Consider this: Cadbury Celebrations went all out last year to integrate the brand with Raksha Bandhan, not just on television but on social media as well – be it the innovative Facebook contest “Tell your sister she is special” or the created Facebook app that shows siblings wishing each other real time. While actual sales are questionable, it definitely had an impact online. Last year, Coke celebrated Diwali with various themes including ‘lighting the city’. Though the communication was clutter breaking, did it actually resonate with the audience? Not sure again.
LG with its innovative products and offers was eyeing a sales growth of 20 percent during the Onam festival season last year. Did it achieve its full potential? Answers are not certain.
The festival season comes with an added advantage for the brands, the opportunity to reconnect and tighten the bond with current and prospective customers. In an attempt to connect with the consumer by associating with their emotions, does everyone get it right? By showcasing diyas to light up the entire city, did Coke forget that Diwali is a festival celebrated at home, with family, with sweets and rangolis?
Introducing themselves differently to the festival crowd, brands rush to offer new products or upgrade existing ones in their kitty. But, do these marketing strategies really turn out to be a profitable venture? With their umpteen offers (buy one, get one, 20% extra) throughout the year,non-durables really have to think of higher ‘cut through’ offers and strategies to be noticed in this season. Retail is another story – ‘created events’ such as Republic Week and Independence Week have helped top modern retailers record higher sales than normal during the Diwali week. Discounting events like ‘Public Holiday Sale’ by Future Group and ‘Sabse Sachi Sale’ of Reliance Retail are classic examples.
Especially for durables and automobiles, as sales stutter during the year, brands hope to cash in or help pull in more consumers into their showrooms during festivals. The sales top festive buying and account for about 20-30% of the total sales of the year. Greater brand salience is created during these festival seasons. The good news is that be it mid level or premium, none sees an image down grade due to the ‘value offers’.
Most importantly, as the air is thick with festivity, the deals are highly non innovative and can make the consumer yawn – the same price offs, buy one get one, freebies et al. The consumer expectancy is definitely being undervalued. It is time brands innovate and reinvent their strategies in order to leverage the Big India Festive Season. Of course, without losing contextual and consumer relevance.