With luv from Outer Space… Godrej travels brandishly

•May 19, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The Godrej group can be cited as one of the most diversified and best examples of a”Branded house” in India. The decades old group is in the process of a prolongated rebranding exercise. What started with the colourful make over of the logo and rejuvenating the ads to be more refreshing and pleasant, is now continuing with repositioning of their products in each of the categories. For instance, the recent Cinthol ads have been given a face lift with Hristhik Roshan endorsing the brand. I personally feel that this ad ( to emphasize on the 24hr long protection) where they show case the cinthol deo chasing Hrithik in a desert setting is of the most “ordinary-in-class” types.

The group has also brought in a series of ads and new range of products in the white goods category over the past dozen months. All of them carry the brand name Godrej EON and have been touted to be equipped with latest digital technology. They had also launched an Air conditioner (AC) under this name is as “Godrej EON Air Conditioners. Godrej has continously supported this product range with ample ad spend. A survey done last year suggests that the Godrej EON AC’s led the market with 16% share of the total ads aired in Jan-Mar 2008. This year too I am sure they have spent enough to command a good Top-of-Mind recall. And to add to all that, this summer Godrej has taken up a new way to rebrand this product by showcasing its technology competency in an other field.

 The Precision Components & Systems Division (PCS) Division or the Godrej Aerospace Labs as it is projected these days has been around for over two decades now. However very little has been known about PCS to the end consumer over these years. Talking on the lines of brand awareness, we can as well say the PCS division would score very much near zero when surveyed amongst the general public on their Brand Recognition score. This division is said to have supplied many crucial components to various Indian Space missions over the years. After all these years of existence and excellence in the aerospace technology, the marketing brains at Godrej have thought of a new way to leverage this expertise. Little would have the competitiors known that Godrej will start usign its Aerospace Labs as an endorsement for its EON brand of AC’s. No one stopped you from using the positives of one product / division from your stable to improvizse the position of the other. That is exactly what Godrej has done.

The manner in which they have done the endorsement is also truely systematic. They did not start by putting Aerospace Labs labels all over the Eon AC’s overnight. They began by first getting the customer to familiarise with the Aerospace labs division. In other words they first put up ads to improve the Brand awareness for the labs division. (remember the Ad where the coffee mug floats in the Vaccuum…). This kept the consumers guessing and increased their curiosity to know more about the labs. Im sure many of us would have googled about these labs the very next day.(Well, I did it for sure). Then they upped the ante slightly by showcasing the achievements and what they have done for ISRO over the years. And finally last week they came out with the ad that says they have used their experience in Aerospace technologies to craft the best in class AC’s for the consumers(What and Idea Sir ji ?!! ).

And yesterday they had the same thign done to advertise their Interior decor range of products. Sold under the brand name “Godrej Interio” , the ads for this product now say that the companies expertise in buiding compact aero space components has helped them design compact and efficiently space utilizing interior decors.

To put it simply, they have helped the consumers learn about an otherwise unknown brand from the Godrej group and have succesfully graduated to the level of using this relatively lesser known brand to endorse the othjer brands from the house of Godrej. This is purely marvelous stuff from Godrej and the minds behind this campaign.

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The new age Political playground : Rise of Web 2.0 & Social Media in Indian Politics

•May 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I believe a majority of the politicians in India play the game based on the Social classes of the country. There were days when candidates won purely based on the votes from people belonging to their own social class or caste. And there have been cases where candidates have played well with the social set up itself in order to gain advantage. This happened with the likes of  Nitish’s JDU and Laloo’s RJD in the state of Bihar. When RJD garnered majority with the ‘Yadava’ votes, JDU’s supremo has been successful in re-engineering the society itself. (He was the one to come up with the new the new class of the society called the Mahadalits).

This propaganda of has remained the same to much of an extent over the decades. However the current elections have seen a surge in the role of the Internet and the other innovative media being put to use by the politicians. It makes me believe that the campaign team of Barack Obama and its way of making use of the web has inspired the think tanks of the Indian Politicians. Obama has for sure brought about a noticeable change in the way Indian politicians battle each other. The “Obama way of campaign” as I would like to call it, has been a great success. Business houses around the world have learnt a lot from this masterful campaign strategy, especially onthe angles of leveraging the powers of Web 2.0. The parties have now found a new way to reach the masses with their agenda.BJP I would say has made the best use of the web offerings. They are making fullest possible use of all the so called Web 2.0 platforms and avenues. They even have the credit of picking up graduates from IIM’s to intern with them and aid “LK” ji on his strategic moves for this election.

We have young candidates like Milind Deora who are active on the social networking sites like facebook.The site for “LK” ji has links to all the major social networking sites including Orkut, Facebook and Youtube. The site has options to join the discussion forums too. Onecan register to receive updates via e-mail and SMS. The website is in no way sub standard. It has been designed and maintained in a very professional way.

Then we have this young South Chennai candidate Sarath Babu with a real Life rags-to-riches story. He talks of his early life and the way he fought his battles while addressing various forums and meets (thereby going about inspiring young people to do what they want to do). Not a surprise that he was Voted Pepsi MTV Youth Icon 2008. An alumnus of BITS-Pilani and IIM-A this first generation entrepreneur has taken up politics to eradicate hunger. His website was launched recently and his campaign is very strongly dependant on his on-line network of friends and in turn their friends. With wide spread media coverage and prompt help from his social networking circles he has achieved a phenomenal reach at least to the educated, web savvy vote bank of south Chennai. He is also leveraging the brand values of IIM and BITS to the his best advantage.

After decades of dominance on the traditional media forums, the politicans have now come to steal the lime light on the social media also. They might not quite deliver the change that they promise to bring, but their ways of winning over votes has undergone a sea change in the past decade. We can even say that this change marks a huge forward looking strategic shift in the campaign media strategy.

This would present Marketeers and PR pros with a new opportunities. And what does this mean for the general public??!!

If the politicians continue to mobilise support and opinions through the social media, it would be a very effective and fast way to compile public Opinion. And the social media will prove to be a very very effective forum to voice our opinions and gather mass support in huge numbers so as to gain the attention of the Government. Well these might take a bit of time to happen, but will happen for sure. 🙂 … Let hope that Change happens in India too.

And by the way guys,  pls cast your precious votes. Remember its still the old way, You can’t enjoy the convenience of On-line voting. 😉

SARS, 9/11, Oil Prices, Recession and now Swine flu

•April 30, 2009 • 2 Comments

Any event that affects global sentiments, will affect the aviation industry without any doubt… That is what I get to derive from what has been happening to this lucrative industry over the past decade or so.

We had the 9/11, the deadliest terror attack on American soil which suddenly sent shock waves around the world making people to fear air travel. A few years later came SARS that proved even more deadly. These two incidents in history saw a big lull in global air traffic. Drastically bringing down revenues and air traffic. Reports say that in September 2001, when a larger part of the global fleet was grounded temporarily, the decline was in air traffic was 13.9%.

IATA’s outlook for the current year has not been very encouraging either to the aviation players.  The economic slowdown has prompted travelers to spend every penny more wisely. An estimated 30 to 35% of all the cargo is transported via air. IATA’s director general Giovanni Bisignani had commented that “2009 is shaping up to be one of the toughest ever years”.
The fall in crude prices has done no good except for a few airlines who have managed to stay in the black. But a majority of the players are still running in the red zone. In a recent interview Bisignani has said “It’s not the end of the recession, but we may have found the floor.” .. Floor all right…. But how low is that floor ??!

Now given all this, we have another threat.. In comes the Swine Flu from the pig farms of Mexico. Thanks to the heavy consumption of bacon and pork across North America, these regions have thickly(really thick) bred pig farms. This has given rise to the probability of infections being passed onf rom swine to the humans. Air travellers around the world have been issued safety warnings. Major MNC in Mexico have issued warnings to their workforce in Mexico as well as people going there. Airports have started using thermal scanners to detect infections. Generic flu vacines are the thing of the day in the pharma markets. Govenrments and Organisations around the world have started to gather vaccines adn medicines on a large scale.Now what have we go on our hands… Is it going to be another threat that the Airlien industry will shrug off ?! Yeah U bet they will shrug it off succesfully.

The Mass Market is fast becoming a “Lesser mass”

•April 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Off late I have been quite intrigued by the concept of Long Tail. Especially the effects it has on Consumer behavior. Will talk about the tail in future posts. The posts under the category Mind Matters will be more focussed on consumer mindsets and their implications for the product.

There was an age when products were mass produced and sold to masses. Remember the T model…  Actors were called Mass heroes and their films were supposed to appeal to the masses. Soaps like Cinthol and Lifebuoy were for the masses. however today  I feel that,  this group, the so called “masses” is continuing to reduce gradually in its size. Thus the volumes generated out of the masses have also started to reduce.

Compared to the Movie halls being the only medium for movies, today we have a number of other medium. be it the DTH service, or the Online movie libraries and rentals. U get to choose from a huge offering, and the movies aired can be subscribed to your own taste. Its no mroe the case of watching what’s shown on the idiot box. The movies and content can be tailor made and chosen to your own preferences and tastes.

When CK Prahalad and MS Krishnan talk abt N=1 and R=G, it also means that down the time lane, there will be no two similar products owned by two different individuals.. They will all be customized to individual needs and tastes. You can no longer be profitable by only serving the Mass market merely beacause the mass market wont be of the smae size as it is today. More and more people will go for Niche offerings as it be

Today’s Brick and Mortar stores have a stock range that appeals to the wider mass. So when I as a customer walk in “I dont get what I really want.” instead ” I get to choose from what most other people visiting the store want”. Isn’t this a form of choice restriction…??? 😐 . This is true with irrespective of the size adn format of the store. They dotn stock items that are not picked up on a profitable scale.

This is where the online stores score hands down. Since they have no limitation of space(Central warehousing), they can afford to store even niche products that is wanted by say only 2 to 3% of the customers. This is one of the greatest advantages of online stores.

Not only that, the online portals have now started to encourage customer to continue buying niche products. People who did not buy niche items just beacause they were not available have now got the option of buying it online. Thus it adds more sense for online protals to offer products that are niche too. The search engines can then guide the customers to their portal.

Day by day the people who buy niche products will increase and they will leave the so called “Mass Market” group. Masses will no longer have the same mass. Indivuduals can now afford to hold on to their individual preferences without the restrictions of choice.

Cricket Commentators – Voicing for brands

•April 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Left the last post with DLF Maximum. Well thats what the brands are trying to score at each and every second they get during this IPL 2. And guess who is supporting them with the fullest cooperation. The commentators in the matches.

After every six – they say “and he has lofted the ball over mid-wicket for a DLF Maximum” 😉

After every wicket or a half century – they say ” That is definitely a City Moment of Success“.

The Man of the match cash award is accompanied with – the new black and red  “Hero Honda Hunk” bike. And one lucky Vodafone fan gets to take home the Match ball signed by the winning captain.

One must appreciate the commentators for doing a wonderful job here. They keep repeating the brand names at every single opportunity and also keep thanking the four main sponsors(Citi,Vodafone,Fly Kingfisher and Hero Honda) at regular points in time during the match. I must say the IPL 2 organisers have gone out of their way to get the commentators to do this. The brand names keep resonating so many times during this 3 and a half hour match. I wonder by the next season of IPL, Modi will sell out the branding of Sixes, fours, wickets, 50’s and 100’s to differnet brands and make a few more billions in that. IPL 2 may not be pouring in with Sixes and fours when compared to IPL 1, but its for sure puring in millions from the sponsors.

Zoozoo – the new kid in town

•April 28, 2009 • 1 Comment

Its been a great success story what Lalit Modi has carved out in the name of IPL 2. After all the initial glitches, the tournament got finally kicked off. Hats off to this guy. A domestic tournament played on foreign soil.. Now thats what I call “Out of the box” 🙂

Tnx to the rain gods and lacklusture stroke play by some, IPL 2 has not been that much exciting. And with my home team, the Chennai Super Kings loosing 3 off 5, IPL 2 has not interested me to an extent it should have. But with all that said, it has been a rich ground for brands to show case their products and to make a makr in the viewers mind share. It has been pouring ads for sure in this season as well. The Vodafone TVC series circling around the new character ‘Zoozoo‘ (to show case Vodafones’ Value Added Services)has been a tale of success so far.  The character have been successfull in keeping the viewers glued to the TV during the commercials. Few points that I luvd about the Vodafone TVC…

– Doing away with the Costly Bolloywood actors as Brand Ambasaadors. This must have reduced the production costs by a phenomenal margin to help put the money into somethin else. Saving costs means a lot at this juncture in time 🙂

– Unlike the Airtel ad(With Vidya Balan ‘n Madhavan) this one never gets u bored even after being played over and over again.

– The small variations in the sizes n shapes of the Zoozoo’s make it transfrom from one personality to another. For isntance that tiny ribbon kinda stuff on the head to denote its the gal friend and the yellow toy in hand to show its the sister. Its amazing see how much detail they have gone into to make the effect look stunning.

– To top it all, they have come up with a series of ads to coincide with the entire season of IPL 2. And they have a microsite , a Facebook fan group and Youtbe channel to promote the Zoozoo fever. 🙂

My favourite one was the ad for “Beauty Alerts” . However Vodafone must take care that the ZooZoo doesnt get bigger than the Vodafone brand itself as the pug did a few months ago. More than eveyrthing else Vodafone will not have to face the wrath of the Animal Rights activits. Ogilvy India scores a DLF Maximum (More on that in the next post) with this assignment.