Friday, September 13, 2013
Thursday, September 5, 2013
We have been talking about how control of a brand has moved away from the marketer closer to the consumer. For a marketer this can be quite disconcerting, but this can also be seen as a window of opportunity and this post is about that opportunity. First to start with the negatives, the loss of control means that not everything that the consumer does with your product or writes about is something which is as per the instructions on the box or as the marketer would want it to be. For example most of the companies have their face book fan pages and a cursory visit to some of them would point out that not all what is being written about your product/service is positive. On the flipkart facebook page, I can see a lot of very specific complaints about poor product or poor service. How is this an opportunity? One can ignore these complaints saying that they are probably a few disgruntled customer making unnecessary noise, or show your responsiveness by trying to resolve the issue in the open. Each complaint resolved would add to the credibility of the firm. On the same lines, what happens when a product is being used for purposes other than it is meant to be, the legendary use of washing machines in Punjab to make Lassis kind of situations. Consumer finds innovative uses for your product, which may or may not help your brand. I read a very interesting piece recently on how consumer are experimenting with use of Oats in typical Indian dishes. The opportunity lies in using insights from consumers or create a forum where they could probably share their recipes and the company could also go ahead and come up with new product ideas based on some of these ideas.
Monday, April 1, 2013
When we spoke about the Indian growth story, mobile and cars were the poster boys...(apart from IT of course) every month we would quote the number of new mobile users being added and that we were the fastest growing mobile market in the world. Now with the slowdown and perhaps in a category like mobile the growth will not come from new subscribers. More about the mobile story in another post some time the focus is one falling car sales…
I had written blog posts every time the sales of cars would hit a new high, (raining cars in India) so thought it was but appropriate to write about the first fall in car sales in a decade (Car sales crash first time in 10 years). The reasons for the fall in the sales include the increasing fuel prices, expectation that prices would fall, and of course the negative mindset that the consumers have got into.
My take on the sales in the car market is that, the conditions which were driving the sales of car for the last ten years have not changed much, lack of public transport, the status symbol associated with owing a four-wheeler, increased choice for the consumer. Only thing which is not working in the consumers favor is the ever increasing fuel cost but that many of us realize is part of the reality. We typically take the extremes while reacting to either a slow down or a growth, something similar to which happens in a stock market, market is at its peak, one finds small investor rushing into the market and when the market is at its lowest the small investors are typically found busy selling...
The auto market and the growth is there to stay, this a just small blip in the sales chart.
And in the meantime it might be best of times to buy a car, best deals possible are currently on offer..
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
The mobile phone market seems to be again on fire, with the players who had initially missed the bus, in terms of the shift to the smartphone making most of the noise. Today Nokia is seriously looking at making a comeback with its Lumia Series and even blackberry is trying its best. For a market observer this a pattern which keeps repeating, the market leaders sticking to their old way of doing things and more nimble competitor identifying the next shift early and capitalizing on it.
The more interesting part is what is happening with the Local brands of the likes of Micromax, Karbonn and others. These Desi Brands had an initial dream run in the value segment, with companies like Micromax becoming overnight success stories and started being counted among the world's top 10-15 handset manufacturer. Again expected, that the local players would fill up the gaps in the lower end of the market…
But when the shift occurred and consumer started moving towards smartphones, with their own app ecosystems in place, many expected the local players to roll over and die, because the smart phone domain is expected to be more technology driven and not a price-only but feature rich market place. And this did apparently happen for atleast a couple of year with not much noise or activity from their end. But they have made their comeback (for more read, http://goo.gl/DLwUc), with Micromax in the second position in the market and Karbonn in the fifth place. I find this both interesting as well as heartening that these firms have been able to make a comeback, as they are supposedly the ones who are able to customize more...
I think the learning is that a value conscious segment exist in all markets, especially in the Indian market.