Shonodeep Modak, Chief Marketing Officer, Industrial Solutions, GE Energy Connections, discussed “ghost brands,” how they spook the competition and how to minimize their impact during his keynote presentation to Argyle’s CMO membership at the 2017 Chief Marketing Officer Leadership Forum in Atlanta on June 6. In his presentation, “Who Do You Call When You Have a Ghost Brand?” Modak defined ghost brands and how they affect today’s organizations.
According to Modak, insurance and electricity represent two of the top ghost brands today. These industries offer products and services that provide value but lack physical substance.
“A ghost brand is something that you can see, touch, taste, smell or feel,” Modak stated. “These are products that potentially have a buyer and a user who are two separate people.”
To illustrate a ghost brand, Modak used an example involving motor oil and ExxonMobil.
Motor oil is paramount for all automobiles, yet few consumers understand the true value of motor oil. As such, marketers often struggle to promote the benefits of motor oil effectively, particularly in a crowded global marketplace.
“Make your gross brand’s presence be felt. Make sure it can be appealing to the consumer and decision-maker.”
Ultimately, ExxonMobil was able to revamp the way it marketed motor oil to gain a competitive advantage.
Modak pointed out that ExxonMobil allocated the necessary time and resources to learn about motor oil was viewed by a broad array of consumers. Therefore, the company was able to tailor its marketing efforts accordingly and give “soul” to a physical product.
“We gave a soul to the product,” Modak said. “This ended up being a big initial stock order for us and a big success.”
Moreover, ExxonMobil reinvented the packaging behind its motor oil products, ensuring these items were visually appealing and would stand out to consumers. This lead to increased motor oil sales for ExxonMobil – something that helped the company further differentiate itself from the competition.
“We have to make [a product] really stand out. Even though you don’t experience motor oil, the look and feel are very important to it,” Modak pointed out.
ExxonMobil also provided digital tools to help consumers calculate the savings that they could enjoy if they leveraged superior motor oil products. By doing so, the company was able to connect with its target audience in a unique way and build trust with consumers.
“We started to create sustainable growth for a product,” Modak stated. “We started to create something that really had some soul behind it.”
Modak recommended that organizations spend some time learning how consumers feel about a brand and how they interact with a brand.
“We started to create sustainable growth for a product. We started to create something that really had some soul behind it.”
Organizations can collect consumer data from a large assortment of online sources. And with this information at their disposal, organizations may be better equipped than rivals to make more informed decisions than ever before.
“Make your gross brand’s presence be felt,” Modak noted. “Make sure it can be appealing to the consumer and decision-maker.”
Also, Modak suggested organizations map out all stages of the buyer’s journey to understand why consumers may select one brand over another.
In today’s fierce global marketplace, consumers have no shortage of brands to choose from, and how an organization separates itself from the competition can play an important role in its success or failure.
An organization that learns about its consumers may be able to uncover innovative ways to connect with them time and time again. In fact, this organization may be able to implement fast, effective improvements across its day-to-day operations, leading to unparalleled customer partnerships.
At the same time, what works for one organization may not work for another. To illustrate this point, Modak described an experience involving the development and marketing of circuit breakers.
Modak noted that his company looked closely at how consumers analyzed circuit breakers and quickly realized that different parties have different expectations for these products.
“We mapped out the buyer’s journey and looked at how a buying decision is made around circuit breakers,” Modak indicated. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all for a circuit breaker.”
Also, the buyer’s journey is no longer a linear path, and organizations must remain flexible to adapt to consumer requests.
“It’s not necessarily a linear path to get an order,” Modak said.
How an organization collect and analyzes data may have far-flung effects on the organization and its customers.
An organization that embraces data and fully analyzes it may be able to find “hidden” patterns and trends with it. Then, this organization can discover ways to provide exceptional products and services to customers as well as lower its operating costs.
“Because of the intelligence … we can reduce production costs,” Modak pointed out.
It’s tough to be daring in 100-plus year-old industrial B2B and B2C businesses, but by fusing smart analytics with demand creation strategy, Shonodeep has driven breakthrough results that have enabled these companies to remain relevant and grow market position.
From developing and marketing the world’s first fuel economy improving motor oil brand at ExxonMobil to doubling GE’s gas compression segment share, Shonodeep is an instigator of growth. He brings over 15 years of commercial experience across energy, oil & gas, retail, aftermarket services and electrical distribution. Creative and data-driven, he has architected and led nimble, global teams that have propelled portfolio expansion and driven demand creation.
Shonodeep is currently Chief Marketing Officer for GE’s Industrial Solutions business and resides in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife, Gayatree, and Kartik (6) and Kaira (3). They enjoy visiting new countries and eating as much as possible.