Friday, January 15, 2010

Can branding counter imitation products in India?


Deepak Kr. Juneja, Utkal University, Bhubaneshwar

As the consumer in India goes up the ladder of economy, his focus will shift from basic needs to wants. The Indian consumer is becoming more literate and intelligent with time and he surely wants value for his money! The competition being intense, there will be various firms vying for the consumer’s attention. The Indian consumer wants to pay a reasonable price for a quality product.

With so many products in the market, he will go for the product that he identifies with, has used and is satisfied with. As such, it is important for a company to build brand equity of its product in order to differentiate itself from its competitors.

Imitation Products might offer you the same essential qualities and features at slightly lower prices, but what it does not offer the average Indian consumer is the trust and reliability that a well established brand has generated through the years. Further, the consumer also experiences a sense of belongingness and pride in being associated with the brand.

Thus, even if the product is priced at a slightly higher price than its competitors, the consumer won’t be reluctant to shell out the extra rupee or two. It also applies to the services sector. If your client is satisfied with your performance, he will prefer to retain ties with you rather than going for a new company on the block that offers rock bottom prices but has not established its credentials yet.

Therefore, in order to survive and counter the immense competition faced from Imitation Products, a company should invest in appropriate branding of its products so that consumers have brand loyalty and are ready to shell out a premium.


Kunal Kr. Roy, SJSOM,Mumbai

There has been a steady growth in the Indian rural market since the 80s and presently, it’s bigger than the urban market, both in terms of FMCG and consumer durables. Reason being the fact that 70% of India still lives in villages. The markets in these rural areas are the real arenas for transaction of Imitation Products.

Why can’t branding counter Imitation Products in India? Firstly, the 300 million BPL Indian people cannot afford to buy high cost branded products. Secondly, there are two types of Imitation Products: counterfeits and pass-off products. Counterfeits bear identical name, logo, trademark and even same name and address as the genuine manufacturer. They look exactly like the originals and are very difficult to differentiate. Pass-offs are similar sounding and have similar appearance, for example “Daily Milk” for “Dairy Milk”. Someone in a hurry to buy, or not educated enough, won’t discover the difference. Brand elements of many major FMCG companies have already been imitated by the regional players. In villages, these fake products are more easily available. The Imitation Product market in urban areas is mostly concentrated to electronic goods. Even though people are aware of the better quality of the original product, the majority of go for counterfeits because of the huge price difference.

Fake products have captured the rural Indian market so well that introducing a branded product now will make the branded product appear fake. Also, companies can never price their branded product low enough to match or even compete with their rural counterparts. This makes it almost impossible for them to wipe out the fake products from the existing markets.

SV - Volkswagen. Das Auto.

Winner: Pritam & Ayan, SIIB, Pune

Honorary Mention: Akansha Pandey, Welingkar, Mumbai

Sachet Marketing

Lakshmi Ramasubramanium, MICA, Ahmedabad

Off late, Sachet Marketing has been utilized as a prominent strategy to tap the bottom of the pyramid by many companies; mostly FMCGs. But, is it actually a sustainable strategy for targeting BOP customers or just another way of expanding the customer base?

The concept of sachets is no innovation introduced by the FMCG majors. It is actually a decades-old tactic whose genesis can be traced back to our good-old paan-masala walas. The paan masala which used to come in small cylindrical containers was a hassle for many reasons—it was not user-friendly, the users had to dirty their hands while having it, etc. The introduction of paan-masala in small packets (what are now called sachets) found a quick acceptance among users. It was more about convenience rather than price or size that got it such a huge following and made it an instant success.

This convenience factor was recognized & later on translated as a mechanism to target price-sensitive segments—small-sized packets being lower-priced. Affordability became the mantra of these sachets which were later on adapted by FMCG sectors in particular.

Growth here is driven by the relatively poorer sections which comprise a major percentage of total population & growth strategies of many companies are focussed on how to tap this potential to increase product penetration at the bottom of the pyramid. With maturing urban markets, the need to expand the rural base was very critical for companies to improve top- and bottom-lines. What would be effectively counted as the Sachet Revolution, following HUL & CavinKare, companies started resorting to Low Unit Pricing (LUP) strategy to expand sales in the lower income group— low end consumers in urban and rural markets. Affordability has always been a matter of concern for these consumers & the companies rightly played the volume game here.

Findings of ORG Rural consumer panel study showed that the share of branded goods was considerably high in rural areas (as high as 65% as of year 2000) & sales of non-branded goods was shrinking dramatically. It’s not just rural consumers who find an attractive proposition in LUP packets, but also lower income groups in urban segment, who were restrained due to price factor till some time ago. For travellers as well as for those who want to “try out” things, it is still the convenience that matters.

Sachet Strategy completely revolutionized the personal care products category. CavinKare launched sachets of their Chic shampoo which were priced as low as 50p & Rs1. It then slowly crossed over to other products with Marico introducing their coconut oil Parachute in mini-packs. With Pepsodent tooth-paste available in sachets for Rs 4 & 5g Rexona deo-sticks priced Rs 5.5, HUL was trying to induce the rural population to take to such products.

While Sachet sales were still the highest for shampoos, it found takers for beverages too with HUL, Tata Tea & Duncan’s setting a starting point to it. The ‘sachet’ tea industry in India started with 5p/10p sachets and gradually went up stage-wise to 25p, 50p and Re 1. Branded sachet market is estimated at about 10-12 per cent of the annual packed tea market.

Even premium products are taking to this strategy now with L’Oreal India leading the way. As per Dinesh Dayal, COO, Garnier, its flagship brand now has products in sachets, which includes shampoos & conditioners (Rs 3 & Rs 4 respectively).

Sachets can actually be considered to take a big leap towards transcending the boundaries of demographic customer segmentation. The products, which were once confined to the SEC A & A+ segments, due to pricing constraints till date, have percolated to the poorer consumers too. The concept of psychographic profiling based on life-style & aspiration is very well demonstrated in this concept. The likes of Lakme, Garnier products can today be used even by SEC D section as a once-in-a-while treat for special occasions—thanks to sachets. In this way, it has helped cater to the aspirations of many & has thus become a means for expanding the customer base.

This strategy has another hidden agenda—to induce trials by the otherwise reluctant customers. People who are sceptical to experimenting new products & brands may choose to try it if it is in the form of sachets. It becomes pertinent to categories like personal care products, cosmetics & even food-items where the consumption pattern is more of habitual nature and people are generally averse to trying out for fear of compromising on quality. Sachet packets give the consumers this opportunity without any hassle of wastage or cost considerations.

Sachets are moving beyond just personal care products, tea-bags or the low income group. It is
just customization for certain companies. Among cell-phone operators, Vodafone Essar Ltd was the first to sell ultra low-cost products when it launched micro top-up cards of Rs10 each for its prepaid customers. Even Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom), country’s second largest mobile phone services operator, is overhauling its pricing model to offer value-added services (VAS) such as caller tunes and internet surfing for as low as Re1 a day, rather than for a monthly subscription. They hope to reach a wider audience by offering customers more price flexibility through Sachet Pricing. The biggest beneficiaries of the sachet pricing plan would be the prepaid subscribers, estimated to be about 85% of RCom’s wireless subscriber base.

Filipino Telco Smart, through its Smart Buddy System allows cell phone customers to resell their unused credits turning customers into salespeople. For each 1,000 pesos sold, the 'merchant' receives a 150 pesos commission. Grameen Phone, Bangladesh's leading cell phone operator, has offered a special low-priced package to so-called 'phone ladies' in small villages, where fixed telephone lines are non-existent. The phone ladies share their cell phones with other villagers at a few takas a call.

Micro financing institutions (MFI) which are making huge profits by creating markets for the poor by providing loans for micro-venture enterprises are also a Sachet Strategy in a sense. Micro-lending & micro-credits are the usual loan mechanisms by financial institutions at an interest, but it is tailored in such a way that there are not many hassles for them in getting loans & starting ventures. Interest-free microfinance is another way when you actually play a VC (in a sachet strategy—yes) to a budding entrepreneur in rural areas.

Sachet Marketing or Sachet Strategy is a way of tailoring the product or service so that even the lower income groups (other than the desired TG) can avail these benefits, which otherwise isn’t possible for them. Soon, every company will have a sachet offering along with their regular ones which might eventually make the concept of segmentation & targeting redundant

Point of Sale: The Battleground for Brands

Garima Mamgain, P C Sreejith, IIM L

Information asymmetry may not be a bad thing for marketers, as when the victim is the consumer, and the opportunist is the marketer.

Couple of decades ago, Doordarshan was the only channel available; the audience was hooked on to it and it provided an effective medium to the marketers to reach out to the country. Today, Indian viewers have access to 360 television channels and applications for another 160 await the government's nod. The media fragmentation and advertising clutter has made it difficult for a marketer to pass on the message to the consumer effectively. Moreover, the consumer these days is usually on a remote zapping spree which makes it difficult for the brands to catch audience attention. All these factors have taken the competition between brands out of the people’s living rooms to the streets (in the form of out of home advertisements) and finally to the points of purchase.

As per some experts, 76 per cent of all purchase decisions are being made at the point of purchase. Point of purchase is rapidly evolving into the point of decision making.

What, Why and How of PoS Advertising
PoS advertising can be defined as any promotional material placed at the point of purchase; e.g interior displays, printed materials at shop counters or windows displays. The broader definition also includes in-store broadcasts, shopping-trolley advertising, wastepaper baskets and interactive kiosks. Besides these specific instruments, POS communication material may also include product storage and organization in the retail store, product presentation and packaging.
POS advertising is often termed as Below the Line activities of a brand. However, from a marketer’s point of view, point of sale is becoming the point of marketing itself. It has become critical for the marketers to provide the right communication material to the time-deficient audience at the point of purchase.

Point of sales advertising materials are often considered important because they initiate impulse purchases. The other objectives for using POS materials include increasing visibility, increasing recall, providing information, initiating query generation and emphasizing positioning of the brand.

The competition at the POS is intense in the telecommunication scenario. Every major player including Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Virgin mobile including newer players such as Uninor use variety of POS materials which range from traditional banners, scrollers, strips, danglers to interactive kiosks and eye catching air balloons. The POS market is not limited to mobile companies alone brands such as Cadbury, Kwality Walls, Britannia, Kellogg and many more have been developing unique POS materials to attract attention of its consumers and provide cues to initiate purchases. Carbonated Soft Drinks manufacturing companies such as Pepsico and Coca Cola provide retailers with refrigerators enabling them to serve cold drinks better – these also double up POS materials.

However, not all POS materials help; some important points necessary to ensure success of a POS material are:

1. In-line with the advertising: The media fragmentation and advertising clutter is battled through an Integrated Media Communication (IMC) to reinforce beliefs of the consumer. It also produces a greater multiplier effect thus ensuring greater returns.

2. Matching the product characteristics: Outline of differences in POS material depending on the appeal of the product are presented in the following figure as:

3. Constant evolution of POS material is essential: The consumer fast turns a blind eye to the clutter of POS material of competing brands. In order to break the clutter the POS’s have evolved from basic posters, banners, danglers to more sophisticated kiosks, dynamic scrollers etc bringing in the element of innovation.

4. Designed keeping in mind the needs and limitations of the retailers: Depending on the nature of the distribution channels and the POS material, the communication material is either directly provided by the company to the retailers or they reach the retailer through the distributor route. While the objective of the company executives is to catch the consumer attention at the final point of purchase, the retailer has to optimize the space in his shop in order to display the POS materials of competing brands. Some dynamic materials may attract consumer attention but also cost the shopkeeper a lot in terms of electricity it consumes and space it requires. Alternately, simple banners providing information help consumers make an informed purchase reducing his load. Since the retailer decides the positioning and stocking of the POS material, it becomes important for the marketers to understand the retailer’s preferences and develop retailer friendly materials.

Some companies have begun to overcome this problem by introducing the concept of co-branding where the front banners of the retail shops are provided by the company. The attractive banners save costs for the retailers and serve as advertisements for the brands at the final leg of a purchase decision.

5. Product packaging should be utilized as an effective POS communication: Attractive product packaging is the most basic and effective POS communication. It should reflect the same message as the IMC developed for the brand.

Shortcomings and Future Trends
Communication at the Point of Sale has its own set of shortcomings. Critics complain that the PoS messages are directed at consumers who have a pre-decided consideration set. Hence, it is not seen as an alternative for advertising but as a support activity to the above-the-line activities.

Moreover, most of these messages are missed by consumers who shop passively. The diversity of the country in terms of regional languages spoken and formats of retail (both in organized and unorganized sector) makes it difficult to maintain message continuity. Finally, large amount of POS materials create a clutter and are avoided by the consumers which makes this form of communication ineffective.

Despite the shortcomings, with increasing competition and the constantly increasing difficulty of reaching the consumers, the battle at the final leg of purchase is bound to intensify in the coming days. The traditional static POS material is giving way to mobile or active POS materials such as motorized displays and use of high technology to develop interactive POS such as kiosks (device by means of which the consumer can interactively retrieve information about the shop and the supply) etc. In future, a lot of marketing activity backed by consumer behaviour research can be expected in the area of Point of Sales communication

When Place go Aces!!


“Athithi Devo Bhava” - The practice of respecting the visitors and tourists is ingrained in Indian culture. In India we celebrate our unity in diversity. Tourism is no exception to this. Our country has a varied range of tourist destinations and experiences to offer in all seasons. International tourism accounts for the second largest source of foreign exchange earnings for the Indian economy. As far as domestic tourism is concerned, it helps us to understand various cultures and promote national integration among the citizens. It is this cultural and natural potential that has been the motivation behind the huge investments in marketing. Today, every state’s tourism ministry is adopting several ways to brand their tourist destinations. The Union Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Culture and CII is promoting the “Incredible India” brand to establish India as a dream destination.

The hurdles on the trek....
The Ministry of Tourism is confronted with several challenges on its way to develop India as a preferred tourism destination. Foremost being the sense of insecurity faced by prospective foreign and domestic travelers. The terrorist attacks last year have only helped in aggravating these concerns. Secondly, people in different parts of the world have different perceptions about India. For domestic tourists, low per capita income also restricts the middle class and the lower class from exploring new places. The infrastructural facilities like hotels, roads and electricity are also not up to the expectations of tourists. Transportation and accessibility also rank among the major problems especially in the rural and hilly areas. Also many tourist spots are not up to the standards with respect to cleanliness. This has led to dissatisfaction and negative publicity.
What is being marketed..
India has always attracted tourists from across the world through its rich culture, religious beliefs, natural landscape and historical monuments. Much visited destinations like Varanasi, Manali, Agra, Kerela, Goa and Delhi have provided memorable experiences to many tourists. By exploring ways to further diversify the offerings, the tourism ministry is concentrating on newer avenues of eco-holidays, rural tourism and medical tourism. In medical tourism, special attention is being given to market the wisdom India possesses in Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy. In addition to this state governments have been directed to identify the best hospitals and decide price bands for specific treatments. A new category of medical visa has been introduced by the Ministry of Home Affairs for patients and their attendants. Cruise travel has recently been introduced as an option for those who wish to have a totally different experience. Adventure and trekking are also being given due importance because of the potential India possesses due to its landscapes. The ongoing snow festival in Gulmarg with a series of snow sports coupled with traditional dance is an example of innovative ways of exploiting the opportunities India has.

The Ministry of Tourism has used almost every weapon in its arsenal to promote tourism in India.
Incredible India is an established brand which essentially captures the wonderful experience that one could expect by visiting India. The next major step taken in increasing the visibility of Indian tourism are Familiarization Tours under the Hospitality Scheme. The Hospitality Scheme allows the government to invite travel agents, journalists, photographers and tour operators from various countries to let them experience the multidimensional potential of tourism in India. After gaining insights and experiencing the colors of vibrant India they help in generating overseas markets. Many such familiarization tours have been taken to restore the confidence of foreigners after Mumbai terrorist attacks. Hosting of major tourism business gatherings has also been exercised. Recently, India hosted the PATA travel mart which was attended by 374 international buyers and sellers belonging to 301 organizations.
Reinforcement of the Incredible India brand is equally important in the long run. In this regard the event Incredible India @60 was organized in Singapore, Beijing and Shangai. Here the cultural heritage coupled with Indian cuisine was on display, together with photographic exhibitions. The recently launched Incredible India magazine was also distributed. In yet another significant step the Marketing Development Assistance (MDA) has been extended to provide better financial assistance to approved tourism service providers including hoteliers, travel agents, tour operators and transport providers. They gain financial help for international events organization and participation, sales-cum-study tours and printed advertisement in overseas media. At the same time the ministry has not been reluctant in adopting online marketing techniques either. Search engine optimization, video sharing, search advertising, blogs, forums and separate websites are already in use to increase brand awareness. Websites like are handling increasing traffic with loads of feedbacks. In its mission of attracting more foreigners due weight age has also been given to domestic tourists. In May 2008, the campaign “Sare Jahan Se Acha” was rolled on in major TV channels and cinema theatres as a measure to recreate the interest of Indians towards exploring it. The message of “Athithi Devo Bhava” has also been regularly reinforced to gain responsible tourism. The frequency of road shows and advertisements, national and international, has been increased for better brand knowledge.

Market research and feedback
With such numerous promotional activities, it is equally important to monitor their returns. The Market Research Division has been established with this aim of compilation, tabulation and dissemination of data and information on various aspects of tourism. It monitors the effectiveness and efficiency of marketing measures and provides information for future policy formulation. Periodical surveys are also undertaken to assess the profile of international and domestic tourists, expenditure patterns, tourist preferences and satisfaction levels, availability and adequacy of infrastructural facilities at tourist centers, etc.

The road ahead....
India has come a long way in developing itself as a dream destination for international tourism. Tourism ministry, with its consistent efforts and innovative measures, has been instrumental in this regard. Yet, there is lot more to be done. The security concern remains a limitation and is hampering the international footfalls in Goa and eastern India. Similarly, much has been done to assure cleanliness and hygiene through cleanliness drives and responsible tourism but they have not proven to be adequate enough. The promotional efforts to attract tourists – both international and domestic- by different state governments are commendable but a lot needs to be improved to make their stay a pleasant and memorable one. To increase the brand value of Indian tourism, it is important that the tourists have a lifetime experience which results with them and many more coming again.
In recent past, different states have positioned their tourism in a manner that communicates their tourism potential. Kerala positions itself as the “God’s own country” to highlight its natural beauty while Madhya Pradesh is attracting tourists by its “Hindustan Ka Dil Dekho” campaign. These campaigns with such appealing taglines have been successful in increasing the number of tourists. These taglines try to capture the unique value proposition that each state is capable of offering to its visitors. For example, India’s third largest state, Maharashtra boasts of a complete package that is enriching from all angles. It ranges from the unexplored wildlife in Vidarbha region to the ancient temples and caves near Aurangabad. On one hand it has the largest coastline with some untouched beaches and sea forts, while on other it boasts of metro life in Mumbai and Pune. Therefore, it positions itself as “Maharashtra unlimited”. On similar lines, Chhattisgarh has launched the “Full of surprises” ad campaign to position itself as a state which is waiting to be unexplored.

Kerala – God’s Own Country
Kerala stands out as the pioneer of State Tourism in India in terms of marketing initiatives and is listed on National Geographic’s “50 Must See Places in the Lifetime to Visit”. It is Kerala’s unique Brand Positioning strategy that has helped it in attracting global attention. Kerala has efficiently branded dance forms like Kathakali and Theyyam and used its cultural heritage as a pedestal to attract global attention.
The state government spent approximately Rs. 25 Crores in 2007-08 for ‘Destination Kerala’, and budgeted Rs. 13 Crores for investment this year (2009 - 10). The heavy spending on the tourism industry shows the importance given to building its brand equity by the State Government. Also the budgeted spending is 75% more than the spending in the year 2008-09, which shows that the government is trying to protect the ‘Destination Kerala’ brand against an increased competition from other states like Goa and New Delhi. The state government also allocated Rs. 38.2 lakh (2009 -10) for marketing activities alone, of which a huge percentage is to be spent on advertisements using mass media tools. A separate budget for marketing activities clearly hints at the rapidly developing trend of leveraging a state’s natural and historical relevance to generate revenues. Tourism alone contributed Rs. 114.4 billion in 2008 – 09 and provides 8% of the overall employment for the state.
A lot of Eco-Tourism initiatives have been taken by the Government of Kerala in order to tap the projected growth of 13.31% in the area and differentiate Kerala from Goa. This includes increased spending on maintenance, cleaning of beaches and measures against protecting its wide spectrum of flora and fauna. The core strength (product) of Kerala is its 550 km coastline comprising of large stretches of beaches and backwaters. Kerala has successfully augmented this core product through careful sub-branding of products like Boat Race, Dance forms, Arts and Ancient Medicine. Leveraging on the heritage of Ayurveda to promote Medical Tourism is another strategy by the Kerala Tourism Ministry. Kerala has shown the way to other states and India that effective marketing programs can generate great revenues for a place and also serve as an incentive for preserving its natural and cultural heritage.

Delhi – Where History Meets Future
If there has been one state which has made a commendable improvement in attracting tourists it is Delhi. Handling concerns regarding security, inefficient transport and environmental pollution have been on the top priority list of the Delhi Government. Delhi also has the added advantage of being the national capital and hence global recognition is not a problem. It also receives maximum number of foreign tourists in comparison to other states with a 16.6% (2008) share of total foreign visits in India.
Delhi Government had earmarked Rs. 14.25 Crores (.27% of Total Outlay) for 2008 and is successfully projecting its ancient history to attract tourists using monuments like Qutub Minar, India Gate, Red Fort, Jama Masjid etc. Dilli Haat and Garden of Seven Senses have also been developed to attract local tourists. In order to understand Delhi Government’s marketing strategy we need to realize that visibility has never been an issue for New Delhi. What was important was to be in the news for good reasons. This is where Bhagidari, Delhi Metro and Commonwealth Games have proved very useful for DTTDC.

  • ‘Bhagidari’ is a Government Citizen Partnership program initiated by Mrs. Sheila Dikshit in 2003 appealing to the citizens of Delhi to be more responsible and to gather support and consensus for major policy decisions. The program attracted eyeballs from across the country with the advertisements in leading national newspapers helping in generating positive reactions. This was the first time that a state government was using print media so effectively to promote a program that encouraged Government Citizen Partnership. The logo of ‘Bhagidari’ showing two hands joining together became the Brand element that Delhi needed badly.
  • Metro: The speed of work and timely completion of Delhi Metro Project also provided the state with appreciation from not only India but also all across the globe. It has become an example for other upcoming infrastructure projects in India. It is only one of the five metro stations across the globe to be profitable despite the absence of Government subsidies (Delhi Metro recorded an Operating Revenue of Rs. 305.27 Crores with PBT Rs. 19.98 Crores in FY 2008). Delhi Metro has all by itself developed as a brand more powerful than any other existing ones (i.e. Monuments and Places across Delhi) and stronger that even brand Delhi itself.
  • Games 2010: The Commonwealth Games to be hosted in Delhi in October have provided it with an opportunity to not only attract tourists from abroad but also sports enthusiasts from India. The event promises to be a cocktail of Sports, Entertainment and Tourism. Hence the DTTDC has planned many tourism incentives like trips to Agra, Jaipur and neighboring states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand for sportspersons. The expected 15% increase in number of foreign tourists will be handled through the development of a Commonwealth Games Village near Akshardham on NH-24. Print advertisements in leading newspapers are being used successfully by the Delhi Government to leverage the opportunity provided by the Commonwealth Games. There have been media reports of the contractors appointed for the task of Commonwealth games being slack in their work. But Delhi government is taking every possible step to ensure the timely and successful completion of what could be the jewel in its crown.

Delhi has so far successfully utilized the recognition and brand image development provided by Delhi Metro and Commonwealth Games. Meanwhile the Bhagidari program has been successful in creating enough noise (through print advertisements) such that Delhi has been able to position itself differently in the tourism market.

Goa – Merry Goes Round
Tourism for Goa is a major revenue generator as the state attracts tourists both from India and abroad. The tourism industry has a strong multiplier effect here, affecting a lot of other business activities. Goa had a 2.5% share of total foreigners visiting India in 2008 and is among the top 10 states in India in terms of number of foreign tourist visits.
The State Government of Goa allocates almost 2% of total expenditures incurred on development of Arts and Culture and Tourism. In order to ensure tourist safety (which has been the state’s major concern after the Scarlett Keeling murder case); the Goa Tourism Development Corporation started the ‘Radio Taxi in the State of Goa’. This ensured not only better transport facilities for the tourists, but also provided employment opportunity to the unemployed youth who were allotted the taxis under this scheme.
The core product offered by Goa is its beaches but the major differentiation strategy used by the Goa Tourism Ministry has been to develop Goa as a destination for the entertainment industry. The Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) is the nodal centre looking after the entertainment related activities in the state. ESG has been organizing the International Film Festival of India since 2003. In fact in 2007 at the 38th IFFI, a ticketing system was used, which first of its kind for India.
As per the Goa Tourism Department, it is currently targeting tourists from Portugal, South Africa and Middle East. The competition from less expensive destinations like Cyprus and festivals in Europe are being addressed while devising the pricing strategies for air fares, beach services and taxi rentals. The state government also organized Road Shows in South Africa to attract tourists.
The kind of activities promoted and the stress on creating a separate ‘Brand’ for Goa all indicate how the state has evolved in terms of attracting tourists. Increasing competition from Kerala and Northern – Hill States has forced it to constantly upgrade its marketing strategies to keep the cash registers ringing.

Trent Limited - A Strategic Business Unit of Tata Group

Priyanka Datta | IBS Hyderabad

TATA group’s entry in the retail sector through TRENT has been silent but strong. It was the brain child of Simone Tata, the lady behind the success of Lakme.

The marketing strategy of Trent can be studied in two phases:
• Phase I: the start of the company, its journey to its current status in the market and
• Phase II: the future

The story commenced in 1996 when Simone Tata decided to sell 50% stake in LAKME to HLL and out of its proceeds created TRENT LIMITED by acquiring Littlewoods, a London based retail chain in 1998. Littlewoods was renamed as what we know as “Westside”. Since its inception, Trent Limited has been on the major expansion mode and has targeted metro cities in India.

The “WESTSIDE” Story
Westside is the flagship brand of Trent in apparel and accessories retailing. The value chain was already in place as Littlewoods had expertise in primary activities like designing, producing and delivering the merchandise. They just needed to blend them into the Indian context, which was successfully done by keeping track of the pulse of the market, daily sales figures and the latest trends in vogue. Strategic marketing plan for Trent targeted youth in the metro cities. This was very well reflected when famous cricketer Yuvraj Singh, who was considered the Face of the Youth, was made the brand ambassador of Westside during its launch. Choosing a cricketer for an “apparel” ad led to easy brand recall and rescued the brand from falling into the trap of cluttered advertisements. The shopping experience was enhanced with each Westside store having elegant interiors, sprawling space and courteous store staff, thus making it a much sought after shopping destination.

Major marketing plans focused to improve the reach of the brand by setting in smaller formats of Westside stores like “Westside Girl”, “Westside Woman” in order to make them popular in Tier II, Tier III cities. There are currently 35 Westside stores in 20 cities in India. The reason they are concentrating on the woman’s apparel segment is because they want to tap the new empowered woman’s brand loyalty with their stylized yet pocket friendly offerings.

Other value added and after sales services includes returning of the merchandise within a month’s time if anything goes wrong with the fabric. Also, CLUBWEST membership is offered where customers are given special privileges like 20% discounts during their birthday month, free home delivery of merchandise and Clubwest points on each purchase that can be exchanged for money. Focus is to be extremely sensitive to the needs of the customers and build the brand on their suggestions and opinions. Westside also got into cause-related marketing last Diwali, where it sold diyas prepared by underprivileged kids at its retail stores.

Trent further expanded into Hypermarket retailing through “STAR BAZAAR” in 2004. The reason for coming up with such stores was to cash on the limited time the working individuals had to buy groceries.

Quality and convenience is what urban customers are looking for and Star Bazaar satisfies it, making them visit the store again. The stores are also sensitive to the regional requirements and they vary across the length and breadth of India.

The procurement process in Star Bazaar is highly dependent on locals who supply and transport the goods. Since product differentiation is difficult here, the motto “Chota Budget, Lambi Shopping” is hard to achieve considering the bargaining power is on the supply side. To tackle this and to have an edge in providing the goods at the lowest prices Trent has agreed upon supply chain integration with UK based Tesco, world’s third largest retailer. With financial aid of £60m, Trent can enjoy reduction in costs through economies of scale with this agreement. As per retail weekly, Trent Limited is expected to invest close to Rs. 2000 crores for setting up fifty such Hypermarkets.

A “LANDMARK” event
Before Pantaloons could lay hands on it, TRENT captured 76% stakes in the 22 year old Chennai based, India’s largest bookstore chain “LANDMARK” in August 2005.Recession or no recession, books and music would never go out of business and Simone Tata knew it well. Rather to everyone’s surprise, Gen X is more into books than ever before. Landmark was into books, magazines, stationary and greeting cards but later it added on music to its stores. Further it also added gifts, home stores & toys .The USP of its stores is the wide assortment and range of stock.

The latest news from Trent is a complete family fashion store Fashion Yatra. At the launch, Simone Tata said, “The strength of Trent Limited lies in it being able to provide our customers garments that suit their specific needs. Fashion Yatra is our latest venture to provide customers really fashionable choices at great prices.”

Throughout its phase I, TRENT has been a mass-to-mid-market retailer and has targeted its marketing strategies towards the metro population in the age bracket of 20-35. It has acquired businesses that already had all their primary and secondary business activities in place. The only turn Trent gave to all these brands was bringing them under one roof to create a shopping experience like never before. Gurgaon’s Grand Mall is an example where all these brands are brought together.

All these related sectors point towards the highly styled lifestyle requirements of the youth who are able to finance them through their cushy jobs in the booming service sector. The major pull force of the company is the related product assortment. The brands under its umbrella are already popular; Trent would provide them further ground to prove their strength through its financial muscle. Trent posted revenues of Rs 716 crore and net profit of Rs 33.64 crore on a consolidated basis in FY08.

Phase II: What does the future hold for TRENT?
Trent has two-way line stretching in mind, as can be clearly seen (downward stretching) from its entry in the mass merchandize retailing through Fashion Yatra where it offers “Value for Money” clothing and its strategic tie ups with brands like SISLEY, Benetton’s premium apparel brand, and Topshop & Topman, a UK based high-end apparel brand, mark its debut in the premium segment (upward stretching). Moreover, economies of scale and scope can result only when the scale of production and consumption is large. So Trent is concentrating on reaching wider masses and creating value positioning in the minds of its customers.

To wrap it up, TRENT has the potential to bring its competitors down. With its immense financial muscle to undertake any possible venture and the unmatchable guidance and vision of Simone Tata, once called the “Cosmetic Czarina of India”, Trent has all that it takes to become the Best Retail Brand in India.

From Midwicket to Extra Cover – Repositioning of ODI Cricket

Priyak Purkayastha, Rudranil Dutta | MDI Gurgaon
Change has become the buzzword these days and so to flourish, one has to innovate. With the advent of 20-20, cricket has evolved to rake in the moolah but simultaneously it has diluted the image of the older version of limited overs cricket. As a result, the latter has lost relevance and in the process, revenues as well. The recently concluded ICC Champions Trophy 2009 has fetched a first day television rating point of 0.9% on ESPN, whereas the first day of the IPL 2009 had a television rating point of 3.2%. This fact is a mere illustration of the debate – whether the T20 format of cricket is eating into the pie of ODI cricket and whether ODI cricket can survive the storm. This article extends the argument with the help of marketing concepts like perceptual mapping and brand cannibalization.

Contributing Factors
The huge fan following for cricket can be attributed to two distinct factors – (a) appreciation of the talent, skill and class associated with the game and (b) the entertainment factor associated with the game. Depending on these two factors, the positions of Test, ODI and T20 crickets have occupied distinct places in the viewers’ minds. The history of cricket can be divided into three periods:

1. Prevalence of Test Cricket
2. Advent of ODI cricket and coexistence of both Test and ODI cricket
3. Advent of T20 cricket and question on the existence of ODI cricket
The three periods mentioned above can be analyzed with the help of Perceptual mapping diagrams.

1. Prevalence of Test Cricket
Test cricket in its early years was slow and often resulted in draws. However the uncovered pitches and lack of proper cricket gear ensured the highest levels of skill and class. Hence it was very high in
terms of talent association and low in terms of entertainment association. The perceptual mapping diagram is illustrated below.

2. Advent of ODI cricket and coexistence of both Test and ODI cricket
With the advent of ODI cricket, the game became broadly divided into two categories. People still watched test cricket because of the heritage, class and skill. However the fan following of ODI grew rapidly because of its face paced, result oriented nature and the excitement associated with it. The World Cups added ultimate flavor to this craze. ODI also made Test cricket relatively fast paced and result oriented and hence increased its entertainment quotient to some extent. However purists did not consider ODI as a measure of class and talent still it managed to occupy a place of its own. The perceptual mapping diagram is illustrated below.
3. Advent of T20 cricket and question on the existence of ODI cricket
The launch of T20 cricket has resulted in a massive positive reaction amongst the cricket fanatics especially the younger generation. It has been launched keeping in mind the demand of a format which is crisp and packed with entertainment. It is targeted at the people who consider this version as a substitute for watching a movie in multiplex or having a day out in an entertainment park. Hence considerable stress is given on the entertainment quotient and the brevity of the format. Moreover the effect of T20 on Test cricket has been evident resulting in higher run rates in test matches, thereby increasing the entertainment factor associated with test cricket. ODI cricket has been trapped in the middle and its unique association in the minds of followers has been replaced by a diffused association. This has resulted in an ambiguous brand image of the ODI format.

As explained in the diagram, the combination of a relatively fast paced test cricket and the entertainment packed T20 cricket have eaten away the shares of ODI cricket to a considerable extent. This resulted in brand cannibalization. The perceptual mapping diagram is illustrated below.
Solution to counter Cannibalization
Hence the effect of brand cannibalization in ODI cricket can be removed by repositioning ODI cricket as a higher skill and higher entertainment format as shown in the diagram.
Thus the challenge for ICC is to implement rules in ODI so that
Skill and talent associated with the format gets increased in comparison to the present situation.
Entertainment factor increases to become on par with T20 cricket.
Suggestions for repositioning of ODI cricket
High skill and high entertainment are both ensured only when there is a high quality contest between good bowlers and good batsmen.
Rules should be changed so as to declare a team of 16 before any match instead of 11. Substitution should be allowed at one go between innings without any limit on the number of players to be substituted. This ensures that at each inning, the best bunch of bowlers is bowling to the best bunch of batsmen.
Rules regarding powerplays should be revised so as to increase the entertainment factor. Similarly bowlers should be facilitated with some rules to avoid the game being one-sided.
As suggested by Sachin Tendulkar, instead of a constant stretch of 50 overs a side, the game can be divided into 4 innings of 25 overs each, with two innings per side. This will reduce the monotony in the eyes of the younger generation.

The amount of money poured into the new format of ODI will increase automatically with increase in demand for television rights, which in turn depends on the viewership of the repositioned ODI. Thus the focus should be given to its repositioning and the changes that have been suggested are mere examples to drive home this point of view.