The changes in society and cultural landscapes impact brands and marketers in various ways. A marketer need not just be aware of these changes but should also be able to adapt his product and its positioning to the changing requirements of society. Everything is changing on todayâ€™s date at a rapid pace. Whether it is the way we communicate, means of entertainment, response to social issues, or the role of technology and relationships in daily life, change is the only constant. The challenge then is for marketers to keep reinventing themselves and their products to remain relevant. But is that even in the realm of possibility?
Terming every cultural shift an opportunity, Rajiv Mehta, Managing Director, Puma South Asia said, â€œWith every cultural shift that takes place in society, marketers are exposed to new opportunities and avenues to reach out to their consumer base. When Television became the primary form of media, it opened up a huge new medium for marketers to exploit – whereas earlier print was the only option. Similarly – the explosion of the digital and mobile medium has given savvy marketers the ability to target their audience more effectively, reach out to them consistently (gone are the days of specific, time-bound campaigns – nowadays every message is a brand statement in its own right thanks to the immediacy of the digital medium), and set them apart from other marketers who are slow to adapt and embrace the cultural shift.â€
Brand Puma has been quick in tapping these cultural shifts for its own messaging. â€œWe’ve been able to effectively exploit emerging sub-cultures – like the resurgence of Vinyl in the music world with PUMA Loves Vinyl, or alternative pursuits like Street Dancing, Surfing, and Skateboarding etc. by identifying experts in these fields and making them PUMA loyalists. That enables us to predict the next big cultural shift and stay ahead of itâ€ added Mehta.
The cultural shifts are most palpable in the domain of experiential marketing where unique experiences are dished out to make the consumer experience the brand. Rajesh Varma, Founder-Director, CRI Events, explained how the biggest shift in the experiential domain has been in digital, â€œEarlier experiences offered were static but now they are offered on the digital platform too and hence they are more dynamic.â€
One of the key catalysts of cultural change is travel. Indians today travel to foreign markets, have access to the goings-on in other parts of the world which contributes in changing their world-view. â€œAn average Indian is now exposed to trends and habits of so many other countries simply because he or she travels more and is more exposed. So as a marketer, that affects how we communicate to our audience because we have to keep in mind what they already have access to, and still give them something new and different,â€ elaborated Avijit Arya, Founder and CEO, Internet Moghuls.
Underlying all these changes is technology and the efficient use of it by consumers. Technology has made many of these changes possible. Nikhil Sharma, Head Marketing, Perfetti Van Melle said that access to technology was another shift which affected marketers. â€œUse of technology today is omnipresent. Even when the youth are sitting among a group of friends, they are multi-tasking on their mobile phones, tablets or phablets. Due to access to social media awareness towards social issues has also seen a dramatic spikeâ€, he added.
As cultural shifts continue to take place the challenge to remain relevant becomes huge for marketers. Those who can keep pace with the changes become favourites with consumers and the others simply become redundant.