03 December 2008

What makes Mumbai the way it is: From "A Tale of Four Cities"/JWT India Brand Chakras Study

Mumbai: where "Survival is the Art of Living"

A Street-Level Look at the people, culture and temperament of Mumbai, India's Sprawling City of 13 Million Shaken by Last Week's Terror Attacks

"Indifferent sadness." "Impotent love." "No whining. Accept hardships and keep going." "The show must go on." These were but some of the comments from consumers during a study by JWT India on the character of Mumbai just a few months ago. In the aftermath of recent events, the value of Mumbai-ites' resilience became a subject of debate. Many felt what one of the respondents said: "Riots, bomb blasts, floods. ... The city bounces back by forgetting and that, I personally feel, is a bad thing. The city should come to a grinding halt. That is when there will be considerable thought given to what led to these adversities and real steps will be taken to prevent these from happening."

So, according to the study, what makes Mumbai what it is?

* First, day-to-day life is a struggle

"Mumbai is a draining city in a physical sense; one requires tremendous amounts of energy to get through the rigors of every day life in Mumbai."

"Traffic is chaotic, most people have to spend five to six hours commuting. Mumbai's productivity is reduced by half due to traffic related delays."

*Yet, it's a city of opportunity

"Setting goals and achieving them is what people come here for and they focus on that." "Strugglers here continue to have their dreams despite their failures; especially in fields like media, films."

"Mumbai has a culture of intense competition. The number and scale of opportunities available are immense."

* Be competitive and you'll reap rewards

"Survival calls for competitiveness as well as preoccupation with own matters; hence being self-absorbed and indifferent is natural to the seasoned survivor in Mumbai."

"People do not mind being right or wrong as long as they get ahead in life and achieve what they want."

"Mumbai has no sympathy for the newcomer. He or she has to be ready to compete and work hard, suffer and endure to get going in this city."

"Don't resist the hectic pace, go with the flow, the current will carry you forward."

*Therefore, there is no time to dwell on the difficulties

"If your car is bumped, then you abuse that person and move on. You do not get into terrible rage like in some other cities. They do not want to get trapped in such situations ... it is smarter to move on."

"If you are traveling in a train, there will be so many times that you will be trampled, jostled ... but you have to pick yourself up and move on. That is the attitude that surviving in this city calls for ... forget and move on."

"Despite the frustrations, you do not find a lot of violence. If people are stuck in traffic jams for a long time. You might find a lot of horn honking but not physical violence."

*Mumbai is often trapped in situations that it cannot control.

"Terrorist activities are situations which Mumbai cannot control. Politician's actions also trap Mumbai in a way."

*Indifferent sadness and impotent love

"Mumbai only feels sad. Imagine a person hit by a train. People here will feel sad, but there is not enough action as a result of the sadness because people do not either have the time or the inclination. They leave it at feeling sad. They will tide over the guilt of not doing anything by thinking that 'I at least felt sad ... so what if I could not do anything about it.'"

* People do not speak out

"The average person in Mumbai is not inclined to speak his mind out on controversial issues; the fear of repercussions as well as the 'mind your own business' attitude act as deterrents."

"They cannot afford to spend time on such issues. People generally refrain from making political statements openly. They want to avoid trouble, not get trapped in situations."

*There is no 'Voice of the City'

"Power is in the wrong hands. The sentiments of the political power does not necessarily reflect the views and sentiments of the larger Mumbai public."

"Though Bollywood people are representing Mumbai, they are not doing anything personally for Mumbai."

"Though there are personalities in Mumbai who appear in TV interviews, all these people have no power ... nobody listens to them ... they only cater to the elite class. ... People who are really affected, they do not have any voice. Whatever leaders that they have are those who try to take advantage of the situation."

"The social fabric of the city is quite complex. The class divide is quite stark. So you do not have people responding to or uniting on larger city issues that do not directly affect them."

"You will have a group talking about pedestrian spaces being misused and another group talking about the attack on open spaces in the city. But you will never find people coming together as one group and talking about larger issues like terrorism that threaten the city."

* Mumbai does not have a vision of its future

"Mumbai lives in the present and does not think too much about the future. If they thought more about the future, then there will not be too much of dirt, filth lying around."

"Those here do not have the time to plan for two, three years down the road. They do not think of planning for the future, think of larger causes like environment, etc."

*Survival is the art of living in Mumbai" ... "In Mumbai, it is difficult to survive and also easy to survive ... you just have to be a little street smart."("Art of Living" refers to one of the biggest offerings in the new age "spirituality for wellness" domain in India.)

Now, even the definition of street smart has changed. For the people who will just honk and move on, for the people who just want to carry on with their goals, for the people who just want to live and let live, being street smart now means dodging bullets.

This article first appeared in Adage
~ ~ ~

This article quotes entirely from "A Tale of Four Cities," a proprietary JWT India Brand Chakras Study that set out to uncover the forces that make the character of each of its four metros: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata; and understand how citizens relate to their cities. The qualitative study involved Depth Interviews with journalists, radio jockeys, psychiatrists, advertising professionals, HR consultants and Focus Group Discussions amongst citizens of each city, a mix of men and women, young adults and older, long term residents and recent settlers. Mythili Chandrasekar, Executive Planning Director at JWT India steered the study.

For a snapshot of the character of all four Indian metros click here

To buy the full study, write to Mythili.Chandrasekar@jwt.com

26 November 2008

JWT India Sweeps the EFFIES in Mumbai

Services: UNICEF Red Ribbon Express - Bronze.
Corporate: Times of India Lead India - Gold.
Internet Digital: Pepsi My can - Bronze.
Integrated: Times of India lead India - Gold
Marico Uncommon Sense Award: Times of India Lead India ( recognition award).
Consumer: DTC Diamond bride - Bronze
Sunsilk Gang of Girls - Bronze.
Fritolay Kurkure Face on Pack - Silver
Nike Gutsy Cricket - Gold
Sunsilk Gang of Girls -
Yahoo Big Idea Chair for digital online advertising.
Times of India Lead India - The Grand Effie
Bennet Coleman Co. - The Effie Client of the Year
JWT India - Agency of the Year

24 November 2008

JWT India Wins Big at AME, New York

JWT India won the prestigious AME GOLD Medallion, the AME Silver Medallion and two finalist certificates awarded at the 2008 Advertising and Marketing Effectiveness Awards in New York, amongst competition from 30 countries.

Winners list
De Beers - De Beers Wedding Program : Integrated Marketing, AME GOLD MEDALLION
UNICEF India -Red Ribbon Express: Guerrilla/Alternative Media, AME Silver Medallion
Kellogg's India - Kellogg's Special K : Foods, Finalist Certificate
Bennet, Coleman and Company Ltd. - The Times of India : Media Promotions, Finalist Certificate
Click Here to view all the AME Winners of 2008.

JWT India- Youth Dynamix Trax Study

JWT India and Youth Dynamix (Pvt) Ltd, a specialist WPP youth agency have joined forces to offer clients a specialist youth consultancy offering. It aims to launch an in-depth Trax study focused on the youth in India via a joint venture with Youth Dynamix. The study is the first step in assisting brands in developing strong youth strategies that dove tail their mainline strategy and allow youthful consumers an opportunity to build bridges to the adult brand.

The study will cover a host of categories, including Financial and Shopping Behaviour, Technology and Telecommunications, Media and Advertising, Lifestyles, Attitudes and Family Dynamics.

Click here to read the news article.

Predicting the Trends of 2009

JWT released its 10 Trends for 2009, from New York this week. In addition to the economy, recurring themes include technology and the environment.

Given the current volatility in the world’s markets and consumers’ greatly intensifying anxiety, it’s no surprise says the report that the economy is a common thread. In 2009, we’ll see more consumer strategies for coping with the downturn. Among them is making the most of simple pleasures, a trend we explore here. In this climate, authenticity will become paramount for brands as they look to regain credibility and trust, especially in the wake of a financial crisis that has seen established institutions topple overnight and many others teeter on the brink. Meanwhile, the coming years will see a widespread redistribution of power in almost every major sphere: economic, social and political.
For the full report, click here.

Marketing During a Recession

JWT, from New York, is launching a series of research papers that will examine consumer attitudes and behaviors during a recession and dissect what they mean for marketers.

The following paper—a short audit of existing thinking on the topic of marketing during a recession—is a synthesis of historical and current material published by ad organizations, marketers, journalists and research and consulting companies based on findings from past recessions. It highlights key recurring ideas about why marketers should continue to spend during down times and strategies for how best to go about it.

Read the entire paper at http://www.coffeeanddonuts.co.in/

Marketing lessons from Barack Obama

There have been a flurry of articles on the marketing lessons to be learned from the American President Elect Barack Obama. Here is a sample.

Obama's Seven Lessons for Radical Innovators by Umair Haque

How Better Marketing Elected Barack Obama by John Quelch

How Obama Became CEO of the USA-- and What it Means for CEOs Everywhere by Bill Taylor

Barack Obama's Victory: Three Lessons for Business by Jack and Suzy Welch

What Marketers can Learn from Obama by Al Ries

Ten marketing lessons from the Barack Obama Presidential campaign by David Meerman Scott

10 lessons for marketers from Barack Obama by Vijay Sankaran

Email Marketing Insights from Obama and McCain by Morgan Stewart

Here's a tongue-firmly-in-cheek response to these articles!
I Also Want to Write About Barack Obama by Mythili Chandrasekar

23 September 2008

From Reel to Real: JWT India Brand Chakras study on Celebrities

The Indian film star is no longer only a hero of the silver screen; he is a beacon of inspiration to his fans. Their on-screen portrayals are being given lesser importance and their off-screen lives and personality have gained prominence, says the recent JWT Brand Chakras™ Study: From Reel to Real Life.

The study reveals that film stars are no longer considered to be larger than life in terms of his or her persona and lifestyle; they are now real individuals who have risen to extraordinary heights. This shift in how celebrities are viewed is largely attributed to the availability of more real time, wide spread knowledge of what the stars do off screen – be it television shows, blogs, news controversies, or activism. While celebrities were once virtual prisoners of the characters that they played on-screen, they are now seen as individuals whose personal traits earn them as much admiration as their display of talent on-screen. His real attitudes and his larger life story is where the opportunities for brands lie.

The study reveals: 1) a model of how consumers relate to celebrities, and therefore how celebrity brands can be shaped; 2) the key payoffs that consumers derived from the three celebrities studied (Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Akshay Kumar); and 3) kinds of fan relationships.

The Brand Chakras framework revealed that Shahrukh Khan operates mainly in Power and Transcendence (leadership and vision) Chakras, while Hrithik Roshan was observed to be operating in the Love and Creative Expression Chakras. Akshay Kumar, on the other hand, was seen to be dominating in Survival and Pleasure Chakras.

The study also threw up three different types of fan relationships. The Entertainment Seeker, the Fantasy Seeker, and the Inspiration Seeker: Different fans would be deriving different benefits from different celebrities.

The qualitative study undertaken by JWT India was executed through Focus Group Discussions and Depth Interviews in Delhi and Mumbai amongst young adult fans of Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar and Hrithik Roshan.

JWT India - Thompson Social wins a silver at the Asian Marketing Effectiveness Awards for The Red Ribbon Express

The Red Ribbon Express – Uniting India Against AIDS
Zindagi Zindabaad!

The Red Ribbon Express is a ground breaking, ambitious campaign that aims at changing the current HIV and AIDS scenario in India on an epic scale. An empty shell of a train has been transformed into a unique multi-media world of behaviour change communication that cuts across deeply rooted ideological and geographical boundaries.

The in-train communication takes the audience through an engaging interactive experience with a range of multimedia devices to induce self risk perception, persuade in favour of counseling and testing and creates a positive social environment for care and support to people living with HIV.

Flagged off on World AIDS Day 2007, the train is on its journey traversing 27,000 kms, halting at 180 stations over a period of 365 days luring millions of Indians to the largest mass mobilization campaign and perhaps the most unique in the world.

JWT - Thompson Social is privileged to have been behind this prestigious, pioneering endeavour.

Read more details at http://www.coffeeanddonuts.co.in/

30 July 2008

The Prepared Mind

Responding to our bank of "Insights and stimulus from everywhere" Amudham Balakrishnan, Fortune, Mumbai finds something he feels he may use in an ad one day.

Any Male in Sight? 3

Jayanarayan, JWT Bangalore, shares something he read on "Why men don't write advice columns..."
Here is why.
Dear Walter:
I hope you can help me here. The other day I set off for work leaving my husband in the house watching the TV as usual. I hadn't gone more than a mile down the road when my engine conked out and the car shuddered to a halt.
I walked back home to get my husband's help. When I got home I couldn't believe my eyes. He was in the bedroom with a neighbor lady. Iam 32, my husband is 34 and we have been married for twelve years.
When I confronted him, he broke down and admitted that he'd been having an affair for the past six months. I told him to stop or I would leave him. He was let go from his job six months ago and he says he has been feeling increasingly depressed and worthless. I love him very much, but ever since I gave him the ultimatum he has become increasingly distant. I don't feel I can get through to him anymore.
Can you please help?
Mrs... Sheila Usk

Dear Sheila:
A car stalling after being driven a short distance can be caused by a variety of faults with the engine. Start by checking that there is no debris in the fuel line. If it is clear, check the jubilee clips holding the vacuum pipes onto the inlet manifold. If none of these approaches solves the problem, it could be that the fuel pump itself is faulty, causing low delivery pressure to the carburetor float chamber.
I hope this helps.

Here's a commercial that has captured this sentiment in a different way!

23 July 2008

JWT celebrates 40 Years of Account Planning in London/Campaign UK Report

40 Years of Planning, Campaign, by Suzanne Bidlake , July 16, 2008
JWT hosts an evening marking the 40th anniversary of planning and looking forward to what the future holds for the discipline.
As the sun went down on July 15, a 130-strong crowd gathered under a tee-pee on a roof-terrace overlooking Harrods to give praise - to account planning.
The ruby-themed event at JWT's Knightsbridge HQ was to celebrate the birth of account planning at the agency, exactly 40 years ago to the day, under the aegis of the legendary Stephen King.
A stellar line-up of speakers entertained, informed and bamboozled an audience that included Martin Boase, one of the founding fathers of the discipline, and clients such as Philip Almond, the European marketing director of Diageo, and Simon Clift, Unilever's global marketing chief.

Speakers Jeremy Bullmore, Jon Steel, John Grant and Guy Murphy, JWT's worldwide director of planning, paid homage to King and called for planners to look to the past for answers to the future.

Constant themes were the need for more old-fashioned rigour in fact-finding and data-mining (not just "being cool and smart and hanging out with the creative department") and also for more ambitious target-setting.

Planners were variously urged to get angry, to shake up clients' obsession with short-termism, to find a big theme and to continuously get under the skin of different cultures.

JWT chief executive Alison Burns painted a picture of planners as weird, dull, bookish guy-without-a girl types in her introduction to the evening. They are the navigators of the plane piloted by the account managers, she said. Rarely adequately recognised, they come into their own when things go wrong - landing the plane on just one engine and one wheel - and still the pilot all too often gets the glory (and the girl).

Yesterday evening was different. It celebrated their contribution and attempted to shed a light on how planning would live its next 40 years.

Here's a sample of wisdom imparted.

Jeremy Bullmore, non-executive director, WPP
Bullmore's talk was entitled, "In praise of antimonies", partly to show off, he admitted. "It's quite a long word, not many of you know what it means, and I do," he said, setting the tone for his talk, delivered with comedic timing throughout.

The main thrust of his argument was that there must be some antinomy, some conflict, between the planning and creative functions for great ideas to flourish.

He talked at length about planners' post-rationalisation when being shown an idea by two "under-educated" types in black t-shirts.

In real-life, "a client might be asked to spend 35 million pounds on, let's say, an animated vampire duck, on the sole basis that someone in a black t-shirt tells them it is pushing the creative envelope," he said. "I have yet to meet one who will. And this is not a reflection of their cowardice. Post-rationalisation is not only respectable but absolutely essential."

In a planning world inhabited by "ad tweakers", performing elegant pirouettes rarely troubled by a fact, and "grand strategists" who crush people to death with PowerPoint presentations, planners in the future need to find a middle ground that embraces both approaches, Bullmore said.

In a later Q&A session, Bullmore said that marketing was more necessary than ever to combat the harmful consequences of excessive consumerism. "We have never been in greater need of good marketing than now," he said. "But it won't all be for crisps."

Jon Steel, WPP's advertising strategist
The promise of planning is really tested in existing business, not new business, Steel said. "In the absence of great creative, planning will never make the work better," he suggested, adding that great planning requires "hard work and information."

"I lament the amount of grounding I see in a lot of creative and planning today," he added.

Changes in clients' world had also contributed to the situation, he argued. Short tenure of chief marketing officers (an average of two years in the US) meant "doing the right thing is not as important as doing something" to them.

Also, the term procurement used to conjure up images of illicit night-time activities. "Now it's a constant day-time word," he said, "and no damn fun at all."

Steel called for anger and energy among planners to "change the disappointing marketing status quo".

"Who is really setting big, hairy, audacious goals?" he challenged. "We need to be more ambitious in our targets."

Planners can spend hours debating how many of them can fit on the head of a pin and whether Paul Feldwick can pass through the eye of a needle, he said. His answers, given as an aside, were "not many and no".

But the chief role of planning, he reminded the audience, is to help clients set the right objectives for their brands and businesses. "To move forwards, we need to look backwards," he suggested. If planners were merely "cool", "we should fire them", he said. Similarly, those who are not good with numbers and can't do quantitative research should meet the same fate.

"The fundamentals of planning may not sometimes be very interesting but planners and planning ignore them at their peril," he warned.

John Grant, marketing consultant

Thanking the god of fashion that he'd put on a white t-shirt rather than black under his cream linen suit, Grant talked at pace, without notes, charting the life-cycle of brands and relating them to planning. Perhaps, at 40, the discipline is in the throes of a mid-life crisis, he mused.

Taking the brand Brad Pitt as an example, he reeled through the life-cycle stages: who's Brad Pitt?; get me Brad Pitt; get me Brad Pitt for less money; get me the new Brad Pitt, and who's Brad Pitt?

He wondered whether the trend for "fast strategy" meant that planning had reached the "get me planning for less money" stage.

At 40, he said, we can go one of two ways. One is stagnation, in which we become smaller versions of ourselves, repeating the same old arguments. The other is generativity, in which we start believing in something more important than who we are and what we stand for.

Grant has identified sustainability as his personal generative issue and has thrown himself into it for a book on the subject.

But planning needs to find its own generative question, he said. It may be about the future model of the agency. "Saving the ad agency might be your generative thing," he suggested. "Let's look for the bigger space and the generative issue."

Guy Murphy on planning on global brands

Murphy said King would have wanted to remind planners that they are in the business of "helping clients make more money from their money".

But are we so obsessed with new media that we are creating "bits, not brands?" Murphy asked.

Geographic expansion into regions where prospects are huge, with the opportunity to spread risk, makes an irresistible cocktail. "This is marketing's mojito," he said. "It's a chapter of planning yet to be written and we must pioneer it."

The onus is on culture-neutral brand ideas, capable of flexing around the world and based in human truth, he said. This would contrast with a lazy carving up of the world to reflect client structures.

The new-style planners JWT wants to recruit can be likened to piranhas, he said. They are likely to come from places other than the UK and US (combating idea racism) and their multi-cultural experience will mean they will be more creative than the generation before them.

"How long will it be," he asked, "before Cannes consistently awards the Grand Prix to global campaigns?"

To read readily dowloaded pdfs www.coffeeanddonuts.co.in
To view the speeches, http://www.planningbeginsat40.com/.

JWT Atticus Winners 2008

See some more JWT Atticus winners here

Thayalan Bartlett, JWT Sri Lanka on Branding in Turbulent Times.


“Thought Catcher: Moensie’s Blog on Brands and Digital Culture”

01 July 2008

Book Review: Aparna Jain, JWT Planning, Kolkata

We are like that only: understanding the logic of Consumer India
By Rama Bijapurkar

From one of India’s most respected thought leaders on market strategy and consumer behaviour, this book outlines the reasons behind the seeming contradictions in India’s consumption pattern. While India is undeniably an important future growth market of the world, is young and is just beginning its consumption journey, it ‘has been the source of belied expectations and frustrating resistance to conventional global offerings’. Bijapurkur attempts to explain the realities of emerging economies and dispel many myths through powerful examples, many of which have been drawn from her own experiences.
While doing this, the author delves deep into the minds of Consumer India, traces the rise of new economic classes in conjunction with cultural shifts, the changing structure of the rural economy, the woman consumer etc. She does this with the aim of easing out the seeming incongruities of what she calls ‘schizophrenic India’ and asks marketers to define their ‘target India’ for themselves as the first step to winning in the Indian market.

See a full summary of the book in power point here http://www.coffeeanddonuts.co.in/

Trends in Indian Fiction: Aparna Jain, JWT Planning, Kolkata

Indian authors in English: What are they writing about?

Here are the top 6 themes that have caught the attention and imagination of our authors in the recent past:
· Emerging India
· Modern, urban India
· Woman authors taking on bold, new themes
· Social awakening
· Historical writing
· International issues

Within each of these broad themes, the issues captured are diverse, have been treated differently and in some cases rather innovatively. Hence, under ‘woman authors taking on bold, new themes’, we have a graphic novel looking at lesbian relationships along with a book on the Mahabharata from Panchaali’s point of view. While writing about the past, authors have covered debates like the Revolt of 1857 and they have explored Indian scandal in the backdrop of the socio-political environment of the 1950s. Books on urban India have captured dysfunctional India, lonely India and cricket crazy India. However within this variety, we can sense some similarities of thoughts, concerns and topics, mirroring to an extent the lives and times of the readers that they are writing for.

See the full report here http://www.coffeeanddonuts.co.in/

The Prepared Mind 4

Continuing our series on where to look for ideas, stimulus inspiration. An oft repeated theme in advertising: attachment to certain food... food so good, you won't share. An example from Friends: Ross and his sandwhich.

Any Male In Sight? 3

How men greet men, after an absence. Do they really...?

25 May 2008

The Yin-Yang of Technology Payoffs: Brand Chakras study

Personal computers, internet, connectivity, telecom services, mobiles, visual imaging gadgets... new categories are trying to connect with new consumer groups. JWT Brand Chakras set out to answer the question: "What are the deeper payoffs that consumers are getting from technology - be it in their work life or personal life?" In-depth discussions in Mumbai and Chennai with 25-35 year old early adopters and people who worked in the technology space, revealed some interesting details.
Efficiency and indulgence, refuge and escape, conformism and showmanship, child-like delight and intellectual growth, the payoffs from technology in personal life are dichotomous says the Brand Chakras™ study. In work life, technology can facilitate democracy or meritocracy, be a performance leveler or a performance discriminator, foster conformism or creativity. Technology can be functional and symbolic, in the temporary and immediate or in the permanent and the long term. It can help social anchoring or enhance social clout.
It all depends on your orientation. You could be looking to satisfy your need to belong or your need to be individualistic. At the very least, technology helps you celebrate life, but as you go up the ladder, it becomes a life-evolving tool.
The study identified five types of technology mindsets.
The Doer: keen on upgrading quality of everyday life, with a thirst for ease and efficiency in day-to-day life, wants technology to maximize life and help balance different spheres.
The Connector: strong urge to nurture relationships and stay anchored.
The Indulger: fundamental need for fun and entertainment to cope with day-to-day pressures.
The Discriminator: pressured to establish, redeem, conquer, catch up or breakaway to create a distinct identity and distance himself from the rest.
The Explorer: instinctive thirst for excitement through new experiences and keen to constantly add new facets to his life.

Technology is no longer just about convenience and greater efficiency, its influence on the average individual is more profound and life defining. Technology is now the most powerful agent of mental evolution. The power and worth of any technology will increasingly be evaluated in terms of its ability to unlock and express the power of the mind and the intellect, concludes the study.

The study found that technology largely catered to Pleasure and Power Chakra needs in our lives. And identified almost 20 payoffs that technology brands could use to connect with consumers.

For more on the study, Mythili.Chandrasekar@jwt.com

Internet in India: The New Divide/Suresh Mohankumar, JWT Planning, Chennai

The world of Internet in India is clearly divided between two kinds of people, the ones who use the internet and those who don’t go near it: the Haves and the Have-nots. As the Internet continues to grow in India, internet companies have to every day live with the question: What is it the Haves have seen and why is it the Have-nots refuse to see?Here is a handy point of view, that indepth interviews with internet users and non-users revealed.
What the Haves admit to enjoying
Efficient Living: saves time, gives me the best deals

Enlightened Living: quenches my thirst for knowledge, stimulates my curiosity

Empowered Living: stimulates my spirit of enterprise, helps me make informed decisions

Entertained Living: engages me with what I am interested in

Emotionally Anchored Living: takes geography out of relationships
Expressive Living: Gives me the opportunity to express my individuality through creative endeavours

What's stopping the Have-nots
Barrier of Relevance: "The Internet is only for business people and people who travel abroad frequently. How can it benefit us? "
Barrier of Exposure: "It does not go with our culture. It is definitely not for girls."
Barrier of Inadequacy: Seen as a distant and complex entity, Techno phobic - "I have never used a computer-it has so many buttons, I might do something wrong ."
Barrier of Fear: "I will not let my children near the internet even if it is for half an hour. Even if it is free. Pornography and adult content is easily available”
Barrier of Language: "If it was in our regional language we would even get our neighbors and friends to use it ."
Barrier of Inertia: "How can I learn something new now? (age factor) “I don’t need it for my job” “Probably it will be useful for my children - but later”. "What is the need for it?"

The trick for internet brand marketers of course is to show the Have-nots what the Haves have seen, and find those exact moments of truth that makes people cross the fence.

18 April 2008

Indian luxury : a brand idea whose time has come. Shaziya Khan, JWT Planning, Mumbai

“Beauty is the purgation of superfluities”
This is an old quote, attributed to the great Michelangelo.
But its spirit felt alive & fresh, at a recent conclave of luxury honchos in India recently. If one could sum up the singular hook that stuck in the mind - India is in the luxury state of mind, again. Give or take a few centuries, its long running royal patronage of all things fine and beautiful is coming keenly alive among the mass affluent and emerging rich of today.
And that luxury state of mind means to get rid of superfluities.
Sign 1: First things first, majority ownership has been allowed by law to foreign brands being welcomed to the great Indian beauty bazaar of things fine and fey. And the companies are cueing up at India gate. Salvatore Ferragamo, Hermes, Savile Row brands, Chanel, Ballantyne to mention a few.A small but telling gesture was the presence of both the French trade minister (3 weeks before elections in France, no less!) and the Indian trade minister at a luxury seminar. But their presence went beyond the powerfully symbolic to embrace the powerfully productive as well – for instance, each went on to openly discuss & welcome suggestions on a mutually beneficial way of doing away with countervailing duties that aids the entry luxury brands entry and yet prevents dumping by cheaper brands.
Sign 2: Secondly, luxury demands a beautifully luxe environment and in this matter too, Indian retail and business interests are stepping forward. They plan to create specialist luxury malls that will provide the appropriate brand neighbourhood and gilt edged physical ambience. As many a luxury honcho put it – the right retail environment is vital – to communicates the brand, not just to make the sale. Rarified iconic hotel environs like those of the Taj Mahal or Oberoi have housed the luxury brand pioneers from oversees such as LVMH; But are too small to take in the dozen odd more brands keen to enter. The demands in terms of marble, granite,fit, feel,finish, DETAIL are going to be hard to meet but the will to do away with second best and B++ is there. No matter if it takes months and millions – the Gucci store blue print from Paris will be adhered to inch by inch when it opens its Mumbai branch. Luxury retailing it is a game of gilt edged inches and it has begun. Watch out for luxury malls and exclusive luxury retail outlets. Where only the thinnest stilettos will tread in soft and but undeniable clicks …
Sign 3 : Aah but the greatest superfluity of them all – is being done away with. Why adhere to a foreign definition of luxury? Academics, designers, luxury CEOs are asking a new (Indian) luxury question. Indians are being asked to introspect and ask themselves what is the definition of Indian luxury? As distinct from French luxury or Italian luxury or British luxury; Each of these has a certain distinct appeal.
What is distinct about Indian luxury is the question of the moment. In other words, What is India’s brand of luxury? Here is a smattering of answers suggested by global luxury experts:
• The long running royal patronage of luxury. From Chanel to Cartier and the 360 circle of brands in between practically all evidenced familiarity with Indian tastes and the Indian clientele’s eye for luxury over a few hundred years.
• Craftsmanship is another. More than one world famous designer said he visits India often and is inspired by its quality of craftsmanship – in saddles, in weaving, in embroidery etc. A particularly enthusiastic one in typical ‘from the heart ‘ designer speak even proferred a spontaneous definition of Indian luxury. Pigeon English. But its says something “the Indian hand is the greatest”.
•“Made in India” as a label. “The world of luxury has no problem with the label made in India” – French designer, to quote a common sentiment. It has been revered a long time. And a source of inspiration too.
• Colour of luxury, here is one from me. The Indian luxury brand can be rooted in colour – literally and metaphorically. Literally - India is all about colour. As some one said ‘Pink is India’s navy blue’ and you see that in palaces, jewellery, rich textiles. Metaphorically “colour” ie. colour in quotes is the spirit , energy, fusion of India. And at both levels colour is a draw and a discriminator for India vis a vis the world. For instance, Hermes sent a team of global designers to visit India. Their brief ‘get the smell and colours of India and be inspired’. They visited the calico museum in Ahmedabad, tourist sites, Benares and went back marvelously inspired with indigo and fuschia on their mind.
And there could be more. At this point, what matters is not which is the final cut of the brand. What matters is that the “great Indian brand of luxury” is being sought. The royal tradition of Indian luxury; or the beautiful hand of India, or simply Made in India or colour of luxury… Marketers, designers, bureaucrats and ministers are you thinking big enough to make the “great Indian brand of luxury” come into its own? Again or anew? Anything less is a superfluity.
This post first appeared as an article in Admap

Luxury marketing in India: ‘because I’m worth it’. Shaziya Khan, JWT Planning, Mumbai

Glyn Atwal, ESC Rennes School of Business, and Shaziya Khan, JWT Mumbai, examine how luxury brands can best maximise the Indian luxury rupee.
PARADISE FOR ANYBODY wanting to stay en vogue is the shopping arcade at the Taj Mahal Palace and Towers Hotel in Mumbai. Being at the cutting edge of fashion comes at a price – whether in London, Paris or Mumbai.
According to Ledbury Research, the global luxury goods market in 2006 was worth £75 billion, with annual sales growth in double figures. India has been identified as an important source of this growth and is likely to growth at an annual rate of 28% in the next three years.
Market luxurification
The accelerating pace of economic and social change is transforming the Indian luxury landscape. The so-called luxurification of society is a phenomenon that can be attributed to the following dynamics.
New affluence: The booming economy
According to the McKinsey Global Institute, consumers earning more than 1,000,000 rupees a year will total 24 million by 2025 – larger than China’s comparable segment. It is however the emergence of ‘mass affluence’ combined with aspirational mindsets and lifestyles that are helping to stimulate consumer demand. The rapid growth of the Indian middle class means that a larger number of consumers are able to afford luxury goods than ever before.
Media exposure: Luxury is now mainstream
The media-cultural phenomenon is however, not restricted to the pages of glossy magazines. Mainstream media are taking a greater interest in luxury brands, fashion trends and consumer lifestyles. Weekend supplements in national newspapers devote pages to fashion features and product reviews. Increased product knowledge and brand awareness are translating into greater consumer confidence – an important catalyst for luxury consumption in a fast-emerging market.
Luxury accessibility: The world at your doorstep
Luxury brands are now following the Indian consumer, expanding their sales operations not only in Delhi and Mumbai, but to smaller cities or metrocities such as Pune and Hyderabad. Luxury boutiques which were traditionally confined to the secure but often inaccessible surroundings of exclusive hotels have been thrown open to the masses thanks to the shopping mall boom.
Market regulation
Although high import duties on luxury goods continue to prevail, India’s policy of liberalisation and deregulation has improved its image as an attractive destination for foreign investment.
The changing face of the Indian luxury consumer
The luxury market has traditionally been segmented according to two very separate and distinct customer groups – namely the ‘affluents’ and the ‘non-affluents’. The transition towards a consumer society has changed the profile of the luxury consumer. Luxury is no longer reserved for the English-speaking elite. Priyanka,a BPO employee, loves shopping, worships brands and is typical of a new generation of luxury consumers – the ‘because I’m worth it’ generation.
Today’s luxury shopper could be a broker, an entrepreneur, an IT specialist or a student.
Maximising the Indian luxury rupee
Beyond exclusivity
Beyond status
Beyond westernisation
Burberry meets Bollywood
The following seven guidelines set out to guide high-end brands to capture India’s growing fascination with luxury consumption.
1. Respect.
Connect with luxury consumers as a selective target. Luxury brands need to respect this point of difference in all interactions between the brand and the consumer.
2. Segment. Acknowledge luxury consumer subsets. Luxury brands need to identify, differentiate and prioritise the most profitable subsets for targeted strategies.
3. Insight. Identify what is important to the defined target. Motivations could be based on personal and non-personal factors.
4. Connect. Assess which brand interactions really matter. For example, respondents cited that friends and family are an important influence on luxury consumption.
5. Experience. Establish emotional connectivity. Deep and meaningful relationships need to be developed in order to win the ‘soul’ of the luxury consumer.
6. Indianness. Embrace and celebrate the ‘Indianness’ brand. India has a very powerful and unique identity, and this needs to be leveraged within a luxury brand context.
7. Consistency. Adopt a truly holistic approach, to ensure that all brand interactions, whether advertising or customer service, are consistent with the brand positioning. Jitnee Lambi Chadar ho Utna hee pair failana Chahiye is an Indian proverb that means ‘limit your spending to your earnings’.
Contemporary Indian society is challenging traditional consumption patterns. The Indian consumer is ready to embrace luxury consumption. Is the international luxury industry ready to unlock the market potential?
NB: The authors would like to stress that the term ‘affluent masses’ should be interpreted broadly within the context of the emerging
middle classes. This paper was also presented jointly by the authors at the Asia Brand Congress held in September 2007 in Mumbai,India.
1. M Silverstein and N Fiske: Trading Up: The New American Luxury. Penguin Group: New York, 2003. 2. S J Vickers and F Renand: The Marketing of Luxury Goods: An Exploratory Study – Three Conceptual Dimensions. The Marketing Review, 3 (4), 2003.

The 8 P’s of Luxury Branding: Rohit Arora, JWT Planning, Mumbai

In the luxury conference held few months ago, our Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath pointed out that luxury brands need to adopt an India-specific policy. So while the international luxury brands are building their momentum of their presence in the country, the challenge lies with Indian luxury brands – how do they adapt effectively, swiftly and more importantly meaningfully.
We have the zooming capital market, booming business sectors, stronger GDP growth, the rising affluence and consumer optimism, a more hedonistic consumer society with the spending mindset further fueled by emerging retail landscape. So, there’s money to spend, willingness with optimism, space that’s evolving a benchmark of premiumness & luxury. The challenge is to be relevant, today and tomorrow.
This article focuses on the 8 P’s that are employed in the luxury branding mix. The degree of significance of these factors may vary, but more often that not, it is the interplay amid these 8 P’s that makes a luxury brand.
Performance: Refers to the delivery of superior experience of a luxury brand at two levels – product level & experiential level. At a product level, it must satisfy the functional and utilitarian characteristic as well as deliver on its practical physical attributes – a recipe of quality or design excellence ingredients like creativity, exclusivity, craftsmanship, precision, materials, high quality & innovation. The luxury brand must perform at the experiential level as well; that is the emotional value of the luxury brand the consumers buy . Luxury isn’t just about the ‘thing’ anymore; it is about the special experience people feel in buying and using or enjoying that ‘thing’.
Paucity: Over revelation and distribution of luxury brand causes dilution of luxury character, hence many brands try to maintain the perception that the goods are scarce.
(Burberry diluted its brand image in the UK in the early 2000 by over-licensing its brand, thus reducing its image from a brand whose products were consumed only by the elite. Gucci, now largely sold in directly-owned stores, following a nearly crippling attempt to widely license their brand in the 1970s and 1980s).Broadly, there’s natural paucity (actual scarcity) & technology-driven paucity. Natural paucity is generally as a consequence of scarce ingredients (platinum, diamonds, etc.) and/or those goods that require exceptional human expertise (e.g. handcrafted quality) that constraint mass production. Technology-driven paucity is as a corollary of conception-time involved in continuous innovation and research-&-development process.
Beyond these brands employ promotional strategies like limited editions, special series, etc. Another deviation to this strategy is customization &/or individual craftsmanship of luxury good.
Persona: The persona of a luxury brand is largely a consequence of distinctive projection and coherence of the application.The visual brand identity captures the brand’s personality, mystique & emotional values in a nutshell. The distinct and consistent expression of the identity (by way of its logo, the color(s) association, the other design elements like icons, the uniquely identifiable ergonomics or branded environment, etc.) is central to establishing the visibility, familiarity & common identifiable brand imagery (E.g. the Louis Vuitton monogram & graphic symbols). While the brands visual identity is a fairly stable factor, advertising is the most dynamic marketing vehicle and hence is critical in developing aspirational context. At an overall level, luxury advertising messages can be observed:
§ As more emotional and sensual to distance it from mass-premium brands
§ Create a world and an aura that is truly exceptional to their brand signature
§ Generate major differentiation in its production and execution
§ Extremely selective and niche media
Public Relations (PR): PR in luxury branding plays an enormous role in image proliferation of the brand, thereby subtly influencing public opinion. It is also employed to convey other supporting messages and attributes of the brand which cannot be explicitly captured in advertising, but by no means are less important to create brand’s personality, mystique and emotional values. (e.g. Chanel organized a brand familarization trip to journalists with peek at the fashion house's main salon in Paris salon, inc. tour of Coco Chanel's private apartment)
It is also a sophisticated branding machine for maintaining ongoing relevance with the luxury consumer, especially so in fashion and seasonal trends driven categories. Generation of brand news, story angles, speaking points of inspirers (like what celeb’s speak or wear) and of influencers (like the designer speak) blended with innovative event concepts (like the fashion weeks, polo matches, themed previews) are utilized for tactical brand exposure made relevant to industry trends & culture.
Placement: The branded environment in luxury branding is all about heightening the customer’s experience and amplifying the aura of brand’s essence. Hence, the branded environment, the moment of truth, is where it must live the brand by staging immaculate detailing that engages all senses of the discerning luxury consumer. In India, for example most of the luxury brands have boutiques in 5-star hotels (Gucci’s boutiques are in Oberoi-Hilton, Mumbai & Imperial, Delhi. Likewise Louis Vuitton’s in Taj Mahal, Mumbai & Oberoi, Delhi)
The chain of touch-points consumer interacts & the impact of each touch-point is critical for creating an unique indulging experience.
Personal Touch: Luxury branding is largely about establishing and enhancing the ‘emotional connections’ with discerning luxury consumers. Beyond the typical sophisticated, over-the-top concierge services, exclusive invites, previews, the new age luxury consumers is seeking higher level of personalized, knowledgeable & professional assistance – trusted & reliable help for managing their lifestyles.Also, the escalating democratization of luxury & the constantly changing retail environment has made luxury consumers increasingly discriminating & demanding.
Pedigree: Many luxury brands have a rich pedigree and extraordinary history that become an inseparable part of the brand story. The mystique and the legend is generally built around the exceptional emotive founder character of past.So, when consumers buy Cartier or Dunhill, it is not merely because of the product performance or quality. They are buying a lineage of the legendary people and the evolution history behind these brands.
Public Figure: The role of public-figure or celebrities endorsement can be observed to be more skewed towards the aspiring & accessible luxury brands. That said, it would be improper to conclude that high-end luxury brands don’t bring into play the public figure factor; they are relatively less explicit & are largely PR-led (like accessorization, product placements with celebs/movies). Compared to other endorser types, public-figures achieve a relatively higher degree of attention and recall (e.g. Nicole Kidman for Chanel No. 5; Pierce Brosnan for Omega & SRK for Tag Heuer), thereby positively affecting consumer’s attitudes, brand value & purchase intention.
The 8 P’s provide a solid framework for luxury branding at a macro level.
§ Identify how well your brand performs within each of the 8 Ps
§ Analyze your competitors in relation to the 8 Ps as well
§ Hypothesize; validate the variations & degree of significance of 8 Ps to address the identified problems or opportunities.
This post first appeared as an article in The Hindustan Times
Nikola King & Paul McGowan: The DNA of Luxury article & compressed document
Giacalone, Joseph A: Market for luxury goods: the case of the comité colbert1

15 April 2008

Is India ready for the IPL? Shweta Bhatnagar, JWT Planning, Delhi

A lot has been said about cricket and its importance in India… but it can never be said enough. The one passion that unites the country, the one love that takes all of us on a roller coaster of emotions, the one religion that makes each Indian, as temporary as it maybe, come together in its beliefs. And where a national anthem before a movie, and sometimes even Independence Day, fail to raise the sense of patriotism one would like to see, cricket is able to bring it alive in almost all of us!
So one cannot deny that in a cricket fanatic country like ours, sports and politics definitely cross paths. The current debate on whether India should withdraw from the Beijing Olympics owing its stand on the Tibet issue is a prime example of this. And let’s face it! How many times have we seen political acrimony spill over during a Pakistan / India match? When Pakistan lost in the T20 world cup they had to go under cover with their families in their own nation. Whether this should, or should not be, is a separate question. But like it or not, the two are inseparable.

So lets take a quick glance at what’s happening in both these fields right now.
The latest on the block is IPL… a great new concept. The gods of our one common religion got bidden for. And the country watched in anticipation. It was a strange but mixed feeling. Put a price tag on Sachin? Who would have thought! But how does that affect me? What does affect me, however, is what will all this lead up to? A cricket match! And hey! That’s always welcomed isn’t it?
And then, lets see the recent mob violence the country saw. Mumbaikars against north Indians. A relatively newer definition of communalism that at least the current generation may not have seen before. We’ve seen religion against religion, a political party against the other, public against the government, terrorists against the public… but region against another region? Beyond just water / electricity disputes? Beyond the murmured stereotypes plaguing each state that may go around many corridors? They first time gathered enough momentum to be so loud as to gather a mob!
And herein lies my question. Isn’t IPL only going to fuel this further? We know pride doesn’t come in a bigger size than when it comes for one’s team. But unfortunately, this time its not for India. Its delhi vs. Mumbai vs. Hyderabad vs. Bangalore vs. ... the list will only increase.
Saurav Ganguly has always been known as the Bengal tiger, but did a non-bengali ever love him any less? How many of us, across the country would say they love Sachin because he is marathi, or because he’s done me and the nation proud, irrespective of where he’s from?
I do not say that IPL was designed to fuel this divide, but from the look of it, does it not seem axiomatic? In a sensitive nation like ours where one radio jockey’s lose comment can anger the whole north-east community, are we ready to handle IPL in a mature manner?
When the similar concept gained enough momentum in England in the late 70s-80s for football, the violence it led to cost many lives, places burnt down, and the emergence of a term called football hooliganism, where each team had a group of supporters ready to kill the others at each win and each loss. Can we really safely say we won’t face a similar situation with IPL gaining force?
As the British contemporary writer Alan Sillitoe once wrote "sport is a means of keeping the national spirit alive during a time of so-called peace. It prepares the national spirit for the eventuality of war".
I ask you to replace ‘national’ in that quote with ‘regional’ once… and tell me what picture you see… Can India handle the IPL :Feast for sport lovers or setting for regional rift
See Jitender Dabas' reply and continue the debate...Voice your views on our comments

07 April 2008

Wetting the sponge:Training the JWT way. Shaziya Khan JWT Planning, Mumbai reports

India is booming faster than a trained brain can follow so we need to train differently to solve faster. Our aim is to widen people's perceptions and fertilize ideas.
Every month a guest speaker is invited to talk to all JWTers on a curious topic. Like a sponge, each of us will absorb the material in our own way. Here is a glimpse of our exciting aqua experiences so far!

November 2007
Injector: Hormazd Sorabjee
Container: Autocar India
Water: the car market as a mirror of the economy
Absorption: Looking at which and how many cars are on the road is a good indication of the national economy’s health but also consumer’s behaviour. It appears that quality is not always the prime incentive, status is. However, we are more inclined to a uniform consumption rather than individualistic as 65% purchases are influenced by word of mouth.
On another note, the car market is a laughable example of foreign products lacking adaptation to the market’s specificities as luxury cars are designed to be driven, not chauffeured. The back suspensions are hard and there is no remote for the stereo, so where is the fun in that?

December 2007
Injector: Charlotte Cooper & Ashling O’Connor
Container: Reuters Mumbai, Times London
Water: the image of India from a western point of view

Absorption: India’s equity is building up everyday, distancing itself from China, the all time point of comparison. This being said, some worries remain in foreign investors minds: Will the widening wealth gap lead to social tensions? Also, while the economy grows fast, the education system does not follow. How will industries overcome the lack of qualified labour?

January 2008
Injector: Mahesh Bhatt
Container: Bollywood
Water: the right message for the right crowd
Absorption: Real India feels alienated. Gate keepers, whereas they are distributors or our clients, are not ready for changes whilst people are. The population cannot identify to the portrayed image. For instance, when poverty still exists in India, it does not in Indian media as the poor are party spoilers! The real world has no space in the dream world. Research only takes you so far. The bucket of water has all the properties of the stream of water except the key one. The bucket of water does not have the “flow”! So always be careful of research it often captures the capturable but not the “essence”. Standards – keep them high. There is such a thing as success backwards and failing forwards! i.e. Even though you momentarily appear to fail it is actually something very progressive. And sometimes even when you have market success, it might be a regressive idea

February 2008
Injector: Jim James
Container: Haymarket India
Water: Formula 1

Absorption: Formula 1 does not run on fuel but on advertising. It is the most watched sports even after the Olympics and the Football worldcup. It has a huge advantage over these two – while they happen once in four years, Formula 1 takes place 18 times a year! However much the sport seems to cost their sponsors, given the coverage they get, the returns are high. Infact, the recent sponsorhip by Vijay Mallya of Formula 1 got so much coverage they recovered their investment even before the car spun a wheel! This is why Marlboro still sponsors Ferrari despite the ban on cigarette advertisement in most countries, limiting their visual presence to the color code shared with Ferrari.

More mind blowing speakers to follow - soak it up!

11 March 2008

Why the consumer should not be the KING in India: Jitender Dabas, JWT Planning, Delhi

An approach to building service brands in high "Power Distance" societies

The sudden rise of ‘bully consumers’ in India

When was the last time you heard someone warning his mobile service provider and threatening him about switching to another brand? Or when was the last time you snubbed a representative from a reputed bank/ insurance company selling you loans/investment products? Chances are, if you are in India, you would be experiencing one or more of these frequently.
About 10 years ago, it used to take 15 days to 3 months to get a telephone installed at your residence. Today it takes less than 24 hours for an active landline connection and you can have an active mobile phone connection almost instantly. There are more than 20 banks to choose from – all of them armed with latest technologies to make your life easy.
An even more intriguing aspect is consumer behavior before all this. 10 years back, the line man from the state-owned BSNL would install the telephone after months of applying, but most consumers felt very obliged to happily offer him sweets and warm hospitality.
And yet today, when we as consumers are having the best time of our life, and service brands are treating the consumer as King, we are becoming increasingly foul.
What explains the sudden emergence of this rude consumer behavior towards service brands?

Some suggest that increased brand choice across all categories has made him a ‘spoilt child’ and hence his bully behavior. So what could explain the increasing bad-behavior or intolerance from the consumers in a culture which is seen as tolerant and polite?
A look at the social structure in Indian society would reveal a pyramidal construction with the power gradient being steep between levels/classes.

The Power Distance Index
A more scientific understanding of this behavior comes from the study of different cultures by Geert Hofstede on various dimensions. One of the dimensions is Power Distance, defined as "the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally".
India has Power Distance (PDI) as the highest Hofstede Dimension (among the five dimensions), with a ranking of 77 as compared to the world average of 56.5.

Implication for brands
To be respected in such a culture, brands will need to increase their distance and will have to assume power. If brands try to play a ‘subservient’ role in such cultures they will not be treated well. Hence the conclusion that in India (and similar cultures with high PDI) THE CONSUMER NEED NOT BE THE KING. Brands should not operate from “You are the king” mindset with the consumer.

What does it mean?

It simply means that brands need to be always at a higher level of hierarchy than the consumer if they need to protect the premium-ness. If the choice has to be made, then brand should be the king.
Service brands need to be careful when they’re training their staffs in soft skills. They need to be told the difference between being polite and being servile.

A good example here is the way Vijay Mallya invites you aboard his flight, it sounds like a ‘King’ inviting you to his kingdom. The equation with the consumer is therefore stated clearly in the very beginning.
The argument that by increasing the Power Distance from your consumers you will become niche is also not correct. In fact, brands with high Power Distance from their consumers will always be the bigger and more desired brands than others.
Not just India but other markets as well
Indian has a PDI (Power Distance Index) of 77. But then there are countries like Russia, Romania, Mexico, Bangladesh and countries from the Arab world with PDI scores higher than 80. While other cultural dimensions too affect the overall consumer behaviour in each country, when it comes to Power Distance, brands will have to decide which side of the power equation they want to be.
For the complete article pls visit http://www.coffeeanddonuts.co.in/

Western COOL and Indian COOL: Shaleen Sharma, JWT Planning, Delhi


The Super Brands UK, Cool Council defines that all cool brands have a consistent presence of certain values:

Cool is forever distinctive and is aspirational.
Cool generally goes against the grain (not necessarily rebellious).
Cool is itself - it doesn’t try too hard.
Cool is authentic, it doesn’t try too hard.
The subscribers of Cool behave like a tribe.
While these characteristics form the core of cool, the ramifications and manifestations of this cool differs across cultures. Cool is not culture-agnostic, instead it is culture-driven.

Western Cool - It is all about doing your own thing. It firmly anchors itself in individuality as the primary instrument of human exploration and creative fulfillment. An individuality that has to be unrestrained and unchecked and must press forward at all costs, even to the exclusion of the larger community.

Indian Cool, on the other hand is all about Me and my community. The Indian way of life has its roots in the ancient Vedic tradition and so holds true with Indian cool as well. It seems that in India if you are outside the ambit of the society, then unlike the West, you aren’t cool- you are an outcast! And nobody wants to be an outcast in a deeply collectivist society like India.

Western cool is all about rebellion, even without a cause
Indian cool is not about rebellion at all. Be a rebel, for a greater cause, when all else fails.
Western cool traditionally springs from bottom up.
Indian cool is mandated and not self-bred! Indian cool often comes from top down.
Western cool is about Expression, Indian cool is about Aspiration.

Emerging themes of Cool
One of the key emerging themes of cool will be the emergence of local movements and expressions, that shall seek to reinforce, re-interpret and re-vitalize local cultural and historical symbols. It could be either through pure play or through fusion.
The new cool will be about coming to terms with these developments and keeping your identity intact.
Human technology interactions will probably be the biggest dynamic that cool will play out on.
Cool will be about evangelism, philanthropy and filial affiliation. This theme will be more visible in developed economies.

For the complete article please visit http://www.coffeeanddonuts.co.in/

04 February 2008

Retail: Value Propositions for Customer Satisfaction

Someone famously said “If people went into stores only when they needed to buy something and, once there, they bought only what they needed, the economy would collapse”

Different kinds of people have different attitudes to shopping. Some will buy stuff because it’s cheap, some because its expensive. Some want to browse forever, some want to buy and run. Buying a gift for a wedding you don’t want to go to vs buying a gift for your best friend’s daughter. Buying diamonds vs buying grocery.

Given the complexity of bahaviour patterns, usage, occasions, and purchase pathways, how do you arrive at what could be a handy guide to value propositions for retail brands? Here’s a point of view: V2E3. Value, Variety, Exclusivity, Experience and Expertise. Every retailer needs to pick the dominant offering and craft a combination of those that suit its desired customer base best. Take a look at how each of these come alive.

Value: Some people just can’t resist the lure of low price.
Variety: something for everyone.
Exclusivity:The dilemma and pleasure of buying something expensive.
Expertise:How often have you gone back to a shop because of a sales person, or walked out of a shop because of a sales person?
Experience:Ambience and display turned into an art form, almost.






The above post is an excerpt from a talk titled “Value Propositions for Customer Satisfaction” delivered by Mythili Chandrasekar at Asia Retail Congress, Mumbai, Jan 08

Any Male In Sight? 2

Men and Sports: Fatal Attraction

"Sports is one of the few things on Planet Earth that just makes sense. Men don’t want to accept confusion. We want things simple. Sports allow us to do that."
-A Basketball Fanatic

Whether its a platform for male bonding, opportunities to show off cool facts and give “expert” advice and dazzle fellow fans with their superior knowledge, or evoking national pride, sports has been a perennial male passion. Captured yet again in the new Vodafone ad, which shows a tense man outside a maternity ward, equally awaiting close-finish cricket alerts! But what’s a new twist in the tale, is the woman in the Canara Bank “Square Slice” commercial who decides to get into cricket for his sake.

01 February 2008

Tech Talk 2: Shaleen Sharma,JWT Delhi

Mobility and Web Services - Challenges and Opportunities in Developing Countries

From Japan to US, from Africa to Asia, there exists a fanatic optimism about the increasing power of the internet. It seems that just like advances in micro processing transformed computing experience, the internet browser will change the very way people have been using internet till now. (Primarily E mail and search).

There has been a lot of noise about the next killer apps residing in the browser. The likes of Google are now offering integrated office solutions (like spreadsheets, word and power point) completely online. Software itself is no longer peddled shrink wrapped on IT stores, it is following a pay-per-use services delivery model which pundits are calling SAAS-Software as a service.

To my mind, internet itself, more than being a consumer medium, is a “Great services and information framework.” Mobility too essentially started as a service, till entertainment and computing applications converged on the same.
One wonders, what is the next tidal wave of evolution, for mobility and for the internet? Can the internet drive mobility adoption or mobility facilitate quicker internet penetration? These questions are all the more relevant, for developing countries like India who’s technology adoption will not be linear and is expected to benefit from the “experience curve” of the developed world.

Of course, the convergence of mobility and web services is going to open new opportunities, but the players looking to leverage those opportunities will have to negotiate through some tough challenges-cultural and economic.
While in Western Europe and US, high in-home broadband penetration levels have led consumers to view web services completely differently. The experience there has to be larger, richer, bigger, and quicker. In developed mobile societies of Asia like Japan and South Korea, though in home broadband levels are roughly similar (or even more) than those in the West, consumers have taken to mobile broadband and mobile web services far more excitedly. May be this is cultural or may be this is because the overall mobile services infrastructure there has evolved faster and better. Just the other day we heard that in Japan notebook sales declined for three straight quarters as people are downloading most of the web applications (entertainment, e mail etc) and using services (billings and bookings etc) on other web compatible appliances. High Definition Televisions and Hand Held phones were the dominant segment of such appliances.

In India, the driver of web services roll out through mobile phones is primarily going to be economic. Critics concur that India’s rate of tech adoption across categories is a little sloppy. But what most people fail to understand is that whenever a technology has been made economically affordable, Indians have grabbed it. This is evident from automobiles technology (where Tata Nano has created such a splash in popular consciousness) to LCD screens to mobile phone tariffs itself. (Folklore has it that since the time tariffs have been coming down, rate of growth is going up by a factor of 4).

Some key learnings have come to us from the African continent. It has been estimated that the “Unbanked” (people who have no bank accounts because of very little savings generated or illiteracy) are sitting on a liquid capital of around a trillion dollars. Cellular Services Providers in Africa have been aware of this opportunity. MTN and Vodafone are successfully experimenting in providing mobile banking solutions to all such people. One can have a mobile account, and all the financial activities one undertakes can be routed through their mobile bills. This is both convenient and economical.

In countries like India however, financial web services can be the killer app for their adoption, initially, especially amongst the mobile segment at the lower end. Just as e mail was the killer app for web’s adoption, basic, transaction based financial services can drive mobile penetration as well as internet adoption in India.But just like the EU, India is a federation of markets and consumer segments. Consumers at the upper end of the spectrum might not be so gung ho about financial services being delivered through the mobile portal. Many Indians in the Upper SEC ranks, rate security much above convenience and even economy. But what will drive these guys will be differentiated content. For certain segments it could be gaming, for some others it could be music and for some video.
By differentiated I mean exclusive- content that is not available elsewhere on other gateways or portals like television stations, radio or even websites.
Web services could also proffer information or opinion that is not available outside of the mobile cloud (embedded in the handset or relayed by the service provider)

All of this brings us to two critical questions. One definitely is that if it happens, and eventually it will who will “control” the last mile, i.e the consumer relationship. Arun Sarin, CEO of Vodafone was recently asked about the handset vendor-services provider relationship status in the wake of Nokia launching its web services foray. Mr. Sarin made it quite clear that the service providers believed that they control the relationship with the consumer and there is no way they would want to loosen their grip on that! The consumer mobile bill is the greatest instrument they have, and they have to continue to generate it.
I would tend to think so too! And I believe that is their rightful domain as well. And may be that is why, from AT&T to T-Mobile to Vodafone everybody is more interested in integrating “mobile content and services” in their business architecture, across countries. It will be nice to see how Nokia who says that web services will be the mainstay of its future strategy handles this fundamental conflict.
In hindsight, Apple looks smarter! They came out with web content and services portal in the form of i-tunes, and then launched the handset. Could Nokia have done the same? In hindsight, yes!
But may be what handset manufacturers like Nokia can do, is pick up areas where service providers can not effectively provide web services. This can be done through exclusive tie in like the one they did with Universal Music, where Nokia music phones will come with some embedded tracks, and Universal taking a cut from the overall sales. But such web services will be asynchronous and not live.

May be consumers will tell what mode of web services they will adopt?! May be Apple was smarter or may be Nokia is!