Me the Consumer, You the Brand

Posted: December 30, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I do represent a certain demography of a consumer. And while I may a little atypical in my spending habits, even for my own demography (I would like to believe that!), yet, I do have a certain “purchasing power” and I do buy brands and there will be brands wanting to reach me!


Now if you add the consumer market that my family also represents, in addition to my own, we would be a group that would interest several brands.

Then, as I share my media consumption pattern, this post should interest those brands who would like to reach out to us. I know, as a brand marketer myself, I would love to know similar traits for the consumers I am trying to reach for my client’s brands!

The thought to put this together came as I pondered over my vastly changed media consumption patterns. And I figured that if a brand was trying to reach me, they would have had to make a lot of changes over the years, to keep pace with my changes!

So here are my personal highlights:

  • I have stopped watching news on television for a few years. Not at all. None. Zilch. So brands, if you want to reach me, don’t waste advertising money there! 
  • I have stopped opening the tabloid, Mumbai Mirror (although it comes free) for more than a year, and for last 6- months, I have also not opened the Bombay Times, and saved myself time, and kept my sanity for a little longer
  • There was a time when I used to read the Times of India, nearly cover to cover. Not any more. Out of habit, I still pick it up. Days are when I spend 5-10 minutes on it, and there are days when I can do with 30 seconds of the paper. And no real difference, either ways.
  • In earlier days, when I would travel, I’d come back and catch up on the Mumbai edition of the Times of India. Even if it was an 8-day trip, I would diligently go over the papers, as a ritual. Now I never do this.
  • If I am in a rush in the morning, and I have not seen the paper, it does not matter now. In the whole day, I would not even realize that “hey, I have not read the paper today!”
  • Unless there is a VW speaking ad or something quite as astounding, I am completely blanked out to ads in the paper.
  • I certainly do NOT bother to look up the classifieds or the small ads. They may as well not be there. In fact, it helps me to see a page full of such ads. Enables me to quickly jump over that page, without a second lost.
  • I run through the pages of the Economic Times very quickly. Again, will not miss it, if I did not manage to see it some day. As it happens. On an average, there may be no more than 1-2 articles that hold even a small interest for me.
  • Time was when policy changes were very frequent, and one had to read the business papers lest one misses out on some important notifications. The same is not the case these days. On the one hand, there is a reasonable stability in policy, and on the other hand, we have a government that anyway does not do much 🙂
  • The Sunday Times supplement is a 3-second flip over for me.
  • The Corporate Dossier and the Brand Equity supplements with the Economic Times, on the other hand, do promise occasional value, and I may read through a bunch of content in those
  • That leaves the Mint. The weekday editions, like the Economic Times, do not mean much. A quick glance over is all that it merits.
  • But the Mint Lounge on Saturdays is still the one paper I do love. And I end up reading a good 50% of that content, typically.
  • Television programming consumption has not died yet, and I do have a few favorites that I still catch up on. However most of the TV viewing is via DVRs, as recorded programming. And then, I have a remote control in my hand, with a FF button on it. So ads are safely skipped. Also since a lot of the viewing is on HD TV, and there are few brand ads there (there are channel program ads a plenty – that’s how I’ve got sick of watching KBC ads, for example!) anyway.
  • The only live TV I might have watched, would be sports. But I cannot suffer cricket matches anymore, and while I keep in touch with the game to an extent, I do NOT watch live cricket games. Except for the rare Sunday game, when there may be nothing else going on in life. Which is rare, as rare can be!
  • On the streets and at airports waiting for flights, there are devices in the hand. In the car, usually on the back seat, the “office is almost on”. Yes, the laptop is open and work is happening. Which is why I do not fret the traffic much. It does not matter to me. I am working as always. So it can be the laptop, the iPad or the iPhone that keeps me busy (yes, “no time to stand and stare” and all that, unfortunately..) on the road, at airports etc. So the OOH advertising is again lost on me. Typically.
  • I detest telemarketers. I threaten them with dire consequences for calling me in spite of being on DND. I do not have the patience to even listen to their brief pitch. So telemarketing is lost on me. Don’t even try.
  • In spite of a lot of filters, some direct emails do penetrate into my inbox. If the creative is interesting and the message has some relevance to me, I may tolerate it and give it a glance. Recognise that few such emails come into my system, thanks to a reasonable anti-spam setting. And hence I am tolerant for those few. If there were large numbers coming in, I would have been harsher with them!
  • So where are my eyeballs and where is my interest? Yes, you guessed right. On the computer, on the Internet, and usually in social media space. Yes, my profession is partly a reason for this. But well, I am there now. So if you are a brand and looking for me, you know where to find me, most of the day. That does NOT mean that you spam me randomly on LinkedIn (I report a lot of spam on LinkedIn) or just dump advertising messages on me, as your Facebook posts, or @ me on Twitter with your brand junk. No, that will surely not work. But if you are subtle, give me value over this media, that can be bait for me!

So there, I have told you a lot about me. I am not sure if this is very unique to me, especially for my generation. I know many others who are losing patience with newspapers and recognise that most stories in the papers have an “agenda” and are typically planted! Many have also lost hope in TV News. But they have not deserted it yet. I keep reading cuss words for many of the news anchors on Twitter. I do not cuss them anymore because I have eliminated the Rajdeeps and the Barkhas and the Arnabs from my life. They don’t matter, in this busy life, they don’t deserve my precious minutes or attention.


And as for my family?

My daughters represent the “youth” that all brands seem to be going after.

They spend 10-15 seconds on Mumbai Mirror and Bombay Times every other day. They take a quick glance at page 1 of the Times of India – because it is there on the table. Don’t think they’ll miss any of these, if they stopped coming.

They do watch some TV, but it is always recorded. They have even less patience for advertising and are faster on the draw, to the FF button. They also see a lot of content on YouTube and Torrent downloads.

The only hope for brands in traditional media mood, is my wife. Yes, she does see TV News occasionally (I am not in the room) and does take a few minutes over the Times of India, Mumbai Mirror and Bombay Times. In fact, she recounts the odd interesting story from these, to me. And she does see and notice some of the ads there too. And shares details of some good offers, with me too.

But broadly speaking, if you are a brand, you will realize that your continuing spends on TV or print, are more of a waste, especially if you are trying to reach people like me. You really do need to think differently, you need to divert budgets into other places!

And should you continue to invest in traditional media, and traditional placement, and if you see dwindling returns, don’t tell me that I did not warn you?!!

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