Monday, April 7, 2014

Interview with D Shivakumar, PepsiCo CEO

Recently had an opportunity to listen to him at a conference and would rate him very high on his understanding of the Indian market. In the conference he spoke more about telecom  market where he has substantial experience.

In this interview he shares his view on the foods business, lots of food for thought....

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Summer Brands

With Summer setting in many marketers are rolling up their sleeves for the hot summer sales which will follow, most excited would be the Ice cream , Soft drink and AC marketers.....

Yesterday was in a typical kirana store buying the monthly regulars, interestingly the small shop is exactly on top of a larger EasyDay shop...but more on that later..

In the shop I saw the packs of Rasna ready-to-make drink, and suddenly started feeling nostalgic on how central the brand use to 25-30 years back in terms of the summer experience. The presence of the Rasna bottle in the monthly purchase bag would trigger a long elaborate process of preparing the drink, sugar + powder + concentrate (in a separate small bottle) and transferring the same into large glass bottles would mark the start of serious summer.
While I was still ruminating, my three old daughter coolly picked-up a bottle of Fanata and did not even look at the Rasna boxes… In today's world full of aerated drinks and instant drinks (sugar added) the excitement around older brands like Rasna is missing....

But from a branding perspective one does feel that the brand still has a lot of potential (not sure with the right target segment though..)

The brands which I very closely associate with summers would be Kelvinator ,  Target, Chacha Chowdry . …

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Review – The wave Rider By Ajit Balakrishnan

Just finished the book so thought will write a quick review…

The author is the founder and CEO of I think most of us ( meaning my age group) would have had a rediff mail account at some point.

A short book, around 160 pages leaving out the notes, and quite well written, where the author makes an attempt at mapping out the IT revolution. The name of the book itself is interesting and somewhere an acknowledgement by the author that the rise of was the fact of being at the right place at the right time…

The book is a part history of and part author’s commentary on the rise of the internet. This is both the strength and weakness of the book, weakness because I picked-up the book or rather bought it online in the hope of knowing more about rediff, but felt let down, but then there are many nuggets of insights which the author shares on his perspective on the growth of internet and information technology.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Product Innovation for Indian Markets - LG Evercool Refrigerator

Wanted to share this ad many months back,when I first saw the ad...

Another example of Innovation for Indian consumers. For most of the tier-II city residents in the country this feature "Longest Cooling During Power Cut" makes a lot of sense...  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Emergence of New Product Categories in Grocery

Normally we assume that in grocery as a category one would not see many new categories emerge, but for the last couple of years or slightly more one can see at least 4-5 new categories emerge and become high growth categories..

The new categories are,


Olive oil

Frozen food (the likes of smiles….)

There seems to be two strong reasons for the emergence of these categories, one is the increasing health consciousness among the Indian consumers and second is the increasing presence of organized retail. The first factor heavily influences three out of the four categories, but the organized retail  impacts all the four, because for many of them some handholding is required which is easier in the organized retail domain rather the dominant mom-n-pop stores….

May be the category of energy drinks can also be added to the list….

Friday, September 13, 2013

Converting Brands into Verbs the Marketers Dream....

This post is triggered by the new ads of Flipkart, which end with "Ab sirf shopping nahi, Flipkart Karo" Wanting a brand to represent a category and becoming generic is at one level, most of us would say zerox karo even though it is a cannon photocopier. It works in the company's favour when the category is nascent, as the online shopping world is today, but then what would happen later when one flipkarts a book from a Taking into the next level is to push the brand to become a verb, Internationally Fedex the letter kind of things… Despite the possible negatives in the future, it is a marketers dream to become generic for the category and even become a verb... Some other companies which have been trying to do this is Cadbury's with " kuch meetha ho jaye" or "Shubh Aarambh", “Tanda Matlab” Coca Cola Campaign some time back.......

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Brands and Consumers

We have been talking about how control of a brand has moved away from the marketer closer to the consumer. For a marketer this can be quite disconcerting, but this can also be seen as a window of opportunity and this post is about that opportunity. First to start with the negatives, the loss of control means that not everything that the consumer does with your product or writes about is something which is as per the instructions on the box or as the marketer would want it to be. For example most of the companies have their face book fan pages and a cursory visit to some of them would point out that not all what is being written about your product/service is positive. On the flipkart facebook page, I can see a lot of very specific complaints about poor product or poor service. How is this an opportunity? One can ignore these complaints saying that they are probably a few disgruntled customer making unnecessary noise, or show your responsiveness by trying to resolve the issue in the open. Each complaint resolved would add to the credibility of the firm. On the same lines, what happens when a product is being used for purposes other than it is meant to be, the legendary use of washing machines in Punjab to make Lassis kind of situations. Consumer finds innovative uses for your product, which may or may not help your brand. I read a very interesting piece recently on how consumer are experimenting with use of Oats in typical Indian dishes. The opportunity lies in using insights from consumers or create a forum where they could probably share their recipes and the company could also go ahead and come up with new product ideas based on some of these ideas.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Where are the poster boys of Indian growth story?

When we spoke about the Indian growth story, mobile and cars were the poster boys...(apart from IT of course) every month we would quote the number of new mobile users being added and that we were the fastest growing mobile market in the world. Now with the slowdown and perhaps in a category like mobile the growth will not come from new subscribers. More about the mobile story in another post some time the focus is one falling car sales…

I had written blog posts every time the sales of cars would hit a new high, (raining cars in India) so thought it was but appropriate to write about the first fall in car sales in a decade (Car sales crash first time in 10 years). The reasons for the fall in the sales include the increasing fuel prices, expectation that prices would fall, and of course the negative mindset that the consumers have got into.

My take on the sales in the car market is that, the conditions which were driving the sales of car for the last ten years have not changed much, lack of public transport, the status symbol associated with owing a four-wheeler, increased choice for the consumer. Only thing which is not working in the consumers favor is the ever increasing fuel cost but that many of us realize is part of the reality. We typically take the extremes while reacting to either a slow down or a growth, something similar to which happens in a stock market, market is at its peak, one finds small investor rushing into the market and when the market is at its lowest the small investors are typically found busy selling...

The auto market and the growth is there to stay, this a just small blip in the sales chart.

And in the meantime it might be best of times to buy a car, best deals possible are currently on offer..

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Desi Brands in the Smartphone Sphere

The mobile phone market seems to be again on fire, with the players who had initially missed the bus, in terms of the shift to the smartphone making most of the noise. Today Nokia is seriously looking at making a comeback with its Lumia Series and even blackberry is trying its best. For a market observer this a pattern which keeps repeating, the market leaders sticking to their old way of doing things and more nimble competitor identifying the next shift early and capitalizing on it.

The more interesting part is what is happening with the Local brands of the likes of Micromax, Karbonn and others. These Desi Brands had an initial dream run in the value segment, with companies like Micromax becoming overnight success stories and started being counted among the world's top 10-15 handset manufacturer. Again expected, that the local players would fill up the gaps in the lower end of the market…

But when the shift occurred and consumer started moving towards smartphones, with their own app ecosystems in place, many expected the local players to roll over and die, because the smart phone domain is expected to be more technology driven and not a price-only but feature rich market place. And this did apparently happen for atleast a couple of year with not much noise or activity from their end. But they have made their comeback (for more read,, with Micromax in the second position in the market and Karbonn in the fifth place. I find this both interesting as well as heartening that these firms have been able to make a comeback, as they are supposedly the ones who are able to customize more...

I think the learning is that a value conscious segment exist in all markets, especially in the Indian market.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Auto rickshaw in Bangalore

I think many of you when you see the title of the post will start-off with a lot of bad experiences with auto drivers in Bangalore. Many years back I use to feel that Chennai auto guys were the worst , but in the last few years the Bangalore fellows seem to have caught up with them. But this post is not about a bad experience, for a change it is about a good one !!!!!

A few months back when I was travelling I came across this auto driver (in the photo) who had a small TV installed inside the auto, meant for the passengers. He would switch it on as soon as you get on and also engage in explaining the fact that he had put it for the passengers and ensure that you enjoy the experience. Now people like these auto drivers are an exception than a rule, but then some of these kind are also around and we tend to ignore them. I thought I should do my bit by sharing my positive experience...

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