The Hack Room with Venkat Varadhan : 6 Steps to build a Superbrand

The one thing that I have seen over the years during my time in Advertising is that no matter how big or small the brand is, every single one of them launches a campaign with an aim to improve consumer engagement or brand traction.

While some campaigns fail spectacularly and some just produce an ok-ok response as far as the brand is concerned, there are some campaigns that literally transform the fate and future of their brands. It’s always the third kind of campaign that every brand shoots for, but not all of them get it right.

So if you’re an upcoming startup that is focussed on a consumer-centric product or service or an existing small time brand that aims to expand in the near future, this article will tell you how to create an industry defining campaign in six simple steps.


1.    What does Your Product do? – Get down to the root of this question. What was the reason that you created your product or service and how does it help your prospective consumer? Answer these two questions in simple terms as if the question was posed by a five year old and you are 15% closer to achieving your successful campaign.

2.    Know your Market and Consumer; but more importantly, Know Your Competition – The first part of this is fairly simple. You should know your market and consumer statistics like the back of your hand. If you don’t, heed my advice right now and quit the business while you still have money to startover fresh or else, you’re going to go down fast. There are no ifs and buts about this. It will happen.

The second part is where most brands lose the plot. It’s not as simple as saying that they do this and we do that. In fact, it goes much deeper than that. It’s all about understanding everything you can about your competition. Everything they have done to everything they are doing to everything they are bound to do in the future. Everything from the logic of it and reason behind it to their aims and objectives.

You do these two things correctly and you will be 20% closer to designing that perfect campaign.


3.    The Big ‘CREATIVE’ Idea – Always remember, that as human beings, the things that attract us the most are the ones that involve simplicity or a human connection. So the best way to go about this is to think of your idea in terms of explaining it to a five year old child or a seventy year old grandpa or grandma.

If you can manage this, you have a perpetual gold-mine on your hands in terms of a campaign, that can never go wrong.

But then, there’s another side to this coin. The side that will cater to majority of your teenagers, young adults or middle-aged consumers. Don’t get me wrong, the human angle works with almost everyone, but then you need to understand that there are certain products and services where you just cannot bring about a human or an emotional angle. In those cases, fall back to the next best fool-proof option. Humor. It never fails. Get yourselves an idea that revolves around good, tasteeful humour and you’ll hit that bulls-eye every single time.

And this step right here will help you take a leap of 25% in building that successful campaign.

4.    Medium vs Money – The step where more often than not, majority brands screw it up. Remember the following words, for they will change your life. EVERY VIDEO IS A CAMPAIGN, BUT NOT CAMPAIGN IS A VIDEO.

Please do not ever make this mistake. Somehow in today’s times brands have this crazy idea that a campaign means a video or a film. That’s so far away from the truth that it is not even funny. 

You have to choose a medium that is best suited to your brand and consumer group. There’s no other way for me to say this. You have a lot of options in terms of media. Analyse your product and consumer base and choose an appropriate medium.

And just so there isn’t any confusion, let me list out all the mediums available out there;

§  Print: Newspaper, Magazines, etc. (National & Regional)
§  Radio (National & Regional)
§  Television (National & Regional as well as option of choosing between DTH & Cable)
§  Digital Posters – Facebook, Instagram & Twitter
§  Digital Video – YouTube, Facebook & Instagram
§  Outdoor Advertising – Billboards, Banners, etc. - Regional
§  Out-Of-Home (OOH) Media - Regional
§  On Ground Activations & Events (BTL) - Regional


And that brings us to the second part of this step. The money. Again this will be a follow-up from the first part. The moment you decide your medium you will have a clear picture about the money you will have to end up spending.

Sometimes, brands decide to do it the other way round as well. Decide on a budget first and then choose a medium. The truth is that in that case it’s a toss-up. The campaign may or may not work. It truly is a gamble of long odds. So in case you go down that route, be smart about it.

Completing this step right here will gain you another 15% on that perfect campaign scale.

5.    Duration – Calling this an entire step would be wrong. But then again, saying that it is not important would be a tragedy of epic proportions. Every campaign has a life. Learn to identify it.

Sometimes when brands see a campaign doing really well, the stop everything and concentrate on extending that campaign as long as they can. BIG MISTAKE. Because not only are you killing all the goodwill you created with the campaign by annoying the hell out of your consumer group. YOU ARE LITERALLY BURNING A HOLE IN YOUR POCKET by running a campaign that is way past its saturation point; meaning it is not going to do anything for you, anymore. So please, identify as to when to call it quits.

If you can manage to escape this devil of a challenge lying in slumber, you are 10% closer to that successful campaign.

6.    The Review – Last but just as important as the rest, The Review is where you sit down with your team to analyse the response and traction generated by campaign once it is live and in case it is required, you do the necessary modifications for it to become that much more popular. And in case that’s not required, then you just choose to concentrate more on a singular aspect of the medium over the others, based on your analytics.

And that ladies and gentlemen is the final step that will get you that last 15% to gain that perfect score of 100% and an amazing campaign that will most definitely catapult your brand into the league of SUPERBRANDS.

So get down to them boards and follow these steps and pull out that amazing campaign to transform your brand. After all as that old Hindi saying goes – ‘Jo Dikhta Hai, Wahi Bikta Hai.

About the author
Venkat Varadhan, our resident from BHX Deserts is a journalist by qualification and a writer and advertising filmmaker by profession. He has founded an advertising production house called Primate Studios that believes in creating films that are both innovative and inspiring. Also, like the article mentions, he’s a brand guru and has worked with most of the brands that must have run by your mind!

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