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Branding in this festival season

Happy Diwali! This has become the most popular welcome and goodbye chant the last few days. Well it is that time of the year. From Dusshera to Christmas it’s a very festive 3-4 months. So would the marketers and brand managers let this opportunity pass? Festive season calls a highly lucrative audience which a huge amount of brands try to connect with.

The consumer durables market, telecom service providers, textiles, jewellery, even the hospitality industry is placing its bets on the festive season, to end this year on a bright note. But here is the paradox. While all the promotions and advertisements make a lot of noise and even enable good sales, the question of whether they have created the brand any long term impact lingers. Is your product only a commodity sold at a lesser price during the season? Will customers remember your brand attributes post the festival?

In the words of brand guru Aaker (1996), “developing the strength of a brand is not deemed to be easy.” The response to – ‘what is the best approach to branding during the festive rush’ is filled with alternative methods and contradictions.

Branding during a festival or event is an unique opportunity to connect with your customers through every point of interaction and create an emotional connection between the festival, customer emotions and your product/service. The challenge here of course is to stay within your brand identity and still connect to people. For e.g.; Airtel gives online priests and puja hyms for festivals like Ganesh Chathurthi. Staying in line with their identity to “live every moment” they make customer’s festivals momentous.

The concept of festival branding is multidimensional, with cognitive and affective spheres. An amalgam of ideas, beliefs, opinions, expectations and impressions. Thus the festive branding attributes are interactional and strongly based on emotions. It needs to build on the brand value of the festival itself and reflect the essence of brand promise of the product/ service.

With these in mind the brand strategy should start with identifying the values or importance of the festival and articulate this to the brand’s promise. When positioned thus in the minds of the consumer the brand would gather better image.

Festive Brand Promise


4 Responses to Branding in this festival season

  1. Carrie Smith Reply

    October 20, 2009 at 2:56 am

    Well said Lata. I was in India for a year in 2008 on a marketing assignment and was exposed to several huge festivals through out the year, of which my organization made thorough use of. People in India seem to be culturally rich and love to celebrate their festivals which provides an excellent opportunity for companies like ours to connect with them.

    Media Channels like Television, Newspapers, Magazines and other OOH ads literally soar with offerings like they do here in western countries. The difference though, is with the volume of such campaigns. While in Western countries Festival branding soars only during Christmas & New year; in culturally rich countries like India, Festival branding occurs almost in every quarter with several festivals.

    Would it be safe to conclude that festival branding is prodominantly efficient only in traditionally rich countries?

    • Lata Reply

      October 20, 2009 at 7:13 am

      Yes India is a traditionally rich country. In fact sales promotions for many retailers have become a year long strategy. But I don’t think festive branding is restricted to a traditional geographical location. Even valentine’s day, mother’s day, Father’s day and many such days not to forget Independence day are also targeted by the marketers. And every society is bound to have its own special days. Marketer just need to tap the pulse of the customers.

  2. Ed Roach Reply

    October 25, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Absolutely – aligning your brand with festivals, special events and similar venues, allows a lessor known brand to piggy-back a more established one. It is a form of networking at the brand level. This technique is great for start-ups. Who among you is a great fit for your brand? Cross-promotion can be another benefit.

    • Meheer Thakare Reply

      October 26, 2009 at 2:01 am

      Ed.. I couldnt possible agree with you more. A Brand campaigns effectiveness many times depends on the timing of the campaign. Innovative and unique camapigning obviously improves the campaign effectiveness and consequently its exposure.

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