Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
I also find that this Diwali would also be a Chinese Diwali, looking at the sheer dominance they have in the Diwali lights. A few years back setting up the lights for Diwali use to a exercise in itself, testing, checking and setting up the lights use to be both an expensive and an activity which needed a professional electrician. But today one just needs to walk into the market to pick-up Chinese lights , which are reasonably reliable and very cheap. A couple of hundred rupees and you will have enough lights for your home.
And the fact of the matter is that no one is complaining that the lights are Chinese and the new TV which you have bought is a Samsung. In fact there seems to be a shortage of the Chinese lights in the market!!!!!!
I have always believed that the Indian consumer is a value seeker and this highlights it....
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
But in the last few months we suddenly find the unending euphoria about India suddenly taking a hit. Lot of this is driven by what is happening in Europe, but within the country too, the increasing interest rates, inflation & the rising petrol costs has everyone wary. The sudden assurance that we would start growing at double digit rate is being rethought.
I had the opportunity to listen to Mr Nitin Paranjpe CEO of HUL. He spoke a lot about these issues and brought out the darker side of the growth story and how it needs to be handled if we need to keep growing. He reminded the listeners how we had wished away the issues of illiteracy, health, infrastructure, corruption , perhaps hoping that high growth would take care of it. He said that inclusive growth was not a political jargon but the need of the hour. And as a corporate one cannot be a bystander and not do anything….
He said that it was imperative that businesses come up with customer propositions which take care of the environment, make business sense and add value to the customers. This trisection is currently very small and in the coming years it needs to be expanded. He gave a few examples, which I will share in the next post. But all in all, corporate world is seriously trying to address issues related to sustainability and inclusive growth as they also realize their future is also intertwined with these issues..
Thursday, October 20, 2011
I have always felt in the country we have had many good brands, and they have lost their way either due to mismanagement or sheer greed. I will share a few examples to elaborate my point of view,
Let us start in the cookery segment, where we have really old brands like prestige and hawkins. We have the experience of using these brands across many years; some of us would still have the 20 year old pressure cookers in their houses in working condition. The brand was built on their performance many years back, but if some one has bought a cooker from either of these companies in the recent years would have a very different story to tell. Do not get me wrong, I do not want to buy cookers which last for 20 years, but I want to buy products which perform. I have had a couple of bad experiences and I thought probably it was a factor of chance, but then when I saw the queue of people waiting to get the valve replaced, or getting their cookers repaired it makes me realize that the problem is much more acute than a few one-off cases. The unfortunate part is that there are no viable substitutes in the market, or maybe we see them as inferior just because we are so used to the old biggies.
My second example is from the mobile services domain. I am talking about the market leader, airtel. Till the time they got into financial pressure, the services were good, but then for the last couple of years you would find them giving you new unasked service and start charging you for the same. One will have to fight out and by the time it is discontinued the company makes some money. My emails to the ombudsman of the company have gone unanswered. And this again is not just across one number, but across many which I know. The disappointing point is that when the going is good the brands fulfill their promise but the moment they are under a little pressure they go back to the pre-liberalization mindset of trying to squeeze maximum out of the consumer without worrying about the future.
The third example is from another brand which I have a lot of admiration for - 'Big Bazaar'. I use to be a loyal customer buying my monthly groceries from them. Then for the last couple of years I had stopped visiting them. The other day I went to buy some groceries and was shocked by the approach they have adopted. In many products there was a difference of 30/- kg if you were to buy a half kg versus a one kg pack, which I found very difficult to digest and ended up walking out of the shop after making less half of my planned purchases. The core proposition which the brand 'Big Bazaar' stood for me is low-cost and I felt that they were fiddling with that core proposition itself.
Building a brand takes many years but destroying it takes a couple of bad experiences!!!!!!! And rebuilding the trust with the consumer would take longer, if it can ever be done.
Friday, October 14, 2011
The major change this year has been that Colgate has come back to the top slot after many years and Nokia has dropped to number 5. Nokia's drop is perhaps reflective of its performance in the market place. The ranking is accompanied with a series of interesting write-ups on various brands,
Starting with how Colgate regained the top slot again, to the analysis of why Nokia fell from the top. Then there is an interesting piece by Pankaj Ghemewat on Coke and Globalization and by Nirmalya Kumar on how brands need to gain trust of the consumers, and become a positive force in the larger community. There are few more stories which one can read.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
I feel in the tab market is ready to take-off, as mobiles had done when prices crashed. The applications and use for which tabs are put also would increase(Ex - Salesmen of HUL use Samsung tabs for booking orders from retailers) . People would find it easier to use a tab to access internet, with its bigger screen and ease of use versus mobile phone. The volumes will have to come not just from people who would buy the tabs as a second PC or replacement for a laptop but also from users who do not have a PC. And it for the last segment where pricing would matter and the volumes would come from..
Sunday, October 2, 2011
For both Honda and Toyota the new small cars are the cheapest cars in their stables, and both the companies are looking at them to drive volumes and reach out to tier II and tier III cities. But one does feel that it is a little too late, hope not too little though, given their reputation. Were they expecting that Indian's would line up for Corolla's and Cities. Though these models do sell and would keep selling, but would never be volume drivers. In that even the American auto makers (supposed to have lost their nimbleness to the Japanese) have had better offerings in the segment, in fact Figo has turned out to be a game changer for Ford in India. But then maybe they made an entry and the consumers will decide the winners.
Perhaps one more realization for the auto makers has been that maximum activity is in the 4-6 lakh segment and not the bottom of the market , which players like even Nano are finding it difficult to crack. So every serious player in the car market has a very strong offering in that bracket. The bottom line is that the choice for the consumer is increasing..........