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Branding with a cause

Shipra Srivastava, Retailer
New Delhi, Issue dated July, 2014

It’s an industry which is not just based on creating a ‘hype’ for a product or service and senior advertising executives are also increasingly focusing on spreading awareness for a brand via a campaign based on a social cause. And, while this strategy has been effectively leveraged by a leading tea brand, but the awareness created amongst the target audience from this strategy has also led players like Coca Cola, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and Tata Chemicals to adopt a similar strategy for products / brands in their portfolio.

As a result, Coca-Cola India recently launched a campaign Sahi Daam to educate consumers not to pay more than the maximum retail price (MRP) printed on its bottles, in a bid to curb this unlawful practice.

Marketing consultants also pointed out that consumers in tier-II and-III towns are very price sensitive, and with the emphasis on ensuring product availability at the correct price, it would help to enhance sales growth in this segment.

Striking a similar view, a Coca-Cola India spokesperson, said, “We are attempting to ensure the customer gets a fair deal.”

Similarly, Lifebuoy, which is a leading brand of HUL, had the ‘Jump Pump’ campaign in 1,500 government-run schools in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra that are part of the mid-day meal scheme, and it enabled water pumps to be easily operated. The FMCG major was attempting to improve hygiene standards amongst students before their meal.

Koshy George, General Manager – skin cleansing, HUL, said, “We have attempted to improve hygiene standards amongst children.”

Tata Salt, too, attempted to emphasise the health-related aspects for consumers via free blood pressure check-up camps organised in several cities.

A relevant message

Advertising experts stressed that a brand leveraging a social cause in its campaign needs to ensure that the message is relevant and at the same time ‘connected’ to its core attributes.

In addition, such campaigns also help to break the ‘clutter’, which has plagued the communication strategy of several consumer-related categories.

Suvadip Ghosh Mazumdar, VP at Leo Burnett, said, “A socially relevant message goes beyond a simple sales ‘pitch’ and if the campaign connects with the target audience, brands can gain considerably.”

Similarly, Devangshu Dutta of the consultancy Third Eyesight, stressed that a campaign should ensure a direct link between a brand and its ability to solve a particular problem facing society.

Clearly, helping society can also pay big dividends for brands.

(Published in Retailer – July 2014 print issue.)

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