Thursday, July 21, 2005

Wal-mart: Chalo India Movement....

2 months back, I had mentioned about the Interest that Wal-mart has been showing in the Indian Markets and Indian visits by some officials.
Till now, India was a country for sourcing and procurements, with procurement centres established in Bangalore for the South Asian countries.

But, with a huge luring market of approximately Rs. 900,000 Cr., and ease of govt. regulations in sight, the 95% of the unorganized Retail Market is surely in for a great time ahead.
In his latest visit to US, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is scheduled to meet with Lee Scott, the CEO of Wal-Mart.
Though official Press Releases allude to the "purchase of Goods" from India, Industry Experts aver that there is more to the meetings than sourcing.
"Wal-Mart in recent months has upped the ante in its campaign to woo the Indian government and Indian consumers. Retail analysts say Wal-Mart needs to look for new international markets to fuel growth, especially as its U.S. market becomes increasingly saturated. "

With Indications from the Indian Premier to open up its markets, India has become one of the most attractive Investments for Retail - a sector that contributes 10% to the GDP of the Nation.
One of the Strategists said that "Wal-Mart is moving step-by-step and cementing relationships first with the Indian government before it launches any major plan of entry. "
Talks are on for FDI to be allowed in standalone and branded retail sectors. As of now, it is only allowed through the franchise and license route.

The Market Size is Rs. 900,000 Cr, growing at 5-6% annually. The Organized Retailing is growing at 30%. FDI would entail fall in prices by 10%, resulting in the rise in consumers' income by 5-6%.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Customer ComPlains....

It is natural human tendency to complain. We do not have any qualms in complaining, as long as we are on the "giving" sites, but it vexes us and spoils our day, when we get on the "listening" side of the complaints. Be it Employee Relations for the HR or Appraisals in the Corporate world, Complaints are a natural way to give and get Feedback in any sector.
In the Marketing world, the feedback is classified into "Customer Complaints" and is a source of some of the major Marketing decisions.
Most of the Customers are apprehensive of the complaints being addressed, and that is why, most of us end up as Disinterested Customers.
But there is a proportion of us who want things to improve, who think that our feedback counts.
Believe me, it DOES! and that is the very premise of this entry - Communicating the Negative Perception and Feedback to the Marketers...

How to appease the Customer to GIVE feedback is another story altogether, but right now, let me typify the Complaints given by the Customers. I read this classification in a book/article almost 2 years back, the name of which I do not remember right now unfortunately. But, I am hopeful that the author would read this entry one day and apprise me of his identity. Then, I shall give him his due regards and credit :)

Broadly, Complaints are classified into 6 types -
(1) Informative
In such a type of complaint, the Customer is dissatisfied with the services/product, but either it is too late to change things or fix them, or he is not hopeful of any remedial action. Typically, such a complaint is about a small issue.

(2) Corrective
In a Corrective type, the Customer expects corrective action, often immediately. No compensation is required in such a complaint, but the only thing that he expects is expediting the corrective procedures in addressing the complaiint. Promptness of the resolution is the key in this case.

(3) Experience
When a customer reports an Experience-type complaint, it is difficult to judge what he wants from the organization. He just narrates his experience, often with a negative perspective. The best solution in such a scenario is to listen to the customer, and then reclassify the complaint into one of the other 5 types!

(4) Unsatisfied
In this case, both Corrective Action, as well as Compensation is demanded. Corrective action for the complaint and the problems caused, expecting Remedial Action promptly. Compensation for devoting his energy and taking out time to tell you, thereby showing that he cares about your business. That's why he deserves to be awarded and compensated accordingly. The compensation need not be monetary, but can be provided to him in terms of discounts/offers/gift vouchers, coupled with positive and thankful gestures!

(5) Societal
This is a more severe complaint in contrast to the previous ones. In such a complaint, the Customer expects that some 'punitive' action is taken, along with compensation in lieu of the loss incurred to him. He ALSO expects an Apology from the Service Providers/Suppliers. This form is a more severe extension of the "Unsatisfied" type of Customer.

(6) Conflict
This is the most severe stage of Complaints. The Customer has had enough of it, becomes an enemy of the organization, either explicitly or implicitly, and poses to be a major problem for the Organization. In such a case, there is little that one can do to appease him. The Best solution in this case is to escalate the issues and concerns to the Senior Management for a resolution or Containment.

Then, we have the Modes of Complaining.
The customer can complain in either the Informal mode or the Formal Mode.

In the Informal mode, the complaints are either
- orally delivered to the front-line executives, or
- one level above the exectives.
- It can also be delivered via a short e-mail.

In the Formal mode, the Complaints are conveyed
- orally in a face-to-face situation, one or two levels above the front-line executives. In this case, the terms are dictated by the customer.
- in a written format, to the middle-level management
- on the phone, to the supervisor or the customer Service Manager.

So, next time, first classify the Complaint, understand the mode, and then listen to what he is saying ;-)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

|P+| ~ Issue*6

Another week! Another set of 20 Brand pills – the last one before I enter my Post-graduation Era!
Here they are –

Which Indian movie was included as a case study in Leadership Skills by IIM Indore?

Philip Morris produces many of the world’s best-selling cigarette brands, which include Marlboro, Benson & Hedges. Which is the parent company of Philip Morris?
(Altiria Group)

“Mortein”, “Harpic”, “Cherry Blossom” “Dettol” are brands under which company?
(Reckitt Benckiser)

Pop Star Britney Spears launched a new fragrance. What is the name of the Fragrance?

Harmony is the name of which companies textiles?

What factors are involved in calculating the Human Development Index (HDI)?
(Longevity, knowledge and standard of Living)
HDI is a summary Composite Index tat measures a country’s average achievements in three basic aspects of human development : Longevity, Knowledge and a decent standard of living. Longevity is measured by life expectancy at birth; Knowledge is measured by a combination of the adult Literacy rate and the combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrollment ratio; Standard of Living is measured by GDP per capita (PPP US$).

The Company’s first customer was Walt Disney, who bought oscillators to use for the making of Fantasia, in 1940. Name the Company
(Hewlett Packard)

Taj Group of Hotels is a chain of hotels from which company?

Forester is the name of a car manufactured by

Aditya Birla collaborated with which foreign company to roll out an insurance scheme?

Auntie” is the nick name of which organization in Britain?

Two people own the website “”. It helps people develop their own sites in five simple steps. One is Venkatesh Prasad. Name the other.

“Sugar Free” is a leading brand of artificial sweetener in India. Which company owns the brand?

Which country is called the “Land of cakes”?

Novartis was born out of the merger of the which two companies?
(Ciba and Sandoz)

The software company I-flex solutions was originally a division of this famous Financial Services Company. Which one ?

It is considered as a significant year for Business Development. This year saw the launch of Yahoo!, and the famous launch og the Orange mobile phone service in the UK. Which year was this?

It was the year the made David Oglivy famous. Which shirt brand’s ads had the famous man with an eye patch in the 1950s, which catapulted David Oglivy to fame?

The earlier proposed name of this car was Mint. It won the award for maximum sales last year in India. What is it better known as today?

This IT Company is the only company to have its logo designed by a spastic child. Which company?

For the P-Ad this week, I have uploaded the print campaign that won the Gold at this year’s Cannes Lions in the “Press” category.
The Ads are from Reckitt Benckiser for their Shoe Polish Brand "Nugget".
It has been designed by the South African Ad Agency "The Jupiter Drawing Room"..

Friday, July 08, 2005

How to be 'More' Creative...

Finally, I get time to update my baby. The last few days have been slightly hectic, so couldn’t put much time into it. Now, am in Delhi – plan to do some bit here, before the College starts.
During my journey, I read an interesting e-book – “How to be Creative” available at
It is written by Hugh MacLeod. Hugh MacLeod is a brand consultant, copywriter and cartoonist. This edition has been taken from his Website – Gaping Void

The book gives some very useful tips on how one should be creative, and for one to be creative, one need not first understand the implications and the market, and then exercise and customize his creativity. One just needs to be himself, and make sure it is his inspiration that drives him to follow his passion!
If something is your passion, you pursue it not for others, but for yourself. Hugh has given 26 tips on the subject, elucidating each of them pertinent to specific sectors. Though it is a must read for Artists and writers, it is relevant for virtually every sector.
He talks about Inspiration, that need not be consciously searched for, but comes from within; he talks about Apprehensions, which needs to be quashed if one is determined to work hard; he talks of hard work as something that is quintessential for achieving your objectives!
In one of the tips, he talked about reception of good ideas in the society. It is always difficult for your colleagues and comrades to consume change!
“Good Ideas alter the power balance of the relationships, and that is why, good ideas are always initially resisted.”
He mentioned crayons as the tools of creativity. When we are young, we express our creativity with our crayons, without thinking of the result, without considering the likeability of our creation – we just draw something, because we want to.
Most of us sometime turn our ideas down, since we think they are too trivial to be addressed or worked upon. A small idea can sometimes do wonders. Take Sony, take Xerox!
“The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to change the world. The sovereignty you have over your work will inspire far more people than the actual content ever will.”
There is an interesting theory pioneered by him - the Sex and Cash theory – related to the current job that one holds.
“A Creative person has 2 kinds of jobs. One that gives you pleasure and the
other that takes care of your expenses”
Internal inspiration and aspiration is something one has to figure out oneself, and does not need to look for externally. “Everybody has his/her own Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb”

A significant point I liked from the entry was that every person worked with something he calls “Pillars” – justifications to our deeds and inaction. Camouflaging our internal fears and apprehensions; Covering our inability and weaknesses with a veneer of irrational reasoning!
“A fancy tool just gives the second-rater one more pillar to hide behind. Which
is why there are so many hack writers with state-of-the-art laptops. Keep asking
yourself “Is it a pillar?” We all have our pillars behind which we hide. Keep on
asking this for every aspect of your business, culture, etc”
Be ready to face hardships in your venture. By scuppering all hope of worldly and social betterment from the creative act, by quashing all hope of recognition, you need to ask one thing to yourself – Do you make this thing exist or not? Doing something seriously creative is one of the most amazing experiences one can have in life.

As for the Marketing perspective, selling your work is not easy, and the earlier one realizes it, the better it is for him. One has to complete the race on his own, and assume at the beginning the market is shrewd. You start it alone, and you win it alone. If you win friends, it is an advantage, but don’t start the journey with this very premise.
One has to make his own individual identity in the market, and nothing pushes this, but Passion to create, passion to chase your dreams, and passion to change the world. Unless you really chase it, you will NEVER make it!

The only people who can change the world are people who want to. Not everybody does.
Sing in your own voice.

Finally a word of caution from him – One should get passionate about things, but not desperate and obsessed about it. You should know where to draw the line…
“The first rule of business is never sell something you love. Otherwise, you may
as well be selling your children”.
He ended with an advice to “Write from the heart” I take a leaf out of his work, and quote a sentence he mentioned regards to the communication of your work, and appeasement to the customer…
Conversation can be scaled. Communication can be scaled. But Intimacy cannot be scaled. It is a one-on-one phenomenon.

A well-written book, and an inspiring one!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Grrr-eat Ad from Honda!

Talk of Cannes Lions and not talk of the star Attraction..!
The Winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes this year was the “Honda Grr” Commercial in the Film as well as the Titanium Category. It also won the Film Journalists' Award, and is considered as one of the best pieces this year in Animation and sound track.
According to John Hunt , the President of the Jury and worldwide creative director of TBWA Worldwide, the 22-person jury arrived at its decision with very little debate. "In the end, because there was the sense that 'Grrr' was probably the Grand Prix, I asked the jury to write secret ballots for their first and second favorites for the award. Seventeen chose 'Grrr' as their first choice. For second, the Adidas spot, 'Hello Tomorrow,' and a few others were also mentioned. But there was no discussion about the Grand Prix. It was way mathematically ahead of anyone else."

The Ad has been designed by Wieden and Kennedy Ad Agency, with special mention to the Art Director of the Agency - Sean Thompson

Talking to “All About Ads” on NDTV Profit, Sean Thompson said that what made the Ad win was the “New way of executing the idea” – the concept of the diesel engines being restructured and an integral component of their cars.

In a Report on the official Website of Cannes Lions,
He related the Ad to “Philosophy for Life” and narrated the History behind the Campaign.

“Honda's Chief Engine Designer, Kenichi Nagahiro, when told to design the
company's first diesel motor, said he hated diesels because they were noisy and
dirty, so he would be radical”
This thought was taken as the base for designing the Ad, wherein the word “Hate” was perceived to be a powerful communicator in sending the message across. A Song was written and sung on this concept “Can Hate Be Good?” by Garrison Keillor.

Then they turned to the visuals. And decided they needed animation to create a
"hate world". Zenith won the pitch and spent five and a half months producing "what they described as Liberace's golf course-over-manicured and just too perfect, to reflect Hate World", Thompson said. He added: "Advertising doesn't tend to go beyond the idea, but this ad does with a philosophy for life"

The same story, but with a different perspective, was covered by Adjab 3 months before the Event in a report and once again, after the Results were announced

You'll start feeling Disney-fied for a bit, but when you start to see the diesel engines flying around as people sing about about hating things, changing things, it gets quite amusing. The overall point was that Honda had someone who "hated" the diesel engine work on the process to get the "grumble" out of it, and it worked. The diesel engine being accepted by the environment and animal kingdom is kind of amusing, but we'll let that go because we think rainbows, flamingos, and engine-crushing rams are worth seeing all together.

"Grrr" has already collected a number of other honors, including Best of Show at the One Show, the Grand Clio, a Grandy and eight British Design & Art Direction Awards.

Talking to Adage in a report, Mr. Hunt said “The idea is such a simple proposition and it entranced us all. When rewatching the commercials, often you see two or three frames and move on, but I noticed the jury didn't mind watching that one again. It's just one of those commercials that entertains you as it sells you and the premise is blindingly simple”.

The Ad was available for download at the Honda Website earlier, but the campaign has now changed after the Cannes Festival. But, It is available as a winner in British Art Awards

The campaign was an interactive one on the Website, wherein an diesel engine that made a lot of noise and a hammer were provided. Captioned as “Hate Something.. Change it” after hitting the Engine 4 times, a smooth clean soft Honda Engine showed up, with the Message “Honda Engine re-circulates exhaust gases and features a close –couple oxidation catalyst!”

This Ad was a good compensation for the Agency, after their disappointment with the “Cog” Ad for Honda 2 years ago, for Honda.
Have a look at the Wallpapers that were available for Free Download – “Hate Something. Change Something”

Monday, July 04, 2005

Cannes Lions 2005..

Cannes Lions 2005 was held in London from 19-25 June. The International Advertising Festival was held for the 52nd time this year, and invited 22000 entries from 82 countries, in spite of skyrocketing charges commanded for the entries.

According to the news posted on their website,
"A total of 22,101 entries will be competing at this year's Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, an overall increase of 18 percent versus last year. There were 6699 entries in the press section, the category with the largest share of entries."
Broadly, the categories were –
- Media Lions
- Lions Direct
- Press
- Outdoor
- Cyber Lions
- Film
- Radio Lions
- Titanium (Integrated)

Radio Lions and Titanium were the New Sections. Cannes also added a new Section - A design section this time in the Festival.

I do not intend to cover the entire festival as such, but what I want to specifically mention is the winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes – The Honda Grr Commercial – one of the best pieces this year in Animation and sound track. Follow the next entry for more on this.

Apart from this Ad, John Hunt , the President of the Jury, that decided the Winners after going through all the entries in 2 weeks time, said that the Runners up was the Adidas Ad – “Unstoppable” – again Execution being the winner in the Ad.
According to him, the latest Trends in the Advertising world was that “Humor is back, and since the World has become stable now, Advertisers do not have qualms about inserting the “ironic” and the “extremes” levels anymore.

As for India, he said that India will play a much more bigger role in the Advertising world in the times to come, due to
(a) Ease of language,
(b) A large population,
(c) Large proportion of which is the educated lot

This entails a dearth of potential Creative and Innovative ideas in the Market.
In this Festival, India won Silver and 2 Bronze – in the Print and Outdoor media. It had gone to the Festival with a 100-member contingent.

When asked for reasons behind such a dismal performance, Prasoon Joshi, a notable face of Indian advertising, said that Ideas was a problem in this part of the sub-continent. Another weakness was that the culture of India could not be understood by the jury, and most of the Indian Ads are pertinent to the culture of the country, thereby catering to a niche segment, locally.
Incidentally, though Thailand also catered to a niche target, they projected the nuances of their culture, and brought them out pretty well, which connected with the judges. This should give the Indian Admen some food for thought, and a little homework that needs to be done, once they get back home.

Overall, the USP of the Festival was still Networking, with discussions on Global Trends, and discussions pertinent to the Advertising world.

According to a report on Cannes Website, Lachlan Murdoch won the Award of The Cannes Lions Media Person Of The Year. In an address to the professionals, he said that, while professionals concerned themselves with digital versus analogue or content for wireless platforms, "the consumer couldn't care less. They only care about more compelling content and more convenience.”

In another report on the same site, in a discussion on the Trend in Advertising, Sir Martin Sorrell, one of the notable figures in the industry, said that there were 3 critical things happening in the industry –
(a) The West is increasingly being challenged by the East,
(b) The control is no longer with the ad agency, and it is the consumer who commands the kingship in Advertising !
(c) With the stress on measurability, most part of the organization might not be receptive to it, but more accurate measurements and causal analysis can be done using such deals.
Quintessential attributes for this industry, according to the experts are - “instinct, talent and imagination”

Bottleneck in the “Creativity” roadway that it faces is the requirements of the Clients, and THEIR perception of the Advertising. One of the experts joked: “When I look at a lot of the award-winning campaigns here in Cannes, I think. ‘I wish I’d done that’. Then I think, ‘I wish I had clients who’d let me do that’.”

To add to this, in a report on the Festival, involvement of the Financial and Procurement staff in Advertising is considered an impediment to creativity, wherein the Ideas are quashed and creativity subdued.
This involvement has entailed an objective approach to measuring the ROI from Advertising, and the factors governing it.

According to Keith Reinhard, Chairman of DDB Worldwide, ROI for DDB implied “relevance, originality and impact” for years! But he also accepted that there was more to measuring the ROI than these factors."The search for a workable ROI formula has instituted a worrying degree of paralysis," said moderator Michael Lee, IAA's (International Advertising Association’s) worldwide president and chairman. "Everyone is being sensibly hesitant, but what we need is progress, not paralysis."

To summarize, it was an enlightening experience for each and everyone who attended it, offering an excellent learning opportunity for the young Advertisers, and sharing of ideas and Trends with Experts from various parts of the globe!
For more, visit their Official WebsiteCannes Lions 2005

Sunday, July 03, 2005

|P+| ~ Issue*5

The dose needs to be given regularly. Put the Brand-aid on! Here are the 20 pills for this week:

The first product made by this company was a car record player. They gave themselves a name similar to the name of the market leader in record players in those days. Name the company and the rival Company
(Motorola and Victrola)

Which automobile brand is named after the Spanish word for `grace'?
(MERCEDES---It was named after the daughter of Emil Jellinek, an Austrian businessman who promised to buy a fleet of cars if they were named after his daughter whose name `Mercedes' translated to `grace' in Spanish)

Which Company was originally named as “Computer-Tabulator-Recorder Company (C-T-R)?

BSA SLR is a popular name in the Cycle Industry. What does it stand for?
(BSA SLR – Birmingham Small Arms Self-Loading Rifle. The symbol of 2 rifles arranged in a A formation on each bike)

Donald Duck is a famous cartoon personality in the Disney World. What is his complete Name?
(Donald Fauntleroy Duck)

Durex was launched in 1929 by the London Rubber Company. How did the name originate?
(It derived its name from its qualities of ‘durability, reliability and excellence’)

This International Rock artish got his name because of a yellow-and-black striped shirt he wore until it literally fell apart. What is his name?

Which company uses a mascot called Geoffrey the giraffe?
(Mc Donalds)

Alpenliebe is owned by which company?
(Perfetti – Other brands – Big Babol, Center Fresh, Center Shock, Chlor Mint, Cofitos, Fruit-Tella, Golia, Happy Dent, Marbles, Mentos, Squeezie, Sypro)

Eureka Forbes is the leader in the water purifier market, with its brand “Aquaguard”. This is a joint venture between Forbes Gokak (part of the Shapoorji Pallonji group) and a European company. What is the name of this company?
(Electrolux AB)

Which Television channel launched the first local programming initiative in India in the form of reality show – Everest se Takkar?
(National Geographic)

Rajnigandha, Bobo and Catch are brands that belong to which company?
(Dharampal Satyapal Ltd)

An Indian pharma company was sued by GlaxoSmithKline Plc. for making a generic version of the popular migraine drug, Imitrex, before the expiration of its patent over it. Name the company in question.
(Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories)

This newspaper completed 131 yeas of existence in March’05

Which company is headquartered at Ann Arbor, Michigan?
(Domino’s – 2nd largest pizza chain in the US today; founded by Tom Monaghan and his brother James)

SUV “Cayenne”, sports cars Boxter and Carrera are brands of which automaker?
(German Automaker Porsche)

What do the initials “AG” stand for, w.r.t. A German company?
(It signifies an “Incorporated” company, and stands for Aktiengesellschaft)

Agnelli-family is associated with which family-owned company?

This company launched a programme “Unnati” to increase the sales volumes at the dealers level. Identify the company.

Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle was first Introduced in Britain in 1949, and has seen minor modifications since then. It was first produced in India in 1955, and are manufactured in Chennai To which Industrial group does Royal Enfield belong?
(Eicher Group)

Time for the P-Ad for this week! This one is designed for NDTV

The Body of the Ad reads “For us, truth is not a commodity. It's our reason for existence. For us, credibility is not an empty slogan. It's an obsession. That's why we painstakingly support every story with first-hand reports, in-depth analysis and insightful discussions. So if there's any judgement that's passed, it's yours.
The look-and-feel is pretty good, and conveys “Candor” and “Attitude” in the News-taker’s fashion!
Baselined as “Experience. Truth first.”, the Ad has been designed by McCann for NDTV! Have a look…