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August 31, 2011

Gold marketing in AP- Nagarjuna, Jagapathi Babu and Junior NTR

Name change - 3M, KFC, Guiness book of world records, UTI bank, HERO Honda

August 28, 2011

Smooth talking Salesmen!

I was traveling to work and got stuck in the traffic. Out of sheer boredom I turned into the local FM channel "Radio Mirchi" the radio channel that prides itself as being very spicy and hot. I heard the over exuberant and over the board radio jockey getting exited about a very trivial issue. Luckily for me there was a commercial break. 

I heard the voice over blaring " once in  a life time offer. XYZ realty is offering something unbelievable. Come and book your flat at Hi-tech City ( a posh downtown in Hyderabad) and get a cash discount of Rs 5,00,000/-". This was what alerted me "one out of every three lucky buyers will get this offer. The other two will get cash discount of Rs 75,000/- and Rs 50,000/-. The offer will end soon. Hurry up flats starting from a price of Rs 30,00,000/-".

As the innately boring chatter of the RJ started again I got thinking about this sales promotion. On the face of it, it looks unbelievably exciting. But the marketer and academician in me kicked in. If anyone give you an unbelievable offer most probably it is true. Don’t believe it. There is a catch some where!

In the face of it the offer is very good but the catch. The offer says buyer. Which means that it is not for everyone and the buyer has to commit himself/herself by paying some token advance amount (and as we all know advances are never returned). That way the buyer is captive and he/she has no escape route. 

One in three will get that Rs 5,00,000/- wonderful. On a base price of 30,00,000 rupees that is a whopping discount of nearly 17%. In the depressed economies that is a great savings. But the second buyer gets only 75,000 rupees off. And that is a discount of only 2.5% and the third gets a discount of 50,000 rupees and that amounts to less than 2% of offered price. That much discount can be had by anybody who asks for a discount. And second and third buyers are captive and they cant wriggle out of he deal. They will have to take it or lump it.

The total outlay for the realty company is only Rs 6,25,000/- (5,00,000 + 75,000 + 50,000) and that is on the total list price of 30,00,000 x 3  which is 90,00,000/- rupees. This works out to less than 7%. This way the company is not shelling out a major discount but is getting captive customers at a very low acquisition cost. Good for the company but is it good for the buyer?. Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware).

So the next time someone offers a unbelievable deal, don’t believe them. There is no free lunch in this world. The discount that is being offered has to come out of someone’s pocket and that pocket is inevitable the customer’s. Even in the above deal the company has no real issue as the quoted price is only the list price and the realtor will invariably add cost of common spaces, lift cost, parking fee cost and cost of the lift and the generator on to the customer. This way the company laughs its way to the bank and the buyer is not wiser as he does not know how he was swindled. Ignorance is bliss.

Inaugural Speech delivered by Prof M.Anil Ramesh on the launch of SSIM's second shift, 2nd batch programmes on the 25th of August 2011

The age of mother earth is said to be 4.54 billion years. In that length of time 64 years of independence pales in comparison. But for a young republic like India every year is a celebrations and a thing of pride. Likewise an educational institute surviving even for 10 years in the present turbulent times has become a cause for celebration. 

In comparison a group like Siva Sivani celebrating 50 years of its existence is a source for grand celebration and lots of admiration for its founder and his vision. I am indeed very happy and thrilled to be standing in front of you in this golden jubilee year and inviting you to become members of this great family called Siva Sivani.

Last year SSIM second shift started its journey and I am very proud to say that we have grown in a year. Added more faculty and we are learning very fast and starting to do very well. The senior students are through with their three trimester are they are doing very well.

But as the Director Academic I would like to put some things in perspective. 25 years ago I too was a student of MBA. But what a difference! At that time India had only around 40-50 institutes offering around 3000 seats in the MBA space. We had no induction programmes, no extensive mentoring or training progarmmes and to be very frank we were quite innocent and were like babies in the forest.

Things have changed drastically and how! Now we have around 4000 B-schools offering 4,00,000 seats in the MBA/PGDM space and there is a Tsunami building and gathering momentum.

The students have become more street smart and are more technology savvy. At the same time they get better trained and are expected to be more employer ready. The opportunities are more and salaries have sky rocketed. On the flip side the expectations from the industry have gone up. They expect the students to be job ready from day one. Training span in the organizations has been reduced and tolerance for mistakes has dramatically comedown. In very few words the corporate mantra for survival is “perform or perish”.

I would like to advice the students to consider SSIM as a temple of learning. Not only as a temple of learning but also as a place for discussions, arguments, counter arguments, introspection, deep thinking and place for idea generation and germinations. Learn to unlearn and learn again and relearn. Challenge the holy cows and internalize concepts.

Say with pride that you are a student of SSIM and I am sure that will be your USP for a life time. It is time for putting your ideas into action. Your days in SSIM will be crammed with class work, assignments, case studies and many other activities. You will have to be a excellent time manager to manage a good performance and pass out with a good grade. You will have to adhere to rules and regulations and there is zero tolerance for any violation of set rules and procedures. But at the same time there would be a tremendous human touch and I or my faculty colleagues are always available for any suggestions or feedback at any point of time.

For all practical purposes you will be treated as if you are employees of a corporate organization on a loan to SSIM. Behave and adapt as if you are employees of a new organization and I am sure that you would be learning a lot from this institute. Every day in the institute would be a challenge in itself.

There would be ample scope to learn and to be grasp many nuances of management. It is said that management education is an art and not a science. One needs to be taut as a violin string but at the same time not loose. Over tautness would break the string and looseness would mean no music at all. You will need to learn the fine balance of what is right or what is wrong – nay what is perceive as right and what is perceived as wrong. So it is said all battles have to be fought and won and that too in your own minds, later in the minds of the customers and finally in the minds of your organizations where you would be working.

Welcome onboard strap yourself for a journey of a life time. I am sure the next two years will be the best two years of your life. A two years stay at SSIM that you will always very fondly remember as the two years that changed your life forever.

Thanking one and all.

August 14, 2011

World's best Airline advertisements

These fun airplane-window advertisements were created by Leo Burnett in São Paulo for Fiat.

Golden Holidays consist of Malaysia Airlines packages that target the domestic market with attractive prices (flight + accommodation). The task was to cross-sell the packages to current passengers strongly reinforcing  the perception that traveling with Malaysia Airlines is not expensive. Stickers were placed onto the pull-down meal tray on-board selected Malaysia Airlines domestic flights making the captive audience “feel” their next holiday.

NH hotels advertisements were placed on Iberia airlines headrests. On the back of the headrests one could see illustrations of people enjoying the different activities offered by NH hotels: golf, beach, sauna, etc. When people sat they would see the illustration in front of them and just above the illustration’s head they could see the hair of the person seating right in front as well as if it were the illustrations own set of hair.
This advertisement was to promote Gillette Mach 3 razor. This aircraft has since been retired from virgin blue's fleet and was last seen in Christchurch. 

Advertising for Bulgari designer watches in Alitalia Boeing 747-243B

This advertisement was created by Lew’Lara/TBWA and was designed for the Aruba’s tourism office.
Pepsi advertised its products by putting its logo on the fuselage of a Concorde.
An advertisement for a Brazilian laptop brand placed on the dining table in an aero plane.

This advertisement titled airplane seatbelt was done by Scholz and friends advertising agency Slim fast company for Allpharm, Germany.

Southwest airlines unveiled its newest addition to their fleet of aircrafts – the Boeing 737 with a gigantic painting of Israeli model Rafaeli

Engaging the customers – an airline travel experience – Part - II

7)      Ava scheme of scratch card:  This is a scratch card cum shopping card that is given to all the travelers. They can scratch and find out what their dame luck holds in store for them. They could be getting many thing including a watch, a Moserbaer DVD player, a 16 disk games encyclopedia, a classique watch and jeweler set, a sandwich maker or many such items. Depending on what they get on their scratch card they can claim the gift by paying handling charges of only 699/- rupees (about 14 dollars). They can also buy items like blackberry mobiles, Digital cameras, Skybags, handbags, gaming consoles, and many other at a very heavy discount. A variation of the same could be that travelers could bid for a product from a fixed base price. The highest bidder gets the product on arrival at the airport.  
8)      Advertising on the window pane: Not seen on Indian airlines but a popular method of promoting the product. When the window pane is down the advertisement is seen very clearly.
9)      Advertising on the food tray: that opens out in front of the passenger: A great place to advertise a company that is in vacation business. Also a great position to promote a company marketing laptops.
10) Advertising the plane itself: The aero plane itself can become a vehicle for advertising. PepsiCo painted one entire plane in its colors and the plane became one big moving advertisement. Albeit it is for people outside the aero plane and not inside it.

Sky is the limit for imagination of the airlines thinking of promoting products. The air hostesses, the stewards and the staff dress can have logos of companies, the quilts and the headphones that are supplied can be a plug for quilts and audio companies.

Why not think of engaging the travelers gainfully during their journey? Why not tarot card reading, astrology, palmistry and Mehendi for the women? Why not hold a small painting competition for all the young kids and announce a small price? Why not a host who can perform small tricks for the travelers?

Like North West Airlines has proved the interaction between the staff and the travelers is hugely appreciated and remembered. I warmly remember the friendly banter of the Ethiopian airlines pilots who gave us tips of when to look out for great sights.

In my first journey from Addis Ababa to Bahirdar I witnessed the great Nile gorge, the Tiss Abay water Fall and the Tana Lake which is the starting point of the longest river in the world, the Nile. And all this from 10 kilometers up in the sky! I thank the Ethiopian airline pilot for making my journey so wonderful and eventful.

Engaging the customers – an airline travel experience – Part - I


A travel by an aero plane is one most exciting forms of travelling. Apart from the excitement of flying there is lots of status attached to flying. Unlike other modes of travel where the passenger can get off and stretch his legs, in air travel the passenger is totally captive for the entire duration of the journey. Let us examine how air lines companies peddle their wares to this captive set of customers.

1)      Fashion shows: This was a concept that was tried by Kingfisher Airlines (India). As the guests settled into their seats they were surprised to see models do the cat walk wearing the latest ensembles (a number of different items of clothing and accessories, put together to create an outfit) right in front of them. The passengers got a real eyeful and the fashion designers got a chance to get into the minds of the affluent Indian middle class. For reasons unknown Kingfisher has since done away with the fashion show in the skies.
2)      Gourmet meals: The best food is served in the airlines. At the end of the sumptuous meal one can’t but notice the small tasteful card of the gourmet chef or the hotel from where the food was brought in. A subtle but a very powerful plug for the concerned chef or the 5 star hotel.
For Kingfisher Airlines which belongs to the Vijay Mallaya Group, Food and beverages are a very good way to promote his liquor brands. So do not be surprised if on a overseas trip if you are served Kingfisher beer (the king of good times) or McDowell Whisky. Both alcoholic beverages mentioned are from the Vijay Mallaya’s group.
3)      In-Flight magazine: is a very good way to get the attention of the traveler. The very fashionable and highly colorful magazines not only serve to entertain the traveler but also allow the airlines to talk about itself and help promote its in flight shopping and in-flight food and beverage sale.
4)      In-Flight entertainment: Long flights can get very boring. In the bygone era there was only a very huge TV screen and all the travelers had to watch only the movies or the shows as dished out by the cabin crew. But not any longer. In the era of customization and comfort each traveler has access a small personalized TV. 7 to 8 channel programs are free but if one wants to watch the latest flick he has to pay for it – Pay for view.  
5)      In-Flight shopping: Most of the Airlines have in-flight shopping. In domestic sectors it can be watches, jewels, bags and others. On overseas journeys the in-flight shopping can take the scale of a duty free shop where items can be bought duty free.
6)      Extra payment for leg space, window or any other preferred seat: Noticing that some travelers have need for some extra feature, airlines have started charging extra for those feature. These were extended as courtesies earlier but have become to pay services in the recent times. Extra leg space, window seat or aisle or any other preferred seat can be had but for a payment. In fact it is better to be silent and opt for an extra if the same is offered at the check in counter.

Famous markets in Hyderabad (Jummerat Bazaar, Bangladesh Market, Jagdish Market, Abids Sunday book Market)

1. Dhoolpet is one of the old suburbs in Hyderabad, India. It is part of the old city of Hyderabad. This place is inhabited by people who migrated from Uttar Pradesh during the Nizam rule.

This is popular for its Ganesh idols which are made for the festival Ganesh Chaturthi. People from all over the state come here to buy from this market. People of the suburb are famous and indulge in many other seasonal businesses like idol making even for Durgashtami, kite making for Pongal, rakhis etc.

The historic Jummerat Bazaar i.e. 'Thursday Market' is held every Thursday in Dhoolpet. This market is a kind of flea market where most of the stuff is supposedly stolen stuff. Jummerat Bazaar comes alive every Thursday morning. People begin gathering Wednesday night with their wares. Things are very cheap and for example one can expect to get a full cricket gear for less than 10USD.

2. Bangladesh Market: There is a Bangladesh market in Hyderabad. This is nothing but a shopping area in Bholakpur, Musheerabad. Formed in the late 1960s, this area is famous for low rate Cloth Market every day.

Small and petty vendors on their push cart, daily arrive here and sell their cloth items at throw away prices. Come any festivals, the area will have a festival look with lots of purchasers making a bee line to buy something here apart from cloths. Since the Market place is little interior, one has to alight at Musheerabad Raja Deluxe theatre and then proceed by walk to reach this spot.

3 Jagdish Market: The best place to pick up a mobile phone is Jagdish Market at Chirag Ali Lane, Abids, Hyderabad. The market is crammed with stores selling cell phones and everything related to it.

‘Fixed Rate- one price’- screams out a board from one of the stores in the area. But bargaining hard for a mobile phone of Chinese make or any mobile is very much on and it is part of the shopping experience.  Also known as Abids Shopping Centre, the place is filled with all kinds of mobile phones- branded and fakes.

There is something for every kind of buyers ranging from second-hand cell phones to ‘box pieces’ (new ones) and Chinese phones. One can pick up accessories like scratch proof screens, tags and fancy pouches for nominal prices.

The market also has a few ‘mobile phone servicing centers’ where one can get their phones repaired. There is no fixed rate for servicing mobile phones as it depends on the phone’s model and the type of problem.

One can also sell their old mobile phones here. Most store keepers buy them depending on the phone’s condition. Used phones are checked for glitches and undergo a servicing before being sold again and prices depend on brand and condition of the phone.

4. Abids Sunday book market: the range of the books available is insurmountable. Fiction, nonfiction, classics, best sellers, self help books, text books, and magazines you name the category of books and that category books would be available in Abids. What one needs is a full stomach, strong abs (one needs to crouch down and get up many times), lots of time, a sense of adventure and a knack of bargaining. Should we call it a second hand market? Definitely but along with second hand books one can get pirated books and low-priced original duplicates.  

But of late the air of bustling activity is missing from the bookshops that at one point of time used to define the beginning of vacation for generations of Hyderabadis. Part of the change is the business of books, part of the story is the change in reading habits and part of it is the impact of globalised village. People prefer television, Internet and social networking to the old habit of reading.  People mostly want to read only self-help books. The number of readers has gone down drastically.  

The number of booksellers has also declined as the books have changed from a few fiction novels and history books to non-selling fictions dumped from the US, old magazines, old self-help books and travel guides. The Bata showroom corner and F.D. Khan showroom that used to be the nerve centre of the trade on Sundays are now selling mostly factory-seconds shirts and trousers.

Another factor for the change is the availability of used books 24 x 7 by three or four big businesses have grabbed a lion's share of the books coming into the market and have set up year-round book sale in the city. And Abids is no longer the same on Sunday afternoons.