Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2016

Why we remember, and don't!

Why can't I remember an apartment complex's name despite having been told so many times, but can the 'mother sauces' I was taught twenty six years ago?

Attribute what you can or can't remember to whether you rehearsed and encoded stimuli. I formally learnt about the sauces; in fact I can even see their colors in my head. My former act was one of 'rehearsal' and latter, 'encoding'. I've done neither about the apartment complex, which is why I can't remember.

Brands that stay alive in consumer heads are those that teach consumers via continuous exposure to stimuli (rehearsal), and associations (encoding). So don't be surprised when I can say 'McDonald's' in a flash, but can't your name.


For Yours truly, the Kirana is dead. Long live the Kirana. Hail Amazon Now

My local kirana guy just lost me as a customer. The other day when I asked him how he managed to charge me more than the MRP on the items I bought, instead of apologizing, he started bickering. When the guy let his ego get the better of him, he piddled away the only differential advantage he had. That of a personal touch.

So what did I do the next time I wanted to pick a few 'emergency' household stuff? I went to my favorite 'Amazon Now' App on my phone. On the App, I could pick stuff I needed from four choices of stores around, namely, Hypercity, MK Ahmed, Big Bazaar, and Food World. I took my pick, and got the delivery in 2 hours. What about my neighbor kirana? Here's my prediction. With his attitude, there's a chance my neighborhood kirana guy will piddle away his store! So will every other business that blows away its differential advantage.

I for one, won't shed any tears. There's even a chance, I'll say, 'good riddance......'.

My Discovery, the Truth, and why Marketing is forever!

Our faithful CRT Philips TV finally gives out. Though our idiot box content consumption is low, its still a change from the noisy past we've had at home, courtesy our TV. Now there's less din at home, and the patches of stillness have widened. Amidst the silence, I've made a discovery.

That, not having something (other than that which sustains life) is actually having something else. Always, and without exception!
Of course it may not seem so most times, but that's a problem of our lack of sight and not our deprivation. We see what we lose or don't have, and we don't, that which we gain, or possess. In its completeness no TV is not a loss, or a lack. Its actually the gain of silent spaces. Which in turn can be used in varied ways. To ponder, to see, to hear, to tap into the senses with greater clarity. As humans we are used to seeing ourselves as 'have-nots'. Almost never as 'haves'. The eternal truth is, a lack is in completeness an ownership …

Selective Perception: What I, You, and They saw in the Rajdeep-Sania Q&A

A week ago social media was inundated with news of how News anchor Rajdeep Sardesai was put in his place by Sania Mirza, India's tennis ace. Most of the people and media outfits putting up the video exchange were those exulting in Rajdeep facing a blowback at the hands of tenacious lady celebrity.

Intrigued, I watched the video myself. Indeed, the anchor had asked a prejudiced question, and the tennis ace had responded with elan. What I also saw was a chastened Rajdeep apologizing for his question. To me that was admirable. A man, realizing his mistake apologized immediately on national TV. Even Sania welcomed the apology. It took guts and grace on Rajdeep's part to do that. However what was interesting in the social media brouhaha was that there was zero mention of the apology by the exultant many who were putting up the encounter on social media.

Its easy to see why the reveling people did that. They hate Rajdeep and his liberal positions. Switch to consumer psychology theo…

Kalmane Koffee, Leaky Cups, Penny-wise, & Pound-foolish

So I have a meeting today at Kalmane Koffee over coffee. My order is a Cappuccino. It comes in a paper cup with a steel spoon, sugar sachets, and a paper napkin on the side. The tray in which all that comes over is wet and my napkin is precariously close to the pool of water sitting still on the tray. Thankfully the paper doesn't get soaked. I am surprised I am given a steel tea spoon and not a stirrer. I am assuming the idea may be to save on a disposable like the stirrer. Of course, I don't know for sure.

I stir the sugar into the coffee and the thin paper cup bottom gives way, and coffee seeps through on to the table. I ask for a replacement and I am given one. I gingerly stir this time knowing the heavy spoon is partly why the problem occurred, and though there's still leakage through the bottom, it isn't as bad as before. I manage to finish my coffee.

Ideas that save costs like these (not providing a disposable stirrer, using thinner paper cups that cost lesser) …

JustDial & the Problem of Plenty

Don't get me wrong. I am thankful the nice lady at JustDial  helped  me with the numbers. The problem started after she asked me if I wanted more contact numbers of 'local service centers'. She was giving me the chance to have these numbers in addition to the one I had asked for.

I said yes, and that's when the problem started.

Within a few minutes I was bombarded with calls from local service centers asking if I needed help with my Lenovo Ideapad. It wasn't just the calls that were bothersome. The fact that my mobile number was floating out there was not at all a comforting thought. Thankfully within a few hours the calls dried up. Aggregators who connect users/consumers to providers are doing a great job. Yet there still remains a problem. One that is an opportunity for businesses to solve. Most aggregators focus on the quantum of matches. To users, its quality that matters more. Engineer the few right matches and even if the numbers aren't many, consumers w…

The Income Tax filing decision

Currently in India, the income tax filing season is on. Citizens are mandated by law to file their income tax returns. The numbers are not quite there about how many earning citizens pay taxes in India. In the year 2013, the number stood at 28.7 million who filed income tax returns. Of that number, 16.2 million did not pay any tax. That meant the ‘real’ tax paying citizens amounted to 12.5 million. Now, that is a mere 1 percent of the 1.23 billion who populate India. The Hindu reports that according to the Economic survey tabled in Parliament, only 5.5 per cent of the people who earn pay tax and only 15.5 per cent of the net national income is being reported to tax authorities.

The reasons why India’s tax paying rates are low are varied. Many of those reasons can’t be undone soon enough to get citizens to pay their taxes.  In fact to get all citizens on to a tax playing plank will take time. Yet what the authorities can do is to make it easier for people to pay their taxes, and to …

Will Chevrolet shatter perceptions? Depends on who consumers 'learn' from!

There's two sources of learning (about products and brands) out there for consumers. They can either learn from marketers, from reference groups that populate the marketplace, or both.

The source consumers go to, to learn depends on the kind of purchase decision they are making. A high-risk purchase sees them learning more from reference groups, and less from marketers. A company like Chevrolet that sells cars would do well to know that. Through their latest broadcast campaign they are 'teaching' consumers about how 'fun' and 'sensible' a 'Beat' is. Its Chevrolet's way of 'shattering perceptions'. Now here's the bad news for the company. If a potential consumer comes to me, a Chevrolet owner (and therefore a reference group) for advice, they'll learn the exact opposite. They'll learn that Chevrolet cars may be good, but their service sucks. That the guys at the service place will keep telling you they don't have stock o…

Can Te-A-Me Tea change Donald Trump?

So TE-A-ME Tea sends Donald Trump 6000 tea bags to 'cleanse himself' and make him 'smarter'. The clever act gets them loads of publicity! I say it must be their tea, assuming they are drinking it themselves! Of course, sending the tea and putting the act up on social media was the smart part of the story. What about 'changing the Donald' with tea?

If TE-A-ME Tea can change someone into a delusional liberal, I am staying clear off it! In effect, I guess am saying no to dumbing-down with TE-A-ME Tea. So maybe I was wrong. The Donald Trump publicity trick wasn't clever at all.

It must have been the tea!

Steve Jobs talks Marketing Strategy

Police brutality to Black crime; Producing to Marketing: A Shift in perspective

Its easy for liberals to cry hoarse over police brutality in America. It suits them. Note, the problem of black fatalities can only be solved if the roots of black crime are considered. For that a shift of perspective is needed. From police brutality to black crime.

Easier said than done.

Great marketing too requires a shift in perspective, From products to solutions. From producers to consumers. Every business needs to get this. It isn't the products and services they make that's important. What matters to consumers is solutions to their needs. The business that churns out the 'superior solution' is rewarded with consumer patronage.

Again, easier said than done.

Kabali-Rajini Frenzy, Escapism, and its consequences

Escapist tendencies are how you explain the Kabali-Rajini mania. 'Collective escapism' is how I term the phenomenon when the hordes join in. Escapist indulgences help us ward off cognitive exertions that are taxing on our minds. A simple illustration of how we accomplish this is via the time we spend watching TV. The idiot box indulgence enables us to bypass cognitive thought that may prove burdensome. After all, when and to whom do the rigors of reality appeal?

Not many.

The Rajini-Kabali-escapist act doesn't hurt until it seeps into other arenas. When it does, our fantasy objects end up stepping into law-making roles, courtesy our idiocy at the ballot boxes. Think about it. That's the worst it can get for any society! In the business of lifestyle brands, patronage most times is fueled by borderline escapist tendencies. So for example, when we push the pedal on that coveted SUV, we speed into fantasy territory. Again, that's alright till you lose all sense of real…

Micromax's English bashing cultural 'appeasement marketing strategy'.

Micromax is one of the brands featured in my book, 'Yuva India'. I have spoken glowingly about how an Indian brand was trying to build an image appeal that cut across cultural barriers. Indeed, Micromax was putting on a global image with Hugh Jackman. Now they've taken a U-turn with their 'English bashing - language appeasing' commercial on TV.
I don't get it. Or maybe I do. 
Micromax has abandoned 'India' for 'Bharat'. For now it makes sense since the brand is fast losing ground in the Indian smartphone market. What makes the scene worse for Micromax is what the Chinese brands are doing to the Indian urban market. They are introducing loaded handsets, pushing cut-throat prices, and upping marketing spends. As a response, Micromax does what is classic textbook market strategy. 
Pursue new markets. 
So the English bashing, and local language glorification. In my book its called the 'cultural appeasement Marketing strategy'. It'll prob…

What the 'Nike Nightie' did at Wimbledon

Never mind all the 'Marilyn Monroe' moments at Wimbledon with the Nike dress. The damn thing has done the trick.

One, its kept Nike in the news drowning out other brands, and two its got an ignoramus like me to know Nike makes dresses. Does it? Yep, it does. Its possible it ain't just me; there are others who may not have known Nike makes dresses.

Now they do.