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Let's make a brand

  • Published at 07:47 pm January 18th, 2018
  • Last updated at 08:03 pm January 18th, 2018
Let's make a brand
In today’s world of consumerism, every day we are bombarded with brand new products and services, screaming for our attention on TV commercials, billboards, neighbourhood stores, websites, text promotion, etc. These ads are everywhere in every form, from full-fledged sponsored movies to school events to even those stickers on the CNGs and rickshaws. But how many of these products and services become “brands”? Probably very, very few. And let’s not forget that brands are not limited to just products or services, but even people and ideas can be brands. Be it Steve Jobs or Hero Alam (can’t believe I just put those two names in the same sentence), they are brands too by their own rights. So what makes a product or even a “motivational speaker” a brand? I don’t know yet. I’ve been trying to figure it out for a long time now, but am not yet sure what will become a brand and what won’t. But I have some ideas on what are the ingredients that may make something, anything – a brand.

Identity

First and foremost, one has to have its own, unique identity to become a brand. It has to be different from anything else available out there. Even if the main offering (the product or the service itself) is similar to others, at least the look, or the language, or the message – in some way or the other must have its own unique identity. If you go to the food court in Bashundhara City Mall, can you identify one single food shop there? Probably not, because all the 200 or 300 shops there sell the exact same foods – the chola baturas and the Formosa drinks. No one is offering anything different from the hundreds around it, so none of them have an identity of their own. A Hero Alam or an Ananta Jalil only becomes a brand as they are unique in their offerings. They are not like any other actor around them, and that’s why they are brands. An entire generation in the mid 2000s was branded as the “Djuice generation”. But what was Djuice? Just another phone connection like any other Grameenphone or AkTel or Citycell. Then why did Djuice become a brand of a generation? Because Djuice had its own identity. From its target consumer and looks to its activities and language, Djuice was like no other mobile connection. That’s what made it an actual “brand”. Moral of the story: Don’t be like others. No one loves a “me too” brand. 

Consistency

With identity, comes consistency. To become a brand, you need to be consistent in your target, language, activities and quality. You can’t switch gear midway and change the direction of where your brand is going. That will confuse the consumers and they probably will move away. If your target is college students, stick to them forever. One fine morning you can’t decide that your target is not students any more but the whole nation. If you want to do that, change your brand too. Change the name, logo, identity – everything. Become a new brand. Consistency in quality is of course another huge aspect in making a brand, brand. If your quality falls, your customers will abandon you. They may still love your brand from a distance, but they won’t be dating your brand any more. No matter how much you spend in advertising, if your quality is not at the right place, you cannot sustain your consumers. Rooh Afza has looked, smelt, tasted and advertised in exactly the same manner for God knows how many years. And when their recent TV commercial had a slightly different script, I personally found it upsetting. This is not done! Rooh Afza commercial should always have a grandkid charging the grandfather why he refuses to have Iftar without Rooh Afza! Why change that after so many years? Just why? Moral of the story: Change is not always good.

Advertising

Yes, advertising is important to create a brand. Advertising creates awareness, which brings in consumers, who will eventually make your brand a success. And judging today’s world of Facebook, Twitter and Donald Trump, the more you advertise, the more likes and votes you receive. But the catch is, not all likes or votes are genuine. Advertising will bring you many customers, supporters instantly, but as said earlier, without a unique identity or consistency, it alone cannot keep your boat afloat. Advertising gives you a lot of scope to scream and brag about yourself. This is the area where you can do all the stunts, create a bang, go viral, etc. This is where you can make the claims of being a halal soap or offer a money back guarantee. But the advertising claims have to be backed up by delivering what your product or service promises to. There are even examples of globally successful brands like Body Shop who has hardly ever done any advertising per say. Its own identity has become its advertisement. Moral of the story: Make sure you know exactly why you are shouting from the rooftop.

Loyalty

Factories don’t create brands. Mobile connections don’t create brands. A company, or a CEO can only make a product or a service work. Brands are created by their fans, the brand loyals and the consumers. And to have fans, you need a solid connection. Everytime Shahrukh Khan speaks, he instantly connects with his fans on so many levels. When he talks to his significant other in movies, all the girls in the audience believe he is talking to her. He is also probably the only male celebrity who asks you to use Lux, which definitely works for obvious reasons. A brand should connect with its consumers in such a manner that the consumers feel personally attached to it. You know how Apple users are always ready to take a bullet for it? Yeah, just like that. Moral of the story: Make connections. Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Kashtan Habib is the creative director of Adcomm Limited