• Ulhaas’11- The Experiential Marketing Carnival

    THE EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING CARNIVALMarketers from IIM Calcutta participated in the execution of a very important process for any company. They were Involved in conducting a market research program which would allow companies to understand how consumer perceive their brand. This event, organized by Team Census, was conducted during the month of January. Sahil Dev, a member of the organizing team gives a description about the two day experience.

    A brand is made or broken by the response of the consumers towards it. So, we can see why “knowing the consumer” is of utmost importance in the success of a marketer. The rationale behind this event was generic cialis to provide insight to the marketer about their own brand’s image in the mind of the consumer. This disguised market research event is a fresh attempt to understand consumer response to the products in different segments.

    THE EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING CARNIVAL1Ulhaas, currently in its 5th edition, is the only event conducted by students of IIM Calcutta outside of campus. It provides participants with the chance to directly interact with consumers. The event is not in the form of a questionnaire which is usually used for conducting a market research for a company. Here customer response is captured by disguising questions cleverly and subtly in games, quizzes and other fun-filled activities. Thus by creating a lively and fun environment, customers tend to give their true responses to questions which otherwise would have yielded incorrect results via a normal questionnaire process because people get conscious when they know that they are undergoing an evaluative questionnaire. Participants were tested on the basis of aided and unaided recall of products of different companies. Information was collected to describe the key attributes a consumer looks for in a particular kind of product.

    Being an event which conducts live projects for firms from different industries, the organizing teams approach different companies for their requirements, with the promise of obtaining consumer research insights. This year, Team Census got projects from companies belonging to diverse sectors. The project partners for Ulhaas 2011 were Godrej Interio, Nestle, CRY and Radio Mirchi. The venue partner for the event, City Centre Mall, New town, saw a footfall of over 10000 people during the two day event. Free gifts for participation and interactive games conducted by Team Census were an incentive for people to come to the event. The radio Jockeys’ provided by the radio partners, Radio One, garnered massive attention from people.

    After the event, the teams analyzed the data and determined awareness levels about the brand/product/service offered by these companies, and they provided recommendations for the same. Ever since its inception, recommendations from teams at Ulhaas have turned out to be highly insightful and effective for the companies.

    The whole process is a great learning for the teams as it gives them a real life experience of dealing with consumers and extracting information for the companies. This gives them exposure to the work they might be doing in their summer internships and jobs. Team Census, the experiential marketing club at IIM Calcutta provides opportunity to students for using this platform to explore new avenues in the field of marketing.

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  • Marketing for Tomorrow: Social Media Marketing

    MARKETING FOR TOMORROW: SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

    Abhirup Ganguly and Tanvi Saraf, both 1st year students at IIM Bangalore, are hereby declared as the 1st runners up at Marketique, the marketing article writing competition at IIM Calcutta’s international B-school meet, Intaglio ‘10. Following is their prize winning article on social media marketing.

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    What do you do when you are faced with the seemingly impossible job of creating visibility for a tiny brand on a shoestring budget and you are promoting something as unexciting as a blender? Here’s an idea: Take $50, use it to purchase a rotisserie chicken, Coke, a bag of marbles, golf balls and a URL. Then, turn on the video recorder and ask your CEO to engage in extreme blending wherein he blends marbles, golf-balls, chicken and Coke to show off the power of his blender. Upload this video on your URL and within days, clips of the CEO’s extreme blending exploits will pop-up in Youtube and your brand will get instant fame – all for $50. This is the story of BlendTec, a Utah-based blender’s successful viral marketing campaign.
    This is just one among the numerous colourful examples of the ways marketers are harnessing the power of social media marketing.

    Recent Developments in Social Media Marketing

    If Facebook was a country, with its over 200 million users, it would be the 5th largest in the world! When Facebook opened its network to external developers in May 2007, it allowed marketers to access millions of customers who were unreceptive to traditional marketing communication. This marked the beginning of numerous social media marketing innovations. Other common social media marketing tools include Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, Flickr and YouTube.

    According to a 2009 survey, a company’s spend on social media marketing averages around 3.5% of its total marketing budget. This figure is predicted to grow to 6.1% within a year and to 13.7% within five years.

    In this article, we explore various facets of social media marketing and find out what sets it apart from other traditional marketing methods.

    Through the lens of Social Psychology – The Third Person Effect

    Sears has a unique strategy for generating word-of-mouth publicity through female Facebook users. Instead of naively pursuing each user on its own, it asks women to ‘help others choose their prom dresses’. Sears has correctly identified the implications of the “Third-person effect”. Numerous social psychology studies have demonstrated that we consider other people to be more influenced by media than us. This effect is particularly strong in the context of social-networking websites. Hence Facebook users believe that they can help others, who they believe to be more gullible to aggressive marketing communication, by recommending brands they personally believe in. These and other such behavioral tendencies of consumers can be exploited by social media marketers by careful planning of their campaigns.

    Transcending Beyond Reality

    MARKETING FOR TOMORROW: SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETINGNokia has initiated a very successful Facebook marketing campaign called “Somebody Else’s Phone” which is a flash micro-site that allows one to look into the phone of a hero named Luca. The idea is as follows: by exploring somebody else’s phone (text messages, address book, music stored, etc) one can tell a lot about the person and his way of life. Users can then ask Luca questions through his fanpage to gauge if they have understood him correctly.

    Nokia’s campaign satisfies a very basic human craving – the urge to peek into other people’s lives. The internet can prove to be extremely liberating for it allows us to indulge in our otherwise difficult to satisfy needs from behind a shroud of anonymity. Nokia’s initiative shows how marketers can satisfy otherwise elusive human emotional needs by using internet technology.

    Social Media Marketing versus Traditional Marketing

    Social media marketing scores over other traditional methods in several ways:

    Viral Nature: The growth of social media campaigns snowballs very quickly as consumers transmit messages to a large number of their friends. For Example, Harley-Davidson accrued 145,904 fans on Facebook through creation of a fan page within a period of just 10 months.
    Focused and Targeted Growth: The rise in fan base achieved by Harley-Davidson was purely through organic growth, without any promotional pushes. Such growth helps companies to reach out to like-minded people and approach them in a targeted way, to fish where the fish are, so to speak.
    Voice of the Customer: One of the greatest advantages for social media is that it is driven by the customer. If Harley-Davidson posts a question, such as, ‘Are you in favor of darkening the bike out or like it in shiny chrome?’, it is not unusual to receive 300 to 500 comments. Social Media marketing helps companies to intercept what consumers are saying about its brands outside its walls.
    Harnessing Influential Personalities: Traditional marketing often uses celebrity influence to further their brands. Nowadays, bloggers and site owners also enjoy substantial power to influence opinions. Social media marketing helps in harnessing their support and promotion economically. HP used this influence to their advantage by providing 31 HP laptops to bloggers to create their own unique contests, winners of which would receive the HP laptops. The HP model being promoted garnered a 84% increase in sales.
    Economics: The total cost of the HP promotion was primarily of the systems, amounting to $ 250,000. The economics of social media initiatives usually compares very favourably with traditional marketing methods producing similar benefits.
    Conclusion

    Social media marketing offers an unique opportunity to marketeers to achieve marketing success by making best use of its viral and focused nature. The trick to perform well in this game is to understand the forces that guide human interaction and creating innovative campaigns to harness these forces.

    Read Also: New Product Launch-Coke Zero

  • What’s in a name?

    What’s in a name? A lot, as Juliet must have felt when she said the above words to Romeo. David Ogilvy agreed with Juliet when he said “Any damn fool can put on a deal but it takes genius, faith and perseverance to create a brand”. With these thoughts in mind, it’s worth taking a look at several aspects of naming a brand, and what difficulties one may run into.

    Choosing a brand name is one of the most important decisions a brand manager has to take, because not only will it be an identifier for any product, but it’s also something which cannot be changed very easily. Moreover, depending on how you develop it, it may end up being your bugbear, and prevent you from growing – just ask the people at Xerox.

    Xerox is considered one of the marketing success’ of the 20th century. Like many others, they built a product from scratch, and ended up defining the category. More often than not, when you go to a photo copier, you simply ask for a Xerox – that’s the power of its brand name. However, that is also what limits it. Because the public’s perception of Xerox is so strongly tied to photo copy machines, it becomes difficult for Xerox to sell any other items. That’s why Xerox Data Systems, their computer product, failed in 1975. That’s why their fax machine, called a Telecopier, failed four years later. That’s why their ‘information processor’, which is what they called a personal computer, failed in the early eighties. So well established was their name, that even the invention of the mouse couldn’t help them move away from that image! They could learn a lesson from Yamaha, who managed to make the transition from pianos to motorbikes seamlessly.

    While the brand name itself is important, sometimes the category name can be just as important. Take the example of Diet Colas and Light Beers which have proliferated the market. While Diet Colas have been hailed as a success, and earned their own loyal fan base, they still lag behind regular Colas in terms of market share. Contrast this with Light Beer, which accounts for the majority of the market now. Why is there such a difference? Diet seems to carry a strong negative connotation, implying the fact that there’s too many calories and unhealthy content in Colas. It effectively becomes a time bomb, constantly reminding people of the cons of having a cola. This may be one of the reasons for declining sales of carbonated soft drinks in recent years. Light, on the other hand, implies that there are lesser calories in the drink, which means you can drink more, something which makes both the consumer and the company happy.

    Another aspect of a brand’s name worth exploring is how much a consumer can relate to it. In this day and age of the internet, where everything seems to happen online, many brands have tried having a person’s name for their products, so as to reach out to the consumer on a more personal level, and be their ‘friend’. This, of course, is already practiced by many celebrities, such as Tommy Hilfiger, Oprah and Madonna, but now is also being used in cases where they have no relation to the founder. Case in point: Alex, Netherlands’ biggest online broker. A name like this definitely helps them stand out, particularly in an industry like banking, where such names are rarely the case. However, there are many risks associated with such a strategy. It may be the case that your prospective consumers are on bad terms with a person of the same name, or are simply turned off by such a name. Moreover, such a name will also carry strong regional undertones with it, which may not be all that viable when expanding beyond the known cultural horizons.

    The sound of a name is also a factor which can help make or break it. Sample Kalashnikov. There’s a very potent onomatopoeia at work here, as the sound travels off the tongue deliciously. When you hear Kalashnikov, you hear the sound of soldiers boots stamping hard, you hear the rattle of machine guns in the background. That’s a very powerful name to have. How can names like Colt, Remington, Thompson and Lee-Enfield compare with this?

    A very interesting initiative has been undertaken by UHU, in Germany. Although the name has no relation to the product, it has become near synonymous with household glue in Germany. How so? UHU proactively works towards capturing their consumers early, by supplying glue to schools at no cost, thus ensuring that children end up using the word UHU more than glue at a very early stage.

    While branders no doubt need to understand names, there are lessons for politicians as well. Winston Churchill, at the height of the World War, found out that public cafeterias were being established, to limit consumption of food by citizens. Unfortunately, they were going to be called “Communal Feeding Centres”. Here’s what he had to say on the matter:

    “I hope the term “communal feeding centres” is not going to be adopted. It is an odious expression, suggestive of Communism and the workhouse. I suggest you call them “British restaurants”. Everybody associates the word “restaurant” with a good meal, and they may as well have the name if they cannot get anything else.”

    Now that’s marketing.