India’s consumer market is primarily driven by a population with rising disposable income, comprising of a growing middle-class segment and a relatively large affluent class. Even larger is the segment constituting the economically-weaker sections. Divided into urban and rural markets, India’s large yet relatively untapped segments have been attracting marketers not only from the country but across the globe.
As per various industry reports, the spending power of Indian consumers is expected to be double by 2025, hence the world is eyeing India as a key player in the consumer market. However, the market’s hyper-competitiveness has made ‘consumer’ the focus, with each brand trying to catch the consumers’ eye and have top-of-mind recall value. In a scenario where product differentiation is negligible and easily replicable, three aspects, as mentioned below, act as differentiators for any brand:
- Brand engagement throughout the product lifecycle
- Right product proposition and its communication
- Excellent after-sales service
Right engagement with the consumer
In recent years, thanks to the revolution of the internet, consumers have evolved significantly and are more aware than they were ever before. This evolved awareness increases their expectations from the brands they engage with. Consumer engagement spans across all touch points, starting from the moment they develop an interest in a particular brand or a product, to when they see or feel a product, to finally purchasing it and experiencing the customer service.
The consumer engagement strategy should be a holistic one which engages the consumers across four stages of his/her relationship with the brand:
- The first stage is the evaluation stage, where he/she is evaluating the brand. At this stage, it is imperative to engage/communicate with him/her to create a connection.
- The second stage is the entry stage, where he/she is unsure about the brand but the rational and physical attributes/features of the brand/product are more important to him/her. At this stage, brands must connect him/her with the right facts.
- The third stage is the experience stage, where he/she may have positive/negative experiences based on product performance, product quality, service quality, brand image, and brand’s promotions. At this stage, rational communication becomes as important as emotional communication.
- The last stage is the relationship formation stage, where emotional connect becomes greater than rational connect. At this stage, consumers create brand passion/brand love/brand loyalty.
Right product proposition and its communication
Brand building should be based on long-term strategic perspective focused on ‘customer centricity’. Delivering right product proposition is key here. To deliver the right product position in its truest sense, brands need to understand their target consumers in-depth, virtually living and breathing their lives. Further, to communicate the same effect with target consumers, the brand strategy should be based on relevance – choosing what ‘not’ to do.
Excellent after-sales service
The successful brands know how to create a niche consumer engagement strategy of their own by playing on their strengths. Well-strategized businesses are aware of the importance of excellent customer service and making it their strength. Service culture of a brand is important and it should have empathy for consumers at its core. The seamless customer service experience to address customer concerns creates a long-lasting relationship with them which eventually leads to the brand’s success.
Brand building for technology companies is predominantly led by initiatives to fill human lives with comforts and conveniences backed by smart technology. Extreme competition exists among tech companies as constant innovations are necessary to avoid becoming obsolete. Strong company branding gives the business a better chance of long-term growth and survival. Tech companies focus on improving their technology, delivering additional features, and improving the price-performance ratio of products. High-quality branding revolving around these three pillars of engagement, product proposition, and after-sales service adds substantial heft to the technology solutions being sold.
All in all, an efficient, effective branding campaign and customer service revolving around consumer understanding and need help in providing proper differentiation for brands in a cluttered marketplace. It also creates a common goal for the company towards aligning its operations, personnel, and marketing initiatives. Ultimately, it helps in creating better customer experiences, thereby deriving a strong recall value for creating a dedicated customer base, increasing overall customer loyalty, and finally boosting business outcomes/sales.
Sourabh Raghuvanshi is Vice President and Head Customer Service, Lava International Limited.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)