The art and science of growing your brand

Paddy Rangappa, Founder, Brand Traction

“You cannot grow your brand by ignoring the small users,” says author Paddy Rangappa and founder of Brand Traction in his afternoon keynote at the Singapore leg of CMO Innovation Summit 2017 held last week.

The conference saw close to 200 senior marketers including CMOs and marketing directors gather at the One Farrer Hotel & Spa in Singapore. As part of a full-day event, participants heard from top marketers on topics ranging from digital marketing, omni channel strategies and content strategy.

Mental availability matters

Rangappa was drawing from his more than 26 years’ experience in marketing leadership roles, particularly in retail and packaged consumer goods. Indeed, he was responsible for developing McDonald’s strategy to significantly grow the McCafé brand across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa in his last role as the vice president of brand development for the popular fast-food restaurant.

He explained how some commonly held beliefs about brand growth are wrong. Based on evidence gleaned across many countries and categories, Rangappa noted that mistakes include a focus on heavy users, targeting usage over reach, and relying on short-term promotions.

Instead, brands that are not “mentally available” are typically not considered, he explained, which makes this a crucial focus for brands to grow their brands in today’s hyper-competitive world.

Being mentally available can be achieved by making the right emotional connection with consumers, and must be developed with the right insight to connect with consumers. While an insight should be self-evident, it may not necessarily be explicitly communicated, he noted.

CMO Innovation Summit 2017 SingaporeThe role of insights

To illustrate his point, Rangappa played an old McDonald's video ad which showed a young gentleman on his very first day of work.

After a grueling half day of the usual preliminaries such as collecting his security pass and being introduced to various departments in the building, the ad shows the overwhelmed new hire makes his way to a McDonald’s for his lunch break.

“In times of stress, people seek comfort in something familiar,” said Rangappa, putting words to the subconscious insight the ad was trying to convey.

Many marketers are happy to embrace an insight if one comes their way, while others are happy to leave it to the agency. However, Rangappa considers insights to be vitally important, and considers it is the duty of marketers to work together with team members and their agencies to formulate them.

Rangappa outlined a strategy for brands to create these insights, starting by first identifying the challenge before using brainstorming techniques to build knowledge from available data. These nuggets of knowledge can then be leveraged to develop insights and implemented as an action plan.

With pertinent insights, marketers are hence able to develop the brand strategy and advertising for their organizations.

You can watch the 2012 McDonald’s advert here (YouTube).

Further reading

CMO Innovation Summit 2017 comes to Singapore and Hong Kong

Why traditional marketing channels will continue to be relevant

The year content marketing ruled supreme