August 31, 2011

Hero Moto Corp new identity for the market leader

Hero Honda does not exist anymore; the leader has been laid to rest. In its place there is Hero Moto Corp! Well the inevitable has happened and surely the Hero group must have been working on the transition for longtime. Let’s watch out how the future plays out. But I have few initial responses to their marketing particularly the advertising campaign about the transition.
Like most domestic companies that swear by fortune at the middle of the pyramid the Hero group have seem to target through the new  campaign. Obviously most domestic companies prefer to take the ‘safe’ approach with hope that one day they would be able to consolidate despite fiercest of the competition. I would not recommend such a strategic move to anyone. A new company must inspire new hope and appeal to the segment with potential of early trail. The company seems to be targeting the largest collection of followers among buyers rather than finite opinion leaders.

Hum hai hero… feels like inspired from Tata Steel campaigns. Well they are justified in registering the omnipresence of steel in all walks of life. But the theme adopted by HMC does not suit them, India is a motorbike  country but our per capita is no indicator that all who want a motorbike wishes to feel like a hero. The youth would go for zippier global branding & the domestic players would have to contend with need based buyers those use motorbike for work & transport. Such economy conscious buyers would be contended with other appeals. It seems to me that the Anna circus has had some impact on Hero Moto Corp’s selection of a campaign theme to announce new identity.

Hero Moto Corp campaign in my opinion is weak & would not help the HMC establish itself as a mid market player in two wheeler segment.

Marketing in times of Robust Demand

Indian economy has been experiencing robust demand across board for fmcg goods, particularly fmcg food category. Consequently most companies have begun to ignore their marketing function for the sake of focusing more on procurement & production. Almost double digit inflation in food segment growing demand has confused the producers. You have a situation now that some major established companies may have to face the prospect of substitution by new competition.  It is important for a professional company to invest more in marketing during periods of robust growth to consolidate their position to ward off potential threats.

Outages due to supply constraints are best period for new players to enter market for immediate product trails. You must have noticed that during the cycles of sufficient demand most producers tend to focus away from marketing to focus more on production etc. Such situation leads to a state when not only wasteful leakages of resources in production go unnoticed but more seriously the marketing gets completely ignored. I have noticed such situation facing many food companies in North India. Most companies are in danger of getting seriously hit by new entrants. Therefore such companies must wake up and invest in marketing immediately to have top of mind recall. 

August 12, 2011

Political Advertising by incumbent parties in UP & Punjab

Majority of political players in office believe that it is their legitimate right to use public money to showcase their achievements thru expensive media campaigns. Moreover they firmly believe in the effectiveness of such advertisements to generate a positive outcome of such campaigns. Being a marketing professional I would not like to argue about the moral & ethical implications of such actions but I have strong objections to the logic of effectiveness of such campaigns.

Most political players would not leave an opportunity to get their names mentioned in media. It flows from the mindset that any publicity is good publicity, and more so, that positive publicity is always good. I have studied many cases of government advertising, NDA’s feel good campaign too, and have reached same conclusion every time that advertisements containing the achievements of government during pre election period work against the interest of the incumbent party.

Election campaigning in Punjab & UP has already broken in the media. One could not miss extended TVCs of UP government singing praises of the Maya government whereas Punjab media is bombarded with achievement of SAD led government. Both the campaigns have already reached frequency levels that begin to build a negative reaction amongst the citizen voters. If both parties continued with their current approach to scheduling it is certain to damage their chances of victory.

Over publicity of incumbent party could deliver a bigger blow to its victory chances than a sustained campaign by the challenger. Incumbent political players in both UP & Punjab would do well to drastically cut their campaign frequency and also adjust the scheduling strategy to get a positive outcome

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