The way we communicate has changed today. Branding is a different game altogether. The strategy that was considered the right way to build a brand just a few years back is all wrong today. We, as marketers, were doing a great job all these years and then came Tim Berners-Lee and changed it all. He is the man who invented the ‘World Wide Web’. With more than 2 billion users the growth in the number of people using the Internet in 2013, as compared to 2000, has been 566%. Whoa! That’s humongous. It’s this Internet which has created a unique generation of consumers called the ‘Millennial’. People in the age group of 18-34 fall in this category. Why are they so important? Let’s look at a few quick facts. 75 million is the population of the Millennials in US alone. In countries like India and Bangladesh most of the population is around this age. What it translates into is a few simple facts. By 2022 at least 30% of all retail sales will be to this generation, and by 2025 about 75% of the total car sales will be to this generation, making this age group the most important consumers. They are the consumers of the future and as brand builders it’s critical for us to make them believe in our brands. However, this generation is very different from its parents. They live differently, decide differently, and hate being marketed to, making things very difficult for marketers. Gone are the days when you picked up a Lonely Planet or any other travel guide book to know about a new destination you wanted to travel to. Today, you just ‘google it’ and can know more about the place, and even see real time videos of the place. You read books on the Internet and buy them through Amazon. If you want to change your job you don’t go to a placement agency but to LinkedIn. If you want an education many prefer to go online than to a campus. In fact, even if you want to protest for a cause you do not need to go out on the streets rather you go to the Facebook page and ‘like’ it and voila you are a protester!
Reading, writing, travelling, protesting – you name it and it’s happening on the Internet. So, logically your brand building too should happen on the Internet.
Consider this, when someone from this generation wants to buy a car he does not got to the company showroom or collect the car company’s brochure. The first thing he does is visit various websites, at least 25 of them, and then goes to a showroom when he has almost made up his mind of what he wants. Very rarely is the salesman able to assert his influence, for it’s ‘third party reviews’ which hold more weight than the salesman.
It’s said knowing your audience is the key to building a great brand for then you know exactly what he wants. However, this time it’s going to be an uphill task just knowing the audience as these guys are different. All these years brands were built by connecting and engaging the customer at various ‘touch points’, and the traditional touch points used to be TV, print, radio, outdoor hoardings, and direct mailers. A close look at these touch points reveals that this new generation watches his favourite TV programme on YouTube, or records it on his set-top box and watches it by fast forwarding the ads. He does not wait for the morning newspaper to arrive to know what’s the latest for he can log on to Twitter and read the summaries of the top headlines, or log on to the website and get the information. With live streaming of music he does not listen to the radio but tunes in to his iPod, MP3 player etc. Be it direct mail or e-mail most of them go in the junk box if they are promotions of brands. To top it all, with new laws coming in the number of hoardings is also fast decreasing. So, if this is the scenario then how do you ‘touch’ this guy? FORGET, TO LEARN MORE
If you want to reach the new guys then there are certain things you need to forget.
(a)Forget physical media. Instead think digital.
(b)Forget traditional TV. Think of the second screen. Mobiles will be big in future and most brand building activities will happen here.
(c) Forget mass, think personalization. Mass mediums like TV and print have lost a lot of their sheen. It’s mediums which can send customized messages to consumers that will work.
You need to think like Amazon. Once you buy from it, the second time that you go there it knows you, and suggests things to buy that you may like depending on your past purchases. This is the personalization, the customization that the consumer of today wants. One size fits all no longer works. One campaign for TV, print, outdoor, radio, et al will not work any more. They say it’s the end of ‘lazy marketing’ and marketers & brand builders have to wake up and shake up and think of new ways to engage the consumer. Thanks to Facebook and other such sites today you can break up your customer base into micro segments. Pizza Hut, for instance, discovered that it had 17,000 different types of customers and planned different online campaigns which worked for the various groups. Read More....
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This Sunday (April 8), a small company changed its fortunes forever. Instagram was started two years ago, but this Sunday, it became more valuable than even The New York Times. The reason being Facebook acquired it for $1 billion few days back; causing quite a flutter among industry watchers. Why did it invest so much in a company, which hardly made any profits, is a fresh start up, and to top it all, is just an ‘app developer’ and its claim to fame is a ‘photo-sharing’ application that it developed for the iPhone? Add to this the fact that it does not even have a website to call its own, for all its features are designed for the mobile phone.
Well, there is more to it than these obvious facts. Instagram may just be an application for the mobile phone, but it has been downloaded by 50 million users, and that is something worth noticing. Though still much smaller than Facebook, the power of this company lay in its idea. Instagram is about photo sharing, but so is Facebook. However, Instagram is only mobile phone-based and Facebook’s revenues through its mobile application are zilch. Mark Zuckerberg saw this as a huge opportunity to make Facebook’s presence stronger in the mobile sector. When Zuckerberg started, it was all about the web. Today, who cares about the web? It all happens on the mobile phone, and Mark knows it best. So for a company that was valued at $500 million a few weeks back, Zuckerberg did not hesitate to double his offer and as expected, the young founders of Instagram – Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom – found it irresistible and sold it. A simple idea of sharing your sometimes grainy mobile photos and making them works of art by using an application is today worth $1 billion. That’s what a good idea can do, and that’s exactly what it did for Instagram; a 551-day-old profitless tech startup!GOOD IDEA IS GOOD BUSINESS
Good ideas make you rich but not the reverse. As William Cameron said, “Money never starts an idea, it’s the idea that starts the money.” If you have an idea that came out of your passion for something and not for the objective of making money, it’s going to make you a lot of money, for that’s what makes legends. Not just the knack of inventing and creating new ideas but even the ability to identify the potential of new ideas is what makes businesses successful. A genius is someone who can make use of the simplest of ideas. In fact, the simpler an idea, the more profitable it is. Think about ‘Hotmail’, a simple idea of sending mails for free over the internet, which made its founder Sabeer Bhatia richer by $400 million back in 1997. PayPal, a simple idea of making payments online, made its founders richer by $1.5 billion when eBay bought it. Instagram, the most recent company creating waves, is also a simple idea. In fact, it’s not even a new idea, for Flickr does the same; just that it’s for the web while Instagram is for the mobile. Flickr also made money for its founders when it was bought by Yahoo! a few years back
A successful businessman is one who keeps an eye open for ideas with potential. When eBay acquired PayPal, it saw a potential and today, Paypal is contributing in revenues as much as eBay’s core business. Something similar is what Mark Zuckerberg saw in Instagram. Those were not the profits of the company but its potential to grow which attracted him to it; for no one understands the model of establishing an audience before generating sales better than him. When he made Facebook in his Harvard dormitory, he wanted it to become popular, to be liked by youngsters and not make money. Instagram, too, was made with the same philosophy and is loved by its users. They love it so much that they would not move to any other application easily. Love is what makes the world go round; surprisingly, even the business world, and no one knows it better than Apple. It is most loved, has a cult-like following and its consumer base is most loyal. Michael Dell once said that Apple should close down while it still had something to return to its investors. This same company today has passed Exxon-Mobil as the world’s most valuable company and has bigger financial reserves than the US government! For a company that many thought would close down soon, it’s not done too bad. Even though Steve Jobs is no more with us, but the world will not forget him for his iPad. It was a new way of looking at the dying market of tablets. Thanks to the iPad, the tablet market is the most thriving one with new consumers being added every day. Read More....
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