Associating with a cause has to link back to your core philosophy: Amarjit Batra

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‘Branding a purpose versus Purpose of Branding’ was the theme of the 5th edition of Pitch Top 50 Brands Awards from the exchange4media group, that are held each year to honour the chosen fifty. In keeping with the theme this year, Amarjit Batra, CEO, OLX India, chose to speak about the use of a higher purpose in branding in his keynote address.
Addressing a hall full of the best marketing brains of the country’s top brands, Amarjit started with how each person as each brand is searching for a reason for its existence. “Our highest need is for self actualisation. The brand starts off look at basic functional needs but as it progresses in its life cycle, it reaches a stage where it feels it can do much more,” he stated, explaining the reason why brands have started looking for bigger causes to associate with. But have all brands been able to realise their higher goal or reason for existence? According to Batra, many brands don’t know what their purpose of existence is, some are discovering while some others have found it and are using it to their benefit.

So why has it suddenly become important to associate with a cause? Why is there a need for deeper meaning? ‘By looking at purpose companies are trying to differentiate themselves. A higher purpose is helping them stand out from the clutter. We too faced the same problem. Earlier, we had a problem distinguishing OLX from the ecommerce category. Then we had many people doing the same things, talking the same language,’ explained Amarjit.

He also added how purpose also invited people to believe in the same cause. It helped to connect people emotionally inspiring, provoking and stimulating them. So how can a brand find this purpose? “You don’t really invent or create a purpose for yourself. I think you have to discover it. The discovery process is more difficult for a brand that started 50 years back than for a brand that started a few years back. You have to go back and look at the purpose of your existence. What is the problem that you are trying to solve and that has to go beyond simply raising money. At Olx we found we were actually connecting people, helping them make exchanges . We came to know some awesome stories of people buying and selling at OLX and how their lives were improving. So its not just about the transaction at OLX but what would happen if people could meet. Meeting unknown people could lead to so many possibilities, ” he said.

Referring to cause related campaigns that most brands were focusing on in their tireless communication, Batra said, “A lot of us have started associating with a cause, which is an attempt to go down that path. But Purpose has to go deeper than that. Associating with a cause has to link back to your core philosophy . Purpose can sometimes change as times change. India is opening up to this kind of larger messaging now as it feels the need to differentiate.”

He also explained why Indian brands were looking toward cause related marketing now even though other countries had already taken to the trend. ‘Stagnation has led them to look for a higher purpose while in India the trend is taking root now. We have moved on from being a starcity economy to an abundant economy and there is now a need for breaking the clutter.”

Amarjit Batra was speaking at the Pitch Top 50 brands Awards from the exchange4media group, presented by the Dainik Bhaskar Group.

Read more about each of the Top 50 Brands in the September issue!

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