In conversation with Ramya Ramachandran, Category Head- Movies, ZEE5 who comes with a rich marketing experience across consumer goods, lifestyle & retail, consumer tech & mobility, We discussed Brand Campaigns & Customer Experience. She loves identifying & tapping opportunities to marry consumer needs to business creation and always sum her experience as setting or renewing the charter for brands like Titan, Nestaway & Bounce. In her new role at Zee5, She is a Category Head – Movies exploring new dimensions of booming internet entertainment space (OTT). She was featured as India’s top 25 video marketers for 2019 (for the campaign “Ghar for Her”).
A brand is a conviction of a customer, what are your thoughts on it?
Absolutely. For people to believe in a brand, they need to resonate with the brand & trust it. So, relevance & trust forms the base of brand building no matter what the category, product, or service.
Relevance or resonance is the function of defining the personality & purpose for the brand – who does it represent (archetypes), what does it stand for, why does the brand exist, what problem/gap is it trying to solve.
Trust on the other hand is built by acting on your beliefs. By delivering what you promise. By constantly bridging the gap between consumer expectations & brand experience.
In the post covid world, every marketer is going back to building these basics. To give you an example, apparel retailers making masks part of the attire is them being relevant, while contactless retail experiences they are building is to reinforce trust.
COVID 19 has brought everything online, what are your thoughts on creating an online image for brands.
Post-Covid, many traditional brands & sectors are now investing in creating an online experience. The automobile sector which largely relied on test drives & showroom visits for sales is one example, they now offer virtual car tours & online pre-booking and sales at your doorstep.
Not just brands & companies, you can see even small Kirana stores innovating and making better use of the internet/WhatsApp. So, this is a sort of digital revolution. For any brand trying to make an online presence its very important to define the expectations & focus on delivering the expectations & building the right conversations around the brand. To drive business, a funnel-based marketing approach is very important, to ensure there no leakages in the online consumer journey and to take the right interventions to optimize conversions.
Brand engagement has become a must. What do you suggest to engage with customers to ensure the brand message is delivered.
While every brand is now looking at engagement metrics, the engagement is not restricted to building conversations on social media. It’s become very important to immerse with consumers at every stage, making them your brand evangelists. Word of mouth is still the best marketing strategy. At Bounce, we had a WhatsApp group of brand lovers who were an integral part of most decision making especially during times like COVID. When mobility was impacted and we were looking at alternative offerings, we brainstormed with these brand lovers (we called them bounce knights) & took suggestions on everything from pricing to touchpoints. Bounce knights went out of their way to even help us find remote bikes and park them safely during lockdown when services were suspended.
At Nestaway, we built a community app for the “nesties” living with us to form social connects in the city and explore their interests. The platform has over 80K tenants interacting with each other on a variety of topics. We got such interesting insights about the consumers from this platform, and they in turn “live” the brand – not just use it to transact. This to me is real engagement.
A long tenure at Titan, What is your topmost learning if you can share for our readers.
Titan is an iconic company with some legendary brands, and I had the opportunity to work on several projects spanning from retail transformation to launch some very exciting products & sub brands. Titan is the best example there is in the country today of continuously focusing on excellent consumer service & experience & building trust. Our monthly review meets began and ended with consumer stories. Even today I was reading about how during the lockdown, the retail executives of Titan eye+ were calling up their old customers and checking if they needed repairs/change of their eyewear, visiting their houses with replacement frames – and not even charging for it! This is the kind of unmatched consumer service, that makes people flock to a brand and vouch for it. No wonder it has enjoyed high NPS for this long
Creating campaign is easier said than done. Emotional Connect has become favorite of brands to push the audience. What is your take on it and How one should prepare an effective brand campaigns.
With people’s short attention span, and the changing media landscape, its no longer enough to just be seen or noticed. You want people to talk about your brand, one way to do that is to do point-of-view based advertising. Ads with strong subjects, especially ones that tackle social issues do get talked about more. Brands are also wanting to be more real and relatable which is what connects with today’s audience most. I think it is very important to know the audience you are talking to, find an insight that resonates most with that audience, then build a story that effortlessly ties in the brand to that insight.
Your advice to girls wanting to make a career in Sales and Marketing.
Go for it! It just needs one pre-requisite – be curious. Curiosity will lead you to find insights everywhere. Everything else you will learn with experience.
Fire Side: Chit Chat
- Your Favorite Book: Palace of Illusion (Mythology fiction – I like its storytelling!)
- Your Favorite Destination: Bali (Indonesia) & Turkey so far. (It’s not so much the destination as much the experiences)
- Your ME Time: Usually reading or dancing
- Your Happy Moment: My first scuba diving experience
- Who Am I: Storyteller