Brand, Culture and Popularity: How does culture affect branding?

marketing strategy of a brand

Have you ever wondered what makes a brand successful? Or what does a successful brand do differently that others don’t? Well, of course, a lot depends on the brand marketing strategy. But along with this, some successful brands have often tried to weave their brands into the cultural fiber of people. Let’s see how brands try to navigate between cultures and branding while retaining their popularity.

Blending culture into brand:

Branding is not just about having a brand name or registering a trademark. It involves a consistent and inclusive brand marketing strategy. For consistency, brands should maintain  ‘standardization.’ It forms the fundamental building block of the branding strategy of a company. Inconsistent marketing doesn’t click with people at all. However, standardization of a brand may pose a challenge in cross-cultural branding. Let’s understand more about it.

Challenges in brand standardization:

Mostly, brands tend to rely on their tried and tested formula in the new markets. But this strategy may not always lead to the success of a brand. Brands have to customize their products/services and strategize according to different cultures. Let’s take India’s example. India offers tremendous opportunities to global companies owing to its large consumer base. But in spite of being demanding consumers, Indian consumers are very careful and clear in their priorities. It is not very easy to make them spend on branded goods at premium prices. Also, they have the luxury to choose from a myriad of Indian brands that offer superior quality products at affordable prices. Thus, market strategy can only work if brands tune it as per the local conditions. Netflix- an American OTT platform, recently announced a low-cost subscription tier to suit its Indian viewers.

Another example is Nokia that adapted its mobile phone as per India’s needs. This mobile brand wanted to focus on the expanding rural customer base in India. So, it introduced an anti-slip grip, a dust-resistant keypad, and an inbuilt flashlight. These features instantly clicked with rural consumers. They showcased Nokia’s genuine commitment to responding to the local needs of its Indian consumers. Thus, tweaking the standardized formula and bending the brand’s market strategy as per the area of operation, greatly help customers in accepting the brands and carving  brand’s niche among the local players.

How do consumer patterns affect the marketing of a brand?

Keeping branding in view, there can be two types of cultures- individualistic and collectivistic. In individualistic cultures, customers make consumption decisions based at an individual level.  And in collectivistic cultures, customers make consumption decisions on a group level. So when it comes to a marketing strategy, these differences must be considered carefully for the success of a brand. In other words, brands should be sensitive to cultural differences and adapt accordingly. We can broadly classify countries into these categories. India along with Japan, China, and Korea have a largely collectivistic culture while the US, Germany, Canada have an individualistic culture. Having said this, it is impossible to clearly define societies into any one of these categories. Even in largely collectivistic cultures, we can see streaks of individualism. Designing a brand marketing strategy after carefully analyzing such differences can be helpful for a brand that is venturing into new territory.

Understanding brand marketing strategy through an example:

marketing strategy of a brand

You must be familiar with the brand-Paper Boat that sells non-carbonated beverages and energy drinks. The brand is marketed by Hector Beverages located in Bangalore, India. But even though Paper Boat is a relatively new brand, it managed to sail quite quickly through the choppy markets of India. So what led to the success of this brand?

Paper Boat entered the Indian market in 2013. It branded itself as an indigenous and authentic drink contained in eco-friendly packaging. The good part was that the juices that Paper Boat made were produced from locally available fruits and spices. Within 2 years, the Paper Boat brand was valued at $100 million, expanding its base in countries beyond Asia as well. Leaving no stone unturned to tap the Indian culture, it kick-started its promotion on drinks centered around Indian festivals. From Thandai and AamRas to Kokum sharbat and Anardana juice, the brand captured the local flavor of every region in its drink to capture the consumer interest.

The branding and marketing strategy of the Paperboat  aimed at creating nostalgia among its consumers. With the tagline-‘Drinks and Memories’ and the advertisement with the background music of R. K Narayan’s famous ―Malgudi Days, the brand instantly resonated with people as it reminded them of their childhood days.

The rise of Paper Boat is a clear example of how blending culture with a brand marketing strategy brand can lead to the success of a brand. Like they say ‘products are made in factories but, brands are made in minds’, deeply understanding people’s cultures and preferences can be quite helpful for companies in designing their brand marketing strategy.

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