Fans of American football, including those here in Indonesia, are well aware of the huge star power of the Super Bowl in attracting millions of viewers.
The US is consumed by Super Bowl fever during the first weekend of February, especially anticipation of the famous half-time commercials.
Many brand and advertising enthusiasts, customers and the general public eagerly await the Super Bowl spots.
The spot allows a brand to create a new advertisement and brand campaign to communicate the brand to the public. What is so unique then?
For the past year we have always tried to discern the difference between advertisements and brand campaigns, when they are Super Bowl spots and when they are not.
In our view, brands tend to show and communicate their beliefs rather than what they are offering in Super Bowl spots. Some even create smarter and more ingenious ways to communicate what their brands are all about.
The result? Customers become smarter. The brands are able to educate customers in different ways and the messages conveyed are very compelling.
This is unlike on regular days, when brands tend to communicate their functional and end-use benefits. Thus with strong communication in the Super Bowl, brands are able to create a strong positioning and emotional bond that will create added value for every customer and potential customer.
Foster the people
How about Indonesian brands? While we don’t have the luxury of showcasing them in a world-class event, we do have plenty of brands in Indonesia, from local to global brands.
When you take a look each of their communications strategies, what do you see, basically? Products. This is not necessarily wrong, but as brand believers we have to understand that there are more to brands than just products.
Typically in Indonesia, a company tends to communicate only its functional benefit to customers. The effect? Not bad; some brands even make plenty of money, because they reveal all of their functional aspects in communications.
Does it create an emotional attachment? No. People will always think that a product is just a product; there will be no brand in the mind of customer.
There will be no Apple or Nike mind-set in the Indonesia customer’s mind. They are only smart in buying products that are less expensive, where any product can be copied, but not smart in choosing the brands that suit them and their values, beliefs and personalities.
Let us take the banking industry here. How do they communicate? They say the same thing with virtually no differences whatsoever. Do they say something unique, compared to the others?
No. They say the same thing, communicating about their products and services literally.
They are not wrong in communicating in that way, but we think it is time for companies in Indonesia to take their brands to the next level. Customers need to be smarter, not only in buying or choosing the best products, but smarter to choose the brands that fit their values.
In doing so, a company needs to go back to its roots and find what it stands for. These values will be the basis of its communication strategy for the future.
To be a great brand you don’t need to tell the whole world that you are the best in the business.
Remember that some great brands never talk like that. Starbucks is one example. It never tells customers that it is a large coffee company. It always says that it is a third place, where you find comfort and enjoyment between your office and your home.
When you have a strong brand foundation, like Starbucks, you even don’t need to advertise.
But in banking, sometimes it is best for you to communicate your brand and what you stand for. Indonesian people have become smarter customers, not only buying because of price, but because they feel comfortable with a brand.
Thus, loyalty can be created indefinitely.
Last but not least, smart customers will have a better bond with your brand, because they know what they want. A strong bond will create a strong loyalty. A loyalty will give you purchasing behavior and eventually will bring you sales.
Bear in mind that a branding process will not give an instant result of numbers. But it will give an emotional bond and also a smarter customer.
Galih Rangha Putra is a senior brand consultant at DM IDHOLLAND and Daniel Surya is its chairman and president for Southeast Asia.