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"Brand equity and promotion efforts are largely interdependent. All promotion programs, apart from delivering against the set specific objectives have an inherent function -- to enhance Brand Equity. Other way round, effectiveness of promotion programs are determined by the Brand Equity as at the launch of promotion. It is a case of mutual aspect. Promotion programs while using the given Brand Equity as a platform should simultaneously contribute towards strengthening it."

 

24 January 2014

Fastrack

 

First I saw the masked cutout poster as I was walking on a high street in an extension, right down on the footpath, tucked to the railings of the entry steps of a TITAN Eye + shop. Bad, I thought.

 

As I walked away, brushed it off my mind as an immature work hardly worthy of some plain attention. Nevertheless, appreciated it for completely masking the girl in opaque black, the only sensible thought in it all, which makes it - of cladding the girl with a tape rolled around with 'SALE' printed through out - a little less offensive. Couple of days later, I saw it again, as I was walking on the same road, at the entry to a TITAN watch shop, a little away from the TITAN Eye + Shop without the mask, with only the tape that yells out 'SALE' repetitively. Very bad, I thought.

 

Putting out a life size cutout of a girl clad only with tape rolled around, however intact, on the public pathway, is utterly absurd - to be worthy for promoting any brand. And to put the text 'SALE' all across it is simply sinful. The poster tells of a certain lack of deeper thinking on the branding imperatives; on sustaining values (of the brand and brands), about relevance, on the need and on the impact. In a fast evolving market coupled with quickly maturing competition misfit promotions can easily cause rapid erosion of brand equity, of even the associated brands, however reputed they are. The kind of shallow promotion campaign comes about in the absence of comprehensive brand charter or when the promotion agency wins in selling crass creative stuff.

 

 

Those who see the poster, particularly women and even girls, and even those compulsive buyers of Fastrack things of style, would want to ask the company; what are you trying to say? The positive message, if there is any, being hard to fetch, the campaign can only bring about negative results for the brand. Impact of promotion programs is dependent on the suitability and can be absolutely opposite to two different brands. This poster can yield critical brand awareness to an unfamiliar brand which outweighs the negative feelings it elicits.

 

The poster reeks of daring disregard to larger social responsibility expected of brands, more truly so of bigger and highly reputed ones. Fastrack being part of TITAN which being part of the esteemed corporate brand TATA which has stakes across industry categories, the harm this poster can cause to brand Fastrack itself is relatively insignificant than it can to TITAN and more so to TATA.

 

Branding Logic: (as evolved from my practice and research)

 

(Brands within the larger group happen to be similar to brand extensions for application of branding principles.)

 

"... On an extension, the task is loaded with twin responsibilities. One, to effectively derive power of image and substance from the brand, and two, to ensure that the new business would gradually contribute to the equity of the brand extended - - or at least sustain it unblemished. Mutual transferability of values progressively is the essence of brand extension. Lack of meaningful fit can only peel precious equity off the brand."

 

Hard Marketing Logic: (as evolved from my practice and research)

 

"Brand equity and promotion efforts are largely interdependent. All promotion programs, apart from delivering against the set specific objectives have an inherent function -- to enhance Brand Equity. Other way round, effectiveness of promotion programs are determined by the Brand Equity as at the launch of promotion. It is a case of mutual aspect. Promotion programs while using the given Brand Equity as a platform should simultaneously contribute towards strengthening it."

 

Adve Srinivasa Bhat

 

 

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