By Ranjan Das
Marketing is to identify, create, sustain and grow the demand for a product or service amongst consumers or non-consumers in an existing or non-existent market over a short or long period of time. And in this context, festivals are God sent to marketing and literally so, as maybe more than 85% of festivals around the world are religious in nature. It’s as if the entire civilisation and our way of life gradually developed out of some marketing rule book. These festivals, along with other non-religious ones, inject and create the much-needed mind space and enthusiasm among all of us, making the overall environment conducive for demand creation. Our natural defence mechanism against being ‘enticed’ by consumer ‘offers’ and ‘excited’ by the role of products and services in our lives, is at an all time low. In fact, festivals are the time when the consumer looks forward to lucrative consumer offers, deep discounts and other extended benefits, making the job of marketers a lot easier. During festivals, there is always excitement in the air, demand soars and sales figures go sky-high, contributing a high %age of annual sales target. But this traffic is not one way. The excitement in the market and our lives is also due to new purchases that happen during these days, leaving an immediate and positive, perceived or functional impact in our lives, thereby creating more demands.
Doesn’t all of this look very carefully crafted, natural and grown right from the advent of our civilisation where the lifecycle of demand and supply was bestowed with few peaks and surges in demand by creating few ‘festivals’ in the annual calendar? Yes, it does. It’s more evident with modern day ‘festivals’ like Oktoberfest, La Tomatina, Valentines Day, burning man and a whole host of ‘days’ like Mother’s day, Father’s day etc. These have been lapped on and leveraged, coined, created and established by modern-day marketers. Let’s take a micro look at how festivals create demand and how these demands when adequately attended by brands make festivals become festive.
Creating demand becomes easy as consumers are willing to listen. The ‘need ’ to celebrate religious and non-religious festivals are ingrained in wearing something new (Holi, Diwali, Christmas, Eid), buying something auspicious (Dhanteras), gifting something to your loved ones (Diwali, Christmas, Raksha Bandhan, Karwa Chauth) or celebrating the moment with family and friends (New Year Eve, Rio Carnival, Mardi Gras).
Defining the role of your brand/products in the lives of your TG turns easier as the consumer themselves are looking for the right fit for their needs during these festivals. While lifestyle brands of Cars, Jewellery, Fashion helps consumers satisfy their alter ego, elevating themselves to their aspirational best; utility products like TVs, Refrigerators, Washing Machines find their niche in functional parameters of the consumer.
Brand message reaches far and wide as communication decibels are high, helping your brand reach consumer ears which are willing to listen, giving brands suitable opportunities to build around your brands perceived value and brand promise that the consumer takes home.
Big deals and deep discounts during festivals create and meet inflated demands. This is the time of celebration for both brands and the consumer as on one side while brands meet their Sales targets, on the other hand, consumers fulfill their needs and desires, making the best of festive offers. Amazon Big India Festival, Flipkart’s’ Big Billion Days, Black Friday Sale, Diwali Sales are just a few examples of such festive events that make both brands and consumers happy, extremely happy!
Competing brands get the best of each other during festivals, benefiting the consumer at the end. This competition not only clears the cloud around what consumers want but also which brand is their preferred or the one coming close to their expectation, giving brands big insights for course correction.
Growth in the economy is an obvious outcome as the number of transactions grow exponentially high during these festivals, making money change hands, earning each one of them in this system their profit margins. Everyone benefits, everyone is happy celebrating life even beyond festivals, giving the economy a boost, increased transactions and a lot of money to grow.
More growth can mean more CSR by corporates and better possibilities of socially responsible plans and policies by Govt, helping inclusive growth at a larger level. More the growth, more the money circulates in the market helping the economy grow further in a seamless loop.
This is how deep rooted festivals and marketing are to our economy and well-being of people. This is why I say that the entire civilisation and our way of life studded with festivals gradually developed over centuries right out of some marketing rule book. All in all, festivals and marketing can’t do much without each other and nor can the economy and our well-being. Let’s continue to celebrate life and festivals and let’s continue to give ourselves, our lifestyle and the wellbeing of our economy the boost it needs.
The author is MD of Apppl Combine. Views expressed are personal.