Art and Science of Connecting with Consumers

Do retailers really know their consumers? Today’s connected world offers unlimited possibilities to make creative connections. Moderated by Subhash Kamath, CEO & Managing Partner, BBH India, a panel comprising Bobby Pawar, Managing Director, Chief Creative Officer Publicis Worldwide – South Asia; Shalini Raghavan, Global Brand Director, Dove Master-brand, Unilever and Ajay Kakar, Chief Marketing Officer – Financial Services, Aditya Birla Group, deliberated on the Art and Science of Connecting with Consumers on the second day of RLS 2016.

Connecting with consumers is both an art as well as science. Both go hand-in-hand according to Shalini Raghavan, Global Brand Director, Dove Master-brand, Unilever. If you look at the science, market research helps us know consumers through insights which can be used to design products and fulfil their needs. Today, consumers are ahead of marketing. Information and data available to both are different. The future holds really big opportunity. The art is the ability to respond creatively to consumers.

The opportunity to build brand connection through consumer research and digital medium is bigger now pointed out Ajay Kakar, Chief Marketing Officer – Financial Services, Aditya Birla Group. The three point matrix for success is: 1. Business of attracting consumers. 2. Retaining and growing relationship with consumer. 3. Consumer advocacy. Those retailers that are managing to get the right mix of art and science to connect with consumers are hitting the nail.

To Bobby Pawar, Managing Director, Chief Creative Officer Publicis Worldwide – South Asia, business is about people. And the best tool people have to connect with brand is technology. Retailers need to understand both technology and people. If they don’t understand the feelings, they won’t be able to connect with people. The business is about reaching people’s hearts. Lastly, creativity plays an important role. The harder you try to analyse, the faster it disappears.

Being authentic and consistent is the mantra. Stay relevant. It’s all about how you are available to consumers. It’s about being relevant at right place right time, only then will loyalty follow. Ajay Kakar emphasised that we cannot keep consumers at bay and if we tell consumers what’s in store, they will come to us.

The panellists felt that market research helps and it is about finding the balance between what one wants to achieve and what the product is. Research in the right hands is worth its weight in gold. And that research in itself is not important, what one does with it research is important. How the data is interpreted and used is what matters. It’s not about research, but about actionable research.

It’s important to have a marketing team that has a healthy mix of creativity and business some of art and science and some of business will rub off then art will be created. Brands need to put people first. How you really put brand as part of people’s life is important. Be in consumers shoes, and you will create amazing connections. When you create anything for people, it will definitely connect well. Consumer connectivity beats the art of science.

Best music happens when two people come together. Its great partnership between creativity and planning, creativity and marketing & creativity and client. Unless it becomes organisation’s art and science it becomes history. You need the right attitude rather than only aptitude

Gone are the days when you will do one commercial and wait to get reaction from consumers. The word entertainment has become big while connecting with consumers. Its absolute critical to be rewarding. The reward could be emotional, intellectual or material.

Having said that, engaging with every consumer is different.

Content plays a crucial role in engaging consumers. Content is and will always remain the king irrespective of category or medium. Content can win over consumer if you speak consumer’s language. Authentic and relevant content plays vital role. Branded content is the new buzzword.

Kamath concluded the session stating brand engagement, brand content is relevant in today’s world and everything from packaging to designing product is important. Not all insights are right, you have to take your gut and intuition decision to build brand and connect with consumers.

Monish Chandan, www.monishchandan.wordpress.com

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RAI
Retailers Association of India (RAI) is the unified voice of Indian retailers. RAI is a not for profit organization (registered under section 25 of Companies Act, 1956), works with all the stakeholders for creating the right environment for the growth of the modern retail industry in India. RAI is the body that encourages, develops, facilitates and supports retailers to become modern and adopt best practices that will delight customers. RAI has a three charter aim of Retail Development, Facilitation and Propagation.