#Markterleads Talk is a conversation between Passionate Marketers exploring the new avenues of Marketing. In this episode, We have Aditi Anand, Head – Brand, Media, and Digital at Nokia Mobiles, (HMD Global), a full-stack senior marketing leader obsessed with building brands through rich consumer insights and deep marketing analytics. She has a strong foundation in traditional brand building with an equally vast repertoire of work done in the digital, content, and experiential domains.
During her career spanning close to 13 years, she has nurtured and marketed some of India’s most iconic consumer tech brands – Airtel, Flipkart, and Nokia. An avid learner, A Passionate Marketer she loves to experiment with categories, loves to build, nurture, and market brands. She strongly advocates the philosophy of consumer matters, not the category, Let’s understand more from her on the Marketing Strategies required to fuel your Business Growth.
What’s new in Nokia? How are you placing Nokia again a differentiator in this cluttered mobile market understanding the fact that NOKIA is trusted for Quality?
Aditi Anand: Nokia is a Finnish brand with a global footprint. We are present in 8 operating regions: India, Europe, Asia Pacific, Americas, Greater China, Middle East, and North Africa (MENA), Sub-Saharan Africa, and Russia. We have 91 active markets and five manufacturing sites globally.
Speaking of our India business, in the last three and a half years:
- We have expanded our presence to 110k + retail stores with 700+ distribution partners and 300+ Nokia Mobile Care centers.
- We have our own eCommerce store at Nokia.com/phones and have robust partnerships with top e-commerce players.
- We are rated as the 2nd most trusted brand in the mobile phone category by Economic Times Most Trusted Brands (2019 and 2020) and 20th most trusted consumer tech brand by Forbes (2019).
Globally, we are No. 1 in value in the Feature phone market and a full portfolio smartphone player with products across all strategic price bands.
World over, Nokia phones, irrespective of price point, stand for the same three things:
- Trust, craftsmanship, and Quality
- Finnish heritage – we are the only smartphone brand from Europe
- Packed with the latest Google innovations
We have recently got a $ 230 MN funding during this pandemic, making it the largest growth financings raised in Europe in 2020.
What is Branding and what one should take care not to overdo it ?
Aditi Anand: Branding is creating a singular, consistent and differentiated identity for your product or service that lets you command a premium over others in the market.
All good brands are consumer-focused and should be actively communicating the consumer value proposition or how they add value to the consumer’s life rather than rattling off their product/ service features.
What are your preferred strategies for effective branding in digital space.
Aditi Anand: Branding in the digital world is more rigorous and real-time than in the offline world. There is no switch On and Off button, like in traditional marketing. It is Always On; three hundred sixty-five days a year, 24 x 7.
For a digital play, a brand must overlay the 4P’s of Marketing with the 4C’s:
Communication – Always on, Real-time, two -way
Connection – Authentic brand voice with an intent to form genuine relationships
Conversation – User-initiated, friendly, human, responsive
Community – Sparking engagement and driving advocacy by uniting fans over shared passions
Marketing analytics is all about Numbers. What do you suggest to keep in mind preparing marketing activities?
Aditi Anand: Marketing needs to focus on two strategic metrics.
- Consumer mind share: These are lead indicators that determine the brand’s health in the short, mid, and long term. Metrics like Top of mind awareness or spontaneous brand recall, Consideration, Intention to Purchase, Brand Preference, and Loyalty are essential predictors of market share.
- Market share: Hard financial metrics like Net Sales, Gross Margin, Value share, etc. determine the business’s financial robustness today and its ability to scale up tomorrow.
The above two metrics can be tracked using multiple KPIs, both at a consumer claimed a level as well as a demonstrated level (actual action). All Marketing activities must be planned to deliver on one or more of the above objectives.
Airtel, Flipkart, Nokia, such a steller line of companies you have worked with and grown as a professional. Share success mantra for aspiring youth in the marketing profession.
Aditi Anand: Anyone aspiring to be a marketer irrespective of category needs to develop four critical skills:
- Consumer centricity – Businesses exist because a consumer is willing to buy the product or service the business is selling. Hence, consumer centricity is key to survival for any business. While all teams should aim for consumer understanding, in most organizations, marketing champions consumer-first thinking. All good marketers should bring a consumer view into business decision-making.
- Creativity – Effective Marketing teams fuel growth for the organization. Tapping into new consumer segments or geographies or products, differentiating their brand, crafting winning value propositions, figuring out new solutions to existing problems or new solutions to new problems are all strategic activities that need creativity and out of the box thinking.
- Analytical mindset – Creativity should always be data-backed for it to have the maximum impact. When decisions are taken based on a hunch, they can go wrong. Having an understanding and appreciation for data is critical for all successful marketers.
Openness and ability to learn – Marketing is a continuously evolving field. Newer technologies replace existing once at a neck-breaking speed. An eye on the emerging trends, what’s gaining ground, and what’s fading out is critical to survival. Also important is a peer to peer learning. How another industry is solving a similar consumer problem can open one’s mind and provide breakthroughs when stuck.
What are new marketing trends you foresee in 2021 ?
Aditi Anand: One size never fits all. While each category will have its own set of emergent behaviors to deal with, some shifts will be universally true for most consumer categories.
More and more consumers will shop online for more and more products, forcing even traditional categories to have a robust eCommerce strategy.
Digital penetration will accelerate on the back of affordable smartphones and data prices. Consumers will be more available and responsive online than ever before.
As a result of 1 and 2 above, digital advertising expenditure will continue to grow at a fast pace.
Content Marketing will explode. Influencers, 3rd party content tie-ups, immersive ad formats, use of AR/ VR technologies, and personalized messaging will become more mainstream.
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Content is king. How can we build an effective content marketing strategy in digital marketing ?
Aditi Anand: With the rapid surge in India’s internet penetration, the number of touchpoints for a brand has exploded. With that, the complexity of managing a singular brand identity across the varied touchpoints has also increased manifolds.
In large organizations, different teams manage different touchpoints, which sometimes results in loss of brand cohesion.
It is critical that the entire marketing team understands the brand’s basic building blocks and operates from the same playbook else the brand will end up looking schizophrenic.
Besides having a single playbook, a couple of strategies can help in creating a winning content strategy:
- Be consumer-focussed
- Play to the platform strength
- Experiment with different creative formats
- Be real-time and responsive
- Leverage the context
- Continuously analyse performance and optimize
The mobile market is quite vulnerable. Every day, new products are launched. What is your preferred medium to stay close to customers
Aditi Anand: We live in the information age and today, being close to the consumer is easier than ever before. A couple of tried and tested strategies coupled with new-age methods, make consumer understanding quite robust.
Some of these that I subscribe to are:
- Consumer immersion workshops – Organized on your own or through a research partner, these help understand the consumer in depth; their life stage, pain points, triggers and barriers, relationship with the category, current need gaps, and other such valuable information.
- Retail visit and shopper interviews: These are an excellent source when trying to understand how customers are interacting with the category and your brand at the point of sale, what information they are seeking, how they are making a choice, and why are they choosing you or competition.
- Listening to customer calls: Possible to do in service categories like telecom, eCommerce, and aviation. These are very helpful for customer retention or upgrade.
- Social listening, blogs, and discussion forums – To gauze what consumers are thinking, talking, and expecting from your brand, competition, and category.
- Ecommerce platforms: Customer reviews and ratings on eCommerce platforms give a wealth of information on what product aspects consumers like and which ones fall short of their expectations.
How to build customer trust in sales strategy?
Aditi Anand: Trust is a higher-order emotion that gets evoked when someone does what they promised to do. That promise can be overt or implied. For a brand, it means understanding consumer expectations and living up to it every single moment.
Sometimes, under commitment and over delivery work well to convert passive trust into active delight. One brand that does this well is Amazon.
On other occasions, it means owning up when you make a mistake, apologizing, and taking corrective action rather than being non-committal and trying to brush the issue aside.
Tips for women in sales and marketing
Forget you are a woman. To be a successful marketer, focus on the consumer, not on your gender – Aditi AnandTweet
Tips to increase sales in COVID- 19 times
Aditi Anand: A Crisis is a time for reset. During a crisis, strong brands become stronger and weak brands become weaker. If a brand does not add any real value to the consumer, is not trustworthy, or isn’t differentiated enough, it will lose out.
Future of Retail showrooms, branding and OOH medium.
Aditi Anand: I don’t think retail showrooms are going away any time soon. There is something charming about the physical act of shopping Also, there are categories where touch and feel or experiencing the product before buying is preferable.
But to continue to stay relevant, retail needs to adapt to evolving consumer behavior. Smart retail, infused with technology and personalized consumer experience, is going to be the way forward.
When it comes to OOH, the biggest weakness is the lack of reliable measurement. Digital OOH helps to some extent, but there are significant gaps still to be plugged. Innovative OOH formats that become talk points are few and far between.
Overall, the medium is lagging and needs a double dose of technology to stay relevant.
Fire Side Chit Chat:
- Your Favorite Book: Grit by Angela Duckworth
- Your Favorite Destination: London
- Your ME Time: Reading
- Your Happy Moment: When a campaign I am working on goes live 😊
- Who Am I: A Learner
- What motivates you: Competition
- Your Current Read: Just finished reading, “It’s a magical world. A Calvin and Hobbes Collection by Bill Watterson and I am still mesmerized with the simplicity with which Bill has communicated poignant life lessons.
- Passionate about: Marketing