Marketing in the Internet age: Branding, influencers prove crucial

Population increase has led to more consumer demand for better and newer products. A phone purchased today becomes an outdated technology within six months.

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is — it is what consumers tell each other it is,” said founder and CEO of Intuit Scott Cook.

People buy what their neighbors, friends or colleagues got for themselves. Many people are dissatisfied until they get what others have — regardless of the usefulness of the product to them.

Brands lure the young population — most of whom are more aware of latest fashion trends, gadgets and electronics. These young consumers might get swayed with products gaining demands and popularity in their circles.

An article by Forbes mentions the impacts an influencer has on marketing a brand. A new generation of influencers is emerging on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, revealing everyday consumers on these social media platforms who have mass followers — and therefore mass influence.

Sarah Afraz, a development professional in Villgro Innovations Foundation, said that when it comes to buying sportswear and shoes, durability is a deciding factor. Brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma have been popular because of their good quality, but mostly since international players wear them. Additionally, jersey sales increase by 45 to 70 percent during events such as the World Cup.

Selling a product boils down to efficient marketing, but a brand is bigger than a marketing tactic. James Heaton, author in Tronvig Group, said that brand and marketing are two different aspects of selling.

A brand will retain its impression on consumer minds irrespective of short supply in market. That is one of the reasons why people queue up in front of Apple stores on the day of launch for a new product.

The debate between Apple and non-Apple users has been widely discussed in many technical forums. Apple is one of the biggest electronic brands and has an enormous loyal customer base. The numbers are changing with android users taking over 52 percent slice of the United States’ market.

According to an article by Research Gate, some consumers are more inclined to invest on selective company stocks despite risks and low financial returns. This is due to individual investors attaching themselves to company images projected by the company’s product brand.

Forbes created the CircleUp25, which was started to identify 25 of the most innovative consumer and retail brands that are reinventing their industry every year. The study extensively covers global expert opinions, private equity firms, consumer trade publications and the consumers. Forbes believes good companies create products whereas great companies create identities.

The launching of Facebook in 2004 has changed the world for Internet users widely. It replaced most social networking sites in terms of popularity and created its own identity.

Marketing companies necessarily work on a Facebook and Twitter page to reach out to consumers. Similarly, Google has a niche when it comes to search engines, and thus the term “googling” was coined.

The retail market and consumerism is evolving, and good brands need more than an image to relish this monopoly given to them. The Internet is a good platform to advertise and convince consumers, but on the contrary, bad reviews or a massive recall over an offensive campaign can blot a company’s brand.

Branding is not merely a survival tactic, but the biggest business strategy to run a company.

Opinion columnist Aishwarya Gogoi is a petroleum engineering graduate student and may be reached at [email protected]

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