Communicating Brand Value – The New Way

Ms. Ruby Bana conveying her thoughts on the new way of communicating brand value to the students of TAPMI, Manipal.

Manipal, Karnataka, Aug 20th 2012 –  TAPMI played the host on the auspicious occasion of Eid to Ms Ruby Bana, The “Chief Strategist Officer” of Madison Media, who took time out from her busy schedule to come down to the scenic city of Manipal and deliver a lecture on the new way of communicating brand value. Ms Ruby Bana, who joined Madison 11 months ago, brings to the table an incredible industry experience of more than 20 years in diverse roles. She talked about how the methodology of communicating brand value is rapidly changing in today’s Social Age. In fact, she went on to say that she had had to unlearn some things in order to keep up with the changing situations in today’s brand management scenario.

Ms Bana started out by outlining what brands have come to denote in today’s day and age, how the new definition of marketing has come to emphasize more on offering value to consumers. It is this train of thought that has led to the concepts of co-creation and customization. The competitive edge that was enjoyed previously by big companies is gradually diminishing in this age. She also talked about the increased influence that regular employees and marketers now have and how the credibility of CEOs and government officials and regulators has diminished in the span of just a year, from 2011 to 2012.

She  also touched upon was the three major categories of brands, namely Functional Brands, Aspirational Brands and Inspirational Brands. Her experiences in the professional sector helped the students group the brands seen in the market under these main categories. She also explained how there has been a paradigm shift in the way branding, marketing and advertising was previously done and how it is being done now, how the ‘New World Rules’ being employed by brands were impacting the psyche of the consumers and adding value to both, the consumers and the concerns.

She then moved on to explain the impact of the various forms of media, namely Paid, Owned and Earned, in the creation of a brand. She particularly highlighted the fact that the influence of Paid Media was gradually diminishing whilst that of Earned Media was increasing. Brands were now moving towards Owned Media in order to engage their consumers much better. She mentioned how all the organisations were now looking at a more ‘Holistic Approach’ to deliver better market value alongside consumer value.

The latter part of the interaction was spent in observing commercials that had leveraged the new methods of communicating brand value, and analysing the effects they had had for their respective concerns. These commercials demonstrated how connecting with the client had given the brands huge returns and greater visibility, something that conventional forms of marketing and advertising could not have had done. Cases in point were the ‘CADBURY MISHTI SHERA SHRISHTI’ contest and the ‘NIKE+’ campaign. She cited  few cases on the same and urged students to follow them so as to further enhance their knowledge on the topic.

The session was very interactive with questions being shot from all corners of the room. Ms Bana handed out copies of the book ‘CORPORitual’ by Mr. Raj Bhowmik to those students who could correctly answer her questions. In fact, the last copy witnessed heated discussions among a few of the students to see who could finally land the right answer.

Her experiences from the corporate world helped the students connect with the concepts being discussed. The session ended on a positive note, providing the students with takeaways that are sure to stand them in good stead.

Moment of Truth

Moment of truth is one of the important concepts in the realm of marketing. It’s about the critical points of contacts between a brand and its customers that influence the perception of the customer regarding the brand. Whenever a customer comes in touch with a brand there are always several points of contact between him and the brand but only a few are crucial and help the customer build his overall perception of the brand. Such crucial points of contacts are termed as “Moment of truths”, the moments when a brand is understood by its prospects. An example can illustrate it better.

Suppose there is a fashion outlet brand. Starting from the point when a prospect steps in the store to the time when the deal is made, to any future issues regarding grievance eradication, there will be many point of contacts. But not all will be a moment of truth, only a few specific ones that influence the psyche of the customers can be considered as moment truth. In the above case it can be the very first time the customer enters into the outlet and the kind of impression he builds seeing the grandiose of the outlet, the next can be the kind of collection he gets and whether that collection fulfills  expectations both in terms of price and range followed by humility and helpfulness shown by the sales force, provision of utilities like toilets and changing rooms and of course future stuffs like grievance removable and the quality of garments which can be properly understood only after some use.

In building a brand, every moment of truth has its own very importance;  one single mistake can infuriate the customer. In the above case suppose the outlet was perfect at all the moments of truth except showing of proper courtesies by the sales force. This might have a very bitter impact on the customer.

The moment of truth depends on the context as well as the kind of products being used. For eg:- In a restaurant having a clean toilet is a must but that might not be the case with an electronic shop, similarly for few customers a grandiose outlet might be a very motivating and influencing factor but for others who are value driven customer and want proper utility at economical price the ambience might be irrelevant.

Three types of moments of truths:-

Functional Aspects: – For any kind of service or product a customer has some functional requirements as well as expectations. If he attends a flight he has some functional expectations like timely flights, safe carriage of luggage, good and timely meals etc. Thus the functional aspects are the services for which he primarily pays. During such moments of truth if expectations are not met then he might feel cheated. After all why is he paying the money, just to get some specific services?

Emotional Aspects: – Every customer has an emotional side also. As far as good value is concern it’s a primary requirement, but what if the emotional sides are not satisfied. A customer does not only expect good service but along with it also wants self respect and proper care. A good meal at an airline is always welcome but a cold behavior on the part of steward might lead to an indelible bad impression, on the other hand an average meal associated with a very warm and courteous behavior steward might be a better alternative.

Aesthetic aspects: – Though not as important as other two of its counterparts but it has its own significance. A beautifully decorated shopping outlet or lounge is always a welcome. Especially for some specific high end products and services like restaurants and airline it is very constructive in building the brand image.

– Paritosh Kashyap (Batch 2009-11)