Thursday, August 27, 2009

Daniel Morel of Wunderman talking about the company TV on his worldwide tour to the big advertising agencies in Madison Avenue, New York. Come with us to see and listen to the heart of global advertising, to this experts of best...

Ford Uses Social Media to Target Younger Buyers

Ford Uses Social Media to Target Younger Buyers, MediaPost, by Karl Greenberg, August 24, 2009

Ford is promoting the new 2010 Mustang with a microsite at that lets prospective buyers customize the car. The customizer, at, lets as many as four people work together to choose accessories, colors, decals and the like. The automaker is touting the site with Web ads on major portal sites like

Ford says the site, which launched last week, has had 52,000 cars built, with more than 16,000 of those saved into the site gallery. And more than 30 forums and blogs have been spawned from it.

The site, by Wunderman/Team Detroit and a New York-based firm called Firstborn, includes a chat feature for groups working together to customize a car. The gallery lets Mustangs submitted to be voted on by other users, with the winners displayed each week.

A Ford spokesperson tells Marketing Daily that the point of the exercise is less about getting people to design the car, then go out and buy what they designed than it is to whet their appetite for the car and all of the things they can do to it.

Dan Gorrell, principal of Gorrell Group, a Tustin, Calif. automotive market research firm, says the program is on target for that vehicle and that demographic. "A car customizing platform is highly effective because with a car like Mustang there is a great deal of personal connection, and with that, comes the desire to customize and make it one's own," he tells Marketing Daily.

Gorrell adds that the social-media component of the program, in which the Mustang customizer serves as a hub for several people to customize the vehicle in real-time, is the key. "It's particularly relevant for several reasons. First, younger people are more into social approval, and are going to seek the advice of their trusted friends; secondly, the number of choices are bewildering, and when people are customizing they seek opinions about what to get and what not to get."

Ford may be the first automaker to make car customization a social-media behavior, but not the first to make customization central to market strategy. Toyota's Scion division was designed from the ground up as a way to pitch a car as a blank canvas for personalizing to a younger demographic. Scion has among the youngest customers in the business. Can it work for Ford?

Todd Turner, president of Car Concepts, says it already has. He says Galpin Ford in San Fernando Valley, Calif., has had a big success with a customization program at the dealership level targeted to younger buyers. "It's so popular, it has spawned its own term, Galpinized. It works."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Social networking sites lead in redefining entertainment

Social networking sites lead in redefining entertainment Priyanka Joshi And Aabhas Sharma | Business Standard | Mumbai/New Delhi, July 27, 2009 Kailash Kher is one happy man. The popular singer has four million users of hooked on to his song Na Batati Tu. They karaoke to Kher's track straight from their mobile phones over ibibo's proprietary voice platform and even upload it to the social networking site (SNS). Kher is amazed by the hundreds of karaoke uploads driven by his track. "Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that people will be singing my songs in their voice through a mobile," says Kher. According to ViziSense, an online audience measurement and analytics platform, from the 49 million internet subscribers, social networking, photo and video sharing sites draw over 50 per cent of the Indian internet audience. Vinay Nayar, manager of rock band Pin Drop Violence, believes it's a win-win situation. Nayar's band too took to social networking and has seen their fan following grow ever since. Sony BMG had recently launched customised social media applications based on Beyonce's latest album I am Shasha Fierce and Teri Sajni, a sufi compilation, to woo music lovers on the internet. Music band MidivalPunditz had launched its album Hello Hello with a specially designed application for ibibo users where they could meet the band members and watch their performance live. Sanujeet Bhujabal, marketing director, Sony Music, says that websites such as Yahoo India Movies and Rediff Movies have a different ambience when compared to an SNS. "The scope of innovation, execution and interaction on an SNS is wider primarily because the features on these sites allow better integration of content," he says. Bhujabal reckons that when users of SNS sites discuss any music on the sites' discussion boards, it acts as a catalyst to drive up popularity ratings of that music or requests for it on radio. Consequently, this translates into better album sales and digital downloads for music companies. Sony Music, which is planning more initiatives around SNS sites, is keen to continue exploring social media users to bolster sales. Indian networking sites such as BigAdda have been quick to tie up with Channel V for their popular reality music show LaunchPad. International networking portal MySpace too has launched a separate digital platform called Music Central that allows artists to take their work to a wider audience. As a result, BigAdda's LaunchPad page has over 20,000 members and over 115 videos of various bands participating in the show. "We are delighted to provide a platform which gets artists recognition and helps them in furthering their career," says Mandar Natekar, head of revenue and marketing, In return, BigAdda is happy to score a rise in its page views. Ashish Joshi, head (digital business), Universal Music, also agrees that social networking users do help companies clock higher sales on both physical and digital fronts. He cites the example of Universal's latest campaign on ibibo: "We asked users to take part in the 'Bohemia Da RapStar' contest by listening to his songs and rating them. Winners got a chance to meet Bohemia and even rap with him on his songs." Even Bollywood and the entertainment industry's love for SNS sites has come to prominence recently. It has swiftly led to the development of viral applications, blogs, listen-and-win contests etc, the results of which indicate consumer reaction and feedback to entertainment companies. "Social networking sites are 'watering holes' for youngsters where issues are discussed, opinions shared and trends started," says Sony Music's Bhujabal. Sony Music has decided to double the number of promotions on the web this year. With Bollywood releases such as Tum Mile, based on the Mumbai floods of 26th July 2005, Wake Up Sid and Kurbaan, based on terrorism, Sony is hoping to cash in on its experience with SNS users. In June alone, reports ViziSense, social networking portal Orkut recorded 14.9 million unique users, followed by Facebook's 6.92 million and ibibo's 2.29 million. Siddhartha Deshaprabhu, associate director (entertainment marketing) of, has an explanation for all the frenzy on social networking sites. "For the 15-24-year-olds, who frequent SNSs, the average time spent on ibibo is 20 minutes per user. This makes a great medium for companies to engage users." Brand consultant Harish Bijoor sums, "How else do you differentiate from the others in a space where something new comes along every quarter?" But Bijoor is quick to add that a lot needs to be done before the medium's potential can be exploited fully.

Nielsen study: Recommendations and editorials crucial to trust a brand

Nielsen study: Recommendations and editorials crucial to trust a brand afaqs! news bureau | afaqs! | Mumbai, July 28, 2009 Nielsen has carried out its annual Global Online Consumer Survey to provide insights into the opinions and preferences of Internet consumers across the world. Of the 25,000 online consumers surveyed across 50 countries, 500 of the respondents were Indian. The survey brought to light that Indian consumers bank on personal recommendations and editorial content when making decisions about a brand. Thus, these are the best forms of advertising for a brand. About 93 per cent of the Indian respondents voted for recommendations by personal acquaintances as the most trusted form of advertising, while editorial content such as newspaper articles and brand websites got 87 and 78 per cent votes, respectively. Personal recommendations and editorials are considered unbiased information and hence play a huge role in a consumer's decision making process. In India, as against consumer posted opinions gaining ground in other countries, advertising on traditional media such as newspapers and television (77 and 76 per cent respectively) is still ahead. However, 74 per cent of the Indian respondents trust consumer opinions posted online, making it the sixth most trusted form of advertising even better than magazine ads which were voted for by 73 per cent of the respondents. A survey of this nature, where consumers' trust in advertising is gauged, was first carried out in April 2007. The studies over the past two years reveal that 'brand sponsorship' and 'ads before movies' have seen the greatest increase in levels of trust, both experiencing 20 percentage points' increase. Thus, 'brand sponsorship' has jumped up this year to gain 72 per cent of the votes and 'ads before movies' garnered 61 per cent of the votes in India. Text ads on mobile phones is still at the lower end of the chart. However, this year, it saw the second highest increase in terms of rising trust, increasing from 24 per cent in April 2007 to 43 per cent in April 2009. Globally, brand websites are the most trusted form of advertising, the greatest being in China (82 per cent); with Pakistan (81 per cent) and Vietnam (80 per cent) coming close. India ranks sixth, with 78 per cent voters trusting brand websites. When it comes to trusting brand sponsorship, India ranks twelfth (72 per cent) among the 50 countries that took part in the survey. India ranks eighth among the 50 countries represented in the survey for trusting consumer opinions online. "It shows that despite the authority of word of mouth when it comes to decision making, advertisers still have a major say in the process," says Vatsala Pant, associate director, consumer research, The Nielsen Company. "The website and the process of monitoring feedback through it is a golden opportunity for advertisers to shape the tone and content of consumer opinion before it reaches the digital masses and also make their messaging more realistic based on consumer feedback," she adds. Although brand websites score highly amongst Internet consumers, the survey shows that other forms of digital advertising are trusted less than ads appearing in traditional media such as TV, billboards, radio, magazines and newspapers. Text ads on mobile phones (43 per cent), online banner ads (46 per cent), online video ads (50 per cent) and ads in search engine results (50 per cent) are the forms of advertising least likely to elicit a degree of trust.

Bluetooth in Marketing

Imagine yourself walking across a crowded area in Bengaluru and spotting a Honda Jazz car saying 'To know more about Jazz, turn on your Bluetooth'. Recently, Dakshin Honda, Honda's major dealer in Bengaluru, provided this experience by putting a BluFi device in a Honda Jazz and taking it across the city. Once the Bluetooth device in a mobile phone is activated, one can download Honda Jazz related rich media content such as videos, wallpapers and most importantly, the details of the dealer. The car will roam inside the city, mostly near residential areas, high footfall locations, corporate locations, colleges, parking spaces of malls and major shopping areas. The campaign, conceptualised and executed by TeliBrahma, a Bengaluru based mobile solutions company, started in July and will run for two more weeks. The target group for the car is allegedly not demography based but mindset based. It is targeted at consumers who have a youthful approach to life. The BluFi network is being successfully used by leading brands around the world to deliver targeted, measurable and engaging communication to the target customer base. BluFi helps convert locations into BluFi zones (Bluetooth zones), which are robust mobile media networks that deliver rich mobile content, context based advertisements and location based services directly to the user's mobile. TeliBrahma's BluFi network is present across Barista, McDonald's and Shopper's Stop outlets, shopping malls and stadiums across the country. Suresh Narasimha, chief executive officer, TeliBrahma, tells afaqs!, "The content can be tailored according to the targeted market. For instance, in rural areas, religious content including 'aarti' ring tones and wallpapers of local deities are a big hit. Similarly, in the Honda Jazz campaign, the target group lives in a metro and therefore the content matches their tastes." Sources from Honda confirm that Bengaluru is one of the most important markets for all Honda cars, including Honda Jazz, and is the third largest market in India after the NCR and Mumbai. TeliBrahma claims to have received more than 12,000 downloads so far. The client will be charged a monthly rental for the BluFi device placed inside the car. Dakshin Honda claims to have the largest dealership for Honda cars in South India. This dealership is a result of the collaboration between Honda Siel Cars India Limited (HSCI) and the PCH Group. HSCI's sales and distribution network spread across the country includes 106 facilities in 63 cities. HSCI dealerships are based on the "3S Facility" (Sales, Service, Spares) format, offering the complete range of services to its customers. Tata Indicom urges people to try M learning With mobile phones moving beyond being basic telephony devices, value added services (VAS) provided by telecom operators have gained importance. And telecom operators are doing all they can to promote their VAS offerings and get consumers interested. The latest one to do this is Tata Indicom. To educate and inform non-English speakers about Tata Indicom's M-learning (mobile learning) feature, the telecom brand has launched an activation in 24 cities. The company has roped in Hungama Promo Marketing, a Hungama Digital Media division, for executing the concept.
Trivikram Thakore, head, brand marketing and communications, Tata Teleservices Limited, says, "In the declining ARPU (average revenue per user) market, VAS will be the key revenue driver. The next big wave in VAS will be to move from the typical "how-can-I-jazz-up-my-mobile" kind of VAS, to "how-will-it-make-a-difference-to-my-life" kind of utility-based VAS. Keeping this in mind, the M-learning or 'English Seekho' programme was launched."
The activity was launched to bring alive the English learning proposition in Sec C and D markets, such as Delhi, NOIDA, Meerut, Muzzafarnagar, Bareli, Muradabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Jhansi, Varanasi, Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Jharkhand, Ranchi, Aligarh, Mathura, Agra, Alwar, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bikaner, Kota and Ajmer -- markets where consumers are not well-versed with the language. "The product is aimed at teaching spoken English through a simple Interactive Voice Call. It is targeted at the migrant, urban, blue-collared worker, who cannot converse in English and who feels that learning to speak in English will add value to his life -- either in terms of opportunity advancement or in terms of social acceptance. We briefed Hungama on this need, and also to ensure that these consumers use this service on a continuous basis," says Thakore. The campaign is being executed in the form of a road show, where the canter has been transformed into a classroom. The promoters go around distributing leaflets and informing the TG to participate in the campaign. However, to gain entry to the canter-cum-classroom, people have to answer simple questions, such as 'Mombatti ko English mein kya kehte hain?' or 'Kale rang ko English mein kya kehte hain?' However, Tata Indicom consumers have the privilege of entering the canter without answering such questions. Inside the canter, the teacher starts a demonstration of Tata Indicom's M-learning package, after which an audio file is played, for the participants to listen to and play along. After this, the participants go through a mock test based on M-learning, for instance, 'How does one greet in the morning in English?' "After identifying the markets and the TG, the insides of the mobile vans were designed to look just like an authentic classroom that would give the TG an almost "back to school" feeling. There was also an adaptation of Teacher Maria, who interacted on similar lines as the actual IVR," chuckles Thakore.

Thinking Out of the Box - Prominence of TV in Indian Advertising

Nothing makes the point of this story better than the most discussed campaign of recent times, the Zoozoos campaign for Vodafone. Ogilvy India released 25 TV commercials during the five and a half weeks of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in April and May this year and swept the nation off its feet. However, when the campaign went to other media, the creative was a pale reflection of what we saw on TV. Did it have to be this way? Ogilvy could argue that Zoozoos could only have worked on TV. Probably. It is a familiar story nevertheless. For all the proliferation of other media, somehow the big idea seems to be not a media-neutral one but a TV-centric one. You could ask: How does it matter if the idea is great? The right questions to ask are: Is it true that other media are being starved of the best minds and resources because creative hotshots in Indian advertising dream and work only in the language of television? Are they self-perpetuating the superiority of TV because they leave the other media for their juniors to handle? And finally: Do creatives unconsciously push TV because their own careers depend on it? Don't look further There are two aspects to understanding the situation. One is the economic or business aspect of why TV is preferred. The other is the human roles and interests of the people involved in the creative and media processes. Thanks to competition, TV in India offers an amazing variety of news and entertainment for a relatively small sum of money. This explains why cable and satellite households continue to grow rapidly (34.6 million at present). As Anisha Motwani, executive vice president, marketing and chief marketing officer, new markets SBU, Max New York Life, says bluntly, "If I can get national reach by investing in, say, three general entertainment channels and spread the message, why would I invest money in 15 newspapers?" In marketing terms, a typical brand funnel would mean a journey from awareness to familiarity to consideration to first choice to purchase to repeat purchase or loyalty. According to Motwani, TV works best for the first two stages. Little wonder then that it is increasingly preferred as a brand building tool over print, which is now used tactically in many of the big-spending categories. R Gowthaman, leader, Mindshare South Asia, says, "TV is critical for most brands as they are in a category building mode and in such a mode, the medium serves as a demonstrator. It helps to show a cause and effect relationship much better than any other medium." As Santosh Desai, managing director and chief executive officer, Future Brands and a former agency man, says, "Going by the need of the market, TV is the medium of choice. The creative person just exaggerates this skew towards TV all the more by swearing by the medium." Is 360 degree solution a myth? Touted by many in the business and dismissed by others as the 'last slide' in a client presentation, the 360 degree solution is taking quite a battering, both in terms of client monies and creative involvement. Says a candid KV Sridhar aka Pops, national creative director, Leo Burnett, "Because the client spends crores on TV and maybe a few lakh on other media, I have to be more involved with TV." Since TV is often the lead medium, the role of other media in brand building has been sharply reduced. Satbir Singh, chief creative officer, Euro RSCG, says, "Print isn't dead, but has surely lost its sting. After pricing itself out, it has got reduced to satisfying the tactical needs or short-term goals of the marketer. So, we see more of 'Hurry offer closes on the 31st' kind of campaigns, as compared to good brand building exercises, on print." The building of the Raymond Man or the Lakme Girl in print now belongs to another era. So much so that art directors in an agency would have been extinct, had it not been the award shows, chuckles Pops. Radio was once a strong medium that fell into disuse until the coming of FM revived it. However, in a typical day at the agency, the seniors wouldn't be involved in the medium.
Another medium that is languishing in creative terms is out of home (OOH). It has been reduced to a reminder medium that usually has the last frame of the TV commercial adapted into a horizontal or vertical hoarding. Shashi Sinha, assistant vice-president, Laqshya Outdoors, ruefully says, "There is a huge lack of talent in this medium and the talent which is there doesn't have the right approach. Mostly, we are selling locations like a Bandra or a Noida, rather than selling an idea." As for digital, most agree that the medium is surviving on bread crumbs of the client's money and attention. It is true that Internet speeds and penetration in India aren't great. However, the biggest hindrance for this medium has been the lack of understanding, says Navin Kansal, creative director, digital, OgilvyOne Worldwide. While search based advertising has been useful in getting small advertisers online, the creative effort by major advertisers and agencies has been largely unimpressive. So, even though clients love to boast that their agency delivers 'holistic or complete solutions', 360 degree would still mean engaging the consumer from every possible touch point. It will be foolish to think that every medium will be given equal weight or spends. And why so? Desai explains, "The concept of a lead medium will always be there because of the economies involved. If the client had unlimited money, he could have spent it in every medium equally. But because we function with a budget, we have to channel a part of it in one medium as the lead, and then logically support it with other media." Star of the show No one argues about the power of TV, especially in the Indian context. Could it be, however, that TV thrives also because it is the medium creative people enjoy the most - and one which is most likely to determine their professional success? The quintessential TVC has elements of literature, photography, writing, acting, music and now, computer graphics – all independent creative forms. In a way, it is the most visible demonstration of the creative person's abilities. At a point of time when print was the lead medium and 'long-copy' ads the order of the day, the copywriter was hardly involved with the making of the TV commercial. "So much so, the client would directly brief the ad film maker and the copy person would only get to see the film in a hired theatre, after it was done. Forget about going for shoots," reminisces KS Chakravarthy aka Chax, NCD, DraftFCB Ulka. However, things have changed drastically now. The fact that TV leads the creative person to fame and glory as people chat about his commercial is undeniable and widely accepted within the industry. Not to forget that, while seeking a job, referring to a recent commercial is likely to have far more impact than a half page ad in a daily. To top it all, a TVC can have a lot of impact, too.
Agnello Dias aka Aggie, CCO, TapRoot India, says, "TV is instant mass popularity. People outside the fraternity would also have seen your commercial." A possible explanation is that each country has its favourite medium and India, with its oral culture and penchant for theatre - and now films - goes with TV. For example, at a point of time, the London Tube was famous for its underground posters. The most prestigious job for a copywriter then was to write a long-copy ad for these huge posters spread across the walls. So, if TV is the Indian creative's favourite medium, is the number of scripts in the portfolio of the applicant a popular way of weighing fresh talent? Most creative directors interviewed were of the view that there were several aspects to the question. For a junior copywriter, command over the language and ability to understand a medium is considered. However, when it comes to senior people, a healthy number of scripts with a sprinkling of awards helps. The second aspect lies in the brand or client requirement. Besides, it has to do with the nature of the client: for a TV-centric brand, scripts would be the order of the day, but for a client such as The Times of India (TOI), which focuses on print-led advertising, the requirement is different. On the flip side, creative folk have always favoured print and poster – and now new media – when it comes to winning awards because it doesn't cost much to create an ad and it is relatively easy to execute. Later, some of these award winning cream of the creative layer are pitched to clients to chalk out TV-led campaigns for their brands, even if the commercials are basic. It's a syndrome described as I-want-Picasso-to-paint-my-wall-white. Behind the smokescreen There was a time when advertising moved just that bit ahead of the consumer. Have creative professionals been left behind in their obsession with TV, even as the consumer is opening up to other media and other forms of communication? In contrast, the West has taken notice of the changing consumer and tweaked content and the medium. Today, the definition of a film in the Cannes Lions isn't restricted to an audio visual aired on TV, but has embraced films played on digital or interactive media. A recent example is the Philips Carousel campaign that swept the Film jury off its feet. Is Indian creative open to other possibilities at all? The answer may depend on how the agency's bread is buttered. Aniruddha Banerjee, president and chief operating officer, Publicis Ambience, says, "For a fee-based client, the agency would behave in a media-neutral manner and wouldn't think twice before suggesting radical ideas in digital or mobile. However, for a commission-based client, the agency is bound to be drawn towards TV." If only clients would pay for an idea, wouldn't that be ideal, wonders Banerjee. The shift to non-traditional media would also depend on how well the current lot of creative executives are trained. The lack of understanding exists on the agencies' as well as the clients' side. The irony is that the typical creative person in his 20s is extremely comfortable with online and mobile but can't seem to use this knowledge when it comes to creating advertising. Ravi Deshpande, chairperson and CCO, Contract Advertising, says, "The mechanics of understanding how a banner will unfold, how the flash content will behave, how the consumer would be led to a microsite and what he will do there, is a bit complex. So, people are taking the easy way out through TV." Another commonly accepted fact in the industry is that the big idea once cracked and executed through TV and print by the traditional mainline agency, is later tossed out and passed on to agencies in other media, leading to mere adaptations and reminder messages. This way, neither the idea nor the other media options are getting a fair chance. Ogilvy India, for instance, recognises this and is trying to physically integrate its other divisions under the same roof for greater integration. Other agencies, too, have taken similar steps. Banerjee of Publicis Ambience thinks that the answer lies in integrating the process first and not just housing everybody together. "Right at the idea or the creation stage, people from all media need to sit together and brainstorm, so that later when the big idea is born, it gets owned and believed by everybody alike," he adds. The solution for a brand first lies in the idea and not just a 30-seconder. Deshpande equates the partnership between people representing different media with the partnership between the copywriter and the ad film director while they work on a commercial. They collaborate intensely, although they don't even belong to the same organisation. The fragmentation of audiences even within TV, the number of channels continues to explode will force creative agencies to improve their expertise in other media. As Gowthaman adds, "The effectiveness of the individual medium is declining and today, I need multiple media to garner my reach." There is no doubt which way the world is moving and the creative folk will have to move that way. But for a few years more, it looks like they will have TV on their minds.

10 Predictions for 2010

10 Predictions for 2010 As we start planning for the next 3 years and move into budget season, it's good to start thinking about the forces that will shape business and marketing in the coming year. Here are 10 thoughts of what 2010 could look like and how this should affect our plans:

1. Global re-bound. 2010 will be the year of the rebound in Asia Pacific. In fact it has already started in most countries. Many individuals and companies will reset, look at the world's challenges and opportunities with a fresh set of eyes, and be even more inventive or creative that we've ever been before. We'll use the pent up energy stored from the recession to springboard us to new heights. As a result, 2010 should be a year to be aggressive and expect greater returns.

2. Asia Pacific really comes of age. This Region will finally emerge as the world's lasting driver of growth because the world needs Asia Pacific more than ever before to move it forward. 2010 will be seen as a globally recognized tipping point for power in favor of this region. This will give Asia Pacific even more – if not the leading - profile in many global companies.

3. The role of leaders and followers will start to be redefined. The age of the powerful leaders will continue give way to the leader who is able to unlock the talent of its followers. In turn, books, courses and seminars about "Followership" will gain in importance. As a result, new managers will emerge and older management styles will change. 4. Disruption will be the norm. With an abundance of choice, products and services need to be even more extraordinary to stand out and succeed. More attention and reward will be given to those who can find greatness within or outside market norms. The need to be more inventive will make creative destruction the norm rather than the exception. Consequently, effective change agents will be in increasing demand.

5. Brands will grow up. People will expect brands to do more than simply satisfy their basic needs. Brands will need to appeal higher up Maslov's Hierarchy of Needs. As a result, brands will take on different roles in society supporting an increasing range and depth of CSR programs. 6. Unique consumer insights will become a brand's greatest competitive advantage. A brand's ability to anticipate people's needs, tap into an un-mined tribe and find "future data now" will be the fuel that drives disruptive ideas and change. The will require a brand to invest more in data analytics and Search.

7. Integration will be the rage. While specialization will remain important, real value will be created by those who can pull all the pieces together and reduce the duplications of resources. This has been the dream of the global communication networks; but the reality, has often been very different. The need to collaborate and operate more quickly, effectively and fewer resources will give rise to the "Integration guru" and truly integrated offerings that consist of specialists.

8. Metrics will rise – marketing decisions will increasingly need to be backed by data to reduce waste and downside risk. The maxim will be that "Whatever gets measured will get done" to "Whatever does not have measures will not get a budget". Consequently metrics and analytics should see resurgence. 9. Grass roots marketing will accelerate. More attention will be given to influencer marketing to get fans, and word of mouth marketing, working harder for brands. 10. Older target segments will matter more. There will be rise in marketing towards the Silver generation because they have more disposable income, are not as fickle and have largely been ignored by brands – which, ironically, will consider them as new target groups.

The changing mindsets of a billion minds
The Changing Mindset of a Billion Minds

Date: 18 June, 2008

"2008 winner of WPP's prestigious Atticus award for Research and Insights."

The mindset of India as a nation is changing. The emerging Indian mindset is finding its roots in the Kshatriya values of the traditional warrior class as opposed to the Brahminical values of the priestly knowledge class that has been the biggest influence of the Indian mindset so far. The new India has found a leaf within its cultural roots in the Kshatriya way of life which is putting an accent on extrinsic values of action, success, winning, glory and heroism as against the Brahminical values of knowledge, adjustment, simplicity and restraint.

The India of today is seeking a "karmic transformation". While traditionally, Indians have taken refuge in the idea of karma and its interpretation that our life is governed by our fate hence not much can be done to change what's writ. The new India is seeking to transform its karma. The emerging belief is that karma is shaped by your actions and it is possible therefore to transform your being; to achieve a life that you desire than live the one that's destined. This desire and belief of being able to change ones' destiny is the driving idea or the core value of the changing Indian mindset.

This larger cultural change is visible in the changing cultural codes. For instance Indians today are no more content with sitting back and waiting for opportunity to strike, on the contrary they are going out and knocking on the doors of opportunity. Take for example, a city like Bangalore, which is facing a genuine scarcity of chauffeurs. In general, the Southern states in India are more conversant with English as a language than say the Northern states. As such, most of the people who worked as chauffeurs in a city like Bangalore, had some fluency in English as a language. And the boom in the services sector has meant that anyone who could speak some bit of English and is open to working hard is sought after by the BPO industry. Many chauffeurs in Bangalore have joined the BPO industry at salaries four to five times higher than what they probably earned driving someone else's car. Across strata and town class, Indians today are "activating their destinies".

About a year back, for the first time on national television, 60 million households (those with cable and satellite connection) in India collectively got exposed to a term called "x factor". "X factor" or more specifically the lack of it, was what the judges of the TV reality show "Indian Idol", used to decimate the chances of many talented singers, some with more than 12 years of training in classical music. For the first time the Indian middleclass realized the importance of looking good, dancing well and being stage friendly. They realized that 12 years of training in classical singing may not be enough to win a talent competition, but being able to perform like a rock-star might. For a Brahminical India, which valued talent over flair, substance over style and academics over personality, realizing the importance of the so called x factor marks a never before shift in the mindset. The concept of x factor in many ways defines the code of "currency to extrinsic values" that the new India is learning is a critical instrument to success.

Indians today are realizing how critical it is to push the limits and close the last lap, not letting go before the finish line. The result is that while India has always done well in things cerebral such as chess championships and mathematics Olympiads; we are now beginning to get medals in intense sports like tennis and athletics. In the year that went by, the entire world witnessed the dramatic takeover of the French steel company Arcelor by Mittal Steel, a company owned by an Indian though not operating out of India. The sheer perseverance with which Lakshmi Niwas Mittal approached the deal, making offers, aggressive counter offers, parlaying with the involved governments and stakeholders was a spectacle in the art of "last mile closure".

The biggest fear in today's Indian youth is being ordinary. Their desire is to be extraordinary in everything they do. "Bunty Aur Bably" that has been a blockbuster success across India has at the heart of its story, the desire of a young boy and a young girl from the small town India to escape Fursatganj, a symbolic small thinking town, and make it big in the city of big dreams – Mumbai. The most defining moment of the movie is when the film's protagonist refuses to go for a government clerk job interview, which his father has set up through reference. His refrain to his father is that the job that you have set up for me has neither recognition, nor fun nor fame – the three critical parameters that the Indian youth uses to evaluate anything including a career. As the film sequence goes on to highlight, a set of values exactly opposite to the values of hard work, respect and honesty that his father lived by, spending more than two decades in the government job of a ticket collector for the Indian Railways. The safe playing Indians who made efforts to blend in and be part of the social whole are today universally seeking opportunities that will make them stand out and make them extraordinary.

Evidently so, the newer mindset is rooted more in action than the knowledge orientation of the traditional Indian mindset. This change in the mindset of the new India is becoming the cultural engine of the Indian economic charge. Individual entropies of the young people are adding up to provide a larger momentum to the country on the whole. Considering that more than 500 million Indians are below the age of 21 years and its median age of 25 is even lower than that of China (33) that should make for quite a force.

Monday, April 20, 2009 Building youth brands in a youthful country Dheeraj Sinha, Change Agent in India, writes:

Earlier this month, I was invited to the Esomar Asia Pacific Conference in Beijing to present my paper on "Building Youth Brands in a Youthful Country". Esomar, in case you don't know, is the global think tank that champions research. The conference theme was "Asia – Competing on a world stage". It sought to explore innovative new approaches, ambitious thoughts, novel methods and innovative technologies within marketing and market research in Asia. Within this context, my paper comes from the premise that existing models of youth marketing have a Western eye. Hence rebellion, machismo and a continuous search for what's 'cool' with youth seem to be the formulae for building youth brands. However, there is an inherent assumption in this model – that the behavioral distance of youth from their senior generation is significant. Therefore, this model doesn't work in markets like India which have seen such dramatic change in past decade. Where everyone is feeling young, not just the youth. A market of "middle-aged teenagers" like India therefore needs a new framework for building real youth brands. It needs brands to get away from the traditional need-gap model, focusing more on how the brand links various parts of the consumer's life rather than worrying about what links the brand to the consumer. The world of Indian youth has witnessed fundamental changes especially compared to the previous generations. What was sacrosanct till now has been made fluid. Their desires are discontinuous, their morality is self assessed and they are seeking more a partner in crime than just need gap fulfillment. A consumer segment like this needs a framework of brand building that too is nonlinear and non-hierarchical. A brand framework which is designed to locate the brand into the life web of the youth than plug into it from outside. What's critical also is to look at youth not as a different species, but as just another generation. A generation which is a continuum of other generations and in many ways defines itself in relation to them. Being subject to the same social stimuli, but responding in a different way. To be able to sharply understand how youth as a generation is different, we need to look at them in relation to the other generations. After all what makes the youth has to be in many ways what doesn't make the others! This hypothesis is proven through the success of Bates 141 India's campaign for Virgin Mobile. We were tasked with the assignment to launch Virgin Mobile to the youth audience in India starting in 2008. Our insights on young Indians were that they do not believe in outrageous irreverence and open rebellion. They believe in "managing the system", manipulating it in a pleasing way to achieve their ends. Therefore, the campaign was based on helping Indian youth "bypass the firewall of sanctions" that society imposes on them and positioning Virgin Mobile as an accessory for inventive thinking. Check out the paper and videos and let me know if you can draw any parallels with any other youth brand or country.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

With time to kill

What do you do when your flight is delayed by an hour and half. You fume, rant, curse and act surly with all around. Twenty minutes into this exercise you realize its futility and decide to do something constructive. You call up your wife and the first topic of conversation is the delayed flight. So, now you have an encore about irresponsible airlines and some words of comfort that this will also pass. So, you wait for it to pass. The only place available is near the Jet Airways baggage screening machine. You settle down and pull out a book to read. But, it is impossible to read. It is more interesting to watch people without seeming impolite. For reason best known to the Jet Airways baggage handler he would look up the passenger and ask "Jetlite?". This even though the machine is meant for all Jet flights - Jet Airways, Jetlite and JetConnect. Jetlite for those waking up to the ways of the aviation world is the Low Cost Carrier of Jet Airways Group which introduced the concept of worldclass, premium service to this sector. The response of the premium Jet traveller is to recoil from the very thought and establish that he can still afford to fly premium by saying in a clipped accent, 'Jet Airways'. Of course, the stately response has absolutely no effect on the handler who chucks the luggage on the belt with equal disdain knowing that in the aircraft hold there is no such distinction between low and full fare. While all this is happening in front of me, beside me was a young malayali mother with her hand stretched out patiently waiting for the just planted mehendi to dry before they board the aircraft. Along with this young mother is her plump daughter. In the hour that I have spent with these companions of mine in adjacent seats, I figured why the kid was plump. She moved from slurping her chocolate fudge to devouring her hotdog to creaming her sandwich clean and ready to go at something else. Only exercise: visit to the dustbin to throw the wrapper. The young mother couldn't do much about solids intake because of the smeared hand in green, pulppy paste. They were accompanied with what seemed a distant malayali aunt, very fair in complexion to the dusky mother and duskier daughter. She had a way of saying "bloody hell" to seemingly shocking things that the young lady was saying. Having exclaimed "bloody hell" she would break into sing-song malayalam in her effort to keep the bloody conversation bloody secret. Statistics confirm that where two or three are gathered there has to be Malu interloper. So, the bloody conversation was no bloody secret to me born Malu but gone astray thereafter. Strangely, there was nothing shocking about anything they were saying if you watch Sach Ka Saamna as your daily fare. Guess what, they have announced the flight. Got to go.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Watch David Ogilvy on Accountability in Advertising and Pitch for Direct

Please scroll down to catch the video

David Ogilvy interviewed by John Crichton in 1977. Realized by the American Association of Advertising Agencies AAAA. David is seen as the "pope of advertising". This is the complete interview vers...

Catch me on CNBC TV 18 Storyboard on JWT RMG Merger August 01 2009

I had my 15 seconds of fame with my boss Colvyn Harris, ceo, JWT India when CNBC TV 18 did a story on the news that broke out on July 16 2009 that RMG will fold into JWT and will not exist as an independent entity anymore. 

Will update this post as things unravel.