Monday, April 01, 2013


The Elevator Pictch, the VC and Hot Late Night TV slots


The Elevator Pitch

By Harish Bijoor

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 pitch?
-Gubbi Sathish, Jamshedpur

A: Gubbi, let me say it crisply, in an elevator-pitch manner of writing.

An 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 place.

Happy pitching.

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

A: 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.

Apart 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.

The 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.
The 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.

See 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 emotes with.

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?
-Alok Bhaduria, Kolkata.

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 experience.

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 in today.

Harish Bijoor is a business strategy specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.

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