‘People still believe in brands’
Ashish Benarjee, VP of brand development at du, talks to Kippreport.com about consumer engagement
May 5, 2014 1:03 by Nasreen Rasool
Do consumers still believe and trust in branding?
I dislike branding as a word, because the history of the word is rooted in what cattle ranches did to their cattle with a hot piece of iron. And you don’t do that to people. So, to me, there is nothing called branding. Fundamentally, a brand is how a company chooses to engage with the world around them. Brand is where corporate strategy meets real life.
People seek brands out to buy them. They can be fans, they can be very unforgiving depending on what kind of experiences they have, but yes, I think they still do believe in them.
What technologies are you currently using in the stores?
In stores, we have touchscreens. We have software and other programmes that our agents have to use. We’re probably going to use a bit more technology in stores than we currently do. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about that because it’s a competitive market.
How are consumers reacting to in-store technology?
Very well. We look at aggregate data. People are bright, people learn. If something helps them, they will embrace it.
What is du’s philosophy?
The promise of the brand is to add life to life. And everything that we do is about helping people do that.
With the rise of technology, is the human element being lost?
We deliberately try to be as human as we can possibly be in terms of the way we interact with people. We operate in an extremely diverse country, the whole world is here in the UAE and music is the one thing that unifies people at a human level. This is why we have brought in music acts from all over the world. I think that’s pretty human.
What’s your personal favourite gadget at the moment?
I’m not a tech freak. I totally love my iPhone and my iPad. I have an Apple ecosystem at home. But my favourite thing, and you may be surprised, is my turntable. Records sound better than CDs because the fidelity is better.