• Articles Archive for January 2012

    featured, god, headline »
    Hate me and Hate me, but you just can’t ignore me!!
    Hate me and Hate me

    Ever annoyed by the irksome advertisement covering the entire page whenever you go to the Times of India website?
    Wrong question to many because of the content or rather the lack of content in TOI these days. But for people, who still wish to enter TOI, annoying ads asking: “click if you want to move directly” in case you wish to skip, are common. There wouldn’t be any respite to the patient visitors who cross this first test of fortitude. Neither to the pity souls, who chose to move on …

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    Tapioca and the Tata Nano Lessons in using PR for Marketing
    Tapioca and the Tata Nano

    Tapioca and the Tata Nano Lessons in using PR for Marketing
    The Nano, if you recall, took its avatar to rescue the struggling section of the Indian middle class families to thundering applause from the world in general. The car is widely seen as a fine case of using a company’s PR machinery effectively for marketing a product. And it is not difficult to see reason in the argument – before spending a single rupee towards marketing the product, everyone was already talking about the car. The cacophony grew louder as the product was first unveiled in 2008 and broke to …

    headline »
    The “New” Marketers
    The “New” Marketers

    The “New” Marketers
    “I once thought I could protect the world by myself, but I was wrong. Working together, we saved the planet, and I believe that if we stay together as a team, we could be a force that could truly work for the ideals of peace and justice.” ~ Superman

    We, the old ( & soon to be alums :Cry-Out: ) marketers feel extremely overwhelmed as well as nostalgic at the same time to pass the baton to a whole new band of The marketers . Its been a good as well …
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    Customer Perceived Value vs. Customer Satisfaction
    Customer Perceived

    Customer Perceived Value vs. Customer Satisfaction
    Customer Value and Customer Satisfaction are arguably two of the most used terms in marketing. While both refer to a customer’s perception about a product and are often used interchangeably, a marketer would do well by knowing the difference between the two, and hence the necessity of having different terms.
    By definition Customer Satisfaction is a result of comparison between a products performance and expectations. These expectations are usually formed by positioning of the product through various marketing communications. Historically “customer satisfaction” was the buzz word for marketers. It was considered …

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    Marketing & Sustainability
    Marketing & Sustainability

    Marketing & Sustainability
    IIM Calcutta had a two day convention in November 2011 themed “Management Education for A Sustainable Tomorrow” as a part of its two year long golden jubilee celebration. It made me think, what challenges does sustainability pose for marketers? How it changes the game for marketers? How will it affect our approach or what new consideration will we have to take care of? I took a very simple approach by reminding myself of the definition of marketing: “delivering VALUE to the customer PROFITABLY”. Obviously you took note of the two …

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    Go IndiGo: On time is a wonderful thing!
    Go IndiGo

    Go IndiGo: On time is a wonderful thing!
    One industry which has been in the news for all the wrong reasons has been the Airlines industry of India. Along with the emergence of low cost carriers, the hues and cries after the increase in fuel surcharge and long term unsustainability of low cost airlines hogged the limelight for long. The industry has seen the dismal situation of Kingfisher airlines at present and the innovative offering of hot food in SpiceJet airlines. After having my regular encounters with airlines in the last two years and testing out all the …

  • Where will thou run, O customer?

    The spending on television advertisements has been on an exponential rise in the past few years with every brand wanting to flood you with its commercials. However, a lot of reports have been suggesting that the efficacy of a television commercial to ensure brand recall has been falling significantly with the increasing brand clutter on the so-called idiot box. It is not surprising then that brands have started to find new ways to creep into our daily life. It is often said that things impact the most when you expect them the least. Brands have been acting on this principle by presenting themselves before us on the unlikeliest of occasions, be it in the form a of a railway commuter travelling with you trying to sell CPI(M)’s ideology or an unassuming shopper who would suddenly freeze to serve as a living mannequin for the latest collection of Allen Solly.

    Allen Solly recently created a lot of buzz in one of the malls in Delhi wherein 100 models dressed in their latest collections and walking around as normal shoppers suddenly froze amidst the crowd. They suddenly froze for 3 minutes and walked away at the end of it, as if nothing ever happened. Similarly for Channel [V]’s recent repositioning campaign, its models suddenly took off their shirts to reveal branded T shirts reading “Channel V is changing” at several crowded spots in Mumbai. Use of such techniques have transcended across sectors with brands like 7UP and Big Music also using them effectively to create a lot of viral buzz.

    Although the immediate impact in terms of volumes through these techniques might not be huge, the real impact is gauged from the subsequent viral buzz that such instances create. This buzz can be in the form of viral online videos, media coverage or word-of-mouth. For e.g. a YouTube video of a similar initiative by T-Mobile at Liverpool Central Station has already registered more than 17 million views. In order to maximize the impact, there have been instances of the company tipping off select media to cover the exercise or the company uploading the video of the exercise on the internet and letting its viral power take over.

    However, not everybody gets it right when it comes to the use of such techniques. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) before the 2006 West Bengal Assembly Elections let loose a mob of its supporters camouflaged as ordinary travellers in the suburban trains. These supporters used to strike up casual conversations with the passengers on the train and try to veer the conversation towards all the good that CPI(M) has done to West Bengal in the recent past. However, analysts suggest that this exercise did not reap much benefit for it is way too difficult to influence somebody’s political stance through a casual conversation. This is because Indians are such that they would either not care about whom they are voting for or they would have a staunch political opinion which would be pretty difficult to change.

    To sum it all, the avenues for a dear consumer to insulate himself from varied brand communications are rapidly shrinking because brands have now moved out of the television to catch you in the midst of your daily routine as well. This thought is brilliantly illustrated by this last example where Charmin, a leading toilet paper brand in the U.S hired people to shoot videos of the ‘fun stuff’ happening in their Charmin restrooms and use these videos to create an online buzz. Poor consumer, I say.

    P.S. I have consciously avoided the use of the word ‘flash mob’ for the kind of instances described in the article as I am slightly averse to the jargon these marketing gurus keep creating in order to earn their bread and butter. But just in case that you are interested in the technicalities, please Google ‘flash mob’.

  • What am I? – Category Related Positioning

    Let me at the outset warn you that this is going to be a longish read. But if you stick it out I hope you find something of value here.

    One definition of Positioning goes like this – “Positioning is the art of selecting, out of a number of unique selling propositions, the one which will get you the maximum sales”. It brings to the brand manager’s table a whole range of differentiating strategies. These strategies they say revolve around 4 questions posed on its behalf –

    1) Who am I?

    2) What am I?

    3) For Whom am I?

    4) Why me?

    Quite simply, the answer to these questions decides the product’s positioning in the mind of the consumer. Here we look at question number 2.

    The positioning related to the “What am I?” strategy utilizes the product’s functional capabilities. One of the ways of doing this is using a Category Related Positioning.

    When to use a category related positioning? – When your existing product category is too crowded, take the same basic product and position it in another category provided the attributes your product has can match consumer expectations from the target category. This is also referred to as “macro-positioning” or “inter-set positioning”.

    Now you know why I chose such weird pictures for the homepage thumbnail and my post. Basically they show a dog trying to dress like a giraffe and a cat trying to dress like a frog – my idea of category related positioning. 😀 😀

    How to choose a category related positioning? – Though there are no ready-made formulas, the thing to be kept in mind is that your category related position defines your competition. So the trick is to position yourself in a category where your brand is not reduced to the status of a “me-too” brand.

    Implications – So what are the implications of using a Category Related Position –

    1) Modification in Product – Based on the new category you are “entering”, the product features need to be tweaked to meet consumer expectations as well as to provide a sensible cost-benefit trade-off to prospects

    2) Packaging – Based on the category you select, the packaging of your product may change drastically. E.g. If you sell dairy milk and decide to reposition it as a summer drink, you may have to switch from selling it in packets to bottles which can be carried around by consumers

    3) Distribution – Using the same example given above, you may have to extend the distribution of your milk to departmental stores and even the neighborhood pan-bidi shop

    Now let’s come to a nice example to round off whatever I have been trying to tell you through this article.

    Case Study – Brooke Bond Red Label:

    Recently they launched an ad featuring Anupam Kher as a grandfather who is been prodded by his grandson into doing some exercise to maintain his fitness. Kher retorts saying his grandson may be doing weights to maintain his health while he drinks his morning cup of Brooke Bond Label Tea to keep himself fit. Effectively the message here to the consumer is to not look at Brooke Bond Tea as only an early morning drink but also as an “health and fitness drink” effectively opening up a whole new category for it. Let us look at another slightly older ad –


    If you see this ad it not only tries to position Brooke Bond Red Label Tea as a “health drink” but also tries to break the age-old Indian belief that drinking tea is not good for children. Classic case of trying to boost sales by trying to add new consumer segments!!

    Do write in to us with more such examples of Category Related Positioning that come to your mind. We would love to learn more from you!!!

    As always ayes and brickbats are welcome. Just write in to themarketers.iimc@gmail.com.