‘The lines have long disappeared’. As told to ‘Impact’ by a true brand custodian Anil Nair, CEO, Law & Kenneth

Someone asked me recently, whether building brands in the coming decade would rest with above the line or below the line agencies? My reply was that the lines have long disappeared and the only line one needs to look at is what’s drawn between the consumer and the brand.

The reality is that very few brands can afford to play the IPL gamble, use fix-all celebrities or create TOI roadblocks to establish themselves quickly. Marketing ROI and strategies thereof are under the scanner in many boardrooms.

Given this truth, I believe the next decade will not be about ‘interruption’ or disruption’ but about connections, conversations and adding value to consumers’ lives. The only way forward for brands will be through making meaningful cultural connections and creating lasting relationships with their consumers. It’s not going to happen by just entertaining, titillating or emotionally touching them. The future is about creating the ‘wow factor’ for brands that will get consumers addicted. I would like to call it ‘WOW MARKETING’.

It will be dominated by brands that strive to deliver unique yet relevant experiences, instead of bombarding consumers with propositions. They will use media that enhance these consumer experiences, irrespective of which side of the line it belongs to. Media owners will have to start thinking about these experience opportunities/platforms, instead of merely charging for eyeballs and eardrums like they used to. The question each media vehicle needs to answer is: how many wow moments can it provide and to how many people.

Technology and its practical applications, is fast changing consumers’ media habits. I foresee the ubiquitous mobile phone with uninterrupted power, leading charge here. It’s not going to be broadcasting but interactivity that will make it a winner. And I don’t know if that’s above the line or below it.

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16 Comments

  1. Hey there. I abhor the word disruption or intervention for that matter. Both the words are presumptuous and believe they need to slice into the customers life. They are old-fashioned words that acknowledge customers dont want you and you have to force your way in. So disrupt or interrupt. The day marketing goliaths cease to use these archaic words will be the day they can sell a good product with minimal spends and maximum acceptance. Wow moments are good nomenclature. Some brands do that all the time. Kelloggs launched a large store at Times Square for Pop Tarts just to let people flavor up the cereal. Why would a breakfast snack do anything like that? Pop Tarts is their winner brand. There is DIY and many pop tarts based recipes. Its like come join the fun when you are enjoying at times square.

    • Hey Richard,
      Thanks for the Kelloggs example. That’s a wonderful way to be part of consumer lives and add value in the process. However such changes need to be an enterprise wide initiative than just a marketing initiative.The challenge is that many large organizations have a parochial view of marketing. They view marketing as a department that helps sell their goods to consumers than the vital link that keeps the organization alive. Time is a great teacher and they will learn a costly lesson soon.

  2. We are not in the business of keeping media companies alive,we are in the business of building relationships remarked a marketing director of Nike sometime back. And currently if we see the choice of media among lots of brands I guess we would agree that these brands are doing exactly the opposite.

    The lines were drawn by nobody else but us and its high time that collectively we take this responsibility to erase them and look at building relationships with the consumer that is more deeper, engaging and meaningful rather than creating more partitions

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