Develop a Brand repeats growth strategy
BY JAGDEEP KAPOOR
To garner good word of mouth, don’t compete with others. Compete with yourself, constantly raising standards.
To feed means to grow because of an influence. No brand marketeer wants one-time consumers. He/she knows that he/she will remain in business only if there are repeat purchases.
In order to ensure that his/her brand grows through repeated purchases and the conversion of the one-time ‘teaser’ into a life-long ‘devotee’, he/she must ensure the following seven elements :
• Product quality
• Product service quality
• Brand Experience
• Brand Satisfaction
• Brand delight
• Brand Surprise
• Good brand word of mouth
Let us look at each of these in turn.
Of what use is all the wooing of the potential consumer, if, at the end of the day, the performance does not match the promise? It’s all very well for the brand marketeer to promise his/her consumers the moon through advertisements in the media as long as he/she remembers that the proof of the pudding lies in the eating.
Product quality must therefore be impeccable.
A leisure tourism service sector brand may make Europe look exciting in an advertisement on TV, but this will come to naught if the consumer realizes while on holiday, that what he/she saw on TV has got nothing to do with the tour he/she is on.
What does it matter if the branded pen promised a superior writing experience when on actual usage, it runs dry or blots the cheque it was used to sign on?
In order to ensure brand repeats growth, as per my brand feed shaastras, it is important to focus on the first element of product quality. There cannot be greater damage done than to have bad performance by the product. This will not help the brand feed and grow through positive influence, but will instead make the brand starve and decline.
Sony, as a consumer durable brand, has been able to achieve very strong brand repeats growth because of its excellent product quality. Over the years it has been admired by and aspired for by consumers.
The next element is of service quality. Every product has a service component and every service has a product component. For example, a consumer electronic item would definitely have a service component. And a service like an airline would have a product component like the aircraft, the seats and the food.
Unless service quality is focused on, there is a good chance that there may be no brand repeats.
Indian consumers have become world-class quality and service. Maruti, the car brand, has had a very strong brand repeats growth rate because of its service quality. They communicate the service quality in terms of its easy and widespread availability, as well as its performance.
An excellent combination of service quality and product quality is shown in two TV commercials of the Maruti car campaign.
In the first one, a young Sikh lad plays with a toy car right through the day. Late in the evening, he is still at it, this time vrooming-vrooming it over his reclining father’s stomach. On being reprimanded by his father for ‘driving his car’ non-stop through the day, the child says, ‘What can I do, the petrol just won’t finish?’ thereby implying that he would continue playing, and in the bargain reinforcing the fuel efficiency of the vehicle. This reflects the brand’s good product quality performance.
In another campaign, run almost parallelly, the easy accessibility of Maruti’s service is highlighted.
A couple of youngsters driving their Maruti on an isolated mountain range enquire of a local child about facilities like a hotel and a restaurant. On being told that neither is available, they ask without much hope if there is a Maruti service station. Much to their surprise, this is answered in the affirmative. With this the brand quietly underlined its vast service network which allows a Maruti vehicle owner to rest assured about maintenance and have peace of mind.
This is an excellent example of product quality and service quality being used in my Brand Feed Shaastras to enhance brand repeats growth.
Interestingly, in both TV commercials, a young child is used and, in my opinion, this livens up the brand’s image.
The third element in my Brand Feed Shaastras is brand experience. Whether the brand be a product brand or a service brand, repeats only take place when the brand has been experienced and consumed. Even though the brand may have the best product and service quality, unless trials takes place through the Deed Shaastras, there is no chance of repeats. In my Brand Feed Shaastras, positive and pleasant brand experience is vital. Only when consumers have had a pleasant brand experience will they make repeat purchases.
While flying Jet Airways, British Airways or Singapore Airlines, extra care is taken to provide a pleasant brand experience. It is not that other airlines do not try to do the same, but consistently pleasant brand experience stands out in the service of the named brands. It cold be simple things like addressing the customer by name or speaking to customers internationally in their local language so that they are comfortable.
The Taj Inner Circle or the ITC (Indian Tobacco Company) Grand Maratha Sheraton in Mumbai take extra pains to ensure a pleasant brand experience for their customers, whether this be at the time of booking, during the stay or while checking out. All this leads to brand repeats growth.
The fourth element in my Brand Feed Shaastras is customer satisfaction at the very basic level. The culmination of the understanding of needs right through to the pleasant experience must satisfy the customer enough for him/her to want to use the brand again. In trying to deliver a higher level of quality or service, the brand marketeer must not ignore the basic level of customer satisfaction – the function of the product or service.
There are times when, at restaurants, a nice welcome and cheerful staff creates a nice atmosphere but if a cold soup is served, the basic customer satisfaction is destroyed. In my opinion, the element of basic customer satisfaction amounts to meeting the need of the customer.
The fifth element of my Brand Feed Shaastras is customer delight. This means that the brand marketeer not only meets but also surpasses the need of the customer.
Going back to the restaurant examples, if not only is hot soup served but it is also ensured that the bowl is hot and then the waiter double checks by asking the customer if the soap is hot enough, offering to bring another bowl if it is not, the customer will no doubt be delighted by the service.
The customer would want to come back to the restaurant and repeat his/her experience.
Customer delight is one reason why some successful restaurants have serpentine queues of customers waiting to get in, while others are vacant.
The sixth element, also my favourite and one I strongly recommend as part of my Brand Feed Shaastras – customer surprise.
Let me quickly caution the reader that by this is not meant customer shock, while is negative in nature. Customer surprise is always positive in nature.
Going back to the restaurant example, the brand marketeer would not only have to meet the need of the customer and surpass his/her expectations, but would have to preempt the customer’s need, only then would he/she surprise the customer.
Repeat customers, regular customers or loyal customers are those who are constantly surprised by the brand marketeer.
The customer gets surprised if his/her internal desire is anticipated by the brand marketeer and is ful-filled without the former’s having to express it.
Customers surprise is offered by very few brand marketeers and these usually become brand leaders, because my Brand Feed Shaastras leads to brand repeats growth.
The brand marketeers who seeks to surprise his/her customer pays so much attention to his/her customer that he/she knows what the former wants.
Continuing the scene in the restaurant example, if as the customer starts leaving after paying his/her bill, and he/she sees his/her car waiting for him/her at the porch without his/her having to lift a finger or say a word (because the doorman at the entrance preempted his/her need and from the corner of his eye saw the customer approached the porch, moved swiftly and arranged for the car), the customer will undoubtedly be pleasantly surprised and possibly want to return to the restaurant another time.
The final element is the element of good brand word of mouth, which us the climax of all other elements of my Brand Feed Shaastras.
More brands are built by good word of mouth than by any other form of communication. New consumers are attracted to the brand and existing consumers come back for more..
My Brand Feed Shaastras for brand repeats growth ensures a perennial flow of business from existing as well as new customers. They feed on the positive brand experiences, performances and surprises and many indulge in purchases and consumption for generations.
At the end of the day, while it is all very well for the brand marketeer to outrun the competition, but as any brand worth its salt on the world stage will agree, after the race is won, competition is not about being better than others, it is about competing with oneself. It is about being the best one can be. It is about evolution. And it is about rising to the occasion and realising one’s own true potential. It is not enough to be a winner. In my Brand Feed Shaastras, one needs to be a champion, contently raising one’s own standards and going all out to achieve them. Only then can one ensure brand repeats growth and good brand word of mouth.
Copyright © 2006, All rights reserved with Jagdeep Kapoor – Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
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The author is Jagdeep Kapoor, Brand Guru and Managing Director of the successful Samsika Marketing Consultancy.
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