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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

THE TRUMP CARD

The political season in America is going on and it’s getting hot day by day. Let it be Republican Party or Democratic Party, both are using every marketing strategy and leaving no stones unturned to grab the white house chair. What impresses everyone is the marketing strategy adopted by Donald Trump – you can love him, hate him, but for sure you will learn a lot from him. This Reality show star cum Businessman cum Politician has ability to draw large number of crowds by his mesmerized and unfiltered speech. When we launch a new product, we go for very clear and detailed explanation of the product but this guy prefers to keep it vague. Goodson described six basics principle to make your product king in its domain. First, to keep a simple message that can be understood by everyone. Second, identify your target audience and appeal to them only. Third, to become popular, take a stand in controversial issues and debates. Fourth, if you don’t have a competitor, create one. Fifth, a charismatic leader to get your message delivered. Sixth, find different ways to intimidate the opposition. Trump is devoted follower of all these principles. He is the most voted candidate among Republican Party and hence slowly and steady, coming one step closer to white house.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Pursuit of ‘Un’-Happiness: Is the glamour industry minting money using our insecurities?

Glamour Industry:  A Page 3 hot topic has always been the talk of the town. Whether be it over a cup of coffee or over a sip of wine, this is what has always got people going. Life at the other side of the fence has always been glamorous. Or has there been any another side of the story? A side people have not come across! A side that appears to be a garden of roses but is water less like a desert. But who has created that side? Is it us, the organizations or the society?


An aspect that haunts every individual is ‘Log kya kahenge” because they want to be perceived as finest in the society.  Every girl wants to be the “baby doll” or “bebo” and every guy wants to be the “kukad kamaal da” of their respective societies. For e.g. the definition of Indian weddings has changed, the brides are facing intense competition from their sisters, aunties, maybe even their mother. Heavy expenditures on makeup, dresses, jewellery are done to make their Dp’s look flawless. It’s become a “Clash of Clans” to portray themselves as picture-perfect idols. Hence walls created by society between black & white, men & women, tall & short, rich & poor, beautiful & ugly have become too high for individuals to cross over. The psyche of individuals runs on the perception and preferences of society not their own happiness or choices. So they start chasing and changing everything that makes them a goody-goody symbol in the society. How is this change and chase happening? Are brands eventually modifying their communication strategy by taking advantage of the psyche of individuals by highlighting the glamour industry? Is there a connection between the society and the glamour world?

Glamour has gone beyond the realms of any segment. Everyone hunts it as their breakfast. It has changed the consumption patterns, by serving a different taste, style, appearance or opinion.  The idealistic image of the industry has persuaded them to look new and improved if they use products or clothes like them. We find it fanciful, because we compare our real life with a reel life world. For E.g. Slim actresses, muscular actors, nude makeup, classy dresses in fact there lifestyle has driven us crazy, where as our dusky complexion, extra size, short height, specs instead of lenses has made us feel inferior. 
 
So is the Glamorous industry just a fake reality of what a common man aspires to have?
Hoi polloi with a desire to look perfect as their glamorous role model have created a new business for companies. So what are consumers looking for: Do they want to look beautiful/ attractive or they want to hide their insecurities? Because consumers are ready to spend any amount to look alike their role models. Plastic surgeries, pants that tighten your stomach, Botox injections have become too common.

An evolution in makeup, skin and hair care, health clubs has been brought according to the psychology of the consumers. In fact their daily spending has started revolving around these issues, like Kellogg; a breakfast diet for women in order to lose weight in two weeks or Horlicks makes your child “Taller, Stronger, Sharper’’ or Creams that makes you fair or 12 hours long lasting makeup to make you look beautiful. All these messages are being communicated through glamour industry by the organizations. Companies have connected with the emotional psyche of the consumers and flooded them with uncountable products. I still remember going gaga over Kareena’s size zero- A Tashan that flopped but her size became a big blockbuster, or an excess hair fall made me use L’Oreal because “I felt I am worth it”. Sensitivity in my teeth shifted me towards “Sensodyne”. Believing these models or actresses as a “Miracle of God’’ I rubbed, scrubbed my skin to look like them. Was it correct on my path? Was it natural or was I falling to a trap? All in all, the advertisement played to its objective. 

Many campaigns came as bolt from the blue. Like, Fair and lovely was criticized for a racial discrimination act where they portrayed a financially struggling father wishing for a son instead of a dark skinned daughter, who could not support her family. She decides to become air hostess and starts using “Fair & lovely” to change her complexion. Other similar ads like girl getting rejected in an interview due to dark skin or Saif Ali Khan leaving Priyanka Chopra in an ad because she is unattractive, and starts dating beautiful Neha Dhupia. And when Priyanka starts using “Fair & Lovely” and finally Saif Ali Khan comes back to her.

Belittling dark skin or gender discrimination or ageing in their campaigns; is this type of marketing justified? Are these brands targeting such audience or segments intentionally?  By putting their actions on the border of discrimination and deception! These marketing efforts are robbing the morale of people rather than giving them a hope. They are creating a world of fa├žade and taking away the natural instinct of people. It’s become “Baby I am preying on you tonight, hunt you down eat you alive” syndrome for organisations.

Kuch to log kahenge, Logo kaa kaam hai kehna” therefore Pursuit of Happiness is living a life that gives you joy, being comfortable in your own skin. Accepting who you are and not getting deceived organisations that are minting money on your insecurities. Be cherry and merry in the world of “I am” rather than “I could be”, because it has no finale.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Was Ola Boats A Rescue Operation, For Humanity Or A Marketing Gimmick

Chennai was reeling in flood, facing one of its toughest times. Remorseless and intolerant, it was taking a toll on the spirit of Chennai. Life had come to a standstill and it was becoming difficult for people to move on. Roads drowned, water at eight feet and hopes were pinned on boats. A certain Venkatesh Krishna chuckled in a humor. Little did he know that OLA would turn it around?

Getting into action, OLA sourced in Blue waters (a Chennai based sports fishing company) with their rowers, boats and fisherman to start off with the rescue operation. The boats were equipped with two rowers, sufficient umbrella and certain relief material. Ola’s role was important in the sense they provided the right impetus to the rowers with the way it should go about the operations. OLA stood up with its proactive behavior and responsiveness which set them apart. Successful with the whole operation, this signaled what the new-age startups stood for.

All this while, twitter was buzzing with tweets trying to decipher the motive behind the act. While some termed it as an effective marketing gimmick, many saw the other side of OLA. This is how the story has been always. A channel had a side of story while others have got hold of the other side.

It was never planned to be a branding communication for OLA. Their existence in Chennai dates back to around two and half years and accounts for the second largest share in India in terms of booking. With the first mover advantage and a sizeable share of the market, the motive to respond the way they did, certainly cannot be to garner praise & accolades.

Long back, UBER received flak for its surge pricing during Baltimore riots in the USA and to see what OLA did during floods is surely commendable. This was also not the first instance of OLA extending a helping hand. Back during Uttarakhand floods (June 2013), they did their part by transferring OLA money to PM relief fund. Startups of the likes Zomato or OYO have offered discount for accommodation in their listed hotels during adversities and few other startups have implemented strategies for a social cause with no definite linkage with profit motive.

OLA did put up its stickers on boats and jackets and it was an instance where OLA displayed that they were doing the job. We all market ourselves, this is human phenomenon. When an organization put such an effort, it should be applauded rather than being criticized. At times, we need to take a pause and appreciate the good acts of others.  Boats deployed by OLA on humanitarian grounds were evident as they were the first to address the problem by an innovative solution and an act which wouldn’t return substantial profits. The only motive behind the act was to create a well being for the people. A company goes for marketing gimmick when it tries to enter into the mind and space of the consumer and they had already established that with the first mover advantage.

In this whole operation, OLA has had their share of applause too. They have been recognized widely by people, newspapers and journals. Their work has been carried across and that has created a goodwill for the brand.

Organizations in India have reached a maturity stage where they will contribute towards the society. With young entrepreneurs at the helm of affairs all decisions are taken after much consideration. It was just like a railway journey where you go on and build that bond and when you leave, you leave with a tinge of sadness. Let us not criticize them for the valiant effort they have taken. Let us build that wave where we go on and help others, for the world is too small to meet again.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

CORPORATE TALK - Mr. Vijay Raghawan R J

“Vijay Raghawan R J,” he introduced himself with an affable smile. Every guest lecture set high expectations, but to find those expectations exceeded is distinctly gratifying. So was it when Mr. Raghawan started that evening addressing the PGDM batch of 2015-17 and 2016-18 of IMI Bhubaneswar. The lecture started on a peculiar note with Mr. Raghawan breaking the ice. He started with his journey from Bangalore and Chennai to being the HR head of Vodafone, Bhubaneswar. Moving ahead he talked about certain skills every aspiring manager should have, like coping with compliance, insecurity and dominance. To put in another way, he talked about having the sportsmanship in every budding manager.


Furthermore, he stated that to incorporate learning, “One must have fear, because it will push your efforts,” and “It is never late to start” as he went on over and above “genuine preparation never lets you down.” As he went down the memory lane, he asked the audience whether IMI has a cultural committee, for he was quite elated reminiscing that he was a part of cultural committee too back in his college.


On being requested by a student, he also gave his experiential insights about the working of Vodafone circle in Odisha. Mr. Vijay Raghawan did not forget to throw some light on the work culture he initiated. He has a music band where he being the drummer performs every week to enliven his employees and perk up the ebb and flow of his organisation. He responded to queries about emerging trends in the particular sector he is working on. He also shared his expectations as a recruiter from a candidate, specifically accentuating on ‘Honest Guts’, asking students to be honest to oneself and have a clarity of thought. Also advised to be honest to weaknesses and emboldened students no matter what to pursue their interest. Finally, with a grin he asked the students to enjoy the best two years of their life while pursuing MBA.

Last but not the least, Mr. Raghawan concluded that institutional tag matters, but after some years it is us, that is the students who matter. To put into words, he articulated his concluding speech as “You are a brand by yourself.”