Sunday, May 30, 2010

Image Consulting for Varun Gandhi

 Varun gandhi is the Gandhi who has been really successful in carving a small niche for himself, thanks to the pre election diatribes that he spelled out against a particular community .Not only did Mr. Gandhi won the Lok Sabha election with huge margins but  also recently managed to become national secretary of the BJP .At this point of time he does not have an image crisis but of course an image chaos , he is donning too many images. In the author’s opinion these are as follows:-
1. A Hindu hardliner who is loved for his arrogance and aggressiveness, a Gandhi with a difference who loves speaking his mind.

2. Sanjay's ambitious son who has a vision and to make it happen he holds the guts to take strong actions.

3. An educated elite who loves reading books, does poetry, holds a post graduate degree in public policy from London School of Economics, has a Gandhi surname and who holds the potential to make an impact in the landscape of Indian politics which is often cluttered by goons, regional chauvinists, pseudo socialists, feudal lords etc.

4. A moron, publicity hungry youngster who will not hesitate to put his foot in mouth to get some attention.

Thus Varun in someone for whom people have very divergent views . Now the author will try to do some image consulting for Mr. Gandhi and will also like to suggest some future strategy:-

1. Be a Right winger but avoid being a an ultra conservative:- Varun must understand that there are lot of takers for moderately conservative Hindutva but there is absolutely no space for ultra conservative agendas neither in the media nor among any sizable mass of public. The kind of speech which he spoke in the pre- election rally is never expected from a statesman. What had happened had happen, with time people will forget all this but what is important is that Varun should never use such stuffs in the nearby future .Having said this it does not mean he should not capitalize on mild Hindutava, issues like terrorism, fundamental Islam, illegal immigration are alarming dangers and if projected in the right spirit holds a lot of potential to influence the voters. Varun being a learned person and a good orator can definitely take lead on these issues and by drafting an objective analysis can surely include those people in his supporter’s base who are definitely not hard liners but have concern for such issues.

2.  No comparison with Rahul:- Varun Gandhi should always try to avoid himself being compared with Rahul Gandhi, since both the brothers belong to the same political family there will always be temptation in the media circles to compare them but Varun must understand the fact the kind and the scale of media attention which Rahul enjoys is almost impossible to attain at this stage of time .So there is absolutely no sense in trying to get himself compared with Rahul .Rather he must try to build his own independent image .

3. Avoid Sanjay's name:- Varun's statement on mass sterilization was nothing but an attempt to show that he too inherits his dad's charisma and vision but it must be understood that it will take Varun nowhere .Though Sanjay was a charismatic leader but he was also very sly and shrewd and was often seen in the Indian media as someone who is autocratic and ruthless, so having Sanjay's tag will not be a wise decision .More over it will also irritate the BJP & at this stage of time it’s not the family tag but the support and encouragement of BJP which is more essential for Varun to Bolster his newly started political career .

4. Leverage his Intellectual capital:-Varun has always been considered as someone who was known for having an intellectual perspective. He must leverage this and should always project himself as a very well learned & knowledgeable individual.

In short Varun must understand that initially he will have a comparatively smaller but reasonably decent enough space to work upon. He must try to use it in a proper way and must avoid making blunders to build a bigger base. He cannot be suave and elegant like his cousin or uncle; he cannot be the cynosure of indian politics like his stylish father, power full like his grandmother, idealistic like his great grandfather but can definitely be the Gandhi with a touch of difference, someone who is learned, aggressive and opinionated. Who speaks when needed and prefers silence when there is no need. Who is witty and has the guts to face the volleys of rapid fires , who has the intellect to take on the media and is not bounded by some "good boy" image, if needed can stretch a little bit beyond to challenge the conventions (but of course more on content & logic and less on rhetoric.)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Image Consulting for Abahy Deol

PROS:-He is the deol with a difference, smart ,suave & stylish. He might not be considered conventionally very good looking but is definitely charming and enjoys a strong brand value among the intelligent audiences .He has a large female fan following too and is considered as someone really cute by his female fans .Known for delving into unknown territory Abhay is never worried of underplaying his character if the script demands .He is someone who is equally comfortable playing various different characters be it an arrogant alcoholic in Dev D , the smart yet emotional thief of Oye Lucky Lucky Oye,or the young lover of Socha na tha .
Bollywood where generally actors are not very well read and well aware he is an exception, reads extensively and had good knowledge of lot many stuffs other than acting , is quite active for social causes & had even lectured at Stanford University .With Dev D this talented actor has also tasted some commercial success & has shown that along with artistic credentials he also holds commercial potential .

CONS: - Though considered as a talented actor he is yet to feature in some A- grade main stream flick as a solo hero .One must understand that India is a country where not too many audience have knack for intelligent films, so until unless one doesn't give hits with the main stream cinema he or she is not going to be a super star. The same might happen with Abhay deol . So far he is considered for his off beat roles and  if he keeps on maintaining the same  image it might happen that in spite of having commercial potential he might not get roles in main stream films .He does a less no. of films & his fans often complain that they have to wait a lot to watch him, he is quite media shy and is not very active in media especially in off line one  .In the author's point of view he doesn't also have a very impressive voice , his low pitch voice sometimes becomes a misfit in the kind of tough roles he does .

FUTURE STRATEGY :-Abhay deol is right now in a wonderful phase of his career where not only has his talent well tested but has also tasted a bit of commercial success .It's natural that a lot of offers would be coming his way , so rather than being choosy he needs to grab this opportunity and must sign a few good no. of films .Secondly he is venturing into production which not be a very good desicion at this stage of time, film production is quite a cumbersome task that often consumes a good amount of time and energy and there is no guarantee of the end result as well, so rather than production what the author feels is that this is time where he should focus more on acting & should atleast do 3-4 films a year. There is no intelligence in making your fans wait for so long .Film production can be taken in the nearby future after establishing yourself as a big name in bollywood .As much the kind of cinema he chooses then surely he is not made for typical bollywood masala film where you don't need to bring your brain along with you to the theatres ,but still there will be a lot of scope for him in the main stream cinema from where he can easily deliver 3-4 films a year.He can surely try for genres like good rom-coms,political thrillers, suspense thrillers, psycho thrillers satirical comedies, book adaption( other than rom coms & political thrillers he has done others so far but on a small scale, he needs to scale it up).As much film makers are concern then he can surely work with the likes of Farhan Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap, Sudhir Mishra, Milan Lutharia, Prakash Jha,Dibankar Banerjee,Raju Hirani, Ram Gopal Verma along with a lot of new comers who are ready to challenge the conventions of the Main stream cinema and can yet deliver hits .Along with this he really needs to expand his visibility in the media, needs to sign more endorsements ,just one LG add is not sufficient, can very well endorse products like electronic gadgets,aparels,fmcg items, cars(not bike),tourism, watches, NGOS, can even try his hand in beverages, alcoholic drinks etc( but should avoid cigarettes & strong beer ).

To sum up what the author will like to sum up is that Abhay is an actor who definitely enjoys a decent amount of fan following, who has so far received no negative branding and there is a large mass of audience who have positive thought for him but can still not be considered as an ardent fan base . It's here where Abhay really needs to work upon,he must understand that there lies a potent base that can be easily converted into a fan following, only thing that needs to be done is that increase the visibility amongst them with the help of more no. of big banner flicks which are marketed well , more media presence and more endorsements .

In the end on behalf of the whole "MANAGEMNET GURU” team the author will like to wish Mr. Abhay deol a very successful career and hope he touches new skies in all the dimensions of his life .

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Few Traits & Skills :A Manager should have

In any industry in order to succeed a manager needs to have a sound domain knowledge but other than this also their has to be a few important traits which are really important if one wants to excel as a manager. These are -

1. Computer/Internet Skills :- A manager must be extremely comfortable with the computer and must have thorough command in various tools like power point, excel, word doc,Gjavascript:void(0)oogle doc etc. Active participation in various social networking sites will be an added advantage .

2. Able Communicator :- He/She should be an able communicator with neither too aggressive nor too submissive kind of persona .A manager must have a pleasing behavior and should always be in a position to communicate the required idea smoothly & convince some one amicably .A good English is more or less a must but knowledge of additional languages will always be an added advantage .

3.Should be Action Oriented :- along with thinking & making plans he must have the zeal to put things in action. ( Mind it this is the most important trait because Planing - Action = Shit )

4. Inclination for reading should be their :- There is no need that a manager should be an avid reader but he must be in practice of regularly going through the latest happenings on and off the business world, few domain specific or interest related websites , one or two magazines . Following a few good blogs, reading some inspiring autobiographies along with some good management books will be a nice add on .( But beware of too much of reading , that might hone your thinking abilities at the cost of putting stuffs into action.)

5. Should not have a very anxious personality :- A manager needs to go through a lot of chaos and ups downs in his course of action, there fore chances of anxiety creeping in is quite high . Now a small degree of anxiety is always helpful in giving a positive push , too much of anxiety will definitely hamper efficiency & decision making ability .

6. Should have some Quantitative approach :- Though their is no need for a manager to be a nut cracker in Maths ,but a mathematical approach is surely a winning trait. A manager must have the ability to observe a qualitative idea with a quantitative frame work

DISCLAIMER :- ( Views here are personal and based on the individual understanding of the author , The author has just finished his 1st year at a B-School with almost no prior work-ex and may not hold the prime authority to give judgment on some thing like this .)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rural Branding:- Political Parties can provide a good opportunity

Rural marketing is surely the buzz word these days .Every company is trying to position their products to the rural customers .A lot of companies are into picture that specializes specifically in rural marketing domain, even the regular big wigs like Ogilvy & Mather has started their own rural branding wings namely " O & M OUTREACH" .

In spite of so much of hoopla going around regarding projecting the rural customer as the next big thing the author is somehow skeptical about this. The basic reason of this doubt is that no matter the rural India constitute a major chunk of the Indian population ,the fact cannot be denied that it still ranks low on per capita income .Moreover in order to cater to the rural India companies need to come up with lot of product & process innovation which they are still not willing to do .Baring few of the companies like Hul who have successfully implemented programs like "Shakti Amma" or Itc there had been hardly any land mark success in the given domain .

But there is an area that can provide a very interesting platform for both the client firm as well as the branding firm to implement rural marketing & this happens to be the promotion of political parties .India the biggest democracy of the world has many national level as well as regional political parties with their political ideology spanning across the spectrum from far right to far left .The fate of these parties are decided in the Lok Sabha election & the Vidhan Sabha election conducted once in every 5 years . What had been seen that though these parties spent huge amount of money in media & promotional campaigns but most of them are spent in print media and tv media which often have low penetration in the rural landscape where as the point to be noted over here is that majority of the voting population (around 70%) comes from the rural India .So no matter what kind of promotion happens in the regular media circle it cannot make any damn difference to the fate of the party until unless the campaign does not target the rural population .The best example is the 2004 Lok Sabha elections where in the regular mass media circles there was hell lot of noise regarding the "India Shining " campaign and almost every news channel predicted that "BJP the party with a difference " is going to win the election but when the result came out to every one's surprise it was n't the BJP but the Congress which made the government .The reason of the BJP'S debacle was very simple , though the promotional campaign targeted the urban mass well it was totally insulated from the rural crowd which in general plays main role in electoral victory owing to it's bigger number .
In spite of such practical examples still the political parties are not serious enough when it comes brand their image in the mind set of the rural voters .The general tendency still is to target them with the same general mass media tools used for targeting their urban counterpart .They must understand that the rural people might be economically laggard but politically they are quite active , only thing that is needed is that if one wants to target them then it must come up with specifically designed local campaigns . One must understand that in the realm of rural india its not the mass media that matters but what does matter is the local as well as the outdoor media activities such as demonstrations, plays, small budget theatres , promotion in local events such as melas, pujas etc, convincing of influential people such as the surpanchs,post masters & teachers who can then convince other people etc .

Professional rural brand management agencies can provide a lot of expertise in this pursuit .Hope this so far neglected domain of branding will soon be taken into consideration and will provide a new set of partnership between the cash rich political parties and emerging agencies of rural branding.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Branding of an educational institute like "TAPMI": few innovative measures

 When it comes to the realm of branding , branding of an educational institute provides a good case to experiment, especially if the institute happens to be some some thing like "TAPMI" which though enjoys a decent amount of reputation in the academic as well as the corporate world but is surely not among the so called Indian ivey league .

In the given blog author attempts to design a few innovative ways that might help in branding "TAPMI" as an institution . (Having said this the blog is not going to describe the general tools of branding that includes the huge offline media & other regular activities such as inter college events , seminars, pr,alumni meet etc )

1. Be Online as much one can & use "TAPMI" as prefix in your user name :-Students should try to be active in lot of on line activities that should include not only the regulars like fb or orkut but also lot of blogs, websites ,forums etc and if possible the suffix "TAPMI " should be added to their regular user name .Exp:- Paritosh@TAPMI, AJAY_ TAPMI etc .That will provide a lot of on line visiblity to the college .

2. Please have more and more mentor-ship programs:- Recently "TAPMI" had started one mentor-ship program in the field of film & media marketing where a passed out alumni is mentoring a few students in the given niche area . Since the author is the part of this program it is his personal opinion that such programs are really of great use , not only do it help in building strong rapport between the college and the alumini base but it also help the current students to get some sort of industry exposure which indirectly make them more employable .

3. Reactivation of Research committee:- The defunct Research committee should be reactivated and students should participate seriously into various research activities .Point to be noted over here is that since PGP 2 can not be very active because of lot of other responsiblities the onus should be on the shoulders of PGP- 1 students .

4. Circulation of brochure :- Placement committee had distributed brochures to the students which they are suppose to submit in their mip( management in practice / internship) firms, but the author feels that a single brochure  per student is not sufficient because in the entire process of mip a student gets exposed to many companies .( for exp:- the author is doing a mip on a purely b2b kind of platform where he needs to consult around 20 big companies for a marketing research work ,similarily it applies for other students also) It will be in the favor of the brand image of college if a brochure is given not only to the mip firm but also to all other related client firms .
Now since further brochures  can not be sent to students what the placement  committee can do is that it can send the soft copy to the students from where the print out can be taken .

Though the given ideas where said in the context of "TAPMI" but can be very well used for other colleges such as IMT, XIM-B,SYMBIOSIS, GIM etc of the same league with required modifications .

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Few misconceptions regarding the BOP customers?

Often companies who want to cater to the BOP customers suffer from some kinds of misconceptions. These misconceptions are not only untrue but they also demotivate big enterprises to see the huge potential available in the BOP segment .Some of them are :-

(1)Bop customers don't have buying potential:- this is the biggest misconception that private enterprises have.BOP customers  have huge potential, albeit they do not have buying power like their well off counter parts.  These people who constitute 4-5 billion of the world population with there own latent needs and demand should not be ignored at any cost .These people might look poor at the surface but they do have capacity to spend and they are doing it .It's estimated that 85% of the population living in Dharavi(mumai's slum) have tvs, more than half of them have mobile phones and so on .
One another important fact thta is often ignored is that these people often pay much more than there well off counter part to make purchases . In economy there is a special term for this known as POVERTY PREMIUM ,often this premium amount is paid on account of poor distributions, lot of intermediaries, lack of accessibility ,vested interest etc.For exp:- a comparatively well off person can go to a bank and can get loan at a decent rate of 10-12% ,but if a poor person has to do the same then due to lack of accessibility he will be forced to go to a local money lender who might charge interest as high as 600-1000%.Similarly due to water mafias generally poor people are forced to pay a much higher price for water than there fortunate counter parts living in middle class areas . Thus this poverty premium provides a real time challenge as well as opportunity for the firms to cater to the BOP customers .

(2)BOP customers don't have collective strength :-This again is a very short sighted vision which firms have for BOP customers . As said earlier most of the BOP customers have access to tv, radio ,mobile phones etc as a result they are also well connected with each other, they have their own minimum requirements and expectations which they expect from various external agencies such as the govt.,NGOS and private players .

(3)BOP customers cannot be catered because of poor distribution facility :-
The genesis of this view lies in the misconception that BOP consumers reside only in rural area and since in most of the developing nation rural infrastructure is not well developed it is often tough to reach to them .Now its true that rural infrastructure is not well developed but a very large chunk(around 35-40%) of BOP customers reside in cities not in villages, as much the rural customers are concern there also the demand is high but due to lack of roads, transport, un availiblity of electricity and tv signals they donot constitute a measure customer base. Companies ought to think innovative and cost effective methods to cater to them. There are companies like Avon and Hul who have catered to such markets by appointing distributors from there own local population who can understand there needs and demands in a much better way .

Serving the BOTTOM OF THE PYRAMID:-Prahalad's one of the biggest contribution

Last week we lost one of the most influential Thinker of our time mr. c.k.prahalad.Mr. prahlad will always be remembered for his end no. of contributions in the filed of management and social science .Though definitely prahlad was known for his writings on strategy and innovations but one of his most remarkable contribution has been the idea of creating wealth at the lower strata of the society .Prahald was the first man to coin jargon BOP ie bottom of the pyramid , according to him poverty is an evil that must be eradicated but it cannot be eradicated by mere political rhetoric or by just doing some philanthropy. It can be scuttled only when proper business initiatives are taken, initiatives that have a clear cut vision , clear cut plan to generate money, clear cut revenue generation model.He proposed that rather than thinking them as a burden business must consider them as a resource and devise such plans that are mutually beneficial , plans that consider the BOP crowd as potent consumers who can be catered by the modern business there by generating profits for the business and the same time should also provide enough entrepreneurial cum development opportunities to the people from BOP so that these people can avail better livelihood .

On behalf of the whole management-guru blog the author will like to pay tribute to this great persona who had enlightened the world of management in the past two decades.