Branding, the process of canvassing, popularising, and creating a mass appeal for your brand name and particularly for the products sold. The final goal of any branding campaign is to create a huge, loyal consumer base. It is basically the process through which companies try to create a connection with the consumer base in order to give a personality to the product. Brand in real life does not exist, it is merely an expression in the minds of the consumer with regards to their experience with the product, company, or service. It was once a process that was just a part of the product manufacturing and selling, but now it is a $1000 Billion market worldwide. So, the question posed is that whether branding is even necessary for an organized market? Or is there a way out of it?
For answering the question, one has to first understand the meaning of ‘organized market’. It is an ideal market place, where the consumers are completely aware of the product they are buying, the ingredients going into it with all products being listed in their common names, and a transparent listing of what each ingredient would do, no puffed-up advertisements with regards to the product and the product would only advertise the things it actually does. In such a market, all the products pertaining to one industry are closely regulated by the Government, their advertisements are made to be true and transparent about the product and its use, and their product listings are done with adherence to the laws of the land, ensuring that nothing is hidden from the consumers.
In such a market where a consumer is educated about the product, then making an informed decision becomes easy. Let’s take the example of Vitamin C serum, a very widely used product in the cosmetic industry, to understand this. X company sells its Vitamin C serum for Rs. 499, and Y company sells it for Rs. 1599. Both the products have been examined by the respective Government Department and accredited validity with regards to use on human skin and its performance being similar as to what is promised by the company. The ingredients are the same, the concentration of Vitamin C is the same and the quantity is also similar. Since both the serums would work in the similar way, the consumers now will simply choose the product that suits their pockets, and any sane person would go for the cheaper one. Then what is it that made company Y charge such a high price? It’s the cost of branding. The cost incurred in marketing the product, hiring beauty stars for its advertising, and the huge ad campaigns organized for the product.
In absence of such an organized structure, the consumer would have been left in a confused state. Even when both the products promised the same outcomes, he would have to guess on his own the difference between the X product and the Y product. He might even end up thinking that since Y is more prominent on TV, highly present on social media, and has a huge star as its brand ambassador then probably it would work in a better way than X. Such uninformed decisions are actually prominent in the market with a huge number of consumer base still taking decisions based on such branding campaigns and believing the big brands to be better than the local or unpopular products.
But can a product have a huge consumer base, even without branding in the current market? The answer is in the affirmative. The success story of DECEIM is exemplary. DECEIM is the company that came up with the brand ‘The Original’, a cosmetic brand that produced products for skincare at a minimal price and zero branding. Yet, their products were always sold out and their loyal consumer base is not reverting back to their previous products anytime soon. So how is it that they made a big name without spending huge sums on celebrity endorsements and advertisement campaigns?
The Original followed a very simple strategy of selling low-cost products but with completely transparent labeling. Their products come with no-nonsense names like ‘Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%’, which clearly communicates the ingredients of the serum bottle with a very crisp target of ‘reducing sebum and minimizing pores’ written on the bottle itself. The product in no way promises any fake outcomes or unachievable targets of fairy-like skin, it simply tells what outcomes can the consumer expectations. Such transparency is showcased in every product of The Original and this is what made the consumer get educated about the product very quickly. This in turn leads to a huge consumer base getting created for the products and the Instagram Beauty Guru’s sharing their experiences with the product online, and spreading the word on social media. The trend of ‘The Original’ products has now spread like a wildfire with every next Beauty Guru using their products, such as the effectiveness of transparent advertising and educating the consumer base.
When the company is transparent with the customers, they are more likely to put their trust in the company. For a company that uses the line of ‘magic potion of revitalizing your skin’, the consumer is already filled with a fake imaginary expectation in their mind, that if not achieved will make the company lose its consumers. Had the line been crisp and true about the actual effect of the product on the skin, the customer satisfaction would have been far better.
Having an organized market gets absolutely necessary so that the consumer remains educated about the products they are buying and the monopoly that huge brands enjoy, reduces. With products like The Original coming with new concepts to fight the monopoly of 100-year-old brands like Loreal, the consumers are now getting educated and smatter in taking decisions. It is the newfound interest of the consumer, to know about the ingredients, effects, and effectiveness of a product that is forcing big brands to also start getting transparent with ingredients and advertising. They now question the harmful effects of the “Fair and Lovely cream” and its racial approach towards problems of an Indian, which made Hindustan Unilever change its product name to “Glow and Lovely”. Brands do need to start organizing themselves and start considering transparency a better option than branding