Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Some of the Award Winning Indian Print Ads

Creativity in Advertising:

Marketers are always confused on what is it that will make their advertising campaign successful; many companies just shell out their marketing budget on getting a celebrity face on their advertisements, many others follow what market leaders have done (even in advertising..! – remember every telecom player coming with their own jingle after the success of Airtel’s jingle), some use animations/cartoons (like ICICI, even this was replicated by Bank of Baroda, Vodafone has superbly leveraged on its zoozoo’s – although it wasn’t complete animation), some use a particular messaging theme and build ads on those (remember bingo chips with their involvement of ‘fun n humor’ element in their ads, similarly by Virgin mobiles), and the remaining use “Out-of-the box” – simple yet affective Creative Advertisements. These are path-breaking advertisements which define the quintessence component on how a proper blend of creativity, focused messaging and simplicity can make an effective impact on the audience.

Advertising in the Print form is yet more difficult for the marketer to convey his message in a limited space. Use of a celebrity “May be” effectual, but always have a short-term impact. This medium can create immense impact; if used cautiously. Most of the times people just skip print ads (basically due to the clutter), and even if people notice the ad – they tend to forget it very easily. Marketers hence try to innovate in this space and sometimes come out with extremely innovative advertisements. Let’s have a look on some of these:
Title: Save girl child

Title: Encourage Adoption
Headline: Adopt. You never know who you'll bring home

Title: Parenting is by example
Headline: Children learn fast. Don't fight at home.

Title: Stop Racism
Headline: Defend human rights against racial discrimination

These ads stand as perfect examples of ingenious and imaginative ads; it proves how one can create a cost-effective yet inspiring ad...!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Off lately I have been reading a lot about parasitic marketing otherwise known as ambushing. ‘Ambush marketing is a form of marketing in which a group takes advantage of an event (that is usually highly publicized, documented, and seen by many) but with no affiliation with the event and no fee is paid’. The most recent example was in FIFA world cup where a few women wearing orange dresses were detained on charges of ambush marketing as there outfits were sponsored by the leading Dutch beer brand Bavaria, although they bear no logo. The brand Budweiser being the official sponsor of FIFA saw it as a ambushing as the color orange was associated with Bavaria.
What FIFA saw as 'a marketing ambush': women in orange dresses at the Holland v Denmark World Cup game on Monday. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images

Now anyone who would read the above definition would have a negative opinion on ambush marketing and might think only small players do this to gain attention but even bigger players like Nike have been accused of ambushing in FIFA this year. Research shows that people are associating Nike more than Adidas who is the official sponsor of FIFA.

But the question here is what Bavaria did is it ambushing? A few girls came in orange dresses, they didn’t mean any harm to the official beer Budweiser, neither had they used their logo nor did they promote the brand Bavaria. If the sponsors have some privileges they do enjoy it, but what’s wrong when all other companies see these world’s largest events as opportunities. If they try to get a bit of the thematic space or the share of mind what wrong in that. It’s not an offense until they don’t violate the rules of the event or the rights of sponsors like using the logos of the event on their products.

An official sponsor can buy the marketing space but not the consumers mind. The thematic space of the consumers has its own right to select whichever brand it likes and associate it with the event. It’s totally absurd to ban products from entering into the event area, be it the t-shirts or aerated drinks of the competitors. The sponsors have whole lot of space to use and they should utilize it wisely to associate with the event rather than stopping the competitors’. If I like Pepsi and I am looking forward to enjoy the game with a can of Pepsi rather than Coke (official sponsor) then I should be allowed to do so. Just by stopping me this one day will not make me change my perception about Coke.

Hence ambushing is ethical until they follow the rules and don’t directly harm the official sponsor. It’s all about how the sponsor utilizes the opportunity of being associated with the event and the way it differentiates itself as the official sponsor.

-Summu Saif

Monday, June 28, 2010

Disrupting the Innovations of Polaroid

Months back, I had presented on Polaroid – Its Innovations, Transitions and at last Bankruptcy.  This topic personally interested me as I was always a big fan of Polaroid cameras and took this presentation as an opportunity to dig more about Polaroid and its history. And I gotta say I wasn’t disappointed at all. This case put light on very crucial factors that account for organizations success/failure. Polaroid stands out as an excellent example of how even an iconic company such as Polaroid can be in shambles when strategies are not planned and executed well.

Let’s look at Polaroid’s profile – It was founded by the legendary Edwin H Land in the year 1937. Polaroid was renowned for its instant film cameras and through the time had garnered millions of admirers worldwide. It was a “technology marvel” and was much ahead of its time in terms of idea and innovation. Edwin Land had created a corporation that was an envy of any tech business man and put Polaroid at a position that was not only difficult but impossible to compete in terms of technology and expertise. Just imagine, Edwin himself had more than 500 patents to his name and re-defined that way instant photography businesses ran. He’s the only CEO-inventor to have maximum number of patents (535 patents) to his name. He later resigned in the 1980’s. Later Polaroid leveraged on the innovations it had created till then; they even recognized and developed the digital photography technology right during the 1980’s, but unfortunately couldn’t put that into use. And in 2001, they declared Bankruptcy.

It was a complete shock when Polaroid declared Bankruptcy in 2001. Analysts were completely stunned on how a company which was once invincible had to taste failure..! The primary reason cited was Polaroid’s inability to venture in digital photography business, unreal business model and excessive focus into technology. This was also referred to the concept of “Disruptive Innovation”, defined by Clay Christensen who had termed it as: ‘game-changing technologies and strategies that put entrenched and dated business models out to pasture.’ Yes, disruptive innovation to an extent was a reason of Polaroid’s fall; but I would blame the inability of Polaroid’s Marketers to successfully market and propagate its path-breaking technologies. I thus named the heading of the blog post – “disrupting the Innovations of Polaroid”.

This phenomenon refers to as “Marketing Myopia”. Polaroid had grown too ignorant to move out of its Instant Photography business and look for other viable and emerging opportunities. Polaroid had completely succumbed to its Razor-Blade business model, i.e. they believed in making profits by selling films. This worked well for Polaroid and it made all innovations in bringing better films and then reaping benefit on it. Although Polaroid had stepped their foot on Digital Photography technology; they didn’t leverage on it thinking it as an unviable business proposition. This short-sightedness of Polaroid’s vision costed them very dearly. Although they knew that innovations did matter; but forgot that innovating according to the market requirements is the key to sustainability and success in a long term. They just limited themselves to Instant Photography business and curbed all their strategies to “think out of the box”.

Polaroid’s marketers misinterpreted Digital Imaging as ‘technological challenge’ rather than ‘market challenge’. And that was their biggest mistake. Similar mistakes have been done by many companies who lost their ever revered status due to their inability to respond to market changes. Even the likes of Sony who developed the cult ‘walkman’ series had to fall in the music player market, as they couldn’t recognize the rise of mp3 music format and Apple swept away the music player market with the launch of their revolutionary i-pod. Similarly electronics giants have to keep themselves up to mark by upgrading to evolving technologies from time to time (be it changing from CRT displays to LED displays, from bulky devices to ‘nanotechnology’ devices, from mainframes to equally powerful mobile computing, from pagers to mobile telephony). According to me a disruptive innovation can also be an idea. Just imagine our face-to-face meeting with our friends has been to an extent replaced by social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace, etc… this will also affect the telephony business. In times we’ll see the replacement of paper notebooks with electronic notebooks (paper books are already being substituted with e-books!), even our own Tata Nano can be taken as an example of Disruptive Innovation – this will lead a new way to the development of cost-effective, mileage-friendly cars throughout the world.

Interesting presentation on Polaroid:   

Friday, June 25, 2010

Nissan Micra with Macro plans

Understanding the dynamics of Indian Auto Market

Nissan recently launched its small car Micra into the Indian Market. Nissan like any other auto manufacturer expects to gain from this segment of auto space. But, the question that arises here is, Has Nissan done enough to succeed in the Indian auto market? Will the brand “Nissan” prove to be a winner?

Indian Auto Sector is utterly unpredictable. Even after lot of research, many auto manufacturers fail to make an impact. Take Mercedes-Benz as an example. It gained the advantage of early entry into the Indian market and was the market leader in the luxury car space; but BMW faltered Benz’s position in just half the time. BMW overtook Benz as the market leader. The segment now has extreme competition with products form Volkswagen (Passat, Phaeton), Audi (A & Q series), Nissan (Teana), and others… The liking of Indian public is very impulsive and has become very difficult to figure it out.

This makes it very difficult for auto manufacturers to make out what its customers want. Just imagine Honda shipping Sarees to Japan…! No, it’s not to promote Indian culture, but used by Honda’s R&D center so that women can enter and exit the car with ease. Now lot of manufacturers are providing a set of special safety features considering the extreme Indian conditions (be it Road or Driving!). In some days we’ll see that ABS and Airbags will be a standard package in the car. The Indian versions of International cars already have a greater wheelbase.

Nissan has said to understand the uniqueness of Indian Market and has thus launched Micra. It has started aggressive promotions and is getting good initial response. But the huge competition in this segment is worrying Nissan, as this is a very important bet; that is if they succeed they will be playing in numbers and instantly get recognition in this market, which in turn will allow them to leverage their other models. If failed; they would have to start from scratch making it extremely difficult for them to expand and meet their targets.

Let’s look at the competition. Maruti Swift is the segment stalwart. But, many auto makers have experimented and tasted success. Chevrolet Beat, Ford Figo, Volkswagen Polo, Maruti Ritz, Hyundai i10 & i20, Fiat Punto – all have their loyal followers and are doing good in the market. It’s the competition of space and price; i.e. who’ll prove to provide the best value – be it in terms of Luxury, Space, Mileage and Price. Nissan is not a well known brand in India; hence it’s very challenging to persuade the customers to buy its product. And less Service Center numbers will add to Nissan’s woes. Even Fiat had to partner with Tata to promise a better service delivery. Chevrolet’s Beat is selling in great numbers as Chevrolet has improved its Service in last 5 years and is also leveraging on the confidence it got after successfully selling Spark in the small car segment.

Nissan has also roped in Ranbir Kapoor to represent the brand. The explanation to this being the mass appeal and uber cool charm of his. The ads have already hit the television screens and have gathered mix responses. Nissan is aggressively promoting its luxury features (keyless entry and start); a feature found on luxury cars where you can keep the key fob in your pocket and press a button to start the car. But on the larger side of the picture I feel; Nissan Micra won’t be able to break the ice in the Indian market for Nissan. And along with just a dozen dealers Nissan wouldn’t be able to fit in the demand of the Indian Customers. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Leverage - A double edged sword

Leverage – all of us know what it means. It means a kind of influence or a pull. In finance, leverage refers to the debt a company takes in order to make its financing decisions. Taking debt may help the firms to get a tax shield. This would reduce the tax burden of the company and increase the Return on Equity. When leveraged, there is an advantage of enhancing shareholders’ wealth.

At the times of a recession, lower debt levels save the company. In prosperous times, the debt free companies can grow even more without the need for constant debt servicing. Therefore, all shrewd companies borrow in boom, make profits, set aside a part of their profits and repay the loans within 5 -6 years.

While making a financial decision, a firm needs to decide over aspects like how much capital will be required, how much debt has to be raised, what the nature of borrowings is and what would be the future projection of the cash flows. The nature of debt could be short term or long term, through debentures or Financial Institutions, within country or through FCCBs, from public or from banks.

Some of the companies like software companies like Infosys, Oracle are debt free companies; depending only on equity for their operations. Since such companies are cash rich, they do not have to raise funds from the market.  The advantage of being a ‘zero debt’ company is that; only the owners’ money is in the business. The firm does not have any obligation to pay off to any outsiders. Zero or low leverage keeps the company’s interest costs down and gives the flexibility of investing its cash back into the business for expansion or development of new products and services.  But the disadvantage for such companies would be that they would be termed as passive on expansion; therefore would be left out on growth rates when the environment turns bullish.

But there are companies like Tata Motors which heavily depend on debt for their operations. They launch the SPVs (Special Purpose Vehicles) which mainly aid a merger/acquisition/expansion decision. The SPV is nothing but a legal entity under the parent company; formed for the sole purpose of fulfilling specific and temporary goals. An SPV is created to cut off the firm from financial risk.
For example: In the $2.3 billion Tata – JLR deal, Tata Motors launched an SPV where Tata Sons and Tata Motors pumped in some equity and the remaining was raised as debt from the public. This benefited the company to acquire JLR. But how much successful was the deal is a matter of question.

The Tatas did a similar thing in the Tata-Corus deal as well. They acquired Corus for $12.1 billion. This acquisition was routed through Tata Steel, UK (an SPV). The group’s holding company, Tata Sons pumped in $4.1 billion as equity into the SPV. The balance $8 billion was raised by junk bonds and senior term loans. This definitely helped them to expand their operations in Europe. The debts are being paid off from the profits made out of the deal.
In case of the Tata Group, a similar mechanism was used for the Tetley buy in 2000.

So in short, debt is not all that bad; provided it is monitored and serviced periodically. Or else the companies may enter into something called a debt trap. This trap is no different from a normal trap. Here the company already has a huge debt and takes loan again to cover the 1st debt. Such continuous practice of taking loan to service a loan is termed as a debt trap. This makes the company financially inept; which is not a good sign for the growth of the company. Hence debt can be either a boon or a bane; depending upon the way the companies handles it. 

Monday, June 21, 2010


Flash back: A classroom scene a year ago in one of the most beautiful management schools in Bangalore. Five minutes prior to a session on Integrated Marketing Communications. Two friends (group mates too) are working on an assignment - creating an ad for a product. The idea was the boy’s and the girl has contributed towards its implementation. In a lighter sense they start arguing as to who has contributed more and whose respective contribution was more important than the other. The girl is in favor of importance of idea implementation and the boy can be seen prophesying about great ideas. They have a long series exchange of words to prove each other’s point but soon it is ceased due to the entry of their professor into the class. During the attendance the boy takes out a paper which read ‘Brand Equity’ and starts flipping through its pages. He is smiling at the left corner of the second page of the paper. Curious, the girl peeps into the paper and her eyes fall on the article on a debate about the importance of Idea and its implementation, the article inclines towards the importance of implementing an idea. The girl jumps with joy as her point was proved by the article. Laughing and teasing each other they break for lunch and move out of the class room, towards the food court.

Today when I have completed my course; I sit back with nostalgia and a series of events pass by in my mind. The girl in the above incident was me and my friend here was ‘Ravi’. This incident captured my attention and I started evaluating the topic of argument again.

No doubt ideas are important be it running a government, cooking, fashion, products, poetry or anything else. The world sustains on ideas, companies sustain on newer ideas hence ideas are something which keeps the world moving. But an idea just remains an abstract thought if there are no resources, be it financial, material or human. Right execution of the idea gives an identity to the abstract thought and concrete evidence is created for the people to appreciate the idea.

But it’s a common scene where people categorize ideas into great, mediocre and poor. A film fails to work on the box office and the blame directly goes to bad idea conception. Now what makes an idea great, mediocre or poor? – It’s the right implementation. Anything if implemented well is always applauded.

An idea can never be great or poor. An idea is an idea after all, it’s categorized into great or poor based on its feasibility, relevance in that particular society or industry, and the resources for its implementation.
Take for instance, Levi’s ventured into executive wear but retained the brand name and it failed, as the audience/consumers had prior associations with the brand Levi’s as ‘rugged’ which went exactly opposite the executive attitude. Venturing into executive segment was an idea but was poorly implemented hence it was regarded as a bad one. If they had come with another brand name and had a different branding strategy then it would be a great idea.

Hence implementation makes an idea poor or great because an idea is after all an idea!

-Summu Saif

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Social Media Marketing is like Teen Sex..!

This was what I’d read in some article some days ago and yes, social media has grown leaps and bounds to reach a stage where it’s now. But as the title says; it’s irresistible for organizations not to use social media marketing, but at the same time it has to be very careful and consented effort to make it a success. Social Media provides an effectual and cost effective platform for companies to connect to its customers and thus start the CONVERSATION. Although of its use and effectiveness it’s very dangerous if not carried out with suitable planning.

Let’s understand the pattern of use of Internet at an Individual level. I myself spend an average of 10 hours/day using Internet. Internet has become an indispensable part of my daily activity and lot of my work is dependent on it. The similar is true for lot of other people; be it students, professionals or any other person - internet now claims a major percentage of their time. So, where do Social Media and Internet Marketing stand here? Hmmm, I’ll just jot down my average time spending on internet –
i.                     An average of 100 Google searches a day (minimum)
ii.                   Half an hour on LinkedIn
iii.                  More than an hour on Facebook
iv.                 Almost 1-2 hrs on Blogging/related sites
v.                   Half hour on Skype
vi.                 Approximately an hour on my mail accounts- Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail… etc
vii.                Half hour on news sites, entertainment sites, etc…

Internet and Social Media has easily replaced other mediums such as Television and Radio in many cases. Just imagine people can track real – life drama on Facebook, rather than daily TV sops. A friend of mine told that the primary reason of her spending on Facebook was to know the latest Breakups, the whereabouts, and just know who’s doing what…! And that’s as simple as it sounds; hence it has emerged as a major communication platform and allows you to search your friends who have not been in your contact for long.  In LinkedIn’s case many people have joined to just network with people and find better job and career opportunities online.

Just have a look @ some videos about Social Media - on its impact and evolution:

So, what does all these hoolah mean to marketers? It’s an OCEAN of opportunities if utilized well. After seeing the videos you would have realized by now that consumers prefer companies who have their profile in Social Community Networks. Recently even Indian Postal Service opened their Facebook account and has got instant attention of its users – who are LOVING it. Any queries, comments or discussions could be initiated there and; it’s quick and easy..!

If you are the marketing manager of a company and given the task of managing the brand then these should be the steps to consider –
Before venturing into the social media world, join communities and start talking about your company. Meet with your manager to learn the guidelines/process and find out how you can help.
And make sure you are receiving approvals; update your social network profile with work-related content, not just personal memos. If you work at a B2C company, you can promote a new product. 

If you work at a B2B company, you can update your followers/customers on projects you're working on or about accolades you win. This way, you're helping draw more attention to your professional identity while you promote your company. The funny thing is that the more you accomplish at work, the more seriously people will take you when you engage in online communities outside of work.

View the following case to look how Social media altering role of brand managers:
“Dan Okpara had an urgent question for Coca Cola. He had consumed some Coca Cola but was keen to know the sugar content level in the beverage. He requested the company for an honest answer. Less than 45 minutes later, Coca Cola responded with the specific measurements of sugar in the drink. Okpara was relieved.
His is simply a case in point. Social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and Orkut are being increasingly used for promotional activities that engage audiences for a certain activity in an effort to create a buzz and get feedback from the community. However, it is also being used by disgruntled customers to air their greviances, drastically altering the traditional role of brand managers.”

As trends emerge, many companies have formed their own Digital Brand/Marketing Teams that uses social media sites to its advantage. “Today’s brand manager’s job is like that of an air controller. He has to handle above the line, below the line as well as social media activities to navigate a brand. As a result, today a brand manager is far more important in an organisation.”, quotes Hareesh Tibrewala, Joint CEO of Social Wavelength.

Many companies in India, meanwhile, have yet to make their presence felt online. Social media marketing relies more on listening than broadcasting for good reason: Broadcasting doesn’t have the same impact as traditional media channels, and listening helps us measure and adapt to become more relevant to consumers.  As mentioned by Jim Farley, “You can’t just say it; you have to get the people to say it to each other.” Rightly said Jim, motivating people to talk about is the biggest accomplishment one can get using Social Media, and that’s the key…!

Some very interesting presentations to educate you about social media & marketing:

Friday, June 18, 2010


The advertising sector is witnessing a boom in the current year with not so good performance in the previous. The growth anticipated this year is about 15% which brings on positive hope for all the ad firms in India. The market is favorable but the issue here is sustenance of the firms and the industry on a whole. Now the factor which makes the ad industry and the agencies keep going is CREATIVITY.

Good work keeps the firms moving with success. A decade ago India was never perceived as a creative destination but the recent surge in domestic creativity has made the world to change their perceptions. Below are a few examples of Indian creativity.

Title: Drive safely                                   Title: Chewing tobacco causes mouth cancer                                                                              

Creativity is the ability to create something new. There are two conflicting thoughts on this highly debatable word. There is one group which says it’s out of box thinking i.e. creating something which has nothing similar existing before. There is another opinion that creativity is improvising on something which already exists and hence coming out with a new thing. The battle is between these two schools of thoughts has no ending to it.

Majority of the work is inspired by something so can it be grouped under improvisation. For instance, the first print ad above shows a speedometer like stitches connected with speed and road accidents. We can say it’s more of improvisation rather than totally new. But the thinker has to be applauded for visualizing a speedometer with the stitches. In the second ad, death & cancer are associated with tobacco and the idea of not showing the face should be well appreciated. This is a clear example of creating something totally new. But both the ads are immensely creative.

Hence creativity is not about improvisation or out of box thinking; it’s all about ideas that click all of a sudden. The ideas are spontaneous, instant and not time bound. These ideas are the helm of the advertising industry and the agencies and until they continue to generate great ideas no one can stop the industry to move on. Creativity is the ability to create something new, but the ability is all about generating IDEAS!!
-Summu Saif

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Who’ll win the FIFA World Cup 2010 – Nike or Adidas ?

I’m back with a post on FIFA…! Its just very difficult to resist the temptation to write on Football; because its FIFA everywhere. We just keep discussing it all the time – be it Spain losing to Switzerland or South Africa’s whitewash; it’s the talk of the town. The Vuvuzelas have created quite a stir. People spend the whole day betting on their favorite teams. I’m searching for the jersey of my preferred footballer (Torres) and keep engaging on fights with people who are against my favorite teams.

This is the catch. This event is a great opportunity to Marketers. It’s the best time when you can engage your customers and create a significant impact. The word will automatically spread and thus the awareness of your brand. Anything unique you create will be given the honor and admiration it deserves. Companies just flood their money into the advertisements as they know that the audience is massive and they don’t want to lose on this occasion.

The same can be said about Nike and Adidas. The FIFA World Cup is just not only about superstars like Messi, Torres, Klose, Ronaldo or Drogba. It’s also about Adidas versus Nike. These are the two of the most Hottest Sports Brands around the globe. These two brands have outpaced and outclassed the other brands like Puma, Umbro and Reebok (now taken over by Adidas). But perhaps these two brands are too ‘Big’ for each other. Hence the title of this post gets this name.

This year’s world cup will be one of the biggest sporting events. While the international numbers for this edition of the World Cup are expected to be several billions, in India alone, it is expected that over 110 million people will tune in. Hence, both the companies are leaving nothing unturned in its efforts to knock off each other.  Adidas alone has spent $200 million on its World Cup sponsorship.

Efforts by Adidas:
  •  Creation of some of the most advanced football products the world has seen – Jabulani
  •  The lightest Adidas ever — the F50 adiZero (especially for World Cup)
  •  The 3-Stripes will be worn by 12 of the 32 teams

In India Adidas has also launched the second season of the Adidas FIFA Fair Play Flag Bearer contest. After the success of the 2006 initiative in India, it successfully conducted another hunt for footballers of the next generation. The on-ground event was conducted in three cities. Kids were chosen on the basis of a ‘Lightening Speed’ test which tested skill, ball control and shooting accuracy. The six kids who finished the test fastest were chosen. This is an once-in-a-lifetime experience for six kids from India who will carry the FIFA Fair Play flag onto the pitch before the start of the Portugal and North Korea match.

Nike on the other side has also been very aggressive on its front. It has done everything on earth to make this an event to remember. Nike has introduced cutting edge football products that include the CTR 360, T 90 Laser III and just a few days ago the Mercurial Vapour SuperFly II and the National Team Kits to be worn by several teams in South Africa. It is trying its level best to make World Cup 2010 a landmark in Nike’s history.  Just recently Nike released an advertising video which brings together some of the world’s greatest players to inspire football lovers and sports fans around the world. The three-minute “Write the Future” film takes people on a journey that dramatically captures that one moment where headlines are written from a single pass, or one strike that can bring a nation eternal happiness, while bringing others to their knees. Special guest cameos have been made by tennis legend Roger Federer and basketball superstar Kobe Bryant.

For India Nike has launched India Football page on Facebook which has garnered over 105,000 fans since March 2010. Nike India’s out of home campaign that began in early June is focused at today’s youth who are technologically advanced. The recent years have seen the gap between the two closes down rapidly and that's why the situation's heating up between the two. Their rivalry has started to reflect in their marketing and ads (it sounds like Coca-Cola and Pepsi).May the best one WIN!!! 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Women Entrepreneurs: Face of Emerging India

Indian Women were stereotyped to be very homely, unaggressive, introverts and incompetent to face the corporate world. India was vilified with reports of violence on women, female foeticides and unequal treatment to women. This cruel behavior was imparted right from the moment a girl was born. Lower education rates for female children still inhibited their aspiration to prosper. Earlier, majority of the women used to handle household work and feared stepping out in the outer world. This perception had been built over centuries that women are meant to handle the family and the male member of the house is responsible for earning.

Times changed, and so did perceptions. Indians were influenced by Western culture; and started adopting their ideologies. It was like the Indian women were waiting for an opportunity to prove themselves. And I gotta say that they did it successfully..! They have started to even dominate some of the areas. Take our education system for example; girls have consistently fared better than boys. Even in the corporate sector, girls are believed to be more hard-working and dedicated in their field. With the changing trend; girls are even supporting the whole family’s livelihood with their income. They have proved that they are no less than the males in comparison; be it work, performance or achievements and in any sector – corporate, sports or let’s say politics…!

I recently read an article where an Indian Lady Entrepreneur was lauded for her entrepreneurial venture by the US President Mr. Obama. The excerpts from the article is as such –
“Prachee Devadas, moved to U.S. to turn her entrepreneurial dreams into reality. There she successfully set up a technology services company that has grown from 1 to 120 employees. In a bid to inspire the upcoming entrepreneurs U.S. President Obama has met the small business entrepreneurs at White House and there he lauded this successful Indian woman entrepreneur for her success.”
In the above case Prachee – the entrepreneur employs her husband Anand Devadas (He’s the Vice President in Prachee’s venture). This wouldn’t have been a reality 10-20 years back. Now, these ladies are re-defining the ways how business is done…!

This post is my salute to the Indian Women Entrepreneurs who have stood against the flow and have proved that they too can drive businesses and achieve excellence in it. Entrepreneurship by itself isn’t an easy cup of coffee. It takes tremendous courage and remarkable effort to translate an idea into a business. And Indian Women seem to be perfected the art. J

Have a look on a list of famous Indian Women Entrepreneurs:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mahindra Satyam: Advertising at its best

Mahindra Satyam has done that no Indian software company has ever done – Advertising @ a Global level. I was flabbergasted to see its advertisements in the opening FIFA world cup matches. It took me to surprise that how can an Indian IT Company’s banner be present at this international sporting event..! I soon realized that Mahindra Satyam was driving FIFA World Cup's software network and has developed the event management solutions.

The approach is very unique and innovative. Till date IT companies used to lash out press releases, send e-mailer campaigns, provide a range of marketing collaterals (from case studies to whitepapers to brochures), use internet marketing and direct marketing efforts for their branding and awareness activities. Foremost IT companies such as Infosys, used campaigns such as Think Flat | Flat World initiatives; which were quiet successful. Even IBM’s campaign – “Make the planet smarter” worked fine.

But Mahindra Satyam completely overshadowed these with its out-of-the box advertising agenda. It had become extremely important for Mahindra Satyam to “RE-brand” itself and resurrect from the biggest scandal in the Indian Outsourcing Industry. A RENAMED Mahindra Satyam had to re-build trust and confidence in the firm. And I got to praise its Marketers’ efforts; they’ve hit the nail @ the right spot. World Cup football is one of the world’s most followed Sporting Event; and has tremendous viewer base in European and American continents. This proves to be immensely vital, as most of the customers belong to these regions.

Lets track the Branding activities of Mahindra Satyam:

1.  A Television Commercial…..!

2. A microsite - along with links to its BLOG, White paper and Case Study.

3. Online advertising campaign along with an offer to win a free ticket to the event.

4. Free Publicity through news releases and media. Ex:

5. Extensive use of Social Media to propagate its feat – Ex: Tweet from Mr. C P Gurnani (CEO – Mahindra Satyam) – “Indeed proud moment to see Mahindra Satyam on TV as a sponsor and also as the ONLY Indian IT services provider for FIFA. “

6. Innumerable eyeballs watching the mega sporting event – Advertise @ the event.

Mahindra Satyam is one of the eight World Cup sponsors and the only one from India. It joins hands with seven other firms -- America's Budweiser, Castrol, Continental and McDonald's, South Africa's MTN and South Korea's Yingli Solar -- as sponsors. Mahindra Satyam BRAND will thus get a major boost through this world cup. I hence admit that I was extremely pleased to see the ingenious marketing effort of Mahindra Satyam and Kudos to them. I hope we rock the world with similar efforts in the future.
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