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Eternity of brands in 2013

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Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, Pitch

Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, Pitch

We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves.

-Lynn Hall

Every editorial platform is taking out its Year Ender, analysing and dissecting what worked, what didn’t, which brands made the cut and the ones that failed. I, however, would like to peek into 2013 and predict the brands that will continue to make news, be it for their marketing prowess or business acumen or maybe for not being the brands they were known to be.

Rather than limit my list to the most promising FMCG or consumer durables brands in the B2C space, I have also included larger than life brands; politicians, sportsmen, corporate czars, celebrities and cities.

The year 2012 has been marred with news of corruption, scandals and lackadaisical governance, and it is the ‘Aam Aadmi’ ruling party that has been at the centre of this brouhaha. With the 2014 elections drawing near, the coming year will see a more aggressive Congress party and intense targeted campaigning. It has already begun to wriggle itself out of the state of policy paralyses by rolling out the populist cash transfer scheme. And leading from the front, will be the Gandhi scion, Rahul Gandhi, who will be heading the party’s coordination committee for the 2014 elections.

With 2012’s biggest brand war – the Gujarat elections bringing to the fore innovative marketing gimmicks, it remains to be seen what the modus operandi of brand Congress will be, and whether it succeeds in reviving some of the lost sheen of brand-name politics in the country.

Moving from politics to Bollywood and Cricket, while the former continues to script new ways of marketing movies and stars, the latter’s brand equity is at an all-time low with the dismal performance in the recent matches and internal squabbles.

However, two cricketers whose individual brand equity continues to soar and whose path, in my opinion, will follow a similar trajectory in 2013 are sporting legends, Sachin Tendulkar and M S Dhoni. Both are super brands with a huge number of brand endorsements in their kitty. CelebScore, considered to be a gold standard in celebrity rating, recently came out with its latest rankings and these two cricketers were the only sporting stars in the top ten. Sachin Tendulkar, with a celeb score of 58.5 is ranked number two, above Bollywood’s crème de la crème and MS Dhoni, at 54.4 is at number seven.

The No 1 rank in this list of top ten celebrities was given to Bollywood actor, Amitabh Bachchan who had a celeb score of 60.1. The 72-year-old actor seems to be omnipresent, whether it is films, television, or the slew of brands he endorses. This list saw several additions in 2012 – Nestle’s Maggie Noodles, JustDial, Luxor Group’s new range of cleaning products being a few names. Along with Amitabh Bachchan, the other celebrity actor in my list is Shah Rukh Khan. It will be interesting to see the marketing genius he employs for his IPL Team.

With the demise of Bal Thackeray, the man behind the parochial brand of politics, one state that I feel will witness a marked change in its ethos and culture, is Maharashtra.

In the corporate world, 2013 will mark the beginning of a new era for one of the oldest and largest conglomerates – the Tata Group, once Ratan Tata hands over the reins to his successor Cyrus Mistry.

Coming to consumer brands, 2012 saw beverage giant, Coca-Cola, turn into a story-teller and publisher with the revamp of its global website into a digital magazine – Journey. With this digital consumer magazine, a new interactive corporate blog and other initiatives in the social media space at a global level, I am eager to see the brand’s digital plans and marketing blueprint for India.

The question that is in my mind is whether these brands will stay relevant and on top in 2013 also, and how? Will they have to build on their core brand promise and morph into something new?

These brands in some way in these ephemeral times are eternal. Will their eternity see some metamorphosis?

About the author / 

Rahul Sharma

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