Jawaan: A Study in Customer Loyalty
One of the biggest blockbuster hits of 2023, SRK’s Jawaan, reinforces the power of a good customer loyalty program. The movie’s success opens up conversations about customers, how they experience a brand, and how to keep delivering to retain customer loyalty.
Rs 700 cr and counting!
It’s just been a week since SRK’s Jawaan was released, and the movie has already raked in over Rs 700 cr in the domestic and global markets. It is the third biggest-grosser Bollywood has seen so far this year.
Jawaan was one of the most-awaited and highly anticipated movies for a long time by both SRK fans the world over and movie critics alike. And, of course, the movie delivered and how! If Jawaan was a Customer Loyalty program by brand SRK, then all his fans subscribed to it, and then some more.
Every aspect of the movie, whether the making, plot, music, or marketing efforts, reinforced and restored loyalty among hardcore SRK fans. The movie and the story behind its making give good insights into what businesses can do to foster customer loyalty over the long term.
As per data from Fortune Business Insights, the global loyalty management industry was worth USD 5.29 bn in 2022 and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 23.7% to USD 28.65 bn by 2030. Customer loyalty can reap rich dividends, helping you grow your business at a far higher rate. A loyal customer is likely to spend 33% more than other customers. On the other hand, a bad loyalty program can lead to heavy customer churn. Reports suggest that 4 out of 5 customers will likely give up on a brand after just one bad experience.
So, let’s look at what makes the movie Jawaan an interesting case study of Customer Loyalty.
Customer Loyalty Starts with a Good Product
Jawaan, as a movie, is a banging product. There’s no doubt about it. Audiences, post-COVID, had developed a taste for good Masala entertainer movies, thanks to the influx of South-Indian films on OTT platforms. Those who had not been exposed to the South-Indian style of movie-making were blown away and hankered for more such movies. This was seen in the successes of movies such as Master, KGF, Pushpa, and RRR. These movies competed head-on with big-budget Bollywood movies and became massive successes, ruling the Bollywood, South Indian, and even global box offices with equal ease.
The makers of Jawaan recognized the audience’s pulse and the box office potential of a good Masala entertainer. They dove right into the frenzy, captured the momentum, and came up on top with a banger of a movie that delivered on all fronts. Sleek action, romance, thumping background score, good performances, and, of course, SRK. The movie is SRK’s first foray into an out-and-out massy action avatar, and fans got to watch their idol playing a larger-than-life character after a very long time.
Much of the success for Jawaan has come via word-of-mouth publicity, which is a sign of a good, reliable product. Brand owners and product owners should work on creating a product that speaks for itself. Marketing efforts aside, a product will always attract customers and long-term loyalty when it is done right. Make your value proposition clear and stick to it so your customer can rely on you to solve their needs. Your product could be one-of-a-kind, or it could compete with other similar products in the marketplace. What will set you apart is the value your product brings consistently, over and over again.
Personalization Boosts Customer Loyalty
The makers of Jawaan left no stone unturned in ensuring that the movie reaches as many viewers as possible, domestically and internationally. The movie was released across 5500 screens in India and 4500 screens internationally, including in US, UK, Australia, Germany, France, Spain, the Middle East, and Singapore.
The movie, while incorporating many of the elements of a blockbuster movie, also managed to avoid some of the pitfalls. Here, data and insights played a crucial role.
How do we know that? Because Jawaan is not a remake.
Bollywood had fallen into the cozy habit of remaking popular and wildly successful blockbusters, particularly those from South India, in Hindi. This worked wonders before, as was seen in the success of films such as Singham, Ghajini, Drishyam, Bhool Bhulaiyya, and Kabir Singh. But the proliferation of OTT platforms post-Covid brought Hindi audiences closer to the South like never before. Data showed that the audience wanted to watch movies with original storylines, irrespective of the language they were in.
Jawaan is an original screenplay, written keeping the Hindi audience in mind but made with all the sensibilities of a South-Indian blockbuster. A perfect marriage of the North and the South of India, if you will. To further personalize this experience, the movie was released worldwide in three languages – Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. To make it relatable to each geography and language belt in India, the makers customized the movie and production so there was something for everyone. Songs from the movie were also translated into all three Indian languages mentioned above. One song, in particular, was also translated into Arabic (perhaps for the first time) to cater to SRK’s fan base in the Middle East.
Data also showed Hindi-speaking audiences were equally receptive to South Indian stars headlining major movie roles. Jawaan had the perfect ratio of South to Bollywood superstars essaying the main characters. This makes it more relatable and personal for the audience watching the movie in their preferred language.
Data is key to crafting a personalized customer experience. It is the biggest clue to what your customer is thinking. It will give you insights into customer behavior and preferences among cohorts of customers, making it easier for you to reach them. Personalization helps in creating higher brand recall.
In a survey of 8,000 consumers worldwide by Accenture, 83% were willing to share data about themselves if it meant a more personalized experience. This even though 69% of those surveyed said that privacy was a critical factor for them.
Examples of good personalization could include services such as product recommendations, upsells, on-time delivery, and intuitive services such as reminders and offers on special occasions. However, brands need to be mindful of where they get their data from. Personalization efforts based on data gleaned from other sources could be a big turn-off for customers. For instance, product recommendations based on purchases made with other retailers.
Discounts and Offers
Jawaan offers two SRKs for the price of one!
For a true-blue fan of the movies and the superstar, this is a big draw. For the price of one ticket, you get two very distinct value propositions (Father and Son SRK), giving the audience a unique experience. Neither character resembles the other except in their physicalities, making this an incredibly memorable movie-going experience.
Moreover, with a stellar cast and crew spanning some of the biggest names in Indian cinema, with superior film-making by director Atlee, the audience gets more than its money’s worth.
Besides, by releasing the movies across 5500 screens nationwide, tickets were available at all price ranges. The most expensive ticket was priced at Rs 2400 (Delhi), while the lowest was Rs 60 (Kolkatta). This improved the movie’s reach manifold, as it did its business.
Discounts, offered occasionally, can go a long way in retaining customers. It is reported that price is the most important factor that keeps a customer loyal to their favorite brands. Brands should leverage discounts to foment goodwill among customers incentivizing them to stay with the brand.
However, discounts and offers are reasonable as long as they are not a punch to the business’ gut. Avoid falling into a discount trap. Offer discounts where feasible instead of going for an all-out 365-days-a-year discount model, which may not be sustainable over the long term.
Customer Loyalty: Coherence is Key
The past decade in action movies in India and globally has been dominated by a plethora of superhero movies, their origin stories, multi-verses, and once in a while, the Nolan-verse, where the storylines kept getting more and more convoluted to include technologically-fueled, time-bending, brain-melting plots that were hard to keep up with. Just like this sentence is.
While this was a novelty at first, audiences have now become tired of the mental workout they have to indulge in to follow a storyline.
Jawaan, on the other hand, follows a simple plot line. This is also one of the sharpest criticisms the movie has received. This is the story of a common man/ Messiah/ vigilante wanting to change the socio-economic-political fabric of the country. He achieves this by enforcing overly simplified solutions to some of our most hardened socio-economic issues. This has been done to death and is also hard to digest.
But, its fantastical storyline aside, the movie’s plot is simple to follow and understand. Despite being an action movie about the Armed Forces, the movie refrains from indulging in technical know-how of weaponry and combat. It simply lets the imagery tell the story. This opens the movie to a broader, perhaps technophobe and naive audience.
Keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate your product or your customer loyalty program. Registration or usage instructions should be simple enough for the customer to do independently without reaching for the customer care number. No matter how complicated the design of a product may be, the customer interface should be easy to navigate. As per the blog UXCam, 91% of customers who experience bad UX leave without even complaining.
Seamless Integration of Customer Loyalty with Experience
Jawaan is an outstanding piece of film-making that offers the audience a wide array of experiences. This movie with any A-list actor in the lead would have worked.
But the presence of brand SRK gives Jawaan that extra upliftment without overshadowing the film the way most superstar action movies tend to do. SRK’s stardom flies just below Atlee’s style of filmmaking, supporting the director’s vision and not weighing it down with its star power. This way, when the audience watches the brand SRK unfold onscreen, it doesn’t take away from the overall movie experience. Because first and foremost, the audience is here to watch a good, solid entertainer.
A good customer loyalty program will never detract from the overall customer experience. It seamlessly integrates into it, whether online or in a physical store. For your customers, progression to a customer loyalty program must almost feel natural, like they have earned (or sometimes spent) their way to the top. A drastic, sudden change in customer experience, either good or bad, will be immediately noticeable. This could distort their experience, which could have a long-term positive or negative effect.
For instance, a sudden improvement in customer experience after a massive purchase could create loyalty which may be short-lived. On the other hand, a slow progression toward a customer loyalty program will yield long-term customer loyalty and higher revenues.
So while Jawaan continues to rake in more and more business, maybe it’s time to take a step back and understand your customers better. Take a deep look at what’s working and what isn’t and why. Customer loyalty, like most good things, must be earned.
Because for Bollywood, SRK is King, but for you, your Customer is.
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