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Consumers Lead And Brands Follow

Prateek Malpani points out that brands will always follow consumers and consumers will only take to platforms that give them value

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What would you think has emerged as the strongest trait in communicating with consumers today, especially given the conversation around how content is consumed?

In the last two years, a larger audience base in India has come out from a very difficult situation. As marketers, we are still trying to understand how their needs and perceptions or sentiments have changed around buying and how they perceive products and brands. India has always been a diversified market that cannot be considered as one whole but as many markets that have distinct traits. 

The true trend that brands must capitalise on, is how can we truly communicate with consumers in a language that is also visual. We also need to factor in culture and emotion in a language that consumers can understand. And this needs to be done differently for each market. We are also trying to understand how buying patterns have changed in the last two years and what values consumers are looking for. We are asking ourselves what will be the wow factor that will define the next two to three years. 

In this future-looking context, what are some of your thoughts on how technology is changing the landscape?

Brands usually follow a platform that provides value to the consumer and consumers will follow platforms that add something to their lives. Brands will not follow any platform where consumers are not present. Even if you looked at trends from five years ago, we didn't have the kind of social media platforms that we have today. But consumers were the first to adapt to social platforms then and brands only followed them. When there is visible consumer traction on any platform, brands will jump on it. On-and-off experiments will continue but it will take some time to determine exactly how a platform can be monetised or used. 

What is your current marketing mix looking like?

At present, as we come out of the festive season and are closer to the yearend, almost 60 per cent of our marketing budget is on digital and the remaining on other media. Traditionally, there are some tried and tested methods we have followed in our creative thinking. For example, we talk about sleep internships or just sleep as a topic in general but we don’t talk about customers coming to our stores to buy mattresses. 

We think along the lines of what can be done to break down barriers in a traditional offline category like mattresses. How do we get people to buy online? As a result, we’re offering a 100-day free trial on our mattresses. If a consumer doesn’t like it, they can return it. Essentially, we are following a mix of investments in communications along with digital targeting and segmentation, combined with clutter-breaking ideas.

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40 UNDER 40 brand mavericks magazine 3 December 2022