Tuesday 14 October 2014

Interview with Brandentity CEO Rajeev: Leading Communications Specialists

Rajeev of Brandentity
Rajeev is the CEO and founder of a leading brand communications consultancy offering strategic consultancy to clients to effectively engage marketing communications in a creative way. Rajeev's long standing history as an influential marketer and his repertoire of work make him the ideal choice for businesses who want to turn communication into a powerful asset for their brand. 

Whats one of the first things that go overlooked in communication and how do you improve them?

Most people do not take the time to invest in research, they want to blast out messages across all their communications channels with out trying to establish who are the influencers they should communicate with and how do these influencers consume content, what type of content and how often - taking time to understand the market, the influencers - who they are, where they are and investing in that up front as well as baselines measures for the brand and the brand's reputation will do any company a lot of good in the long run. Stepping back, thinking, planning then executing. Most of the time it's the other way round with many companies.

There are so many choices when it comes to Fashion. How would you advise labels better communicate with consumers?

There is a movement of consciousness now when it comes to clothing, the stigma attached to fast fashion has people questioning the whole clothing and fashion model and supporting local manufacturers - sourcing local supplies - not only does this help the local economy but it reduces carbon emissions from long distance transportation for such materials and goods. Be authentic and use real life models like Dove do and not these photo-shopped perfectly looking beings that really do not exist. It's important for any label to understand their audience, I don't mean doing a market research report, I mean going to the shops on the shop floor talking to customers, question what they buy and why, what makes them tick - what do they look for in a clothing item - knowing that solves time and money in how to communicate to people.

What messages would you explore to reach these consumers?

A lot of what I said above really speaks to this, but developing a message has to resonate from inside a company as much as it does outside, your workforce needs to believe in the product, the brand and not only what you do but why you do it, your consumers have to understand why you get out of bed and do what you do, what problem are you trying to solve for your consumers.

There is so much noise out there, people are very good in today's digital age in tuning out brand centric advertising and messaging, what they want is content that solves their problems, answers their questions, insights, they want content that educates, entertains but above all they won't care what a label tells them, they care about what their friends are wearing, where their friends are shopping - not what a label tells them about how good a label's products are.

Assuming that you’re figuring out what your message is, and the words in which to express it, 
how do you decide what medium to use to deliver that message?

You have to tailor your message based on the channels you decide to use, you can only know that from researching and finding out how your target prospects consume their content. You can't take the same message and ad from a billboard and stick it on a broadcast commercial or a tweet, the message needs to be tailored accordingly.

Your owned media channels (your website, your corporate brochure) these are platforms your brand has to be at its best, your social media channels or mass advertising campaigns need to bring and direct people to your owned media channels where people can not only see your brand at it's best but they need to experience your brand at its best - but remember you message needs to be the same and unified but tailored to different channels - too many different messages confuses the audience and dilutes your brand and what you stand for!

Usually its common for a fashion label to have its own specific 'language' to bring across their message. How important is this?

Every label needs to forge it's own identity, with it's own tone of voice - your organisational identity, brand and reputation are all linked - language is all fine, but remember it's about adding value to your consumers, companies that thrive are ones that understand that value is created at the interface between the customer and the organisation - the manner, tone of voice and efficiency in responding to a customer's e-mail or tweet, or do you put your customer on hold to a foreign call centre and make them waste their time and make it worse by bombarding them with an automated message on how much you care about them - they want you to show that you care about them not tell them you care about them. Did you send them their merchandise in a hassle free manner in a package that inspires or educates them or makes them smile and does the method of them receiving your package make life easier or difficult to them? Was there a personalised note for them inside the package to thank them for shopping with you? Labels do not focus on this - they focus on defining a message - define a service and your brand defines itself! Differentiate yourself from your competitors by doing the basics right!

Marketing has been used for removing perceived barriers to wanting or doing something, be it mental or cultural barriers. How much has this been relevant in your work?

Most of my work involves in helping companies understand why they do what they do, what problem are they solving for their customer and how they want to be identified as would they like to be a Dr. Watson and support their prospect, do they want to be Superman and fight for the everyday person and give them value - what personality and tone of voice do they want - I then help them develop their core messages and develop their copy for their brochures, websites etc.

What key area do you view as important to promote a fresh, forward thinking fashion label?

Focus at the interface of where value is created, all the touch points with your customer or prospects, make it easy for them, save time for them and help them make their decisions - do not force them to decide - provide information, advice and insights. Do the simple things well and do it with passion. If you did not exist today will anyone care. If Amazon or Google did not exists today - will that make things easy for people today or not and will they care. You betcha they will - find a reason that people will value you - that is your brand promise and never ever ever break that brand promise - your credibility and your reputation depend on it, it takes a long time to get your credibility back once you break your brand promise.

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