Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Brand -ambassador-quagmire!!!!!!

The brand ambassador Quagmire:

With niche marketing getting more focus than ever before, the puzzle of hiring, managing, changing and associating brand ambassadors is a major ponder point for companies.

Brand consultant Harish Bijoor is of the opinion that brand effectiveness differs with different stages of the product life cycle and is subjective to the segment and company goodwill. Further, Prof.C.K.Prahlad has given out his opinion that companies need to ensure n=1, and R=G. That’s mass customization and individual focus to ensure higher satisfaction amongst customers and promote loyalty. It’s further stated in a few cases that brand ambassadors involvement for product/service promotion is very much necessary. But then, I sincerely feel that this kind of phenomena is noticed in a mere 2-3% of products (FMCG, clothing etc) and high involvement goods, luxury goods are absolutely independent of celebrity endorsement (Jewellery, housing, furniture, automobile etc).

Further, increased product comparison in all forms of media, rating scale, opinion buying and significant market awareness has led to a choosy, careful and educated buyer.

In case of low value goods too, the trend seems to be rapidly changing. The star value of a cricketer/actor could change substantially over a small period of time and that could affect the brand perception. Though there are a few exceptions to this like SRK
(If at all one film of his is a flop the next one at least will surely be money grosser at the box office). This is because these kind of stars have a consistent fan following. And this fan bank has no chances of depletion. The only take is appreciation and increase in the fan bank which in turn could (not necessarily) lead to an appreciation in the brand value. But, brand endorsement can play a very big role in damage control. (Dairy milk and Big B effect for the record).

Celebrity endorsement/Brand ambassador involvement can have substitution and a smooth transition is always possible without any damage. Brand endorsement fund can be effectively transferred to better R&D, product promotion in discounts and freebies and events etc. This would definitely work over a period of time and companies could use this to ensure sustained growth.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

The attitude side of life

It’s so strange and so obvious that attitude matters so much. With protests happening in New York protesting against the Chinese policy of Tibet when the Olympic flame entered NY or models protesting naked for PETA or people in Carolina protesting against pollution people in that part of the world seem to be doing a great job compared to our people who have only been fighting each other over Hoggenkal, over language over caste and so on.

The attitude side of life becomes very important and we need to realize that burning buses, breaking street lights, burning vehicles is not at all the solution to any of our problems. On an estimate the Govt of India has lost about 65 crores due to rioting and damage to govt property in the year 2003.(Data for succeeding years is not available).That again translates to the fact that we pay taxes, they get buses or street lights, we burn them and govt collects the booty again!
It pains me, time and again to say “MERA BHARAT MAHAN”. It is simply an embarrassing situation top be in. The only medicine for all this is “change in the attitude/mentality of people” and this will not easily come by. And for this to happen, the educated, informed, tech savvy India has to come forward to educate people at all levels and create awareness. And all resources have to be pooled in, all channels have to be used for the process. Well, I do not want to convert Bengaluru to LA or Chennai to CA but only the attitude has got to change .. So nxt time around a riot or a strike happens, plz keep all the above things in mind! And for a country to be developed the most important matter According to me is, “CHANGE IN THE ATTITUDE SIDE OF LIFE"

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

“Seeming SEXY is not enough; it’s more about BEING sexy”

Appearances do matter they say, but it’s not all about appearances. It is also about the content. The more evolved the better. Ok…… Wondering why all this gyaan?

Yesterday I overheard two housewives (Who are usually louder) speaking to each other on branded tea. This happened when I went to buy some household items at a kirana store nearby. For our convenience let’s assume their names to ‘Ratnamma’ and ‘Nagamma’ ie; Rats n Nags for short. Here goes:
Rats: I wonder why we have to buy branded tea like “Taj Mahal” and “Red Label”.
Nags: That’s extremely simple. It’s because they’re branded and that means quality assured.
Rats: But then there are local brands like “X” that are equally good in terms of quality and you can literally get twice the quantity for the same price. Howzzat?
Nags: But still by buying a local product you could be giving scope for error.
Rats: Well, the fact that a brand did well last time and the fact that it’s a well known “brand” does not ensure it’s performance every time in terms of quality and quantity. Further, when there is no seemingly large difference, why bother?
Nags: Ya, I have to agree to this point. It’s very much valid and definitely has a lot of food for thought.

The above conversation between Rats and Nags ie; Ratnamma and Nagamma kept me pondering. As a student of marketing for the last three years, I have been learning about branding, the power of branding, and the charisma in branding and so on. And now I was in a big quandary. All that learning has to be probably unlearnt and new things learnt and re-learnt.

The conversation between these two women taught me a lot many things. In India, brand consciousness has been developing recently and phenomenon like brand imitation, spurious brands do reflect that. But then, people will surely not be taken for a ride! For me the conversation marks the beginning of a new era in itself. A thoughtful, careful, educated, and also empowered customer. An average Indian on street wears about twelve brands (Source: Harish Bijoor’s address at Brand-alore, Nov-2007.) Compared to improved countries like US, Canada which have people wearing at least 30 brands on street, we still have a long way to go. But companies have to learn a lot about the customer since India is a very diverse and different market compared to other international companies.

‘Brands’ are exceedingly vulnerable to several entities. They tend to attract competition, attract raised eyebrows and also attract “CASH”. With impetus on the term “profit margin” rather than the term “profit”, brands, just like horses have to improve timings over performances, mere “victories” are not enough!!!!!!!!!Brandophoria????????? Gottcha! SEEMING SEXY IS NOT ENOUGH IT’S MORE ABOUT BEING SEXY.