War is the ultimate truth of life, so let’s build sustainable campaigns

Finally, the soapy wars clean up their act! Sebamed gets relief to continue their advertisements, with certain restrictions regarding HUL soaps. Also, wondering if audiences have really moved on from Whatsapp to Signal or Telegram? Or does just another platform get added to our app list?

Brand wars, whatever be the industry, never fail to exist. And at these times one also gets to view the unique approach by each brand, when it comes to clarifying or building their very own story.

In all this, the reality is that – War is the ultimate truth of our existence! Yes, you read it right. Be it the war of words or war of emotions or tug-of-war between brands – the truth is that disagreements are part of our life’s.

It simply begins with expressing different perspectives and then moves to strong disagreements and slowly evolves into a war, where one has to be the winner. No, I’m no expert, and my logical reasoning could be thrown out of the window. But all I’m expressing is the strong transgression of thought moving into a war-loaded action.

Innumerable books have been penned on war-inspired strategies and how opponents won when they simply walked a few steps ahead with their plans. Probably, why I fell head-over-heels for ‘Game of Thrones’ (amongst other reasons) and ‘Queen’s Gambit’. Because these shows just depicted an individual’s struggle through their misery to win and reach their goal.

Importantly, when you talk about warfare strategies, lessons from our very own ‘Mahabharata’, can’t be too far. The need to understand ‘dharma’ and how we aren’t fighting an opponent but the discipline, is an important takeaway.

And this is when I stumbled upon the idea of how communicators should prepare themselves to build campaigns that could sustain all kinds of crises, unexpected environments or any possibility of another planet shut-down (thanks COVID!). Yes, yes I hear you shouting that one should stay agile and learn to pivot. But then, what stops us from thinking beyond the current situation and designing campaigns that can wither all kinds of weathers!

Expect competition to imitate your strategy

Imitation is the best form of flattery – we have often heard this. But its also stressful when your conversations are mapped and copied, leaving the ultimate audience confused. Either the campaign is too unique to have someone duplicate it, or we could plan various phases for the campaign, managing to jump over any unexpected hurdles.

Never move sight from the end goal

Never, move the focus away from what the campaign intends to achieve for the brand. Jump over the copycats or unnecessary speed bumps and think what will be a win for your brand or company or its people. Thus, continue to focus on the objective and ensure you have back-up plans ready to change course and yet achieve what you aimed for. Be ready with Plan B, Plan C, Plan D!

Combine humour and innovation to beat competitive tactics

Often when you pack a punch to beat the competition with humour, it leaves the other person confused, rather than amused. So yes, all those cheeky attempts brands have attempted for their advertising campaigns, we should continue to embed such an approach for our communication campaigns as well. Yes, you will need buy-in from all the teams involved, don’t miss out on that. And again, be prepared to take a joke too. Innovation is often second nature to communicators because that’s how we weave better narratives each time. Now maybe we could evaluate how humour can well be part of the campaign too.

Build a cohesive and closely-knit team

In situations when brands have to evaluate their plan of action or redirect their approach, every member of the team needs to stay interconnected and yet silent. One simply needs to ensure the seamless working of the team, where critical changes or updates are discussed like in a closed room environment and at all times avoiding Chinese whispers. It’s important to plan better and avoid any spillovers of information. Any strategy or data during crucial times should be well protected.

Lastly, we all have hopes and dreams to be achieved and an outcome from “war” is no exception. But don’t get perturbed from the momentary changes, instead, look out for the larger goal. It will cause unexpected anxiety and worry, but just enjoy the journey and beat the hell out of the opponent! And yes, in all this, first and foremost ensure a complete buy-in of the leadership teams and do an internal employee campaign, before you take any of the plans to the external audiences.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Pooja Trehan
Pooja Trehan, VP, Communications & Public Policy.

Building brands through story-telling is what keeps me going! Having spent 18years in this industry, I am far more excited to experiment on what's next to unlearn. Worked with industries across FMCG, Oil & Gas, Technology, Fashion, Telecom, Media House, F&B and now Sports, my curiosity to craft a narrative only gets deeper. Marathons, Black Coffee, learning about Scotch and Malts, reading everything i can, travelling, are few of other personal passions that I happily pursue.

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