Digital is the way & Technology overrides everything. As marketers, we always struggle to harness latest technology to reach our customers. Ever wondered, what this technology ultimately does? It takes our brand to the customers, without waiting for them to reach us.


New digital tools used by the brands not just give them more ways to connect with their customers, but help them collect more information about the customers. Technology largely helps in collecting customer data, which upon analysis become human insights, further translated by the marketers to define customer personas. This not just help to do effective targeting but also helps to describe emotions that drive the brand communication.


Technology is just a medium to reach the customers faster. The message is actively received and reciprocated only when an emotional connect is established between the brand and its customers. Hence, it is emotions that drive the actual sales. Emotional connections are a must because we are humans and are built for connections. Emotions form our DNA. And an understanding of this DNA is the key to brand success.

Brand Managers of course know that a powerful emotional connect can help the brand push boundaries and break through the clutter. EMPATHY is not just a buzzword of 2018. But brand custodians need to harness its power well, especially in an era where customer is the king and customer centricity is mostly a core brand value.

If used right, Empathy has the power of igniting a revolution that creates product / brand acceptance in the society. Akshay Kumar’s PAD MAN is the best example of empathy establishing a deeper connect with its audience and driving the nation-wide excitement much before its release. Marketers must learn from Pad Man that an emotional connect with the consumer goes a long way because it is the most natural way of human interaction. Don’t we sometimes just rush to help a stranger who needs urgent help?! This is because empathy comes to us naturally and so should be the case with brands. If this becomes the brands’ nature, success will be all theirs.

Isn’t it revolutionary to see how the Indian male audience has been responding to Pad Man and effectively to the whole cause. Something that was considered a taboo until a few days back and was a matter of complete non-concern to men, has now made its place on national television and in intellectual discussions? I think the emotion existed, Pad Man just empathized and ignited it.018. But brand custodians need to harness its power well, especially in an era where customer is the king and ‘customer centricity’ is mostly a core brand value.

Forget men, not many female Bollywood actors have been vocal about the cause, perhaps because they didn’t see much scope of it trending or becoming a social wave then. Also perhaps there are some unlaid, unsaid not-do’s for the celebrities, actors, that did not allow them to support the Bleed India campaign much. No wonder, Proctor & Gamble’s popular brand of sanitary pads is called Whisper, which means…… …..….जब वो दिन आये तो बस चुपके से बतi देना ! Remember those days when the men of the house used to just squirm away at the showcase of the sanitary napkin ad – चुपचुप बैठी हो ज़रूर कोई बात है….!

Way back in early 2000, I was a part of the team at Leo Burnett creating the ad campaign for Whisper with the catchphrase – periods achche hain. That’s because, we wanted to revolutionalise the cause. With Pad Man, I realize that the brand name WHISPER should also evolve now. It is no more a thing to whisper.


Our Pad Man Challenge !

So what did the brand Pad Man Muruganantham do differently? It empathized with the audience deeply and when they were sensitized, he presented them with an affordable solution. This is exactly what brands need to do.

Use Technology to collect data, analyze it to derive human insights. Empathize. But do not stop there, provide a solution to the customers that fits the bill.

While the real Pad Man empathizes with Indian women, the promoters – Akshay & Twinkle use empathy to strengthen their marketing campaign. The Pad Man Challenge topped the popularity quotient on social media, encouraging many-a-celebs. to pose with a Pad. The Pad Man makers did not stop here. Giving way to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s much-controversial magnum opus Padmaavat, by postponing their own release was a fantastic example of once again expressing Empathy and re-iterating the human angle which the brand is built on.

Empathy is what differentiates the two releases, the two PAD based movies….PADmaavat and PAD Man.

Written by: Ruchi Adlakha