IBHA panel discussion
Today’s consumer has a plethora of choices to decide from for his or her needs – right from toilet paper to televisions, from insurance to travel destinations. The clinching factor is, each of these choices is fighting to be the one the consumer goes for, unlike the days of yore where competition was limited and the dominant brand called the shots. How does a brand gain that foothold in the consumer’s mind, heart and eventually, wallet?
A consumer will first and foremost go for a brand which is relevant to them. One will not choose McDonald’s when they’re looking for a new car. One will not visit a Mercedes showroom when looking for a budget family car.
Thus, how does the consumer know what is relevant? Through communication and marketing from the said brand. Something which has drastically changed from what it was earlier, while relying on the same underlying principles.
What is same: Identifying, engaging and converting customers
What is different: Alignment of online and offline touchpoints to ensure a seamless customer experience
What is new:
- Mediums: Youtube, Netflix, Amazon
- Metrics: Likes, shares, views, reach
- Language: Slang, memes, fads such as the Ice Bucket challenge
- Expectations: Seamlessness, omnipresence, 24×7
- Personalisation: Custom marketing for individual customers
Through this, runs a thread of keeping it personal, engaging through stories and emotions.
What stands out here is that now, entry barriers have been removed, making it the simplest of tasks for anyone to connect to anyone. A citizen can reach out to the President, a customer can reach out to a CEO, and a fan can reach out to their favourite movie star. The advantage is that conversations can be even more personal, real time and viral. Recently, an AC not functioning tweet to the Railway Minister got addressed with the AC being repaired before the train reached the next station – something that was unthinkable a while ago. The flipside is that this now allows everyone to have a voice – including trolls.
Its relevance to personal care is:
– Easy access to information
– Peer to peer sharing
– Access to products across the world
– Faster cascade of new technologies and developments.
To cope with this, the new age marketer, or the company, has to be quick on the uptake, be ready to learn on the go, and be hands-on. This is essential so as to not fall behind your competition who has been quicker in adapting.
All this and more was discussed during a recent panel discussion at IBHA (Indian Beauty & Hygiene Association), which is a non-profit organisation with big, medium and small-scale companies as its members. Formerly known as ISTMA (Indian Soaps and Toiletries Makers’ Association), it was established in Kolkata in 1937. In 1973, the Association shifted its operations to Mumbai. ISTMA was rechristened as IBHA in October 2012. Since then IBHA has had a fairly rich experience. It has brought into focus several issues of critical importance to the industry as a whole starting with the government, during the pre-liberalization era and has kept the momentum going ever since. As an apex trade body, they represent the industry in a number of policy issues with major statutory authorities.