Tag Archives: Nokia

iGod : Apple


Always wanted to blog on this. One of the most beautiful brands – APPLE. Its almost every ad agencies dream to have Apple on their client list. Because Apple does not sell products, it sells an image, a lifestyle, an attitude. An image that people are willing to pay that extra for. Al Ries and Laura Ries often talk about the failure of double branding. Two brands clubbed together for a single product. For eg: Chevrolet Cobalt, Sony Bravia etc. They maintain that two is never better than one. At least in branding. Reason: Over a period of time people tend to get confused with the value or the promise that the brand stands for.

Apple nurtures its brands. Let it be the mac, the ibook, ipod or the iphone. They let it grow on its own and do not forcefully tell you that it is the Apple iphone or the Apple ipod, its just simply put as ipod by Apple in their communication. There is something  that it does beautifully that many brands fail to do. It manages to glide graciously into their category extension without having to compromise on their image. Apple was only computers before 2000 but last quarter ending december 26, 2009, Apple sold 3.36 million Macintosh computers, representing a 33 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 8.7 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 100 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 21 million iPods during the quarter, representing an eight percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.Source: http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2010/01/25results.html

For ex: Al Ries in his biblical book on marketing ‘The 22 immutable laws of Marketing’ tells that a brand that loses its single mindedness and Focus is a brand that is going to be doomed. The examples are of Motorola that tried to enter computers, semi conductors after being the pioneer in Mobile telephones, the leader of which is Nokia that left its other businesses to enter and focus on only telephones.

Apple advertises its product independent of the Apple brand which just sneaks into the last frame of their ads with their company logo. Let it be the macs, the ipods, the iphones or the recent ipads. However they derive their equity form the strong brand that Apple has created. They always seem to come with a magical mixture of a good product and great marketing.  The ‘i’ has become a brand in itself but still does not disturb the equilibrium created by Apple. Nowhere do the image of Apple and ipod clash. They just weave into each other. Even within the ipod there are different ‘perceived’ brands. There is the nano, the shuffle, the touch and the classic. All these vertical extensions fail to confirm that extensions make a brand weaker. It does not if there is logic between the extensions. None gets confused between the promise of any of them. Branding does play an important part in any company or a products success but somewhere along the line its impossible to sell unless you have that perceived differentiation. Apples products are extremely well differentiated. The shuffle is only has 2 and 4 GB, whereas the nano has 8 and 16 GB, the touch is has 8, 32 and 64 GB and the classic is has 160 GB and even the price points never merge. The offering merges only at the 8 GB offering that Nano and Touch provide but they too are highly differentiated from each other.

People don’t think like marketers or say the ‘arm chair critics’. For them Apple is a company that makes beautiful devices let it be computers or music devices.


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Why India needs David and not a Goliath approach

Indiaa..Incredible India

Indiaa..Incredible India

What is India? Why is it Incredible?

“We were all so sad when you ran away from home. Your parents were disappointed and worried when you ran away to Bangalore, but they are happy to see you fine now. “

“I had to aunty. Or else I would have been like my brother and couldn’t have escaped from there. There was so much of trouble at home and they wouldn’t allow me to go to Bangalore for sure. So I had to run. But now that I have got my salary I am sure they are relieved. Please order whatever you want. Waiter! Bring a cup of coffee and two teas.” Said a family of three next to my table when I was having my tea.

This has been the story of India pretty much. The story of India that is eager to earn and consume. That does not want to be tied to boring chores but wants to explore the world that he/she sees. This is not the story of two India’s- India and Bharat, but that of layers of several India’s. Not a monolith but a multi- layered cake according to Rama Bijapurkar. It is a country that has made multi-national corporations kneel according to their whims. It is a country that has embarrassed the foreign companies thought process. A country deserving a different treatment altogether. “A treatment where it won’t be the best policy but the next policy that will succeed”, according to C.K Prahlad.

Indian markets need a David not Goliath

Indian markets need a David not Goliath

A place where the Goliaths of the world’s largest selling shampoo (Sunsilk)were left wondering how to compete against a David (Chik)who was selling shampoos in one time packs (probably used twice or thrice). A place where the lever brothers found that they couldn’t sell Surf against a small time Gujarati player whose name they couldn’t spell nor pronounce. A place where the worlds cult brand Coca cola, has sweetened its drink a little bit to suit Indian taste who generally prefer sweet but finds hard to replace a local brand Thums up, which is anything but sweet, whom they ended up buying and is still the most consumed aerated beverage in India. The irrational exuberance of a global brand flattening the world just hit a big wall when it came to the mother of all diversities.

It has forced globals to reckon that it is a different world altogether. It is a country where the world’s largest toothpaste brand Crest is taking a step forward and three steps back to even think about launching. A country that stops not because of a terrorist attack but of 22 people on the cricket field.

We are like that only

We are like that only

A country where drops certainly form an ocean. Where the bottom percentage of people (Strivers), around 106 million households, have just 2% of the higher household incomes (Prosperous, 2.2 million) but just due to its sheer size of being 48 times bigger, its consumption almost equals that of the prosperous.(Source: IRS Consumption pyramid, IRS 2008). A country where you can’t ignore ‘this’ (prosperous) nor ‘that’ (strivers) but a country of “this as well as that” (Read ‘We are like that only’ by Rama Bijapurkar).

Where it is not the needs and wants that are important as Kotler puts, but hopes and aspirations that dictate consumer behavior. A place which has made Theodore Levitt’s prophecy of a global brand that serves the customers with standard products worldwide, has fallen flat on its face. Where the consumer instead of being dumbstruck by western cults and emulating it, is watching and mixing it with his/her own culture and demanding something that the marketer could not fathom about. A country where the tastes and preferences are so distinct that you cannot predict the sales pattern of two adjacent districts separated by a few miles let alone a state. A place where technology penetration is as high as 63% in one state (Kerala) and just 14% in another state (Bihar). A country where the rural areas are almost ten years behind urban but still demand firms to make a tailored “right-value-right-benefit” product. Those who do that succeed in ways that shifts their economic centres. Ask Nokia. A country that has contributed to a lot of red ink in the firm’s balance sheet but still can’t be ignored for obvious reasons.

A country where consumers don’t upgrade according to your plan but you downgrade to their wishes. A country where focus is hard to maintain (Wonder what Jack trout and the Ries have to tell about this). This is India …Incredible India.. A country that might even see “marketing tourism” like medical tourism.. Where the West can learn about the emerging centre of gravity and how to woo the nasty unsparing consumer.


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