Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I had written earlier about the phenomenon of private labels in India, Link. But it was some time back and after that I have done some work in that area so thought will share it my readers.
Currently the way many of the organized retailers are conceptualising their private label strategy is very different from the way it is seen in countries where organized retail is very strong. If one sees the plans of Future Group, which owns Pantaloons and Big Bazaar retail stores, they are planning to an investment of Rs 200 crore into the private label business and target reaching a turnover of Rs 10,000 crore by 2012.
Among the organized retailer's the Future's group is the one which seems of a well thought out strategy, with the presence of private labels in most categories, with tasty treat and Fresh 'n' Pure in the groceries, Care Mate for home care, and Kroyo and Sensei in Consumer Durables.
The growth which Futures is planning would be achieved not only through the sales through its own retail stores but also by selling it to retailers outside its own network. which in essence goes against the traditional definition of private labels. One of the possible reasons why they are looking at this idea is that they know that getting economies of scale only through their selling in their own retailers stores might not be easy and the reality that mom-n-pop stores are going to be part of the retail reality of Indian market for a long time to come.
But one thing which I felt has been left out in the overall scheme of ideas is trying to understand the psyche of the Indian consumer and his response towards private labels. How is he perceiving them? why does he buy them and what are his expectations from a private label, because ultimate success of the private labels would depend on how willing are they to try and use these brands. One recent new paper article highlighted the fact that consumers were going back to mom-n-pop stores because they are not happy with offers or deals on private labels, and they are able to get similar offers on the manufacturer's brands from their regular corner grocery store, this is a worrying trend which should be watched out for. For more of the consumer response to organized retail check out the article link.
In my next posting I will share a few of my own observations on private labels at two of the prominent retailers in the country.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Found a very interesting video of the changing realities in marketing and branding,
But when one sees Indian market, we can bifurcate consumers into three segments (three to limit complexity)
Segment 1. is the segment which the video is talking about, people who have gone full hog and embraced new technologies and are 100% at ease with Internet , spend a disproportionate amount of time on it. Consumers in this segment would typically be either the upwardly mobile Sec A1 consumer or the techno geek sort of person, though demographically also this segment would be different as they would be much younger than the other segments.
Segment 2. would be one which is still stuck in the old paradigm of marketing , still spending a lot of time on the TV and slow on adopting new technology. These would be consumers in semi-urban and non-metro markets in the country. The choice for them though increasing is not as extensive as the segment 1 consumers.
Segment 3. are the rural consumer, who by sheer numbers form a very large market, and are actually stuck at a level below even the consumers in segment 2, with many of them in media dark regions, and low literacy levels . They need to accessed through pre-mass media communication strategies, be in through the use of long infomercials run on vans, or the the use of demonstration and wall paintings in appropriate places.
Maybe we can try conceptualised these segments as a funnel, with the base being the rural consumers who need to be approached with no-frills basic communication, the center being those consumers who are still stuck in the mass communication days and the tip being the upwardly mobile consumer who has totally adapted to the new technology and cannot live with it.
So for a marketer this increases the complexity of his job of reaching out to consumers, depending on the segment his approach has to to vary ......
Sunday, January 25, 2009
An attempt to collect interesting bits of information from newspapers and magazines in the last two weeks,
Reliance Mobile third entry into mobile telephony, and associated strategies, link
Q & A with RamCharan on his new book Leadership in the Era of economic Uncertainty, Link
One more story on experience at Harvard Business School, this time from an executive training one though, link
Consumer Confidence survey puts India on top pf the heap, link
Economic Times Brand Equity
The compartitive ads of complan versus horlicks, has kicked up a debate in the industry as to how far is too far, link
One more article on the issue of competitive ads, link
Impact of using a good creative , case of launch of Virgin Mobile in India, link
Obama attracting the attention of brands as no other earlier president had ever done, link
Satyam Crisis and Implications for Indian IT, link
Interview with Ogilvy's new global CEO, Link
Hindu Business Line, Catalyst stories
HUL's strategy for skin care brands, link
Collaboration between Funskool and IIT Bombay for Board Games, link
Customer Interaction Models, link
Santoor overtakes Lux in South, link
Rural growth fueling sales of companies, link
Rural India and Internet, link
Titan Story, link
Friday, January 23, 2009
Seasonality is an interesting dimension of Indian markets, as is the case with any large market. Each marketer defines seasons according to the product-market one operates in. A marketers of ready made snacks like Haldirams prefers to define the seasonality of the market on the festivals, which is similar to what a consumer durable marketer does. If you are in the jewelery business you would want to define seasonality according to the marriage season, which is driven by astrology. And for a soft drink marketer defining seasons is easier he would go by the simple bifurcation of summer and winter.
Marketing strategies of many of these companies would be driven by the changing seasons (as per their definitions), the off season sale of apparels, and planning for their summer collections begin with this change, similarly the cokes and Pepsi's also chalk out their plans for summers now itself....
Marketers also tend to struggle with seasons because at one end they would like to control seasonality by reducing the peaks and troughs in sales but then also want to capitalise in them to increase sales.....
Thursday, January 22, 2009
The movie has created a lot of buzz, winning 4 Golden Globes and now 10 Oscar nominations. We would know how many they will manage to win on 22 February. This winning of the golden globes and Oscar nominations has created a lot of media buzz, one can see a number of debates and discussions happening on the movie.
At one end there are many people who are criticising the portrayal of poverty and the slums of Mumbai and at the other there is a lot of appreciation coming along for the movie.
I tend to take a rather negative view, I see the movie projecting a limited view of the reality called India. This is not say that we do not have urban poverty or it is a non issue, it is infact an issue which needs to be given highest priority, but movies like these in a way take us back to the era when India was seen as a nation of snake charmers.
A couple of decades back a movie like this would have added some value as it would have brought brand India back into memory of people but today i feel that we have moved beyond the awareness stage, we are infact in a stage where we have to build the right values that we want to promote. In the last few years the image of the country has changed to that of one with young white collar software workers, and the Indian growth story is slowly sinking in. We have been making conscious effort to project the country as an attractive investment destination. And that is where I feel slumdog millionaire would do more harm than good for image of the country.
Inspite of all this I wish that they win a lot of Oscars on 22nd....
Monday, January 19, 2009
In this era of digital marketing most of tend to ignore the age old means of communicating, be it innovative POPs in retail stores or hoardings. We tend to exist in two states - either of total denial, or total acceptance .Whenever we see something new coming up we want to ignore it till the last moment possible and then we jump to the next stage of going over-board with it. Maybe there is a middle path which we should try to follow.
Amul has been emphasising on hoardings from a very long time. I don't think there would be any one of us who at some point of time, wouldn't have seen a Amul Hoarding and smiled at it.They continue to use it as they have been doing it, and with the latest one they have again been right on target...
One of the positive fall outs of these contemporary hoardings is the positive PR it generates in media, this specific hoarding is generating a lot of buzz.....
Project Shakti as a model of distribution has attracted a lot of attention both from the company as well as media. The model makes use of existing Self Help Groups working in villages and appoints them as sales persons called shakti amma to sell HUL products in villages. The idea is to be able to reach those villages which do not very good road connectivity and penetration of media is also poor. By appointing the lady as a distributor for the company is able to get a direct reach in villages where it had no presence earlier and the lady would be able to get additional source of revenue. A win-win situation if one were to describe it.
The lady- Shakti Amma would be supplied the at her door-step and she would be selling it to the nearby cluster of 3-6 villages. The initiative has three components, one being the distribution component, second being the use of lady for communicating health and hygiene messages in the villages. The third component is IT, wherein a kiosk - ishakti is set up in the village , which could be used as information kiosk in the village.
Though this is relatively an old initiative, started in 2001 in Andhra Pradesh, the news that the model is being taken global is what has brought it back to media attention. Acco
rding to the news item, "The project is being customised and adapted in other Unilever markets such as Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Bangladesh. It is being considered for other Latin American and African markets. In Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, it is being promoted as Joyeeta and Saubaghya, respectively. There is a similar initiative in Vietnam as well." For more on the article, link.
Though there are obvious positives in the project both for the company as well as the lady who takes up the business but there are many issues which need to be looked into. One of issues is the actual amount of benefit that the lady gets by in by engaging in the business for HUL, though the company claims that it almost doubles the household incomes, but there variations in that. Similarly the Vani component of the initiatives which is one in which the company does not make any money is being expanded very slowly and the expansion of the project is not very uniform and even within a village also the project impacts only one lady. And when one interacts or sees the mileage that the company tends to derive out of the project it makes us vary of the claims and the actual benefits....
Though this models of leveraging the existing Self Help Groups in villages for distribution for products to rural areas is being seen by many as the next wave in the SHG movement..
For more details on the project visit, www.hllshakti.com
Friday, January 16, 2009
Many companies tend to be driven by vision of individuals, especially in their initial years. Akio Morita with Sony, Microsoft and Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Oracle, though it tends to add a lot of value as the aura and charm of the individual rubs on to the company and the brand. But it can also have some negative fall outs.......
Actually in the list of company and individuals first name should have been that of ' Apple and Steve Jobs'. Today success apple is intrinsically linked to Steve Jobs, in fact the connection of the individual and the company fortunes is so strong that we can see the share prices of apple tumbling after the news that Steve Jobs has taken a six month medical leave. The reasons is that the series of successful products from apple stable i pod, i phone and the turn around of the company have been attributed so much to Steve Jobs that his absence is being taken as seen as a sure indicator that the company would not be able keep coming up with block-buster products at the same pace as it could do when Steve Jobs was around..
Whenever we have a talk about market-driving companies we cite the example of Steve Jobs, because of his ability to lead innovation in the market, and create product categories. People have asked me the utility of the typical new product development process which tries to capture the consumer exiting needs and develop products in the context of an individual driven process. My reasoning has been that if one is not able to institutionalise the process then we will come into issue of the process being associated with an individual that his absence would be seen as impacting the fortunes of the company....
Lot of blogger have aritten about this incident, link
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Dabur Honey has tied-up with Disney's Winnie the Pooh to feature on its Dabur Honey's eazee squeezee pack. I found it to be one of better endorsements deal of the year, if one may call it an endorsement :) A perfect fit, with regard to the fit with product , target segment and appeal. Good that they did not take Dhoni for endorsement which would not have surprised me looking at the risk appetite and informativeness we have seen till now....
But I have very little coverage on the issues, a small new item which is being repeated across all newspaper, the Link
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
In the last few years we have had incidences where companies had to encounter a crisis in the market. And it's interesting to see how the companies tried countering the issue, giving us insights which we can learn from.
The first in the series is the incidence of worms in Cadbury's Dairy Milk Chocolate. The amount of negative publicity that the incident generated for Cadbury's India was enormous, with all the media channels highlighting the issue. The company worked on many fronts including the improvement in the product packaging, but the focus is that they used Amitabh Bachan for their ad campaign.
Similarly the issue of pesticides in Pepsi and Coke had a very adverse impact on the sales of both the companies. But both of them decided to use different ways to counter the threat. Pepsi decided to use its own MD in its ads to promote the fact that it was safe to drink and he himself drinks it. Coca Cola decided to go the celebrity way to promote the safety of its products.
Aamir Khan Ad -
Latest in the list if ICICI Bank which went through a lot of loss of consumer confidence when the rumours were spread against the liquidity position of the bank. Now one can see the latest ads with Sharuk Khan promoting bank...
Friday, January 9, 2009
I know the kind of coverage that the Satyam fiasco is creating across all media, be in the TV, Newspapers, blogs...Though there umpteen issues which are being discussed right from issues of corporate governance to the fate of the 50,000 plus employees, I have been thinking Brand Satyam. A few days back if some one were to try and assess the Brand equity of Satyam Brand, versus today. I as a marketer feel very sad that such a well respected brand is all but lost.
Even the loss of Deccan as a brand is also something which pains me, though the reasons there were totally different ....but it is a loss, Deccan or Satyam....
Monday, January 5, 2009
Had an opportunity to sit through a session on rural marketing by Harish Bijoor. Was planning to write on some of the ideas which he shared with us. Found that varun has done it already, so a link to the post, link