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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1 comment for now

One Response to “The Game of ‘Outplay’: Competition driven by Smart Consumers”

  1. shivangi

    Whoa!This is marketing in a blog..:) gr8 work

    06 Jun 2012 at 4:49 pm

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