Sell Hope in the twisted bottle in a better way

Let’s speak about getting an advantage in the mating game with stunning beauties. Let’s speak about having some of the hottest babes on our bikes. Let’s speak about your wildest fantasies coming true. Now before you start getting ideas let me clarify that we are talking about Deodorants and their Brand Positioning in India.

For an average Indian consumer, a deo – no matter which brand, has unfortunately come to signify just one thing – an imagery of a man’s wildest dreams coming true (except may be a very few brands). This is because this unique and original positioning that was tried and tested and owned by a very popular brand has been twisted and tamed by almost every new kid on the block. This has resulted in this iconic positioning becoming a mere symbolism being tried to be spoon fed to you (instead of getting it evoked in you) by literally every other deo brand in the market place for men. Some of the me too brands that have adopted the same positioning in India: Denver, Setwet, Wildstone, White Ice and still counting.

That’s when brand differentiation fades away with people ceasing to ascribe superiority to any particular brand over the others. No brand would then be capable of charging a price premium – as a consumer’s basis for making a choice becomes price and perceived superiority of one fragrance over the other which are all evident and functional attributes. This topples the very purpose of a brand over it’s head. Why? Because the grounds of differentiation are not based on any belief, expectation, story, imagery, perception of any intangible attributes or relationship (with the brand and even oneself).

That is when you are conversing with the consumer NOT as a brand but as a product – stripped off all its personality and character that are supposed to help you charge a premium in the market place. In spite of that, we see the very same brands doing the very same thing, perpetuating the inevitability of the same vicious circle. Prices go down, margins get squeezed thereby, profits get thinned and subsequent investments on branding get cut slowly but steadily. That’s when the brands start to get milked instead of being developed.

For the consumer, the category smacks of sameness with virtually every brand shouting “me-too” at him. Choosing a brand of deo for oneself – an activity that used to be a little sensuous and a little ostentatious experience has now been reduced to an experience of choosing a piece of scented candle in IKEA. With novelty robbed off and expectations blunted due to an infinite clutter in the ad space, any possible excitement about the category does down. They stick to using the same brands that they have been using and become unwilling to even try another brand. Because, for them every other respectable brand is a dumbed down version of the very same promise in a twisted bottle.

We therefore see that effectively it is a lose-lose situation for everyone in the transaction. Now the question is, as a brand that is serious about its intentions, what can we do to break this vicious circle of ‘commoditising’ the entire category?

I shall post my ideas soon. Feel free to share your view and comments. However, I somehow love this ad and can’t resist posting it here:

Disclaimer: I have no business interests in marketing of deodorants. The ideas expressed are all mine and the post is merely for my ideation purposes.

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