Wednesday, June 7, 2017

In the same league?



Indian management education needs to market itself better so that it is in the thick of it rather than merely on the outside

As an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and someone who is a visiting faculty at a few IIMs, I have always been intrigued by this question.
How do Indian management schools compare with those globally? Are they in the same league? Here are a few thoughts for your consideration.

Yes IIM and ISB are good but… The problem in India is the proliferation of management institutes of all sizes, shapes and hues, many of whom have dubious credentials even if they are housed acres and acres of real estate! So, I think for purposes of this discussion, we must stay with just the top IIMs and ISB when we speak of comparison with the topflight management schools.
So the important point that we need to keep reminding ourselves before we get carried away is the fact that we have less than a handful of topflight management institutes in the country and that´s a sobering thought.
So the challenge for educators is how to make the other institutions comparable with the global ones.

One of the biggest differences in favour of global schools is the diversity and experience of the students.
It is not uncommon for students to interact with people from over a dozen countries, with many of them having commendable work experience.
This improves class participation enormously and promotes cross cultural discussion.
A student from India is interacting with students from Germany and Japan which gives him a completely different perspective of the consumer in these diverse markets.
The scope for learning from one´s peers is truly enhanced and consequently the quality of education.
It is truly global in that sense.
There is a sameness to the profile of the students, say in IIM, with a high percentage of freshers.
While that certainly makes sense from a placement perspective, it certainly doesn´t make for high quality class participation.
To a certain extent ISB is moving in the direction of global students, but the IIMs still have some distance to cover in this respect, assuming however that this is an important objective.

Over the years, there has been a lingering doubt about the management faculty in India not spending enough time on original research.
The research papers presented by them are generally a lot fewer than their international counterparts and there have been questions raised on about the quality of the papers themselves.
This is a serious lacuna in the management education ecosystem of India and while the IIMs, particularly IIM Bangalore (because I am more familiar with it), are addressing it on a war footing, the perception largely justified, is that barring ISB to a limited extent, the problem persists.
This gap has to be bridged.
It is certainly a fact that management teachers in India can get away with limited efforts in the research space.
This has to be addressed on a war footing if India is to make large strides in closing the gap with the western world.

The very nature of management education makes it obligatory for students to keep interacting with industry.
While all institutes attempt this, I feel from my own personal experience that many of my friends who have spent decades in industry are giving back to the students by way of being guest and visiting faculty.
Sadly, whatever we may bring to the table, our breed is never equal to the academic because we do not have PhDs.
There is a distinct class differentiation.
The students however get substantial value from their seniors from in industry who are spending more time in academics today.
They bring a lot to the table, having worked on industry problems and are still in touch with live business problems.
Management schools have to find a way of to harness this talent which is floating on the periphery and integrate it with the mainstream for the benefit of the students who will be the richer for this.

We live in exciting times, with the internet breaking all barriers and bringing the world closer together despite the efforts of a few. The challenge is to grow with the times so that we can catch up with the western world which seems to have a head start in this important field.
Yet, the offers enormous possibilities given its diversity and the size of its market.
Indian management education needs to market itself better so that, it is in the thick of it rather than being merely on the outside.
We have demonstrated that we can beat the curve in certain categories like mobile phones.
Now´s the time to extend the scope of this achievement to management education as well. Let´s hope that the journey is not too long.

The author is the CEO of brand-comm and visiting faculty at leading management schools.



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

To Goa, with Vodafone love

Clients think showing older people in ads isn’t aspirational. But that’s hardly the case! 
 
I have always been an admirer of Vodafone India’s advertising, even if I am not a great fan of its network or service. Have you seen the new campaign that features an old couple going to Goa on their second honeymoon? 

I have seen three ads - and perhaps there are more — featuring a South Indian couple who are (probably) sent on a holiday to Goa by their children and grandchildren. The ads feature a smart couple, probably in their sixties, going to Goa after 35 years, and their experiences, all of which are captured through the mobile services of Vodafone. 

One of the most refreshing aspects of the commercials is the choice of models — a couple that could easily have been your uncle and auntie - cheerful, modern and completely at ease with their accent! Often, a touch of realism and characters who don’t look and act like models, can create a huge difference from the often phony, superficial stuff that most commercials subject us to.
But, about the communication... 

Goa here we come

The couple lands in a Goa railway station and is searching for the cab driver who is supposed to pick them up. 

They do a video call with their daughter perhaps, who asks them to look for “a guy with a ponytail”. And our uncle promptly asks “ponytailaa?”, leaving the audience with no doubts as to his State of origin! Thanks to Vodafone and its service, they locate the driver and go off to the resort in a cab, with the driver asking them if it is their first trip to Goa.

Whilst this commercial is probably the weakest of the three, it establishes the central characters and their presence in Goa. We also get a sense that they are going to be there for some time, going to do some crazy things!
 
Hiring a scooter and zipping off…
The next commercial features the couple asking for directions to the “Dil Chahta Hai Fort”. And zillion bystanders give conflicting directions! A consumer knows all too well about Indians who are so well meaning that they will give you directions, even if they don’t know! You can only admire their desire to help. 

Again, one’s attention is drawn to the detailing of the models, who give you a local flavour. It reminds you of numerous trips when you were taken for a ride by well-meaning people who gave faulty directions! The Uncle, realising that he is going nowhere with all the ‘help’ logs on to Google maps and takes off with his saree-clad mami in the pillion, secure in the knowledge that Google maps is there, working seamlessly with the strong Vodafone connect.
 
Mama gets a tattoo

The third commercial shows mami receiving a video call while she is having a ball with her new-found friends, some of whom have zany ponytails. When they ask where their dad is, we find mama proudly getting a tattoo with the name ‘Asha’ inked on it! This is arguably the cutest commercial, as it shows an old couple cheerfully going with the flow of the moment and doing things that are usually associated with younger people. 

A culture of creativity
Brands that are stand-outs in advertising usually set benchmarks for creativity that others strive to achieve. Vodafone, with its girl and the pug dog, and the zoozoos, has consistently created highly watchable ads.

I am not sure if the current ads will match up to the earlier ones in terms of creativity and recall, but it is certainly something that customers like me have noticed. All too often, clients and agencies think that showing older people in advertising puts off younger people and is not aspirational. Hardly! People will gladly watch advertising as long as it beats the clutter.

They will remember advertising if it has memorable characters, irrespective of their age. Today, more and more middle-aged and older people are living life to the fullest, refusing to get stereotyped. And the current Vodafone campaign is really a recognition of this trend.
Remember, the best advertising reflects the times we live in. And we certainly live in interesting and exciting times!




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Patanjali must mean quality. If there is a problem, the brand needs to own up and fix

In the light of the recent event of suspension of Patanjali Ayurved’s amla juice by the armed forces’ canteen stores department following a laboratory report declaring it unfit for consumption, brand experts think it’s a serious allegation against the brand and that Patanjali should come out clean and take remedial actions.

N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA opines that the FMCG major should opt for a complete quality check to address the issue. “Patanjali has always been product first. Now when they say that Patanjali’s first product, amla juice, is not fit for consumption, it is an extremely serious allegation against the brand. And, it should be dealt with utmost seriousness. Patanjali should overhaul their entire quality setup because people have placed their trust in them. They should focus on quality more than growth. They have to really shake up everything and relook their processes,” he adds.

Ramanujam Sridhar, Founder and CEO, Brand-Comm agrees: “I think it’s a warning signal for the brand. They need to take it seriously and come out clean in terms of what remedial actions they are proposing and try to address it.” Sridhar warns that the competitors can blow up the issue indirectly and use it to their advantage. “This is indicative of the fact that they do not conform to standards. You don’t know how the competition will react,” he adds.

Harish Bijoor, Brand Consultant and Founder Harish Bijoor Consults Inc., advises the brand to be careful. “Brands that are consumption oriented need to be careful about such incidents. Yes, it does create a scar on the brand, but fortunately, scars have a way for vanishing,” he says.
However, one of the marketing experts thinks otherwise. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he says he does not believe that the brand’s image will be affected. Yet, acknowledging the issue is necessary to salvage the situation. “In this instance, I don’t think Patanjali is going to have any impact. It is strong and vibrant. Generally, brands are built on the minds and hearts of consumers. They have full faith and credibility. But, someone from their (Patanjali’s) end should come and clarify. They should not remain silent. They need to test out the sample again, not from the same lab. The best thing is to be transparent about the situation,” he suggests.

The product happens to be one of Patanjali Ayurved’s first launches, before it started manufacturing other products. According to media reports, the batch was tested at the Central Food Lab in Kolkata and Patanjali has withdrawn amla juice from all Army canteens.
In the past as well, the Rs 5,000-crore Patanjali Ayurved has been pulled up by regulators over its claims. It has been questioned for selling noodles without the relevant licences. Last year, FSSAI directed its Central Licensing Authority to issue a show-cause notice to Patanjali over its edible-oil advertisements that were allegedly misleading. However, this time, it is the Army which has made the claim, which both Sridhar and Chandramouli find is a serious issue.

Chandramouli adds, “This really casts a doubt even for the best of Patanjali’s endorsements as the Army does not take this call too often.” 

Sridhar raises another important point about Army canteen stores that serve customers including personnel of the Army, Navy and the Air Force as well as former staff and their families: “The Army pulling up Patanjali is definitely a matter of concern because canteen stores are an important customer for many brands because of better pricing and its dependence by Armymen and former Armymen. If the reason why this brand is suspended by the Army extends to other customers, then it’s a bigger problem. Also, if there’s a safety issue or non-conformity to certain prescribed standards, then anyone can object to it.”

The armed forces department reportedly caters to around 120 lakh consumers.
From the brand’s perspective, Chandramouli concludes, “Patanjali must mean quality. If the quality drops, the consumers will drop the brand like a hot potato.”
In the light of the recent event of suspension of Patanjali Ayurved’s amla juice by the armed forces’ canteen stores department following a laboratory report declaring it unfit for consumption, brand experts think it’s a serious allegation against the brand and that Patanjali should come out clean and take remedial actions.
N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA opines that the FMCG major should opt for a complete quality check to address the issue. “Patanjali has always been product first. Now when they say that Patanjali’s first product, amla juice, is not fit for consumption, it is an extremely serious allegation against the brand. And, it should be dealt with utmost seriousness. Patanjali should overhaul their entire quality setup because people have placed their trust in them. They should focus on quality more than growth. They have to really shake up everything and relook their processes,” he adds.
Ramanujam Sridhar, Founder and CEO, Brand-Comm agrees: “I think it’s a warning signal for the brand. They need to take it seriously and come out clean in terms of what remedial actions they are proposing and try to address it.” Sridhar warns that the competitors can blow up the issue indirectly and use it to their advantage. “This is indicative of the fact that they do not conform to standards. You don’t know how the competition will react,” he adds.
Harish Bijoor, Brand Consultant and Founder Harish Bijoor Consults Inc., advises the brand to be careful. “Brands that are consumption oriented need to be careful about such incidents. Yes, it does create a scar on the brand, but fortunately, scars have a way for vanishing,” he says.
However, one of the marketing experts thinks otherwise. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he says he does not believe that the brand’s image will be affected. Yet, acknowledging the issue is necessary to salvage the situation. “In this instance, I don’t think Patanjali is going to have any impact. It is strong and vibrant. Generally, brands are built on the minds and hearts of consumers. They have full faith and credibility. But, someone from their (Patanjali’s) end should come and clarify. They should not remain silent. They need to test out the sample again, not from the same lab. The best thing is to be transparent about the situation,” he suggests.
The product happens to be one of Patanjali Ayurved’s first launches, before it started manufacturing other products. According to media reports, the batch was tested at the Central Food Lab in Kolkata and Patanjali has withdrawn amla juice from all Army canteens.
In the past as well, the Rs 5,000-crore Patanjali Ayurved has been pulled up by regulators over its claims. It has been questioned for selling noodles without the relevant licences. Last year, FSSAI directed its Central Licensing Authority to issue a show-cause notice to Patanjali over its edible-oil advertisements that were allegedly misleading. However, this time, it is the Army which has made the claim, which both Sridhar and Chandramouli find is a serious issue.
Chandramouli adds, “This really casts a doubt even for the best of Patanjali’s endorsements as the Army does not take this call too often.” 
Sridhar raises another important point about Army canteen stores that serve customers including personnel of the Army, Navy and the Air Force as well as former staff and their families: “The Army pulling up Patanjali is definitely a matter of concern because canteen stores are an important customer for many brands because of better pricing and its dependence by Armymen and former Armymen. If the reason why this brand is suspended by the Army extends to other customers, then it’s a bigger problem. Also, if there’s a safety issue or non-conformity to certain prescribed standards, then anyone can object to it.”
The armed forces department reportedly caters to around 120 lakh consumers.
From the brand’s perspective, Chandramouli concludes, “Patanjali must mean quality. If the quality drops, the consumers will drop the brand like a hot potato.”
- See more at: http://www.exchange4media.com/advertising/patanjali-must-mean-quality.-if-there-is-a-problem-the-brand-needs-to-own-up-and-fix-itexperts_68542.html#sthash.cfxnYar1.dpuf
In the light of the recent event of suspension of Patanjali Ayurved’s amla juice by the armed forces’ canteen stores department following a laboratory report declaring it unfit for consumption, brand experts think it’s a serious allegation against the brand and that Patanjali should come out clean and take remedial actions.
N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA opines that the FMCG major should opt for a complete quality check to address the issue. “Patanjali has always been product first. Now when they say that Patanjali’s first product, amla juice, is not fit for consumption, it is an extremely serious allegation against the brand. And, it should be dealt with utmost seriousness. Patanjali should overhaul their entire quality setup because people have placed their trust in them. They should focus on quality more than growth. They have to really shake up everything and relook their processes,” he adds.
Ramanujam Sridhar, Founder and CEO, Brand-Comm agrees: “I think it’s a warning signal for the brand. They need to take it seriously and come out clean in terms of what remedial actions they are proposing and try to address it.” Sridhar warns that the competitors can blow up the issue indirectly and use it to their advantage. “This is indicative of the fact that they do not conform to standards. You don’t know how the competition will react,” he adds.
Harish Bijoor, Brand Consultant and Founder Harish Bijoor Consults Inc., advises the brand to be careful. “Brands that are consumption oriented need to be careful about such incidents. Yes, it does create a scar on the brand, but fortunately, scars have a way for vanishing,” he says.
However, one of the marketing experts thinks otherwise. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he says he does not believe that the brand’s image will be affected. Yet, acknowledging the issue is necessary to salvage the situation. “In this instance, I don’t think Patanjali is going to have any impact. It is strong and vibrant. Generally, brands are built on the minds and hearts of consumers. They have full faith and credibility. But, someone from their (Patanjali’s) end should come and clarify. They should not remain silent. They need to test out the sample again, not from the same lab. The best thing is to be transparent about the situation,” he suggests.
The product happens to be one of Patanjali Ayurved’s first launches, before it started manufacturing other products. According to media reports, the batch was tested at the Central Food Lab in Kolkata and Patanjali has withdrawn amla juice from all Army canteens.
In the past as well, the Rs 5,000-crore Patanjali Ayurved has been pulled up by regulators over its claims. It has been questioned for selling noodles without the relevant licences. Last year, FSSAI directed its Central Licensing Authority to issue a show-cause notice to Patanjali over its edible-oil advertisements that were allegedly misleading. However, this time, it is the Army which has made the claim, which both Sridhar and Chandramouli find is a serious issue.
Chandramouli adds, “This really casts a doubt even for the best of Patanjali’s endorsements as the Army does not take this call too often.” 
Sridhar raises another important point about Army canteen stores that serve customers including personnel of the Army, Navy and the Air Force as well as former staff and their families: “The Army pulling up Patanjali is definitely a matter of concern because canteen stores are an important customer for many brands because of better pricing and its dependence by Armymen and former Armymen. If the reason why this brand is suspended by the Army extends to other customers, then it’s a bigger problem. Also, if there’s a safety issue or non-conformity to certain prescribed standards, then anyone can object to it.”
The armed forces department reportedly caters to around 120 lakh consumers.
From the brand’s perspective, Chandramouli concludes, “Patanjali must mean quality. If the quality drops, the consumers will drop the brand like a hot potato.”
- See more at: http://www.exchange4media.com/advertising/patanjali-must-mean-quality.-if-there-is-a-problem-the-brand-needs-to-own-up-and-fix-itexperts_68542.html#sthash.cfxnYar1.dpuf
In the light of the recent event of suspension of Patanjali Ayurved’s amla juice by the armed forces’ canteen stores department following a laboratory report declaring it unfit for consumption, brand experts think it’s a serious allegation against the brand and that Patanjali should come out clean and take remedial actions.
N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA opines that the FMCG major should opt for a complete quality check to address the issue. “Patanjali has always been product first. Now when they say that Patanjali’s first product, amla juice, is not fit for consumption, it is an extremely serious allegation against the brand. And, it should be dealt with utmost seriousness. Patanjali should overhaul their entire quality setup because people have placed their trust in them. They should focus on quality more than growth. They have to really shake up everything and relook their processes,” he adds.
Ramanujam Sridhar, Founder and CEO, Brand-Comm agrees: “I think it’s a warning signal for the brand. They need to take it seriously and come out clean in terms of what remedial actions they are proposing and try to address it.” Sridhar warns that the competitors can blow up the issue indirectly and use it to their advantage. “This is indicative of the fact that they do not conform to standards. You don’t know how the competition will react,” he adds.
Harish Bijoor, Brand Consultant and Founder Harish Bijoor Consults Inc., advises the brand to be careful. “Brands that are consumption oriented need to be careful about such incidents. Yes, it does create a scar on the brand, but fortunately, scars have a way for vanishing,” he says.
However, one of the marketing experts thinks otherwise. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he says he does not believe that the brand’s image will be affected. Yet, acknowledging the issue is necessary to salvage the situation. “In this instance, I don’t think Patanjali is going to have any impact. It is strong and vibrant. Generally, brands are built on the minds and hearts of consumers. They have full faith and credibility. But, someone from their (Patanjali’s) end should come and clarify. They should not remain silent. They need to test out the sample again, not from the same lab. The best thing is to be transparent about the situation,” he suggests.
The product happens to be one of Patanjali Ayurved’s first launches, before it started manufacturing other products. According to media reports, the batch was tested at the Central Food Lab in Kolkata and Patanjali has withdrawn amla juice from all Army canteens.
In the past as well, the Rs 5,000-crore Patanjali Ayurved has been pulled up by regulators over its claims. It has been questioned for selling noodles without the relevant licences. Last year, FSSAI directed its Central Licensing Authority to issue a show-cause notice to Patanjali over its edible-oil advertisements that were allegedly misleading. However, this time, it is the Army which has made the claim, which both Sridhar and Chandramouli find is a serious issue.
Chandramouli adds, “This really casts a doubt even for the best of Patanjali’s endorsements as the Army does not take this call too often.” 
Sridhar raises another important point about Army canteen stores that serve customers including personnel of the Army, Navy and the Air Force as well as former staff and their families: “The Army pulling up Patanjali is definitely a matter of concern because canteen stores are an important customer for many brands because of better pricing and its dependence by Armymen and former Armymen. If the reason why this brand is suspended by the Army extends to other customers, then it’s a bigger problem. Also, if there’s a safety issue or non-conformity to certain prescribed standards, then anyone can object to it.”
The armed forces department reportedly caters to around 120 lakh consumers.
From the brand’s perspective, Chandramouli concludes, “Patanjali must mean quality. If the quality drops, the consumers will drop the brand like a hot potato.”
- See more at: http://www.exchange4media.com/advertising/patanjali-must-mean-quality.-if-there-is-a-problem-the-brand-needs-to-own-up-and-fix-itexperts_68542.html#sthash.cfxnYar1.dpuf
In the light of the recent event of suspension of Patanjali Ayurved’s amla juice by the armed forces’ canteen stores department following a laboratory report declaring it unfit for consumption, brand experts think it’s a serious allegation against the brand and that Patanjali should come out clean and take remedial actions.
N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA opines that the FMCG major should opt for a complete quality check to address the issue. “Patanjali has always been product first. Now when they say that Patanjali’s first product, amla juice, is not fit for consumption, it is an extremely serious allegation against the brand. And, it should be dealt with utmost seriousness. Patanjali should overhaul their entire quality setup because people have placed their trust in them. They should focus on quality more than growth. They have to really shake up everything and relook their processes,” he adds.
Ramanujam Sridhar, Founder and CEO, Brand-Comm agrees: “I think it’s a warning signal for the brand. They need to take it seriously and come out clean in terms of what remedial actions they are proposing and try to address it.” Sridhar warns that the competitors can blow up the issue indirectly and use it to their advantage. “This is indicative of the fact that they do not conform to standards. You don’t know how the competition will react,” he adds.
Harish Bijoor, Brand Consultant and Founder Harish Bijoor Consults Inc., advises the brand to be careful. “Brands that are consumption oriented need to be careful about such incidents. Yes, it does create a scar on the brand, but fortunately, scars have a way for vanishing,” he says.
However, one of the marketing experts thinks otherwise. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he says he does not believe that the brand’s image will be affected. Yet, acknowledging the issue is necessary to salvage the situation. “In this instance, I don’t think Patanjali is going to have any impact. It is strong and vibrant. Generally, brands are built on the minds and hearts of consumers. They have full faith and credibility. But, someone from their (Patanjali’s) end should come and clarify. They should not remain silent. They need to test out the sample again, not from the same lab. The best thing is to be transparent about the situation,” he suggests.
The product happens to be one of Patanjali Ayurved’s first launches, before it started manufacturing other products. According to media reports, the batch was tested at the Central Food Lab in Kolkata and Patanjali has withdrawn amla juice from all Army canteens.
In the past as well, the Rs 5,000-crore Patanjali Ayurved has been pulled up by regulators over its claims. It has been questioned for selling noodles without the relevant licences. Last year, FSSAI directed its Central Licensing Authority to issue a show-cause notice to Patanjali over its edible-oil advertisements that were allegedly misleading. However, this time, it is the Army which has made the claim, which both Sridhar and Chandramouli find is a serious issue.
Chandramouli adds, “This really casts a doubt even for the best of Patanjali’s endorsements as the Army does not take this call too often.” 
Sridhar raises another important point about Army canteen stores that serve customers including personnel of the Army, Navy and the Air Force as well as former staff and their families: “The Army pulling up Patanjali is definitely a matter of concern because canteen stores are an important customer for many brands because of better pricing and its dependence by Armymen and former Armymen. If the reason why this brand is suspended by the Army extends to other customers, then it’s a bigger problem. Also, if there’s a safety issue or non-conformity to certain prescribed standards, then anyone can object to it.”
The armed forces department reportedly caters to around 120 lakh consumers.
From the brand’s perspective, Chandramouli concludes, “Patanjali must mean quality. If the quality drops, the consumers will drop the brand like a hot potato.”
- See more at: http://www.exchange4media.com/advertising/patanjali-must-mean-quality.-if-there-is-a-problem-the-brand-needs-to-own-up-and-fix-itexperts_68542.html#sthash.cfxnYar1.dpuf
In the light of the recent event of suspension of Patanjali Ayurved’s amla juice by the armed forces’ canteen stores department following a laboratory report declaring it unfit for consumption, brand experts think it’s a serious allegation against the brand and that Patanjali should come out clean and take remedial actions. - See more at: http://www.exchange4media.com/advertising/patanjali-must-mean-quality.-if-there-is-a-problem-the-brand-needs-to-own-up-and-fix-itexperts_68542.html#sthash.cfxnYar1.dpuf
In the light of the recent event of suspension of Patanjali Ayurved’s amla juice by the armed forces’ canteen stores department following a laboratory report declaring it unfit for consumption, brand experts think it’s a serious allegation against the brand and that Patanjali should come out clean and take remedial actions. - See more at: http://www.exchange4media.com/advertising/patanjali-must-mean-quality.-if-there-is-a-problem-the-brand-needs-to-own-up-and-fix-itexperts_68542.html#sthash.cfxnYar1.dpuf