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April 27, 2019

What's in a name - Everything - REMINERO - Purified Bottled Water from HPCL

What’s in a name, everything in marketing, especially brand names. They are the living persona of the products. We swear by them (the brand names) and they add colour and excitement to our life.

Yesterday, I was at a training centre at HPCL, Bangalore and we were served bottled purified water. I took a double turn when I saw the name of the brand. It was “REMINERO”. The name itself was a puzzle, but the name of the manufacturer took my breath away. It was HPCL!!

I often ask my students; would you like to buy a toothpaste named Nirma? Most of them recoil in horror. Some even put up a strange expression as if they had just brushed their teeth with Nirma detergent powder. That is the power of association. Most people might not have noticed but Nirma does have a soap albeit a bath soap called Nima and it comes very close to the word Nirma. Dare I say as close to Nirma as possible but still keeping, a healthy distance.

Similarly, Manikchand Gutkha, famously ventured into atta business and named its brand, what else Manikchand Atta. I am sure most homemakers would not have bought it, atleast initially. A chapatti that gives a healthy high that too laced in nicotine. That would be the mental picture that would have been drawn in the minds of the customers.

The only brand that straddles all the product categories and still does not apparently create any confusion about its core value and promise in the minds of the customers, is TATA. 

Tata is in every imaginable product category, Tata salt, Tata Tele Services, Tata BP Solar, Tata Consultancy services, Tata Steels, Tata Coffee, Tata Chemicals, Tata Sky, and many others. Tata has become synonymous with Indianess and it has become almost like India itself and it permeates itself to any product category. Others are not that lucky.

HPCL entering into purified water business is a puzzle. HPCL is an energy company and it is famous for oil based products like Petrol, diesel, Lubes and LPG.  Why would HPCL want to enter into bottled purified water business? May be it wants to leverage its SCM (Supply Chain Management) muscle and its very impressive retail outlet base.

Having impressive SCM capability and ability to access and control a large base of retail outlets in the form of petrol bunks are definite strengths, but can a public sector giant like HPCL take on nimble, fleet footed, aggressive and hard as nails private players like PEPSICO, Coca-Cola and Parle in a head-on battle. Only time will tell.

And the brand name itself is quite handful, REMINERO. The marketing pundits might have thought that the product sounds like a REMINDER, or RE-MINED or REMAIN from RO process.  Whatever it is, REMINERO is a mouthful and sounds like the name of an Italian man!!! And it is not very easy to pronounce, just like the beauty soap brand of ITC; Fiama di Wills. Fiama Di Wills sounds like the sister of the villainess from the movie 101 Dalmatians, Cruella De Vil. 

April 03, 2019

3M, KFC and HIL, what is in the name - Everything

A key element of Marketing is observation. Why did Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing company become 3M and why did Kentucky Fried Chicken become KFC?
First of all, short names are easy to remember and easy to pronounce and stylish too. But the most important reason was 3M moved away from minerals and mining business and did not want to appear like a laid back mining company.
Similarly, KFC did not want to get tied down to a place Kentucky and did want the customers to even utter that dirty five letter word "Fried" hearing which all its customers recoil in disgust. It is as if they have taken a bath in fried oil. So it is KFC.
Just now Dhoni was out pitching for HIL, earlier called Hyderabad Industries limited. So Dhoni stylishly says HIL and a diehard Hyderabadi like me has a small frown. Yes, I would have been happy if Dhoni had said Hyderabad Industries limited.
But as an afterthought that campaign would be a no brainer. How can Chennai captain pitch for Hyderabad? It would be the ultimate sacrilege! What do you guys say!!!???

July 22, 2018

Jyothi Bhavani - Gunfoundry - Bottom of the Pyramid - Sindhi Colony - Wheel of retailing - Common sense is not common!

Was at Jyothi Bhavani yesterday. It is a small Bandi at Gunfoundry, Abids, Hyderabad. On Friday I was explaining the concept of bottom of the pyramid and what a lovely example on Saturday. That is why I love marketing. It is easily demonstrable by illustrations.
This astonishing Bandi was serving mouth watering Vada Pav for just 10/- rupees. Me and Y. Srinivas Rao had two each and by the time we finished ours there was a sale of nearly 10 more! Mostly people, rushing on their jobs and school children.
Bhavani has cleverly identified its segment, customers including children whose impulse purchase cost is Rs 10/-. And there is a similar places close by where hot and piping veg biryani is sold at Rs 20/-.
Sindhi colony bandis were famous for Vada Pav. They were dishing out Vada Pao at Rs 10/-. Now they have priced themselves at Rs 25/-! Proving the wheel of retailing concept true, customers will come but slowly start looking for alternatives which might include MacDonald whose burgers start at Rs 39/-.
A small eatery cum take away centre near my house is manned by a surly owner who frowns on her customers like a teacher frowns on her errant school children.
But customers being customers, mostly software professionals take the flak as they are not adept at preparing evening snacks or are plump lazy!
Our 'lady of the evening snacks' bulldozes every one with her suspicious looks and most buckle under her wrath.
Just the other I visited her shop along with Madhusudan Kota who wanted to buy bellam jilebi. Our lady was at her surly best.
A meek guy in front of us asked for punugulu (a sort of snacks) and said that he wanted them for Rs 10/-). The lady said "At our shop a plate of punugulu are Rs 30/- and half plate is Rs 15/-". Rubbing salt in the wound, she added with a snigger "what will you get for Rs10/-".
The guy was stunned and his eyes started to water. The lady threw in 5 or 6 punugulu and handed it out to him as if she was she was doing him a favour.
The guy was humiliated. The place serves unlimited chutneys that the customers can serve themselves which is the only USP of the tiffin centre along with the proximity.
But the customer was a gentleman. He served himself with a very limited amount of chutney and rushed out of the place. Gone for ever. Lady, you have lost yourself three customers for a life time. YOU JUST HAVE PROVED "COMMON SENSE IS NOT COMMON"! WELL DONE LADY, WAY TO GO!

June 21, 2018

Boring FIFA World Cup Matches - Food for thought - Is the world's most beautiful game doing enough to attract viewers interest!

And you thought that world was a fair place - People shouting from the tops of roofs wishing so should understand that fairplay and meritocracy are things are used conveniently and as and when needed. Sample this. The world's most popular game Football's world cup is on and there are RESERVATIONS IN PLACE even for countries playing in the world cup. 

For the not so sports inclined readers there are a total of 32 teams playing in the FIFA world cup and they are divided into eight groups of four teams each. The four teams play a round robin league where they play each of the other teams once. 

The top two teams from each group progress to the group of sixteen or the pre-quarter finals .And from that stage every match is a knock out with the winning team  progressing and the losing team getting eliminated. 

Simple Meritocracy rules say that the best 32 teams should play the world cup. But sadly that is not possible as FIFA is a political body and has to pander to its VOTE BANK.

9th        placed   -           Chile,
17th                   -           Netherlands,
18th                   -           Wales,
19th                   -           Italy
25th                   -           USA
26th                             Austria
28th                   -           Slovakia
29th                   -           Northern Ireland
30th                   -           Romania
31st                    -           Republic of Ireland
32nd     placed   -           Paraguay not playing .

What is galling is champion teams like Chile and Italy not playing.

And playing are

Serbia                -           34th
Australia           -            36th
Iran                    -           37th,
Morocco            -           41st
Egypt                 -           45th
Nigeria               -           48th
South Korea      -            57th
Japan                 -            61st,
Saudi Arabia      -           67th Place

Coming at the tail is Russia at a fantastic rank of 70! And they are hosts and they need to be accommodated.

The paradox is all the teams from Serbia to Russia are simply to fill in numbers and get eliminated in the group stage itself. But because of the quota policy we get to see "blink you see, blink you miss the action' football matches which are very boring. Food for thought FIFA!

June 12, 2018

Marketing lesson for the day Advertisement we have been waiting for - Pretty 24

This I feel is the advertisement that we all have been waiting for. Pretty 24 hits all whitening creams right in the solar plexus! Coming of age of Indian advertising and hitting where it hurts the most. It is time we Indians don't feel inferior about our colour, rather we should celebrate our colour for which most westerners pay a fortune to get and call it tanning! We Indians are naturally tanned.