If you do not control social media, you are finished!

If you do not control social media, you are finished!

Branding in Challenging Time by Mr. Sunil Alagh

Sunil Alagh is the Founder and Chairman of SKA Advisors. He has 40 years of hands on experience in building successful brands like Britannia Tiger and he took his session on Marketing in Challenging Times.

What is Brand? Can human being be regarded as brand? Mr. Alagh started his session at the BBF Seminar 2015, held in this April at Radisson Blue Dhaka Water Garden, by throwing this simple yet thoughtful question to the audience. The answer is quite simple, answering what is Brand seemed cliché to the audience so they answered the second question, and guess what the common answer? Obviously it was “Yes” with examples of Shahrukh Khan, Brad Pitt, Martin Luther King Jr. etc.

But what Mr. Alagh shared and later justified, made the audience realize why the theme is Rethinking Marketing! The participants were the professionals from both local and multi-national corporations and all had answered the same. That proved the standard practice of our thoughts about marketing and this is why Rethinking the aspects of Marketing has become necessity as the conventional practices are failing to prove their competiveness in 21st century with the evolution of internet and technology.

According to Mr. Alagh, human beings cannot be a BRAND! Brand is all about Idea of Sacrifice. What, a person stands for is Brand. Gandhiji is not himself a Brand but the GANDHIGIRI is.

Similarly to person brands, a brand is an unchanging idea that guides a business, and a changing aspect that allows it to adapt to change.

In fact, a Brand name, Logo, Image is not a brand! For example, Vodafone changed its name four times without losing customers; Apple changed its logo for several times. According to Mr. Alagh, Brand is all about Experience. While the Brand owner owns the Brand legally, it is consumers who own it psychologically.

Sunil Alagh shared the classic case of Coca-Cola when they changed their taste. It’s the company that owns the brand, but upon rejection of the consumers, Coca-Cola had to turn back to its old state which proves the psychological ownership of brand.

In 21st Century, brand is equal to an unchanging idea from the owner’s perspective and brand is equal to an experience from the user’s perspective. The 20th century idea about brand was: businesses do marketing activities that result in the development of brand. The game has changed completely in the 21st Century. The brand comes first, then Business activities start and the last stage is marketing.

As of today, with the evolution of New Wave Marketing, Experience took the first place: Experience develops a brand and brand is essential to do Business. For instance, when P&G changed its experience as “Proud Sponsors of Mom” campaign during the 2012 London Olympic, the sales went up by 30%. This is an example of “Corporate Change”. Corporate Change is changing the position what it stands for. Adapting new experience is not only effective in grabbing more market share or new markets, but it can be used as a defense mechanism.

Sunil Alagh shared a tip: Never change your experience but change everything (If not necessary!). For this instance, when Fa Deo Spray could not do well as standing for both fragrance and deodorant, after taking many attempts, finally they changed what they stand for and turned into a social facilitator by launching “Fa HUG Campaign”.

Mr. Alagh ended his session with emphasis on the greatest challenge for brands in the 21st century – the social media. Social media can help to create a Brand; as well it can destroy a brand overnight as nobody in the social media ignores any message especially when it is a negative one. His remark about social media for the marketers was “If you do not control social media, you are finished!”   

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