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Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Chief Consulting Editor's Desk
Rajita Chaudhuri
Rajita Chaudhuri
The Chief Consulting Editor's Desk
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Consumers are now looking up at brands who have the power, the creativity and investments to help change this world for the good
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The times are changing and so is the customer. The culprits are technology and the Internet. Thanks to them, things are changing at breakneck speed for marketers as the Internet and the technological revolution has made the consumer want more and more and there seems to be no stopping.

In the early days, it was all about identifying the needs and wants of the consumer and trying to satisfy those needs with the right product. That product was then wrapped around an alluring message highlighting the benefits of the product and how it would change the life of the buyer. That’s all changed now. Today, it’s no more just about the product, its benefits and the branding message; it’s about the ability of the brand to connect with the consumer, to build a lasting relationship with the consumer. And that has become a difficult task for the consumer of today is insatiable and ‘maange more’ before he trusts you with his loyalty.


Marketing was all about building a brand and giving people value for money. That’s not enough today. The consumer of today wants more than just ‘value for money’. He also wants to know what values you as a brand stand for. More than 80% of consumers believe that a good brand is one which places equal emphasis on both business profits and societal issues. Your brand should stand for a purpose beyond profits. It should have a purpose driven brand story. Responsible consumption is the buzz word today. With our world being plagued with problems like global warming, water scarcity, obesity etc., the consumers are becoming aware of the role companies and brands can play to make the world a better place. By supporting brands with a strong purpose, they feel they are doing their bit too to make the world happier, healthier, greener and cleaner.

Take the case of Kissan. It decided to source sustainably produced tomatoes, which not just differentiated the brand but soon made it the number one ketchup brand in India.

The Lifebuoy brand of soap ran a campaign called “Help a Child Reach Five”, which focused on teaching children how to wash their hands correctly as India has the highest number of child deaths due to diarrhea and pneumonia. The brand developed a hand wash which could change its color from white to green in 10 seconds – just the time required to kill most of the germs. Children wait to see the color change, which is not just fun but life saving too! The brand showed its commitment to a purpose, a cause, and was loved for it.

Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” campaign went beyond celebrity athletes and urged people to find greatness in everyday people. It struck a chord with the viewers and inspired them. Brands are moving on beyond just showing the benefits of their product.

Rin is a good old brand which for decades has promised ‘Chamakti Safedi’. That’s not enough to stay above competition. Rin has gone a step ahead. While clean clothes give you confidence, Rin has gone on and started a Rin Career Academy, training people in key skills which give them confidence. Skills like speaking good English, dressing appropriately for a job, handling an interview. Rin has shown that it is totally committed to building confidence. That’s a purpose which goes beyond profits.


Patagonia is a brand that makes money by selling clothes, yet when it launched its ad campaign, it was all about encouraging people to repair their old outdoor garments. The ad provided a lot of tips  and tools to help the users fix their own gear. It even offered to buy back gently used garments. Marketers at Patagonia are very clear that it’s the era of unconventional marketing. A brand that can market itself as one supporting a cause, supporting sustainable development would be noticed and liked much more than a brand that made fabulous, yet ‘harmful to the planet and its people’ products. To show how committed it is to its purpose, Patagonia established a $20 million venture fund to invest in socially and environmentally responsible start-ups. Whole Foods is another brand that has shown that it stands for sustainable development and sensible consumption. It has a concept called “Community Giving Days” where 5% of that day’s net sales are given to local non-profits.

All through, consumers have been let down by their governments, their leaders, their NGOs who have failed to bring about a positive change in their lives. These consumers are now looking up at brands who have the power, the money, the creativity to help change this world for the good. These are the B Corps – ‘Benefit Corporations’ – who are going to rule in the future and its their marketing campaigns that the consumers will like, and share and believe in.

A purpose-driven brand also has the most positive and motivated employees who are proud to say that they work for a brand that believes in something beyond profits. LRXD is a full service agency but it calls itself the ‘health and happiness advertising agency’ for it took a policy decision to primarily work for brands that helped make life better. Made Movement, an agency founded in 2012, decided it would work for brands that provided jobs to people in the US. Their purpose made them reject work from a lot of big brands, but they say life has never been better for they have a reason to wake up every morning and come to work.

According to a 10-year-long study conducted by Millward Brown and Jim Stengel, brands which focused on a higher purpose did not just build the deepest relationships with customers, but also achieved the greatest financial growth in the 10 year period of the study. It’s no more about what you sell; rather, it’s more about what you as a brand and an organization stand for. So give the customer not just a great product but a great product that also does great things and he will be your greatest fan and friend!

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