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Different Strokes

brand consulting firms

Have you ever been in this situation? You and your significant other have the time and space to plan a long-awaited getaway together. Your mind breaks free and you begin to dream. You want to go sit on a beach and sip cocktails or go trekking through the Andes while blowing on hot coffee. As you’re looking up tickets to Bali or figuring out how to pronounce Buenos Aires (is it “Ay-rees” or “Airs”?), your partner is eagerly looking up the shopping line-up in Dubai or gondola rides in beautiful Venice.          

Both equally exciting propositions, but quite different.

Any brand manager’s perfect world is one where he can create an exciting new brand that will sweep the market, dazzle customers and break all known conventions in its race to the top. To this end, you will study the market, identify needs and gaps, look at your competitors, differentiate your product and concoct a winning magic proposition.

But hold on… if you are a consultant, are you sure this is what your client wants? Or as an internal marketeer, know what the business seeks? It is easy to get carried away in crafting your super-brand, that you tend to let it slide that this might not be in line with what your client or business has in mind.

We were approached by a manufacturing company in the construction industry which had a strong presence in its local district and had been in business for 25 years. They were ramping up their manufacturing capacity, so there was additional product to sell. The need was to as they called it, ‘do some marketing’ in order to be able to sell on an ongoing basis the incremental volume that would now being manufactured.

After studying the space, we found that the customer segment had very little access to information, were invariably cheated on weighment, had no option to redress grievances and were provided with no value-added services. What you see is what you get, take it or leave it! Given this insight, we realised we are sitting on a gold mine. Promise the customer the assurance that they will not be short-changed, and we could be a league apart in terms of positioning

So we excitedly began to assemble a host of services (the list ran into double digits) that were unheard of in this space, not just in the state but across the country. We needed a complete overhaul of the company, its manufacturing processes, quality control parameters, an all-new sales force and a distributor network, toll free numbers … the works.

The brand that was conceived to ‘take the pain and hassle out of the purchase process’ would have been a hit with customers, but it cut little ice with the internal client organization. What we proposed was too much of a departure from the status quo and not in keeping with their primarly objective. We were seeking to make the ultimate promise to the customer and thereby meet the business objectives, they were looking at a relatively simple and easy way to sell off their produce so as to swing to profitability. We saw a huge premium that the brand could command, they were comfortable with market pricing as long as volumes were met!

The lesson?

We realised that its important to temper the enthusiasm we have for our brands with the vision of the client and what hence what appears to be practical to achieve. Head in the clouds, with feet firmly on the ground makes a lot of sense!

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