Monday, December 28, 2009

All izz (in the) well !! Zabardast(i) ki marketing

All izz really well with 3 idiots. Hilarious movie, amazing adaptation, great screenplay and very good acting by all 3 idiots....but that is not what we'll talk about in this blog.

Marketing of  movies is becoming more of an afterthought than an integrated strategy. You've made a great movie...now how do we market it? An afterthought... rather than an upfront strategy. Why do I say this? Well.. because 'All izz well' has absolutely no connection with insurance, for that matter. It is being linked through....because we thought afterwards on what dialogues can have which corporate sponsorships and decided to match 'a' to 'b'.

Moreover whether the consumer is being benefited by any 'All izz well" specific insurance plans is not upfront in any aforesaid insurance communication. It's there because it seemed like a 'good fit' !

Most Bollywood movies are treating marketing as a mix of 10000 posters + Pre-screening clips + 10 media appearances+ 4 corporate sponsorships+ in-movie product placements + 6 customized merchandise + a book afterwards etc. etc. Too much repetition....too boring for viewers even.

Guys, treat marketing more strategically; it will only help you...and Aamir Khan does not need these no-good gimmicks for his movies... they are anyway outstanding :-)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

(Social)ize your company

Does your company need social marketing? Is it just something you have to do because everyone else is jumping in the well? Most B2C companies do need to get on the bandwagon, but B2B companies need to evaluate their strategies before you jump. Perhaps if your product would benefit from a facebook or twitter presence; if you want to build up a public opinion;  if you are going for an IPO, or some other valid reason; than it might make sense.

Everything starts with an objective; what do you want to achieve. Do you want a group page - a controlled community interface but the updates don't appear on the member feed, or do you want a fan page where your status updates appear in fan feed home pages?

Another thing to note is that please don't use your personal facebook id to create company groups/ pages as facebook currently has NO option to delete the original creator. So even if you leave your job, you would be stuck with being a creator and worse, the earlier company would be stuck with you. Create a company ID and than create Group pages etc.

More on this later...

Monday, October 19, 2009

India vs Bharat

A few days back I read an interesting article in 'The Economic Times' on 'India vs Bharat' where the author made a case for using the same set of branding tools and content in rural areas (Bharat) as is done in urban areas (India). I don't agree with him in entirety.

Though it must be agreed that you cannot assume that rural consumers have not upgraded themselves on various socio economic parameters over the last few years. When the urban consumers have closed an entire generation in terms of social networking, media and technology, the rural consumers have not been totally isolated to the onslaught either.

Marketers need to understand that their age old tactics of 5 wall paintings + 2 nautankis + retail mapping will  not really do the trick anymore. They have to re-engage their audience by looking at the changed parameters and understanding the forces at work. If the neighbourhood money lender does not play that big a role anymore, than who does? Is it the NGO who has made the women more self sufficient? If the panchayats are increasingly losing their hold.... than whom are they losing it too? The BDO? or another authority? Who are the new influencers? The new target audience? Within a housesold, who has more say ? And wouldn't it be prudent to do this demarcation across the developed, underdeveloped and remote villages?

BUT.. to apply urban branding patterns to a rural audience would be a disaster. Not all products need an 'aspiring for' orientation. I might aspire for a product which Aishwarya Rai advertises. My maid might aspire for  a product, which her neighbour's wife has. Everybody's aspirations are different, and the product has to marry not only the Target Audience, but his wife, kids and his influencers as well.... only then a comprehensive communication strategy can be developed.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Co-Branding Route

Some of you might remember a time few years back when there was a plethora of co-branded cards hitting the market. Almost every day, we found pics of well dressed dudes (never ladies- but well, that's a different story) hanging on to huge plastic cards and smiling down from the newspapers- card companies and petrol firms, airlines, banks, everyone jumped on the bandwagon. Don't know how many of them survive now.

But what I am really talking about here, is the co-branding concept, which has a lot of potential beyond just co-branded cards. Apart from what you will read in books, it's basically two corporates with similar synergies, coming together, to start an initiative, in which both of them stand to gain EQUALLY. This never works if each one is getting less than the other.

Sometimes it takes the form of a barter route. You take my goods in lieu of which I take yours. Airlines tyipng up with corporates to give away the perishable seats or hotels doing the same in lieu of their products, come under this category. This could however lead to some creative accounting complications unless handled carefully.

Another could be a scenario where a chocolate manufacturer piggy backs on a bisuit company's channel route - similar target audience- to reach out more widely, while sharing the advertising costs.

A mobile manufacturer can tap the rural markets through a tie up with TV production companies or even bicycle manufacturers as TV / bicycle are No. 1 purchases of a rural household once they start generating disposable income and well, mobile can well be No. 2 with its gaining functional prominence. They however need to figure out how they would compensate each other.

In India, there are a lot of firms which can gain through this marketing tool. You just need to put your mind to it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Branding Rakhi Sawant

The lady in question is a spitfire and has a lot of spunk. Rakhi has managed to brand herself very well, despite her obvious limitations. This is the electronic / digital age, folks. For individuals, controversy is the way to thrive in the limelight.

Now, if only she would enroll herself in a finishing school...

Another case in example is Mallika Sherawat, who also managed her non-existing career well, using the media.

Managing media is not tough and indeed very important for Corporates.

Its a symbiotic relationship. They need you as well as you need them.

Some basic 'respect' rules are-

  • Always adhere to your deadlines
  • Respect journalists equally whether they are from the leading financial daily or a vernacular paper or a small trade mag
  • Don't fake your respect
  • Give them all information necessary, to form their own opinions
  • Don't hound them for appearance of coverage
  • Be frank and be fair, they have other sources to find what they want to find
  • Be upfront in your dealings
These are just a few rules which will take you far in your PR stint.

Media people are very intelligent. Never underestimate them, but yes don't bend over backwards and sweep the floor for them. They will not respect you, if you do this.

Information exchange between the companies and media needs to be on a fair footing.

I have come across many company honchos who wanted to know how many column cm. coverage can we get them, for a PR retainer !!!!!!

Folks, it's PR, not advertising. It's a relationship building exercise between you and the media. We open the door, we put your foot in.

If the media finds value in your offering, they will pick you up.

This is where the value add of a PR guy comes in. Make your key messages interesting and customized to the Press you are talking to. Find out what they are interested in publishing. Create a good story and pitch it.

In India, PR has lost a lot of its sheen, with funny controversies being the order of the day, but well... every 'person' has his day :-)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Does Advertising = Branding ?

In my first post, I am going to talk about the bane of Brand Management in India.

Advertising...

Almost everyone, from CEOs to managers to professionals to management students, everybody confuses Brand management with advertising.

Why?

Because that is the most visible form of branding a company. Well, and maybe a myth propagated by big time advertising agencies that if you don't advertise, you might as well die a slow brand death !

It might be true of FMCG, white goods industry, but definitely not so for everyone else.

I am a big propagator of ' slow and steady wins the race'.

If you are not selling into retail market, than advertising should not be the 'be all' and 'end all' of your brand management strategy.

There are so many other unique/ innovative ways to build your brand; but they should all be looped into a holistic strategy with a mix and match of ATL, BTL activities and some gimmicks thrown in, for good measure.

More on that later......