With the advent of globalization, markets moved to the digital space. Such a shift is a revolution in itself, but with every passing day, this digital market is becoming more and more creative and disruptive. Every day, a new company or brand is created with a vision to transform customer experience. These disruptions could also make well- established business irrelevant. Look at Google or Netflix; these two companies ousted their predecessors from the market, making their business approach obsolete. So, how does a business or a brand stay relevant in today’s fast changing technology? We asked expert practitioners from various industries the same question and here is what they had to say:
Customer Centric Strategy: The first commandment of today’s marketing is customer experience. To stay relevant brands must focus on the customer and create strategies as well as content which makes interaction personal. Here is what our experts have to say about being customer centric:
“Today’s consumer is interacting with brands across channels (online/offline) , devices and at multiple touch points. The consumer should not be (strictly) bucketed depending on her demographics but more from her behaviors across various touch- points. This needs focus on data collection in a structured format so that personalized messaging and strategy at mass is possible. One view of customers across all touch-points is critical”, Prasad Shejale, Co-Founder and CEO, Logicserve Digital.
Shanu Singh, Head- Digital Business, Marketing and E-Commerce, Godrej Interio is of the opinion that, “Brands need to adapt to process, to stay relevant in the digital era, of personalizing their messaging and contextualizing content. With customers continuously receiving a lot of it, a brand communication is effective if it caters to the person’s specific needs or requirements at a relevant time.”
Presence: There have been several brands that created a disruption but fizzled out eventually because of their lack of visibility or presence. Being the “it” thing can only provide a brand with its fifteen minutes of fame, but one has to have a relevant visibility plan to stay on the minds of the consumer.
Nikhil Rastogi, Head- Country Marketing and Digital Acquisition, CitiBank, says, “I think in the current context, one of the big success factors is a brand’s ‘discoverability’ in a contextually relevant medium.
As more and more interactions and transactions are becoming digital in nature, the ability of a brand to become useful in real time is one of the critical factors i.e. credit card reward points which are instantly redeemable on a partners site while one is making a transaction or a digital wallet giving away discounts on a purchase on an e-commerce website or a medical insurance company extending a cover at the time someone checks into a hospital etc.
This requires that brands be present where consumers are already spending time or reaching out for their consumption / information needs.”
Siddharth Pandey, Business Head (GM)- Payments, Paytm believes that, “It is quintessential to ensure: a) Relevant use cases for the product increase or b) Repeat usage and frequency grows.”
Creating a Legacy: Repetition can help create a presence for a brand but what takes the brand forward is how well it branches out from its point of inception. Every one of us here uses Google, the company didn’t stop at being the largest search engine in the world. It expanded to becoming a giant in its own right. Google has now woven itself into its customer’s life. We don’t just use Google for a quick search, we use Gmail, GTalk, Google analytics tools, Google Maps, Weather feature, Google-Drive even Pixel, the smart phone launched by Google and the probably doesn’t even cover half of Google’s products. The brand has now become a part of the customer’s subconscious.
Adaptability: A brand must be quick enough to adapt to technological shifts. The best example of adaptability would be the Tata Group. As far as India is concerned, the company has entered the lives of its customers at so many levels that some of us don’t even recognize it. The Tata group is everywhere, from the salt you eat to the clothes you wear to the flight you take. The company could not have done this had it not been smart enough to mold itself to the current technological shifts. Adaptability comes from vision and quick response of leadership, and the Tata group has continued to be the biggest companies in India for over a 100 years.
Ability to out-innovate: Being disruptive in your own right is not enough. A brand must have the ability to out-disrupt another business. Success and sustainability today stand on two pillars, innovation in itself and the ability to out- innovate your competition.
Ajay Kaul, Chief Digital Officer, Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India Limited, says, “For a brand to stay relevant it must build a culture that can anticipate the trends and develop a point of view and offering well before the trends become mainstream. To quote the adage ‘brands must skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been’. In practical terms it could mean co-creating and testing early prototypes with your most profitable customers and scale when the timing is right.”
“In a fast changing environment the bet is on whether the incumbent (brand) can innovate faster or the entrepreneur (startup) can solve the distribution faster”, says, Siddharth of Paytm.