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“5 predictions of brand activity in 2014”- Ankur Kalra, CEO, Vibgyor Brand Services

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What’s new? The innocuous greeting that has marked the beginning of most informal conversations has been the buzzword for brands in 2013. Celebrity endorsements and advertisements are not quite meeting the cut when it comes to keeping consumers hooked on. People are looking for great brand experiences and this is translating into market dominance for those who are paying attention. Experiences are trumping briefs, concepts and designs – the real battle is on-ground where brands who can roll out the best experiences are preferred choices by consumers. Here’s a look at some of the trends that have found solid footing in the year gone by and are all set to be big in this year.



#1



User-generated content: There’s literally nothing you can’t do with a smartphone and marketers are going to make sure they leave no app unturned in exploiting this. Photos, videos, hashtags, reviews, comments, feeds – everything will be happening in real time and with some very real impact. Brands will be mobilizing people in big ways and the only big question who will get more creative.



Why it works: By getting consumers to talk to them they’re opening up channels for them to stay connected. And any good marketer will tell you – the most successful brands are good listeners instead of just being glib talkers.



#2



DIY



Taking personalized to the next level is do-it-yourself. Forget, creating something customized for you, they’d rather let you do all the work in exchange for a product that is exactly the way you want it – right down to the brass and tacks. Make your own sneakers, design your own t-shirts, share your chip flavors, create your own videos – channeling your inner creativity to make customized branded products is like a dream come true for most people.



Why it works: The one design fits all approach is replaced by a free-hand that makes each consumer a designer. With a little bit of help from the brands, each product is unique yet awesome. 



#3



In Real Time



If 2013 has seen conversation, 2014 will be the year of real time conversation. People will be looking for ways to join in the buzz as and when it happens and brands who can give devise these will emerge as game changers. Brands that are still content with pre-event hype and post-event publicity will make way for those who can get people talking in real time. We’ve already seen video broadcasts, tweets and opinion polls – now the interaction will get even quicker and personal. Agencies may no longer have the luxury of spending days on nights on creative, copy and execution.



Why it works: You’re talking about things as they happen and you’ve been able to milk the attention of millions who’re doing the same.



#4



Matters of the Heart



Ogilvy’s words still ring true – the consumer’s not a moron, she’s your wife. Gimmicky ads wrought with complicated terms and conditions and tall claims are not fooling anyone; an emotional appeal on the other hand is a sure-fire way to get their attention. Products will be marketed in ways that will pull at heartstrings instead of aiming directly for purse strings. Don’t be surprised if the promise of these magical moments is more likely to translate into purchase as compared to the lure of discounts and schemes. An extra-large bottle of cola is a party pack instead of a super value pack and candy bars are made bigger in size so you can share them with your BFF.



Why it works: Brands and products are just easier to accept and buy if they find a way of fitting into the lives of their consumers.



#5



Experience will be the last word



Consumers will increasingly rely on experiences to make their final decisions. The e-commerce industry has just woken up to this where all of the online retail portals now promise try before you buy and full exchange and refund options, no questions asked. Consumers are in no mood to part with their money on something new before they’ve tried it first and brands need to devise innovative ways to offer them this trial experience.



Why it works: In this economy if brands don’t get creative with their trial offerings they can say goodbye to increasing their market share.


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