For the past two years, in my previous avatar as Co founder of 1+99 experience consulting, whenever I was asked what does it do, I had a stock and short answer “We teach Brands to behave” with the next elaboration to – Brands cannot just stop at communication, unless its behaviour backs it up, it will be quite chaotic given the information, awareness, conversation etc thanks to digital.

My colleagues Yashesh, Vidya and of course the Brand Gurus Kiran Khalap and Andy Halve were amused, fed up and upset, even disagreed saying that our offering was quite large, different and etc etc

During the various workshops that I conducted for Brands, panels and interactions with CMOs the phrase worked very well, because ‘Customer experience’ as a differentiator was the buzz word and this resonated there. (Why it has yet to take off in India is another story to be told).

As a passionate service industry professional, I have been long a practitioner of how a brand should behave – words such as culture, policies, motivation – are good for 15-20% large MNCs (Foreign & Indian) For the rest, India is still dominated by Entrepreneur Managers, who run organisations as benevolent dictators where their behaviour is the Brand behaviour. In such an scenario, it tends to fluctuate wildly from one extreme to another depending on whims and fancies.

Many people on Social Media have taken opportunity to thrash Brands on an ongoing basis; but few acknowledge the good service or behaviour. Or the % is too low, or it is like a clique for a new service or app launched would have its team of founders, VCs, friends pimping it for a while but no consistency. Similar is the food business these days, and one could go on about it.

Since, I have no clue about Brands, names, logo I have taken the liberty of using a series of articles in The Mint by Kiran Khalap  some of which are quite relevant to this post.

Do brand names matter?

Dumb Logos vs ‘Lal Baraf’

(The most relevant and critical – probably where my constant hammering during debates may have had an impact I hope :))

Brands: Behave… or else!

Why brand behaviour bests brand communication in today’s democratised communication world!

There are a couple more in the series but they do not serve the purpose here.

Some time last year, Dina another Guru of the research industry asked the question and then tweeted “Crowdsourced list of Indian Organisations offering innovative/good customer service experiences: Flipkart, Paperboat, Urban ladder, Soufull, Big Basket, Fresh Menu, Amex, Explara, Exotel, Instamojo, Cucumbertown, Perfiniti, Gram Vaani, Taj, Oxford Bookstore, Bru World cafe, Faasos, Shreeji”

This is in no way a comprehensive or complete list, but it clearly has unknowns that few people know.

On 20 January 2016 Jessie ran a CMO twitter chat where Uber behaviour and customer service was spoken about. I have been a rare user and found them good, responded and sorted my problem out, which met my expectations. However, daily I see many tweets or FB updates cursing the arrogance, attitude and customer service problems faced by others from Uber, so I am confused here.

A poll run by me asking people on twitter, whether logo or behaviour is important to them (a by product of a prospective client willing to spend 5-7 lacs on logo design but not willing to invest that money in getting behaviour basics right) threw the following answer:

2016-01-21 08.50.03

As the digital era grows, there will be more peer to peer; unknown to unknown discussions happening that the brand would not be able to control always. Brand broadcast will not work. Logo, Tag Line, communication will be a long time haul. People demand instant gratification – acknowledgement, answer, resolution, rewards – in addition to engagement on a personal level.

Brand Behaviour will be the only differentiator in the cluttered ‘New Age Disruptive environment’ AND more importantly for the old Brands who are living in the past glory, getting away with color and logo changes every couple of year.

So, CMOs how much – time, effort, budget – are you actually allocating to this behaviour?

Disclaimer: All references to articles and information is my own. All mistakes in references are my own. ‘Brand’ has been used loosely with no disrespect to Kotler, foreign or indian brand gurus.

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Written by AD
ex waiter, angadia, travel agent, dotcomer, dukaandaar, marketeer, people watcher. appreciates single malt, food, friends