Brand Intolerence

Brand intolerance works both ways. A brand that thinks it knows everything that is to be known about its consumers backed by data. Data that is collected by rather outdated techniques. These brands also know what the consumers want (its like men who think they know what women want). Many cases it works too. Either the brand is so powerful in its category (sales and volume… not the brand equity) or the category itself is so low involvement for the consumer that they dont much care and buy whatever is TOM (salt for instance or toothpaste or any such category).

However it works only till there is no serious threat or evolution of the category. Indian airlines dominated the skies till new airlines came along. Service supriority and value add ons worked for these airlines. They also were ruling the skies and taking the consumer for granted. And then low costcarriers changed the rules yet again. Brands that were intolerant to their consumers have suffered.

Brand intolerence from the consumer of course is very dangerous. Took a long while for Coke to recover from their disaster. Maggi Noodles in India in 1998/99. Hindustan Motors.

Brand intolerence from the consumer happens when, either they had enough of being taken for granted or when someone new comes along and offers choices that are in line with what they want. Nokia in 2000 was using the same outer shell with very little visible differentiation across different price bands. Samsung came along and every model had something different to offer… specially the form factor. Credit to Nokia though… they realized what was happening in the market and in the consumer’s mind very quickly and unleashed new forms and applications.

Indian manufacturers of consumer electronics and white goods didnt keep pace with the changing market and were wiped out. Samsung and LG just took over because the consumer was getting tired of sub standard choices.

Public sector banks suffered too but then the private banks messed up and brands like SBI and many others are back in the reckoning. They are the ones who realized the that there is a change in the economic status of the consumer brought about by the economc situation. ICICI on the other hand is operating from the swanky building in BKC with the assumption that they are so good that they dont have to do anything for the consumer… of course they are in trouble (the moment a brand or an organization starts with a PR as to how sound and safe they are… everyone knows there is trouble brewing)

Ultimately it boils down to the relationship a brand has with its consumer. Intolerence creeps in because the brand takes the consumer for granted and consumer just waits for the right time to slap the brand with a divorce…

There is nothing new that I have said here… its common sense but it seems lot of brands are taking leave of this common sense…

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