Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Is it time for an MBA in Political Management and Governance in India

If there is any job in India for which you apparently need no qualification whatsoever, it is being a POLITICIAN. But the times are changing and Parties are realizing that more the candidates are educated and equipped to handle the situation, the better it is. In fact, most of the parties have now employed highly placed lawyers to front face media. The likes of Arun Jaitley, Manish Tiwari, Lekhia are all lawyers. Added to this the recent events in AAP have clearly indicated that candidates need some kind of a formal training in Governance and Administration.

No matter what the route to politics is, once elected, the leaders have the same goal of delivering a greater common good. We already have MBA in Marketing, HR, Finance, Systems, Productions and more in India. It is time to introduce MBA in Political Management. It can bring together the elements of all the existing streams plus give a special focus on Governance. Aspirations of people are endless, managing them smoothly without hurting or creating ill-will in the society is the need of the hour. Are our Universities and Institutions listening?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

AAP yahan aayein kisliye ?

The people seem to say “hum ne bulaya isliye”. AAP’s surprising victory appears to be a big case study in itself for the politicos, but it is definitely so for the Marketing guys. Right from the go, the product Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had captured people’s imagination. POLITICS was something that everyone in India wanted a genie for. And AAP was on the scene. The ensuing scenes may not have been as rosy as the Alladin rubbing the Genie, but AAP was able to effectively summarize the collective angst, aspirations and that quintessential integrity & honesty which individuals often seek in their own self. In a market that was dominated by one clear leader, a challenger and a dozen local brands ( SP, BSP, NCP, Shivsena et al), AAP has carved out a niche for itself that appears to have a pan national market.   

Now that they have won the mind-share ( and a substantial vote-share), it remains to be seen how good they prove at governance. Arvind Kejriwal is an ex-IAS officer and will know the way to handle bureaucracy carefully, but his other poet colleagues and psephologists need to be really trained on this aspect. On many other counts like selection of candidates, raising of election funds etc, AAP has set in new trends. They can take “train the leaders” as another first trend that they will set for other parties to follow.  If not actual power, they are going to keep the quality of the leader & challenger brands (like Cong & BJP) on a "continuous improvement" path. On any other day, it would have been a cake walk for BJP to form a Govt. at Delhi. With AAP as the quality service provider in the market, any unethical move on the part of the BJP or Cong would severely dent their image and actually make AAP take a moral high ground. 

Overall, I can see the AAP having carved out a niche from an election that was left to the half-hearted efforts of “the others”. Right moves and AAP is bound to appear on the national scene with a bang. 

Monday, April 08, 2013

JWT, Ford Figo, Bobby Pawar and the silence of CII

Well, we all know the fiasco. So let me get to the point. What has happened in JWT ( Bobby Pawar exiting along with its creative team), is not something new. It keeps happening all the time in other industries albeit never getting into the 1st page of Economic Times.

The Management culture has become so fragile that it simply cannot stand the test of values and corporate governance. I am all the more surprised that corporate bigwigs who raise an eyebrow at the slightest slip of the Govt, are today silent, perhaps sending a message that all are in the same boat.

It is impossible to believe that Ford did not know anything about the ad (it seems they were not even supposed to see it !!). $2 billion is the annual advertising budget of Ford and without doubt the entire Management team at both JWT and Ford would be involved in the creative process.CII is quiet, as is ASCI. The people who took the real hit were the team of Bobby Pawar for believing in the creative process which the advertising industry so beautifully flaunts.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Pope Francis Tweets. A leaf for Indian Babas?




I say why not? The transition to Twitter appears so natural. After all it is so well stated in Hindu scriptures..."Kaalaya Tasmainnamaha..". Go according to the times. Tools like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest only add arsenals to the communication channel for these traditional institutions. However, no institution can afford to stay aloof or they run the risk of getting irrelevant. Youth is not just a sweet target market for the big corporations but also for these Pontiffs, Mullahs, Swamies, Babas and Gurus. 


But social media is a two-way channel. As much as it can be used to communicate your thoughts, it has the ability to shape your own thought in the process and prove to be a pain for those intending it to use it like a newspaper. Many of the Indian Babas ( recently Asaram Bapu and Baba Ramdev) have already experienced this without even their own conscious knowledge. Their comments have been appreciated as well as dissected for sharp criticism. 



At a totally different level, the social media is a channel that has the potential to transform these traditional institutions from being closed systems to interactive systems, ready to assimilate new things and embrace opportunities for change. The Vatican has taken the first step towards it. Can our Babas afford to stay behind?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Marketing the NGO: How to add the Trust factor to organized philanthropy

A few months back, I ended up giving a small donation to an NGO, which went into the critical care of a child admitted in a local hospital in Bangalore. The NGO had brought detailed documents about the child and credentials from the hospital to establish a sense of confidence and trust when I donated the money. 

Of late, however, I have seen far too many NGOs not taking this critical initiative to establish that trust factor with the customer. They will call from some obscure number from Delhi or some other place. They will have a shoddy looking website with messages that aim more at emotionalizing you than establishing trust or confidence. Above all, there is no mechanism for a donor to cross verify the credentials of the organization from a trust worthy third party.

Governments can play a major role in this. Every NGO which is working towards raising funds for such causes should have a unique number verifiable from a website owned by the Government. Every quarter the financial statements of such organizations should be made available at this website for donors and public to see and verify. 

No brand can survive without Trust and it holds true of even Non Government Organizations as much as corporate brands. Organized philanthropy is still in its nascent stage. A timely Government intervention will pave a way for a great philanthropic nation.    
 

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Testimonial Marketing: B2C borrows a leaf from B2B Marketing

In the world of Marketing, B2C is like the King of all. Always preaching everyone about all the tricks up its sleeves. Even recruitment of marketing professionals is heavily influenced by FMCG and other B2C segments.

But of late, even the B2C has begun to take a leaf or two from the B2B marketing book. The latest advertisements of Cars where real owners endorse the car are a testimonial to this. But testimonials have been a long relied-upon tool of marketing in the B2B space. Here only the truth sells and fantasy has almost no place. The biggest of such exercises was seen by Maggi Noodles which got its brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan to spend time with real customers and even got their photos printed on their packs.  

Frugal marketing is very popular in B2B and testimonial marketing in B2C is a pointer to the type of marketing practices now being followed by giants. Celebrities are costly and they may not add value if you go wrong with the matching of your brand personality and that of the brand ambassador. But in the case of testimonials, you cannot go wrong with the match, since they are the real customers. Of course, as usual, the story telling and other fundamentals of ad making still hold good.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Google Cloud Marketing: Tackling a Psychological barrier to Cloud Computing Adoption

All the barriers to cloud computing are not merely technology related. Google's video here takes you to a bit of human history and addresses CIOs and CTOs on how human evolution is based on giving up control to get greater control. Watch this video to see how Google does this beautifully using human history and right analogies to drive home the point. Also a great stuff for education institutions on how they can start collaborating from within. I hope the Indian universities are taking note of this.