By Harish Bijoor
Q: I have the option to co-sponsor a
motor-sporting event. Does it make sense?
-Rajat Goel, New Delhi
Rajat, I wish you had indicated the business vertical you work in.
speaking, I do believe Motor-sporting events are good occasions to brand. It is
however important to maintain integrity of product with integrity of event. A
Motor-sporting event is an excellent location to brand everything from engine
oil to motorcar to motorcycle. And maybe even sunscreen lotion. But not a
potato chip for the moment.
The auto sector in India, which already has 662 variants on the roads of India,
can use these events to good advantage. The nodal event of them all will be the
NOIDA F1 circuit event. Enjoy the passion.
Q: What is the most common reason of brand repositioning?
-Shonali Kapoor, New Delhi
A: Shonali, a brand goes in for
re-positioning due to several factors. One could be the fact that the
competitive framework of the market has changed dramatically, and the brand
needs to stay relevant and original under the new circumstances. Yet another
reason could be due to the action of corporate merger and acquisition. And yet
another reason could be the fact that the brand owners want to re-jig the image
of the brand altogether.
The most common reason however is
the reason of wanting to get more aggressive, relevant and contemporary in a
new competitive market situation. The reality is that consumers change. Marketers
and brands change slower than their consumers. In order to keep pace with
fast-changing consumers, brands need to go in for re-positioning exercises.
Q: Where is e-commerce
headed in a country like India? A dead-end?
-Bhaskar K Rao,
A: Bhaskar, that question seems to pack a lot of
pain. I am not negative on this though.
I agree that e-commerce is an old buzzword in India
today. It peaked as a word of tremendous resonance in B2B business space during
the pre dot-com bust years. Today however, it is a much more mature arena that
depends not on eyeballs and clicks, but on core solid business transactions
that are getting more and more monetized. E-commerce platforms today depend
largely on actual physical transactions than on advertising and eyeballs and virtual
To that extent, e-commerce in India today, of both the B2B and B2C
avatars, are that much more mature and robust in their business models at play.
Growth trends are dependent on category. Some categories such as on-line
ticketing are big arenas of growth and percolation. The IRCTC is a classic
example. What is really slow in growth is the arena where last-mile
delivery issues still persist. Anything that you are able to fulfill completely
on the Internet, from choosing to buying and delivery, works best. E tickets
are classic examples. When there is a courier delivery that accompanies, this
is where there is a struggle. And when the cinema theatre adds an Rs.20
“convenience charge” on e-tickets, it bites a bit more than it must.
Players in the category are still learning. Learning
to grope and cope.
married couple-stars work better in brand endorsement or do un-married ones?
Saro (I am sure friends call you that, and am risking the appellation), when
you pair a completely new couple who have nothing whatsoever to do with one another
(be it in terms of marriage, open-relationship or for that matter even
clandestine relationship), the chemistry in a piece of advertising is that much
more. Consumers love the chemistry between models in life-style advertising,
and not the lack of it. Sadly, a marriage or a relationship sublimates
chemistry to a lowest common denominator level. In matters sheer advertising.
A set of new models working together in an ad like Genelia D'Souza and Virat
Kohli for Fastrack works that much better. If I was to take an example
from the same stable of Titan, I do believe Amitabh and Jaya works that much
Q: What’s the gifting market potential in India?
-Sidarth Keshav, Patna
A: Sidharth, the gifting market in India is a large
one. Any estimate you can really put onto it is really an under-estimate.
Recent numbers indicate the size of the market to be some 4000 Crores INR.
Gifting adopts many avatars in India. There is festival gifting that perks up
during Diwali and Dussehra and Raksha Bandhan and 26 other prominent
gift-oriented festivals of India. Then there is the wedding gifting
season. And then there are birthdays as occasions of gifting. Add to it
Corporate gifting. Add bureaucratic gifting to it, and you have a Pandora's box
of gifting occasions in India.
Gifts themselves are of a myriad kind. They cover a gamut of literally
everything. Fruits, dry-fruits, sweets, clothes, jewelry, auto, and more.
Every brand in every category can aim for a piece of
this big pie.
Q: In sum, what is a good brand
-Jolly Sinha, Mumbai
A: Jolly, a good brand is one that treats its customers as
friends. A brand cannot ever exploit its customer. It is therefore important to
build brands and brand practice with care and integrity. Just don’t work too hard
to push the brand message. If your message is good, it will find its way on its
own. Build a good message first. Give it a nudge in the beginning for sure, but
let it be then.
The merit of good branding is in the brand thought and promise,
rather than the process which makes it popular.
is a business strategy specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.