zero momentAn average consumer comes across 6 million brand messages every year across various media – TV/print, events, SMS, outdoors, telemarketing, Point of sale, direct to consumer demos, endorsements. I can easily fill a page if i mention all possible media carrying messages to everyday lives of the consumer/shopper.

Given this context; it’s critical for a brand to cut through the clutter and stand out to its target consumer; and that would be called winning the zero moment of truth.

The key to this is to know your consumer and how your proposition addresses their needs in a commercially sustainable way. It can be termed in three simple questions:

Who is my consumer - Age, demographics, profession, lifestyle, dress sense, key concerns, needs, desires et al. A good brand manager would know his consumer so well that he can erect a vivid character of the same. The more he knows his consumer; the better he would resonate with her needs.

I have seen marketing plans that detail the target consumer – as a prime prospect personification. e.g. Sam Singh, an immigrant software engineer living in the UK, age 25, single, living in a shared apartment in East London, drives a repurchased Honda Civic, goes to the gym, cooks at home and calls his parents in India twice a week, goes for bollywood movies on weekends; watches news channels/movies/cricket and shops from Tesco.

What needs am I talking about - Age old marketing mantra – we are not about selling a product; we are about a proposition that addresses key needs. Kotler says the consumer does not buy a drill; she buys a hole. The brand manager needs to be specific about the consumer needs, habits and the top barriers that she wants to address. e.g. Need is Spotless and Shining everyday washing for school uniforms; comprising mostly whites – tangible; my child should look at her best when going to school – intangible

How do i deliver and communicate it to the consumer - Once the consumer and her top barriers/solution needs are known; it’s about mapping brand attributes that can translate into benefits addressing those specific barriers. Its about communicating the same to the consumer, making it easily available to her, and manufacturing it in a commercially sustainable manner

Before any brand launch; a brand manager needs to answer the three questions above and only after he can satisfy himself with these answers should he proceed. He should then look at the commercial ‘size of prize’ of the Idea and whether that would deliver value to the company stakeholders; once he sees a green on both aspects – can he take up the project.