Posts tagged ‘Communication’

Digital Marketing for the ‘Old World’ Marketer

Digital marketing is where the action is at, and if you’re a skeptic, and still struggling to catch up with CTR, SMM, Open rates, and all the rest; the world seems to be busy telling you that you’re lost.  Some thoughts to put digital marketing in perspective, and help keep you in the game:

 

Digital marketing is a misnomer

It’s many wonderful things, but not marketing. Marketing is the 4P’s, 7P’s, or creation of the value chain from producer to consumer (of product/service ), or whichever definition of marketing floats your boat.  ‘Digital marketing’ on the other hand is a tool of communication and engagement.  It’s a “How” (one of many) to communicate “What” you want to say to your target audience.  That actually sounds like…

 

Advertising

“A rose by any other name…” The great bard tells us that a thing remains what it is, irrespective of how one may choose to label it. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a…  And all of you know what makes great advertising – insight into your consumer’s behavior and attitudes, clarity of your objective, how the consumer should feel, a bit of serendipity, and so on.  Digital marketing is exactly the same.  If you’re selling airline tickets to global citizens, smart alec tweets about who won a FIFA World Cup game which are viewed by millions, but annoy a few thousand (potential) customers is poor advertising – as KLM quickly realized.  No matter how much your digital agency will jabber on about engagement levels, viral videos, ‘likes’, or “how the digital audience is different”; the essence of what makes great advertising will remain.

 

“Lies, damned lies and statistics”

The inherent nature of the digital world means everything is made of numbers (queue the scene from “The Matrix” when Neo discovers his true ‘power’). And so the new age digital marketer will bury you in reams of numbers – CPV, CTR, CPA, session time, funnel %, and on and on; and build them into beautiful decks with wonderful graphs.  Don’t let them stop there, and ask what do the numbers mean – how are consumers reacting; understand, why are they doing that?  Be careful that the data is consistent, and not cherry picked, lest Mr. Disraeli rise from the grave and lecture you.  And always remember, don’t derive qualitative answers from quantitative data or vice-versa

 

Watch your spend

You don’t spend without thought and analysis on television or print or radio, why is digital marketing any different?

 

Don’t be afraid

One huge advantage ( or nightmare, depending on your POV ) of the digital world is how fast things can be changed, and how quickly the past can be wiped clean ( at an ordinary, superficial level ) – so use that and experiment !

  • Sujay Naik

( Note : This post was originally published by Sujay Naik on linkedin and is being reproduced here with his permission.)

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July 30, 2015 at 7:33 am 3 comments

From No-No to Yes-Yes

 

NanoTwist

I’m generally indifferent to cars and know them only as a system with four wheels, steering and seating that get me from point A to point B with minimum effort on my part; yet I’m eagerly awaiting the launch of the Tata Nano GenX. The journey of the Nano has such interesting twists and turns that it rivals a Bollywood potboiler, and as a student of marketing, I really want to see how Team Nano manages the tough task of making consumers warm up to the Nano Gen X. ( I’m hoping it succeeds and wishing the Nano Best of Luck, by the way). Meanwhile, in the run-up to the launch (until I have fodder for another post, that is), here’s the story of the Nano thus far :

Phase I: The people’s car The 1 lakh car

Launched in 2009, the Tata Nano was supposed to be ‘a people’s car’, the savior of the Indian middle class family which relied on a scooter or bike to transport all four members, offering them a safer and more comfortable alternative. To ensure affordability, the initial price was brought down to as low as Rs. 1 lakh per car through frugal innovation. Watch this ad to get a taste of what this brand was supposed to stand for and the role it was expected to play.

However, most of the hype around the car was focused on its cheap price and it became known as ‘The 1 lakh car’. For the middle class, both urban and rural, owning a car is a matter of pride and self-esteem. So, rather than gladly discovering that this fantastic upgrade from a two-wheeler actually had a reasonable price, Nano’s portrayed image put the product in the situation of being viewed as a compromise , not an upgrade.  “Ek prestige view se thodi down hai,” as one respondent expressed it during a transportation related research a few years ago, while another respondent termed it ‘the No-no’. Dangers of letting a low price be the defining feature of your offering!

Mr. Ratan Tata gives a crisp explanation in this article , “I always felt the Nano should have been marketed towards the owner of a two-wheeler because it was conceived to give people who rode on two-wheeler an all-weather, safe form of transportation, not (the) cheapest,” Tata said. “It became termed as the cheapest car by the public, and [also] I’m sorry to say, by the company when it was being marketed,” he added.

Another problem that the Nano faced was that of high expectations from those who did see it as an end to their transportation woes. During the same transportation related research mentioned earlier, we also found that the same Indian family that would uncomplainingly seat four people on a scooter or bike and balance their shopping bags too, somehow morphed into a demanding set that wanted adequate boot space in their car to keep luggage – just in case they had to drop a relative to the station.

The performance problems with the initial batch of cars did nothing to boost Nano’s image either. Soon after the cars hit the road came reports of some of them catching fire, which was seen as an indicator of low quality and a lack of reliability. While only a few such issues were reported, we’ve found that some people still mention these spontaneously when the Nano is mentioned.

Phase II:

Here’s where the change begins and the marketing team begins explicitly targeting a different TG –  young professionals in urban centers ; you can click on the links here  , here and here to view the ads and see for yourself  the distinct change in tone and style of ads from the earlier people’s car ads. By now, the no-frills car also had some add-ons such as the ‘best – in –class A.C.’ mentioned in the print ad shown below.

nano pic 3

 

Phase III :  Launch of Nano Twist – from ‘cheap car’ to ‘smart city car’

This is when an attempt was made to radically alter the Nano’s positioning in order to make it appeal to the new TG of urban professionals. The ‘you’re awesome’ campaign targeted  young urban folk and tried to showcase to them the new stylish Nano – new colours, better interiors, a car that could seat a couple of friends , a fun n’ smart car to hang out with. Did it work? I recall discussing this campaign and its effectiveness with a young colleague early last year and she felt that it was having some impact, two of her friends had noticed the ad and actually purchased the Nano Twist. Multiple news reports also mention that the customer profile for the Nano had indeed changed over the years, a heartening sign – the proportion of Nano buyers in the 24 -34 years age bracket had expanded to 40 percent, from the earlier 15 to 18 per cent.  Another interesting change happening in the Nano script is the growing base of women. Today, they account for 28 per cent of its customers, a substantial jump from 12 per cent in the earlier ‘people’s car’ phase.

That’s only part of the story though; take a look at the sales data for the rest – as per this article, in the April – December period of ’14-’15, Nano only sold 13,333 units, down 18.64% from the same period of ’13-’14.  

What could have limited the impact of such a high decibel campaign? NanoTwistWell, one reason could simply be that the impact of the initial launch advertising and PR campaign in ’08-’09 was so strong that the ‘cheap car’ story could only be over-written over the long haul , and it’s not a task that one ad alone could shoulder. Another could be that while the ‘You’re Awesome’ campaign did have a smarter , more stylish feel to it, there was no over-arching product story communicated about how the Twist was better than the earlier version of the Nano, neither about how it was better suited to city travel than other cars. While some shots in the ad did imply easy maneuverability, it was not explicit enough, and got overshadowed by the messaging on style and aesthetics ; the ‘smart city car’ benefits were explicitly mentioned only in print ads. When a repositioning as drastic as this one is being attempted, consumers probably need to hear that the car has improved significantly too.    

Phase IV: Launch of the Nano Gen Xnano pic 2

And thus to the eagerly awaited launch of the Tata Nano Gen X later this month! Now clearly aiming for the ‘smart city car’ tag, the Gen X has a host of improved features, see details here here and here

But has the 2013 campaign succeeded in erasing memories of the 1 lakh car launched in 2009? Will the Nano get to make a fresh start? Only time will tell…  

 

  • Zenobia Driver

May 14, 2015 at 10:57 am 8 comments

Segmentation in the apparel e-tailing space

Segmentation in apparel e-commerce brands - one comparative pic A friend who recently purchased some kurtas online made a chance remark about how only certain sites stocked the kind of kurtas that she was looking for and this set me looking through the catalogs of various e-commerce sites.

As the apparel e-tailing space in India has grown and evolved, various brands are consciously segmenting their audience (basis demographic variables, occasion of use etc.) and targeting specific segments ; this is evident from the conversations on their facebook pages, their ads, and of course, the offerings in their online catalogues. Even within a particular type of apparel – for instance, women’s ethnic wear, the styles, colours and prints of salwar-kameez sets or kurtis varies, as do the ages and the demeanour of the models in the pics.

 Zohraa - pic Segmentation in apparel e-commerce brands For instance, consider the salwar-kameez collection of Utsav Fashion and Zohraa. In the case of Utsav Fashions, which started off as an offline store and switched to the online model only when they realised that a significant percentage of their business was coming from NRIs abroad, it is not surprising that the focus is on occasion wear. On the other hand, Zohraa, a relatively young firm whose site started operations during the second half of 2012, recognised the opportunity to differentiate itself in a crowded online market-place and consciously decided to focus on occasion – wear, or as their website expresses it, ‘….. our collection of elegant and opulent occasion wear…. that reflects the sensibilities of the royal wardrobes of the past, while ensuring that the cut and the drape are modern, comfortable and practical for the woman of today.’   

Then consider Jabong, which started operations in January 2012 and is targeting a younger, more westernised demographic. Their youthful and light-hearted – even sometimes irreverent – attitude is displayed in the ‘fashion nikla mann fisla’ series of ads (links to the ads here, here and here). To match this, even the collection of women’s ethnic wear at Jabong is far younger, more casual and breezy, witness the difference between this set of pics and the earlier ones.  

jabong piclime road 

             

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the other hand, Suchi Mukherjee’s Lime Road, which also started in 2012 seems to be targeting a different demographic and a different usage occasion. Lime Road’s stated identity is as a social commerce site targeted at the modern woman. It seems to carry colours, prints and styles that are just perfect for the young working woman, and sits neatly in the space between Jabong’s breezy casual style and the occasion wear offered by Zohraa and Utsav Fashion.  

If you’ve noticed this in other sectors of the online apparel market, do write us a comment. Meanwhile, we’re looking at other types of apparel and accessories too, and will post on this topic again if something catches our attention.

  • Zenobia

August 28, 2014 at 11:05 am 6 comments

Marketing to the Super rich

In the penultimate post in this three part series, we gained insight into the spending habits of the super-rich and were able to outline a few trends or patterns which could help marketers targeting this segment in reaching out to the people who matter. It is important to understand the peculiarities in the consumer psyche in this segment in order to effectively develop any marketing strategies targeting them. In this post, we shall look at some of the current trends in luxury marketing and also see exactly how brands are striking profitable conversations with the super-rich.

 

Mobile

Mobile is the hottest trend in luxury marketing today. A report by Fidelity Investments suggests 85% of millionaires use text messaging, smart phone applications and social media. Luxury marketers are creating highly customized and engaging experiences for their customers through smartphone and table apps, QR codes and mobile marketing in general.

Mobile marketing is particularly relevant for time-starved, on-the-move global citizens who may not have the time to visit physical stores or when they do, to check on the entire product range the brand has to offer. It is also a boon for those residing in smaller cities and towns, who have the means but not the access to luxury brands in their neighborhoods.

Luxury brands have been taking the mobile platform very seriously and many have launched mobile applications for smart phones and tablet devices. Fashion retailer Nordstrom for example offers a highly functional iPad application that allows users to explore their collection through a virtual dressing room. It also allows users to share the looks they create with their friends and check for the nearest store the clothes they have chosen are available at. Customers can also read other users’ reviews and also have fashion oriented conversations with other fans of the brand. It’s a lot of fun.

And it’s not just fashion, super luxury auto maker Rolls Royce also updated its iPad app for its Phantom and Ghost cars to allow owners and aspiring users to customize and personalize the Rolls Royce Phantom on their iPads. Swarovski allows women to browse their collection and recommend pieces to friends. Bloomingdale’s Big Brown Bag App allows users to find additional information as well as offers and promotions in store. It also allows them to scan bar codes and stay updated about in store events. In India, DIESEL designed an interactive installation (essentially, a 42” multi touch screen) in their stores that allowed users to mix and match styles and share them with their friends, in addition to helping users browse popular looks chosen by DIESEL stylists.

car pic for post

 

Thus, having a thriving and welcoming mobile marketing campaign is fast becoming a necessity in the luxury space. Marketers cannot afford to miss the bus as many fast movers are surging ahead on this platform.

 

Social

Social is another buzzword trending amongst luxury marketers for a while now. Affluent people are forming interest clubs with other affluent people online as they have done offline for years and purchase decisions are being driven by online recommendations and reviews from peers. In addition, people are consuming increasing amounts of content online and social is now one of the best ways to propagate branded content.

Burberry, the British brand has revived its flagging fortunes by running an effective social media campaign that helped the brand connect to its customers directly and showcase its products independently of the ‘chav’ image it had built offline. Burberry and their famous checks had developed an image as one of the most faked brands in Britain, and these fakes were routinely worn by violent football fans and street hooligans. This meant death for Burberry as a luxury brand, until they hired a new creative director who put the checks back on the inside of the clothes and focused almost entirely on their higher end products. Burberry has driven this change using online media and technology to connect directly with their customers as a brand and reassuring them of their lineage and focus.

One social media disaster however, has been Abercrombie & Fitch, the American cult brand famous for their casual wear range. They were the target of a social media campaign which asked users to post videos of them donating their A&F clothes to the homeless and the deprived, in protest of the A&F CEO saying his clothes were meant to be worn by attractive and fit people, and not by “fat people”. The protest has been a PR disaster for A&F and CEO Mike has had to issue a public apology for the same. This incident showcases the importance of effective online reputation management.

Brands like Victoria’s Secret and BMW on the other hand have used social media brilliantly by giving the medium the respect it deserves. Victoria’s secret runs promotions and offers discounts specifically for their fans, in addition to creating content specifically for social media. It has become the most talked about fashion brand on social media today and is definitely the most engaging. BMW made a series of brand movies with top Hollywood directors recently and released them to users only through their social pages. Such innovative strategies are required to get people talking about your brands today.

The best part about the social medium is that it allows customers to be a part of a global brand movement and get updates straight from the source. Customers thus become ambassadors of the brand and generate buzz in their private localized communities. DIESEL, for example has the highest number of fans on its global facebook page from India in spite of having global content and imagery with very little localization.

 

Events/ Causes

Events and causes have long been important to luxury marketers as a means to offer affluent people a chance to be part of their brand stories, a trend started by Tiffany’s more than a century ago. Today however, customers seek to be part of brand stories that are personalized and unique, in addition to being authentic and engaging. “The importance of experiential marketing is rising. It’s more than product- It’s about storytelling,” according to Jean-Marc Belliachi, Sr. Partner and global leader of BCG’s luxury, fashion and beauty practice.

Rolls Royce has played this game well. They gained access to high net worth customers through an event in Britain where they hosted select customers, prospective high net worth customers, special guests and media at their March Motor Works showroom in London over a weekend. The showroom was refashioned to be a 1960s dealership for the event complete with vintage signage, memorabilia, a large 1960s style safe and even showroom managers dressed in 1960s style suits and bowties. Scottish whiskey major John Walker & Sons is inviting its guests in the Asia Pacific onboard a yacht to partake in activities that explore the history of the brand, in addition to being a showcase event for their triple malt label “John Walker & Sons Odyssey.”

pic of ship

 

In India, the mobile and social platforms are yet to develop as much as they have in the west and events are still the medium of choice among luxury marketers. Ermenegildo Zegna did an event recently where they hosted a private art show at an art gallery in Mumbai for select guests and media. DIESEL launched its India store with a massive “Fake Party” which celebrated the many fakes the brand has spawned in the country, clearly in tune with its ironic positioning. The guest list however, was limited to a few select customers, brand partners and influencers. Roberto Cavalli (pictured below), Kenneth Cole and Renzo Rosso have all been in attendance at launch events for their brands in the country, indicating their seriousness in this regard.

event pic

In addition to this, the use of technology for innovations in Out of Home advertising, Print and Direct mail is also a big trend. Augmented reality is no longer in the realm of science fiction and the lines between offline and online are blurring fast. 3D printing has been a boon for customization and phone companies have started customizing phones for those willing to pay a premium.

We hope you liked our exploration into the lives of the 1%.  Do leave us a line in the comments if you have any specific opinion about the same.

  • Rahul Sharma

January 6, 2014 at 9:24 am Leave a comment

Zapped by Zappos !

Zappos logo

I first heard of Zappos from a colleague that attended a seminar on Social Media Marketing a few years ago. At that seminar, they were one of the examples mentioned – the ones that got it right, not the other variety of example. Zappos is known for selling premium shoes ; that’s the product category they began with though they’ve now expanded to many others. While that’s the primary product they sell, they figured out early that the benefit to women buying premium shoes is the boost it gives their confidence. So they used Facebook to identify themselves with that benefit, not just with the product they were selling – their Fb page spoke about female confidence and boosting this through corporate dressing, apt make-up for work, etc. and shoes were just a small part of it.

Heard of them again recently from another colleague who’d just moved back to the U.S. This time it was their amazing customer service that impressed both of us; this is a company that actually lives up to the ‘powered by service’ tag-line.

Prior to a hiking holiday, the colleague and her husband had bought hiking shoes on Zappos, but realised on delivery that the shoes didn’t fit. They needed to return two pairs of shoes and the Zappos team erroneously mailed them only one return label. So the couple rang the call centre and explained the problem to the rep – since they were travelling soon they didn’t even have time to select another pair on the site and have them delivered, and hence it had to be a return, not an exchange. As I said earlier, this company actually lives up to their promise of good service, the problem was promptly resolved.

But after that, in contrast to a usual call centre’s robotic “thank you for shopping with us. We hope you choose our services again” dialogue, the friendly Zappos rep asked the couple where they were headed and chatted about the trip, the national parks they were visiting etc. When he found out that they were landing in Vegas before driving to the Grand Canyon, he actually invited them to drop by and visit the Zappos factory which is in Vegas – a gesture that totally wowed them and made them Zappos loyalists for luife.

This article mentions some of the reasons that Zappos reps are so different from typical call centre reps. Some excerpts below :

Most companies who rely on phone centres to do business have time limits – they want their staff to process a certain number of calls per hour. But not Zappos – they field over 5,000 phone calls per day, and there no time limits.

 

As CEO Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay) says, they actually want to talk to their customers. He believes the telephone is one of the best branding devices out there. The way he looks at it, you have your customer’s undivided attention for 5 or 10 minutes – and what smart marketer doesn’t want that??

He also firmly maintains that every phone call is an opportunity to WOW their customers.

 

If an item is out of stock, Zappos staff will search out three other competitor’s websites and direct customers there. Even though they will lose that sale. But there is a reason they do that: They are not trying to maximize the transaction, they’re trying to build a lifelong relationship. 

For more on Zappos customer service, you can also read this article.

  • Zenobia Driver

With inputs from Roshni Jhaveri and Gunjan Bhatia

June 5, 2013 at 4:18 pm Leave a comment

Flipkart’s apparel ads – mixed reactions

We’d commented on the Flipkart ‘No Kidding, No Worries’ series of ads in this post in 2011. To summarise – we unequivocally liked those ads and thought that they used the techniques of kids in adult situations well to make their point with warmth and humour.

However, we have mixed opinions on the next two series of ads.

Some of us felt that the second series of ads – ‘Shopping ka naya address’ (see ads here, here and here) felt a bit dull without the tinge of humour that rounded off the ‘No Kidding’ series so well. However, the third and current series of ads for Flipkart’s apparel range (see the ads here, here and here) seems to have tapped into that vein of humour again, albeit inconsistently. These ads used the juxtaposition of a traditional / formal mode of dressing vs. a modern and funky one rather well, especially in the Carnatic music ad which is the cutest of the lot. That ad definitely breaks through the clutter, it makes you smile and notice that flipkart’s now talking about apparel.

Others among us felt that this this series stretched the technique of using kids too far. The ‘No kidding’ series used kids well to address the trust issue that worried consumers when shopping on the internet and to make the point of ease of shopping; even the first few ads of the ‘shopping ka naya address’ series were more or less addressing the trust issue of e-commerce and the kids bought this out dramatically.

However, the format fell flat the moment they moved from addressing issues and benefits where the use of kids was relevant to making the point to just using the kids as a cute technique.

We haven’t been able to reach a consensus on these ads yet. What’s your opinion, on which side do you weigh in – do drop us a comment and let us know.

  • Escape Velocity Team and Friends

May 27, 2013 at 7:33 am 2 comments

Updates – on brand bloopers, gold and vitamin water

What more could you ask for in terms of variety, eh ? Well, let’s dive right into our topics.

Brand bloopers

In Feb this year, we’d mentioned how we felt that a Gillette campaign seemed to be milking a tragedy in India while ostensibly trying to express a higher moral position. And in March, this post commented on the Ford Figo ads that caused such outrage at the time. The post pointed out that something posted publicly on the internet can be replicated in a very short amount of time, and once something is out it’s impossible to contain it. Brands are now being built in real time, but they can unravel just as quickly, especially if they respond / communicate inappropriately in times of social or national tragedy.

Frank Eliason, Director Global Social Media at Citi, gives a real-time example of how quickly social media shines the spotlight on any online fumbles that a brand makes. The article includes pics of the ridiculous tweets from Epicurious, an online mag for foodies, after the Boston tragedy.

This post by David Armano – Managing Director of Edelman Digital – has a simple but useful checklist for how to handle branded content online during sensitive times. Even if you didn’t click on the other links given in this post, suggest that you click on this one and read David Armano’s post.

 

Some attitudes towards Gold as an investment

This article in today’s paper reminded me of some posts we’d run late last year; in those, we’d written about the dilemma faced by Mahesh, a friend’s driver who wanted to invest his meagre savings wisely (see posts here and here).

In our earlier posts, we’d written about many commonly held beliefs and attitudes – for instance, like many others, Mahesh believed that gold prices only went up and it was a good hedge against inflation. Within the options in gold, he’d rather invest in gold jewellery than gold coins; in his words, “I will buy gold coins once I’ve bought enough jewelry; kuchh pehenne ke liye bhi hona chahiye naa (there should be something to wear too)”.

Other interesting facets of these beliefs relate to gold and loans. A lot of Mahesh’ friends and neighbours were against buying gold jewellery on EMI schemes and would much rather buy whatever they could afford to with their annual savings; after all, “Yeh tho udhaar hua, aur Lakshmi ko udhaar ke paison ke sahaare ghar kaise laa sakte hain (this is like a loan, and how can we bring Lakshmi – the Goddess of wealth – home on borrowed money)”.

And since this gold jewellery is associated with Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, and it is a symbol of the household’s prosperity and status, pawning it is absolutely the last option; though firms such as Mannapuram Gold Loans, Muthoot etc. have gone some distance towards removing that stigma and making the transaction reliable and transparent.

Vitamin water – Danone B’lue’s National launch

In Dec 2011, we’d blogged about seeing Danone B’lue banners all over Pune. This month, we noticed in news articles that B’lue has now been launched nationally. With the launch, this beverage opens a new segment in the Indian Ready to drink beverage segment. Tarun Arora, Country Head, Danone-Narang Beverages said that B’lue was launched as a pilot in Pune followed by a soft launch in Mumbai, and that the beverage was very well accepted in the market.

Will be interesting to watch how the brand fares, and whether the vitamin water market becomes a viable niche in the Indian beverages market.

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Zenobia Driver

April 18, 2013 at 9:23 am 2 comments

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