Sunday, November 30, 2008

More 'Made for India' .....

Recently came across an interesting news item in ET, the caption of the article itself is self explanatory- Barbie, now a Bhartiya naari!

The wikipideia link provides a lot of info on the brand, the history the contervorsies that it has been through... link

There are many seperate website links on the company site for barbie doll,

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mumbai Terror Attack

Have been glued to the TV for the last two days keeping myself updated. 

Found it difficult not to comment on the issue I think I along with the whole nation is shaken and will hopefully not forget this incident. 

I was just thinking how the earlier Fidayeen attacked were over in shorter time, like attack on Red Fort and Parliament , primarily they had targeted places which were protected, where they got a bullet in return. Now if some one wants to attack citizens , go shooting on roads and cafes on people who cannot fight back , take them hostages ....

On many visits to Railways Stations in our Metros I have thought about how difficult it is to protect these places, but I think we will have to develop some solution to the problems...

One thing which is clearly coming out this attack on Mumbai is that , now they want to hit the Indian economy. I think it is wake up call for the nation as a whole to get ready for major changes in the way the country is governed and secured.....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Slowdown and Corporate response

Was going through the news of last week or so to come up with the usual market update, and saw a common thread running through most of the news items, and its was about how companies are coming up with strategies to counter slowdown so thought will try to link them up....

The car firms are trying their best to counter the slowdown through a slew of measures, first is launching a series of new models to generate sales, Maruti Suzuki has started this with the launch of A Star, Xylo soon, link

And as I had written my earlier post also, rural focus is improving, as can be seen from the special focus that Maruti is giving to markets in rural Uttar Pradesh, link

And slow down has also spiked the sale of gift cars, to read more on this unique market of used gift cars read more link

And many of the auto, consumer durable and auto companies are targeting government employees who have recently got a pay hike. The pay revision along with the arrears make them a attractive market especially looking at the market conditions, link

Retailers are coming up with innovative strategies to beat the slowdown, from restructuring their existing operations to going slow on expansion , in addition to coming up with innovative schemes to push the consumers, link

This is in addition to the revenue sharing model which has talked about for some time now, link

The usual quota of market update covering the major newspapers will come tomorrow....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rural Markets are Shinning Again!!!!!

No one needs to keep emphasising that in India rural markets costitute a huge untapped opportunity, but unfortunatley it seldom gets the attention it deserves, or for that matter the consistent attention...marketers either make half-hearted attempts or the intiatives are more part of thier CSR work.
But one time when the markets gets serious attention is when the urban markets slow down and companies are hard pressed for growth, it is then that they start brushing the dust over thier rural marketing files,  as seems to be happening now.  

Coca Cola India has drawn up a fresh startegy to tap rural market. In the past too the company has tried to tap the rural opportunity by introducing coke at Rs five price point. This time around the strategy revolves around a retailer training programme for smaller grocery stores in tier II & III towns, and stepping up distribution of specific products in smaller towns, and increasing focus on marketing and operations focus for these markets. Link

Another company which is planning make good the shaort fall of growth targets through the rural areas is Maruti Suzuki. The company is focusing on these markets with it's entry-level cars. It is using a combination of large sales team and special discounts to attarct rural consumers. The two specific intiatives from Maruti for rural markets are the Resident Dealer Sales Execuitves which they are planning to appoint and 'ghar ghar mein Maruti' campaign. The focus of the Resident Dealer Sales Execuitves scheme is to use a local resident to push the sales of cars, and 'ghar ghar mein Maruti' focuses on targetting opinion leaders who would influnece the sales in the village. Link
It is very easy to criticise the short-term approach followed by companies when it comes to rural markets, but the when one sees the difficulties which exist  in making the rural markets a sustianble source of growth one is willing to empathise with them. But then there is also a need to keep the focus on these intitiaves even when the urabn growth bounces back......

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Made for India" Tag ..2

Continuing on the same theme of my previous post, other companies which have developed products exclusively for Indian markets,

FritoLay's - When it initially introduced it's international range of products and flavors in the Indian market it faced a lot of resistance from consumers. Infact it was Haldrirams which beat it the game very easily and it was not untill they came up with Indian flavors and variants that they could succeed. No guesses on their most successful 'made for India' product - Kurkure . The com
pany developed the product exclusively for Indian markets after studying the snack consumption habits and preferences of consumers.

HUL-This could easily be ranked among the most famous examples of achieving success through this strategy - the sucess of wheel . Though it will not fit into the traditional sense of designing a product for a market because HUL was forced to develop this flanker brand to counter the attack by Nirma. But even then it was a product they developed exclusively for the Indian market and went on to become  a huge success, today the Brand contributes to almost half of the turnover in their laundry business. And it has been extended to other developing markets also.

Gillette - In India Gillette  had to develop a product exclusively for Indian consumers based on usage habits. The fact that many of their twin blades were not doing well in Indian markets made the company think on the possible reasons and they observed that most of us do not use running water while shaving , reason primarily being shortage of water or running water. And when the twin blades were used in mugs it lead to the problems of hair getting stuck in between them, So the company when was developing a exclusive product for Indian market came up with the idea of creating a pushing mechanism which could be used to push the hair out called 'push-clean, anti-clogging'. The product which they developed exclusively for Indian market was Vector Plus, for which they made unpreicdented amount of investment into R&D, product development and marketing. 

I will try to add to this list later as when I remember more examples, but will look forward to addition to it by readers too....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Made for India" Tag 1

"Made for India" is increasingly becoming a coveted tag these days. This is a far cry from the early days of liberalisation when many companies came in with their older (often discontinued ) models with a misplaced confidence that Indian consumers were just waiting to lap it up . But a rude shock awaited them with them the harsh truth that Indian consumers were as discerning as their counterparts in the other parts of the world . Even luxury brands like Merc have learnt their lessons and today their product portfolio has their latest offering, learning from their hard experience of consumer rejecting the initial model which was being used mostly as a taxi in New york, though it will be a long time before they start thinking about making cars for specifically Indians.

This interest of developing products specifically for Indian market has been around for some years now, though with the global financial turmoil we might be one of those few countries with any growth left. One company which has done this seriously is and achieved substantial success in India is Nokia. Nokia 1100 was one of its first mobiles to designed exclusively for Indian markets. The torch light , unique grip were introduced specifically to cater to the specific needs of Indian consumers, weather and usage. The latest is the proposed introduction of ' Nokia Life Tools' service would be an additional service with focus on e-mail, agriculture and education which would enhance its standing in the Indian market.

Coming back to automobiles, we have been waiting for a long time for the Toyota Indian car, but the company is taking its own time to come up with it. Latest is MUL which says it will come up with a its first made in India car by 2010-11 and ford has also been planning to come up with a small car for both Indian as well as export markets. And Nano has brought a lot of interest in low cost cars and many companies want to develop such cars for the Indian market.

We have come a full circle of days when people spoke about only global products to localisation to developing products exclusively for a market, in the next part we will look at a few more examples of MNCs which had to develop products exclusively for Indian markets...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

An interesting product ...

I saw this ad in business today and could'nt ressit sharing it with my readers. Made me think on how much has been done in a seemingly basic product....

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Market Update 8.11.08

An update on what is happening in the Indian marketplace thru newspapers articles,

Starting with the coverage of Strategist,

The main story was on the analysis of the low cost airlines concept and how in five years the low cost model seems to have come unstuck in India, link

A good write-up on reality and reality plus, link

Brandequity had more than it's usual share of good articles,

Indygenous, a column which used to be fairly regular some time back made a re-entry with the story of the 300 crore Indian brand SpyKar. Gives us a very good insight on how a brand was built from ground on, Link

Talk with william lauder, CEO of $8 Billion premium cosmetic business, link

Then there is also PDAs are struggling to make a come back, link

Business Line Catalyst,

A detailed interview with Nitin Paranjpe, CEO and MD of HUL, where he shares how the company is faring and the growth in urban and rural markets and much more, link

His take on the food portfolio of the company, link and the logic behind the power brand strategy, link

Lessons from wine marketing by Harish Bhat, link

Other news

There has been a lot of coverage on dell in India, the business today story on how the fortunes of the company have been on an upswing in India, link. The economic times also had a few write-ups on the company, link1, link2

Nokia and more emerging market handsets, link

Samsung into mass customization mode in India, link

Mobile marketing and emergence in India, Link

Dabur ties-up with Dhoni, link

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Death of a Product - Maruti 800?

There is ample literature on how a product needs to be killed.There are prescriptions available on how the issue of retiring a product has to be carefully done keeping in mind the consumers who would still be using the product.

One product in India, about which we have been hearing the eminent death for a very long time is the ubiquitous Maruti 800. When Maruti Alto was launched, it was said to be a replacement for 800 and every one started saying it is time to be say goodbye to it. But then it was not withdrawn though even the company might have initially thought of it as a replacement for the aging 800. And the decision of not withdrawing it proved right as both Alto and 800 did very well in the market. Today i saw one more news item which said that phase-out of the model was more or less certain, link.

There are many reasons why 800 still continues to sell, it is still the cheapest car which can be bought in India and the company has made the investments long back and has recovered the money long back and thus continuing the production till the die lasts makes sense for the company. And in a country like India having presence in all possible price points make sense for a company and that too if the price point is the lowest in the market.

Though one does get a feeling that it maybe a time to say bye to a model which has sold 27,50,000+ since launch, as it is driven by the new emission norms which would come to force in the coming days, but then you never know......

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