Before we dive into this we must first define what constitutes a brand in the largest sense of the word. A brand is simply a PROMISE that is fulfilled in such a consistent manner that customers keep coming back for more. In this context there are countless local brands in India- the dhobi, the barber, the panwalla, the vegetable vendor, the Kirana shop, etc.
It is also quite surprising to note that some of these Roadside Romeo brands have a fiercely loyal clientele who will not switch brands under any circumstances. What can big brands spending huge amounts of money on brand building and sophisticated CRM techniques learn from these roadside brands who do not even have proper logos or make any kind of external brand building efforts?
Personalized service would be the typical answer but I think it goes far beyond mere better or customized service. When you watch these personal brands operate you realise that it is the human being who wants more warmth and interaction when buying a product or service. We Indians also like recommendations from the shopkeeper to buy a product – the logic being, if it is bad I have someone who I can take it up with
For example a housewife buys a coconut from the local kirana shop – she discovers it is bad after breaking it- the shopkeeper replaces it without questions – can this happen at a supermarket where you are just another faceless customer and not Neeta madam from 103 Valley View apartment?
The two important aspects of branding that these Roadside Romeo brands seem to follow:
The product or service must be superior and consistent.
The comfort level the customer feels is an important and vital part of the transaction.
Social media engagement can help people reach this comfort zone with the big brands sometimes but the pull of the Roadside Romeo brand is still mysterious.