Thursday, March 27, 2008

Integrated Marketing Communications - An Art Mastered by Marutisuzuki????

There are different ways in which IMC- Integrated Marketing Communications is interpreted, more traditional way of looking at it is to ensure that you send a consistent and uniform message across the various means of communication, be it print, TV, Internet, and FM and integrate this with the variety of communication disciplines like general ads, dierct response, sales promo and PR.

If one were to follow this definition of IMC one company which has been good at achieving this sort integration is the car major Maruti Suzuki. Whenever they launch a new car one can see how they are able to hit the consumer consistently across all media and modes of communication. I had observed it when they had done it with the launch of SX4,and see the same thing happening with Swift Dezire, and thought it would be worth documenting it....

It all started with the extensive coverage the launch got on the various channels running programe on cars, saw a detailed coverage given on the NDTV's programe of cars. Then when i was watching the score for the India South Africa test match , they had a banner ad there for dezire. If you happen to buy the latest issue of BS Motoring Dezire is on its cover page....

And there would be a TV Ad campaign and the press campaign for the total impact of the launch. What I have been impressed with is the consistency with which they have been doing with all there new launches....from getting good coverage in magazines and TV channels, and then being there in the right place on the internet so that they are able to reach the customer at every point of contact, even if one were to visit the website and click on cars the default page is the dezire page which i thought was a clever way of telling consumers about the new offering....

The exclusiev website for the brand is up and running , link

Tata Motors and Land Rover and Jaguar

This blog is supposed to cover issues related to marketing in India, so I could not afford to miss out the Tata Motors Deal buying the Land Rover and Jaguar Halewood plant for $2.3 Billion. The deal has been in news for a very long time, and I myself have written about it in the last few months but thought will compile links and put up a few photos,

Land Rover is considered to be a heritage brand, second oldest SUV brand next only to jeep…. Official Website link

Wikipedia cover a lot on the two brands, Land Rover Link and Jaguar Wiki Link

The stock markets have reacted sharply with Tata Motors shares plummeting after the announcement of the deal, i have been a non-believer in stock markets and have my own opinion on the deal , but what do reader feel about the deal, to start off I will share what is generally know about the deal,

The things going in favor of the deal include the access to engine technology which would be among the best in the world, and above all access to world class brands which customer have a lot of confidence on ....

Things against the deal include the fact that Tata Motors with their Nano are planning to dominate the lower end of the market, how would this high-end premium offering fit in its portfolio, and issues related to the debt burden attached with the deal….

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Market Update 26.03.08

Starting with Catalyst

The story on the relevance of service in enhancing customer retention and building long relationship is a goos read Link

Another article on innovation in India Link

The Business Standard Strategist this week has a couple of very good write-ups

First the main article is on ICICI Prudential Life: No risk, no rewards on how ICICI Prudential has been on the top for the last 7 years, a good detailed analysis on what has gone in to make it a success Link

An article which analyzes trhe change in the ad strategy of the cola majors, from Youngistan to Jashan Mana Le Link

Economic Times Brand Equity

The first article is on how the new age consumer looking for excitement not just brands, the emphasis on creating Buzz in the market place...Link

Another article on in-game advertising link

Monday, March 24, 2008

Good ideas.... Samsung, Tata and LG

I have always felt that one of the paradoxes of a good idea is that after the idea is commercialized in the marketing context every one says what is so great about it, it is apparent, or I was also thinking about the same, but that is what makes a good idea something which makes a lot of sense to consumers because it fulfills a very obvious and glaring need.....

To give examples, first one which comes to my ming is Tata Ace, what Tata apparently did was add one more wheel to the ubiquitous three-wheel auto avaliable in the market. Very Simple and nothing great....But see the phenomenal success the products has achieved in the market and all the three wheel pick-up manufactures rushed into the it , but Tata had a couple of years lead on it

A more recent example is the Samsung Bio Sleep ACs, the USP being the auto adjustment that the AC does in the temperature based on body temperature. Though it would involve technological adjustment in the products, but seems a very logical provision in the product, and as consumers we are able to connect it ease as most of us have faced this issue of either switching off or on the AC in the middle of the night.....

Acoording to the Company "This innovative technology known as the biosleep function keeps the skin's temperature at an optimal level during the three stages of dormancy - falling asleep stage; sound sleep stage and wake up stage and results in 82% longer deep-sleep hours for a more rested brain and body. It quickly cools down room temperature during the falling asleep stage, keeps optimum skin temperature for a deep and comfortable sleep by preventing the skin from drying during the sound sleep stage and raises room temperature to raise human body temperature for waking up, so that the user wakes up more refreshed in the morning. Furthermore, the Good Sleep Mode saves up to 30% energy as compared to conventional cooling." Link

With most other ACs tlaking about power saving and other features, Samsung's Biosleep should be able to make a cut in the market this summer....

The last example is a little old one , that of LG Golden Eye TV, one which had the feature of adjusting the brightness, contrast of the TV automatically based on the light conditions of the room, also would fall in the same category of "good ideas"....

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Gender as a Basis for introducing Brand Extensions

We always speak about using gender as one of the segmentation variables, it is only in the recent times that we can see examples of marketers trying to use this often forgotten basis to come up with brand extensions of existing products or even new products, like Emani Fair & Handsome, a fairness cream for men. If one were to back a little in the past we have examples of Nivea coming out with an exclusive range for men...

In the recent times I have seen two new products which I thought were revisiting this basis demographic variable to segment the market.

The first example is Horlicks for Women. Horlicks has been around in the Indian market for a long time, as has been coming with new variants to cater to different age groups with Horlicks for Kids and so on...maybe the whole range of varints of horlicks would deserve an exclusive posting but coming back to women horlicks, the ad also added to the post says it is specially designed with HemoCal to cater to the special needs of women....

The second is the new Clinic All Clear anti-dandruff shampoo for men. The reasoning given is HUl research shows that a mens scalp differs from a woman's and has more dandruff on an average ..... so a new variant just for men...

I don't know but the second example should make us think are we going in the right direction, or is it just that we want to create new variants so as to take-up more shelf space of retailers and pump more into distributors .... ???

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cricket is interesting Again !!!!!!

Interest in Cricket has gone the full circle in the last couple of years or so. What started off as a low point with the exit of the Indian team from the world cup in the initial rounds to the world cup to high of twent20 triumph and the CB series victory. Marketers around the country have suddenly rediscovered cricket as a good means of reaching the masses. According to a news item in Economic times, with these victories very few advertisers can afford to ignore the sport now.

In this context I found two contrasting bits of information which I thought would force us to think more on the issue. The first one spoke about how HUL has roped in Yuvraj to endorse Lifebouy, which marks a change in HUL policy of using Bollywood stars as Brand Ambassadors for its brands. The second news item spoke about how the cola companies are shifting their focus from cricket to youth. The Youngistaan campaign of Pepsi with Shah Rukh Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone shows how the focus is shifing and with Coke using Hritikh Roshan in "Jasan Mana Le" Campaign the urnaround seems to be more or less complete. Though this was before the victory of Team India in the triangular series.

Here what we see is how different companies are approaching the same issue in different ways and much differently from how they had done earlier. All these companies have been major advertisers and have a war chest to spend on ads. Maybe the Cola Companies have realized the risks of using cricket as a major means of promoting their products like risking the fortune of your campaign on the fortunes of the cricket team, and with the controversies bogging players one can never be sure ... But then why is HUL looking at cricket is it that it has realized that after all these years rather than risking your fortune on Bollywood stars it might be safer to bet on cricket.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Mobile Phones and Cameras

If one were to observe the recent communication campaign for mobile phones, everyone is talking whether their phone has a 2, 3,4 or even a 5 megapixel camera . One wonders if it is the mobile which is being sold or the camera. A few years back most of us looked forward to the convergence era, but it has not delivered as much as it had promised. We still use our Digital Cameras for major occasions and the Mobile phone camera tends to have limited usage. But then why is that almost every major phone manufacturer is talking about the cameras, be it the Metal Series of Samsung or Nokia N82 series.....

There are a few reasons why this is happening , first would be the fact that the prices of cameras has dropped and they can be added to the phone without actually making it every expensive as it use to happen in the early days of the camera+mobile. Second is that though there is clarity at the lower end of the phone market in terms of the "value proposition" being offered - a working phone with good battery life, and a low cost, but the same is missing at the higher end, so adding a camera and other functionality is being seen as an excuse to charge higher. Among other reasons could be the "Herd Mentality" in the industry wherein everyone is just following the other and hopes that by offering a higher resolution camera would seal the deal for him.

One might argue that the technology has stabilized leading to force the companies to look for differentiating points outside the basic functionality of the product. But one has to just see the developments in the FMCG products where the very scope of differentiation is limited due to the very basic nature of the products to understand the possibilities which exist in differentiation.

It is not just limited to cameras, most of the communication about mobile phones is about either the mp3 players, VGA camera and where is the basic functionality of the Mobile Phone one wonders

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