Sunday, May 24, 2009

Survival of the fittest

You all must be aware of the theory of survival of the fittest.Which means only the fittest organisms will prevail. So too with brands. During this economic slowdown the brands which can innovate and can give higher value to customers will only survive.

Consumers have become smarter and tougher. Consumers are now asking harder questions to themselves. “Do we really need it?” “If we need it, do we need it right now, or can we wait to purchase it?” At last: “Do we even want it?
So what should marketers do???

Is lowering the price only way out to add value??

I say no…

In a down economy, marketers think a lot about price. They think that since times are tough, people care about price and nothing but price.
Of course, people actually care more about value. They care about value more than they used to because they can’t afford to overpay, they don’t want to make a mistake with their money.

An easy mathematical equation

Value = benefit/price.
That means that one way to make value go up is to lower price, right?
The thing is, there’s another way to make the value go up. Increase what you give. Increase quality and quantity. Increase the benefit and the value will go up.

Vodafone understands this concept very well and that is why they are not going for any price cuts rather they are emphasising more on creating value for the customers with the help of value added services they are increasing the benefit.(Vodafone new tvc characters zoozoos are to promote value added services)

Vodafone is spending profoundly to promote value added services .Vodafone is not decreasing the price instead increasing the benefit which will result in greater value.

Mistri diagnosis

When the going gets tough, customers get tough too. They start to pay closer attention. They start to demand more.
Smart marketers should see this as an opportunity and act on it by strengthening their brands to take advantage of the contracting economy. Its time when weak brands get eliminated and the strong brands gain stronger foot hold. Companies like Vodafone which increase their media spending during recession times will reap the benefits during upturn.

Author: Sanjay

Friday, May 15, 2009

India votes...

I am writing this blog just a day before general election results will be announced .In this election marketers tried to sell political parties to voters like any other product and services.
Media was used and exploited by almost all the political parties. There was significant role played by news media in influencing voters in the general elections...

You will be surprised to know that political parties spent around Rs 800 crores in two months on communications — an amount that top advertisers like Hindustan Unilever spend in an entire year.
So why this was done this year??
The obvious reason which I could think of is that, this time, there were more than 10 crore first-time voters, mostly in urban areas.

So the political parties after identifying (segmenting) this group targeted the voters by using most effective media.
Media may not yet swing an election in someone’s favour but media, more than ever is gaining a reputation of being an influencer.

An average urban Indian viewer is mature enough to understand the exaggerations, but the same cannot be said about the semi urban and rural voters for whom TV is possibly one of the most important influencer.

Mistri diagnosis:
What we see and read is only the battle between the post, power and money. So it is like voting for the best amongst the worst. Media does play the role of informing the citizens on what’s happening in the country about politics, but when it comes to the individual decision of giving votes, I’m sure most of the citizens do not even know their candidates. So this time I am in favour of conventional marketing because advertising for political parties is different from advertising for products and services .The earlier method of door-to door voting was at least more informative.

Author: Sanjay

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I am delighted...

Today businesses are sustained by customers. Satisfied customers keep a business afloat while delighted customers make it grow by leaps and bounds.

This makes more sense during the time of economic slowdown, marketers should try to exceed customer expectations and create customer delight.

That is what exactly Vodafone has done…

If you have prepaid subscription it may have happened many a times that you were unable to complete an important conversation. So many words remain unsaid as you were not able to buy a new refill. Well, Vodafone comes up with an amazing innovative solution which exceeds customer expectations.

Vodafone is offering a little bit extra just when you need it the most. Vodafone subscribers will now get a Credit of Rs. 10. If you are a Vodafone prepaid subscriber with a balance less than Rs. 5 then take advantage of this offer. Just sms CREDIT on the toll free number 144 and Rs. 10 will be credited to your account.

I am a Vodafone user and I am delighted

Mistri Diagnosis:
“Consumer is no longer the King. He is God,”
The marketers need to listen to the instructions of consumers and accordingly build their brand around them.
People don’t really need advertising, services drive the best brands not traditional advertising. There is a need to bring in innovation. Brands have to be honest and relevant and need to reach out to people.

Author: Sanjay

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

IPL and I-pill

Protecting your wicket even when your partner makes the wrong call

If you are a cricket fan you must be following IPL a.k.a. the revolution (and money) of Indian cricket and you must have as well come across i-pill advertisement…

Both are revolutionary concepts and are targeted to the fast and furious, outgoing, upbeat, affluent and instant generation youth. They look for quick results, be it cricket or a serious issue like avoiding pregnancy, through bold cheerleaders and advertisements respectively. Result - a great hit.

Marketers are targeting the new breed of fashionable, educated, rebellious youths who like to hang out in a Cafe Coffee Day, live in a virtual world Orkut, watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S & Roadies, own a Levi’s or an iPod. Moreover, they are not hesitant to pop in an emergency contraceptive like Cipla’s i-Pill.
Before 2005, emergency contraception (meaning contraception taken by women after intercourse to prevent unplanned pregnancy) was a prescription drug in India. In a country where one can obtain diabetes drugs from the local chemist, this meant that the so-called “morning-after pill” was not widely available, and anyway not discussed in public. The law changed which allowed the drug to be sold over the counter, and Cipla cracked i-pill… a brilliant product and a clutter breaking campaign.

The initial advertisements featured good looking people saying “An unplanned pregnancy can result in a traumatic abortion” with a tag line “Because prevention is better than abortion.” Brilliant marketing… but who is Cipla intended to target? The affluent but not so bold, actual consumer (women) or the influencer (men). In case of i-pill, the primary target (consumer) is women and the secondary target is men.
Today, men at large play a dominating role when it comes to issues related to sex and are known to be more bold and outspoken about it. Therefore in many cases they make the purchase, if not, at least will be major influencers in the purchase of contraceptive pills.

Therefore reaching this particular segment is important for a brand like i-pill and Cipla has made a smart move by using IPL as a vehicle to carry the message. Cricket is a religion in India and the Indian youth (men) constitute a large percentage of its devotees.

Cipla is exploiting IPL’s popularity at the cost of consumer’s health”
But, the advertisement says NOTHING about the side effects, how it’s intended to be used as contraception, not as a first line of protection... The marketers have hidden information that might cannibalize their sale… No warning, no caution.

So I tried to get some information about the magical pill…here it goes.
The pill gives the body a burst of synthetic hormones, which effectively disrupt the hormone cycles required for a successful pregnancy. While it will not cause future infertility, long-term effects are still not known entirely and immediate side effects could include nausea, vomiting, headaches, breast tenderness, dizziness, fluid retention and irregular bleeding. The pill also does not guard against STD’s like HIV and is effective only against a potential pregnancy at the time of popping the pill.

Mistri diagnosis:
So where does the fault lie? Who can we blame for this failure in mass communication? Is it Cipla, for putting their name behind such a deceptive advertising campaign? Is it the Indian law, for allowing such advertisements? Or is it India’s education system?

I-pill is a contraceptive pill and should be promoted in the same fashion, misleading consumers might shoot the sales in short run, but in the long run brands that are true to the consumers are the most loved and trusted ones.

Author: Sanjay

Revolver, Affiliation and Aspiration

I found a movie ‘Revolver’, written and directed by Guy Ritchie starring Jason Statham of ‘The Transporter’ fame in the common network folder. The movie had some interesting lines which I later found out to be laced with Kabbalic philosophy like – ‘In every game and con there's always an opponent, and there's always a victim. The trick is to know when you're the latter, so you can become the former.’
But the following lines struck me the most –

‘There is something about yourself that you don't know. Something that you will deny even exists, until it's too late to do anything about it. It's the only reason you get up in the morning. The only reason you suffer the shitty puss, the blood, the sweat and the tears. This is because you want people to know how good, attractive, generous, funny, wild and clever you really are. Fear or revere me, but please, think I'm special. We share an addiction. We're approval junkies. We're all in it for the slap on the back and the gold watch. The hip-hip-hoo-fuckin' rah. Look at the clever boy with the badge, polishing his trophy. Shine on you crazy diamond, because we're just monkeys wrapped in suits, begging for the approval of others.’

Is it something familiar to all of us? Do we actually care so much for acceptance and recognition? Otherwise why would we be so concerned about sporting a pair of LeVI’S jeans or a branded shirt from Arrow! It irritates me every time my girlfriend buys a Loreal or a Wella product instead of a Lakme or a Garnier. Is there really a need to go to Bocha Grande (Koromangala) for breakfast or to Serengeti for lunch? How does it help to dine at Bon South (Koromangala)? Will I have six pack abs quicker if I work out in Chisel (Koromangala) instead of my local gym in Sampangiramnagar? Sometimes I can’t help questioning my own rationale! Isn’t it possible to be accepted if I kill my hunger with a plate of kushka (Rs.10 colored rice) and a leg piece kabab from Anekal. Anyway, I feel complete with a neatly ironed locally tailored shirt and a pair of black trousers. Will my girlfriend scowl at me? May be she will!

Mistri diagnosis:

All individuals are motivated to find and create a specific amount of social interactions. The Need for Affiliation describes a person's need to feel a sense of involvement and 'belonging' within a social group. Combine this with the concept of aspiration products. Consumption audience (who can afford) and aspirational audience (who wants to be known as a consumption audience) together form the aspirational product's target audience. The ratio of consumption audience to aspirational audience is generally calculated as 30%-60%. This 30% and 60% forms a large chunk of the bubbling Bangalore population. Weak aspirational brands have target audiences that are almost as large as their exposure audiences (e.g. mp3 player brands), and are therefore slowly becoming commodity brands, e.g. brands with consumption audiences that coincide with the exposure audience (and therefore, brands without an aspiring audience).
As a general rule, an aspirational brand and its products can command a price premium in the marketplace over a commodity brand. This ability can to a large extent be explained by the consumer's need for invidious consumption for which he is willing to pay a premium. The smaller the size of the product's target audience compared to the exposure audience, the more the product satisfies this need, and the higher the premium that such a consumer is prepared to pay.
May be this is why we are seeing a rise in the premium brand segment around.
Good news for marketers and business owners.
Bad news for us, the not-so-rich aspirational audience!

Guest Author: Ching
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