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Showing posts from September, 2013

What brand Modi needs to be wary about

Brand Modi is getting two things wrong. One, its 'playing' to the converted. Two, its not connecting with fence-sitters, plus when it tries to win over the latter it does so quite badly.

Grandstanding populist speeches to the converted aren't so much a necessity for brand Modi. After all, its a given the converted (read, right wingers) will perch close, stay loyal. There's enough evidence from Gujarat to show the brand Modi faithful stay loyal. So its a waste of time and resources trying to up the brand's equity with the faithful.

What the brand is getting wrong is its pitch to fence-sitters. Now its legitimate to ask if brand Modi should 'tweak' its value proposition to appeal to a new crowd. I recommend it should. Note, tweak not change, is the advice. Meaning, drop the hyperbole and appear statesman-like; quit going after the PM with stuff like 'dehati aurat'. Instead talk of alternative approaches steeped in realpolitik.

That works for the new …

The 'Breaking Bad' School of Business

Three things help our chemistry teacher turn an insight into a flourishing business. The first is huge ambition. He is not in the “meth business” or the “money business”, he says. He is in the “empire business”. The second is product obsession. Other dealers might peddle “Mexican shoe-scrapings” on the ground that addicts care little about quality. He produces the king of meth, so pure that it turns blue, and would rather destroy an entire batch than let an inferior product be traded under his brand. The third is partnerships and alliances. He spots talent in a former pupil turned drug-dealer, Jesse Pinkman, and forms a strong working relationship with him. He also contracts distribution to a succession of local gangs so that he can concentrate on the higher-value-added part of the business: cooking and quality control.
- Schupeter Blog (Economist), 'The “Breaking Bad” school.'

iPhone 5S vs. 5C

The wages of perverse gratification

Making the assumption that terrorism attracts the idealistic, disaffected, and alienated is as epic a blunder as assuming Che Guevara was a nice guy. Or that Pol Pot only had humanity in mind. Like everything else, the prospect of inflicting death, pain, and cruelty on others attracts a certain kind of individual.

It’s the same old call from the same shadowy places. The lure of power. The chance to gratify sadism, perversion, and greed. For the most brutal, it is a chance to inflict fear and absolute abjection as a way of affirming the nothingness in them.

Oh they dress it up with a line of patter. But that’s just to add insult to injury. Not only are they going to hurt you, but they are going to make you thank them for it before they’re through.

There have always been people like that, in every society, on the fringes of certain political ideologies and even at the center of them. And of course there are people ready to make excuses for them. For they feel the attraction too, but are to…

Rape & Slut Shaming

Sure, the 'its your fault' campaign is important.

But just so we have a sense of balance and not get carried away by the modern liberal-sensibility laced feminist movement, its equally important to note what Cassy Fiano writes in her article, 'In Defense of Slut Shaming.'

'Abortion, birth control, and promiscuous sex are the cornerstones of the modern feminist movement. Say that women shouldn’t sleep around with wild abandon, and you’re out of the club. Mention that you’re pro-life, and you aren’t allowed to call yourself a feminist. Do the unthinkable and suggest that women should pay for their own abortions and birth control, and you’re castigated as a woman-hating tool of the patriarchy. Feminists throw the word “choice” around and like to pretend that they fight so women can have different choices. The truth is, feminists will decide what kind of lifestyle is best for you, and if you have a problem with it, you better keep your mouth shut and your wallet open. …

Societal Psychosis

What kind of a society are we becoming? I question the existence of a societal psychosis, characterized by a break with reality and deviation from normal thought processes.

We abandon the notion of executing our most heinous criminals and now appear to be accepting the idea of executing our most vulnerable citizens.

We provide our criminals with good medical, occupational, entertainment and educational programs for their betterment.

In the case of our elderly we often fail miserably at providing them with quality of life in our health-care institutions. Many label our elderly and persons with disabilities, including children, as “lives not worth living.”

In addition this applies to persons with mental health issues. These are the ones at high risk for abuse if euthanasia is introduced...

- Jean Echlin, 'Societal psychosis.'

Tim Cook may have done a Mike Jeffries

In my book, Tim Cook's done a Mike Jeffries. The latter did his brand quite a bit of damage with his pin-headed 'plus-size' PR faux pas.

Now Tim cook's done his turn in idiocy.

He just announced Apple isn't in the 'junk business'. What he meant was Apple didn't make phones for the sweaty masses, and doesn't intend to any time in the future. Wow. What an idiot! Its one thing to position a brand to appeal to its target segment, and another to shoot off your mouth, invite bad PR and risk alienating the non-target crowd. Maybe Tim doesn't mind such alienation, as its the masses who aren't his company's target segment who may nurse a grudge; but I say its still a huge risk.


Probably there's enough sensible people in the 'Apple crowd' to take offense and not engage with the brand anymore. Plus who's to say the alienated bunch doesn't have within its ranks blokes who may want to graduate to an Apple?

My gut tells me Ti…

Marketing & Re-positioning Catholicism with a 'New Balance'

Its pretty evident to see why the Pope is marketing and re-positioning Catholicism with his 'new balance' approach.

But first things first.

Marketing is constructing and delivering superior value propositions to a target set of consumers. Positioning is getting into their heads from a perceptual perspective and occupying a unique space.

Now back to Catholicism and the Pope.

The last few decades have seen the faithful leaving the catholic church in droves. Why? The tenets they were supposed to hold to don't appeal to them anymore. Again, why? Catholics of today unlike Protestants have liberal sensibilities, and in the new age, its all about being gay and promiscuous. In fact, being the latter is being cool. So is slaughtering babies in wombs. So liberal Catholics did what came naturally to them. Leave the church.

What is the latest Pope's response to such abandonment by the faithful?

Construct the Catholic value proposition afresh. With his interview, he just made the …

Abolishing Death Penalty humanizes the Inhumane!

Shoma and Revati present the death Penalty as inhumane.

The truth is, its the other way round.

Abolishing the Death Penalty humanizes the inhumane!

Note Lester Jackson in his article, 'The Sleazy Semantics of Death Penalty Opponents.',

"Humanize" the Inhumane!

Anyone familiar with television crime dramas is aware that "humanizing" the inhumane long has been a tactic of fanatics seeking to keep alive murderers convicted of the worst depravity -- while simultaneously sacrificing, with little concern, the lives of decent, innocent law-abiding individuals sure to be slaughtered by some of those given a "second chance."

By contrast, other than many prosecutors and those who have lost loved ones, few realize that "humanizing" the depraved involves dehumanizing victims. At a minimum, it would certainly be understandable if "compassion" zealots prefer not to think about victims, lest they experience pangs of conscience about th…

The Tyranny of Taxes

If an educational facility has a guaranteed flow money, no matter how poorly they perform, then that facility has absolutely no incentive to provide better quality service at an affordable cost. This will always happen in government school because they know they will get your money no matter what via taxation. People can complain to them all they want about quality or cost of education, but they have zero motivation to change things. They will get your money no matter what, and they know it.

On the other hand, if individuals had the opportunity to choose between private schools, then each school would have to perform at it's best. Schools would compete each other for students. The most innovative and reasonably priced school would be the most popular. The less fortunate children could become students of the private schools through donations. Individuals could donate to the schools of their choice. If a school fails to perform, then individuals can either remove their children from…

Living in with Volkswagen

Is 'living in' and announcing it 'bold'?

Have our standards of what's bold taken a nosedive?

Or is the real problem liberals who crawl out of the woodwork at most creative agencies, and their sensibilities?

Whatever, I wish Volkswagen Polo knew better than to position on 'bolder' with 'living in'!

Hey, its possible I'm getting it all wrong. I guess yours truly shouldn't be surprised if the Polo's target consumer segment thought living in was bold!


The 'Awesome Nano' isn't really Repositioning

How is the Tata Nano trying to do the resurrection act? Its repositioning itself by riding the 'awesomeness wave' to appeal to 'young buyers'. Moving away (or should I say adding) from its earlier target segment, the middle class family to target a younger crowd is surely a smart move. Plus moving away from 'utility' as a motivational function to appealing to an 'ego defensive' function is again the right way to go.

So can we expect climbing sales?

I wouldn't bet on it, yet. You see, most brands make a mistake in believing positioning is about managing a single marketing mix variable, namely communication. The fact is, all mix variables that are conspicuous are stimuli that can drive perceptions, thus positioning. Take the XUV 500 for example. Its design (read looks) did more for its positioning than its advertising. Bet you can't even recall the XUV ad. But put the XUV on the road, and most people will stop and stare. The XUV plays the awesome…

The Age of Wonders

Andrew Kalvan just spoke my mind. So here it is, the way he said it, and the way I would say it. 
... Are we conservatives philosophically obligated to object to the world as it is and to long to restore it to some previous state? What state, I wonder? When men were men? When hard work was a value? When women waited for marriage? When knighthood was in flower?

Because I have to tell you, dude: I don’t feel that way at all. I love the modern world! Are you kidding me? I love the internet, I love smart phones, I love cars that don’t break down all the time, I love recorded music and books I can download at three in the morning when I can’t sleep. I love medicine that actually works and scientific exploration into the deepest mysteries of matter. A guy in his fifties used to be old: I love the fact that I’m on top of my game because of better nutrition and exercise advice and a fuller understanding of the human body.

I’ll tell you what else I love: women who can choose the direction of th…

Why kids can't live without sneakers & smartphones

Growing kids demand greater attention. At home, Alphy and me can't seem to get a minute to ourselves. It's like the kids are always calling for us. After a while it gets to us. To me.

So there are times when I have to put my foot down and ask them to wait till I can attend to them. At times I even refuse help. Other times I help.

What am I trying to do?

Asking the kids to wait is teaching them to delay gratification. Helping them is so they learn better through support. Not responding is aimed at weaning them off their dependency on us, and teaching them to be independent.

Now marketers aren't anything like us. In fact marketing isn't anything like parenting. Marketers unlike smart parents are ever ready to help, telling consumers to buy now or risk regret! They foster dependency making consumers feel feel like they can't do without brands. Truth is, most marketers have pulled this off pretty well. Which makes them smarter than most mommies and daddies.

Which also…

Where did the academic liberal socialist ideologue spout from?

Who can bankrupt us as a country?

The government with their wasteful (because no one benefits, including the poor) socialist spending.

Add to the list liberal socialist (academic) intellectuals who act as ideologues. Now its easy to see why academic liberals spout their socialist nonsense. Its because they've never really known what is 'hard-earned' money. They work at institutions supported by the government, which means they are pretty much in a job that's set for life. They don't know what it is like to be insecure about a paycheck. Why will they be? After all, the taxpayer pays every penny they 'earn'.

What else did the taxpayer do for the academic socialist ideologue?

They paid for their education too. The socialists probably graduated from government supported institutions. Which again means they almost never paid for their education. Pray who did? The taxpayer!

Imagine that. The taxpayer paid for their education. The taxpayer pays their salary.