Q: I am a start-up and have been told to make
an elevator pitch. The VC has little time. What is the essence of an elevator
-Gubbi Sathish, Jamshedpur
A: Gubbi, let me say it crisply, in an
elevator-pitch manner of writing.
elevator pitch must pack a lot in little time. It must have the compelling
consumer- need argument for a start. It must review and indicate what it will
replace as habit. It should speak loud on the score of irreplacability and
longevity of idea and concept. And finally it must have its profit argument in
Q: Is the DVR (Digital Video Recorder) the
biggest enemy of marketing? Are we not wasting money on television advertising
without knowing what is going where, and what is being zapped?
-Shekhar Khanna, Mumbai
Shekhar, most certainly yes. But this trend has been scented in the top niche
of the viewing masses. The rest of the masses of viewership still remain profitable,
and still want to watch advertising without zapping it.
from DVR's proliferation of channels and the ubiquitous remote handset has
caused for a generation of viewers that is promiscuous in its channel use.
Boredom is worn on the sleeve, and zapping out of channels due to advertising
ennui is a habit today. The person with the remote is normally the youngest one
in the house as well, and the young are even more impatient than the old.
young is what I call the I-Gen: the Impatient Generation. This generation's
patience levels can be best amplified in all of 140-characters. Advertisers on
television get the raw end of the stick when viewership is mixed, with family
audiences that have the young and impatient viewer amidst it as well. Patience
thrives better among solus older audiences.
flip side of it says that if we make our advertising compelling and something
that has something for everyone to watch and enjoy as well, this will not
happen. At least not as much.
Q: Could you list out a set of things I
must look out for when I pick a brand ambassador?
-Varun Mishra, Rohtak
A: Varun, brand ambassadors represent your brand and everything it stands for.
Therefore, when picking a brand ambassador, pick with care. Show as much care
as you do when you pick vegetables and fruits at the local market. If you still
do that today.
the ambassador, touch the ambassador, feel the ambassador, smell the ambassador
and taste the ambassador. Not physically of course, but metaphorically for
sure. All from your consumer perspective. Look for consumer fit as a compelling
attribute. Not whom your girlfriend or wife likes, but whom your consumer group
And do this not with your eyes alone, but see it through the eyes of your
consumer always. Don't get excited by the fact that you have picked a celebrity
of status and mass appeal. Go by what is required by your brand, and go with
what the brand ambassador represents to your target segment consumer.
Brand ambassadors need to have stature, support of the consumer base your brand
appeals to, aura to hold the audience interest and credibility to ensure repeat
usage and purchase and more.
Q: The late-night slot on television is getting to
look more and more exciting. It is getting hotter still with direct marketing
companies going for the kill. How did it come by? Where is this going?
A: Alok, the genesis of this slot is in the business plan of the
direct marketing company. Companies that had products that would not otherwise
sell without a deep insight into the ability of the oblique product to deliver,
such as exercise equipment, tummy trimmers, nose-hair trimmers and certainly
aphrodisiacs and bust and butt-enhancers alike, sought out television slots.
Channels were only too glad to offer slots that had just no takers otherwise.
This was therefore a win-win situation for both the direct marketing company
and the channel.
I do believe we will see a lot more of these around. There will be a
polarization of players. At one end you will have global players with superior
products and at another we will have the local players with inferior
street-side products. You will have high-end under-eye wrinkle remover gels
rubbing shoulders with Rudraksh beads from the Himalayas. And then, in will
step regulation. Regulation that will want restraint. Alok, till then, enjoy the
Q: How important do you rate branding in India? Have we arrived?
-Priya Ganpule, Mumbai
A: Priya, India is emerging to be a brand conscious country. From
a generation that grew up with commodities in every sphere, today's Indian,
particularly the urban Indian, is a brand-besotted animal. At times this
besotted-ness is not even acknowledged. Instead, brands have become a part of
the subliminal DNA of consumption today. Young adults in particular are totally
wound up by brands. Brands turn them on, equally as brands that do not perform
turn them off. Brands have become part of the social economy we live and thrive
is a business strategy specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.