Anustup Datta

The company you keep makes the difference

Which is important? Being in the right company or not being among the wrong company? The dilemma in real life might not be so critical but in the world of brands not being in the wrong company aka not doing the wrong things takes precedence.

As Brand consultants we take the responsibility of identifying the position of companies in the entire marketing value chain. So, Vertebrand’s Brand identity model not only outlines what a brand must do, but also what the brands must not do. This includes where the brand should not be physically available, which media vehicle/ program the brand must avoid and all those consumer touch points which are a big no-no for the brand.

Most brand owners pay attention to the former but somehow do not think much of the latter. This means that, while they diligently implement what needs to be done, they don’t pay attention to what should not be done. They don’t realize that in the world of brands, being seen in the wrong company (place) and taking the wrong actions have far larger repercussions, than they can forsee.

There was a real estate company, which stood for great value delivery as their brand promise. The parent group is a large organization, with tremendous goodwill. Hence, there was immense pressure on the real estate company to move away from being a mass market real estate brand, to being a premium real estate player. Besides, given the challenges of the real estate sector it was certain that unless the real estate company changes their brand perception, they cannot attract premium clientele, thereby threatening the long term survival of the company.

So far, so good. The intent was clear; the strategic road map for the transition of the brand was done. There was a concrete effort in the mass media to highlight the new value proposition of the brand. Yet, the disconnect was seen in BTL activities. The brand was simply everywhere. For example property expos attract a lot of potential consumers. Instead of being choosy and participating only in those expos where other premium real estate brands are present, the brand chose to participate in every other expo.

What is the message that consumers get, when this happens? Obviously, they are not closer to success. In the consumer’s mind, most mapping is relative. Your position is defined by how you stack up against others. So, if you are seen by the consumers in the company of the wrong brands; even though you are better than them in many ways, you are going to be slotted with them in the consumer’s mind. Conversely, if you’re in the company of the right brands; even if they are your competition, the rub off on your brand image is far higher. Ignoring it, could prove to be very costly. All your brand efforts can come for a naught, when the company is not desirable.

Remember, the right company is not only important for not just tabloid personalities, but for brands as well. Ignoring it, might be a serious lapse.

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