How to Future-Proof a Digital Brand, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity

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S Ramesh Kumar

Digital marketing is meant to take marketing orientation to the next level


As the Indian context is experiencing the Metaverse wave vis-a-vis brands, it is pertinent to highlight what should be the intent of digital marketers (digital marketing intent) in an environment where brands are becoming increasingly in addition digital on the one hand and call centers with a half-baked digital interface offer negative consumer experiences on the other hand (author’s experiences with several well-known brands).

Digital marketing and consumer expectations

There are three types of brands: functional brands (which offer a tangible solution that the consumer uses to benefit from it), symbolic brands (which provide intangible elements such as prestige, signaling value and emotional benefits which can create capital for the brand) and experiential brands (focused on experiential multi-sensory consumption). With technology, all of these types of brands can take it to the next level by meeting expectations that will result in a lasting digital brand.

It should also be noted that although the classification of brands provided are general indicators, they may also overlap with each other. For example, iPhones offer several features of each category (functional usefulness, status appeal, but also visual and usability experiences). Expectations and experiences create a supportive attitude which is the anchor and back office of branding. An attitude has three components, one is associated with rational thinking, one is associated with feeling (rather than thinking) and the third is associated with the intentional/actionable aspect of the mindset of the consumer.

The different points linked to the three dimensions of attitude form the contact points of the brand. This means that every time a consumer interacts with a brand, expectations and experiences impact the consumer’s attitude towards the brand. Therefore, the brand experience begins and continues with the attitude. How can digital marketing claim to improve the brand experience through technology?

The basics of a digital brand

An article published in Harvard Business Review (2020) delved into the basics of a digital brand – Mastery, Accessibility, Cadence and Ensarement. The intent of a digital marketer is to consider these basics so that value is added through proper use of technology. and digital marketing. Although consumer category/brand/market/segment may differ on these bases, they offer exciting challenges for Indian digital marketers in terms of improving consumer experiences.

Additionally, the technology enables services (even in the form of content personalization for consumers) that are appropriate to the respective brand. Mastery is associated with rewards unique to the brand (like the performer the author, this can be experiential in terms of functional and psychological aspects), accessibility is associated with access to services associated with a brand and may include several needs related to the cadence of consumers is associated with the creation of content and news vis-à-vis the brand and the pitfall is to increase the costs of change (psychological costs included), given the effects network.

Taking digital brands to the next level

Take for example the real estate sector in India. There are a few reputable brands that charge a premium. Why should the consumer buy a house from these brands? Risk reduction, sustainability with regards to several aspects of the building, perhaps signaling value and expectation on good pre and post sales services. A good number of these websites ask consumers to share their cell phone number if they need more brand details, perhaps with an idea to track leads and apply sales techniques to convert. prospects and such an approach is short-term in addition to forcing the consumer to provide private information. This is business orientation.

There may be other aggregation platforms where these brands provide web links for the purpose of ‘push’ offers and usually this results in ‘aggressive selling’. There may be several other brands in other categories that underutilize their digital technologies. While there is nothing wrong with using technology for execution or operation, the goal of digital marketing is to ensure a win-win for the brand and the consumer.

The concept of Brand Flagship platforms can make a lasting difference for brands in the real estate space and the category is used for illustrative purposes only.

“Far from Amazon?”

The latest issue of Harvard Business Review (September-October 2022) features an article on leading brand platforms. Nike Run Club, for example, goes beyond its merchandise to offer social events, fitness challenges, community interaction, personal training by experts, music playlists. The brand is a partner of Headspace for meditation (mental well-being). In the example of real estate mentioned above, a brand can digitally co-opt several third-party brands with the associated needs/services of a potential apartment buyer.

This creates engagement with the offer rather than just trying to sell it. The idea is to let the consumer mix and match product/service offerings with a sense of security under the manufacturer’s brand umbrella (or create strong positioning if the brand is new). The concept of holistic marketing also fits well in these digital platforms, as the organization over time also restructures its internal marketing initiatives and digital marketing is not done in a siled way.

Online retail aggregators (like Amazon, for example) help brands reach a broad consumer base, but they may not provide the kind of sustainability to individual brands that can best benefit by embracing customer-centric digital initiatives. customer.

Behavioral dimensions of digital marketing coupled with consumer mindset are likely to make the brand sustainable in the digital age.

(The author was Professor of Marketing at IIM Bangalore. Opinions expressed are personal.)

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