Brand: Gandhi- Part 2

November 29, 2009 § 1 Comment

Ok, this is not about the Gandhi Pen again. But, its related to marketing, so using the same title. It’s a mere observation on a train from Hyd to Chennai. A guy distributed sweets to everyone to celebrate his sister’s wedding. First, thought if it could have some sort of drug mixed in it, to get everyone unconscious and then loot. 😦

Then unable to control my desire to taste, I succumbed. That’s when it struck; this could be used as a marketing strategy for some, actually few FMCG products, like tea/coffee powders or Mint or even new Milk packets. Sounds funny?

Let’s take only AC coaches, say 500 passengers with 3-tier and 2-tier? Instead of the regular tea/coffee there are offered, deal with irctc for permission to use your brand’s product for a few days. Get a few well dressed guys (to make sure they are not taken for ordinary sales men), ask for their preference, say lemon flavoured tea or black tea or whatever. Make sure the passengers realise that, they are being offered a new variety today. Get coffee cups or flasks with company logo in it, for brand recall.

At the end, ask for feedback & if possible also sell some packets. The challenge for marketers, would be

  1. Not to look like cheap sales-men who normally come home to sell products – Well dressed people with courteous manners could take care of it. Also packaging the product attractively would make a lot of difference.
  2. Make sure passengers see the product as a premium one in the market. In fact, I guess, the strategy could work only for premium brands

If you are wondering, how this is different from home delivered trial sachets,

  1. Travelling is basically a memorable thing, unlike being at home which the normal state is. So, a cleverly crafted, well executed marketing would tend to stick to their memory
  2. At the end of some percentage of the journeys, we are meeting someone or staying at a place (could be a relative’s place), in which case the passengers would act as ambassadors for the brand or give the free sachet to the relative for trying out provided he is satisfied with the brand.

Probably, it’s an already tried out strategy? Anyone knows of it? Hmm. And the sweet was not drugged, FYI! 🙂

Arun Vallappan


Blogging platform for MBA Students ONLY

October 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

I had an idea for a start-up and want some feedback. I have outlined it below. So, go ahead. 🙂

Creating a blogging portal for B-school students. Take a look at these two sites: – 20 to 30 writers post articles on branding, brand identity, promotion, creating a brand, nurturing/building it. Every post will be related to brand. It inspires a cult following among communication managers, PR guys.. – Students of Columbia b-school blogging. (its an official blog by the way)

Put these two together.
Top b-school students in India, blog about academics, learning, class room related things, business cases, etc but no personal stuff. The site would not have anything on to “How to crack CAT” or “Tips to get a better CAT score” or “Model CAT papers”, etc. This site could have everything related to the 2 years that a MBA student spends in a b-school. It could have an article on Leadership or Creativity or an article like “Why i-banking will make a splash again and relate it to cyclical theory” or pretty much anything from an academic perspective.

What could be the advantage for the readers?

If the readers are b-school aspirants-It would give them a great insight into the subjects, theory, methodology of teaching and the b-school as such. Peter Johnson, Director of MBA Admissions at Berkeley-Haas feels “At some point in the application process, visiting the b-school and understanding the difference in offering between the same programs in 2 different B-schools is very important”. The blog would basically serve all outsiders/aspirants to know about a program in a particular school by filtering out the articles based on tag.

If the readers are fellow b-school students– It would act as a discussion board for the brightest minds in the country, there could be endless possibilities, wisdom of crowds could take place: given the fact that the crowd has only smart minds, it would have an explosive amount of intelligence. I could only wonder at the possibilities. Ideas being thrown and a education can actively take place riding on massive collaboration.

What would inspire b-school students to blog at the portal? – Many could already own personal blogs. But this is strictly business. Building a brand for yourself. Having your article/name read by thousands of other smart people like you and wannabees.

Let’s say, initially we consider only IIM’s, XLRI, Symbiosis. Together probably out of the total 2000 seats (just a guess), 20 people (1 % of 2000) are ready to start with. It would not be late before another 100 people join given the audience and popularity they would get.

An initial guest blog post from some of the top IIM professors could set the tone. There were a few sites like OneIndia, Sulekha where there are b-school related blog posts featured or universities which have their own blogging portal, but they are merely blog aggregators.

Coming to the commercializing part: ??? 🙂 am not sure. Google ads would dilute the essence. So, NO WAY. Other than that..We could ask companies like Google, Amazon, etc. to pay for some non-intrusive ads Or weekly once feature a company or their best practice, some thing like that.. think it would work out?

OK. Am pretty much done with what i wanted to say. You can share your thoughts, thumbs up/down or anything.. If you want to channelize your feedback, think in terms of the prospects, market, commercialization..

One of my friends pointed out that pagalguy has Life@bschool module. But, think in the lines of an exclusive portal to showcase Indian b-school talent to the world.

Arun Vallappan

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