In the old world, it was news to hear of the birth of a new brand. In the new world, so many new brands are being born, and so quietly! (Did Flipkart have a launch ad? And what in the world happened to those big ‘introduction-feel’ ads we used to carry to every pitch?)
In the old world, a 30 sec spot on a few good channels, a full page newspaper ad, and a direct mailer to influencers was all a brand needed to announce its arrival. In the new world, a brand arrives when the courier brings its packages – to several houses in the neighbourhood, on the same day.
Full page ads these days are so many, but they count for so little. TV spots too. Kids are growing up reflexively fast forwarding – at 16x speed, through the months of strategising, conceptualising, research, shoot, post-prod and media planning of agencies – in a blink! And DMs? They don’t waste too much paper anymore, do they? And let’s not talk of emailers that quietly go into spam either.
In the old world, a brand designed its personality, its tone of voice, its values. And carved it in stone. In the new world, brands design experiences. In ads, on hoardings, at demos, at sales counters, on the phone, in emails, on Facebook. And the good ones leave no stone unturned to make each one add up.
In the old world, a brand built its own beautiful, perfect, happy world and invited your heart and mind to view it – a shimmering bubble that floated mesmerisingly past your face. You could see it, but could you touch it, poke it? In the new world, a beautiful bubble is only as long-lived as the nearest disgruntled blogger and reviewer. (Remember Lemp the pub?)
Back in the old days, an award, a good review, was what you thought counts. These days it’s word of mouth that returns to haunt. And never mind the ‘Likes’ that you spent a couple of years collecting!
Back then you wondered if the PoS would still look good in 6 months. Now, it’s the product that needs refreshing.
In the old days, a brand’s label would offer consumers a PO Box address. Now the consumer googles the CEO’s email id.
She Googles product reviews from around the world, and on Amazon. She watches unboxing videos on YouTube. She compares the fine print on the pack that’s sold here and the one that’s sold there. After all, it only takes an image search of content labels to make clear the effort the brand has put in to give her a product that’s, well, maybe not as good value for money as the one sold under the same name a little to the west.
In the old world, a brand chose what it decided to show the world about itself. In the new scheme of things, the consumer shows the world if a brand is hiding something. The consumer is everywhere. Watching tv. reading newspapers, listening to the radio. And many of them do all this from their laptops. So what’s a brand to do? Be fashionable and ‘go digital’?
In the new world nothing looks so laughable as someone trying too hard to look ‘with it’, as they used to say. It’s not looking fashionable that’s cool – it’s looking cool that’s fashionable, no matter what clothes you wear.
In the old world of brands, life used to be much simpler. There was none of this measurability and analytics and big data to worry about! Oh but in the new world, all these open up so many possibilities! And offer us so much to explore! And unlock so much that can be achieved!
No more does a challenger brand consider it impossible to overthrow an established market leader. No more is it impossible to be worth more in 5 years than a world-favourite brand is after 50! No more does one need to know marketing textbooks to do all that – all it takes is to wear the hat of the consumer and do unto her the marketing that she would do unto you – with simplicity, intelligence, grace, humour, and transparency. After all,the consumer, she’s not a moron, she’s your partner.