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Showing posts from June, 2009

Forget Social justice, Nano's about Marketing

'In the peculiar and self-serving vocabulary of our times, to the new middle class, the Nano represents ‘freedom’ and a ‘me-too’ model of consumer justice. At the same time, the Nano model of industrialisation is being presented as the only way to resuscitate our ailing agrarian economy that has been driven to desperation out of sheer neglect. However, we must see the Nano for what it truly represents. On the one hand it represents the Indian maturation of the seductive allure of the assembly line. On the other hand, it represents a particularly insidious coming together of state and market forces that greatly imperils the best of our values.

More than making the case against the Nano in economic and ecological terms, we must not accept the dangerous claim being put forth that automobile ownership must not remain an entitlement of the rich alone. We must not accept this specious notion of equity. Confronting the power of the global assembly line will require us to draw upon our dee…

Why I am commited to being irked

When Joe Sugarman taught the business world about 'consistency' being a great trigger in enhancing sales, he also helped me understand why when something irks me, in all probability I would take it further and be irked by issues that I wouldn't otherwise even bother about. I mean, if my psychological state of mind takes a commitment towards being irked, I would be hassled by almost everything. The 'bother' was started by something trivial at home. Soon it spread to the way I reacted to subsequent engagements. It was infectious. In normal times, such issues wouldn't have bothered me a bit.

Now, why is this important, especially in the present times? Simply because the recession has seen consumers not making too many purchase commitments. Therefore it becomes imperative that if they do, the marketer must capitalise on that mood of commitment and upsell as much as possible. Remember, it isn't easy to come by someone who wants to buy a lifestyle brand. But shoul…

Pitfalls of Public Options

Even if one accepts the president’s broader goals of wider access to health care and cost containment, his economic logic regarding the public option is hard to follow. Consumer choice and honest competition are indeed the foundation of a successful market system, but they are usually achieved without a public provider. We don’t need government-run grocery stores or government-run gas stations to ensure that Americans can buy food and fuel at reasonable prices.

An important question about any public provider of health insurance is whether it would have access to taxpayer funds. If not, the public plan would have to stand on its own financially, as private plans do, covering all expenses with premiums from those who signed up for it.

But if such a plan were desirable and feasible, nothing would stop someone from setting it up right now. In essence, a public plan without taxpayer support would be yet another nonprofit company offering health insurance. The fundamental viability of the ent…

The King Is Dead

Its rare to have someone whose music connects with people across the world. Yes, the language of music is eternal, but genres vary and and so don't find universal acceptance. Michael is one who beat those rules. His music connected and reverberated around the world.

Maybe it was the times, maybe it was the music. Maybe it was just the man. Whatever, Michael rewrote the rules of marketing where you say, products have to be targeted at specific consumer segments. Michael's music in being universal had gotten global masses to buy in. Didn't matter where they came from or which culture they belonged to. Part Michael was the maverick musical genius, part the master, at marketing.
It won't be easy again to come by another artiste who breaks cultural barriers and finds the kind of acceptance Michael did. And that distinctly unique quality of his, ensures him a place amongst the legends. The mystery surrounding his death will only add mystique to the legend.
The King is dead.

No space for MySpace

Hollywood screenwriter William Goldman once famously remarked about the entertainment industry: “Nobody knows anything.” It turns out the axiom applies to the Internet, as well. The brief history of the World Wide Web—and mankind’s valiant efforts to wring profits out of same—is replete with confirming evidence of Goldman’s axiom, a kind of unified field theory of cluelessness that has yet to be disproved...

The latest proof of Goldman’s axiom is the sad story of MySpace. In 2005, it was acclaimed as the planet’s hottest social-networking site. Today it is widely considered an ailing property, having slashed overhead to confront the new reality in which it will no longer have Google to prop up cash flow: The search giant is pulling the plug on a reported $300 million in annual payments for the privilege of using MySpace as an advertising platform.

- Lloyd Grove, 'How MySpace Blew It'.

All I care about is me. Me, me, me!

Marketing's all about the consumer. Not about you or your products and services. Though this may sound rather simple, it isn't easily understood. No matter how many times you say it, the biggest mistake firms make is in trying to communicate product features, not benefits. Consumers couldn't care less about your features, till the time they deliver benefits. And for consumers, taking the position of seeking benefits comes naturally, as the only entity they are obsessed with, is themselves. This goes even for the 'altruistic' ones out there.Take Obama's healthcare plan for a moment. Its interesting to note that a majority in the US. want an overhaul of the healthcare system as long as it doesn't affect their personal status. Sure, they say, fix the healthcare system so everyone benefits. But not at my cost. That is, I am not willing to pay more in taxes so my neighbour without healthcare can benefit. Find the money to fix his healthcare from elsewhere. Don&#…

Why Textbooks matter

Talking to Anita yesterday, I was reminded of how Textbooks matter even outside classrooms. She uses her prescribed IMC textbook at times as a guide to the kind of work she does. Ditto for Rahul. A few weeks ago he told me how the Strategy textbook works for him at his place of work. Especially since his present responsibilities involve designing a growth strategy for the Banking firm he works at.

Seth's got a point. Surely, no textbook out there's complete and comprehensive. There are bound to be errors of omission. But textbooks help too. They act as a guide to structure your thoughts, till you practice the structured approach so many times, it almost becomes a way of life and then you don't have to refer to them anymore. Again, no textbooks say the approach they teach is gospel. Its just one smart way. At any time you are free to abandon the route advocated by a textbook and go with your gut feel. In fact as an academic I recommend you do that. At times.

Note why HBS prof…

Will the real Shia Lebouf please stand up?

When I first read about what Shia LeBouf had said, I thought to myself, 'What a jerk!'. When saner sense prevailed, I realised that Shia had done what any brand would have, in his place. That is do whatever it is to connect with one's consumer audience. The irony is, the saner me still thinks he's a first class jerk for having talked the way he did. Is 'class' forever dead?Shia's audience around the world, I bet, consists of the youth brigade. The kind who think Obama's god's gift to mankind. All emotion, not much of reason. (Ok, that's a tad unfair, I admit, young Conservatives may be part of that fan base.) Anyway when one's young, one tends to either be rebellious, or compliant and yet secretly desire rebellion. This is turn ensures that one's affinity towards brands that live that rebellion is pretty strong. Shia's talk is one that builds an image of rebellion. An image that sees him being perceived as one who doesn't care to…

Textbook rant

Seth opines'assigning a textbook to your college class is academic malpractice'.Should I risk agreement? (I am a Seth fan, so I plead lack of 'objective judgement'!)Note the responses he got, to his view.[Update: got more mail about this post than any other post ever. People pointed to Flatworld and to Quirk, and so far, more than 94% of the letters aggressively agree with me. Most of the people are either students, parents of students, former students or other disgruntled customers that are tired of being ripped off by a senseless, broken system. I also heard from a handful of people who said that I was jealous, that the union won't permit the system to change, that textbooks are really good, that professors are underpaid, that professors are too busy or (possibly and) that I'm delusional. I'll note that not one of these letters came from a textbook user.]

Why Obama’s realpolitik is flawed

1) If the mullahs win, they will have greater contempt for our timidity; 2) if the dissidents win, they will not forget our realistic fence-sitting; 3) you can never believe (ever) anything the mullahs say or do. Negotiating with them is like signing a pact with Hitler. They are afraid of US voiced support for the dissidents, not the dissidents themselves who ask for our solidarity. If anything, the theocrats grasp that their own do not want a nuclear confrontation with Israel in which the people would be sacrificial pawns. Again and again, the dissidents have repeated that they are tired of being hated in the world as Ahmadinejad’s Iranians, not that they wanted Obama’s America to be less critical of Ahmadinejad.

-Victor Davis Hanson, 'Why Should Obama Speak Out on Iran? Let Me Count the Ways'

The 'Fatherless' personality

Rand O'Brien, a licensed social worker, says fatherlessness can lead to two personality types, both of which seem fairly well-suited for politics.

"When men lose a father early, two major things happen. First, they can be vaunted into the 'father' role early and looked to by the mother to make 'male' decisions and become parentified, thus taking on decision-making and 'cajoling' the leadership early on and therefore having a lot of practice in leadership. Becoming 'the man of the house.'

"Second, where there is not the model of maleness in the house, then the stereotypical images of being a man become the model,” he continues. “So the man becomes what is seen on the TV, movies, books: He becomes what the society wants as a man…When he gets ready to be the candidate, he is packaged ready to go as the 'man' society wants.

"Of course, today, this model applies to fatherless girls/women as well, in a different way,” O’Brien points ou…

The Myopia risk in Realpolitik

Taking my post on 'Realpolitik and Marketing' forward, note what courageous Iranian student activist Ahmad Betebi has to say about Obama's response to Iran.

"His (Obama) lack of response will not be regarded lightly. We will watch for how much his response will help the people or the regime. We will know more this week... Obama can hold talks with the regime in Iran if he wants. Is it morally correct for Obama to support the regime? Does he actually believe the people of Iran will appreciate that? The social movement requires support. If the world really wants the advent of terrorism to disappear in the Middle East, if they want peace with the Palestinians and Israel, if they want nuclear technology to be developed for peaceful things and not nuclear weapons... They only need to support the people of Iran right now. This regime has the most dangerous of ideologies. They're killing the opposition."

Listen to the complete Ahmad Betebi interview here.

Winning the Battle, Losing the War

I guess the Record labels that sued a 32-year-old mother who had willfully infringed on their copyrights by downloading and sharing 24 songs on the Kazaa peer-to-peer network, may have won the battle. The courts have awarded them $1.92 million in damages. But what they have lost, is the war. The war for consumer sentiment. They have lost it by alienating consumers who feel the record industry charges prices that simply are too high.

Can consumers retaliate, especially since there isn't any semblance of a mass movement against the 'overcharging' labels? I think they can. Especially by acquiring music through means other than a legal buy of songs and albums. Is that possible? With the Internet ensuring that anything that's digital's copied and made available on a tangible device, it's possible to get hold of music without having to pay.

But beyond the question of legality lies the question of perception that dictates consumer sentiment. For the record labels nothin…

The world of Marketing & Realpolitik

(Wikipedia) Realpolitik (German: real “realistic”, “practical” or “actual”; and Politik “politics”) refers to politics or diplomacy based primarily on practical considerations, rather than ideological notions. The term realpolitik is often used pejoratively to imply politics that are coercive, amoral, or Machiavellian. Realpolitik is a theory of politics that focuses on considerations of power, not ideals, morals, or principles. The term was coined by Ludwig von Rochau, a German writer and politician in the 19th century, following Klemens von Metternich's lead in finding ways to balance the power of European empires. Balancing power to keep the European pentarchy was the means for keeping the peace, and careful Realpolitik practitioners tried to avoid arms races.

The last time I heard the use of Realpolitik was when Shekhar Gupta on a political discussion program on TV advocated its use in dealing with the unrest in Myanmar. His view was for India to stay disengaged. Speaking on t…

True Brand Loyalty's about Faith

According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which recently published a study on the correlation between church attendance and economics, its been proven that there's no link between how an economy fares vis-a-vis church attendance. That is, if an economy is spiralling downwards, there still aren't any extra takers who think maybe God can help. And this finding's based on data for the past 20 years.

Sounds good. To me. And it also tells me something important about people who believe and those who don't. People of faith and those without. The former's faith in God isn't based on any notions of 'help'. That is, they don't frequent churches and worship because they believe God's someone who can help them better their lives. If it were that way, then during times of prosperity church attendance should have been down and the opposite would play out during times of recession. It isn't so. Church attendance stays steady. Note, the study&…

The mind of the Indian consumer

A survey conducted by IMRB among 2,440 households across urban and rural areas has revealed that consumers have cut expenditure on high-end products and entertainment in order to survive in the current crisis. The survey shows that consumers have a negative outlook on the future of the economy. However, most consumers feel that there is no change in their financial health so far. Though the current picture is gloomy, there is a ray of hope. But as things are expected to improve in future, the degree of improvement may be lesser.

Read the complete ET article here.

Ugly? Sold!

'The nightmare for product managers is working for months on a new product launch only to see their brainchild fail because the market says, "Ew, are you kidding me? That's ugly!" I think this is the reason why so many things we buy are just 'nice': They are perfectly fine products that focus on their functional appeal while borrowing their aesthetic from some other successful thing on the market...

The real trick is to resist navigating consumer taste and understand the emotional sources for taste so that you can to them instead...

So ultimately, don't all these things sell by tapping into a person's sense of what is meaningful? I would suggest that they do. That's why some ugly stuff sells, and some beautiful stuff sells more.'

- John Edson, 'Why Ugly Sells'.

Building a windmill

When he was just 14 years old, Malawian inventor William Kamkwamba built his family an electricity-generating windmill from spare parts, working from rough plans he found in a library book. To power his family's home, young William Kamkwamba built an electricity-producing windmill from spare parts and scrap.

William's who you call a hero. An intellectual, too.

Judging Consumption

'When we try to understand the motivations of the Indian consumer, we realise that he is pulled in two directions and trying to satisfy seemingly conflicting motivations; his traditional Indian values are pulling him towards a safer, controlled outlook towards spending and life in general, while the other part of him is embracing consumerist and western values, of wanting MORE! So, while he is comfortable more with the fresh and homegrown, he needs convenience to meet his current lifestyle; while he talks the fashionable language of today's health aficionados, he actually gives in to his real desire for indulgences; and finally, while he wants to splurge on new experiences and products, he has not lost his traditional cautious thrifty behaviour.

He embraces money as a virtue but he knows that real value is knowledge, discernment and experiences that are worthy. He lives in an age of multi-income households, growing disposable incomes and easy finance schemes while maintaining …

Moisturising creams & Narcissists

Last evening I go to pay my Electricity and Telephone charges at a store that's an authorised collection center. After I pay, I am presented with a 'free' jar of Nivea Visage moisturising cream. I am surprised. I ask why? And they tell me its because I paid both my bills together and this is reward for that. I am still surprised. A skin cream as a reward?

I go home. I tell Alphy a sudden rush of affection for her had me buying a jar of moisturising cream that I thought she would enjoy. Far from being impressed she's quizzical. She asks me to out with the truth. I tell her. She asks me to check the expiry date on the cream.

The damn thing's manufacture date shows the year 2007 and there's a another few months before expiry. The little sense of marketing wonder that I had for Nivea collapses like a punctured balloon. Its one thing to get a consumer to try a brand by giving it free. Its another to pack off a product that's about expire. The former elicits trial …

The Character of Nations

"The Character of Nations" is about far more than the fact that there are different behavior patterns in different countries-- that, for example, "it is unimaginable to do business in China without paying bribes" but "to offer one in Japan is the greatest of faux pas."

The real point is to show what kinds of behaviors produce what kinds of consequences-- in the economy, in the family, in the government and in other aspects of human life. Nor do the repercussions stop there. Government policies are not only affected by the culture of the country but can in turn have a major impact on that culture, for good or ill...
While nations differ, particular kinds of behavior produce particular kinds of results in country after country. Moreover, American society in recent years has been imitating behavior patterns that have produced negative-- and sometimes catastrophic-- consequences in many other countries around the world.
Among these patterns have been a concentra…

What's behind Consumer habits?

SumaaTekur on being a 'Creature of Habit', 'I confess. I'm a creature of habit too. When I wake up, I sit still for a minute before getting out of bed. I always brush my teeth starting left bottom and then make my way to right top in very systematic, organised brush strokes. I like my morning cuppa from the same mug. I wipe my wet hands with a towel starting, always, with the left hand in the same manner, in the same direction every single time. While driving to MG Road, I use only one route, not wanting to change or try, maybe, a faster way to get there. When I get to work, I draw the blinds, unlock my drawers and switch on the comp -- in the exact same order every workday morning with a scary lack of deviation.'Habitual patterns of consumption that consumers form over a period of time is the best thing that can happen to a brand. But for habits to form there are two consumption conditions to be satisfied. One, the brand in question must fall into a product catego…

What is the truth?

At times I am flabbergasted at what I hear on TV talk shows in India. If its NDTV and the show's hosted by BarkhaDutt, in all probability Barack Obama would be mentioned. In glowing terms. I get to hear characterisations like 'transformational figure' and 'consensus builder'. Most Indian audiences seem to agree and join the paenic chorus. It irks me no end. But then I realise, just as I think Barack's a disgrace, the others think he's the saviour! And we are all steadfast in our beliefs.

Now, where does the truth lie? Or what is the truth?

The answer; for you, the truth is what you believe. Because in most contexts, there isn't anything called the truth. Of course, as usual there are exceptions. There exist unquestionable truths. But they are few and far in between. Most contexts fall into shades of grey. The 'black and white' scenarios are rare. Greys rule.

Marketing's where the characterisation of truth the way one believes it, applies. What&…

The all-important transition

Transitions are called for when there's a change in scenery. And there's always some change that hits any landscape. Politics included. The BharatiyaJanata Party is facing a torrid time trying to make a transition at a time when the Indian economic landscape's altered beyond recognition. Gone are the times when there was only misery around, a result of India's obsession with socialism.

Those were depressing times. When AmitabhBachchan and his rants against the system on silver screen was lapped up by an eager audience wallowing in personal misery. No jobs. No future. The Hindutva card found takers amongst the masses who thought maybe that could change their fortunes for the better.

Then Liberalisation happened. The rotten government and the system didn't matter as much. The Global economy to which we opened up, brought in a promise for a better future. Almost overnight, firms like Infosys culled millionaires from the masses. The Middle Class cocked a snook at anyone …

Dear Great Comic Genius

'Tell us, great comic genius, how tacking on four years to the target daughter makes it funny? We unenlightened dim bulbs who live outside of Manhattan's boundaries don't get the joke.

Will you be able to explain it to your son?

Face it: David Letterman, late-night entertainer turned partisan hack and hit man, has a deranged obsession with Palin and her family that has crossed into rank bigotry and hatred. If the CBS network cares about basic standards of decency on public airwaves and if it cares at all about bolstering its shrinking audience, the network honchos will get Letterman a therapist pronto.'

- Michelle Malkin, 'Dear David Letterman'.

The wisdom of 'Balance'

Having Jaden with us is amazing. He's now nearing three and its so much fun watching him grow and take on new attitudes that just pop up overnight. He's grown more perceptive, seems to exhibit a greater streak of independence and has a mind of his own. Our old tricks fall flat.

Parenting is such a responsibility and I know I will mess up at times. What I know will get the act right is steeped in what I call the 'wisdom of balance'. The act of getting the 'proportion' right. Let me explain. As a parent the question that will pose difficulty is not one where I have to choose between a Yes or a No. That dichotomy is easy to handle. For example, if the question is, 'Should Jaden learn to be disciplined, say in his sleep habits?, the answer is pretty easy. Its a Yes. 'Should he learn his thank yous and pleases?', again, its a Yes. So, on an issue of discipline, the answer is always a Yes. But the more difficult question, that calls for what I call the wis…

The Liberal tragedy

Liberals are truly pathetic.

They can make and laugh at the crudest of jokes about a young girl, yet go bonkers when they hear the likes of Carrie Prejean say that marriage's between a man and woman.

Note J Robert Smith; 'Letterman's trashy, ham-handed humor at Palin's expense demonstrates again the unabated contempt and fear that liberals have for a woman who established an immediate, powerful rapport with voters last year. His subsequent disingenuous apology to Palin only adds an exclamation point.

Intriguingly, Letterman's jabs, and the continuous stream of invective and ridicule aimed at Palin, speaks volumes about what the left thinks about America's Joes and Janes.

Evidently, not much. Not much beyond harvesting their votes.

East and left coast elites have a beau ideal, and that's President Barack Obama, the elegant, cosmopolitan, smooth apologist for America's foibles and mortal sins. The Big Spender and soon-to-be Debaser of the Dollar. The…

What agendas to suspend for Marketing success

Great organisations have cohesive and competent teams within that ride together to take it to success. Teams within a firm not just need to operate cohesively as individual units, but also need to perfect cross-functional unity. And that's a possibility only if members within teams suspend personal agendas to keep the team agenda as priority. Similarly, at a macro level, teams need to suspend their own agendas to give the organisational objective utmost priority. Once the organisation succeeds, teams get rewarded, and so do members within.

I have seen firms trip, because teams refuse to forsake their agendas for the firms'. I've seen teams go down as members refuse to put the team ahead of their own personal desires. I've sat at team meetings where I watch in horror members present initiatives that further their own selves in the guise of furthering the team's fortunes.

Marketing success too is a result of teams working together with just one agenda in mind. That of …

Is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose?

Alphy's always inclined to pick the Smith & Jones Ginger-Garlic paste over Dabur Hommade. And its got nothing to do with the paste and everything to do with the name.

Smith & Jones works for her. Neither Dabur nor the Hommade name is strong enough an allure. Having lived most of her life in Dubai, she's grown up with Western brands. And so Smith & Jones rings a familiar bell. It fits into her world. She was pretty disappointed to note that Smith & Jones is made by an Indian company called Capital Foods. And she got to know that because I told her. I couldn't conceal the grin that followed. On my face.

Consumers look to brands that are in tune with the world that they know. Brands that fit in. If one's lived an anglicized life, if I can call it that, one seeks anglicized brands. Local ones won't do. So if you want the Alphy-kinda consumers, you better get the name right. Of course, the visible identity too.

The 'context' dicates the 'decision'

Dale's got a great blog on Context-Driven Qualitative Research which he believes is the best way to understand "consumer decision-making," or why people buy certain products and services.I quote, 'Context-Research is disgusted with both Rational and Conspicuous. He says, “If we are going to catch Consumer Behavior we need to get him where he lives - - then we can trap him with his own words.” He continues:Here’s how to set the trap. Forget about traits and profiling, this is not a problem for psychology, it’s a matter of context. Find out what Consumer Behavior wants and how he goes about getting it. In short, picture the scene. Draw it up in a series of pictographs and let him explain himself as he goes through them. He might get emotional. So much the better. Keep your yap shut because he knows and you don’t.'Here's where you can read about it.

Government's the problem & the solution?

Amidst the expose on malpractices and misuse of autonomy by medical colleges in Tamil Nadu, its interesting to note that government is trying to act tough. The HRD ministry has now issued notices to errant colleges asking why their deemed university status should not be withdrawn and action be taken under law. But what most people miss out on, is the fact that 'selling' of seats, though an unlawful act, is actually a result of government policies. Anything can only sell for a premium only if there exists a demand in the marketplace for whatever it is that's selling at those prices. A medical seat can sell at such an exorbitant rate because there are buyers out there ready to pay the price. And such prices are sustainable because the supply of 'education' is scarce. Guess who's responsible for that scarcity? The Government!I remember talking to a friend of mine who tried to start and run a school. The government virtually ran him out of this endeavour by ensurin…

Has the recession changed consumers?

P&G and Home Depot fret that recession has forever changed consumer spending patterns. Is their fear real or unfounded?Yes and No, to either. Anita and I had worked on a research which attempted to find answers to this very same question, and what we uncovered is a must-know for all marketers. Our study was restricted to three categories, namely, Apparel, Leisure travel and Entertainment/Eating out. The study was restricted to Bangalore and quizzed three sets of consumers; ones who have had a drop in their salary, ones who haven't, and ones who haven't but speculate a dip. The study focused on whether consumer spending behaviour had altered since recession. Summing up, these were the findings. Consumers across the board have cut down on their purchase quantum. That is, if they ate out once a week, now its once in two weeks. If they travelled for leisure every six months, now they do so only once a year. The most interesting finding that should bring cheer to the likes of P…

The Gladwell effect

'By proving methodically that ideas spread from the ground up and are transmitted by peers one trusts — rather than being dictated top-down by pundits and ad men to be passively received — he switched the locus of power to the absorber or consumer of ideas and products (and inaugurated a vast trend for marketers to “seed” a product with “influencers” in a way that would hopefully “go viral”. He also anticipated the community-building and opinion-making power of the internet.) Adieu, unquestioned authority of newspapers, historians and Madison Avenue.

In Blink, to my mind his least successful book, he nonetheless proved that there is no such thing as a human being without bias. So long, myths of a post-racial, post-feminist, post-class-structure society. And in his most important book, the new Outliers — which could actually be called “Inliers” because it is about how perfectly ordinary people or garden-variety geniuses either do or do not get the breaks that will catapult them to t…

Why Yahoo extensions work

The latest hit wise News and Media category weekly report on the top 10 News and Media category websites ranked by US market share of visits puts Yahoo news above Google, CNN, MSNBC and the Drudge Report.

Now that's good news for Yahoo, enduring a rough time in its combat with Google on searches. In fact, tell you what, it isn't easy for consumers to associate Google with news as much as they can, with Yahoo. That's because Google's identity as a search engine is deep and enduring. That makes it harder for Google, when it comes associating with news as a category with the same name.

This demonstrates the relevance of stimulus and its generalisation or discrimination, depending on associations. Any brand that's an iconic one, with a certain association that's strong will find that extending the brand name (read, stimuli) into another category may not work for it. And so instead of an extension, its better to move into a diffrent category with a completely new name…

It isn't soap, its the soap story

President Barack Obama called for a new beginning. With nothing new. Except for some rhetorical babble. Which by the way went down well with all those in awe. And didn't go down well with the likes of me. That's because he reminds me of brands that win awards with their advertising but give the consumer a deal that's worth zilch. So there's always the first buy and none after. Just like there's always the first term and none after.The only lesson Marketers can learn from the American President is the lesson of superlative communication. Its one of the Ps of Marketing, Promotion. The American president can quite hold an audience. Especially if that audience consists of people with a low degree of 'need for cognition'. Its like selling soap to idiots. It isn't soap, stupid, its the way you tell the soap story. You can have them hanging on every word, and then they buy the soap.Don't believe me? They lapped up every word the messiah spoke. And then the…

Can India be Donut country?

I don't know about South Korea, but if Dunkin' Donuts wants to take on India it has to get its target consumer segment right. And that segment in India must not include consumers who have been conditioned to a taste that's savoury and hot. That then totally excludes a populace above, lets say, the age of thirty five. Because any one who's that old has had his tongue used to a taste that's hot and savoury. Dunkin' Donuts don't fit in.

If DD's got to make it big in India, it must go after the crowd Cafe' Coffee Day's mesmerised. Because that crowd's already into coffee. CCD has brilliantly got them hooked. Now its a combination of Coffee and Donuts that must connect with them. My bet is, it will, assuming the rest of the P's are managed well. Especially pricing and lifestyle based Cafe' format hangouts.

What I'd like to dwell on is why Dunkin' mustn't go after the 'older generation' in India. Its got everything to do …

The more I can't have, the more I want

Amidst the consumption gloom, the weekend launch of Palm Pre should brighten things up. Both for Palm and Sprint Nextel, its exclusive provider. The Palm Pre's been attracting a lot of attention since its its debut at the Consumer Electronics show in January. Analysts are now warning of Palm Pre shortages post launch.

The Palm Pre may not be the iPhone and so may not witness the kind of frenzy the Apple phone generated. Yet, it surely is good enough, with its touchscreen control, a slide-out keyboard and an operating system designed for trendy Web services such as social networks, to pull the crowd in. Plus the fact that a stock out's expected, will only add to the lure.

One of the best things to happen to a newly launched brand is stock outs, engineered at times, especially if it piles on the 'pull'. After all, if something runs out, maybe its because everyone's after it. The desire to possess can thus be strenghthened. But it also must be seen that sufficient stock…

From the vast business mind of President Obama

'The President is lying thorugh his teeth. And because he has a nice smile and a charming manner…we overlook this? We give him a pass? Has Bush Derangement Syndrome gripped the American populace into some sort of mass hypnotic psychosis?

But the GM CEO took to the cameras today and reassured that the restructuring plan will work. It will be hard. It will require ‘sacrifices’. . But it will be dedicated to making smaller cars. It will innovate ‘green’ technology to make better-mileage, more environment-friendly cars. It will make cars that provide high wages and provide comprehensive health and retirement benefits to union employees. It will make cars that the President has told us we need to be making to help save the planet.

You know…cars that people don’t want to buy.

But if you don’t want to buy the cars they’re making, the government is going to Change your mind. You see…you need to get your mind right. You need to be convinced that it’s in your best interest to let the governmen…

Like Two Ships Passing In The Night

Source: 4 Block World/ Via: Carpe Diem

One half America voted Government Motors

I guess a part of my nightmare is over. Though I will only breathe a sigh of relief when my nimble fingers run over my new passport. For the past two days I have spent the greater part of the day at the Bangalore passport office moving from one counter to another applying for a fresh passport as my older one runs out on its validity.

Sample this. The first day, I reach the office at eight, stand in a queue for almost an hour and a half because the damn counter opens only at nine thirty and I have to be there early enough to get a token that reads a sufficiently lower number. Because that means at the next counter where they verify my documents I would be somewhere up front. I reach the second counter only to know some document isn't in order. I have already spent three hours at the office. I leave, then go back today. They tell me yesterday's token's good enough. I reach the first counter only to be told it isn't, so I am told to wait my turn based on what the number wa…

Why Star Bazaar's lost my patronage

The last time I went to Star Bazaar, they charged me a parking fee. And so I said, I wouldn't go back. Its more than a year now. I went back yesterday. I was still charged a parking fee, but that was then refunded at the payment counter.But it wasn't all hunky dory. The place was packed to the hilt. I couldn't find an empty trolley amidst all the din. When I did find one, it was being pushed across the store floor by an employee. With Jaden at my shoulder, I asked the shop floor guy if I could take it from him. He refused. He said he needed it for some work. I was polite and so walked away to find another. I did, outside the store. I had to wait for shoppers to empty theirs after their purchases.Star Bazaar seems to be doing well. I know it was a Sunday evening, so the crowd was expected. I spent almost close to half an hour at the check out counter. That was pretty hassling. Add to that, my not being given a trolley by an employee who should have been more concerned about…

It isn't the economy, its the customer, stupid!

Joel hits the nail right on the head when he states, 'So it was no surprise to me that Circuit City failed. The chain's CEO, in an e-mail, blamed the demise on "poor macroeconomic conditions" -- an assertion that was repeated by The Associated Press, which cited "the expanding financial crisis" for the liquidation. You know what? I don't buy the argument that the economy caused Circuit City's failure. Take one look at its competitors, and you know that the market for consumer electronics and computer equipment remains strong, even in this economy. You can walk into any Apple Store and see large crowds of people lining up to buy computers and iPods.'Dead on right. If business firms are folding up, its because their customer patronage has dried up. And if patronage's down, they only have themselves to blame. Remember, as much as there are firms closing down, there are others that are doing just fine. And that's because the latter made cust…