January 31, 2011

Need for branding: Hosiery & Fashion Apparel Industry

There are several well established hosiery & apparel manufacturing companies struggling to go up the value chain on the benefits of clear differentiated brand identity. Branding brings repeat purchase and also delivers financial benefits in terms of higher margins & customer loyalty.

There have been several discussions organized by various stakeholders in the process to enlighten the entrepreneurs about the value of investing in brand building but nothing noticeable has been achieved till now. On the contrary many established brands have lost their equity to poor management of the brand. Some companies did take help of major advertising agencies but the results are not very encouraging.

Ludhiana industry has been serving as sourcing base for many global brands for couple of decades now but it has failed to create a brand of the same stature.  There is no dearth of manufacturing excellence but no manufacturer has been able to succeed in building powerful brand. 

Moreover many established local brands have lost out to the global brands. Accepted that customers have fetish for the foreign but that’s only one factor which exists along with many others. Lets us try to find out those other factors that could get you well earned brand equity to ride the market.

Let’s agree that Ludhiana hosiery & apparel manufacturers have the requisite technical knowledge & technology to produce great products for the most demanding buyers globally. But can we say the same when it comes to the marketing excellence?

Foremost challenge to poor branding is the lack of a differentiated equity. To begin with a brand requires a clear enunciation of what it stands for. For example, ‘Sporty’ brand must offer major products for the sports segment. A ‘hi-fashion’ brand could occupy a distinct fashion style amongst many on the offer. The customers must be able to associate a brand with some particular set of satisfiers s/he is seeking.

The quality of advertising would be needed to build great brands. How could you believe an advertisement that promises a discount of 65 per cent? , customers are no fools. Messages like get 4 on purchase of 2, could never build trust & loyalty in the market. A serious business would never treat their customers with such utter disdain.  There are many ways to promote your brand without diluting the trust of customers.Your marketing could create a continuous evolving differentiation for your brand. Though Indian market would continue to offer volume growth at the lower end of the value chain for quite some time to come but the benefits of power branding would be long term and more exciting.

Anahad MC would assist you in designing a marketing strategy that would propel your brand into the right segment for years to come.  Please call us for a preliminary meeting to demonstration of how could we assist you in dominating the market like never before.                 
Marketing Clinic
Our innovative per day based service could help you get a preliminary check up of your marketing needs. We would analyze the problem & suggest remedial actions at a very nominal day based charge only.

Whenever you feel the need to revisit your marketing plan, please feel free to ask us for assistance,  Thank you.

January 27, 2011

Optimal Returns on Marketing Investments

We assist our clients to grow fast by strategizing the marketing for
Optimal Returns on Marketing Investments

Dear Sir:

ou would agree that in order to succeed companies must infuse newer ideas, products and processes to acquire, satisfy and retain customers. It’s the Marketing function that usually does this job for you. Do you remember the last time you reviewed your Marketing plan? When did launch a new product in the market? Which new market did you entered & consolidated? How did you collect the market feedback and used it to keep ahead of the competition? What was the impact of the last sales training in terms of new sales? There are many such questions in the marketing domain. Do you feel it’s time to revisit the marketing plan to infuse new life in your Marketing & Sales?
Anahad MC is a strategic marketing consultancy focused on improving our clients’ returns on the marketing investments. We specialize in measuring and improving marketing productivity and developing strategies for driving top-line growth through innovative marketing.  We serve both B2B and B2C clients across several sectors. We are agile enough to work as per your agenda with inputs from our expertise in the field. So you would have us as additional support to you for designing a winning strategy for the market.
You must have noticed that all too often in India companies do not have a clear plan or strategy to achieve the marketing goals. Most companies follow a trial & error approach. Some try to follow the competition with the hope to survive & beat them at it someday? Others invest in advertising such as yellow pages, newspaper ads, even radio and television without setting clear goals & directions. Isn’t it? You would agree that without innovative research, planning and analysis, the marketing efforts could lead to wastage of resources thereby affecting the top line.
A successful marketer must connect & bond strongly with customers without ever taking off his eye from them.  We would bring innovative ideas for your marketing team for more productivity in the marketing & sales.
You would agree that marketing must be able to convey your message consistently to your customers. We help you discover what your customers want and need and how to engage them profitably. Our integrated marketing process consists of understanding your customer’s needs, developing a marketing strategy, building and implementing an integrated marketing plan, and tracking the results. Although the process appears to be simple, most companies have a hard time developing a marketing strategy that includes an interactive approach that actually ENGAGES the prospects & customers.

Well, you would like to know about the cost involved in this initiative? Please be assured that our services you would actually end up saving money. We would be assisting you on cutting the wasteful marketing expenditure; therefore, you won’t have to enhance the budget for us. A comprehensive marketing plan differentiates a great company from just good ones. Let us find out what your customers want and then help you give it to them. While we focus on long term goals, our strategy remains focused on achieving short term revenue targets.

Marketing Clinic
Our innovative per day based service could help you get a preliminary check up of your marketing needs. We would analyze the problem & suggest remedial actions at a very nominal day based charge only.
Whenever you feel the need to revisit your marketing plan, please feel free to ask us for assistance, Thank you.                  

January 14, 2011

Sachet Marketing for Desi ghee

You would wonder whats that thing called Sachet Marketing? Well we Indians know this very well. Indian consumers  have huge following for this packaging that has given many successful products like paan masalas, shampoos, ketchup etc. Since India is a developing economy with high savings rate therefore consumers prefer to buy in small quantities in greater frequency as we have time. Even TATA Nano could be seem to be coming from same mindset which is called sachet marketing!

Few months back i suggested to a diary company to introduce pure ghee in sachet packing, but despite their acceptance they haven't gone ahead with it. The reasons could be related to operations & commercial philosophy etc. Well all fmcg guys prefer larger packs for volume movement.

There are millions in India who wish to eat desi ghee but can't afford it. Students could carry them to hostels,  restaurants could place them on the table along with salt. Moreover diet conscious could restrict the craving to one sachet and enjoy the food, the list could goon. Imagine what telecoms has achieved by working at the bottom of the consumer of the pyramid.

Goodness of Pure Desi Ghee (clarified butter) Biscuits

Biscuits market in India is largely based on glucose, marie, cream, crackers, milk & others only for a long time. Several new players have entered over the past decade but most of them unimaginatively been towing the line without regard to creating their own market based on strong brands. A market share based on commercial acumen & distribution strength could not last long as such factors could be diluted with the new competition.

Its a powerful brand  that could sustain a player for long period along the evolution of the market. India being a developing market would find enough consumers for any product in the medium term. So if you think you could do without building a strong brand for awhile could be disastrous for long term health of the company. Consumers must be educated to make repeated choice in your favor for the market stability as a consequence of your branding.

In our cow country don't you wonder that there is no brand in biscuit segment offering the goodness of Desi Ghee? When i gave the idea to a ludhiana, Punjab based company they did agree to work on it, but my association with them could not last long enough to get the goodness of desi ghee into the market. Let us hope we soon have a new segment added to this competitive industry.

January 12, 2011

Facebook in Print !

Agreed, the print media in India is growing at a healthy pace as against the worldwide trends of negative growth. But that’s what is unique about our Indian Consumer Markets.  For instance the global telecom industry has 20:80 ratio of pre to post paid users, we have a achieved almost 70 percent penetration, let’s wait for number portability which would reveal the true picture, in the market with a reverse structure.  In many other FMCG/Durables market we have similar story to tell as compared with the developed world and China etc. My point is that B-schools need to include full paper on Indian Consumer Market Structure & Dynamics, though including E2E subject would also be of help to the MBAs and industry in general.

Let’s be warned by charming growth figures of print media as technology can actually shake up the financial planning of many expanding and new players. The biggest danger is rapidly enlarging displays of the handheld devices. Print media publishers must be prudent with new investments in this sector. Print media may keep growing in size for another decade in India but it would have to work on a new business model based on circulation/news revenue against the traditional advertising dependent model.

It’s time that the print media introduces innovations that could keep the readers interested in the product. I am sure it’s time we do a Facebook in print in India. It’s possible with little fresh thinking with me! 

Can India do a alibaba.com?

My experience of working with SMEs has brought out that there are several structural and strategic challenges that keep the SMEs away from success in the global markets. I would make two points in this regard in this note. 

Firstly, its the trust deficit and lack of intra-SMEs cohesiveness approach to present themselves as a leveraged group to the global markets. How many clusters have we formed in last few years?

Secondly, Its the crass incompetency on the part of the officials at MSMEs, industry organisations (like FICCI, CII) etc in giving minimum promotional support to the SMEs.Why don't our industry associations  and MSME, have not cared to create an online directory for SMEs so that buyers could find them on the net? Unfortunately i have personal experience of a couple of cases where State electronic development corporation partnered with an entrepreneur, PPP model, for creation of such a directory and in both cases they have failed because the objective was to make money not promote the SMEs. Maharashtra is the only state where we have a directory of the SME. Others state industry departments could show you their large & medium companies directory but no one has one on the SMEs.

Our SMEs require positive contribution by some competent hands in the government to be able to survive. We the land of SMEs have bleak future

January 8, 2011

Indian Mythology & Chinese History

You would wonder what it has to do with marketing? Well our vocation is to keep our ears close to the ground for monitoring the behavior of  consuming class, isn't it? The India-China comparison has become a major subject of study in local as well as global context. I am an Indian, who has been to China for business. Recently one of my good friend Jitin Thukral ( Thukral & Tagra), a globally renowned artist/painter spent a full month in China, what he told me about China is the same thing that he would not believe when i told him so! Jitin thinks China is comparable to the USA & Europe, and sadly India has no real race with China except that  we are neighbors & developing countries.

China built the great wall much before Robert Frost discovered that good fences makes good neighbors. India China has great Himalayas thats shall be our friendly wall for a good neighborly living.

The Chinese has made quite a lot of western ideas redundant in areas like Banking, Privatization etc. One previous Indian government inspired from the western line went on to create a ministry for Privatization of public sector undertakings without ever finding a new way of developing our economy.  Efficiency does not come with mere handing over reins to another set of people but what with values and competency of the people at the helm.

Alibaba dot com is a public sector enterprise from China that India the mecca of IT have failed to deliver for catalyzing the global trade.  Its embarrassing that we the land of Small & Medium Enterprises do not have a online directory so that they could get listed in global trade. Why can't we do little things to make our companies & products available on the internet? We don't need an IMF guy to tell us so after all governments spent millions in the name of industry promotion.

I know of at least one directory of the SMEs from Punjab promoted by Punjab State Electronics Development Corporation on private public partnership route that has failed to take off. Though its was not meant to take off at all. Private public route has become a major means of defrauding the country and must be   reevaluated. Please name a PP venture that has succeeded.

Full privatization in India is just like spectrum or mining or land allotment  wherein unscrupulous make hay. China has always had its own thinking, and once more it has demonstrated & convinced the world about their abilities, values and skills in transforming itself into a super power. We too require to find that qualities within us that could propel us on growth path and rid our country out of monstrous poverty and incompetency.

Rahul Bajaj appears on many channels talking about how India should grow without admitting that his tribe has grown in a domestic market with strict government controls only. What way such so called industry leaders show us to succeed globally? We need to learn from the  TATA, Infy, Mahindra, Apollo, Wipro & Oswal spinning to write our happy history, otherwise we may not be a great country except in mythology. Lets us wake up, start working and respect the values like honesty, integrity & meritocracy. Meritocracy must prevail if India wants to become a super power.

January 5, 2011

CRM & Customer Delight!

Growing companies must genuinely be paranoid about finding & cultivating customers, more so if you operate in B2B domain. It has been observed that in the absence of a structured Engagement Plan the customer interaction remains limited to order processing & receivables management with occasional meeting om Diwali/New Year greetings. That certainly results into situations in which the companies & the customers develop a long but cold relationship without the benefits of a close warm togetherness. A successful company must seek to have warm working relations with all their customers. A corporation must attempt to create an engaging dialogue with target consumers and stimulate their engagement with the brand. Therefore a corporation must strategize its engagements plan with the customer in order to have a healthy top line over longer period.

Reams of literature exist that stresses the need for focusing on the Consumer engagement & Delight in order to have financial profit from the enterprise. But what is the reality of the real market in India? How many consumer durables companies have a customer complaint/feedback button on their website? In the FMCG domain the scenario is no different. The E2E or B2B markets have different mechanisms to deal with negative feedback. No durable or FMCG company in India has a formulated Customer Grievance policy that could be set in motion in case of negative feedback & assist the executive to remedy the hurt/loss. What does it mean? All that ‘marketing talk’ on customer comes first are mere sham or myth? Check any company budget templates and try search the allocation &appropriation for complain redress?  Where is the marketing in India?

Another important misunderstanding about marketing in Indian context is about the relationship between Consumer engagement & consumer satisfaction. As per wiki,” Customer engagement has been discussed widely online; hundreds of pages have been written, published, read and commented upon. Numerous high-profile conferences, seminars and roundtables have either had CE as a primary theme or included papers on the topic. Customer engagement marketing places conversions into a longer term, more strategic context and is premised on the understanding that a simple focus on maximizing conversions can, in some circumstances, decrease the likelihood of repeat conversions. CE aims at long-term engagement, encouraging customer loyalty and advocacy through word-of-mouth.”

Customer Engagement in services is more critical than in the products because of the nature & ownership issues. Most Marketing managers focus more on satisfying the customers at the primary product level without strategizing the process of engagements. In a scenario of less importance to marketing in the deficit markets of India/ China nature most companies are confused in allocation of resources between Engagements & Satisfaction. Such a situation would mean the once you have a strategically great product, price & promotion you need not factor in the issues of engagements.

I have researched the problems with my client organizations and the market at large. The service companies must have a defined engagements policy that could maintain the consumer trust resulting in financial success for the corporation. Some of my recommendations are:

1.    Engaging consumer in pre, sale & post sale needs strategic stance.
2.    A satisfied customer can forget you so needs reminder
3.    A bad situation can be converted into a gain with the help of quality engagement.
4.    An engaged customer has more value than the satisfied only.
5.    Quantity & quality of the communication must be calibrated with a bias for quantity in deficit markets like India. 

Gurinder S. Ahluwalia

How to earn 1 million Dollars from blogging?

Strategy is the key to make a pile of money from blogging. But you can't earn a cent unless Google or Facebook makes many times more fr...