Mumbai: With 2008 drawing to a close, Mint asked consumer, media and marketing experts in India to look ahead and identify trends for 2009. In the first of a nine-part series, Anand Halve, co-founder of Chlorophyll Brand and Communications Consultancy Pvt. Ltd, a brand consultancy, talks about marketing trends.
The year 2008 saw many things that people say are ‘unprecedented’. Does that suggest that, like the Walrus, we must speak of ‘...shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings. And why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings?’
Crystal ball: Chlorophyll Brand and Communications Consultancy co-founder Anand Halve says 2009 will bring many new things, but they are unlikely to be so different that we will find them unrecognizable.
Not quite—2009 will bring many new things, but they are unlikely to be so different that we will find them unrecognizable. Here are the 10 trends we are likely to see in 2009.
Better value offerings: This is the most obvious element of the strategy marketers are likely to adopt, as consumers cope with real—and perceived—reduction in income. We will see smaller SKUs (stock keeping units), lower price units (as presented by Domino’s Pizza recently) and introductory packs at ‘affordable’ price points. This may extend to ‘20% extra’ type of promotions.
Focus on Mrs Kulkarni, the quintessential mom: I expect more advertising to be aimed at the homemaker than in boom times. In the good times, everyone can be persuaded to spend. But in tough times, it will be the homemaker who will reveal the closed iron fist in the shiny, velvet purse.
Greater focus on activation: While the search for the ‘great creative idea’ continues in agencies, marketers will increase the focus on activation that drives trial, up spending and buying through on-ground activation. Focusing on ‘Can Do’ over ‘Cannes Do’ (as in campaigns aimed at winning prizes at Cannes).
Resurrecting old assets: Think of this as the equivalent of pulling out that old jacket in your wardrobe that you had almost forgotten about. Marketers will take a second look at brands which they had ignored in times of ‘power brand’ growth. Expect some old brands to return to the shelves as marketers seek incremental sales at relatively low investments. Promise toothpaste anyone?
Brand makeovers: This exercise, which has seen a lot of takers in the past couple of years—Shoppers Stop, Union Bank of India, Canara Bank, Godrej and Ceat—is likely to accelerate. Brands in the kitchen, household goods, furnishings, retail and foods are likely to seek new life through ‘reincarnation’.
Co-marketing efforts: These have not been very big in India—even in coalition governments, they contest independently and join up after the ‘bidding’ is over. However, I expect marketers to seek more bang for marketing bucks through tie-ups such as the ones we are already seeing between Nokia and Airtel, Domino’s Pizza and Coca-Cola, and even tie-ups between brands and feature films.
Technology products: This one is actually a ‘no, this ain’t gonna change’ expectation. I expect makers of tech products—mobile phones, online games and souped-up laptops, etc.—to continue their efforts to attract the young and the geeky. After all, it has been proven beyond doubt that teenagers expand their spending to reach their parents’ level of unaffordability.
Looking good and feeling great: Marketers of products that promise to make women look more attractive, less bulky, younger, less hairy, and so on, will—or ought to—continue unabashedly. Nothing like a new hair colour, a new dress or a diamond to drive away the economic blues.
The ‘what-won’t-change’ ads: I am afraid that the one thing 2009 will not provide any respite from, are television commercials with ghastly side-by-side demos, or homemakers deriving practically orgasmic pleasure from a new detergent or bathroom cleaner.
The unexpected: And, finally, I expect...no, actually, I hope for something truly unexpected that no crystal ball gazers could have anticipated. Like the next iPod.
Here’s to 2009!