Brands are about benefits. Benefits that appeal to consumers and those consumers see value in. Brands are thus different from commodities. They have value beyond the immediate transaction; they withstand the tremors of time. Much like relationships do and should.
In essence, brands are about long-term, value-added bridges that marketers build between themselves and consumers. They stand for some core beliefs and these beliefs are ones that enable consumers to both differentiate and buy into. Brands transcend transient virtues such as price and product uniqueness. They stand for things much deeper. For values that are close to the consumer’s heart and his or her purchase-system.
For us at Max we are building a mother brand around the values of trust and care. We are engaging with consumers in areas that are private and sensitive. But we are doing that on the back of a finite understanding not just of the category but more critically of the evolving consumer and his or her needs from categories such as the ones we operate in.
The first thing in order to build a great brand is understand the consumer; not the physical but the emotional attributes. Understand what they currently get from your competitors and then design something that would delight them. We are in the business of consumer delight NOT consumer satisfaction. Providing first-rate quality should not be our mantra. Providing an unforgettable experience is what we should strive for. Thus the insight gathering process is very critical as is the understanding we must have of our category and the competitive space we operate in. Both these are critical. They prevent us from making the mistakes our competitors make. They enable brand architecture since our consumer understanding then is finely honed.
Brands need to speak to the consumer. Not at the consumer. They need a tone and manner by which he or she will not only imbibe the message but also almost be convinced to choose our brand. The Max voice needs to be unique. It needs to be modulated and most importantly it needs to convey thoughts and not messages. We are not an answering machine. We deal with human beings. Which is why that special touch is critical. Hence, the way we communicate with our consumers is critical. But what is most important is how we communicate with them after they’ve bought whatever we have had to offer. The after-purchase environment is a very delicate communication environment and this is something we need to focus on. Consumers want to believe (and rightly so) that you care for them and not just for their wallet. So demonstrate that.
Finally brands are built when we use our ears well. We need to listen to our customers and not just hear them. We need to act on what they say. We need to understand why they say what they say. Feedback is our lifeblood. Acting on it should be our dharma. Because when they tell us something, they are only saying it because it affects them. You only complain when you care. So even treat a complaint as something that will help you personally and your brand to rise even higher.
Brands need nourishment. They need handholding. They need care. Just like our families do. Which is why brands don’t belong to companies or marketing departments alone. They belong to families. Just like ours Max Family of Brands belongs to each one of us who are part of the Max Family!