Saturday, 20 April 2013


IPL, for the last 6 years,  has been a phenomenon. We love it, and this 'Indian' league is a 'global' affair.

But what has amazed me is the outstanding response from the sponsors  A company has literally painted the whole nation blue by sponsoring this yearly extravaganza. Companies rush in and shell out crores of Rupees to get their name up there, to earn a 20 second ad space for themselves.

What really makes an event so huge? Why while some events, even if big, don't really have that rush of sponsors?

I guess the answer lies in the fact that the mileage given by events like IPL can not be given by many others. How many of us really remember an ad, or a logo unless and until it is shown to us day in and day out? IPL does that. 50 odd days of 'some brand sixer' and 'x-brand fours' and 'catches brought to you by x' etc etc. make us at least remember that brand.

And yeah, the power of storytelling (my previous post) always gives that advantage. Driving the incidence and making the population aware about you can be done by sponsoring such events. But I still wonder how sustainable is that when people remember so little about yesterday?

Friday, 19 April 2013

A moment to cherish, a time to remember.

The first time you got selected somewhere, the first time you kissed her, the 'only' time your teachers praised you are the times you remember, we like to remember and cherish.

Many marketing greats have identified the importance of 'storytelling'. There are products which are absolutely not a necessity. We can definitely live without them, but still we need them. And not just need them, they have become an integral part of our lifestyle. There are products, which, by connecting with the lives of people, make us believe that they are worth buying.

That's the power of storytelling. A logo tells a story, an ad tells a story, we often tell stories and make analogies to make some theoretical concepts clear to our peers.

Food and beverages companies have made a market just by telling stories. Companies are doing this more often now (seen the latest Godrej ad?). And why not? It works. It has worked for so many companies, so many times.

The empirical evidences clearly state that storytelling has become a necessity now.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Employees first!

I wonder if the things we read during our MBA are actually implemented by companies, managers and employees.

I went to a company's office and the talk of teams, culture etc. etc. seemed bull****. You go out there and they mean business. Sales, sales and sales. How to expand in the market and create new ones.

But we never seem to notice any talk of culture, preserving it and making the employees productive. Money seems to be the only motivating factor.

Well, it's good to say all this is wrong and culture does matter and is being talked about. But 'many' (surely not all) companies are only and only sales-strategy minded and still give customers priority over the employees.

BOTTOM LINE: Managers should always, and always give priority to their employees no matter what. You don't sell if you have dissatisfied employees. But I doubt many companies follow this model. Well, we know the ones which follow and they sure are on top of the charts as far as the sales, after sales and customer satisfaction is concerned.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Empty spaces!

A company like HUL, well, only HUL has a presence in 80% of the market in North-East India. The next best are some food and beverages giants with 18-20%.

There are few issues with food and beverages that stops their market to grow. Refrigeration and storage needs are the biggest and then, of course, convincing the happy bigger brand distributors to sell your product.

Whatever little knowledge I have gained by understanding the FMCG industry, I can say with decent enough confidence that two things are necessary to fill up the empty spaces of the market, to increase your penetration- innovation and distribution.

With innovation I mean out of the box thinking. Doing something that has never been done before. Generating weird ideas and making them productive.This can be done by inspiring, pushing and giving your employees the 'power to fail'. Ideas can only be generated in a free and open culture, rest assured if the ideas are weird.

And yes, distribution is the biggest tool for the FMCG industry. Safe to say a FMCG company can not survive unless there is a strong distribution network. Its importance can not be emphasized more upon. Other than the DSD and indirect distribution, we have been unable to find out ways to distribute.

If only we could mix innovation with distribution and get a new, improved way to keep cold drinks 'cold' in deserts, the empty spaces can be filled!    

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The paan-wala knows best!

It's amazing how whatever management grads learn sitting in the classroom is practiced day in and day out by the people selling vegetables and sutta on footpaths.

I was having a juice at a corner shop and the dressing of the shop made me wonder how they go about their business. Sustainability is such a big factor there. Thin margins, cutting-edge competition and the desperation to sell your product due to its life cycle. 

The shop is dressed in such a way that MBA grads take millions of classes to understand. Products are displayed for activation and of course, for letting the people know it's there. The shops are in a congested area, taking help from the competition and supporting products.The shelf spaces well occupied, the margins well taken care of, the finances being managed carefully.

It's amazing how much we can learn and understand just by understanding a corner shop's model of working. Well, classes are necessary, I believe. They make us understand how to look at things and understand them. Going in the field gives us a practical, hands-on experience of what is being done.

Monday, 15 April 2013

The power of NO

And finally, I bumped into a very meaningful and very insightful article: Check it out here.

The answer by Oliver Emberton gives a near point-by-point mantra of going about starting your company. The bottlenecks you have while going through the tough phases and the reason these bottlenecks are important, are well articulated in the article.

It emphasizes on the fact that we want to do a hundred things. As the ones just entering the field, we are tempted to do million things at once. Apple understood the power of saying NO, of keeping it simple. It's best when you are the "jack of all trades, master of 1". While starting your business, one should not focus one's energy in multiple fields. Start simple. And do, whatever small you do, in a very unique way.

As truly stated, there is a great power in the word NO. One will be tempted to do lucrative things. Will try to jump into all sorts of businesses. But one should understand his/her calling and the divident NO gives.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Permission vs. Interruption Marketing

I was wondering which one is better for you? Should I ask for your permission to send you the mail? But what if you say no?? What about my product?

There is an ongoing conflict between Permission Marketing and Interruption Marketing. Permission Marketing, as Seth Godin puts it, is not for mass. It's one on one, it's customized and people get to choose what they want to hear.

Whereas, Interruption will 'interrupt' you, makes you see the ad you never asked for while watching your favourite daily soap.

But is Interruption Marketing not important ( or effective)? Brands use the interruption marketing model to much success. It's irritating at times, but it works.

So what should a marketer do? Well, go for a good blend of both the worlds. Show you care but in doing so, don't forget that you have a solution to sell.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Create or Wait??

So what is the right thing to do? Acquire knowledge and then go into the field or go and have an on-the-go experience?
I often wonder how I wanted to start my own company and how I am waiting for a right moment. Right moment? Yes, so that I have the proper knowledge and skill set. So that I become self sufficient first.
On the other hand, why wait? Greats in the business are not all MBA grads, they never had the proper knowledge, they never waited!
A constant tussle in the mind. To complete the backlogs, to bury the burden or to just go with it leaving everything aside. Seeing off the loan is an agenda whereas to own a company is a dream. Guess will have to wait for the 'right moment'.