These platforms and interfaces have always been around us, but in 2012, they’ll probably become the most important marketing tools. Here’s our take on them.
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Android

The Linux based operating system from Google is your one stop solution to mobile marketing. Here’s how.
Convergence, as we all know is the future. Instead of watching TV or reading newspapers, consumers are increasingly spending time with the devices they carry around. And to get people to buy your product, you have to be where they are. With 700,000 Android devices being activated everyday as of December 2011 (Andy Rubin, Sr. VP Mobile, Google), every marketer should try and leverage the medium. If you haven’t yet, get hold of developers and figure out what you can do.

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Augmented reality (AU)

How you define it is not important, how you leverage it is.
To be honest, if you read the definition, you’ll think it can’t be used as a marketing tool. So to simplify, let’s just say that this technology is a bridge connecting the virtual and real world. This year, AU was used perhaps for the first time in India at the Auto Expo by Mahindra & Mahindra. A cheetah was created which visitors could see on the screen above the displayed XUV. The fun part was that people could also pat the animal. Although the activity had no connection as such with the brand, it did however create brand recall. The technology is nascent in the advertising field, but in 2012, it might just become an integrated part of the advertising mix.

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Gamification

This might not exactly sound like a marketing tool, but then, it is. And an important one at that.
Ever wondered why you get to earn points through apps like Foursquare for just recommending the service to your friends? If you thought that it was just fun, then you better know now that you were part of a gamification process. These technique uses game design in order to increase engagement. Try the The Economist puzzle game on Facebook. Gamification is simple to implement, easy on the pocket and the trade offs are huge. With Gartner predicting that gamification will become as important as Facebook and Twitter for marketers by 2015, it’s worth a try.

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Facebook

Zuckerberg came, everybody saw and Facebook conquered.
When before in your entire career as a marketer did you hear about a car being launched on the Internet? Probably never. But the unimaginable happened in 2011when Ford launched the Explorer on Facebook. CEO Allan Mulally even went on to answer user questions on the Wall. The social network has 800 million active users with 50% logging in on any given day. If you aren’t there, you’re missing a huge opportunity. It’s no more about having a fan page, it’s about constantly interacting with your fans.

 
 
The world is not going to end in 2012. what has ended however are the usual brand wars that marketing pundits predict at the start of every new year. move over Coke vs Pepsi, the new kids on the block are raring to have a go...

January is the month of soothsayers; of crystal gazing about the year ahead; and motley predictions about life, love, career, family and even the end of the world (this one’s for the Mayans, the I Ching and the Bible, interpretations of which reveal that the date for Armageddon has been set down for 2012). But India is another story. Irrespective of the fate of the world, the start of the year has had politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen and even members of Team Anna going batty about what 2012 has in store for them.

For marketers however, the start of the year is traditionally more agonising and full of the unknown than others. The onset of January almost always sends marketing pundits in a tizzy fantasizing about better brand visibility and higher growth as the final quarter sets in. They may have frittered away the rest of the year planning big budget ads, events and contests to improve the bottomline, but January is when the winds get taken off their sail because the sales just don’t add up to the heavy duty marketing chutzpah. It could be because of the rising input costs, the falling margins, slow consumer demand or numerous other reasons that seem to be confounding the Indian economy right now, but it is there.

So this January has only seen the pressure on marketers go up. If bottomlines are down at the end of the third quarter, CEOs are demanding more action for better results before March 31st. And if bottomlines are up, then the bid is to raise the stakes and outperform in the third quarter perhaps for a mouth-watering incentive if you are lucky. Any which way you look at it, the beginning of the New Year will witness some exciting brand battles as marketers attempt to score a one up against rivals. The rest of the year of course will follow suit.

Interestingly, while some of the most eloquent brand wars have traditionally found shelf space in the FMCG market (recall the Coke vs. Pepsi shindig or the Surf versus Ariel standoff), the fast growing durables, electronics, automobile, financial services and media markets in India have spawned close battles in these sectors. What’s more, the brand battles of 2012 are special in the sense that they are unusual in their non-conformity. It’s not Maruti versus Hyundai or LG versus Samsung or Star versus Zee this year. Instead it’s a year where the old has given way to the new, albeit a little hesitatingly. Read on for the proof of the pudding is indeed in the eating...

SUZUKI VS VOLKSWAGEN
They say that the Indian auto market is one of the largest in the world. But clearly not large enough for two partners to stick together and do business. And that is precisely the story of cohabitants turned competitors Suzuki and Volkswagen (VW). Two years ago, VW acquired a 19.89% stake in the Japanese auto giant hoping to benefit from Suzuki’s expertise in the small-car segment and make inroads into emerging markets like India. But before the partnership could celebrate its second anniversary, Suzuki terminated the partnership late last year citing breach of contract.
 
How the end of this road will play out in global markets is anybody’s guess, but in India at least VW seems intent on having the last laugh. Taking advantage of Suzuki’s domineering presence here, the last couple of years has seen VW make quick gains in India. While Maruti Suzuki was busy resolving labour issues and streamlining production shortfalls, VW walked away with some of their market reach. VW commands only a 4.2% market share in India, which may seem miniscule in front of Maruti’s 41.42%. But experts agree that VW has gained the maximum out of the bad times that Maruti has seen over the past 12 months. VW’s deliveries to customers in India doubled to 111,600 last year even as Maruti Suzuki saw sales decline by 16.5% to 684,892 units between April and December.

VW’s aggression is indicative of the marketing mayhem in the days to come. Take product strategy. Volkswagen Polo competes directly with Suzuki Swift and Ritz while Vento competes with SX4. Going forward, VW is expected to bring its small cars like Golf and UP to the Indian market taking the battle a notch higher. “We currently have a very small market share in India but are hopeful of a 10% market share by 2018,” says Ulrich Hackenberg, Head - Technical Development, VW AG.

Suzuki isn’t sitting quietly either. With seven small cars in its portfolio, the company is now expanding to other segments. The premium Kizashi and soon expected Ertiga are testimony to the Japanese major’s renewed focus. The company is betting on its pan-India network to preserve its dwindling market share.

With Suzuki making every attempt to regain its lost market over the next 12 months, VW may well find it a difficult to lure Maruti loyalists to drive cars with a VW insignia. But then, upwardly mobile consumers may find it equally tough to resist VW’s German technology appeal. Look out for some subtle fireworks ahead.

HERO VS HONDA
It’s always been Hero Honda versus Bajaj and so when suddenly you end up just writing Hero Honda with an ‘and’ in between, nostalgia is bound to strike. Here’s another set of friends turned foes, who after walking hand-in-hand for 27 years, are now standing head to head in the Indian two-wheeler market.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2012

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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As an organisation grows beyond its home borders, its leaders must be sure to export the company’s culture as well as its products

4Ps Business & Marketing, in a strategic alliance with the new york times service, presents a column by howard Schultz, Chairman, President and CEO of Starbucks corporation

Great global brands do not succeed across cultures because they are cool or trendy. They succeed because they remain relevant to people inside as well as outside the company – regardless of where they were founded or where in the world they operate.

That’s why, as an organisation grows beyond its home borders, its leaders must be sure to export the company’s culture as well as its products.

This has been Starbucks’ strength as well as our greatest challenge since we first decided to open a store outside North America in 1996. Back then, none of our senior leaders had any international experience. In fact, we hired a consultant who came in and essentially told us that our plan to expand into Japan wasn’t going to work. Our no-smoking policy for our stores would be a disaster. Japanese customers wouldn’t walk around the streets with coffee in a paper cup. But our conviction that we had something universal to offer customers in addition to our coffee – a place to personally connect with others – pushed us forward, and we opened our first store in Tokyo.

Fifty-four countries later, our conviction has not wavered, yet more than at any other time in our history, we are asking ourselves how to remain relevant as times change.

For our coffee and our food, we have learned that each should reflect regional tastes and traditions but not deviate too far from our core. A vanilla latte in Zurich should taste the same as one in Chicago. In China, Starbucks stores would probably not sell noodles for breakfast; but we would – and do – include popular Chinese flavours such as sesame and green tea in our Frappuccinos. People don’t want from us what they can get down the block, but they appreciate our efforts to put a local twist on a muffin.

Even more important than our products, however, are the company’s guiding principles of respect and dignity, which fuel the personal connections we try to make with customers.

Instilling such internal values beyond a company’s home country is crucial, but it does not come with a handbook of instructions. It’s a subtle task, and there are concrete steps we’ve learned along the way that hold true to any company. These include dedicating enough resources from the outset to put the right culture in place, and launching a new market under the guidance of long-term employees to ensure that like-minded talent is hired. Local leaders can then model the behaviour they want their people to emulate, celebrate behaviours they want to perpetuate and listen to what is important to the people they hire.
 
At Starbucks, spreading our values is critical because it allows our partners (our terms for employees) to deliver our competitive advantage in every market in which we operate.

Let me be more specific. Starbucks’ value to its customers has never been just about great coffee but instead, it has been about delivering a great experience AROUND our coffee. In our stores this comes across in many ways; mainly the familiar relationship that develops when a barista gets to know her customers by name and remembers their favourite drinks, where they work or their kids’ ages.

But a barista won’t even try to connect with customers unless she first feels positively connected to the organisation. The kind of employee connection I’m referring to does not come about merely by providing competitive pay and benefits. This engagement results from having leaders at every level whose actions reflect our principles in the daily decisions they make, how they interact with one another and in the unique experiences they create.

Leadership that fosters authentic connections takes other forms as well. Managers can get to know their employees’ career goals and mentor them. They can involve people in decision-making, give them the permission and resources to make their own decisions and always communicate with transparency. Showing sincere appreciation, even a ‘thank you’, is also tremendously important.

Recently, I attended an event in Shanghai, China, where I witnessed a seemingly small gesture that helps to illustrate my larger point.

During a dinner for about 700 Starbucks baristas, store managers and executives, a partner, Marco, was named Manager of the Year. Marco had come from a rural village and, as he stood on stage in front of his peers, someone asked what he would say to his parents back home about receiving the award. As he spoke, he was asked to close his eyes.

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An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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A combination of health, taste & ambience has worked wonders for cocoberry. Now, the company has to plan expansion carefully so that the concept does not turn into a fad

Most tech savvy Indians will probably relate FroYo with Android 2.2, the highly popular OS from Google. But, even as Android has graduated from FroYo or frozen-yoghurt to the likes of Gingerbread, Honeycomb & Icecream Sandwich, FroYo is getting increasingly popular as a healthy eating option; especially among upwardly mobile and health conscious people the world over. And Cocoberry is trying to achieve the same in India.

The premium yoghurt chain, which derives its name from “Coco” meaning chocolate and “berry” from the anti-oxidant rich bery family, and counts actor Katrina Kaif among its connoisseurs, was established in 2009; and in a short span of two years, it has been able to establish its brand name among the young and urbane, thanks to its guerilla marketing tactics. G. S. Bhalla, Founder & CEO, Cocoberry, informs us that the name was given by his daughter who was 7-years old at that time. “The objective when we launched it was, to create a brand around the health & wellness proposition; hence we focused on two key nutrition categories – anti-oxidants (through berry toppings), and pro-biotic (referring to yoghurt).” Bhalla, who had no prior experience in the food and beverage industry, says that the compelling factor for entering this domain was that food is a recession-proof business.

And why not? The health and wellness food market today, as per a study done by Tata Strategic Management Group (TSMG), is pegged at Rs.110 billion, growing at nearly 35% annually. Of course, it has many segments to it and health food options like FroYo are still a small part of the overall market. But with the consumption story and eating patterns changing in the country and more and more people gravitating towards health food options, the segment will only grow.

Though globally, FroYo stores like Red Mango, Pink Berry and Yoghurt Land started getting popular around 2005-06, Cocoberry was the first to bring the concept to India. Today, the brand boasts off roughly 2.8 lakh Facebook fans, which makes it among the top 100 brands in terms of fan base in India. It is also the third highest likes among FroYo brands on Facebook globally, and it hopes to become the most liked in 6 months. That is a rather steep ambition for a 2-year old brand, even if we consider the numbers in the Indian market.

Bhalla attributes the success story so far to his guerilla marketing tactics – using social media extensively, choosing great store locations and designing stores elegantly. The focus is on creating the perfect ambience experience for customers. The company claims that its USP is great customisation, as the stores offer 6-8 flavours and 30 toppings. Besides, it has entered newer health food segments as well like smoothies, sandwiches, parfait (healthy breakfast option) and beverages like tea & coffee.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2012

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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For those looking to avail of stem-cell banking, LifeCell offers top-of-the line services with easy payment options.

India is today a much sought after destination for medical tourism and stem-cell banking is emerging as the newest addition that the country’s medical services have to offer. While the global medical tourism industry is currently pegged at $21 billion, India’s stem-cell banking business is predicted to grow more than 35% over the next year to Rs.140 crore, according to the Delhi-based Stem Cell Global Foundation. In fact, for a relatively new-fangled concept in health care, stem-cell banking is catching on fast and is becoming popular even in the small towns and cities of India.

Found in all multicellular organisms present in the body, stem cells are undifferentiated or ‘blank’ cells that possess the ability to divide and differentiate into several specialised cells and can regenerate to produce dead or lost cells. First identified in the mid-19th century, the extensive research on stem cells has long created ripples in the medical community. It has been found that stem cells could potentially cure diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, as well as burns and spinal cord injuries, and they are already being used to treat leukemia and various heart diseases.

The growing popularity of stem-cell banking in India is thanks to companies such as the Chennai-based LifeCell, India’s first private umbilical cord blood and tissue stem cell bank. Started in 2004, LifeCell’s biggest initial challenge was creating awareness of this concept. Being amongst the first to enter the country with umbilical cord blood stem cell banking, LifeCell had the responsibility of educating more than commencing banking operations and that was its focus for the initial years. The challenge became tougher when it realised that even the medical fraternity was not familiar with the concept of stem cell banking. “As a corporate, LifeCell feels a sense of responsibility towards society, and has undertaken the initiative to educate the public, as well as the medical fraternity on the benefits of stem cell therapy. It has also set up a stem cell therapy centre to provide aid to the poor through clinical assistance,” says the company’s President & Executive Director Mayur Abhaya Srisrimal.

LifeCell’s incredible work in the field has earned it the trust of close to 32,000 clients today, a number that’s constantly growing, who have chosen to bank their baby’s cord blood stem cells with it. Currently, the market leader with a 40% share of the stem-cell banking market, LifeCell has expanded its presence to include over 80 cities nationwide. Its current revenues is Rs.50 crore, with a predicted growth of 40% year-on-year. “This is an extremely impressive growth when viewed from the perspective that we are operating in a niche segment with low awareness and with increasing competition every year,” says Abhaya. In spite of its impressive growth in recent years, the company is constantly trying to find new and innovative means to implement its outreach programmes. Its efforts to reach out to the medical fraternity, include regular continuous medical education (CME) programmes, which educate doctors on the latest developments in the stem cell industry.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2012

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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They gave India many firsts starting from national digital maps to online portals offering interactive maps. Here's what made them sucessful.

“In the year 1994, a whole year before Larry Page was to meet Sergey Brin, the very concept of having a digital map was unheard of let alone feasible. Google Maps, the web mapping service that the world today swears by, was still 11 years in the future. At that time there was an Indian entrepreneur couple - Rakesh and Rashmi Verma who had taken upon themselves the massive and pioneering task of mapping out all of India. The promoter couple who had just returned from USA after a 12 year stint with GM and IBM respectively, hit upon this idea in a chance interaction with the representatives of Mapinfo Software which was into developing tools for map creation and analysis. Thus took birth CE Info Systems popularly known by it’s brand - MapmyIndia.

Over the next 10 years, from 1994 to 2004, the company focused single-mindedly on compiling data for completing the India map product. But they began to realise that having high ambitions was not enough when they met with their first major challenge – financial constraints. Collating accurate geographical data for a country as big as India requires huge amount of investments and monetary commitment, something that posed a problem for them being a start-up entity. The other major challenge that stood before them was to find a way to keep the collated data continuously updated and relevant to the current times. The challenges were huge and even the most adventurous entrepreneurs would have caved in at this stage. However quitting was the last thing in the promoters mind. Instead they carved a radical plan, that if executed successfully could kill two birds with one stone. “The strategy to address these challenges was quite simple – provide enterprises with GIS solutions on top of the map data that added significant tangible benefits to their business operations and planning. In this way, the company was able to generate a revenue stream to drive future investments into building the map data. And because the enterprises were using it for their operations on a daily basis, they would provide the necessary feedback to ensure currency of the data”, explains Rohan Verma, Director, MapmyIndia (CE Info Systems).

With innovative ideas as these, its no wonder that they soon had their data collated and ready for use. A strong desire to propel India among elite countries where maps had substantially improved the quality of everyday life of people is what led CE Info Systems to introduce their first comprehensive B2C Digital Mapping website in the form of MapmyIndia.com to Indian consumers. Launched in September 2004, it became India’s first interactive maps and directions web portal.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2012

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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Tupperware India’s toughest challenge on day #1 was to convince the Indian housewife to replace metal with plastic. It did that. Rest is known.

Tupperware is a name that brings to mind multi-hued airtight plastic containers – used to store food items – and is a common sight across homes and stores in India. A common product so you’d think. It is. But it sells too – across more than 100 countries. Last year, the $3.21 billion-valued Tupperware Brands Corporation’s global revenues amounted to $2.3 billion. So for the uninformed, Tupperware is purely an American brand; to be more precise Florida-based. Invented 64 years back by the enterprising American tree surgeon and inventor, Earl Silas Tupper, a man known as much for his creativity, as for his many quirky ideas, Tupperware has become one of the most highly regarded household item brands in the world. And though the company is largely known as the pioneer of the formerly patented “burping seal” airtight plastic containers and microwave reheating utensils, it is in reality much more. It manufactures much more and sells them too.

Red carpets, honour guards and gun salutes – the shareholders of most multinational companies that made their way into the Indian market soon after liberalisation (and therefore made hay even before the Sun shone) would have nothing less than these gestures to thank the management board of their companies for the geographical-diversification decision made. Tupperware’s shareholders would do no different. So numerically, where does India fit into Tupperware’s growth scheme? It’s there in the top bracket, you could say. Tupperware India is amongst the top ten revenue-earning subsidiaries for the company. In fact, topline of the India business for the American grew by 50% during FY2010 – definitely quick growth. But it wasn’t just last year that the company took a leap. Tupperware has been at it since it entered the market with 1.2 billion Indians, six years back (in early 1996) – a CAGR of 30% in revenues since then, is some double-digit to boast about. The brand entered India with 12 products. Today, it sells more than 100 across 59 cities in the country and has a distributorship base of 89.

In this era of stiff competition where consumer-product companies are at loggerheads to prove their point and earn profits, the case study of Tupperware’s success is definitely an unusual teacher. The change in the look of kitchenware of ordinary middle class families in India is synonymous to the successful brand journey of Tupperware in the country. And it wasn’t an overnight dream come true. Before the company entered the market, women pan-India preferred to store food and other kitchen contents in metal containers. More importantly, the steel utensils market in India was a very cluttered and an unorganised one, with many strong regional players. In India, the company first introduced products that had already made a mark in US. Thus, until 2001, Indian consumers were bombarded with products like Wonderlier Bowl, Bowled over, Thirstquake, Within Reach Canisters et al. The products sold well, thanks to its penetration strategy-direct sales technique, which kept a check on prices and helped expand the brand’s consumer network. Considering the fact that then, a majority of Indian kitchens sported the shiny silver look, the very attempt of Tupperware to enter the segment was a sign of courage and conviction shown by the brand. Cut to the present, it has 50,000 women representatives selling everything from masala boxes and roti keepers to eco-friendly vegetable cutters (and the very soon to come water filters).

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An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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Growth in the education and corporate sectors is expanding the market for stationery products and solo is counting on its marketing mix to deliver the gains.

Ask Amit Gupta, the Managing Director of Filex Systems (P) Ltd, a leading manufacturer and supplier of office stationery, what he thinks is the most important thing in the stationery business and his quick reply is: the way of dealing with both companies and individuals. “When you are in this business it is important to find the right partner if you want to tackle the big company sector for your office stationery.” For most big manufacturers of stationery products, finding large institutional and corporate buyers for their products is the holy grail of this business. Even though the stationery industry is showing signs of impressive growth as a result of tremendous increase in the demand for stationery products in India, this demand is largely being driven by the growth in the educational and industrial sectors. The national market for stationery products is estimated at Rs11,000 crore and is growing at 20% per annum.

With the increasing number of schools being built, the education sector is rapidly becoming an important target group for stationery manufacturers and retailers. School notebooks alone account for Rs4,000 crore (in terms of consumer spend). An analysis of the growth drivers for the stationery market points to the growth in the education sector, growth in the industrial sector and government initiatives as significant catalysts. India is an emerging economy with a huge population base. Rising income levels coupled with the government’s impetus on educating the masses is leading to the development of the stationery market. Rising literacy rate is a chief pointer towards growth in the education sector. Additionally, it has been observed that many global companies have been setting up facilities in India while domestic players continue to expand operations due to favourable market scenarios. While growth in education will affect demand for school stationery products, industrial sector growth will drive demand for office stationery products.

About 70% of the industry’s revenue is through the sale of paper office stationery products. These include envelopes, computer paper, notebooks, folders, business forms, loose-leaf binders, social stationery, scrapbooks and other products. These products are purchased from office stationery manufacturers and distributed to retailers or directly to industrial and commercial customers. End customers include business and home offices, students, government agencies and schools. Gupta’s Filex Systems, which operates under the brand umbrella of Solo, offers a gamut of office accessories ranging from files and folders, paper boards to notebooks and desktop and laptop accessories.

The Delhi-based company started in a small way in 1996 with an initial start-up capital of Rs2 crore but has now become a leading manufacturer of a diverse range of office products and IT accessories. The company has been registering a 25% growth over the last few years but the big turning point came in 2008 when it diversified into manufacturing and retailing laptop accessories. “Solo has been on an innovation streak with product evolution continuously keeping pace with the changing demands as per the market trends,” says Gupta. While the company says its endeavour has always been to offer quality products having better functionality depending upon the usage of the product for the ultimate consumer, it has also been making some smart marketing moves to drive business and amplify its customer base. By analysing the way its customers choose and use products, it has tried building up distinct consumer profiles by segregating customers in terms of their needs and product requirements. “Your job in this business is half done if a customer is able to identify your brand when he decides on buying a stationery product. When a consumer thinks of buying a stationery product, your brand should immediately strike him for its quality and value,” says Gupta.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2012

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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The values of the Indus valley civilization are the rallying points for Brand IndusInd. These values are Innovation, excellence and timeless modernity – something they try to live up to in every single interaction with their stakeholders.

They say that every brand draws its strengths from certain founding myths. And IndusInd Bank – the first of the new-generation private banks in India – is no different. Historical narratives inform us that the Indus Valley civilization was the very pinnacle of its times. Their town planning, infrastructure design and cultural richness has been deemed without a parallel. Well, that’s where the brand IndusInd claim to draw its inspiration from.

In fact, the philosophy or the founding myth seems to have worked well for IndusInd Bank. Rather, it has been the pivot that hinges its branding and product efforts. “The values of the IndusInd civilization are the rallying points for brand IndusInd. These values are innovation, driven by excellence, and a certain timeless modernity – something we try to live up to in every single interaction with our partners, consumers and the community at large,” Mohit Ganju, SVP and Head – Marketing & Communication, IndusInd Bank tells 4Ps B&M.

It all started when Srichand P. Hinduja, a leading non-resident Indian businessman and head of the Hinduja Group, conceived the vision of a new-generation private bank through collective contributions from the NRI community towards India’s economic and social development. Although IndusInd Bank formally started operations in April 1994 (with a capital base of Rs.1 billion, of which Rs.600 million was raised through private placement from Indian residents while the balance Rs.400 million was contributed by non-resident Indians), like most of its counterparts the bank was not much into planned marketing and communication until late 90s. While 2000 and ahead saw a few private sector banks laying importance to innovative techniques of marketing, IndusInd Bank continue to believe in very basic marketing and advertising strategies. In fact, most of the communication was meant for existing set of customers.

However, the scenario flipped completely in FY2008-09. A change in management at IndusInd Bank (in 2008 new management team headed by Romesh Sobti was inducted from ABN AMRO Bank) led to restructuring. From a docile brand, IndusInd Bank suddenly started getting aggressive by positioning itself as an important player in the financial sector. The real turning point was when the brand arrived at its new positioning platform of ‘Responsive Innovation’ and the 2010 ad campaign supported with a 360 degree integrated marketing approach. And they have stick to that philosophy since then.

Humour is often considered as the safest way to grab consumers’ mind space, but passing the right message across following this route is also the toughest. Though the Indian banking industry in particular has tried its bit in being humorous in its ad-approach over the past few years, the series of commercials from IndusInd Bank are perhaps a trend breaker. While ‘Mr. & Mrs. Chowgle’ campaign (featuring Omi Vaidya aka Chatur of 3 Idiots fame) surely created a lot of buzz in the Indian ad-world, the bank only strengthen it further with its advertising campaign featuring actor Ranvir Shorey. Certainly both the commercial were clutter-breaking, which delivered the message in an endearing fashion. The 360-degree integrated marketing campaign featured Choice Money ATM, Check-on-Cheque, and 365 days Banking service. “The three series ad campaign was the most successful campaign of ours in terms of achieving objectives of enhanced brand awareness and positioning us as a modern, innovative and responsive service brand,” Ganju tells 4Ps B&M. Banking advertising is a category where a handful of drivers play a disproportionately large role. “Trust, word of mouth, and recommendation constitute the core emotional dynamics of the consumer – category relationship,” adds Ganju.
 
IndusInd realises that a banking brand needs more than clever communication to distinguish itself from the competition. Agrees Ganju as he tells 4Ps B&M, “One of the challenges of competing in a category like banking is that the big boys out shout you on every conceivable communication platform.” The brand’s vision was thus crafted in harmony with its then communication partner – RKS BBDO. They differentiated their brand on all there levels of existence – at the product level, at the service and experience level and at the personality level.

IndusInd not only took several initiatives to build the brand, but also focused on ways to enhance its visibility. Right from changing the colour of its branch signages to attaining visibility by putting up ATMs in high traffic areas to launching client engagement initiatives, the bank has continuously been undertaking key value propositions to stay ahead of the competition.

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2012

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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Apnacircle has achieved critical mass in the professional networking space. Can it now take the next big leap?

There is more to networking than just being ‘connected’. It is all about being connected to the ‘right’ kind of people, which is the entire basis on which sites like LinkedIn.com stand. Thanks to the advent of social and networking communities in India’s multi-billion dotcom industry, business and corporate networking has become an integral part of working population lives. To tap the growing interest of Indian consumers (rather prosumers) in this niche area of social networking, Apnacircle.com launched itself into the space in 2007 and projects itself as India’s answer to LinkedIn in the 2.0 domain, where user interest and technology change at the wink of an eye. To their credit, the website has got itself an impressive user base of 36 million professionals worldwide. As a joint business venture – ApnaCircle-Viadeo-Tianji-Unyk – the firm holds a global network of over 100 thousand users per month.

ApnaCircle was established by Yogesh Bansal in October 2007. Yogesh completed his MBA from University of North Carolina in 1997 and was working with McKesson Inc. Soon after that, he shifted to India in 2006 and crafted the idea of ApnaCircle. It was his vision, self-belief and conviction in his brand, which helped him to sail smoothly through troubled waters in the dotcom domain. Serial entrepreneur Sabeer Bhatia joined in as director a year later. On the inspiration behind the venture, Yogesh exclaims, “The social networking fury in the west, especially US, fueled my idea of starting a business on similar lines in India. Backed with extensive research in this domain and how professionals globally will react to it, I anticipated robust growth in this industry. The key was to research and cater to working youth wants”. Social media had become the buzzword back then in 2006 itself. But ApnaCircle was formed with the aim to specifically be the answer to a boy-next-door’s socialising needs and a professional’s networking needs.

Bansal derives his inspiration from the late Apple founder Steve Jobs. Passion and innovation are two things that drive him and he makes endless efforts to inculcate the same values in his brand. An adrenaline-junkie, Yogesh is someone who loves to live his life to the fullest. ‘Work hard and party harder’ are the four words which describe his approach to life. Yogesh believes that success can never be credited to a single attribute or business model and consists of many ingredients such as belief in yourself, forthright vision, the right team and of course the right product. He further goes on to say that success is all about “solving a problem or a need at the right time and being consistent with it”.

A lot of work went into the formative years of ApnaCircle to ensure that it would be a unique proposition. And that started with deciding the name itself. The core team conducted a lot of polls through questionnaires and did an intense brainstorming before gaining a consensus on the ApnaCircle name. What also went in favour of the name was the earthy feel to it and the instant connect it could make with Indian audiences. Although there were mixed reactions to the desi name, Yogesh was adamant on the same and also derived inspiration from the fact that sites like Naukri.com or Shaadi.com had also achieved unprecedented success with local names. Apnacircle considers its glocal strategy to be a very important part of its positioning. With a combination of global and local professionals on its network, ApnaCircle recently rolled out its Application Programming Interface (API)-based platform, which proposes to uplift the scalability of the website. In this strategic and planned move, they have career opportunities for application developers and for website users. Their ‘go-to-market’ strategy is unique as they always aim at going from bottom to top and not from top to down. This gives ApnaCircle a fairly unique brand positioning.
 
If some trending global business reports are to be believed, then within two years of time, India’s going to be the world’s largest working population. And 5-year-old ApnaCircle couldn’t have managed to arrive at a better time. Riding high on a mammoth database of 36 million professionals worldwide, ApnaCircle connects 3000-5000 users to the right kind of professionals on daily basis.

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2012

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

For More IIPM Info, Visit below mentioned Links

IIPM ranked No 1 B-School in India
domain-b.com : IIPM ranked ahead of IIMs
IIPM: Management Education India
Prof. Rajita Chaudhuri's Website

IIPM Proves Its Mettle Once Again....
Arindam Chaudhuri on Internet.....
Arindam Chaudhuri: We need Hazare's leadership
Professor Arindam Chaudhuri - A Man For The Society....
IIPM: Indian Institute of Planning and Management
Planman Technologies
IIPM Contact Info

IIPM History
IIPM Think Tank
IIPM Infrastructure
IIPM Info

IIPM: Selection Process
IIPM: Research and Publications
IIPM MBA Institute India

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