Alright, the pill’s working now… so Shalini and Shashank here’s my side.
Now we all know what’s the real objective of all the branding and marketing exercises. As Shalini puts it, to help people connect with the company. I agree.. branding is important and maybe I expressed my views a little too strongly by saying it’s an utter waste. What I really want to say is, too much of it is a waste but branding or marketing should not be the focus of any company that is trying to increase sales. Trying to win the market from an established brand is just too much effort and money if you resort to marketing and branding. I suggest innovation and invention and it is only this which can help you break into an already mature or captured market.
There are always gaps and some unsatisfied needs of customers, which with targeted market research and intelligent analysis you can identify and fill with your products. The tip I am giving here is to become the market leader not just increase profit. Now take Apple (my favorite brand), despite the big players of the mobile phone industry, viz. Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola occupying the largest market share, it’s Apple which keeps 30% of the total revenue generated by mobile phone sales. Can you beat that? I mean Nokia and others have been around for a decade but Apple makes the most and you are probably going to tell me it’s the Brand Image of Apple. Well, my question is what is the brand image then, is it the “White Apple”? Now, this is how I see it. While Nokia and Ericsson have been upping the bar by increasing the number of pixels and improving other similar mutimedia features and HTC being a pioneer in touchscreen phones, Apple focused on functionality.
My Analysis of the iPhone’s Success
Most people didn’t care too much about 8-10 MP cameras or high-end stylus operations. They just wanted to get things done, you know – make a few calls, use the internet to find something or check mails (not to forget social networking sites) without causing too much strain on the eye. This calls for a bigger screen and an enhanced GUI, well Apple answers with their iPhone. They were the first to feature Accelerometer and a touchscreen which should work the way as we want it to work. You don’t want to pull out your stylus all the time and you don’t want to select unwanted options while using the touchscreen which means the screen should understand the movement of the human fingers and should be comfortably big to move them too. Simple, isn’t it? Aren’t these the most fundamental requirements of an interactive mobile phone? Add to this the super efficient App Store so people looking for advanced functions can pay and download what they really need. No pressure! That’s what allows Apple to charge a premium for their products and makes them a successful brand – “innovation from customer perspective“. Everything else automatically falls into line. Now all your advertising and marketing campaigns are not just telling how cool you are or how long you have been a leader in the industry. They are telling “WHY” – why you should buy iPhone and how it can improve your relationship with technology. This is all that a Brand should really be meant for, to tell the customer what the company can do for you that others cannot. So I see brand image as nothing but the overall representation of how a company has upheld its commitment to provide innovative products (or services).
Shalini and Shashank, marketing is not redundant because it is through effective marketing only that you can communicate to your customers. In this dog-eat-dog world, marketing is an essential tool to stay ahead of the competition but here’s the line. It is not the primary function of a company which it has today become for so many but a support function. Marketing is the glitter on the package and though it may help sell the package initially what really matters is the usefulness of the package. So concentrating on the package is way more essential than wrapping it up in glossy paper.
P.S – This started off as a reply to the comments of my friends, Shalini and Shashank, on the previous post Common Sense In Marketing but it turned out to be lengthy enough for a new post. Besides, a post has been long due.