Total Branding

In MBA school, one of the things you hear often about branding, is how it is not just restricted to any one aspect of a brand like advertising. Advertising could be the most obvious means of communication that a brand has with its consumers, but every other thing about a brand also tells consumers something. Like a pack which is poorly designed and difficult to use. Or availability in only certain stores. Or old, dusty packs lying in stores, nearing their expiry date. All these have a story to tell.

In reality ofcourse, it is difficult for a brand team to monitor every aspect. In many cases, brand and sales teams work parallely with little control or influence over each other, atleast in the short term. And in a large country like India, with individual states often needing their own campaigns and even localised promos for each town or city, branding rarely can be so cohesive.

One brand, however, which I’ve always appreciated for its inclusive approach is Marico’s Saffola. When they started out, they adopted a heart-disease-can-kill sort of stern positioning, which didn’t work. Gradually they moved on to a gentler approach focusing on how good health can improve your life tremendously, and Saffola as the custodian of health.

The good thing about Saffola is it doesn’t just stop with interesting ads or eye catching packaging. They have a fairly good website with some simple tools such as healthy recipes, BMI check, as well as a facility to call a dietician. And recently, I saw the latest ad which actually encourages people to go in for a medical check up to keep track of one’s heart condition and detect any irregularity at an early stage. I thought this was an excellent example of walking the talk, proving that the brand really cares, and doesn’t just say so.

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