Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Innovations in BRANDS

When a child is small his habits, hobbies, needs are a lot similar to other children. He likes to play the same games like gully cricket, hide-n-seek, etc. They love Kellogg's cornflakes, McDonald meals, Pokemon, etc. But as they grow-up their knowledge increases with studies, books, movies and of course television. Knowledge leads to good decision making skills. So they start changing, their needs change, likes change. Now they also understand and decide what they want from life, from career, from social groups, etc. This leads to change in behaviour patterns of grown-up kids, their wants and hobbies takes a big turn. They also have more choices now with the opening of Indian economy and international products & brands available in India right into their nearest store. They are not dumb anymore to blindly follow what they are taught/shown, coz they have their own mindsets.

In the same manner Brands also have life, they are born, they reach the height of their image and slowly they perish, coz the brand managers fail to innovate. Brand managers who are considered the parents of the brands fail to understand this important aspect of the Brand i.e. to Innovate. Each new Brand/product is launched with a lot of budget on advertising, publicity, events, etc. But after some years of break even and profits the brand manager starts neglecting those same same Brands which everybody cherished.
Also since the Brands are targeted to a specific audience, if the audience changes or grows, the Brand managers again start targeting the same age group, so they start from the scratch the campaign for new consumers or customers. Again the same concept of advertising, same target audience and the things over again. If the Brand managers innovate then the target audience will increase, the marketing plans will change with a new challenge for the Brands to survive.

Take the example of Horlicks, earlier the Brand campaign was targeted for children and mothers as whole food for children. Then the team at Horlicks started changing the packaging of the brand with different flavours, so a new target audience I mean more consumers as every consumer has a different taste. Over the years Horlicks kept on changing the taste/packaging/campaign for the changing needs of the consumer. This was part of the Horlicks innovation team, which suited their product to each consumer requirements. Over a period of 15 years Horlicks campaign with many changes also began targeting working women and mother's as they also need energy to work. According to Horlicks the now the women are more career oriented, working mothers, they need energy to work, to meet their ends. Their are very less brands in the market who have changed the way consumers have changed their habits, Brands like Cadbury is one such brand which comes to mind when we think about continuous innovation in BRAND.

It's high time the brand managers think about long term benefits and offer long term customer service, rather than achieving short term targets/goals. Every Brand needs to innovate coz the consumers are changing, they are getting more options, more choices, more information. The consumer is more informed as ever about what is good for him/her, they understand what the meaning of reading the labels, so targeting these consumers a more innovative campaign need to be planned.

But, what I have seen is the Brand managers often goes in for a complete re branding of the brand. For a Brand manager this generates enough hype for its target audience with new hoardings, new advertisements, and press conferences, which is not the right solution.
Celebrities/sex is used, when creativity dies.

Companies need to planned for long term goals, conduct market research, innovate, invest in R & D, etc.

The competition is not with rival companies or products but with TIME and INFORMATION coz both these aspects are changing with the speed of thought.


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