These Babies Sell Themselves – Winning Entry from Brand.i July Issue


Is advertisement, the trump card for the Indian giant firms to communicate their brand? Rather, can there be a way to communicate a product or service without advertisement? This article will discuss this unorthodox marketing strategy along with its implementation so that we could try and find out, “Is there any way that could help reducing the advertisement expenses from the company’s income statement?”

Think of a brand, a giant from Italy, famous for its cutting-edge automotive engineering and photonic speed of its product. Ring any bells? Ok, what if I say ‘tangy red’? Yeah! It’s Ferrari! Ferrari has set up a huge empire, a huge name all without any glossy advertisements, flashy outdoors and even without any vanity fairs. People buy Ferrari because they are passionate about the car, the technology, the speed and most of all, the Ferrari as a brand. The only promotion activity Ferrari enjoys is ‘word of mouth’, and this base is growing wider on social media. In an article by Terry O’Reilly, he poses a question,

How does the management in Ferrari measure the effectiveness of this unorthodox strategy?”

The answer is simple,

“They sell every car they make!”

Other examples at a global front include Costco, The Body Shop, Ben & Jerry’s, Zappos etc. These are few brands that have not spent significant money on advertising. They have made their brand so popular, their product so distinguished that consumers are crazy about them.

Let’s come to India. Nalli Silk Sarees is a $100 million Chennai based Sari retail chain. According to Lavanya Nalli (LiveMint, Aug 26, 2011) Brand Nalli, which is an 84-year-old legacy, is growing at a rate of 12%; more than the market average. Yet they have never actively spent any penny on the brand promotion. No advertisements, no sales promotion no events or PR. Lavanya, a HBS graduate still feels that there is huge amount of demand from Indian market, which they need to satisfy in order to grow the business. If a businessman (businesswomen in this case) is getting drift of such voluminous demands, then spending on ads is like burning money. Shahnaz Herbal Inc., a 30-year-old beauty brand has not spent anything in advertisements either. In an interview done with IndiaAfrica Connect, Shahnaz Hussain said, “I specialize in Chemicals, not advertising at all”. She also quoted,

“If the Americans and the British say it’s amazing, this in itself is the biggest publicity for the product”.

What does the above two cases infer? Looking at the positioning, it can be concluded that these brands have made themselves so strong and their product so special, that the customers are attracted by the product’s technical & functional quality itself.

Let us try to plot the above-mentioned brands in the following Credibility Visibility chart (CVC):


All the above-mentioned companies have placed themselves at the top right quadrant of the chart. This shows that their credibility as well as visibility is extremely high which gives an unparalleled positioning of the brand in the consumer’s minds. So, firm’s entire plans for an unconventional strategy of communication should focus on bringing the brand from unknown or undiscovered state to the unparalleled state. Please note, here the visibility does not stand for the communication of the brand, but it’s a mere notion to expose the brand more to the consumer. But the question now arises is, how? Well, increasing the credibility of the product is not something what firms can’t control. The motive is to give a high value package to the customer that could do the following tasks.

  1. Distinguish: A good positioning says it all. Brands are not expected to communicate the positioning. A product must be designed in such a manner that a customer should be able to locate the product in a specific space in their minds, far ahead of their competitors.
  2. Price exclusivity: Offering more value in the product on same or less price than the competitor gives an extra edge to your brand over others. This way the brand can be further distinguished on the basis of price exclusivity.

It is advisable that the strategies, briefed above should be deployed at the New Product Development (NPD) phase itself. The reason is, that adding value to the product in the later product life cycle stages can prove costly.

So it can be concluded that focusing on the correct placement of the brand in the CVC can help it grow and make a good impression in customer’s mind. The main advantage of this approach is that all the efforts and expenditure on the marketing activities can be easily tracked and further changes can be done in the strategy to get the desired results. We all know the loyalty is not made on the basis of cool TVC’s or hilarious print ads, but it is as a result of the high quality.

And loyalty is what modern businesses crave for, right? Imagine, if all the firms start working like this, then what will happen to the 4000 year old legacy of advertising?

“Well, that’s worth a thought!”



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