Friday, December 26, 2008

Books on India

I have been planning a lot of books from office to home for the last couple of months, so the books have started piling up at home too. Just saw the pile and was trying to make some sense of it.

One set of books are the ones on India. The interest was triggered by Nadan Nilekani's - Imagining India, and so I have picked up Ramachandra Guha India After Gandhi(yet to read), India the emerging giant - Arvind Panagariya (again very densely written by the renowned economist, so will need quite an effort to read it), and trying to revisit Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Celebrity Endorsments Moving beyond the Obvious

I have been generally very critical of the approach taken by marketers in India towards using celebrities. Most of them end up using them as an easy-unimaginative option to promote their product, and so you would find Amitabh Batchan endorsing cement, emani creams,chocolates and what not.....

But I can see a subtle change happening in the arena of celebrity endorsements and product placements and thought it is worth writing about. The way samsung mobile is trying to align with Aamir Khan in many other activities is making me feel they are able to leverage Aamir Khan brand much better than anyone else has done in the past. The fact that they have launched a limited edition Ghjani Mobile to coincide with the launch of the movie is something worth noticing. And as far as Aamir and his marketing skills go it would need another full post.....

And the issue of product placement is also something which is coming to age in India. In the latest SRK movie, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi... and found SRK using an i10 in the movie and he has been a brand ambassador for Hyundai almost since they came to India. And similarly I remember that KBC had to shift the computers that they 
were using in the programme from Lenovo to Compaq when SRK became the new host. So that way things are improving 

But then people like  Martin Lindstrom have used advanced brain scanning techniques to study the response of consumers towards product placement and branding and has brought out the fact that mere product placement does not help and it is how well it is integrated into the theme of the movie or programme is what makes it memorable. There are many more insights in his highly recommended book buy.ology.

But I see this as a positive trend, trying to leverage the presence of the celebrity across the movies and programs he is into..

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Shake-Shake in Indian Market

I was observing two ads in the TV which were emphasising the shaking and mixing of products by consumers  . One is the shake fries by Mc Donalds and the latest flavours introduced by Lays chips wherein they have also included a pack of Sauce with the chips. The consumer in the both the cases is expected to tear the sauce or masala and pour it on and shake.

The idea maybe is to introduce some excitement in a category like fries, but also driven by the observation that many of us do eat chips with Sauce. Aim would be to increase consumer's involvement with the product......

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Twitter is active

Had started with twitter sme time back, but then forgot. But now onwards plan to keep it updated. Put a link on the blog too..

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rural and Urban Multinational Linkage

When we talk about rural markets we tend to see it as something which is too far and disconnected from our normal day-to-day activities, but as consumers of many products and services the linkage with rural is much closer than we realise. 

When we buy agricultural commodities like wheat and rice some of us might think about its rural linkage , but for retailers the procurement network in rural becomes  very critical if they have to ensure consistent quality at reasonable prices.

But what I am trying to say is that the linkage is much closer. A good example of this is the french fries that you eat in any of the 132 Mc Donald's restaurants across the country. Most of us would agree to the fact they tend to be much crispier than whatever we eat in some other restaurant  or prepared at home. And world wide it is a proposition to which they stick to . This is ensured through an efficient supply network in place of right kind of potatoes. For which they have to get these specific varieties of potatoes grown(usually exclusively from Mc Donald's) and then transported through a cold chain. The same applies to other ingredients which go into making a burger. 

But this in turn has also restricted the speed at which they been able to expand their operations in India, as they have to have the cold chain and procurement network in place before they start their restaurants.

Many more instances of how a efficient back end rural linkage is essential to ensure a consistent offering for the urban consumer. Be it how Pepsi went in for contract farming in Punjab for tomato's and potatoes or the echoupal model providing the linkage to the foods division of ITC.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Forgotten Mascots

I was trying to list the brand mascots which have disappeared from the Indian market. The sad part is that they had a very good recall among consumers, but unfortunately they were discontinued by the companies. The logic given is by doing so they would make the brands more contemporary, but then the question is have they been able to create some thing comparable?
I could remember only three of these lost mascots,
1. Asian Paints - Gattu
2. Kelvinator - Penguin

3. Air India's Maharaja...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Market Update 6.12.08

A rather long update, because it was long due....

Economic Times Brand Equity covered,
How should Indian Brands react to the slow down, no better time than this for Indian brands to invest in Brand building , more on this, link

Interview with Muktesh Pant of YUM!, sharing his marketing insights from his stints at Unilever, Pepsico and Reebok, link

Logo change by Indian companies, trying to decipher the logic behind why so many Indian companies have opted for a change of logo, link

Slow-down and Ad expenditure, link

Emotions and Branding , link

Buiness Standard Strategist,
The cola war detailed out with the latest on Pepsi Slim Can versus Coke express, link
Dabur acquistion of Fem and the proposed restructuring of the brand management structure, link

Pepsi Versus ITC in the snack market, link

Brand Endorsments the focus shifting more to bollywood from cricket, link

Diageo India story, link

The stories covered in Catalyst over the last few weeks,
The turnaround story of Whirlpool India, the launch of Genius the direct cool refrigerator and problems at attrition, competition and dealer level, more on the story, Link

The latest issue talks about the effort being put by our public sector banks for a makeover, insights from their current campaigns, link

The issue of how brand valuation is ignored in India, link

Harish Bijoor in his regular column answers questions, on slow down and impact on retailing, and issues of re-branding, link

Why oriflame is not worried about recession, interview with the COO of the company, link

FM radio as a ad medium, and how it is coming to age in the country, and the impact of the entry of RAM (Radio Audience Measurment) in increasing accountability, link

I will try and cover marketing stories from business today also, earlier use to be avaialble only to subscribers, now is open access, link

Couple of issues back the cover story was on India's Best Marketers, they have had this regular feature for some years now, and the issue is full of marketing news in India, must read, just a sample from the list of best marketers, Airtel, Axis Bank, Cafe Coffee day, Lalit Modi..... More on the story link

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Book Recommendation!!!

Been quite some time since I have updated my book list, will do it across the week...but thought of sharing a book which am halfway thru and felt should be on the 'must read' list. Talks about the India and ideas for the new century, lot of insights for any one wanting to understand India better...

As with any good launch the book has a companion website and blog,

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