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MediAvataar's News Desk

MediAvataar's News Desk

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Tuesday, 25 August 2015 00:00

Ten percent and rising

We wrote about how the role of Indian women, as agents of change and as consumers, is growing as a result of economic change. As a result, companies need to understand the tensions that define the lives of Indian women today, and to help them realize their full economic and social potential.

Enabled by technology and social media, Indian women – supported by a growing number of men – are taking it upon themselves to force the changes that they need to thrive better and contribute more to a more prosperous India.

One of the most visible examples of Indian women’s use of technology to stimulate social change is the Rap Against Rape campaign. Built around a viral video featuring two female university students speaking out about sexism and rape, the campaign encouraged discussion and additional content creation around hashtag #rapagainstrape.

Indian women are using their newly amplified voices both to tackle the controversial issues that affect them, and to celebrate and promote the more positive aspects of their evolving identities. For example, Queen, a 2014 film, puts a completely new spin on the stereotype of the Indian woman who’s rejected for marriage. Queen shows how such a woman is able to come back from the experience empowered and independent, rather than broken – an example of pop culture finally catching up with the new realities. The (Hindi-language) trailer gives a good flavour.

Tensions and opportunities

In this context of rapid economic change, and slower but accelerating social change, Indian women’s consumption habits are being shaped by two important tensions that present opportunities for companies. Chief among these:

Tradition vs. modernity

While Indian women are pressing for social changes that improve their lot in life and their place in society, it doesn’t mean that they’re looking to reject tradition. In fact, our Global MONITOR research shows that 79% of Indian women believe that it is important to preserve their family’s cultural traditions. Instead, they’re looking for a new balance between tradition and modernity – a balance they’re beginning to explore and express through their consumption choices.

One manifestation of this tension is the rapid growth of two product categories that seem at odds with one another. On the one hand, there are skin-whitening products: Driven by continuing belief in traditions that endorse fair skin as a desirable characteristic among respectable and ultimately marriageable women, Indian women spent US$432 million on skin-whitening creams in 2010, a figure that has been growing at 18% per year.

At the same time, a 2013 study done by the India Centre for Alcoholic Studies revealed that the market for alcoholic beverages among Indian women is expected to grow 25% by 2018, much faster than the 10% projection for the overall industry. This growth is driven by the increasing incidence of independent, professional and happily single women who interact more heavily with their male counterparts in both social and professional settings, in a way that’s traditionally frowned upon.

Financial prudence vs. luxury and enjoyment

On the one hand, rapid economic change has accelerated Indian women’s appetite for products that highlight their status and taste: Our Global MONITOR research shows that, in 2014, 42% of Indian women endorsed purchasing luxury products as important in their personal lives.

On the other, much of India remains mired in poverty. Even for those ascending the socio-economic ladder, there are constant reminders of the need for financial prudence. For example, our Global MONITOR research finds that 76% of Indian women classify getting the best price on everything they buy as important (up from 68% in 2010).

There is a wealth of business challenges in just these two tensions. How to reinvent old categories to make them more relevant? Or to make new categories of interest more accessible? How to help Indian women balance a desire to enjoy their increasing economic power, with their need to secure their financial futures? The prize is large for businesses that get this right.

The poster for Queen is from Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, and is used with thanks.

Source: thefuturescompany

Tuesday, 25 August 2015 00:00

Marketing: When Good People Go Rogue

In the accelerating world of business, the value of brand often is the key to acceptance and success. Apple, Google, Instagram emerged as hands-down leaders in their industries in no small part as the result of their brand. Brand is equally important in other companies large and small. As a result, alignment between Brand Owners and Brand Ambassadors has never been more critical.

For the purposes of this article Brand Ambassadors are defined as any customer-facing individual, group or organization who operates as an extension of your brand; who is often the face of your brand at a customer level. Brand owners are typically centrally located, and must balance the central corporate vision and initiatives with supporting various and often disparate brand ambassadors, be it subsidiaries, sales teams, distributors, location managers, etc., all who have less day-to-day immersion in strategic brand and marketing decisions.

Brand itself is a term that could use some framing. Those of us who are not marketers sometimes mistake the term “brand” as simply referring to the “look” of the logo, content, company, etc. That is certainly a part of the brand, however to marketers, brand has a much deeper meaning that permeates to the core of messaging, customer perspective and a company’s overall place in its industry.

In this context, representatives often fail to see themselves as the brand ambassadors they truly are. Their priorities and responsibilities are focused on making sales, responding quickly to the customer and ensuring no opportunities are lost. They often live in a world where proactive and reactive communications and interactions are occurring in real time and unless they have the tools to get them through their daily work AND to stay “on brand,” it is only natural that brand representatives take matters into their own hands and go a little… rogue.

This can be a frustration to marketers because without tight synchronicity it is all too easy for brand and strategic vision to become disjointed and diluted, no longer defined by the things that make that company a success.

Though the details of this scenario play themselves out differently from company to company or industry to industry, the challenges are remarkably similar, but the good news is, so are the solutions.

Going rogue happens under many titles, and can manifest internally, or externally. Let’s look at a few common examples to showcase exactly how and why, starting with a fairly obvious one: the sales person.

The Best Salesperson. Not the Best Marketer.

The reason you hired your sales force was not for their ability to be great marketers. It was for their skills as great salespeople. The best of who are, by definition, constantly pursuing opportunities to bring in more business, and when they need a marketing aid, they need it quickly; they won’t spend time tracking down or waiting for difficult-to-obtain or inaccessible marketing materials the brand managers have painstakingly created. They will ‘do what needs to be done’ to get the desired information into the hands of their prospect or customer now. And that has the potential for marketing mayhem. We’ve all seen it; ad-hoc sales sheets quickly built to match the particular needs of the moment, lodged in a Word document with an off-brand font and low-res logo. Or a PowerPoint deck with outdated images and a random color palette, and messaging that is off the cuff and, you got it, off brand. Through no fault on either side, both marketing and sales have lost an opportunity to utilize existing materials to present an approved message in an efficient and cohesive way. Your salesperson has spent valuable selling time trying to be a marketer, and marketing has a bank of underutilized assets. It’s an unintentional yet equally frustrating situation for both.

The Non-marketer Marketer

In addition to a traditional sales force, there are a variety of other stakeholders who interact with your customers on a daily basis – and they, too, are rarely marketers themselves. They’re your location managers, service delivery points, distributors, franchisees… They might be several degrees of separation away from central marketing resources. But they’re still the face of your brand. The dexterous marketer understands the importance of aligning these client-facing communication “channels” with corporate initiatives and brand standards, while ensuring marketing doesn’t unintentionally create roadblocks or make it difficult for them do their part in the business.

The Rogue Marketer

Then there are those within your own department who “go rogue.” The modern business world is complex and ever expanding; marketers must be nimble enough to navigate changes like new business acquisitions, and corporate expansion into additional product or service areas. They have their own set of responsibilities and expectations they need to meet. You may be well familiar with the marketing manager who has just been given responsibility for a newly acquired business that has yet to be fully developed or integrated with the core business and brand, but for which they are already receiving requests for marketing materials. Are they to answer the request, even if it means distributing a piece branded from the previous business? Consider global expansion too. Is central marketing – often responsible for disseminating information across a new region or culture – customizing materials that will resonate appropriately with that market? If central marketing isn’t handling execution, are local and regional marketers developing culturally-relevant materials that still align with the corporate brand?

Different Industry, Same Challenge

As we mentioned earlier, these issues are industry-agnostic. The needs of, let’s say for example, a health system acquiring previously independent, single-location hospitals may seem very different from a retail outlet with stores nationwide. But if you really think about it, the challenges they face are often the same, at their core. Whether the business is insurance, retail, manufacturing, or healthcare, the goal is to enable the faces of the brand – be they internal or independent sales reps, store owners, distributors, managers at satellite locations, etc. – to get what they need, when they need it, in a brand-consistent and easily accessible way.

Plan and Process are Key to the Solution

The bottom line is, rogue marketing affects the bottom line. There are tangible costs associated with having your employees searching for buried assets, creating inconsistent materials and recreating existing collateral, instead of focusing on their own jobs. Likewise, consider the time and effort marketing spends producing quality content, then calculate the waste when it goes unused or underutilized.

Today’s top performers recognize the critical role technology plays in stemming this loss in focus and ultimately, revenue. It’s why they proactively invest in disruptive and/or emerging technologies such as solutions that organize, control and disseminate marketing materials efficiently and effectively. The improvement in ease of business pays for itself quickly, giving them a real edge over their competitors.

In this day and age, the cost of inefficiency is exponentially higher, as the pace of business gets increasingly more rapid. Time diverted from core competencies costs real money, and lets competitors edge their way in through the cracks. Organizations that operate with dexterity, speed and agility are the ones better positioned to thrive in business today. And that’s precisely why Leaders vs. Laggards view marketing technologies not as “nice to haves,” but as “must haves.”​


Authored by Jeff Sammak,President and Founder of Strata Company, a marketing, communications and technology company.


Sweeps 5 of the biggest awards at the Sixth Edition of Asia’s Best Employer Brand Awards 2015

In an industry where everyone is hunting for the best of talent and working towards retaining them, Viacom18 has emerged an inimitable leader by winning the much coveted “Dream Companies To Work For” Award at the recently concluded Sixth Edition of Asia’s Best Employer Brand Awards 2015, Singapore. At the prestigious awards, Viacom18, also clinched four other big wins four other big wins- “Award for HR Strategy”, “Award for Innovative Practices in HR”, “Award for Talent Management” and “Award for Excellence in HR through Technology”. Emerging as the hottest entertainment behemoth, Viacom18 proved that a winning workplace culture doesn't happen by chance. Staying ahead of the curve in the M&E industry means building a people focused organization and promoting a culture of happy employees.

Hosted by the Employer Branding Institute, World HRD Congress and Stars of the Industry Group, and endorsed by Asian Confederation of Business, Asia's Best Employer Brand Awards recognizes the top organizations which have achieved excellence in building their brand as an employer of choice. With more than sixty organizations competing against each other for these coveted titles from over sixteen countries, Viacom18’s whopping wins proved the power of their people-first philosophy.

Speaking on the win, Mr. Abhinav Chopra, Executive Vice President Human Resource, Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd said, “We are delighted to have been chosen as the winners at one of the most prestigious award functions that set a benchmark for being a role model. It is heartening to receive recognition for our progressive people practices that enable our employees to deliver exceptional work and contribute more. As we continue on our journey towards strengthening our position as an employer of choice, we are grateful to all our employees for truly making Viacom18 a dream company to work for.”

Riding on its people-first philosophy, Viacom18 has always been on the innovative side of creating employee policies - be it offering tattoo allowances to helping people care for their pets through a special pet allowance, the company knows how to keep their employees happy. A robust set of benefits which include a great medical insurance plan, pension plans, wellness initiatives for physical and emotional wellbeing of employees to ‘Friday Chills’ - soirees once a month for encouraging inter-personal communication and relationships at the work place with a bit of fun, Viacom18 has always made the office - a fun and a wholesome environment to be in. Focus is also laid on learning opportunities through interesting options such as ‘Back To School’ and ‘Young Leaders’ Development programs’. Recently, Viacom18 launched another innovative initiative - ‘Internal Career Opportunities’ (ICO), a platform designed to enable the organization to retain its talent and provide them with opportunities to grow within the organization, across verticals in a role/ function/ brand of their choice. With this initiative, Viacom18 has proved once again that they are prepared to be at the top. For good.

Previously, Viacom18 has been conferred with various distinguished awards for their HR Practices:

·         Global HR Excellence Awards 2015: Award for Leading HR Practices in Quality Work-Life

·         Global HR Excellence Awards 2015: Award for Best Leadership Program for Middle Management

·         Global HR Excellence Awards 2015: Award for Best Campus Recruitment/Fair

·         Great Place to Work 2012 & 2010: Ranked 2nd in Media and Entertainment in India and 7th across companies with employees less than 1000 employees

Great Place to Work 2010: Ranked 1st in Media & 26th across industries

Amir Kassaei, Worldwide Chief Creative Officer of DDB Worldwide, has been announced as a speaker at the London International Awards 2015 Creative LIAisons program.

Kassaei is the latest industry figure to be announced for this year’s program, adding to a star-studded bill of speakers that includes: John Merrifield, Ted Royer, Matt Eastwood, Emad Tahtouh, John Mescall, Ralph van Dijk,Chris Smith, Pum Lefebure, Dörte Spengler-Ahrens, Taras Wayner and Keynote Speaker Daymond John.

Barbara Levy, LIA President, comments:This is Amir’s third year speaking to the Creative LIAisons attendees. Amir is one of the most straightforward and inspiring individuals this industry has to offer. His continued presence is a way for him to directly reach out and share his wisdom with all of the bright young talent.”

In 2003, Kassaei joined DDB as Chief Creative Officer and Associate Partner of DDB Germany, where he quickly helped reshape the agency. After joining the agency as one the youngest Chief Creative Officers in company history, he quickly transformed it into one of the most creative and successful agencies in the world. Under his leadership, DDB Germany has also been ranked the most awarded German agency in the History of the Gunn Report. In February 2011, Kassaei was appointed DDB Worldwide Chief Creative Officer.

He is one of the most awarded Creatives in the World, he and his teams are the recipients of more than 8,000 national and international awards, including more than 250 Cannes Lions in the past five years.

The LIA 2015 Entry System is now accepting entries through August. Judging will take place from 1st October to 10th October. The shortlists will be announced as each judging session concludes, with winners being announced 10th November.

MEC India, a leading media agency, has been awarded the media duties for ParentCircle, for its upcoming products and platform. MEC won this account after a multi-agency pitch.

A household brand of Shri Harini Media Ltd (A Ramco group associate), ParentCircle started off as an English monthly magazine that caters to various subjects related to parenting and child development. After tasting its initial success, SHML also garnered mileage with Chellamey - a monthly Tamil magazine exclusively designed for Tamil reading audience around the subjects of parenting and child development. Taking this success further in an anticipation to strengthen its product portfolio, ParentCircle is planning to launch its new product in the market and create a demand for subjects like parenting and child development.

Commenting on the win, T. Gangadhar, MD, MEC India said, “We are delighted to associate with Parentcircle. ParentCircle is driven by a vision to bring about a positive transformation in the Indian parenting community. We look forward to an exciting partnership”.

Nalina Ramalakshmi, Founder and Managing Director of ParentCircle says, "This is another significant moment for ParentCircle. We are extremely pleased to partner with MEC to help us in our growth strategy. Given the proven record of MEC worldwide, we believe this partnership should bring in more efficiency into our overall media planning. We now are best placed to optimise the opportunities available in the market."

The account will be led from MEC’s Chennai branch.


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