July 16, 2011

Aadhaar- A letter to Nandan Nilekani

Dear Mr Nandan Nilekani

Greetings, i respect your contribution to Infy and now to India in form of UID initiative. But being a marketing professor, i have some views on the nomenclature of the UID card.

A name must be easily pronounceable & convey the intended purpose, 'adhar' has elongated vowel sounds in two places once in the beginning & the penultimate syllable. Which is very odd for a mass brand. Generally its is the consonants which constitute a great brand name. UID may have been created by govt for their planning purpose but govt must see what would it do for us the citizens. It may govt's base (adhar) for identifying a citizen but it do not convey the benefits to the users. You are well aware of the nomenclatures of such identification systems present in the developed world.

Please get a survey about how many people, even in Hindi heartland, can speak the name correctly & you would be disappointed with findings.

(2)Secondly transcribing a Hindi name in English makes it look inferior. Either you have a Hindi name written in Hindi or English name written in same language and so on. It sounds & feels like a ration card name rather than a national identifier.

(3)Thirdly a national identity card must incorporate the three colors of our flag to give it a national character. Red & yellow have traditionally been colors of food packaging. 

Kindly look into it. Please don't be offended as i have genuine respect for you. Thank you

Best regards
Gurinder S. Ahluwalia MBA, MJMC
Marketing Consultant & Professor
Chandigarh, India 

M:  +91  09417723313   T/F: +91-0172 2682523
Blog: http://anahadmc.blogspot.com

PS: Let us save trees, Please do not  print unless unavoidable.

July 10, 2011

Political Advertising

Political advertising came into focus as a major determinant in political campaigning ever since Rajiv Gandhi’s advertising campaign designed by one of India’s leading advertising agency Lintas Bombay. Some of the popular campaigns such as that of Samajwadi Party’s campaign featuring Amitabh Bachchan & ‘Shining India’ of NDA failed to see the party through in elections. Generally political players when in power project their achievements & opposition takes to criticizing their work and make new promises.

As a political marketing researcher, may I suggest you the following;

  1. One size do not fits all? Generally parties go for ‘one message’ for all the segments in the state. Please avoid this trap and carefully segment Punjab into rural or urban and other segmentation variables and have different suitable message for each segment. ‘India Shining’ campaign was good one but it was wrongly targeted at the unrelated segments. ‘Shining’ campaign was actually meant for urban audience but it was targeted on the rural population too with disastrous results.

  1. Good work leads to good results! Chander babu Naidu’s government had done good work & had very encouraging media feedback too on his work but he lost. NDA under Atal jee had also done good work but could not hold on to power. Well, the research reveals that advertisements focused more on achievements may not be a good strategy. Therefore please see the weakness of ‘achievement argument’ and go for a new suitable communication strategy. SAD may focus on new promises rather discussing about past achievements in advertising campaign.

  1. Winner’s curse: It’s better to start second to win the battle. Generally the incumbent party would begin the advertising campaign in right earnest before the challenger. Please wait for the challenger campaign to begin and then enter fray. Any student of psychographic profile of Punjabis would tell you that we have a serious issue of trust deficit. So when you claim success others immediately start searching for their share in the achievement & may develop a negative orientation. Therefore greater share of voice, without equivalent share of mind & heart may not lead to desired positive outcomes.

  1. Floating versus Core? It has been established beyond doubts that a political player would do well in elections if they focus more on the floating voters against narrow concerns of the core followers. 

July 4, 2011

Internal Marketing in ITES in India

India has seen considerable growth in the service sector particularly the ITES during the past couple of decades. The growth of this sector has slowed down due to many reasons external to the Indian economy. But there have been major internal challenges too. One such impediment internal to an organization is the lack of Internal Marketing.

The first waves of ITES companies were closely aligned with their global partners therefore it was easy to bring in systems, processes & practices that have been followed in the global context. The market was agog with their employee friendly policies and five star office spaces. Therefore talented people never stopped looking for such organizations. The scene has changed a lot.

Just a causal walk into any IT park in India would apprise you of empty spaces that were once buzzing with youthful activity. What has gone wrong with India’s ITES dream? The answer is pretty dumb. Once Indian managements took over such facilities they turned it into what they knew best, a product centric approach to business rather than the understated intensity of the service management.

The scaling down of quality, due to several business and other considerations has affected the delivery process so crucial to the ITES enterprise. Internal marketing have been ignored or forgotten. Training & development have been reduced to mere ceremonies. Once the delivery quality suffered it was normal for the client to change the vendor leading to weak financial performance.

Business organizations in service sector have to leave the HR policies hardened over the product marketing fire in a closed market. Internal marketing & quality of the internal customers would be the only two crucial parameters of success of a company in Education, Hospitality, ITES, Energy & Telecom domain. Investment in the internal customers & their quality must go up as they only determine the delivery.

A service company must not live on the old fashioned adage of ‘organization is bigger than an individual’ and allow its great people leave them for greener pastures. No HR policies must restrain a service organization to pamper their stars performers for the elusive search of team building. You would have bigger team if you are successful, that would be a consequence of an inspired leadership of an individual. Teams are great but greater are your talented people. How would you rate the success of Apple computers without maverick Chief Steve jobs? Therefore it’s good to have HR policies that recognize & reward the talent. If your operations are global then it pays to play by global rules.

July 1, 2011

ETIOS LIVA- a marketing gamble for Toyota

The largest car manufacturer in the world needs no advise for a marketing professor but I take it as my calling to express my views on their ETIOS line of products. Well arithmetically largest manufacturer must target the largest segment! But it may not be suited for thinking patterns of Indian mind that’s firmly rooted in tradition and a hierarchical society. Indians resilience is famous, we Indians have repeatedly demonstrated & proven that we could behave as best of friends even without any real existence of affection. Branding is a mind game and depends upon the mental architecture of a society.

And one of our firm beliefs is that either you are a Ravan or a Ram & there is nothing much in between.

Therefore TATA has to wait for acceptance of its ARIA, similarly MUL understands the fate of Kizashi. JAZZ continues to be priced at Honda levels in Indian car market. For marketers looking for trends there are enough lessons to be drawn from the brand wars in consumers electronics in India. SONY still rules the market while others go through repeated adjustments.

ETIOS LIVA places Toyota bang in the lower segment dominated by Indigo, Desire by Tata & Suzuki. It would directly affect the market of their premium products like Camary, Altis etc. And once you come down from that pedestal into the grime at the bottom of the pyramid then it’s the price that would matter. Premium position and associated engineering quality does not matter in this segment. How could you maintain a relationship when there is no need for it? Branding thrives on relationship and sacrifices. Branding is the pride a consumer has in the services offered by the seller without demanding them.

Besides pricing it’s the look & feels of Etios line of autos that make it appear cheap & under engineered. Who needs Toyota to do a Tata, Mahindra & Maruti in India? Toyota has been known for its long term plans let us see how long they would take to get to the market leader position in India?

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