Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Sad, Agonizing Tale of Bhuvan Ganguly

I Was browsing through the Advertisement Blogs – Ad Jab and Ad Rag, when suddenly a familiar face came up …an Indian face in an American Ad.. And guess what the product is for? Nintendo Video Games!

The Latest Commercial from Nintendo is called “The Sad, Agonizing Tale of Bhuvan Ganguly” and has been created by Leo Burnett, Chicago.
According to the reports in Sun Times and IGN.com, the 60-second commercial has been aired exclusively in more than 5,000 theaters in the US starting July 29th through August 25th and could make its way on to television at a later date.

A sad worker, Bhuvan Ganguly, pulls his cart in a dry desert on a bright sunny day. During the course of his tiring journey, he takes a break and sits next to his cart, pulling out a small shoddy packet from it.
From the packet, he takes out a single banana, peels it off, and eats it up, busy in his own morose thoughts. When he is finished, out of a natural instinct, he throws away the skin on the ground.
Suddenly, as the peel hits the ground, the spot shifts to a city roadway and a car jerks and skids out of control. Spot back to the original scene, and the peel is spinning similarly to the car. A spot shift again and the Ad ends with Ganguly gazing at the banana, wondering if there was more to it, that happened.

Tagline “Every Action in world gives rise to an equal and opposite reaction!”.
For the first timers, it would be simply an innovative idea, but for the Nintendo fans, the Ad alludes to the popular Nintendo MarioKart game, in which players use banana peels to wreak havoc on their rivals' automobiles.

Nevertheless, it is good entertainment, and smart thinking with of course, intelligent editing!
Catch the trailer at this link

Friday, August 26, 2005

Directions for Wal-Mart: Enter India and then turn ‘Left’ !

Last I spoke about the giant was about its keen interest in India
This time ….there is nothing different that I intend to cover, except probably a progress report.
The Story is not new. There are NO twists, and the conclusion is predictable.
The only thing no one knows and is still a BIG question …is when? And how?

An article in the Business Standard yesterday (on the 25th of August’05) spoke about the future plans of Wal-Mart vis-à-vis procurement of raw materials from India.
For the past 3 years, the sourcing from India has been growing at 30% every year with a cumulative figure of goods worth $1.2 billion. Now, it intends to grow this by 40 per cent for the current financial year, considering the opportunity and cost differential in the Indian Markets.

Specifically, a pertinent question that concerned me was “What is being sourced?
Supposedly, Textiles Sector, such as apparel and home furnishings contribute to the tune of 50% for the sourcing.
Other sectors that Wal-Mart has interfaced with –
- Leather Sector
- Jewelry sector,
- Food sector (commodity items such as spices, rice, tea and sea foods)

Apart from sourcing, Wal-Mart is also very keen on entering the Indian Market through the Investment route. It wants to setup establishments and retail outlets in the country, taking advantage of the rising consumer confidence and purchasing power.

The President and CEO John Menzer visited India, held 6 high level government meetings and spoke to most of the seniors.
After that, there was no communication from the Indian government on this issue. It is only a day back that there was some communication in the Newspapers.

The response to Menzer’s communication was brought out in an Interview of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by Mckinsey director Rajat K Gupta.
Few points pertinent to this discussion, that can be taken as the take-away from the interview are:
- He wants to “work out a package that is fair, that entry of foreign enterprises into the retail trade will not hurt our small shopkeepers but will create a lot more employment”.
- He is hopeful that he would be able to convince his “political colleagues” to allow FDI in Retail and aver the point that “this is a way to move our economy to a higher growth path—to create new employment opportunities—that this is not a strategy to hurt the small shopkeepers in our country”.
- Something concrete should be expected within the next four or five months!

There was a nice article in the Hindu Business Line almost 3 months back, about Retail in India and its future. It mentioned about the presence of Wal-mart in Bangalore, and its future plans
At present Wal-Mart has a presence only in Bangalore through a subsidiary, which used to function as a liaison office till last year; it sourced goods worth about $1 billion from India last year. It is now in the process of setting up offices in New Delhi and Mumbai”.

And this is what I had collated a collated a couple of months back, about Bangalore
It plans to source $1.2 bn products from India - $400mn directly and $800mn from 3rd party suppliers. It has a Global procurement (GP) hub in Bangalore for sourcing of merchandise from India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. It oversees the GP in Colombo also.
Functions - sourcing, quality control, ethical sourcing factory compliance inspections, internal audits and loss prevention.

An article in India Resource Centre discussed about the entry of Wal-mart in India. It talks about the plans Wal-mart has for the merchanidising from India. “According to Menzer, India is Wal-Mart's fastest growing sourcing market. The world's largest retailer this year expects to export $1.5 billion worth of merchandise to Wal-Mart stores from the country”.
And its current status in India “Wal-Mart already has over 2,000 stores worldwide, including 45 stores in China. Its only presence in India is through its sourcing office located in Bangalore”.
The most interesting part of the article was the following bit – “At the same time, if the FDI regulations aren't lifted any time soon, Menzer said Wal-Mart is no longer prepared to wait but is prepared to make its foray into India with an Indian joint-venture partner to take advantage of this market while it's still developing". Inferences?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Personality Assessment – The 16PF Model

The worst and the riskiest part of any subject like Consumer Behavior / Human Behavior, or for that matter, Marketing is its subjectivity – Lack of an Objective Evaluation!
Unless you have a rationale behind your statements, and objectivity behind your analysis, there is restricted receptivity from the audience, or more recently, it is considered to be “Gas” in modern times!

One such model that gives an Objective Perspective to Personality Assessment is the 16PF model. This Sixteen Personality Factor model was developed by Dr. Raymond Cattell and is a copyright of the Institute of Personality and Ability Testing. It talks about the primary components of a personality.

The personality traits are broken down into 16 basic traits, called primary factors, and then, combined to form 5 secondary traits – called Secondary Factors or Global Factors.

Each factor is measured from a scale of 1-10 and the scale is called as Sten Scale (Standardized Ten Scale). Historically, a score of 4-7 is considered average range; 1-3 in the low range and 8-10 is in the high range.

Each of these factors is “bipolar” in nature, and has a left meaning and a right meaning. A left meaning is denoted by X- and a right meaning is denoted by X+.

Since each of them is self-explanatory, I am not going in for explanation of each of them. Also, measuring personality takes into account certain steps, such as measuring responses, and then identifying global factors…Expatiating upon each of them might just take this entry overboard and would be highly technical. So, for the sake of simplicity and “interestibility”, I would stick to the basic level.
Here are the factors for your reference. They have been further explained in Pearson Assessments.

Factor

Descriptor

AWarmth
BReasoning
CEmotional Stability
EDominance
FLiveliness
GRule-Consciousness
HSocial Boldness
ISensitivity
LVigilance
MAbstractedness
NPrivacy
OApprehension
Q1Openness to Change
Q2Self-Reliance
Q3Perfecionism
Q4Tension

Try and work out the Combinations of your personality. So, someone like Manmohan Singh could be A-, B-(High on Reasoning is at the left pole), Q1+ and Q3+.
As for me, I would take B-, I+, N+ and Q3+. Rest of them might fall in the middle scale, and are not extremes!
What’s your combination? ;-)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Stressful Sandwiches…

I had planned to first make an entry on Sensory Branding and the 16PFs first and then look at something else. But the moment I read an article in the Economic Times, dated 20th August 2005, couldn’t resist finding out more on it and typing it out here.

The article talks about an altogether ignored segment, a segment which is nothing but a “side-effect” of the growing economy. Though the article talks about India particularly, the concept per se is a global one, that of a “Sandwiched Generation” applicable across the different economies and markets.

The article talks about Women who are aged between 35-45 years, and are staying in a joint family. They need to look after 2 generations – the youngsters or the Gen Nexters, and the elders – the Boomers.

According to the article
“A study conducted by developed economies shows that a woman spends 17 years bringing up children, and another 18 years helping parents”

Now, an after-effect of a growing economy is late marriages – resulting in kids at a later age, which women need to take care of. By the time the kids start getting independent, it is time for the older generation to be mollycoddled. Add to this increasing life expectancy, another outcome of the growing economy, and you have the lady of the house confined to home services!

Such a kind of life induces stress, dissatisfaction, frustration, loneliness, all leading to a faster burnout and psychological disorders. In some cases, it also results in break-ups and heart attacks.

A nice line summarized by a doctor, taken from the article says – “Women have a lot of balancing to do between home, workplace, social and generation requirements. Combine this with maternity, menopause, parent-hood, gender roles, conditions at home and workplace, familial and social support and you have the recipe for highly stressful environment”
Indeed, such is a case with majority of the housewives in India presently.

Solution?
Let me take this from 2 perspectives – the HR perspective and the Marketing perspective

HR Perspective
This phenomenon can be extended towards the entire Sandwich Generation, as is reiterated in Assemblies of God, USA It is a case pertinent to this generation, who needs to bear the brunt of the growing markets and the transition phase of the generations – “Evolution” so to say. The points mentioned here, like – Self-care, prioritizing, communicate, support system, plan and Adjustment – are more at a personal level, and can be planned by individuals themselves.

At an organizational level, the employers need to empathize with such employees in understanding their family pressures and juxtapose them to their aspiration levels. They can look at
- giving “flexibility” to such employees,
- support the functional roles that are commensurate with their profiles, and
- ensure that their competency levels are not being underutilized

Marketing Perspective

Now for the part that relates to the Blog :)
With a new segment emerging, rather identified, what can the marketers do? Definitely, there would be social capital involved, but keeping that aside for the moment, what and how can we market to this segment?

While thinking about the Marketing Mix, the product/services must have the one or more of the following attributes –
- “Support Function”
- Stress Buster
- Trustworthy
- Helping hand
- Emotive Appeal
- Empathizer

These are a few critical points I could think of.
What about Advertisements? Should they be humorous, acting as a stress buster, or should they have an emotional flavor, acting as an Empathizer?

If you take the humor line, you essentially break the droning schedules and stressful lifestyle of the women, and lure them into your offering. Such a communication ensures a high brand recall. The Brand Association in such a case is with the “Humor” attribute and not with the “Benefits”
Such a communication needs to be leveraged further to a direct campaign, or experimentation exercise, to convince the customer of your offering. Without this step, your brand would be popular, but the popularity would not be translated into sales.

On the other hand, if you take the emotive route, you connect instantly with the consumer. She can relate the Ad to herself, and empathize with the role play. The question is … how convincingly you communicate the solution? It is a riskier proposition, since in this case, you step in the consumer’s territory, and if you come out of it without offering a solution, you run a risk of being shot down. Design a communication, wherein once you connect, extend it to a solution pattern using the attributes above – “Trust” primarily and support it with testimonials. There is little room for the experimentation stage, but more for endorsements.

In a way, both the approaches have their pros and cons. Depending upon your communication, and the take-away you would like the consumers to have, one can pick the appropriate line.

Disclaimer: These are my personal thoughts, and do not relate to any campaigns or strategies :)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Generational Divide

A Concept that gets confusing sometimes. Here is something I would take as the benchmark from now on. These are the details collated from various sources, and something that is significant for most of the Marketers who base their strategies based on this generational divide.
Following are the generations, based on their birth years as well

Generation

Birth Years

Lost1883-1900
GI1901-1926
Silent1927-1945
Baby Boomers1946-1964
Gen X1965-1981
Gen Y1980-1999
Millenial1982-Current

Though different websites claim different timelines, based on the maximum number of websites that talk the same language, I chose this division, as it is accepted by quite a lot of groups worldwide.

The Generational Imperative classifies the people of America in 5 Generations and talks about their habits and tastes.

Similarly, Life Course Associates has different articles based on these generations.
In fact, they have added 2 more variations to the generations –

Generation Jones --> 1954-1965
Baby Busters --> 1958-1968


Worldwide, this is a base used for a lot of marketing decisions, as each generation has unique values, attitudes, behavioral patterns, tastes and preferences.
Each one needs to be tapped individually, in a separate manner.

The specifics and the peculiarities I would discuss in more detail in another entry. For now, let me stick to the “definitions”!

Friday, August 19, 2005

FDI Confidence Index Rankings 2004

According to Business Standard (15th August’05), AT Kearney has come out with the rankings of 2004 for countries in terms of FDI preferences.

The order goes like this –
- China
- US
- India
- UK
- Germany
- France
- Australia
- Hong Kong
- Italy
- Japan
- Russia

These FDI Confidence Index Rankings are based on an annual survey of CEOs, CFOs, and other top notch professionals in the Global top 1000 Companies, and is carried out by the Global Business Policy council of AT Kearney.

As for India, it moved from 6th place to 3rd place, as compared to its standing last year. More importantly, the Gap between US and India has also reduced significantly.
According to the survey, China’s Index was 2.03; US was 1.45 and India 1.4
Thus, there is not much of a gap between the 2 countries. This fact has been endorsed by US, which has identified India as the new "economic star", along with China.

Another part of the survey talks about the Mergers and Acquisitions in the world, a factor taken into account in gauging the movement of the economy in the business environment. If a country has a high growth in Mergers and Acquisitions, it indicates that the market holds a high potential for growth and has a lot of business opportunity to offer, resulting in aggressive pitching by the stakeholders. Of course, when there is so much being offered, everyone would like to have a larger share of the pie!
Incidentally, In terms of the growth in this sector, India has the 2nd highest growth after Japan. With the FDI ease in the real estate sector, more M&As are expected in the coming year. Apart from Real Estate, other potential sectors being seen as potentially “susceptible” to M&As are – Oil and Gas, IT, HealthCare, Pharma and Travel/Tourism.

But, still there are certain attributes we need to look into, more closely. Business Standard has identified 3 key factors to ensure global competitiveness –
- Bureaucracy
- Political stability
- Maintaining the low-cost advantage.

With competition extending beyond the sub-continent, India cannot harp on its low-cost advantage for long. The South-Asian countries (especially Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore) as well as China are fast-emerging as good alternatives. It is only a matter of exploring these options for the Investors sooner or later. Unless India has something tangible to offer, apart from low-cost, sustaining the growth would be difficult.

Looking ahead, certain key areas where we either have a stronghold, or have a “potential” stronghold, need to be developed further. These sectors are the IT Sector, BPO, R&D and Knowledge Management Activities. India still leads in most of these areas, and has a competitive advantage with respect to its location, competencies, cost, processes and quality deliverables.
As each one of these factors is critical to our growth, we need to reinforce each of them, and capitalize on them in the volatile global business environment.

But for now, the Confidence Levels look promising!
From an “Economics” perspective (for the more ‘qualified’, it is NOT Economic ..), in a Free Market Economy, it is an ideal condition that the buyer as well as the seller are smiling :) ..
I am not sure of the “Ideal”ness, but yes, the Smiles are there for sure :-D

** For more Details on the report, Click Here. The Report is available online !**

Monday, August 15, 2005

|P+| ~ Issue*7

Happy Independence Day!

It has been a long time since the last issue. I didn’t want to compromise on the questions, so did not post a few I had already in the kitty. Here is a fresh set of this week’s business dose. Should wet your appetite!

Earlier he was a salesman for Aga cookers, today his guidelines are “The Golden Rules” of a particular industry. Who is he?
(David Oglivy)

In which US city do you find Coca-Cola Museum?
(LasVegas)

Which company was co-founded by Jack Smith at Firepower systems, a US based software company?
(Hotmail, along with Sabeer Bhatia)

What does BMW stand for?
(It stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, or Bavarian Motor Works)
More details are available at this link

Sweden-based Wimco owns which popular match Brand in India?
(Homelight)

What are “Missionary”, “Enchiladas”, “Heatwave”, “Malted” and “Blue Ice” ?
(Barbie Dolls)

Dr. Winston O Boogie is better known to the world as whom?
(John Lennon)

This company was originally called Badische anilin & Soda-fabrik. What is it better known as today?
(BASF)
It was founded in Mannheim, Germany, by jeweler Fredrick Englehorn, in 1861.

Vivek Paul was earlier associated with Wipro, from where he resigned with a few colleagues. Which firm would you associate with, now?
(Texas Pacific Group)
Recently, He was in the news when Raman Roy of Spectramind resigned. It is believed that both of them would venture into KPOs – including equity research, insurance processing, Market Research and Track records. Along with Raman Roy, the Head-HR of Spectramind, Raja Vardarajan, Sunil Rawal – Head-Quality and Upendra Singh – VP Operations also resigned. The resignations did not come as a surprise, since it was an anticipated move. The Primary reasons cited are
(a) the lock-in period of the equity they held in the organization ended on 30th June
(b) Redundant Functions were being streamlined
(c) Since it was an anticipated exit, a second line of leadership was being prepared alongside.


Which organization regulates any unlisted company in India?
(The Department of Company Affairs (DCA))

Air-India is venturing into Cargo Business after a gap of 9 years. It is starting with the lease of 175 tonnes of weekly belly space from a private operator on the India-Germany and Kerala-Gulf sector. What is the name of the operator?
(Falcon)

Dalda and Brown & Polson are 2 brands that have been phased out/divested by HLL in recent time. Who owns these brands now?
(Dalda - global agribusiness major Bunge
Brown & Polson – International Best Foods Ltd)
Details: Click Here

It is India’s first Aircraft Fractional Ownership Company, and has launched operations in the country with a fleet of 5 Cessna Business jets having a seating capacity of 7-8 passengers.
What is the name of the Company?
(Club One Air)
The corresponding press release can be found at this link
The Company plans to add 30 more jets by the end of 2006.
Fractional Ownership means different individuals would have complete ownership of the jets at different times, during which they would incur the operational and maintenance expenses of the aircraft, apart from one-time fixed charges.

In a recent survey conducted by CNBC Awaaz and ORG-MARG, the brand preferences of the consumers were taken in different Categories. Which Brand is Preferred in the “Readymade Garment” category?
(Lee)

In the same survey, which company figured as the Most preferred Brand as the “Employer”?
(Tata Group)

In its latest Marketing Campaign, this bank is offering Credit Cards for Life, with no annual charges at all. It would also stop charging its existing 35 Lakh customers, except the ones tied up with Air Deccan and King Fisher Airlines. The Purpose of this entire exercise is to increase the Market Penetration and get the consumers to spend. Which Bank is being referred to?
(ICICI Bank)
It outperformed Citibank in Jan’05 to become the number 1 Card Issuer in the country, and is the largest private sector Bank. Its next competitor, Citibank has a 27 lakh customer base. The Total Market of Credit Cards is of 1.4 Crore cards.
ICICI was the Preferred Brand in the survey mentioned above in the “Credit Cards”, “Housing Loan” and “Auto Loan” Categories.

DNA(Daily News and Analysis) is a new Daily Newspaper recently launched as joint venture between 2 giant Media Houses. Who are they?
(Zee and Dainik Bhaskar groups)

This one is simple. Which Company has the Ad Campaign as “Go On. Be a Tiger”
(Accenture)
Have a look at the Advertising Campaign
And further an insight into the Print Ads released so far
A nice Collection!

This company was started in 1946 by 2 brothers – Ambrogio and Egidio. Which Company is this?
(Perfetti)
In 1946, the brothers Ambrogio and Egidio Perfetti founded the Perfetti Dolcificio Lombardo in Lainate, near Milan

Yahoo INC is in discussions with acquiring a 35% stake in China’s second-largest e-commerce operator, Alibaba.com
Who is the largest operator?
(Baidu.com)

As for the P-Ad this week, there are 2 Ads. One of them is from my favorite - Amul, with Amir - The Taste of India :-). It is based on his latest movie - Mangal Pandey.
The other Ad is an International One by Pampers. Guess the Ad explains it all :-)
Have a Look ..

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Barriers to Creativity

A few days back, I had done a book review on “How to be creative” that covered the “attributes” of creativity – what essentially constitutes creativity, and how do rake the creative cells in us?
Now that we have decided to be creative, there are definitely going to be roadblocks on the way.
There could be tangible blocks in terms of constraints and restrictions in our lifestyle and the work cycle, or intangibles that block our subconscious mind, that pose to be bottlenecks in our thinking in creative or unconventional ways.

There are certain Mindsets that need to be changed, certain perspectives that need to be redone, certain perceptions that need to fine-tuned…

I had a session on Creativity and Innovation in my organization a few months back. There were 7 such barriers listed to us, based on a questionnaire that was given to assess and evaluate the degree of each of these barriers to creativity in each one of us.

They were:
- Allergy to Ambiguity
- Conformity
- Fear of Failure
- Touchiness
- Resource Myopia
- Rigidity
- Starved Sensibilities and Stereotyping

These are the naming conventions that the trainer supplied to us – Mr. Ram Kumar of IIM Ahemadabad.
These are the blocks that one needs to delve into, and introspect the aspect he/she has to work upon.