By Ranjan Das
India is a land of festivals. It is also a land of immense opportunities for brands and businesses to leverage these festivals and make a greater impact on their audience. Festivals evoke many emotions, emotions which then lead to people splurging on new things and new experiences. No wonder marketers around the world look forward to the festive season as they get a lot of scope in incorporating the various associations of the festivals of India into their brand communication. While the celebratory mood here never goes out of season, it is this time of the year that people wait for the most.
But with the advent of ecommerce led shopping, the customer is always spoilt with choice. To make matters complicated, the never-ending discounts and different kinds of sales makes the customer seek a bigger gratification in terms of a brand’s offerings.
So how do we ensure that not only does your brand stand out but also capitalises on the crowded festive season of India?
While brands may overthink and overcomplicate this opportunity, the answer to it is very simple- stick to the basics with a little dash of personalisation, customisation and innovation in the current methods.
The first step is to not hit them during the season peak, rather well in advance of the festive season in order to spark their interest in your brand much before your competitors do. Showing your customers why they should buy from you regardless of the festive season, while also aligning your offerings with the festive season rush can make you an evergreen brand in the eyes of the customer. For this, listen to the customer expectations throughout the year and during the festive season, play with the related colours, themes and stories associated with the festival for greater personalization. A great example of an evergreen brand would be ‘Cadbury’. It has always played upon the idea of ‘the joy of gifting’ and during the festive season ‘Cadbury Celebrations’ takes the charge of making festivals more special with their chocolate boxes.
As mentioned earlier, start from the basics. Play upon your existing strengths while delivering even during the festive season. Aligning the festival’s essence with your brand’s is a great positioning strategy as customers already recognize you that way and enhancing your role around the festival will only tend to pull customers towards your brand. For example, India’s festive season is incomplete without gifting sweets. Brands like ‘Haldirams’ and ‘Bikanerwala’ introduce festive-specific packaging, gifting baskets, and even special menus on occasions like Navratri. While this customization may be difficult for other food brands to incorporate, it gives these Indian brands a competitive edge.
Next, keep your discounts and offers simple and direct. Big and bold messaging may be repetitive but it works. In case you have tighter budgets, as we know most of the businesses suffered during the pandemic, try and target a smaller clan of audience and make a big impact on them. Knowing where your customers are (concentrated at) and spending intelligently on customer acquisition is another way one can utilize budgets efficiently. Customers are usually in search of variety and deals which are facilitated by multi-brand stores. In order to break through the clutter amongst various brands in the same category, companies should redirect their spending towards retail and e-tail visibility and engagement rather than big monies in celebrities, TVCs and print ads.
Not to forget, this year’s festive season particularly presents a chance for businesses to recover from the loss they suffered during the pandemic. But businesses also, along with the old, tried and tested ways, need to introduce new strategies to capture customers.
Providing a holistic omnichannel experience with a special focus on targeting through digital platforms is the way forward for brands. Consistent and authentic engagement is the key which is only possible through social media and other online channels as people are glued to their phones in this post-pandemic world. With internet usage going up by 50-70%, brands ought to make a strategic appearance and presence online. SMS and email marketing, push notifications, social media campaigns, video campaigns are all basic requirements for a brand today when they reach out to their customers digitally but resorting to some innovative ways like voice marketing, gamification, influencer marketing and nostalgia marketing can be great differentiators for your brand when you compete with thousands of others businesses pursuing the same set of customers as you.
Crowded festive season is one of the greatest opportunities for your business to not only make big bucks but also leave an everlasting impression on your customer’s mind. Using it wisely may keep you in their consideration set till the end of time.
The author is an MD at Apppl Combine. Views expressed are personal.