Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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Today’s world is digital. Everything including business is online. With the shift in consumers’ preferences, tastes and thoughts, it has become extremely crucial for brands to cater to this evolving consumer behavior by aligning to it. Preeti Reddy, Chairwoman-South Asia, Insights Division, Kantar outlines the changing dynamics of customer-centric branding which is now aligning with a larger purpose of embracing sustainability.

The branding and marketing sector has evolved over the years, divided into two phases pre-pandemic and post-pandemic. While the pandemic had its impact on people’s lives, the post-pandemic era, made businesses re-evaluate, re-strategize, and re-engage with customers via purpose-led branding.

Brands embrace the urgency to act

Speaking to ET INSIGHTS, Preeti Reddy, Chairwoman-South Asia, Insights Division, Kantar shares that in today’s time, there is a sense of urgency for brands to act.  In branding and marketing, we know that the fundamental definition of a strong brand is the one that drives repeat purchases and can charge a premium. As per Kantar’s branding framework, we know that the brand is meaningful and must be differentiated in setting trends, which is also an age-old understanding of branding.”

What has happened over the past few years, especially post-pandemic which made an impact on consumer’s behavior towards different brands is that the consumer is embracing a holistic view of meaningful value which includes functional benefits, price parity, etc., but increasingly the brands must also address higher-order needs. Things like reassurance, safety, connectivity, and hope for the future, she adds.

Serving meaningful purpose in the connected world

Preeti Reddy believes “In today’s digital world, consumers feel bombarded with the world’s problems and they want to feel like being part of the solutions, and there lies the essence of serving a meaningful purpose. So, that’s the urgency for brands to act with purpose as the last two years threw unprecedented challenges and pushed the people to reflect upon what matters to them at all levels”

Consumers are now more concerned about big-picture issues. They are concerned about sustainability and the environment. In our recent study on global issues and climate change has bagged the top position. Traditionally, we consider Indians to be ignorant of the environment and climate change, but that’s not the case.

Consumers expect the brands to provide practical solutions in terms of nutrition, hygiene, time-saving, and the like of it. They are of believing that collective action is the only way to address all the threats that we are facing.

In the coming years, consumers expect Indian businesses to remain involved with India’s greatest national challenges and that’s the urgency brands do face in terms of purpose.

Kantar conducts BrandZ, a brand evaluation study every year, and this year we do look at brands that are performing well on the purpose. The most purposeful FMCG brand was Tata Tea and the non-FMCG brand was Asian Paints, while Amazon emerged as the most-purposeful technology brand. You can understand the reasons behind them being on the list for purpose-led branding, she further added.

 

“In the coming years, consumers expect Indian businesses to remain involved with India’s greatest national challenges and that’s the urgency brands do face in terms of purpose.”

Encouraging inclusivity for reaching the larger markets

“It’s an important aspect. The word inclusive makes more business sense. It is evident that companies with a diverse workforce have access to diverse perspectives and therefore, perform better. Economic inclusion makes up for a much larger market” Preeti Reddy believes.

Equality is good for business and that’s why it is important. Consumers and employees are demanding it and they make their choices depending on how inclusive the brand is in terms of diversity, she adds.

Empowering the workforce for delivering business outcomes

“There’s one thing the company needs to do, and the other elements will follow. That one thing is to recognize the power of the human potential you have. People are an important resource for any sector. Empowering the workforce for delivering business outcomes is the key element and everything else follows.Preeti Reddy stated.

 

“Empowering the workforce for delivering business outcomes is the key element and everything else follows.”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members