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Trend Watch


Facebook: Communicate with Your Target Segment

Consumers not only join fan pages as a way to track various businesses they want to patron or support, but also to offer and receive product recommendations. Facebook also provides consumers with a scope to share product or service experiences with one another on the walls of corporate fan pages. More than one-third of the consumers, including 38% of males and 34% of females, feel that Facebook is a good tool for researching and promoting products. Research shows that a positive referral from a ‘friend’ on Facebook influences the purchase decision of almost 70% of the consumers.



Free Pricing

Offering free pricing is a fast growing and a successful sales strategy. In the offline space, pharmaceutical companies provided free samples to doctors long before we started seeing multiple free products being offered in the online space. Hotmail was a pioneer of free webmail email service. Today, we have open-source programs as an alternative to almost any paid software. Wikipedia has emerged as the largest free online encyclopedia; Craiglist provides free classifieds and Google provides most of its services free of charge.


Piracy or Free Promotion

The list of industries affected by piracy range from pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, apparels, fashion accessories to digitally distributed products. Software, Music CDs and DVDs, Movie DVDs and Games – all have their pirated versions freely available for those who know where to look for. For many years, companies that make these products have vociferously fought against piracy, insisting that it erodes their profit margins. In recent times, however, studies have shown that one pirated copy does not necessarily mean loss of revenue. And in some cases, piracy might even help the product.


Impact of Color

Color has an emotional and psychological effect on all levels, from personal preferences to business. Color plays a major role in business. It influences the brand logo, image, signage, display, print materials, and the product itself. According to Leatrice Eiseman, Director of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training, Executive Director of the Carlstadt, NJ-based Pantone Color Institute, and author of the Pantone Guide to Communicating With Color and Colors for Your Every Mood, "60 to 70 percent of the buying decision is made at the point of purchase. With so many products vying for the consumer's money and attention, the effective use of color is one way to capture their attention. Consumers are in an emotional mode when they shop. And when they are in an emotional mode, they are more visually attuned." 


Promotion through Spokes-character

Spokes-characters are animation/cartoon characters created by a company to promote a certain brand or product. These characters are used to deliver the advertising message using colourful characterization and quirky characteristics.

Use of spokes-characters has been seen in the media since the late 1800s the world over and has been noticeable in Indian media since the 1980s, from the famous Amul Girl in the '80s to the more current Zoozoos promoted by Vodafone. Other examples of spokes-characters in the Indian media are the Air India Maharaja, Pillsbury doughboy, ICICI's Chintamani, etc.


Chief Customer Officer

The Chief Customer Officer (CCO), an executive level position, is a relatively new title in the business world. The role emphasizes attention to customer needs and expectations in a more organized way than it has been done ever before. The CCO bridges the gap between businesses and their customers, production and products.

People with experience in customer services, sales and promotions are known to make good CCOs. These executives can be judged both for their problem-identification and problem-solving capabilities. A good CCO simply knows who wants to buy what, why and when, so that companies can produce just such products!



Speech Analytics

Speech Analytics primarily refers to techniques used to analyze speech. This involves analyzing characteristics of spoken words, phrases and linking with tone and volume of the audio.

The process of Speech Analytics can broadly be described as follows:

  • Extract keywords or phrases from the speech important for a specific business challenge or objective.
  • Identify the gender of the speaker.
  • Separate speech from non-speech content (e.g. noise, silence, etc.).
  • Understand the emotional character of the speech. e.g. unsatisfied customer will have certain characteristics as compared to a customer just making an enquiry.
  • Use a combination of above to get desired intelligence.


Number Portability: Learnings from Other Countries and Impact on India

Number portability enables mobile phone users to retain their mobile phone number even when they shift to a different service provider. Consumers can take their number with them to a different service provider for better deals, connectivity, plans or coverage in certain areas. No longer will the mobile phone number be owned by the service provider and no longer will dissatisfied customers remain hostages to apathetic wireless service providers. Number portability will have a significant impact in India where the total number of mobile subscribers was more than 450 MM at the end of August 2009.


Cause Marketing: Bringing Cause and Marketing together

Cause marketing covers a wide range of marketing activities for a business. Primarily, it aims to link product or services of a company to a social cause. This leads to greater sales and more importantly, builds favorability in the minds of customers. The creation of the term is credited to American Express, who helped raise close to $2 million over a four-month period for the Statue of Liberty Restoration project. The marketing campaign led by the company used a penny for every use of their card and a dollar for every card they issued for the restoration project.


Fear Marketing

Fear as a motivating factor can be effectively used to grab the attention of the consumers, by combining credible threats with doubt and uncertainty. Whether it is the fear of losing something valuable or acquiring something dangerous, fear is a driving force that can be used to motivate the target audience to act accordingly. In fact, among the two varied emotions that are used as marketing tools, fear and hope, the former can induce customers to take prompt action faster than that of the latter.


Global Recipe with Local Spices

Why did the breakfast cereal giant Kellogg’s had to launch ethnic flavors like mango, strawberry and saffron in India? Why Pepsi’s slogan didn’t create an impact in China even after being written in their native language? Why did the leader in children’s TV entertainment Cartoon network had to counter a threat posed by its rivals in India?

All this could be attributed to several reasons or just one i.e. Localization: the process of adapting a product or service to a particular language, culture and desired local ‘look and feel’. When Pepsi was marketing its products in China, they used a slogan that read "Pepsi Brings You Back to Life". Translated into Chinese however, the slogan meant, ‘Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave’. Channels like Nickelodeon and Kermit started showing cartoons like ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, 'Pinocchio’, and 'The Jungle Book’ to which the Indian viewers could relate more as compared to shows on Cartoon network.