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Showing posts from October, 2010

BP's trying to make it right

Is BP's latest commercial campaign that looks at repairing the lousy publicity they got from the spill a good idea?

I say, Yes. Especially because of the content in the commercial. It features a fisherman (highly credible source for the message) telling us how BP's helped him get his life and vocation back on track. The content also features his working life played out on screen (boat on the waters) thus making it highly believable. The timing too is perfect. The angst against BP is almost all gone. At least for the public at large.

Good going, BP. Your 'Making It Right' campaign's a smart one.

Also, just so you all know, BP's now in the clear for the spill. Halliburton's in trouble.

What consumers want

Sometimes its so much better to get the research mumbo-jumbo out of the way. Like the way Sir David Tang said (video above) it. Consumers at the lower end of the moolah pie buy for value. Who's giving reliable quality at competitive prices, that's the sole consideration. But as consumers move up the money pie (read, increased incomes), they buy for status. Who's giving the best status value for money then becomes the question.

Consumers in transition (on their way up) are those that look for brands that can deliver on functional value with a dose of status. The trick here is to give that 'status' without too much of an increase in price. I saw this play out a few weeks ago. A colleague bought the Maruti-A Star because it was pretty decent on its pricing, and more importantly it had a strikingly 'different' look. Plus a bonus was there weren't too many A-Stars on the road.

The consumer story doesn't need to be complicated at at all times, for what the…

Pushing back on mediocre professors

Here's Seth's latest and complete post, and its got to do with people like me. Point taken, Seth. By the way, I couldn't agree more.

'College costs a fortune. It takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of money.

When a professor assigns you to send a blogger a list of vague and inane interview questions ("1. How did you get started in this field? 2. What type of training (education) does this field require? 3. What do you like best about your job? 4. what do you like least about your job?") I think you have an obligation to say, "Sir, I'm going to be in debt for ten years because of this degree. Perhaps you could give us an assignment that actually pushes us to solve interesting problems, overcome our fear or learn something that I could learn in no other way..."

When a professor spends hours in class going over concepts that are clearly covered in the textbook, I think you have an obligation to repeat the part about the debt and say, "perhaps …

Demography & Consumption in China

'An aspect of the changing age structure of China’s population that remains under-researched is its impact on patterns of demand and consumption. If income growth has been the main determinant of consumer demand in recent years, the changing age structure has also been a shaping factor. In the wake of the one-child policy, the most privileged consumer group to have emerged in China in recent years has been young urban adults, who have acquired the consumer aspirations to match the highly disposable incomes which they have come to enjoy.

But China’s elderly are also set to become an increasingly important market force in the coming years. The importance of this group as a source of demand has been widely recognized in developed countries, but has received much less attention in China. Although in the short term China’s elderly are unlikely to emulate the lifestyles and consumption patterns of their counterparts in developed countries, in the longer term, as social welfare coverage e…

A Crossroads Election

'Most elections are about particular policies, particular scandals or particular personalities. But these issues don't mean as much this year-- not because they are not important, but because this election is a crossroads election, one that can decide what path this country will take for many years to come.

Runaway "stimulus" spending, high unemployment and ObamaCare are all legitimate and important issues. It is just that freedom and survival are more important.

For all its sweeping and scary provisions, ObamaCare is not nearly as important as the way it was passed. If legislation can become laws passed without either the public or the Congress knowing what is in those laws, then the fundamental principle of a free, self-governing people is completely undermined...

We have a strange man in the White House. This election is a crossroads, because either his power will be curbed by depriving him of his huge Congressional majorities or he will continue on a road that jeopa…

Perceptions hit 'Reality' roadblock

'For Obama to avoid the latter fate, he will need to muster all of the considerable talent he displayed in 2008. He will need to persuade the country that he is on the way to fulfilling the grand and sweeping promise he embodied for many in that campaign. To make further transformation seem essential while arguing in favor of continuity. To rouse the passions of those he has disappointed and to allay the fears of those he has turned wary. He will need, in other words, to change the game again.'

Fat chance! Obama can't do zilch because the socialist propaganda he espouses and swears by is a surefire recipe for economic disaster. Even the liberal knuckleheads are starting to get it. More so because the Obama policies have left them jobless, plus hopeless. All the singing and chanting they did for their 'saviour' pre-election hasn't gotten them anywhere.

Obama is going nowhere but out. In classical marketing lingo, brand Obama promised value, delivered zilch. His pr…

Can't take it, don't dish it

Assange can do the leaks, but can't take it. Typical.

Its with most of us. We can dish it out, but when what goes around comes around, we don't have the stomach for it.

Marketers must have the stomach for criticism. For taking what the consumer gives and use it to better their value propositions. Sure, there may be the few times when they've got to ignore what's being dished out by a consumer. Especially if its those consumers who are characterised as 'hostages'. 'Hostages' are unhappy consumers who stay with the company because of a monopolistic environment or low prices, and who are difficult and costly to deal with because of their frequent complaints.

Its in the best interests of every company to keep hostages low and loyalists high. The downside is, what's dished out then needs to be 'eaten'. Assange couldn't. Like I said, typical.

When Logotherapy helps Consumption

Parenting as I've mentioned many a times, isn't at all easy. Especially the growing up years. 'Terrible twos' weren't as terrible for us. The fact is, the wonder of growing up unravelling right in front is fascinating. It still is. Only this time patience on our part is needed in big supply. There are times when Jaden and his antics drive me up the wall. For example, by this time he's called contacts on my phone without my knowing. That's when he's doing the technician act on my phone. He's sent messages including multimedia ones to my contacts and I've only known when I check my phone's 'sent' folder. I can't imagine what all the message recipients must be thinking. The freak's lost it?

The way I manage my temper at such times is by practicing what could be 'Logotherapy'. I transport me, in my head to the times when Jaden's been an angel. I think of how lovely he was and is at such times. And such times abound. P…

Collectivist, yet Individualist

'When it comes to co-existence of Individualism and Collectivism in other societies, it’s more often an either/or situation. Ingeniously, India seems to have developed a culture where Individualism and Collectivism can co-exist, perhaps, even striking a happy balance.

Music is deemed as collective. But if one notices Indian classical music keenly, there is always space for individual expression; the accompanists—be it the tabla player or the sitarist—will more often than not have the spotlight on them, as they get ample space to display their mettle. It is harmonic, collective and, yet, acknowledges the individual’s contribution.

When two forces interact with full gusto—one, powerful and all-pervasive, the other, intrinsically deep-rooted—the impact could go well beyond one prevailing over the other. A unique third force may well emerge. In many ways, India may develop differently to the countries that have witnessed economic booms. So, Consumerism or Individualism as we see it toda…

Rajni Reigns

'Ra-ja-ni. His name punches the screen alphabet by alphabet. Phatak-phatak-phatak. The alphabets form digitally in the morphology of monolithic architecture. Then the full name repeats in a final smashing crescendo. The acolytes are on their feet, arms extended towards the Holy Name. A collective baying engulfs the hall, drowning the high-decibel ambitions of the Dolby system. By now, the Rajni raanuvam (army) is jumping in the aisles in the most vivid display of premature ejaculation ever in public. The sighting of the messiah is imminent and the flock is in a state of self-hypnotised hysteria. Rajni reigns.'

- Sadanand Menon, 'Flip that ciggie.'

Vicarious Learning & Parenting

The one thing I think of more often than anything else is parenting. Of course, parenting's more to do with doing than thinking, yet I must say thinking helps. And post my fair share of thinking, I've concluded, what makes the profoundest of impact on Jaden is MY behaviour. Because that's right in front of him, to see and feel. Plus what I behave out carries with it an association of legitimacy, for I am his father. In fact I now know nothing's going to have as much an effect on him than the way I conduct myself. At times its downright fascinating to see him play out a 'conduct' he's picked form me. For example, the way he puts away his cycle after a bout riding is exactly the way I back our car into our parking slot in the basement. Jaden mirrors almost every move and gesture of mine while 'parking' his cycle.

Now this puts so much of a responsibility on me. To exhibit decent, fair and civil behaviour. Because Jaden's watching and soaking it up …

Does streaking make sense?

I feel my brief hiatus from my blog has done me good. Exhaustion from constant thinking has dwindled. So here I am. Walking into another bout of exhaustion. :)

Now, do I now know that someone 'streaked' at President Obama's rally? Yes.
Do I know it was done for money? Yes.
Do I know it was to promote a website owned by a shipping and bottling magnate known to pull such stunts through other people? Yes.
Do I now know the website being promoted? Yes.
Did I visit it? Yes.
Am I impressed? Far from being impressed, it was a turn-off. Will I visit again? No.

So did the streaking make sense? I must say, Yes.

Two reasons. One, it got people like me, and unlike me to know the website. That's brand exposure and recognition achieved. But no more. At least for people like me. But for people unlike me, its not just a visit to the site, maybe its revisits. That means it ain't just brand recognition, its recall and repeat purchase (read, revisit).

A million dollars well spent? I think so,…