Thursday, July 30, 2015

Catch and Miss || Kasturi guha Thakurta & Ansul Jindal , IIM Shillong || July 2015 Edition

Catch and Miss
Kasturi Guha Thakurta & Ansul Jindal, IIM Shillong

PRODUCT: Havells Wires
POSITIONING: Wires that don’t catch fire
YouTube Link: watch?v=JDk3GQkTyN4

The film opens to a cold, winter morning at Dal Lake. A daughter, who has obviously risen early to prepare lunch for her working father rows a boat across the lake to deliver food in a tiffin box. By the time she reaches, the food is almost cold. Fearing that the food will become inedible once it’s cold, she urges her father to eat immediately. But her father bogged down by work, shirks her away and rebukes her. Undeterred the girl continues urging her father, but then she eventually gives up and leaves. But before leaving she uses Havells wires as an apparatus to heat the food, because she is sure that they won’t catch fire.

VERDICT: Catch       
Havells Wires, in yet another catchy ad has managed to capture the father daughter emotional bond to show the usability of the Havells wires. Havells, which has been long known for its emotionally and socially appealing ad campaigns has yet again lived up to its expectation with this ad. The strategy being that a functional benefit such as a fire-proof wire when shown through an emotional angle makes the communication seem more relatable and believable. Team Markathon believes that this emotional campaign will leave a lasting impression on its viewers’ minds. 

PRODUCT: Hyundai Creta 
CREATIVE AGENCY: Inhouse production of Hyundai India               
YouTube Link:: watch?v=9ypxRGSrS-k 

The official social media agency of Hyundai India made Hyundai Creta teaser video by posting it on YouTube, twitter & Facebook.  In the TVC there are two people, a lady and a man. It is a very short video with a duration of 18 seconds that showcases the full stylish skeleton body of Hyundai Creta as seen in sketches and design renderings of interiors and exteriors of the car. The man goes for a long test drive of the car. As we all know that Hyundai is using the fluidic sculpture 2.0 design for Creta, the same has been showed in the TV ad for initial few seconds of the video. At the end the lady in the car tells the man that she also wants to try the car. At the end the TVC ends with the display of the car.

According to Markathon, the advertisement failed drastically in capturing the consumer’s attention and lacked creativity. If the brand plans to capture majority share in the market they have to come up with something interesting that will convert every prospect customer in the market to a user of their product. Apart from this the timing of the launch was also not appropriate since Maruti also launched a SUV before the launch of Hyundai. Hence it will cut cross each other. Talking about the advertisement, the technicalities were touched upon more than the features. Since the customer doesn’t know much about the technicalities hence it will be difficult for the customer to link the product to their needs. 

Updates || Cheena Pasrija, IIM Shillong || July 2015 Edition

Cheena Pasrija || IIM Shillong

Tata to launch Sporty Hatchback Bolt                                                                             
Sporty Hatchback Bolt from TATA will soon be launched. The top brass of the company have confirmed that they will soon be out with the first commercial of the car under the HorizoNext Umbrella will be launched. Design, drivability and connectivity will be some of the segment defining features. The car will be up for sale across 16 centres across the country and is priced at around 24 lakh.

Airtel in talks to launch branded 4G handset for Rs 4,000 
To counter Reliance Jio’s bid to capture the 4G services market with low cost bundled handsets, telecom major Bharti Airtel is planning to launch Airtel branded smartphones for Rs 4,000 by October-November. The company is in discussions with Chinese vendors and even held talks with Taiwan based Foxconn, which has set up its mobile manufacturing plant in India.

Snapdeal to have a mega electronics sale
Following the footsteps of Flipkart and Amazon, e-commerce giant Snapdeal announced its mega electronic sale on July 27 and 28 with discounts up to 70 percent. Snap deal confirmed that the customers will get hourly offers across all electronic items, also up to INR18000 off on digital SLR cameras and freebies worth INR 19000. Snap deal is hopeful of increasing its sales manifolds during the sale. Snapdeal, Senior VicePresident, Electronics and Home, Tony Navin said. “Our comprehensive assortment of over seven lakh electronic products, assured brand warranty and next day delivery solutions promise an enhanced customer experience”.

Karen Millen to open stores in India soon
UK fashion brand Karen Millen will soon hit the Indian markets. The brand will soon set up a dozen retail stores over the next three years in the country as per reports. The brand is looking for a master franchisee for India. Gaurav Marya, the chairman of Franchisee India holdings said that the label will find takers here in the bridge to luxury segment. The brand has stores in over 65 countries throughout the world and is sure to rock the Indian apparel industry as well.

Secret videos for Publishers announced by Facebook 
Facebook has announced secret videos for publishers. Secret videos will give page owners the ability to upload videos which would have been used only through a direct URL and are not searchable in general on Facebook. This will help the publishers to host videos on Facebook, embed them on third party sites or share them with anyone who has a URL, without having to post them anywhere else on Facebook.

Coke and jet blue create joy of sharing coke at NYC transit hub
Jet blue and coke have come up with a light hearted advertisement teaming up to bend the general rule of NYC transit hubs that you accept gifts from strangers. It showed rigging up a vending machine to split out two bottles of coke and sharing one with the passer-by. The usual busy flyers of New York take out time to interact with other travellers and share some light moments with each other having coke. It’s an amazing advertisement and transforms consuming coke to experiencing coke which is delightful.

Jab They Failed || Blackberry || Vinay Jain, IIM Shillong || july 2015 Edition

Jab They Failed- Blackberry
Vinay Jain || IIM Shillong

Blackberry Messenger commonly known as BBM was something really cool back when I was studying in Mumbai back in 2011. Everyone had a blackberry, BBM groups were the thing of that moment. Then after just a year and a half, most of them didn’t have a blackberry phone anymore. Why did this happen? It sounds really strange because something so popular at one point of time doesn’t even exist after just a year. Let us see what had led to the fall of Blackberry. Blackberry was the product of the Canadian company Research in motion (RIM). In 2009, it was labelled the fastest growing company in the world by Forbes. Some of the features that blackberry phones had that made it a hit are given below: • Qwerty Keypad: it was one of the first smartphone makers who came up with a qwerty keypad which made it easier for people to type • Email: it also had email service which was the reason why it became a hit in the corporates • BBM: this was launched in 2005, every phone was given a unique Personal Identification Number (PIN) which could be used to send unlimited texts, images, and videos to any other Blackberry phone across the globe • Encryption: the messages sent on the BBM network were fully protected and couldn’t be intercepted by any entity, sometimes even the government. This gave the corporates a confidence while sharing sensitive data for quick decision making The only catch here was these services needed some extra payment from the user. The person had to subscribe with an internet plan with their network operator to use these services for a monthly fee which was around Rs 400 for a complete package back in 2011 in Mumbai which varied region wise. The following reasons broadly tell you why Blackberry couldn’t continue its success in the smartphone market: New competitors: Once Apple entered the market with many more features than Blackberry it was bound to create a doubt in the minds of the consumers. Also Apple services were free compared to Blackberry where the user had to pay monthly charge to use the service. Operating system issues: Smartphones were originally 
defined as mobile devices which could send emails, messaging and could run for long hours. They were designed that way and so was Blackberry but after other competitors entered the market, they started focusing more on the applications part which got the users interested. The corporates still wanted the long running phones with just the basic facilities but the normal user wanted more features like faster internet browser, newer multimedia applications etc. The operating system of Blackberry was not as evolved as android and ios, it was more difficult to make apps on this medium. Organisation structure: Blackberry, unlike most of the organisations, had two CEOs for a very long time, each leading a different set of divisons. This had both advantages and disadvantages. Each handled what was his expertise. The only bad thing being that when major decisions were to be taken both of them needed to be consulted and in an industry like smartphone where things were moving very fast, this kind of made Blackberry a little slow while taking dynamic steps.. Confused strategy: One set of executives believed that Blackberry should go with the smartphone trend of touch screens devices and focus more on that. It was done after the launch of Apple when Blackberry storm and Blackberry torch were launched. Unfortunately, these devices neither had the kind of touch quality nor the apps that their competitors provided because this wasn’t their forte. During the launch of new Blackberry 10 there was a debate as to whether it should be launched with or without a keypad. It was launched without and it failed. If an organization like Blackberry which was at some point the world’s fastest growing company can fail big time then it won’t be a big thing if your organization does too if the strategy is not in sync with the marketing done by the organization. One should make sure that the needs of the market is identified clearly which was clearly not the case in Blackberry’s case as they refused to accept the changing needs of the consumers. Also the direction needs to be clear as to where the organization is going and this can be done only with proper communication amongst the senior executives.

Vartalaap- with Achal Raghavan || July 2015 Edition

An Interview with Prof. Achal Raghavan
Prof. Achal Raghavan holds the position of Strategic and Business excellence consultant based at bangalore. He teaches at IIM A and he has also taught in various other IIM’s as visiting faculty. His career spans 40 years of work experience including 8 years as a consultant. He also held board positions for over 11 years in Delphi Automotive, Ingersoll-Rand & Cramlington Precision. 

Markathon: As a marketer, what should you focus on? Continue building your expertise in the current industry you are in or identify a new need and try to come up with a product or service for satisfying that need? And if you want to satisfy new needs when should you do it?

You will find this out very easily. When you can see that increasing your market share is becoming more and more difficult and the sales and the marketing teams come to you requesting you to reduce the price to become more competitive, that is when you ask yourself this question. When people start resorting to price, price and price as the sole tool for the war that means that the other three Ps have been exhausted either due to improper research or lack of knowledge. When you start believing that further growth will only happen with price discounting then that is when you ask yourself if there is something more to this other than price that I am missing out. For example, we talked about current products or services fulfilling the needs of the customers and customers’ constantly evolving needs. They may be perfectly happy with what they are being given but then there are needs in his mind that are surfacing now which didn’t even exist when he bought that product 2 years ago, say a car. So improving this car is always good but will that solve your growth problem? Probably not. So when will you launch other services in addition to this product so that it gives a complete solution? It is when your current bundling doesn’t fetch you the kind of growth that you currently need. Adding new features will increase only the life of the product but will not necessarily give you the kind of growth that you are looking for in the longer run. If you don’t provide the additional services someone else will. Products are now increasingly getting enveloped by additional services which add value to the whole solution or bundle. If you don’t do it quick then your competitors will be stuck in the head of your target market while identifying that service even if you provide a better one but later than they did. 

Markathon: Which approach does the TATA group follow according to you? Because when we talk about ethics the first organization that comes to our mind is TATA in India.

It definitely follows the due care approach according to me, although I haven’t worked for the TATA group, from what I have heard they do actually believe in the wellbeing of the society. It is not a static group so I would like to believe that they would want to move to the social costs view in every industry they are.

Markathon: Do you think Maggi’s reaction to the issue of lead content was appropriate? Had you been in the position of the country head of Nestle India, would you have done things differently?

In all these discussions one caveat that we should keep in our mind is that we don’t have all the information and it is very difficult to pass judgements sitting outside. In any such analysis without complete knowledge of the facts and the situation it is impossible to come up to a conclusion. All that we know is what we read in the media which is not the complete story. Having said all this, I believe that there are very well accepted principles of crisis management. This isn’t the first crisis, many companies have passed perhaps worse crisis too. One of the things they say is that you need to be seen as responsive. You may be doing all the right things in house like working 24*7, making sure you do everything that keeps your customers satisfied but there is a continuous need of communicating with your current loyal customers and the potential customers that we recognize the issue and we are getting to the bottom of it. They also need to be told that we will need X amount of time to sort the issue and in the meantime these are the steps we are taking and we will keep you posted. Coming to Maggi from the facts that I know I would say the communication was less than adequate. Even we professionals wanted to know that what is the issues and what is being done. Obviously Maggi couldn’t say everything in the public because before they say anything they needed to be 100% sure that it is the right thing. I am not saying that come and say what you want every day but the volume of information that was made available to the society at large and the customers could have been better. They could have at least told the customers that this is the problem and this is what we are doing and we will keep you posted about further progress. This is not the first company which has got into a situation with inadequate information. Everybody knows about the Toyota issue in the USA where they had the issue of car accelerating by itself. In that case, Toyota went deep inside to figure out what the issue was but the American public was impatient and wanted to know what is happening from the very next day. So this cost Toyota tremendous amount of Goodwill. 

Markathon: So, does the target market actually make a difference, had the Maggi issue happened in the USA would the country head there reacted differently?

No, I don’t think so. I think that each company has its way of handling things, all the MNCs are hyper connected today so no matter which country you are in, you are completely wired with the corporate office 24*7. I don’t think so had this issue popped up in some other location, the country head would have reacted differently. There is a particular Nestle way of handling things. So I would say their communication could have been better because the lack of knowledge with the customers creates greater uncertainties.

Markathon: Do you think that the marketing approach followed by the Indian marketers is considerably different from their counterparts in the developed countries like the United States? And if there is why is it so?

In terms of pure knowledge the marketers in India are as knowledgeable as their counterparts in the developed countries. Marketers here have also attended similar business schools if not the same and have got the right concepts and they know what the latest techniques are etc. what determines their actions in the market are a factor of the level of competition they face depending on which product or service we are talking about. I have observed that sometimes in the developed world, the competition is X times fiercer than here and there are also some products and services which are X times more competitive here than there. If I were to speak in general, the more developed a market is the more the competition will be and more people want a share of the pie. That’s why you have to up your act as the techniques and the methodologies followed will be the state of the art. If it is a market which is reasonably not fully developed or it is developing then some of the more evolved marketing techniques may not be called for. You may not want to use fancy, sophisticated methodologies if the market is not asking for it. I think the Indian marketer is no way less prepared for the future battles given the situation requires him/her to.

Markathon: How to create an aspirational brand without using pricing as one of the tools??

I see a brand to be aspirational, if it seen to have Reach a level of sophistication and achieved something in life but this cannot be hardwired to the money. Many times, the product commands although ‘yes’ and the price is just an indicator of a brand being a successful. Customers now a days are smart enough not to give 100% emphasis to the money part. For a brand to be aspirational the pricing part is the secondary part, the primary thing is the brand personality; every brand builds its character over the years reinforcing it year after year in such a way that after few years people have a very clear mental picture of what the brand stands for. So as a company we must be very clear of what slot we want to occupy and what destination point we want to reach in order to make our brand aspirational. It could be contribution to the society, excellence in a particular field or reaching a desired income level. Once this destination point becomes clear the next part is the strategy that the brand should adopt in order to reach that point. For creating that positioning price may or may not play a role. I would like to explain this with the example of ‘Mahatma Gandhi’, he is as an aspirational brand whom most of us would like to follow but that does not have any real worth in terms of money. The brand need not be a luxury product like a car, or a bag, or a perfume. One should always look towards a brand as a personality although the money method to create an aspirational brand is an easy method as it involves putting a hard number and quantifying it. Another example I would like to take, would be of a training programme for rural people after which they would be fit enough to get a job in a company. These a lot of aspiration attached to it. The companies should start to focus upon a different dimension of combining products and services and see whether this combination can be branded or not and be positioned at a premium level of because what it offers rather than luxury products.

Markathon: Many times the consumers are not ready for the progressive moves the company takes, like green marketing? So what do you think should be the way forward in such cases?

The first thing that we need to check with ourselves, before launching a green campaign is to see if there is really any value in it. Sometimes we ourselves get green washed about the whole concept, and forget to clearly analyze what extra value it adds. Once that value is identified and you believe in that value, then you can convey that value to the customer properly. The next thing you need to see is, what is your motivation?  If your motivation is- let us go green because it’s sexy, because it looks attractive, then those are the wrong motivations to go green. If being green adds to your market share, if it gives you a significant advantage on production side, then it is the right motivation. In business terms, I will say going green and making profit are never mutually exclusive. There is a huge misconception amongst some people that being green only means addition in cost and it does nothing to your bottom line. But fortunately in many cases, this thinking has evolved and people have realized that being green just does not do well to you on the perception end but is good for your bottomline too. You need to find one core feature which you can improvise upon using the green factor.  The improvisation needs to offer a benefit, which could be anything on the lines of being less polluting or being more energy efficient. You need to conceptualize such a thing from the initial stage and incorporate it in the design stage. No product could be made green once it’s produced. Simultaneously you should start communicating it with customer, using various channels. So most importantly you need to find out if your proposition have value, you can do that by talking to more and more people and if they find value in your offering, then that reinforces the worth of your product. Secondly, you need to identify if you can properly communicate it to your customer. If the explanation of the value that you are offering, is way too technical and complicated, then that too might be a problem for you.

Markathon: What would your advice be to the budding marketers?

I think the marketers need to be very curious, curious about what is happening outside, requirements of the customers are. Most of us think that we know that and that’s how we create a product or a service and roll it out and it may or may not succeed. Therefore the marketer needs to be relentlessly curious about the evolving needs of the customers. This is done by being out in the field. Yes, there needs to be coordination with other departments too and I am not saying just pick up your bags and go for market visits very often. For me half an hour conversation with a good customer is worth more than 20 pages of a consultant’s report or 200 pages of a sales report because you are experiencing that interaction. Marketing by definition is interfacing with your customer both current and potential. Marketing is such a field that what was valid yesterday may not be valid today and what is valid today may not be valid tomorrow so it is always better to stay in touch with the customers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cover Story - Behind the Logos || Sagar Riaz, IIM Shillong || July 2015 Edition

Behind the Logos 
Sagar Riaz, IIM Shillong

Logos form a critical component of business marketing. Being the major and sometimes the only graphical representation of a company, it cornerstones a company’s brand. If your logo looks like any other logo- how will the target market/customers remember you or how will the new customers find you? Let us talk about the purpose and design aspects of a logo.
Purpose Corporate logos are intended to be the face of the company (Brand). They enable the customers to identify with the core brand of a company. Also they act as a shorthand way of referring to a company in the activities like advertising and marketing. Making First Impressions - When the potential customers need to decide whom to trust, they consider your logo at first hand.  Apart from the shapes, color, font, spacing between the letters etc. are few of the design elements that communicates your brand story with your customer in that instant when the first impression is formed. The founder of the ‘The Sodfather Landscaping’, Wayne Stuetz once mentioned in an interview that how the first impression gives them an edge. He believes that their logo is very memorable, and it’s hard to forget once a person has seen it.
Design Design of logo should be such that it is comprehensible to potential customers. Logos can be made to convey some information about the company by designing it in a way that gives some sense of meaning about the company or its industry/ domain. 
BMW has its roots in the aviation and its logo stays true to it. The blue and the white sectors represent a propeller in motion with the sky peeking through. The three ellipses seen in the Toyota’s logo represents three hearts: The heart of the customer, the heart of the product, and the heart of progress in the field of technology. 

The Psychology of Logo 

Designs How influential is Colour on customers? • 93% of Purchasing judgements by the customers are made on Visual Perceptions • 84.7% of consumers cite colour as the main reason to buy a particular product • 80%  of the customers think colour increases Brand Recognition What can Colour improve for a brand? • Comprehension of a brand by 73% • Learning of a customer about the brand by 55-68%
What exact traits does each colour signify? 
Choosing the right Font for your Logo? Let us understand this with examples. HSBC uses a classic serif font in uppercase letters portraying itself as Trustworthy and Strong. GAP has made its logo particularly wide to create a distinctive style. So, usually a regular scale is most appropriate but logos like GAP demonstrates how alternative designs can work. Contrary to that, FedEx has minimal spacing between the letter to suggest a tight, and punctual service.
What is the role of Shape in a Logo? Basically, our subconscious minds respond in different ways to different logo shapes. Let us see how the inference from one shape differ from another. Circles, Ellipses and Ovals - They are used to convey a positive emotional message. Using a circle in a logo suggests community, friendship, love, relationships and unity whereas rings have an implication of marriage and partnership and thus suggesting stability and endurance. Squares and Triangles - Straight edged logo shapes, generally, suggest stability in more practical terms and can also be used to imply balance. Straight lines and precise logo shapes also imparts strength, professionalism and efficiency. Since the attributes mentioned above are tend to be viewed as masculine, so it’s not a coincidence that shape of a triangle feature more prominently in the logos of the companies whose products have a masculine bias. Vertical and Horizontal Lines - Our subconscious minds associate vertical lines with masculinity, strength and aggression, while horizontal lines with community, tranquility and calm. 

Brand Identity

Logos are considered to be the chief visual component of a company’s overall brand identity. The logo of a brand/ company appears in advertising, business cards, on stationery, and websites. Thus, a well-designed logo can contribute to business success, while a substandard logo can imply amateurishness and can turn off potential customers. But, is your logo performing its primary function – building recognition? When it is placed on your marketing collateral, does it really represent your company’s identity? Let us look on some rules for the brand which can help guide the process of creating and updating the logo. Finding the right fit - Is the logo appropriate for the company and the industry in which the company operates? Some industries follow a theme in terms of logos; if you are not in step with the competitors, you could get left behind. For example, in the brewery and restaurant industries, crest logo is very commonly used whereas in the graphic design industry, it’s becoming more common to see characters as a part of a logo. Avoiding the Special 

Effects - Usually, though the temptation to add drop shadows, gradients, and other effects is strong but one must try to resist the same. As in the past, logos were displayed only in controlled environments – billboards, companymade banners, letterhead and the like, so it was still possible to incorporate such elements. But today, the logo can end up just anywhere and thus the complex elements can’t be translated well from a printed advertisement to the company’s website. Developing Brand Guidelines - A company needs to ensure that they develop specific guidelines for the 
use of the logo. It includes the exact colour shades being used in the design, how much space should be kept around the borders of the logo. Also, the company should ensure the strict use of the high quality versions of the logo. This all is done to bring in consistency in the usage which in-turn aids the customer to remember the brand. Ensuring a smooth transition while changing of the logo - If the company is planning a change in the logo, or a roll out of a new one, an event should be made out of it. Generally, press releases and country wide event for the same are great ways to build awareness of the brand change among the employees as well as customers and to make them familiar with the new logo. 

Sneak-Peak in the Designing Process

To tackle the complex challenge of making a meaningful logo, many brands/ companies chose to hire an outside help. So, let us find out what it is like to create a logo from scratch i.e. what exactly goes into designing a logo? And how do the external designers manage to capture a brand’s or company’s personality into a simple image (logo)?

Let us see what are the principles of great logo design? 
Simplicity - The design needs to be simple and clean enough to be easily recognizable and flexible for making changes. 
Memorability - It should be quickly recognizable such that people may only have to spend a few moments to recall it when required. 
Timelessness - The logo should have a lifetime of upto atleast 10-20 years and preferably it should be relevant for the next 50 years. 
Versatility - It should be flexible enough to be scaled to different sizes without losing the quality. It should also be appropriate to be used across various media and within different context. 
Appropriateness - It should resonate with the target audience.

Example of a great Logo

Evernote’s logo is a great example which follows all the principles strictly which have been mentioned above. It comprises of an elephant which is a reference to the saying that, “An elephant never forgets”. Let us take a look at the recent happenings in terms of various companies changing their logos and the reason behind the same. One of the recent changes brought in was by Flipkart. With the new logo, the company believes that the logo reflects its aggressive focus on its mobile app.  The major change in the logo is that the word Flipkart is making way for the letter F which denotes ‘playfulness’ and ‘speed’. Flipkart has evolved itself into a more mobilecentric platform and thus it is making the mobile app an important gateway to India’s largest online marketplace. Another major component that Flipkart has changed is the common shopping cart present in almost every e-commerce logo/ website and has replaced it with a trendy yellow shopping bag which adds a 3D look to the logo. Another remarkable feature is the smile being made by the two dots and the white handle which is hidden. The smile reflects playfulness and joy and would be present to make an instant connect with the younger generation. Another recent example where the company has changed the Brand Identity as well the Company Logo and the Slogan is an online classified advertising company, Quikr. From the perspective of the design, the ‘Q’ in the Quikr logo has been designed like this to suggest a positive change in the users’ lives. The designer has retained the combination of blue and green colour as was used in the previous logo as the company is recognized for the same. Though the new font is contemporary, yet it is sleek posing a sense of speed which is implicit in the name Quikr.  
The story doesn’t end here. There is a harsh side of changing the logos as well which has led to a lot of criticism for some of the big brands. Tropicana is known for the image having a straw in the orange. When the company replaced the logo with a glass of orange juice and its name written on the edge of the carton, the customers went outrageous. Infact, the product’s sale went down by 20%. Then, a corrective measure was taken by the company to restore the old logo within a month. Customer found the new packing to be ugly, and actually as quoted by the President of Tropicana, they underestimated the emotional bond of the customers which has deepened over time with the previous logo. When we are discussion about the rebranding through the change of logo, we cannot miss the case of Pepsi which has spent $1.2 Billion on the rebranding, with the logo alone costing $1 million. Pepsi unveiled a new logo design, which had the company’s iconic circular logo rotated anticlockwise and a little bit of readjustment of the tilt of the white stripe. So this rebranding activity was considered to be a waste of time and money. 

Ishtihaar - Digital Media in India – The way to look forward || Gautam Gopal, IIM Shillong || July 2015

Digital Media in India – The way to look forward
Gautam Gopal, IIM Shillong

In Digital Media has changed the way brands think about marketing today. It has increasingly blurred the lines between the traditional media and the digital world and has become a must-have, something a brand can’t live without in this day and age. Every time one thinks about a marketing plan someone invariably pops the question. What are we going to do on Social? Well, what’s the deal with Digital?
And why is so important? Let’s find out. According to estimates  Group M, advertising spends in India are going to grow 12.6 % YOY, of which Digital Advertising spends would account for almost 10%. Well, is this number surprising? Not really. With increasing number of brands going Digital the world of marketing in being churned up for good. Though, let us take a step back and understand what has led to this growth and why are brands banking on Digital Media? There are no straight answers to this question, at best we can only speculate. Two things that make Digital Media tick is the sheer ease of use and its quantifiable nature. With 17% broadband penetration, India does not sound big on Digital. Though, if you dig a little deeper and look at raw numbers, the same 17% it turns out to be a whopping 277 Million, almost thrice the total population of France. This makes the
Digital space a very, very promising medium and is already sitting on a significant piece of the advertising pie. Digital Media has shown a steady growth over the years, according to estimates it is expected to grow by 37% in 2015. What exactly is driving this growth? It’s the trio of Video, Mobile and Social. From 6-sec Vine videos to full fledged 30-min YouTube TV series’ becoming a norm and
a part of pop culture, the video has a huge role to play. So does Mobile and Social. Together, the three have immense potential though, each one of them also poses an enormous challenge in front of marketers. The few who would be able to break through the clutter would be certainly those who strike the right balance in their media mix, express their stories in an increasingly digital world and listen to what their customers have to say. Storytelling becomes crucial, in my opinion and marketers
still have a long way to go before they figure this one out. They eventually would and then there would be the next big thing we’d all be racking our brains over. And then the next. And then a few more. ‘Aur Dikhao, Aur Dikhao’ actually seems to be customers’ favourite catchphrase and we as marketers, we better keep up.

Perspective- Life at your fingertips || Aprajita Kalyani & Varun Bhandari NMIMS, Bangalore || July 2015 Edition

Life at your fingertips
Aprajita Kalyani & Varun Bhandari NMIMS, Bangalore

Convenience is the King!
What Sam Walton said long back, holds true and relevant than ever before in today’s world of web, for the king (customer) is armed with every possible information about his huge kingdom and the only way you get to see him is by making yourself seen. At the same time, it is important to note that just by being out there doing nothing worthy enough to catch his attention will fetch you no benefit. Hence, it is imperative that this question be asked - What is it that customers look for? Is it addressal of a need or want, is it about quality or is it a unique offering which the customers desire from the product? Customers have evolved in their thought process, taste, preference and buying behavior. So, one definitely cannot expect the economy to support easy wins or the marketer to ‘sell products’ as they did a few years back. To give it a second thought, all these are expected out of a brand which expects customer appreciation. But a brand which desires loyalty in response must offer “Convenience.” As the authors of the book The Effortless Experience rightly state, “Customers want ease. Getting back to their busy lives quickly matters more than anything.” Smart marketers understand this and are making full use of the “Internet of things” to reach on top in the age of the “Internet of customers.” For an increasingly large number of Indians mobiles are the daily first touch point to the internet. Mobile phones today seem to be the great technology equalizer.  Everyone has it today. Be it a CEO, a daily wager, a grandfather or a teenage daughter. In fact for an ecommerce company to keep tempo with the market trends, mobile phones have become an important conduit. M-commerce is the next big thing. Number of users of mobile devices have been growing faster than web traffic. Today’s customer is a tap away from booking an OLA, paying monthly bills, laundry service or getting fresh hot home-cooked food served in seconds. Studies have revealed that an app user seems to be more committed and engaged than a random mobile web browser considering the fact that it takes higher threshold of inertia to install a mobile application. India’s ecommerce story is taking an interesting shape all together. Customers are going through a fundamental shift, companies who realize this are the ones that will be visible in the consumer’s eye.  Technology has changed in the recent past. Digital distribution does not have a long history. From cave walls to Hieroglyphics, to the printing press and transistor radio, to today’s electronic age. Rather innovators’ focus has been on thinking about a specific technical problem, but yes innovations do eventually happen, leading to a significant change in the world. In fact, if we just rewind our memories and go back a little in time, we can observe how drastically marketing has changed. Things which were beyond our reach or imagination are now accessible on our fingertips. The fundamentals of how we shop, travel, pay, read or even live have changed. Let’s dwell more upon this by taking a few segments in consideration and understand how convenience has become the king in today’s era.

Grocery shopping – simplified! 

Gone are the days when your mom would give you a list of items which you were supposed to buy from the ‘kiranawala’ (shopkeeper), who used to know you by your 
name! Gone are the days of the ‘shuddh namak’ ad where the kid gave a lecture to the shopkeeper for not knowing what pure salt is. Today, we get not only what we want but also in the way we want. Hari Menon, one of the reasons why Big Basket is India’s biggest online grocery retailer today, says, “Grocery shopping is a chore, we’re taking out the pain.” It is interesting to note that a similar venture by Hari Menon and his team,, which started way back in 1999 failed then and how. The reason for the success of today is the multi-dimensional lives led by the consumers. Big Basket claims it has over 5,00,000 active customers and that its revenues are growing by 12-16% every month. Local Banya on the other hand already has over 1,00,000 users. Aramshop, Ekstop, Grofers, Localbanya, Zopnow are some of the online grocery apps in the market. According to Technopak, the market for online grocery retail is growing at a steady 25-30% in Indian metros and is driven by urban residents who are in a hurry and prefer convenience to kiranas. Thus, consumers are increasingly taking the online route and are saying yes to adding products in the shopping cart instead of the shopping bag! Although brick and mortar shopping can be fun, shopping online or via a mobile device offers a better overall experience. No long queues and no hopping from shop to shop to buy your favorite brand. All you have to do is tap and buy grocery from your mobile phones. 


Few years ago a new breed of entrepreneurs started building startups that used technologies – to understand what it takes to build a successful venture in the transportation sector. It was felt that there was a Flipkart like opportunity and it would require the same kind of funding. Most of the cab services that raised money from the venture capitalists launched their mobile aps subsequently considering that Smart phone penetration was the biggest factor towards digitization. One of the biggest advantage that all the commutation companies had while going offline was it helped reduce the cost of running a call center to manage their customers considered a very expensive affair. Even from the consumer’s point of view, an application was the easiest and quickest way for bookings. It takes 2-5 minutes today, thanks to the high tech GPS installed, for a cab to reach the pickup point. Year 2012-13 saw major players like Meru Cabs, Taxi For Sure, OLA, Savaari & Uber hitting the Indian market and creating a fascinating story of correlation between the new technology and the distribution systems dominating a customer’s experience with a spur to maximize the usefulness. Ola has been the best example in the commutation/ transport companies that offer the cheapest cabs / the famous 2 min OLA Autos to premium cars in their services. Ola, today is India’s largest taxi booking service and has scaled rapidly to benefit customers using technology in its business model. The company is also expanding into food and grocery segments. Revenues have doubled since it acquired Taxi For Sure in March.  Meru is piloting a public carpooling platform as a green initiative in big cities. The first taxi company to venture into a nascent but highly advocated business, Meru, will earn its share by making the passenger and the vehicle meet on real-time basis. Strategically it is a decent move by the company as startups such as Mumbaikar, Zinghopper, BlaBlaCar have already launched carpooling services in India mainly focusing on long distance travel.

Mobile Wallets  

Imagine paying through mobile phone to pay for your Uber account. This could not have been possible a couple of years back. Apps like Paytm allows one to pay using a non-coin- based currency. It is in the recent past that the technology to support such systems has been made obtainable. The mobile wallet services today offer a bouquet of services with a premeditation to achieve millions of transactions one day. People have shown acceptance towards the mobile money remittances. The facilities to buy vouchers, gifts, pay bills by recharging the mobile wallet and using it at different merchant gateways and establishments looks like a huge opportunity in future. Companies like MMP Mobi Wallet Payment Systems Ltd (MMPL), a subsidiary of Tata Group Company are already planning to penetrate in the rural market with an intent to reach 900 million users. The mobile wallets are gaining success and are expected to be a game changer in the financial sector and the mobile markets. In the long run if not making physical money, if not superannuated, at least dispensable.


The agenda more or the less has been to cater to the different but existing unmet need of the consumer in the market. If we look at a few startups like taxi for sure (now acquired by OLA), Eatlo, Chefensa, Freecharge or various laundry services that have emerged, the main rationale has been to cater to the consumer demand. Companies have realized the importance of the mobile platform. With more and more users having access, there is a lot more opportunity to tap in the application market space. The last couple of years could be called the service-ondemand app. Apps for services like cabs, beauty treatments, food grocery deliveries, courier/gifts (Food Panda, Uber, Ola, Chefensa, LocalBanya, paytm, and freecharge) took everyone’s phones to a new level.

Perspective - Green Marketing by Aakash Joshi & Nihal Dahal || IMT Nagpur || July 2015 Edition

Green Marketing 
Aakash Joshi & Nihal Dahal || IMT Nagpur

Change is the only thing that is con- stant in this world. Marketing has since ages depended and acted accord- ing to the change that takes place in the society and so indirectly it implies that marketing is also a constant; invariable, universal. Marketing as a field never grows from time to time. It never changes in decades or in years. It is a continuous evolution process, which takes place every day, with every new firm or product coming and marketing in a different way and giving the industry a new approach to think upon and a new way of marketing to try. One such as- pect of marketing that was in existence from years but finally is gaining the necessary awareness that it should have gained years back is green marketing. Green Marketing is a term coined decades back and even implemented to some extent but not fully in the corporate world. Green Marketing refers to the marketing of the products which are environment friendly and preferable for the consumers. It includes sustainable packaging, changing the way the products are advertised and many more such activities. It is different from the regular marketing in many ways as the product differs in manufacturing, pack aging as well as in the quality with respect to the regular product. Go GREEN:-What and Why?

Global warming is increasing day by day, pollution levels are rising high, non-renewable sources of energy are being used up at a high rate with the ever-increasing population. In addition to these many more factors are getting consumed at a higher rate, which may or may not be renewed in the near or long future. Seeing this, it is becoming nearly impossible to expect a life similar to what we are living presently in future too. It will not be the same if things continue to drain up at this pace and also if the environment will be harmed in such a way. Considering this present scenario as a continuous process, the future does not look bright. It will be worse than this. The only surviving factor for present and a hope for a better future is to go green; that is the only feasible option seen presently to have a better present and save the future of mother earth. Go green is a process of utilizing the means provided by nature in abundance and friendly to environment and producing the products which satisfy our regular needs using them, instead of using the scarce and unhealthy resources for doing the same. It helps in saving the environment from various harmful effects. As a result to make a green friendly environment, the production and usage of green products should be kept as the priority for the nation to protect itself and save its future. Go green is an old concept existing and implemented two decades back, but the results were restricted to a particular segment or sector of industry. People tried, executed and obtained the results but the results were not accepted by the society with great enthusiasm and so the concept of going green got restricted in the womb from where it was supposed to emerge.

Green Products 

Green products thus produced considering the environment factor are very different in many ways. They are pure in terms of quality and so in many cases even costlier than the present available products. Green products also may not appear as charming as the artificial ones. For example an idol of Lord Ganesh prepared from Plaster of Paris appears to be more charming than that prepared from mud. But considering the final place where they are decomposed i.e. river, an idol made from mud doesn’t harms the river as an idol prepared from Plaster of Paris does. This and many more are the reasons why the green products are considered, and as a result they should be marketed too, so that the environmental concern can be supported by the masses.

Green Marketing: 
Why and How? Issues and Solutions Green products are different from the regular ones, in terms of manufacturing, packaging as well as cost. But their usage is the same as the rest of the products. 
In that case many questions arise. Why will a consumer buy a green product, when he is already happy with his present one? Why will a consumer opt for something which may be costlier to him than his regular product? Why will a consumer opt for a product which might appear less pleasing then the presently available ones? Why can’t it be a green washing scenario i.e. selling products with name of “going green” to the consumers wherein the products are not environment friendly and cheat the consumer with the nongreen products and earn more profit? It can be. Each of the above mentioned questions are true, and to answer such questions and many other conceptions as well as misconceptions regarding the green product, it needs a different type of marketing especially related to this segment. Marketing which doesn’t sell the products by making them available at cheap prices neither does it sells the products on their beautiful packaging or any such tactics and for that 
reason Green Marketing needs to be considered. When we need to sell a product which can last for some months or years to a consumer we can sell it via many means fair or unfair but when we need to sell an idea to a consumer which needs to last long for decades and decades to come and which is better for the environment too which indirectly is better for each and every one on the planet, some thinking and some detailing is required along with totally fair means. Green marketing focuses on relating the product to the consumer and its environment in which he or she is living. It creates an idea to the consumer that by purchasing a product for its cost, the consumer is not only getting the value of the material used but also getting a protected and safe environment for the future which is the additional benefit the product is giving. Moreover, even if the product’s cost is an important consideration its cost can be compared with the harmful cost to the environment which when converted to a purely monetary value would surely be greater than the additional nominal cost of the green product. Green products need to be marketed in a way different from the regular products and to a different segment of consumers who can buy such product or who are responsible enough to go green. Green marketing is all that is needed to make them aware. Creating a brand and making the product available for the consumer at low price is not the main priority here. 
The main priority is to make the consumer aware of the product in detail. As a result such marketing needs to be: 
  • Transparent in making the consumer known the contents of which the product is comprised of consumer
  • Its impact on the health of the consumer should be brought to notice 
  • Its long lasting features should be brought to attention and its effect on the environment should be shown to the society, which should indirectly relate to them and should be shown as their benefit.
  • Importance to the consumer should be given and their inputs and views should be taken care of 
  • Consumer should be made more aware and responsible for their environment and should consider the environment as his or her own and should feel privileged for helping in its betterment 
  • Promoting the Corporate Social Responsibility Act, and thereby making more and more companies to act in this direction 
  • Association of various NGO’s and public figures to act in this way and urge the masses to do the same

For whom to market green Products? 
Every product has a segment of consumers for it; same is with the green products. Its main segment is divided into 3 parts: 
1. Deep Green 
2. Lazy green 
3. Non-green

Deep Green
These consumers are totally driven by the betterment of the environment and in the given scenario where they have to make choice between a price benefit v/s green product and regular product v/s green product, they opt for the latter. To market product for these consumers, the association of the product in making the environment a better place is required.

Lighter Green
These consumers are conscious about their environment but also about the price they have to pay for it. In choosing between the green product and the price they analyse the difference between them on same scale. To market products for these consumers, the price of the product needs to be justified along with the returns the product can deliver back and also how can the environment be made better altogether.

Non Green 
These consumers are not driven by the environment benefits and only about the quality and price of the product. To market the products to them, the superiority of the product needs to be considered than any care for planet.

Main issues in Green Marketing
  1. The costing of these products is many a times higher as compared to the normal products because of the usage of the natural substances in them, which restricts a segment of consumers to rethink their choice of purchase 
  2. The outcome of the product may be far better than its normal product but many a times the outer look of the product appears less pleasing comparatively which diverts the choice of a particular segment 
  3. There also exists a crowd of people, who wish to buy green products and also to deliver their support in the betterment for the environment but on the day of purchase, they go ahead with their regular product
Feasible Solutions and Future of Green Marketing 

To go green is the future, and to make it a success the issues need to be tackled before moving ahead. The operations and manufacturing processes need to implement and try to reduce the costs without deviating from the quality so they can can compete with the regular products on the prices front. This also includes working on the appearance of the product. To the crowd of consumers who wishes to go for green product but end up buying the same, efforts should be made to clear their misconceptions and their viewpoints should be asked, considered and accordingly solutions should be brought forth for a win-win situation for both the seller and buyer.  Slowly and steadily the awareness is slowly creeping into the lives of people about green products and green marketing has a special contribution in making this happen. They are realizing the importance of it and supporting it either half-heartedly or whole heartedly. In such a scenario green marketing is a must in the future as to make more and more people aware about it and for that the responsibility to enhance that awareness comes on the shoulders of marketing. Green marketing needs to make attempts for the lighter green segment as well as the non-green segment of people to raise their thoughts and imagination to think about the value addition a green product can give with respect to the environment. The present needs to understand the future and for that Green Marketing is tasked with the responsibility of making this task happen. ||