Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Airtel Rebranding: Will it bring Airtel closer to what it desires


Krishna Kumar | KJ Somaiya

Airtel Rebranding: Will it bring Airtel closer to what it desires?

Airtel is one of the Indian MNC’s that has made it big in the global arena, thereby becoming the world’s fifth largest telecom operator, catering to around 200 million customers across 19 countries. The Rebranding has elevated the brand Airtel to the “Global Player” league. It provides Airtel a much needed instant and uniform recognition across the diverse international markets in which it operates.

The change in the brand identity is very essential as Airtel is no longer restricted to the voice-based services alone. It is all set to create new milestones in the application based services also, with the introduction of the 3G services. This transformation of the brand of Airtel needs to be emphasized to its growing customer base. The rebranding has infused a lot of youthful energy into the brand Airtel that has been in the maturity stage of the Product Life Cycle for quite some time and would connect well with the young Indian market.

This new avatar would bolster the emotional connect that Airtel shares with its loyal customers, while also exciting new customers since it has conveyed its willingness to face the challenges of the ever changing telecom market. Statistics reveal that facing challenges and emerging victorious is nothing new to this Indian warrior. Airtel is fully equipped to re-write its success story once again, this time with an all new brand outlook. Go Airtel, Go!!

Counter View

Sukesh Gain | FMS, Delhi

Airtel Rebranding: Will it bring Airtel closer to what it desires

In 1995 Airtel was launched with a very distinctive logo and popular brand-tone composed by A. R. Rehman. For Airtel, the former logo was a simple, innovative and refreshing symbol. Currently Airtel is offering services in 19 countries. With this increasingly global identity, it has become necessary for Airtel to build a monolithic brand name across all markets. Airtel has embarked on this ambitious journey of consolidating its brand through its specially crafted new logo and repositioning exercise.

Numerous critiques have indicated the new logo as a refined version of Zain Africa's logo however the more pertinent question is whether Airtel will be able to achieve its goal of global positioning. Is it worth spending Rs 300 cr on repositioning rather than improving its customers service and infrastructure? The current logo could also confuse the customer, given its semblance to new Videocon, Vodafone and Zain Africa's logo. On the other hand, the evolved logo brings with it an international appeal. The new signature tune, being a balanced medley of both Indian & African cultures, plays the dual function of retaining the warmth & sensitivity of the older tune while simultaneously addressing a larger panorama of global customers. The lowercase of the logo signifies humility with the font showcasing a dynamic force of “unparalleled energy” while the red colour signifies heritage, energy and passion.

The new commercial with new faces, new tune, new logo tries to portray new services Airtel is ready to offer. “Dil jo chahe paas laye !!” The emotionally rich new campaigns ‘Street Performer’ and ‘Endless Goodbye’ give rise to the idea of a new brand in a beautiful manner. On the other hand these new commercials and posters featuring foreign models and foreign locales could possibly loose its connection with Indian customers.

In either case, it is too early to comment whether the re-branding efforts by Airtel is timely or not. It continues to remain a testing time for Airtel.

Uncharted Territories

Jitesh Patel, Rahul Mantri, Ritika Nagar | IIM S

Uncharted Territories

Automakers in India exploring the road less traveled…

Behold the turtle; he makes progress only when he sticks his neck out. (Bruce Levin)

For the turtle, sticking his neck out is essential to move forward. The automobile companies in India are doing just that – sticking their neck out. India is poised to become one of the largest automobile markets in the world and to succeed in India, companies are entering uncharted territories. Territories which they have shied away from until now. Tata made the cheapest car in the world keeping in mind the Indian customer and the world took notice. Now, Toyota has, for the first time come out with a small car, the Etios which has been designed completely based on the needs of the Indian market. Maruti is coming out with Kizashi; a D-segment car which is a first for Maruti Suzuki . Tata Motors is aiming to create a new segment altogether with the launch of its car Aria deemed to be India’s first crossover car. We take a look at the reasons for these business decisions, the strategies being employed for their success and also on how the market might react to these offerings.

The Toyota Etios – Toyota’s first “Indian” car

The Etios has been in development for 4 years, employing over 2000 engineers from Toyota’s Indian and Japanese operations. The Japanese major is investing Rs.3200 crores to set up its manufacturing facility in Bangalore. It has been designed keeping in mind the minute preferences of the Indian consumers. Toyota says it is the first and last ever low cost sedan coming out of their stable. Etios was recently launched with much fanfare (A.R.Rahman was there for the launch) and has been priced in the range of 4.96 lakhs to 6.84 lakhs.

The Etios was born out of the need to compete in the very lucrative and high growth compact car market in India. Toyota is something of a non-entity in the emerging markets in terms of market share volumes and with Etios it wants to change that. A small car is essential to gain foothold in the rapidly developing countries. Toyota believes that entering the right segment with a car such as the Etios will be a winning proposition for them in the long run. Toyota’s usual plan of action has been to design cars for the developed world and then sell watered down versions of the same car to the developing nations. This attitude restricted its scope of expansion in the emerging economies. Etios is a car that has been designed solely for the Indian context and it will be launched in other developing nations as well.

The tagline for the Etios is “World First. India First.” which emphasises Toyota bringing its world class quality and engineering skills to meet the demands of the Indian people. The promotional campaign stresses that the Etios is in a class of its own and has no competitor as such. Toyota did a road show of 25 cities to reach into a wider market in India; it currently has presence only in 15% of the Indian market. The market penetration is essential for Toyota since it currently has costlier cars which are largely based in the metros and Tier-I cities. To ensure Etios is successful, the expansion is necessary and rapid growth plans for its distribution chain are in the pipeline. Toyota expects to have 150 dealerships by the end of this year and deliveries for the Etios will start in January 2011. In addition to this, A.R.Rahman has been signed on as the brand ambassador for the Etios.

Competitors are wary of the effect of Toyota jumping onto the bandwagon and starting to manufacture cars at a lower price point. Toyota is known for its world class quality and also has the reputation of redefining the marketplace with its stringent cost and quality measures. The competitors for Toyota Etios would be Indigo Manza, Ford Figo, Hyundai i20 and the Swift Dzire which all lie at similar price points to the Etios. The Etios promises to offer more on the features and performance front but Toyota lacks in terms of the on ground support. Its competitors Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors and Hyundai have a far more widespread presence and this will be an uphill climb for Toyota to achieve its ambitious goals for the Etios.

The Etios is almost like a make-or-break car for Toyota. The company believes that the Etios will carry forth Toyota through the 21st Century, just as the Corolla carried them through the 20th century. Such a statement, coming from the World’s largest automobile manufacturer shows how bold and significant this move is for Toyota. The start has been bright; Etios has already received over 8000 bookings in the first week after its launch was announced. The plans are to sell 70,000 cars in the first year. This seems to be an ambitious but nevertheless achievable figure with the amount of effort Toyota has put into the Etios. Toyota has stuck its neck out, only time will tell whether it was the right move and whether this will help spur Toyota’s forays into uncharted territories.

Kizashi – Maruti Suzuki’s foray into the Luxury car segment

Maruti Suzuki is the market leader in the A2 and A3 segments with a market share of 53.3% in A2 and 42.7% in A3 segment. It is currently exiting the A1 segment by phasing out its 800 model. It wants to become a company which is capable of satisfying the needs of customers across segments (Full market coverage, segment by segment invasion plan). The next logical step that could be taken to achieve this objective was to enter into the A4 segment. Although breaking into this segment may take time but with the high growth rates expected in this segment it is an opportunity that should not be wasted. The A4 segment is expected to grow annually at the rate of 30% per year for the next 5 years.

So, Maruti the name synonymous with “the best service and value for money” is planning to add another feather to its crown with its launch of Maruti Kizashi in 2011. Maruti Kizashi is a mid-size sporty looking sedan. Maruti has lots of cars in small car segment starting from Maruti 800, Maruti Alto, Maruti Wagon R, Maruti A-Star, Estilo and Maruti Ritz. But there was a vacant space for a luxury sedan in D-Segment which will be soon filled by stunningly beautiful and elegant car Kizashi. The issues which crops up is with respect to the brand Maruti Suzuki which is perceived as low cost and value for money. Moreover Maruti has to compete with D-segment giants and gain market share. Pricing and proper positioning of the car will be a challenge for the success of this new project. The promotional activities and defending the market share by MNC leaders in the segment are other major issues.

The competitor cars are priced between 10-15 lakhs with various models. However Kizashi is being launched as a sport model car (price range Rs 10-12 lakhs). Its UVP is its design and style. An advantage on power of 2000CC is also there (with compromise on mileage which does not affect this segment much). It has also more room compared to competitor products and Maruti has a better distribution system and aftersales service adding to its competitive edge.

In this segment both Maruti and Honda have decided not to go for a full on frontal attack. Their strategy has been such that they have emphasised that the Civic is youthful, while the Kizashi is mature. The Civic is sharp and designed to look quick and fast, while the Kizashi is rounded and has a majestic of bearing while on the move. The Civic breaks new ground when it comes to sedan design, while the Kizashi improves upon what already works. Kizashi can steal Civic’s market share in this market, by emphasising on these aspects.

Kizashi was earlier released in USA and Japan in 2009 but it was unable to make any significant impact in the US market and sales figures were not encouraging In India, Maruti Suzuki known for its low priced cars which have helped it establish a stronghold in the automobile market .The Kizashi is a sign of diversification and Maruti aims to be the market leader in this segment as well. The growth plans are sanguine and the result of Kizashi will decide Maruti Suzuki’s fate outside the small car segment.

Tata Aria – India’s first Crossover

Recklessness meets caution, contemporary meets the classic, the first Indian crossover TATA Aria hasn’t even hit the road and it has already created a buzz on various media channels. It is the company’s most expensive offering till date between Rs13 lakh and Rs16 lakh. Targeting the niche the Tata Motors has again not only developed a truly revolutionary product but also surprised people with the right and unique marketing campaign.

Although the issues in the launch of Aria are manifold like lack of awareness in the Indian market about crossovers, the brand itself and being first of its kind. But using the integrated marketing channel Tata has adopted a planned strategy to position Aria into the Indian market. Aria has been packed with lots of features which are supposedly to compete with those of the Innova and Xylo. Aria sports a 2.2 litre common rail diesel engine and blends the functionality and comfort of a mid-range MPV with the all-terrain assurance and premiumness of an SUV. In terms of features it has 6 air bags for safety as well as an Electronic stability program offered first time by an Indian manufacturer.

To overcome all issues related to Aria, Tata is driving the most ambitious marketing strategy. Tata starting with online campaign which will be followed by viral marketing will try to create curiosity in the customer about the crossovers and Aria in particular. Through a LIVE webcasting channel, thousands of automobile lovers across the world bore witness to the unveiling of a new breed in vehicles. Tata recently launched a website called the which allows users to create a user or connect via Facebook. Then a participant can create a car step by step in various levels, which is also kind of fun if you are into cars. Apart from their online presence with “LIVE” and Build a Dream Car” they have also showcased the prototype in Geneva Auto Expo and Delhi Auto Expo.

The planning for Aria started 5 years before the launch. They formed a focus group including owners of Sedan, SUVs and MUVs and gathered all their problems related to these existing products and after all that they tried to implement most of the features in Aria. A small example is of ground clearance for Indian women in saris. This speaks a lot about the positioning strategy of Tata.

The Tata Aria aims to create a new market segment for itself and hence has its task cut out. The aggressive promotion strategy is essential when aiming to create a buzz for the growth of a product such as the Aria. Tata has tried something like this before, with the Tata Xenon which was a lifestyle pickup truck and it failed to take off. This time Tata is treading more carefully to ensure that Aria captures the market share it deserves.

These cases show that the automobile companies in India are experimenting and experimenting big to find the right way to tap the growing opportunities. Companies are no longer satisfied with sticking to the beaten path; new paths are being treaded upon in the hopes of making tremendous progress. This bodes well for the consumer; he now has more choice and has better products awaiting him. As for the companies, it will be a while before their success or failure becomes clear. Some experiments will bring in the desired results, some will not, but one thing is sure the experiments will continue.

Captive Audience Networks

Kumudini Manda & Krishnakant Jonnalagadda | NMIMS

Captive Audience Networks

Catching the ephemeral attention!!!

Rita was telling her friends in a kitty party about the new spa that has opened up in an area in Mumbai. She went on to the extent of telling them the packages available, the timings and other branches of the spa. Ask her how she came to know about the new spa, and out came the answer, ‘at my dentist’s office’.

Everybody in the room was bowled over by the answer and all the ladies surrounded Rita to know her story from which came the revelation of Rita spotting not only the new spa but also the offers in a supermarket close by and the investment options in the bank across the street. Rita was witness to the entire show on a single screen at the dentist while waiting her turn to see the dentist and get her root canal done. And thus the likes of Rita are increasingly becoming spectators to the concept of Captive Audience Networks (CAN).

The new ‘CAN’oe of modern marketing

It is one of the fastest picking up trends in the marketing arena. The real beauty of the medium lies in the gamut of players who can throw their hat in the arena. So, it shouldn’t be surprising if we see Costa Coffee letting people know its newest menu, HCL announcing new hires, Asian Heart Institute showing off its latest infrastructure or AXA insurance giving tips on investments one after the other. Seeing this great potential, no one is staying behind in exploiting the latest proposition to market themselves.

With the advent of cable, viewers were spread thinner across more stations and they would skip commercials altogether. Add on the burgeoning trend of outgoing population in urban areas. Thus, Television Advertising may not necessarily suffice. One of the reasons for this can be the fact that with tooth sweating competition in every sector, creating a strong “pull” strategy only via television is a difficult proposition. The trend of Out of Home digital media is a product of this vacuum. It facilitates a much stronger recall which helps to lead the customer to the Point of Purchase. The idea of “place-based” media networks is highly compelling to advertisers – because a network could deliver a captive audience such as at a doctor’s office or auto repair facility, mall, hotels etc.

Captive Audience Network, or more aptly the out of home media is catching up fast with marketers who find it a combination of two things that make it a great deal. One is the power of television, the other is the increasing need to be targeted in your communication spend.

Out of Home Media is increasingly being looked at as a premium medium which reaches out to the 'difficult-to-reach' and SEC A consumers wherever they are, thus offering the advertiser an all day primetime.

In fact, the service providers claim that what they provide is an opportunity for advertiser brands and intelligent consumers to come together in an environment where there is a common interest. It could include anything from product placement, sponsorship of editorial items and the chance for advertisers to provide an expert spokesperson to contribute to one of the editorial items.

CAN, as it is more often called, was found to enhance the image of participating retailers and the mall in consumers' minds and there was a general consensus that it created a sense of modernity. It has also brought the brand to life by creating a platform for not only advertising but also generating a need to educate. It has gone beyond the traditional boundaries of spot advertising and works with the agency and client to come up with innovative ways

The Current ‘CAN’vas

There are plenty of territories that are already being conquered, in railway stations and airports, gyms, cinemas, hospitals, hotels and conference centres. There are largely unexplored, markets in schools and universities, in libraries and museums, military bases, police stations, historic attractions and amusement parks and many more.

With a varied user base, where one size cannot fit all, there is scope for a much wider range of solutions and approaches. There is room for everyone from the vendor of tiny shelf-edge displays for the supermarket to the supplier of huge video walls at football grounds, from the producer of five-minute mini-documentaries to the designer of static digital posters. It is a highly cost effective medium to implement as the entire package of software, hardware installation and running costs are covered within a sum of the range 1.5-3 lakhs.

As mentioned above, the main appeal of a CAN is that it enables retailers to target shoppers close to the point of purchase, where the buying decision can be influenced. It also offers a potential additional revenue stream, with the mall's retail tenants providing a ready-made pool of potential advertisers. A newspaper or radio or TV, needs some sort of customer involvement. With CAN ads, all they have to do is walk in and they are involved.

The Rising ‘CAN’didates

The world of marketing has a pace and the slick style of change which can put even the Alfred Hitchcock books to extreme anxiety. Any new trend that germinates sees multiple gardeners watering the seeds to reap the best fruits. Captive Audience Networks’ potential is widely recognized and accepted. WalMart’s revenue figures of over a $100 million based on leveraging this medium is a strong enough indicator to show its potential. The Indian CAN market is still in its salad days. Few of the main players, who are ready with their forks, if not daggers, are:

Live Media:

One of the heavyweights of CAN in India is Live Media. With an expansive network covering over 300 Quick Service Restaurants, 300 BPO’s, 100 Corporate Offices, 200 Hospitals, 40 Rural Retail hubs, live media has certainly been able to hold its own. It has been able to rope in outlet locations in the form of esteemed clients like McDonalds, Dominos, DLF Diners, Convergys, Genpact, Fortis Healthworld, ITC Choupal, Hariyali etc. This wide spectrum of outlets gives them a huge footfall which in turn is a lucrative proposition to drive in more advertisers.

It claims to hold a special positioning because of its ability to undergo the installation process after extensive research so that the consumer psychographics and the location’s local flavour, both are amalgamated. This ensures that the issue of visibility is successful and simultaneously does not come across as the fifth wheel in the ambience of the outlet. This customised approach is one of their strong footholds over the competitors. With a range of around 13 in-house branded programs, Live Media intends to provide wholesome entertainment to the audience, apart from a platform of advertising. This, they believe, is necessary because the idea is to make the taxing phase of wait more pleasant and captivate the attention of the viewers for that period. The attention span varies from outlet to outlet as well. One can expect a more attentive viewer at a dentist’s waiting room than at a retail outlet. Thus, it is important to ensure that the programs are ably customized and not too elaborate in the manner of expression.

Ooh Media:

Another bellwether in this segment, Ooh Media, spans across a whopping 18 cities with more than 4500 screens and accessibility to over 70 million people in a month. They cater to

. (Photo courtesy: Ooh official website)

more than 300 clients belonging to sectors of Telecom, FMCG, Consumer Durables, Media & Entertainment, Travel & Tourism etc. They believe their USP lies in providing ‘flexicasting’, a tool they use to telecast the brand communication message varying according to the local flavour of the market. This interesting phenomenon of local market, gives them an edge over the competitors as local marketing is a strong order of the day and flexicasting is a brilliant medium to tap this aspect. The adjacent Wheel sums up their entire model lucidly.

Ooh media takes immense pride in the fact that their customer base has a non pareil appeal to it. Their customers are the opinion leaders, decision makers and wealth creators. Such customers have a major role to play in expanding the purview of Word of Mouth Publicity.

Apart from these two major players, there are other emerging players like Digital Signage Network, TAG Media, Laqshya Digital media, Nec India etc. whose foray into this segment has made the battleground extremely hot for the marketers.

‘CAN’ they or ‘CAN’t they??

So is this buzz about CAN for real or is it just another passé trend that would die down even before it can breathe in completely? When it comes to the CAN sector, expanding the user base can only be a good thing for the sector. It grows the market for screen-media products and services in terms of sheer size and also reduces the sector's vulnerability to changing fortunes, or business models, or marketing philosophies among its customers.

Statistics clearly indicate that this trend is here to stay. A nationwide survey conducted by Ooh Media in association with research firm Neilsen, revealed interesting results that the screens had a recall value of over 70% and 90% people recalled the ads they saw on those screens. A city like Mumbai enjoys a weekly traffic count of around 25 lakhs, which is a very strong number for any marketer to cater to. Thus, neglecting this rising segment would be like living in a fool’s paradise. There are a few challenges that this network offers which has to be taken into consideration-

The Return of the Silence Era

“Alam Ara” marks its recognition as the first talking movie of Hindi Cinema. The silence was finally broken and the celluloid burst out with dialogues and the power of sound. But the wheel seems to have taken a reverse turn and now we see ourselves standing on the same pavement again. Be it Tom & Jerry or blockbusters like Wall-E, silent media has always been an intriguing medium to explore. In the era of talking ads in Print media, we welcome you to the world of Silent Ads. CAN has recreated this new paradigm of advertising. So many times when we drop in at a coffee place or a pizza joint, we see the silent ads on this digital media, which goes down well because it is not intrusive at all, but still grabs eye balls because of the interesting graphics.

This smart ploy is a challenge for both the marketers as well as the creative intelligentsia of the advertising agencies. After all, every opportunity comes with an asterisk.

The ‘Yin-Yang’ leads to the Big Bang

With CAN, a marketer can find no limit to his creativity. One of the most ground breaking ways to arrest a customer’s attention was in using a woman's voice in the men's room and vice versa. There are many brands that prefer this medium of advertising in restrooms as with its getting noticed much more, it also helps you target on gender basis. It can also be applied in the in-house stores wherein the offers about men’s segment are displayed in the women’s section and vice versa. This leads to a better probability for the customer to hit the other end of the store, which might otherwise be conveniently ignored.

This innovative idea and tackling the challenges should ensure that the canvas of CAN has flying colours to boast of.

The ‘CAN’oe’s future

The future looks bright and sunny for this media to grow, subject to condition the medium stays flexible and fluid rather than succumbing to stagnation. It should not fall prey to complacency seeing the current trend reports. It needs to come up with innovative ways to make the product in sync with the changing times. Few possible ways of doing this can be

- They need to make the medium more interactive. With the growing trend of Wi-Fi availability in the outlets that CAN targets, a more interactive setup would attract more attention.

- Although it is primarily an Out of home phenomenon, a rational expansion would be to tap the DTH market. They should come across as a Value Added Service for a DTH provider. Their functionality would be a one stop junction for all local advertisements, event promotions etc.

- The Rural markets can provide great impetus to this service. The companies can use this medium to promote their BTL activities, setup kiosks with 24*7 telecast of the benefits of the service the companies offer rather than brazen selling.

It is important to keep this model fresh and rejuvenate it with the changing times. The reason is that it is a medium which is catering to the attention span of the people on the move. Thus, the execution has to be highly precise.

“The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan”, said Carl Von Clausewitz. Nothing can be closer to truth than this. It is important to understand that every new medium would meet resistance and would take time to gel with the status quo. At the end of the day, it is the people who drive the market. If you know your customers, you know that the cash sitting in the bank would have a visit from their relatives soon.

Generation Z-consumers of tomorrow

Shekhar Gupta, parthdamor | sjmsom, iit Bombay

Generation Z – Consumers of Tomorrow

What is the first thing that would strike our mind as soon as we listen to the word ‘Marketing’ that has become the buzz of today’s business world? Philip Kotler? 4 P’s of Marketing? Brand? Or most probably ‘Consumer’? Have we ever tried to think beyond the existing or the apparent? Have we ever conceptualized our thinking to look into a world of marketing that is going to be in the near future? The world is changing very fast and this volatile nature of the market and consumer is leading the marketers to plan their branding strategies that would make the right fit into the world we are expected to be exposed to in the recent future. This idea of looking into the future marketing scenario needs to study the ones who are going to be the Consumers of Tomorrow – ‘Generation - Z’.

What is Generation – Z?

“They do Nintendo’, they utter on Twitter’ and the only “Face” they book is when they come visible on “Facebook” unless they find it obligatory to do so. Nevertheless, they do lots of e-read, e-mail, e-file, e-fax, cloud and surf. They may not have a wristwatch but they would have a smartphone to see the time.”

Generation – Z refers to the ‘people who are born between the mid 1990s and 2010’ and are popularly known as ‘Digital Natives’ or ‘Net Generation’ or ‘iGeneration’. We focus our attention towards the Generation Z. One of the main differences between Generation Y and Generation Z is that Gen Y’ers remember life before the proliferation of mass technology, while Gen Z’ers are born with full mass technology already in existence .This makes them both comfortable and dependent on technology such as communication tools, internet cell phones, MP3 players, I-pods undeniably. Generation Z are the forerunners of Generation Alpha, those to be born in the decade of 2010 and are very much in line with the digital future. Today, the Generation Z makes up for nearly 18 percent of the world’s population which is a large pool of consumers to be considered by marketers for the coming tomorrow.

What makes Generation – Z different?

Each Generation is characterised by different experiences that make & shape their perspective. Though the types of influences that shape each Generation are similar in many ways, the characteristics and qualities of the Generation Z are completely different from the others which can be analysed on the following points:

Online – Generation: The internet has experienced a phenomenal growth and development - in terms of penetration, technology, applications and adoption during Generation – Z. A research shows that 91% of this group is active online and have developed very different communication styles and preferences to their parents. Due to the huge influence digital technology has had in their short lives, these children have experienced radically different childhood experiences than other generations had. The figure below shows some developments that played a crucial role in shaping their perspective towards technology.

Advancement & Speed of Technology: Every Generation has seen the emergence of a ‘disruptive’ technology that rendered the then existing technologies irrelevant. Now, the time span between the emergences of new technologies has reduced and ‘innovation leaps’ are increasingly becoming smaller. The new technologies continue to emerge faster than ever leading to a stronger ‘connection’ between newer Generations.

Increasing overlap between Generations: The connections between the generations are becoming stronger which leads to the shorter span of technological innovations. The increasing overlap between the generations is mainly due to the ever-increasing pace of technological development and advancement in digital media and communication tools.

Relationship with parents: Generation Z experiences a tighter connection with their parents on a number of dimensions. Generation X is raising Generation Z with a high involvement parenting style. Some of the illustrations which show it are:

a. Common Technology: Generation Z has grown up with the technologies that their parents have always been using and feel very comfortable with such as mobile phones, laptops, video games, online networks, etc

b. Brand Experiences: Generation Z and their parents are developing an affinity for and purchasing the same brands.

c. Taste Commonality: They share their taste of recreation, entertainment, hanging around with their parents e.g. they watch the same entertainment channels that their parents watch. Many gaming companies are catering to family gaming segment.

d. Family Values & Ethics: Generation X saw a social trend of divorces and thus, is expected to instil stronger family values, along with old notions such as work ethics, etiquette and resilience. This, along with a better education, will help Generation Z become more tolerant, respectful, and responsible.

What makes Generation-Z lucrative to marketers?

Long gone are the days when marketers used to rely on a captive audience. The ownership of the communications is increasing getting shifted from the provider to the customers. Today’s teenagers do not respond to marketing in the same way as previous Generations. In the five years this Generation Z will be working, earning and consuming. Understanding the different behaviours, interests and preferences of this group can help marketers to craft their strategies. The following points present a complete and clear picture of the traits of the Generation – Z kids and the marketing implications which they provide to the marketers:

Web presence: Generation Z spends maximum of their time online and has a strong preference for the interactive media. And, social networks play an important role in making a strong influence on the consumer decision. According to a global survey of children, 50% of all tweens (8–12years) globally are online daily and 25% interact daily with peers in other countries. To effectively market to Generation Z, companies will need to have a strong presence online: Profiles on networking portals, Virtual world based marketing, detailed product information and the ability to easily make purchases.

Awareness & Education: Generation Z has a wide exposure to large and varied information sources and activities which is expected to make them smarter, flexible, and more responsible. Today’s kids are very knowledgeable and are able to understand and relate the various aspects of a problem because of the increased exposure and bend towards conceptualized learning and thinking. For instance, 75% of teenagers consider global warming to be ‘a serious concern’ and rate it even higher threatening than drugs, violence or war. A more informed and smarter Generation Z is expected to evaluate product in terms of their attributes, utility, brand name, trends etc. Companies will need to take a proactive stance toward the environment as they market to Generation Z and should look towards providing green products/ services.

Orientation towards technology: As an advantage of having been born in a digital world, Generation Z is proficient with and largely dependent upon technology. They are living in a real time environment which is the result of increase in comfort and dependence on electronic gadgets and this will lead them to make early purchases and increase demand for such products. Companies will need to adopt real time marketing techniques and turn towards sales channels such as text messages, mobile marketing, internet marketing, and online interactive media portals which offer gaming applications and video/music downloads.

Value Oriented: The privilege of being brought up by Generation – X has made Generation Z conservative financially, though they are materially comfortable. They are surrounded with the competitive markets full of variety and diversity and they look out for the products and services which provide the maximum value-for-money. Today’s marketers need to market their products cautiously. A guarded spending might reduce the credit card culture which is prevalent in Generation Y and could lead to decreased affinity for loans and other borrowing schemes.

The Road Ahead

Generation Z will be leading the world in a couple of decades from now. The generation of entitlement is going to continue to grow, so from a marketing perspective, it’s very important to be prepared to speak to youngsters in the right way as this generation is keen, mobile and digitally wired in toto. They prefer sending a text than talk. They tend to see social media as ‘the norm’ and ‘socializing’ is necessarily about hanging out with friends, shopping, (or sometimes even leaving chair for that). And that is why, they are able to incapacitate a brand, kill a campaign, and demolish the bottom line of a company by starting an insurrection quicker than we thought with the help of few status updates on Facebook or Twitter. This active group will be less interested in hybrid marketing – where an online presence merely improves an offline business.

Generation Z believe in the concept of self-branders. They’re not easily impressed with old marketing tactics because they realize that there is a new way that is more effective: viral marketing. This is most important prediction since it can affect widely. As advertisers look to find a way to explore media spaces, such as the 30 second spots, banner placements, etc., Generation Z will continue to find ways to access the information quickly. They tend to be impatient and expect instant results as information is available freely and fast. The Generation Z are not good listeners and lack interpersonal skills. So when it comes to work, in future they may barely be seen in an office communicating with their colleagues but might live their life in the virtual world.

Beyond 2025, there could be drastic changes in the work culture, ethics and values that will be set forth by the Generation Z. This doesn’t signify that traditional marketing will disappear, but there is a need to shift the paradigm to online media with the attributes and quick response characteristics that they demand. Marketers who are accustomed to traditional marketing models should start preparing for future marketing trends now.

The early adopters will enjoy the rewards of the new consumers when they come of age in next decade. Many companies have already started taking steps to target these young consumers. E.g. McDonald’s mobile marketing campaign to launch McFlurry or Nike’s Personalization service, NIKEiD, allowing customers to design their own shoes. Virtual world marketing (e.g. Avatar marketing) is a new tool what modern marketers are looking for.

The moral of the story is Marketers will need to be more convincing in creativity to engage the teens in something interactive because they don’t want just engagement, they want to go beyond conversations and they expect more from their brands than ever before. “über teen” is on the rise, and the time is now to implement the most agile, fickle and trickiest to engage generation.

You may not be web savvy, but within five years, your business will need to be as savvy as the kids are now’.

Here Comes Everyone - The wisdom of crowds

Urvi Ved | IIM Indore

Here comes everyone – The wisdom of crowds

“Name our symbol, get closer to your dream” says the tagline of Airtel’s (or shall we say, Airtel’s recent brand experiment).In an attempt to emotionally connect their loyal customers with the rebranding exercise, Airtel has launched a contest where it invites users to submit their name for its new symbol.

The best entry will be chosen through online voting, and the winner gets his wish fulfilled by the company. Whether Airtel’s rebranding creates customer loyalty or destroys old bonds remains to be seen, but one thing that stood out in the rebranding exercise was the innovative use of brand sponsored crowdsourcing, perhaps for the first time in India on a large scale.

Crowdsourcing happens when a company outsources a task once performed by employees, to an undefined open crowd. The cocktail party definition of crowdsourcing is “The Wikipedia of everything!” Every brand manager tries to create communication that will actively engage the target audience. With the growth of Web 2.0, one way communication simply isn’t enough anymore. Brand sponsored crowdsourcing tries to make the communication reciprocal by giving its users a platform to share their ideas and meaningfully engage with the brand.

Many of the world’s leading international brands including Mastercard, Mcdonalds, Peugot, Virgin etc. have used crowdsourcing successfully in the past. The reasons for its popularity with brand managers are fairly obvious. With very little investment, you can get brilliant product design ideas, unlimited PR, visibility, and hits on your facebook page and website. The contests spreads online as internet users share their ideas with each other and the company. For example, say I’ve entered my idea for the logo name on the Airtel’s website. The next thing I do is share it through my facebook and twitter id. All my friends then view it on my wall, which encourages them to participate as well, and before you know it’s a viral hit. The last time I checked, Airtel had received 83,000 entries, and counting! Another example of a successful Indian crowdsourcing campaign is the Lays “Give us your own delicious flavor” campaign in which consumers gave ideas for lays flavors and proceeded to vote for the best among them. A total of 41, 64,886 votes were cast by consumers who had tried out four flavors among 1.3 million flavor ideas that were sent in.

Actively engaging, immersive, collaborative and open this is what crowdsourcing is all about. However, we also know what it isn’t – a brand engagement panacea. One of the best advertising firms in the world, Ogilvy and Mather believes that brands should tread carefully when outsourcing. Some aspects of brand identity like name, logo and culture should never be crowdsourced. The GAP logo fiasco is cited as a case in point. The company had changed its decade old navy blue and white logo without explanation, leading to massive criticism by its loyal customers on twitter and facebook. In reaction to that, as an attempt to pacify their users, GAP launched a contest inviting consumers to design their new logo, with even more disastrous consequences. In the end both these attempts failed miserable and GAP went back to its old logo with an apology. This example highlights the critical difference between using your consumers’ ideas, and letting them mess with the legacy of your brand.

Perhaps the answer to effective crowdsourcing may lie somewhere in the middle of professional expertise and public opinion. Some companies create versions of the output which they think reflect the characteristics of their product, and ask the people to choose between them. The producers of the movie Jab We Met decided the title of the film by a popular vote, where people were asked to choose between three titles –‘Jab we met’, 'Punjab Mail' and 'Ishq via Bhatinda'. They came up with the three alternatives, which reduced the effort needed to enter the contest, as a simple SMS was sufficient. All three names were catchy and contemporary (a mix of English and hindi words were used) which acted as a signal for the kind of movie Jab We Met was: A mix of traditional and modern, witty and young. This promotional crowdsourcing campaign created much needed buzz before the release of the movie.

Seeking feedback from customers, and asking them to co-create the product they love to use so much is the very soul of crowdsourcing – and this wasn’t invented yesterday! For decades companies have been asking people to write slogans, design stickers, send in stories to build brand loyalty. What is different this time around is that the power of social media has catapulted this trend into previously unimaginable level. The sheer number of people that can be touched by a crowdsourcing campaign and the consequent affect on the brand is mind boggling. This is the reason why crowdsourcing must be controlled to an extent where no damage to the brand is possible.

It is hard to tell if this is an on-trend campaign mechanic that might create some buzz while the idea is hot, or if brand managers will continue to view it as an invaluable tool for building brand relationships with their users. The success of every campaign after all depends not only on the vehicles used for communication, but also the dexterity with which they’re handled and the appropriateness for the occasion. Too many of such crowdsourcing activities might cause consumer fatigue and boredom, leading to fewer entries and zero buzz. However, we are a long way from that, and for the time being it looks like it’ll remain one of brand magic tricks the brand manager has in his bag.

Bollywood Marketing

Amit Kaundinya | XIM B



One of the largest money churners in India is Bollywood: the business of making movies. Marketing for Bollywood once meant putting up Eastman Color posters across the streets of Mumbai, but since then it has evolved dramatically. Bollywood producers and filmmakers have realised that their movies are products that need to be branded, positioned and targeted at the right audience. The recent Salman Khan starrer, Dabangg that was made on a budget of 30 cr. had a marketing budget of 12 cr. That is a whopping 40% of the movie budget. The high marketing budgets are not just the norm for big budget films; Peepli Live a film made on a budget of Rs. 10 cr. had a marketing budget of Rs. 4 cr.
While Bollywood scripts have far from evolved, with the same stale movies being churned out day in and out, the way Bollywood is marketing its movies, would make Kotler proud!

The 5 P’s of Bollywood Marketing

• Product: The entire cinema experience is the product that you as a filmmaker are trying to sell. When a middle class worker spends Rs. 200 to watch a movie, he is paying more for the experience than for the movie itself. Bollywood marketers realise that marketing movies means selling the entire experience of watching a movie to its end consumers. Moviemakers need to understand which category their movie belongs to it and which audience it aims at targeting. Hence, the marketing strategy for a Dabangg and a Peepli Live would be poles apart. While Dabangg was targeted at the masses and single theatre screens, Peepli Live was targeted at the multiplex audience. Hence Dabangg’s promos reflected the masala experience that the masses will relate to while Peepli Live’s promos had sarcasm and black humor which would generate interest among the multiplex audience. UTV Motion Pictures Marketing VP, Shikha Roy says, “Most of the promos were shot separately and not as a part of the movie, to generate a kind of viral campaign and to have the people talking”.
Marketing is all about catering to the needs of the consumers and making profits by satisfying those needs. Who better to know this than filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, most of the recent films made under his banner Vishesh Films revolve around recent controversies. Vishesh Films’s latest offering, Crook, is centred around the racial attacks on Indian students in Australia. Such subjects which the public relates to help gather enough interest and curiosity amongst them.
Bollywood makers are also giving a lot of thought to the naming of their products (movies). Like other products, movie names too should reflect the spirit, genre and feel of the movie. Gone are the days when a name like “Vijay” would sell, Innovative names are the order of the day. Dibankar Banerjee is one filmmaker who gives a lot of thought and importance to the naming of his films. His last offering “Love, Sex And Dhoka”, made on a shoestring budget of 2 cr. caught the eye balls of the youth just on the power of its unique name. The name of the movie was enough to generate curiosity in the minds of the public and attract them towards the movie screens.

• Placement: The timing of the launch of a product is a crucial factor in determining its success. Similarly, the release date of a movie is a significant factor in determining the success of the movie. Over the past few years, the biggest blockbusters released during the Diwali season or during the Christmas. What is the common link between Taare Zameen Par, Ghajini and Three Idiots? Apart from the fact that all these blockbusters star Aamir Khan, the movies have their release date as 25th December. Filmmakers nowadays invest a lot of thought in deciding the right time for releasing a movie. Even a good movie released during the exam season of students or if it is clashing with a major event such as IPL cricket extravaganza may get a dismal opening. Film makers also watch out if any big banner movies are being released during the same time as theirs and accordingly postpone or pre pone their release. Karan Johar, on his show Coffee with Karan once asked filmmaker Farah Khan what she would do if she realised that a Himesh Reshammiya movie was releasing at the same time as her’s. Farah replied with a smile, “I would postpone my movies release date”. That was the time when Himesh had the Midas touch.

• Promotion: No longer are promotions restricted to showing trailers and painting the city with posters of the movie. Bollywood movie promotions have come a long way. The small budget movies try to get referential power for their movies by participating in international film festivals. Winning awards in the international circuit helps in increasing the brand equity for the film, and the audience perceives that it will be a good product. Vikramaditya Motwane’s debut film Udaan created enough buzz and the multiplex crowd was waiting anxiously for the movie to release long before its promos started appearing. All thanks to the many awards and critical acclaim the movie managed to get in the international film circuit.
When it comes to marketing, Aamir Khan is one of the most innovative marketers out there. The way he promotes his movies is a lesson for all budding marketers. During the promotion of Ghajini, Aamir donned the role of a barber, giving Ghajini haircuts to his fans. For Three Idiots Aamir Khan went step further and came out with his own collection of hand drawn Doodle T Shirts, which reflected his own style and the soul of the movie. The T-shirts became a rage among the youth. In addition, the rickshaws in Mumbai were used as an effective way to market 3 Idiots. Aamir had painted stickers of “Capacity: 3 Idiots only” on the back of the rickshaws. The unique strategy created a lot of buzz for the movie at a very low cost.
Seeing the craze that youth of today have for playing games, Bollywood marketers have taken the route of combining movies and games to help promote their films. Yash Raj Films for their latest offering Lafangey Parindey has come out with two games: One a boxing game that reflects the spirit of Neil Nitin Mukesh and a skating game for Deepika Padukone fans. These games help movie fans to relate to the characters of the movie more closely.
Bollywood does not want to be myopic in its view, instead of looking at the television industry as a competition; they have taken it as a facilitator to promote their films. Reality TV shows are used by filmmakers to promote their movie. A few weeks before the release of a movie, you will have the stars of the movie making appearances as judges, hosts, participants on TV shows. John Abraham will be using the popular youth reality show MTV Roadies to promote his upcoming film, Jhootha Hi Sahi. Similar to the character he plays in the movie, John would lie to contestants but provide them with clues to help them win Roadies

• Personalisation: Today’s film makers realise that while marketing a film, they cannot follow a particular template for all films, but need to customise the marketing strategies for each, treating each film as a separate brand entity. So you had an Amitabh Bachchan poster telling you in theatres that, “Do not dirty the theatres or I will tell Paa” to “Switch of your mobiles or I will tell Paa” for the promotion of his film Paa where he played a 13 year old progeria patient. While for Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D you had customised tattoos being done at select parlors and condom shaped passes being distributed for the premiere of the movie. Ashutosh Gowariker’s movie What’s Your Rashee which had Priyanka Chopra play 12 different characters had 12 different flavours of popcorn being sold in movie theatres each corresponding to a different Rashee. The marketing team of Aladdin teamed up with Baskin Robbins to launch three delectable flavours on the characters of the movie: Ringmaster’s Whip, Princess Delite and Choco Aladdin. In another smart marketing move, ticket counter boys, ushers, and the popcorn boys sported the Ghajini haircut look during the release of Shah Rukh Khan’s Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. Therefore, although cine-goers went to watch SRK’s flick the anxiety to watch Ghajini, which was releasing two weeks later, increased manifold.

• People: The filmmakers have now begun to use actors for promotion rather than just using trailers and posters. They want the stars to be closer to the people. So be it Salman riding a horse in the Mahalaxmi race course to promote his action film Veer or Abhishek Bacchan creating a Guinness record by travelling to 5 different cities in a span of 24 hours to promote Delhi 6, the people connect is clearly visible. Bollywood marketers realise that people will feel for the movie and relate to it only when they are able to relate to the stars of the movie. Aamir Khan to promote Three Idiots, went on a disguise marketing trip, in which he went to various parts of India, incognito and understood the people’s problems, aspirations and dreams. The entire campaign did not take long to become viral and created a lot of hype for 3 Idiots.
Actors have also taken to blogging and tweeting to promote their films and to break barriers that exist between them and their audience. From Shahrukh Khan to Genelia D’Souza, you can find them all present on the social media circuit trying to develop a connect with their audience.
Imtiaz Ali, director of the romantic comedy Jab We Met, who has done a course in advertising and marketing from St. Xaviers, believes in the idea of inclusive marketing. He believes that the opinion of the public is very important for a filmmaker, as they are the final consumers. So when he was confused on fixing a title for his Shahid-Kareena starrer, he held an all India poll, asking people to vote from amongst 3 titles (Ishq via Bhatinda, Jab We Met and Punjab Mail). Jab We Met got the most votes and was chosen as the title for the film.
YouTube is also being effectively as a medium to connect to movie buffs. Recently the critically acclaimed film, Udaan had the lead actor asking the public to share with him their college moments on Udaan’s Facebook fan page. Also, Udaan had a contest in which the audience was asked to share their first adult film experience with the Udaan team on YouTube.
Anjaana Anjaani has a promotional campaign on YouTube in which movie fans can directly ask questions to its stars Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra and get them answered.

The aggressive marketing followed in Bollywood could well be due to the influx of companies like UTV Motion Pictures and Yash Raj Films that work in true corporate style in branding movies. In today’s time, a movie might be great but sans an aggressive marketing campaign, it would be very difficult to have it make an impact at the box office. I would like to end here by quoting a few lines that super star Amitabh Bachchan has written on his blog, “Good marketing has produced good results at the box office. That old belief that the merit of the film shall eventually emerge victorious has long since been overridden. By the time you wait for the merit to show its face, five other films have shown their merits.”