, barriers and facilitators. There is a whole world of dreams full of unwarranted inefficiencies and doubts. Everything and everyone is a suspect. No research complete. Everything is always uncertain and probabilistic.

Wanting to see the larger picture and lead the brand on a dream run, brand custodians rightly taking time. They remain consumer-centric. And sometimes they try for a tectonic shift in the consumer profile and gender. That’s when the toxic masculinity and orgasminequality happens.


Dots And Purpose Are Different.

The teams have forgotten the art of keeping the message, medium, promise and delivery simple.  They are trying to force a purpose led message in a clutter. They are demanding higher involvement from the audience challenged for attention. Not sure where this is leading.

To create a pattern that can be justified as consumer-centric and consumer dictated trend, new ecosystem push and justifications are used to show dots where there were none. The UK gender stereotype ban, the Indian Government ban on condom advertising between 6 am and 11 pm are not consumer-centric or reflective of the need.

Let the brand take the challenge. Experience, interact and engage with the known dots at every possible touchpoints. It must not be forgotten that when the brands use the singularly positive converging experience from all relevant dots in the consumer’s mind, it leaves a stronger impression.

It will always be far stronger than a pattern that is forced to justify the action.

I believe that the consumer can judge and decide. They do. They can infer and see if the pattern is logically defined or just an act of strategic desperation.


Don’t allow dots to confuse.

Brands should just concentrate on every one of the multiple dots. Giving a real that goes much beyond expectation. Reflecting the true brand-consumer ecosystem and need not be politically correct. When it happens, magic happens. Brands like Apple, OnePlus, Fogg, Kelvinator, Rasna, Nirma, Amul, Maggie, Cadbury, Dream-II, Swiggy, Coke, Pepsi, Parle, Uber, Indigo are some of the examples.

Don’t waste time, searching for the invisible thread that will hold the dots, connect the dots. Just pick that invisible thread and keep adding new and relevant consumer experiential, emotional dots to create the brand necklace.



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