Traditional ways of branding, eCommerce and how to create a lasting brand: In conversation with Harish Bijoor


In the last part of this series, Harish Bijoor, founder Harish Bijoor Consults discussed few macro topics with us. Why do many brands still swear by TV advertising, is the eCommerce story for real and tips for creating a lasting brand is something he spoke about. Excerpts.

Online versus offline branding

Most startups rely on the online medium for advertising and customer engagement, similarly a large number of offline companies, still swear by traditional medium for their advertising needs. Harish says that there is certain incestuousness in the way marketers behave in these two spaces. An offline guy loves offline and is 95% offline and 5% online and online guy is incestuous to online and is 95% here and only 5% on the other side. However the markets do not operate this way in reality. “The right approach would be that the consumer, the reader, the market is becoming very mutli dimensional in the type of media he is consuming. At home he is locked on to mobile, iPad, computer. In his car he would be listening to radio, watching the hoardings on the outdoor, at office it is a different kind of medium; when he is goes shopping there is point of purchase. There is so much more today. In the old days, the impact was 100/100 TV, or 95% TV and 5% would be radio and all that. But today it is all evening out,” says HarishMedia that can create impact are both online and offline, and that cusp approach of both the media is not being utilized. Harish’s firm recently undertook a market survey for an ecommerce client, where they surveyed 8200 people, over two-and-a-half month, across 14 cities which included the 8 metros and Jamshedpur, Manipal, Bhopal, Guwahati and Bhubaneshwar. The survey was to understand the impact of an ad on both online and offline medium. “We found that the ability of online medium to create impact is as much as 62% on the psyche of an individual in moving towards a particular brand. Whereas only 38% is what we are talking on really traditional media registers,” says Harish.

He says new media is currently being seen with a certain degree of respect, it is looked at as more participative. Slightly more responsible, slightly less led by advertising, slightly less pushed by PR. “Whereas publications in India whatever the person reads even in the editorial columns of the newspaper is not trusted as much. The reader tends to ask is this paid news, paid feature, paid branding? Whereas online has still not corrupted itself, it will corrupt itself, but long as online does not corrupt itself, there is great potential,” suggest Harish.

The power of eCommerce

The last point we discussed with Harish was the subject of eCommerce. He is a believer in the power of the eCommerce and says it has become an avenue for increased consumption among the people of India. Harish shared the example of Osaka, a Japanese perfume brand which approached him for help with Indian market. Osaka wanted to sell 6000 bottles of perfume in Indian metros in two months. The perfume is a premium product priced at Rs 8,200 for an 80 ml bottle. However Harish advised them against the metro strategy and told them to go rural. While the brand owner was not very thrilled about the idea, he played by the ear.Today Harish says that Osaka has sold 21,000 bottles of perfume since two months of launch and the sales have come from places like Kollam, Muvattupuzha, Hoshiyapur, Medak and Rajamandri. “If he would have launched in metros, he would have been the 452nd brand of perfume in the metro. But eCommerce gave him a level playing field and he got business from the remotest corners in India,” says Harish. There is value in the rural markets, its just that people don’t have access to the best brands. So today eCommerce is the menna, the solution for these customer. A customer in the village can switch on his computer, place an order online and get the product delivered to him. “He has a nurturing ambition to buy a perfume, he also has money in his wallet, but access to good brands is a problem. Market access is the problem that eCommerce has solved,” says Harish.

How to create a lasting brand

“There is a science to creating brand identity and there is one trait that you have to stay close to -- integrity, stay close to what you are and you will never err. The moment you say you are something else you are finished, your reputation is gone for a toss!” advises Harish.

Read the first two parts of this series here and here.


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