Sunday, May 10, 2015

'Lenskartification' of Brands

Last week Lenskart became news for all wrong reasons for their ad promotion message on the lines of Nepal earthquake. Social media did not spare any efforts in putting them on a social media trial - “Haww!! How can a brand be so insensitive about a natural calamity?” Right?
The way I see it, Lenskart just fell out of line in a race with other brands in ’Staying Relevant’ with their communication with their customers. And this small proactive exercise costed them a couple of sleepless nights trying to save their face. Otherwise, what they did is nothing different from what every other brand does. 
It is a norm within brand landscape to look for an opportunity to jump in with their innovative messaging and grab consumer attention. I’m sure every brand must have thought of a strategy to spin off their own stories when the massive earthquake happened. Lenskart just got foot in their mouth while trying to get the first movers advantage. They hence voluntarily invited themselves to become case studies of ‘How-not-to-get-excited-for-everything'.
Earlier there was a time when there were only limited media space you could buy to communicate during premium occasions. Hence brands were forced to choose their battles. A jewellery brand would put in their money only during an Akshaya Tritiya or a Diwali and a fitness brand would promote their discounts only during start of the year. But now thanks to exposure to free media space on digital platforms (social media mostly) , every brand is ready to throw in their hats on every occasion one can think of. That’s the reason we are getting to see a shoe brand or a fitness app brand or an OTC brand floating briefs for viral ideas for as vague as a ’National Catfish Day’ ( Yes, this day exists. #NoJoke). And why would they do something as absurd? Because that’s the norm, silly!
I think all of this has to do with people in the lowest rung management ( like me ) on brands side who has to report efforts in their timesheets. Their glorious reports must have read something like - On Mother’s Day, our brand 'StayLean' promoted a hashtag #MyLeanMom on Twitter, which trended for a good 23 nano seconds. Peer pressure has side effects when self agenda becomes priority over brand’s interest. That’s the reason I feel the copywriter of Lenskart succumbed to pressure and jumped the gun with his/her devastating ad copy.
Brands like Zomato has showed us that we do not necessarily need a formula to become talk of the town. Good content goes viral no matter what. Timing matters, Quality matters, Staying visible matters, but not staying in-your-face. Quality hence should take precedence over frequency of communication. It is always better to choose your battles and try breaking the clutter rather than being omnipresent trying to ’Stay Relevant’ and hence turn off your potential brand champion.
Well, its also true that all this gyaan holds good till another brand goes viral and gets ‘Lenskartified’.

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