Changing Trends in Visual Marketing

Posted by on Sep 29 2012 | Online marketing

If somebody had to say that the movie helped him understand the plot better, it would not be a surprise. It is now tested and accepted that the visual has the capacity to make a larger and deeper impact on the human brain. The marketers have been using this formula for quite some time and now the trends are moving faster.

The picture says it all: For a lot of brands, the visual branding has worked wonders. Be it soft drink giant Coke or automobile biggie Volkswagen. Their advertising campaigns over the ages have seen multi dimensional shift, but in all times they have kept the consumer talking about it.

Go the classy way: The feel of a bygone era is eternal. That is one reason why the fashion keeps bouncing back. The same goes with the visual. A lot of companies have utilized this trend by turning their ad campaigns into a black and white feel.

Take the most searched subject: For a business that needs to keep the consumer engaged. It is important to research on a subject which is live and trending. Participating in the most happening issue around and depicting it through the brand can grab the consumer’s interest.

Innovate and exercise: Exploring new options of visual marketing should be a welcome sign. Design arts have transformed the way the brands represented themselves. So, it is advised to join the bandwagon and practice something new.

Share a lot: Once the brand has the visual impact in its hand, it is time to move out and share. The brands online make it part of its campaigns, ads, banners, profiles to help attract traffic. The fans like to talk about it and share the idea further. This keeps the ball rolling.

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Minimalist Advertising: Volkswagen

Posted by on Aug 03 2012 | Advertising, branding

I still am in the process of figuring out what is it exactly known by? I think the marketers too are discussing a jargon for it or better yet a lingo to go by. But I guess the term more popular is minimalist advertising. And which one of the brands wins the race?

Quite a few of them are the contenders here. I will give it to Volkswagen.

They sure have come a long way from their ‘Lemon’ days. Remember a small black car and an elaborate ad copy talking how Volkswagen takes care of delivering only the best product to their customers. The one which is not worth never makes it to the world outside. Superb idea. What could hold a consumer’s attention and empathy, more than assuring them of how they are being thought of and taken care of.  So, here was Volkswagen talking at length about their brand and its quality standards to keep that consumer under its arms.

That was then. Now, things have changed. It’s more than change, it is revolution. They don’t talk much now. What is characteristic of a Volkswagen advertisement is that they take the crux out of the machine, as in the idea on which they would like to market the car a.k.a USP of the product and build an advertisement around it. With every new machine, they break the mould (the one surprisingly made by themselves). It’s like breaking one’s own record. Well, they do match their promise of the product in real. No kidding that. But beating other automobile brands in terms of advertising is just another feather in the cap.

What’s striking about a Volkswagen ad is the large section of the visual that captures the eyeballs. More often than not, it says more than what meets the eye. Yes, the remainder of the missing information is beautifully woven into a single sentence of the ad copy. The words are carefully chosen to express the most of information about the machine in the best and least of vocabulary available. It’s a success, all of the time.

Only a crystal clear brand strategy can bring about a consistent brand message that flows through each of the variety offered under the name of Volkswagen. The effect remains the same because the message is always powerful just like the product. So, with Volkswagen there’s no pomp and show, only the real deal. The message can be layered with a metaphor or a simile but it still talks of the ground reality, the fact what is going to be presented in the form of the product. Thus, the minimalist advertising strategy wins by giving the sense of more though saying less.

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Amazing Spider Man: Brand ‘Webb’ Sells… and How!

Posted by on Jul 12 2012 | branding, Cinema

Ok, for all those Spiderman fans out there, this reboot is definitely worth a million drools….no, not for the Lizard Man! It is for the all-new avatar of Peter Parker, adeptly played by Andrew Garfield. The swings, the webs and the zaps are all there – and in a brand new package.

So, what is it that makes one say, “Move over Tobey, your character’s been web-jacked”? Well, it’s a well-concocted blend of more realistic results of action sequences (remember the bruises that actually show till the day after?), the depth of emotions (scenes with Aunt May, Uncle Ben and of course, the love interest, Gwen Stacey, played by Emma Stone), and to top it all, the deliberately depicted inadequacies of the super-hero before he dons his role as the saviour of the city.

The story delves right into the root of how it all began. From the dilemma of separation from his parents at a young age, to growing up with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May, dealing with the trauma of his parents’ mysterious disappearance, and the wound that this childhood circumstance leaves in a young Parker, the drama unfolds and does so adeptly. The emotional confabulations, the romantic impasses and the ever-raging inner turmoil are beautifully executed through the boyish charms of the dashing Garfield. A budding photographer cum scientific genius-in-the-making takes on the ambitious and almost evil-incarnate Dr. Connors, the Lizard Man. While good triumphs, it always has a cost attached to it – which unfortunately is in the form of human lives lost (viz. Captain Stacey).

So, what makes this whole package so sough after? Is it the stunts? Is it the raw emotions? Or is it simply brand ‘Webb’ that makes it all so delectable?  The flick is worth watching to find out.


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Sports Branding: Hinting Sales

Posted by on Jul 04 2012 | branding in the brand management class of my M.B.A. last semester, I always found the subject interesting but never in the world did I take it to be something so deep. Well there were a few roots and branches but deep…Nah! Something happened when I started observing how brands work strategies to deliver their message across countries, breaking barriers of language and races. So, I thought of sharing this very engaging story of two brands, better known to the world as Nike and Adidas. Both of them started off with shoes and are now into everything sports (apparels, bags, accessories).

The story though is not plain and I will not talk about how they came into being (I know you can Google that). The interesting facet to their rivalry is the sports that they both religiously follow and endorse and manufacture for. Yes, you guessed it right. Soccer, it is. Now, I would suggest go check the recent commercial for these two brands. Nike breaks the scene with a very energetic and on-the-edge-of-your-seat ad where players, professionals and just about every man who gets hit (with the ‘soccer’ idea) rushes to the field. It culminates where a puzzled player enters the scene in a discomfortingly unfit soccer jersey. So, the ad is all about adrenaline and more of it. Talking about one of the Adidas commercials, this ad features players at a restaurant/diner and the food on the menu is ‘the shoe’, which is immaculately cooked and served ‘fresh’.  A lovely concept of depicting what an original, fresh, and right out of the ‘oven’ dish would feel like.

Apart from how both the brands have played with the idea of sports and the product associated with it, one very important fact is none of them overdid it. For Nike the whole concept was to put the spirit of the game at front (though everywhere across the field the viewers see the players’ feet and hence, the inevitable, shoe). While for Adidas, the idea was to put across the image of a shoemaker who believes in delivering authenticity with every single piece. In both the cases, the shoe is not glorified, it remains there as part of the whole play. It is understood for anybody and everybody, who has followed these two brands that they would be talking about the ‘product’, but here, goes the smart marketing. They say, yes, we are marketing our product but you won’t know it because we are not talking straight. We are just hinting; a good concept, indeed. We can expect that coming from brands that have stood the test of time, have evolved and keep upgrading themselves with every passing minute. So, what is the take home for brands that babble too much? Just keep producing quality and advertise subtly. The essence lies in knowing what is intended and if you have to say that aloud, it is no more fun.

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The Game of ‘Outplay’: Competition driven by Smart Consumers

Posted by on Jun 06 2012 | Advertising, branding

Blame it on Unilever (then Hindustan Lever) to bring about Lalita ji, to a very naïve and non-experimenting Indian consumer circle. The brand (read Surf) was smart to connect the idea of a good product with the buyer’s intelligence. And so the revolution began. The consumer understood the fact that with liberalization, the market would offer choices and that would make the former more stronger, which in turn would allow him to have the last say in where the money goes.(Trust me, that’s all we think). That was the beginning of problems for brands and their marketers.

Now, it was no more the fight of getting a chunk of that cake (read market/economy/capital) but also how long the cake lasts. The longer it is there, the sweeter it is. So, the idea was not just sales, but, sales based on long term relationship with the consumer. The consumer on the other hand was having the best of times and they still do. Before anybody could realize or let alone picture the future, the market was flooded with brands in just about all categories (and it’s growing exponentially with the retail arena). Hence, the inevitable competition. Thankfully, for a market like India, a marketer could pick and choose a category (based on socio-economic/income group distribution). Here, lay the catch. A well-read consumer (or forget that, just think of someone who is biased with feedbacks from others) would turn out to be a very tricky customer and in Indian scenario they play(ed) a dramatic role.

So, with total pun intended, this ‘smart’ consumer knew his way out and he wanted everything; economy, luxury, value and style too. Thus, the brands just had to play their cards right. Say for example some brands relied on innovation (and it’s not always about the technical ones) and have come to be known for that e.g. Pepsi, some played with the sentiment e.g. Titan, Asian Paints, some relied on offering quality e.g. Amul, Colgate. These were just a few but miraculously the ones those survived the market wars and emerged triumphant. The ones who could not, just took a bit too long realizing what the consumer wants?

Well, if nothing else, the current players take a lot of interest in consumer understanding based on extensive research tools and pay heed to what is being asked out of them, which eventually shows in frequent upgradation of product quality and variety. And the consumer seems to be having the biggest grin of the century. So much for Lalita ji, I say.

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