Cutting through the clutter is as simple as A, B, C – Nilanjan Mukherjee, Head Marketing, ITC


If you thought reading the consumers’ minds is an art, Nilanjan Mukherjee, Head Marketing (Personal Care), ITC proved that it is in fact a science. If you get your bearing right, then you can get consumers coming in and asking for your product in the store, paying the price you want them to pay, and everything else just falls in place. It is one of the most important functions of consumer business. But before you set out to get an advertisement for your product, you also have to put in perspective the rising media prices. The question is, can you afford it? Can you afford to run the 45 second commercials? Can you be more effective in creating brand franchises? Can the message be delivered in half the time? Can we cut through the clutter? Nilanjan Mukherjee at the Pitch CMO Summit, New Delhi on 27th March, 2014 defines the process of reading the consumers’ mind for you, and what it takes to make the cut.

“The key is to find something that works for your consumers. To be able to gauge the consumers’ reactions to advertising. The typical Indian consumer will never say that he does not like something. A lot of the responses are socially relevant responses. If you want advertising to work, you need to understand the high points of ad work and what the consumer is thinking about. It’s all about getting the pulse of the consumer. You can compress advertising to make it shorter and yet be more effective,” advises Nilanjan. How does one do it?

The first question on everyone’s mind is what makes for great advertising? There are lots of opinions about advertising – things we like, things that touch our hearts and mind. But what really are the tenets of good advertising? And you won’t believe it’s as simple A, B and C process. “A stands for attention. The commercial should be able to stop the consumers in their tracks. B stands for Branded Memorability. Brands have a tendency to get replaceable, you should stay distinguished. C stands for Comprehension – comprehending the attitude and behavior of your customers. The tool that we use is Neuro Focus. We actually get consumers to come in, play our ads and don’t ask them any questions. We put a cap on to the consumer’s head that maps the brain pulses and we track the consumer’s pupils to see where it dilates. It is a fool proof way to gather the reactions to advertisements. We know which part of the commercial triggers what emotion in the consumer,” says Nilanjan.

ITC entered the already cluttered deodorants market. It is interesting to know the method that they adapted to differentiate themselves from the rest. “We entered the deodorants market that has grown to become an INR 2,200 crore market in 10 years. Unabashed attraction is the code of the category. We changed the way other deodorant brands communicated with consumers by adopting the formula of playful chemistry that brought the man and the woman in an equal position. Thus, the brand Engage was born,” says Nilanjan.

The challenges that most marketers face today are the high clutter of ads, visibility factor, and if you are a new brand, then you have to be seen bringing about new news. The key is to maintain the impact of longer edit with the shorter advertisement.

In the end, Nilanjan leaves us with two very important tips. He says, “In order to create that brand connect and understand the consumers, brands need to only do two things majorly. One, talk to as many consumers as you can. Create conversations with them wherever you find them; find out what they like, what they want, what they feel, etc. and number two, visit the market as often as you can. If you’ve got these two points covered, half your battle is won.” And the last golden piece of advice - Emotionality drives rationality. If the proposition connects with the consumer’s heart, she will justify the purchase decision rationally. Amen.

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