When you can be Impatient, Why Be Patient?
By Harish Bijoor
Youth and trends? That’s really an oxymoron, dear moron!
And that starting sentence of mine, in-the-eye, in-the-face, and in the gut, is really the way they talk. “Hey Dog” is a loving appellation. A side hug that follows, that could get your shoulder dislocated due to impact strength, is a way of bonding with you and telling you we are one. We come from the same generation, and we are headed to the same hell as well.
The young in this country are difficult to understand. Youth and trends are words that don’t necessarily go together. The youth as a category and genre defies trends. The moment something sets in and looks like a seeming trend, the category moves its cheese and chips and Coke. Trend is for the old. The young believe in change. Change that is forever, and discontinuous. And discontinuous trend is really not a trend. Difficult thing to track with method, science and meaning as well. Those who believe they are trend-spotters, who have arrived, live in a fool’s paradise. The trend you write about is as old as the day it was written. It is jaded now, and there is something new around today. Let’s wake up and smell the young sweat.
Since trends are difficult to track, and once having been tracked, have this yen to change, there is a great way of keeping in touch with the youth and what they do, what they wear, what they speak, what they eat and what they drink and how they party. Just watch them at it. Track them. Track them without them knowing you are tracking them. Catch them in their natural surroundings. By the way this is not their home, their school, their college or their spanking new entry-level offices. Instead, it is the third-place where they are letting their hair down. Catch them in their gyms, the beauty-parlors, the Cafes, the pubs, the discs and more. It is here that they are themselves. Catch them as well on twitter and Face Book. Catch them on Tagged. Catch them with their pants down with their second and third digital handles that run as “HotArun” and “HawtGAWD” and “CoolKHIMCHI” and “KoolKHICHDI” alike. Catch them on sites you never thought guys and girls like them would ever be. The foot-prints you track today must be both physical and digital. And just as there are “physical third-places”, there are “digital third-places” where they hang out as well. And then when you have watched them 1:1 in myriad “third-place” locations, build that pen-picture of theirs. This will change in three months flat. Therefore, keep building those pen-pictures every month, month on month, and keep calibrating your mind, mood, language, tone and tenor of the youth at large. You just might be on the right track then.
This piece on youth trend is therefore not as much as telling you the trends as teaching you how to trend-track in today’s crazy youth world. Teach a man to fish, rather than give him a now-truly-dead Pomfret you caught this morning.
I do a fair bit of it. I use a lot of it in my strategy consulting assignments as I do donning my “Keynote speaker “avatar as well. On the whole, watching people do what they do, with science as your tool, analytics as your buddy, and consumer skills as your science, art and philosophy, one can go places.
If there is one seminal thought I want to give in this piece, it is the thought to say that this generation baffles us all marketers. I call this Gen. “The I-Gen.”. The Internet Generation? No! The Impatient Generation!
Impatience is the hallmark of the youth. Patience cycles have progressively become smaller and smaller. Today, patience is dead and is no longer a virtue. Impatience is the new virtue. The more impatient you are, the more of a ‘go-getter-youth’ you are. The idea is a simple one. When you can be Impatient, why be patient?
Impatience hits you in the face all around in the lives of the young. The youth is impatient with love. There are relationships on the front-burner, just as there is a parallel one on the back-burner. Multi-hob is the way to go. And in some cases there is love on the sleeve, there is love in the heart and there is love in the wallet as well.
Impatience looks large with its beady moist eyes in marriages that are on the rocks rather fast. There is impatience in sex and there is just no binding yourself tight within the confines of a marriage anymore. If sex is bad in the house, go to the Cafetaria and get it. And the Cafetaria is large and welcoming, with no strings attached. It is a veritable buffet on offer. Relationships start stretching at the seams a bit too fast.
Impatience is everywhere, and the salivating marketer is ready to cater to it. When you fracture your patella and rush to the hospital, there are two cures possible really. The patient one is to be in a cast for six weeks, and the impatient one is do what the doctor in the big hospital is recommending. Put in those nuts and bolts and be up and about in one week flat. The marketer here (in benign disguise) is the doctor recommending the high-priced quick-fix versus the low-priced plaster of Paris in blue. This is everywhere in every realm you tread in youth space. Pay the price and get the lost time back. Time is a big part of the currency game. We live with two currencies today: time and money. At times time is at a premium over money even.
There is impatience in the foods we eat, fast food versus regular food. Restaurants versus QSR’s. Quick-serve restaurants versus slow-serve restaurants, if you will. There is impatience in the yen to create wealth, just as there is impatience to spend it all. The bio-clock of the youth at large is ticking at a pace that seems much more frenetic than at any time in our marketing history to date. There seems to be very little time to live, might as well live it fast and furious. Fashion, lifestyle, entertainment and digital use is witnessing this impatience all around.
What then is the real problem at hand? It’s not what, it’s who? The marketers. Marketers In the country are an older lot. Marketers are much older than the people they market to. Marketers are good at the old marketing format: Patience Marketing. Marketers today are good at marketing to patient consumers. Impatience is a mindset they just do not understand well enough. Even if they do, there is lip-service done to it. There is also this dominant attitude and notion in the minds of older marketers (and by old I mean age 30 and above, ouch!), that this impatience is a fad, and it will pass as well.
Marketers need to learn and practice impatience then to market to the youth. Embrace impatience within your brand DNA. Pack impatience within your brand offering, and showcase it to the youth. Resonate with this impatience and be a part of it rather than be a part that criticizes it and passes value-judgments on it, just as an older person is bound to.
Re-check your ‘young quotient’ dear marketer, before you attempt to market to the youth effectively. When was the last time you hit a discotheque and grooved to the tune of Timber and Dubstep? And do you even know what we are talking about? Ouch!
Harish Bijoor is a brand-expert & CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.
MARKETING IN DIFFICULT TIMES
The Marketing Salmon
By Harish Bijoor
The price of Crude Oil has just inched a wee bit above the 143 USD mark even as I pen this piece. The latest numbers on inflation indicate an 11.05% figure, nudging very close to the 13% point of recurrence for the next few months. The price of everything in the market, from Onions to Oreos and Tomatoes to Tea, is up.
The consumer in the marketplace is just about feeling the pinch. The price of everything in her life is higher than it was. What’s worse? The stock market is down. Bad news everywhere then?
What does a marketer do in such a time? How does a marketer react to it all? How do his tactics change? And how does his marketing strategy at large alter? Does it? Should it? And what is ideal?
Let me attempt some answers, even as the marketer is going about pulling every trick out of the Pandora’s Box of marketing possibility. Some knee-jerk and others well thought.
Marketers in normal times are very intelligent beings. In tough times, some of us get rattled. Rattled by the consumer, rattled by the intermediary Trade at large, rattled by the Sales Team in the marketplace, and more often than not rattled by the demands of the bottom line of marketing profitability and intent.
While the marketer gets shaken and stirred from below and above equally, many marketers seem to take the route of least resistance and the route that is more obvious than obvious.
The clarion call in every marketing board room: Cut the advertising!
In the bargain, brands suffer. Sales volumes may not take an immediate impact with such quick knee-jerk moves, but brand image and everything a brand is and meant to represent in the medium to long term gets shaken a bit more than necessary.
Every commercial consumer society is a roller-coaster economy. There are times when the going is good and there are times when the going is bad, if not terrible.
There are times when the economy is clocking double digit growth rates. There are times when interest rates are on a downward spree. When consumer sentiment is gung-ho and up. When buying more and more is a passion. This is the marketer’s delight. Never mind what you market. Be it panty-hose or premium sedan.
And then there are tough times. Months and years when rising levels of inflation catch up on the halcyon days of prosperity. These are days when high costs and rising interest rates discourage buys. These are also times when consumers postpone purchases, spurring on recession.
The marketer is typically sitting on a hot tin roof. She needs to decide either way to ensure that her sales are not affected. What does she do?
There is a menu of options really. What must the marketer do? Discount his product to the trade to ensure higher stocking and therefore better displays? Offer discount to the consumer to create that much needed sale? Offer more of the product on offer to ensure that home-stocking goes up? Cut costs at the production end? Cut costs at the advertising and promotion expenditure level? Or cut out advertising altogether?
The menu is complex and the decisions tough. And no decision is really a solution on its own.
I do believe marketers need to think long-term when faced by pressures such as these. My mantra is clear. Do not discount your product at all. Take the temporary hit in volume, but avoid for sure the long-term hit on your brand image. Your brand image has been cobbled together over years of hard work. Don’t fritter it way at the door-step of temporary recession.
Recession is essentially a postponement of purchase, waiting for better times to dawn. Better times will dawn for sure as your live in a roller-coaster economy. Avoid taking the soft-option of discounting. The softest bullet to bite.
Offer instead a bit more of your product to the consumer. Offer that 200gm more of tea on his 500gm buy. Offer that bundled DVD offer with that Television set. Make it look like a combo-offer. Avoid looking like an overt discount. Consumers like added value. Combo offers live longer in the consumer home than the memory of your short-term Rs.5 discount on that pack of tea you sold in a hurry. And advertise all this in a big manner of impact.
Should a marketer cut on her advertising spends at all? Maybe a 20% cut?
Don’t! Difficult times come and go. Difficult times are the ones in which your product needs to be seen on the television set for sure. Remember, there is pressure on your brand at the level of the trade-channels that handle you. You need to support the channel for sure. The crutch of advertising needs to remain. But leverage it differently.
Your consumer needs positive strokes in an economy that is tanking. Your advertising creatives must be shaped sensitively to give out those positive strokes on your brand and its consumption. I do believe you need to have special sets of creatives that talk a different tone and tenor when the consumer’s chips are down in the market. Emotive advertising can help here a lot. Try it.
Print is a great medium to use, just as is Television. Use it strategically. Remember, one of the important roles of advertising is its ability to act as a balm on the brand you tout. A balm that actually helps the consumer go thorough his period of possible dissonance in participating in the buying mode of life.
One final thing to do. Reach out to the consumer 1:1. Give him more service. Give him more product. Give him emotive advertising that is time-relevant, rather than time-insensitive.
When there is affected consumer demand, remember, there is an affected consumer psyche behind it. Take care of that affected consumer psyche with sensitivity, and you will ride out this trough as well.
Advertising is a great ally to use. Use it intelligently.
The author is a brand and business-strategy specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc., with a presence in the markets of UK, Hong Kong, Dubai and the Indian sub-continent. Email: email@example.com
Recession Time Brand Mantras That Matter
By Harish Bijoor
In the kingdom of Protista (with cousins Flagellates, Algae and Parasite protists), of the Phylum Protozoa (single-celled organisms), of the social class Sarcodina, lies an Eukaryota (organisms with nucleated cells) called an Amoeba!
There is an amoeba in each one of us. And I am not talking of the one that got you running to the 'loo' every hour last week after that binge on exciting street food!
There is an amoeba in each one of us. An amoeba we keep hidden. An amoeba we seldom allow to flourish. An amoeba we marketing people seldom recognize in consumers. The consumer is an amoeba.
The word amoeba in itself is an excitingly real one. A word that comes from the Greek word “Amoibe” that very simply means change. The Amoeba is about change. All about this one celled blobby organism surrounded by a porous cell membrane through which it breathes. It is about this organism that is never in static form.
The Amoeba is all about this entity that has no one shape really. Try defining it in a picture, and possibly whatever shape you draw could be right. At some time or the other, the amoeba has been that………..or at some point of time or the other, the amoeba will be that!
These single celled organisms then, driven by their life mission to eat, defecate and reproduce (just as that of the human being at large) are controlled by a nucleus. The function of growth and the function of reproduction are largely controlled by this central nucleus.
The amoeba eats. By forming pseudopods and food vacuoles. The amoeba will surround a particle of food and put out its pseudopods. These will then fuse all around the food particle and lo and behold! The food vacuole has happened! The amoeba has commenced the process of eating! Its first life mission!
The amoeba will eject waste similarly, using the device of a contractile vacuole! Its second life mission is accomplished!
The amoeba will reproduce when the nucleus tell it to. The process is that much less exciting that what we human beings use. Alas! The poor amoeba reproduces asexually! By a process of Binary fission, where the cytoplasm, a jelly-like series of folded membranes that form part of its primary body, will divide. The nucleus will divide as well, by fission of the nucleus! And a new amoeba has happened! Mission three accomplished!
This exciting creature called an amoeba is all about change. And Heraclitus was right. The only permanent thing in our lives is change. There is nothing static around us. Everything changes. Every moment.
The human being on the other hand seems to find it difficult to believe and breathe this change. Despite physiology!
Human physiology tells us every moment of the day that we are changing, albeit slowly. The body itself is in a change mode all the time. The hair on your chest is growing if you are a man, and those tiny strands of hair on your upper lip are growing as well, dear lady! Growing every moment. Your cells are growing till you reach the ripe old age of 18 and your cells are dying every moment after that till you are totally and truly dead!
The lesson your body teaches you is simple. There is either growth or decay in the body. But there is nothing static. The body grows or decays and the mind grows and decays. There is nothing called a human being. All there is is the amoeba in our lives! Change!
Just as the body changes every moment, the mind is even faster in its change orientation. The human mind is possibly the most maverick of them all. No computer in the world has been invented which can replicate the process of thinking of the human mind. And even if that is possible, with the best of Artificial Intelligence robots being experimented with, no piece of dynamic software can match the pace of the changing terrain of mind space.
The mind changes its moods and decisions every nano second. Every new impulse is enough to get the mind onto an excitingly new track of thinking. You may do nothing about it physically, but you think exciting thoughts in your head that change all the time. The mind is all about change as well! Maybe change that is fifty times as robust as the change that the body goes though in our travail through life.
The mind and body is all about change then. The mind in particular is all about the amoeba! It is never static.
In a space that is not static at all, I worry a great deal on the way we manage brands in this world of ours.
Remember for a start that the brand is a thought. A thought that lives in the minds of consumers! In the dynamic and ever-changing minds of consumers!
Brand Managers the world over learn brand management in management schools that teach theory that is static at large. Peek keenly at the very concept of brand positioning. Brand positioning is defined as the exact pin-pointed position a brand occupies in the mind of a consumer! Very few definitions really add that line which says………at that point of time! Brand positioning can never be a static state theory. The consumer is just too dynamic for it.
Peek keenly at brand loyalty as a concept. When the only reality in markets is change, the only reality of a concept worth its weight of the paper it is written on is the theory of Brand Promiscuity. When there is so much change around, how can a static state concept like brand loyalty, live, thrive and flourish?
Brand Managers study static state theory and enter the real market. Here, they face consumers who are different animals altogether. They are completely single celled creatures called an Amoeba! All about complete change! All the time! Brand managers therefore do not succeed!
The environment is even more challenging today than it was in the early days of the last century when branding really took off. The very environment we live in is one that has seen catalysts of change coming in with every generation. Change catalysts such as the television for one, had consumers thinking on overdrive. Television as a medium encouraged the exploration of variety. More so, television bred promiscuity of every variety in brand choice.
The day we live in is all about the Internet. This is the day and age when eleven year olds are exposed to the lure of junk mail in their mailboxes. At times junk mail that lure them on to sites that offer sleaze of every variety. This is a generation that has promiscuity peering out of every pore. Loyalty is old hat stuff. The real world out there is about change. Loyalty is an anti-gravity force. A force put out there by artificial man in his quest to attain the status of a status quo society. But there is nothing status quo anymore! Life is about rapid change. And the internet offers variety and lure as never before!
The point then is that in a world of consumers where change is the only big mantra, how dare brand management practitioners practice their trade and craft with the tools of a static state consumer society taught to them by their Kotlers and Aakers and Ries and Trouts?
Its time we adopted a whole new framework to the concept of brand management itself. And this is amoebic branding! A branding format that encourages the brand manager to think as alive and keep pace with the pace that the consumers at large in the market place adopt. Remember, brands are managed by consumers in this new era! Not by brand managers!
The consumer is changing. And therefore brands must. Brands must give up their age-old views of sticking to static-sate theories that don’t work in the marketplace anymore. Brands must change and morph in their offerings just as fast as the dynamic mind of the consumer is moving.
Brands have focused far too long on the static state theories of yore. Time to think new. Time to morph the brand in every way. Time to keep pace and even outpace the thinking of the consumer at large. What the consumer thought yesterday is old hat and of no consequence. What he thinks today is important. What he will think tomorrow is even more important. Brands that are robust will be brands that scenario plan the mind of the consumer in every possible route. These are brands that will have multiple plans ready across multiple possibilities of routes the consumer might take tomorrow.
Amoebic branding is all about being ready. You never know where the next consumer pseudopod (false feet in amoebic terminology) will fall. You need to be prepared in every direction it may fall though. And that is proactive, wild, exciting and imaginative branding at play. This is the type for branding that will pay dividends to the company that runs brands for tomorrow.
Brand Managers worldwide have listened for far too long to theory that is read and taught at the best of Management Universities across the world. Branding unfortunately is a science, art and philosophy that swims in the mind space of consumers. And any science that swims here is a tough one to be learnt and taught in static state environments. If indeed it was that easy, every brand launched by a guy from Ivy League Institutes would be a whopping success for sure! Sadly it isn’t. The latest statistic tells us that for every 10 brand launches in the world, one succeeds, three are just about lingering on, five are stretcher cases, and one is dead! All in the space of 24 quick months!
There is a great degree of uncertainty in the realm of branding because the consumer is amoebic. The only way to battle an amoebic consumer is to adopt an amoebic form of branding as well.
Branding is just too rational a process today. The consumer on the other hand is completely irrational in his purchase behavior. Brand Managers are far too rigid in their thinking. The very education system we come out of, teaches us to be rational. Far too rational. The two irrational streams that actually formed part of our curriculum decades ago are no longer taught to us in our schools! Religion and Music! Two streams that teach us to be irrational!
Amoebic branding is therefore the answer for today and tomorrow. Branding that is fast paced, change oriented, and all about the changing consumer. For far too long we have depended on processes that talk about B2B branding and B2C branding. Time now to wake up and let the consumer define his brand. Let him decide how he needs his brand to be shaped. C2C branding is all about the amoebic consumer creating his own version of an amoebic brand. It is all about an amoeba catering to an amoeba! It is all about a shift in ownership as well. The brand manager is not the owner of the brand. The consumer is. And the owner will decide how he wants his brand to be…..today and tomorrow!
C2C branding will be about whole sets of consumers using movements such as the flash-mobs, using the device of the SMS and indeed the internet, to spin their own versions of brands that remain as contemporary and as alive as every thinking consumer out there.
Static state branding is therefore dead. Every theory out there which is based on static state consumers in the marketplace is but a dead theory. Time to burn those books then. Time to let Amoebic branding take over!
And the best part is………Amoebic branding will not be taught out of a book. A book is static state! The consumer isn’t!
Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!
Integrity branding: The missing piece in an overheated market
By Harish Bijoor
In the several marketing summers I have lived, fought, sweated and thrived, there is one insight that has held me in good stead. This is the insight of Integrity branding.
Integrity branding is all about saying the simple truths in your brand communication process. Stick to the tone and tenor of integrity and you can’t do no wrong!
Let me look at it in a manner of detailing the concept at hand. The point is simple. All consumers are essentially truth seeking animals. Yes, all of us lie in some small manner or the other. These are really the small lies that make the fabric of our modern day lives. Small lies that ward off the inconvenience of a lie-less society.
Despite all these small lies, we are essentially truth seeking as consumers. When you buy a toothpaste, you expect honesty out of the entire exercise. The consumer-brand interaction process is a relationship. A relationship quite like the many relationships we go through in our social lives.
When you get into a relationship with a member of the opposite sex, or let me be politically correct and say member of the same sex even, you expect just one primary thing out of the relationship. The truth. There is no relationship you get into expecting dishonesty and the lack of integrity.
Very simply put, consumers get into brand relationships based on the expectation of the truth. But does she get it? And how much of it? And how frequently so?
My belief is that the brand that offers the most of the truth most of the time in this continuous relationship is the one that succeeds. The brand that fails on this count is an utter failure right away, or on the path of a self-fulfilling prophesy of doom round the corner.
Let me illustrate this with an example. Let me choose my favorite gourmet table bird for this example, the chicken! Let me take three of them.
There are really three chickens in our marketing lives. And remember, all of us are marketing people, since there are only two kinds of people in the world. The “marketing person”, who markets to others. And the “marketed-to person” at the other end!
Imagine three chickens out there. Each of the chickens is a manufacturer and a marketer. Each of the chickens has done something they are very good at. Each has laid an egg. And each of the eggs looks alike.
Each of the marketer chickens takes a different path to market their respective eggs.
There is the first chicken, which I call the “Shy chicken”. This chicken looks at the egg it has laid and finds the product quality to be all of 100. It then stands up, looks at the target audience of potential consumers and whispers with a decibel of shout that is at best 2 on a scale of 100.
This chicken’s whisper is heard by very few of those in the target audience. Even those who hear of it, hear it as a faint whisper. The promise offered by the whisper is just 2 on a scale of 100. Those few who hear the whisper actually come to see the egg, lured often by the under-shout that creates quite a bit of mystery in the consumer at hand.
When the few consumers actually arrive to see the product, there is great joy. The consumer expectation of 2 is rewarded with a delivery of 100. The positive strokes offered in this purchase is +98. The negative of this approach of course is the fact that it scores very low on consumer awareness scores.
Look at the second chicken then. This is what I call the “honest chicken”. This chicken looks at the target audience and shouts out the product offer with a shout level of decibel 100. The shout quality is equal to that of product quality.
The pros of this approach is apparent. Awareness scores are good. Everyone has heard that the chicken has an egg to offer. But there is a problem here. Consumers do not necessarily respect honest chickens. When the consumer has heard the full story, he does not want to see the egg at all. There is just no mystery. Only a few arrive to see the egg, and these are the only ones who actually need an egg. And when they arrive, they expect 100 and get 100. No positive strokes and no negative. The potential of a buy is low as well.
The third chicken is waiting. This chicken finds the competition hot. This chicken gets onto the rooftop and shouts with a decibel value 400. The darned chicken has laid an egg but shouts as if it has laid an asteroid! The awareness scores are terrific. The entire town lands up to look at the phenomena. The expectation is 400. The delivery is 100. There is a negative stroke quotient of -300. And nobody buys!
All these three chickens and their respective approaches are out there for the marketer to choose from. Each of us makes this choice every living day. There are variations available in the gamut of 0-400 in terms of shout levels. Different marketers choose differently.
But guess what, the chicken that shouts with a decibel of 80 is the one that succeeds the most. Also, after 400 what? Back to a decibel of 2. In a market where everyone is shouting at 400, the one chicken which whispers the least is the one that is heard and trusted the most.
Think about it. Which chicken are you as a marketer? And which chicken are you as a working person? And which chicken are you as a person living in a family of your own?
The author is a brand-domain specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc., a consulting practice with presence in the markets of Hong Kong, Dubai, UK and India.
‘Paanch’ it in the face!
By Harish Bijoor
All businesses start out well. In the minds of those who put it together.
All businesses meander away from the straight and narrow path some time or the other as well. Some businesses flounder due to a lack of direction. Others due to too much of direction. Direction that is too narrow-focused. And some meander away due to ambition. Some meander due to a lack of ambition. But meandering is a way.
Has your business meandered in the last year gone by? Is marketing cost the culprit? Have volumes fallen? Have profits dropped? Have costs remained the way they were? Or worse still, have they galloped beyond control? Has the ratio of marketing cost to units sold gone very, very awry?
Is there a way out of marketing cost myopia? Is there really a way to reduce marketing cost and yet grow? Is there a way to make your business happen and buzz in a low cost manner of speaking?
Advertising agencies will tell you it costs money to be out there in the jungle of a market. So will strategy consulting outfits whose revenues depend on what you spend. Look for a way out. Here are 5 simple ways:
- Marketing manpower cost: Marketing does not need too many of your own people really. Marketing is a specific competence. In-sourcing it is expensive. Nurturing talent in marketing is a difficult task. A thankless task even. The best love to move. Good marketing resource must move to be really effective and efficient. Owning this is not a great thing to do. If you own someone for too long, the resource is stale. Outsource. In-sourcing is out.
- The Sales Team: This is a most important team for you. Nurture it with care. Front-line selling is a competence. And every business is a selling business. Most sales teams lose their morale during tough times. Invest in keeping them happy. Not with money, but with work. A sales team with less than up-to-the-brim work is a liability. A half-empty glass is dangerous. The moment your sales team has less work and more time on its hand, trouble begins. Sales teams enjoy being loaded with work really. Load it up! Are you watching the level of work of every one of your sales persons? Watch it carefully. This is a science in itself. It delivers. Top up every glass there is, and when you have empty ones, let them go.
4. Advertising: This is necessary activity, particularly when the going is tough and the markets are slow. Advertise, but re-orient the way you do it. Stop the gung-ho creatives that scream from the top. Instead, a time of slow-down is a time to use advertising as a balm to soothe the feathers of your consumers rattled by it all. Get your pony-tailed creative guy in your advertising agency to delivery something really good. Something bottom-up and not something the usual top-down way
5. 1: 1. : Tough times are great times to get into 1:1 marketing formats. Stop depending on PULL led activities. Get PUSH-led going. Get 1:1 and get people centric. Go meet your customers. Don’t wait for them to come to you.
The author is a brand-strategy specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.
Brand Bangalore: A metaphor in motion
Brand Bangalore has figured in the lexicon of President Obama of the United States of America. In many ways the US has come a long way. As has brand Bangalore.
Not many years ago, the President of the United States was not too sure where New Delhi was and where indeed India was. That was President George Bush! The current mention of Bangalore, thrice over in the 117 day tenure of President Obama means Brand Bangalore has arrived.
I have always held that if Delhi was the political capital of India, Kolkata the cultural and Mumbai the commercial, Bangalore is certainly the Intellectual capital of India. Bangalore has risen far above its old status of being a Pensioner’s paradise to a place which is very likely going to be the origin destination of many a pension for many an individual world-wide.
Bangalore has risen from being what it was to what it is today, thanks to the fact that the end-to-end services industry and the IT-enabled services industry finds a strong bit of mooring here. A big chunk of the USD 42 billion plus IT/ITES export turnover finds a home in Bangalore. A big chunk of the 16 lakh workers in this terrain have made Bangalore their home as well. And what is important is the fact that the two bell-weather IT services firms, Infosys and Wipro find their corporate headquarters here as well. In many ways, it all started in Bangalore.
What does the Obama mention of Bangalore do to Brand Bangalore overall?
Good things really. Brand Bangalore is part of the 'Obamisms' at play right now. Obama recalled Bangalore and not Shanghai or Taipei or Ho Chi Minh city. That in itself is a big thing for Brand Bangalore.
Bangalore in many ways is a metaphor today. What started with a negative metaphor in the US of being 'Bangalored' is today a positive word across the world. Every tech-resource wants to have a geography stamp of Bangalore on his or her resume. To that extent Brand Bangalore is a sponge. An all-absorbing sponge. An economic sponge. An ethnocentric sponge. A demographic sponge in itself as well.
The brand is today more than a city. It is a metaphor in motion. A metaphor that draws in images of economic development, technology, end-to-end services, outsourcing hubs, the ITES revolution at large and more. In the future it is indeed about much more. About Biotech, about retail, about more. Not yet though.
Bangalore is a living word. An adjective. A doing word. An action word. A metaphor in motion really!
Never mind that the pubs in the city close at 11.30pm. Never mind that dancing is banned in the city. Young people still want to throng this city and add on a Bangalore-experience to their resume. And this city is a young one, with 63% of its people being below the age of 25, as opposed to the national average of 54%.
Brand Bangalore really attains a new status with this Obama mention. It is all about top of mind recall. It is all about economic threat. It is all about job-loss threat. It is all about American jingoism at play as well, but never mind. Swalpa adjust maadi!
My definition of a brand is a simple one. The brand is thought. A thought that lives in people’s minds. Brand Bangalore is one such thought. A thought that lives in the minds of millions of people. Today, with Obama’s mention of Brand Bangalore, the brand lives and thrives not in millions, but billion of minds worldwide.
Thank you President Obama! From a Pensioner’s Paradise of yore, Bangalore has morphed to a place on which a lot of future world pensions depend today. Touche!
Harish Bijoor is a brand-specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.