By Joseph P Chacko
Keeping up with the restless fingers of the consumer has been one of the most significant marketing challenges of the past few decades. The introduction of television remote and subsequently the swipe and scroll (and now the infinite scroll) on mobile phones has changed the good old marketing landscape to the digital landscape.
The book ‘Marketing Chronicles: A Compendium of Global and Local Marketing Insights From the Pre-Smartphone and Post-Smartphone Eras’ by Nimish V Dwivedi captures the transition of marketing from the good old era to the smartphone era.
Nimish V Dwivedi, currently working as the Business Director of cards in Vietnam, a product of Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, is a consumer marketing and financial services specialist. Before Vietnam, Nimish has worked in Japan, UAE, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He started his corporate life as an executive trainee in Asian Paints and then worked in senior leadership roles in Citibank, Standard Chartered, Paypal, Mashreq and FE Cards.
The book with the longish name ‘Marketing Chronicles: A Compendium of Global and Local Marketing Insights From the Pre-Smartphone and Post-Smartphone Eras’ is among the most sold books in the Amazon India Marketing category since its release in 2017.
Nimish starts with the scenario in 1998 when marketing was relatively easy in terms of media and India was trying to redefine convenience, comfort and affordability. For example, Louis Philippe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly, Peter England changed the way men bought shirts instead of buying a cut piece and dumping it on the neighbourhood tailor.
There were opportunities for marketers to associate Wagleji ki Dunia to Bajaj Scooter or Bru Coffee to Malgudi Days or even Surf to Lalitaji to bring in the characterisation of products to counter the remote wielding fingers.
In the subsequent chapters, Nimish tackles the concept of category catalysts and making re-launch work in 2002, marginal marketing in 2004 and the 360 degrees spin of 2006.
Nimish then tackles the post smartphone era from the year 2009 onwards. Since 2009, marketing has seen profound changes. He addresses the growing power of brand buzz, brand chatter, metropolis metrics (like the marketing metrics), packaging as the fifth P of marketing, sports marketing, social networking, outdoor media, beyond visual appeal, brand loyalty, nostalgia etc.
Below are some excerpts of the book with the authors’ permission.
On the topic of first impression and brand loyalty, the author recounts an interesting anecdote on the experience with Indian apps in 1996.
“Even as mobile applications become an integral part of our lives, the First Impression Factor becomes even more salient. I recently downloaded the Entertainment Arts FIFA 2015 app and opened it. For the next 10 minutes got the message – our servers are experiencing heavy traffic, we are working on it. App deleted. The Indian App-eCommerce world is rife with horror stories of the first-time-user experiences on food delivery and grocery delivery applications. Over promising and no delivery, not just under delivering. This is a complete contrast to Amazon, where the entire First Impression Factor for a new to Amazon user is geared towards converting this “just-looking” visitor into a frequent site visitor and loyal shopper.”
Positioning Indian Railways for business class travellers in 2016
“While co-branded cards with airlines have been a global success story, imagine the success story that could happen if the Indian Railways were to issue a co-branded credit card targeted at business travellers. This credit card could provide instant reservations for specially created business coaches. This cardholder could be offered a choice of meals aboard the train, which he could pay for with his credit card. They could also make calls and send faxes from the train; all billed to their cards. They could relax in the specially designated business waiting rooms if this train is delayed and withdraw cash from the ATMs located at the station. The card would also have the benefit of medical help at the stations and come with lost baggage insurance. The possibilities are endless. And best of all, these facilities could be provided at a cost which could still be more economical than the price of an air ticket.”
On afterlife of brands
“The Rover Mini in the UK. By the late 70s, the model had run through its life cycle and was marginalised by the more advanced versions of small cars that were being perfected by other manufacturers. And then BMW brought the Rover brand and relaunched it as the BMW Mini Cooper in 2001. While retaining the same values of the original Mini in terms of its look. BMW also went in for some fundamental shifts that helped in increasing the value of the brand. Although retaining the concept of optimising space. BMW opted for a small sporting car version. The other major advantage was the BMW brand name prefix which stood for world-beating auto engineering and had a huge premium appeal. Essentially, BMW created a small car that built on the cult following which the original had created but infused it with the engineering prowess and the premium appeal that only BMW as a brand could provide. And the original Mini was resurrected, but as a premium car that commands a price range comparable to top-end sedans from other manufacturers, with the same zany look and feel of the original BMW has not just resurrected the Mini, but made it thrive, making it one of the largest selling cars in recent times. Volkswagen also achieved the same success with the relaunched cult car the Volkswagen Beetle.”
The book also dwells on the business opportunities in the social requirements, such as creating a bank for senior citizens. These banks can focus on home deliveries, special services akin to High Networth Individuals, healthcare cover, faster clearance, bill and money management, value-added services like memberships to fitness clubs, etc.
The 132 page book is an easy read and has historical perspectives of marketing through the tumultuous era of digitisation.
(The book reviewer is a publisher, columnist and author. He writes on defence and strategic affairs and occasionally other topics. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)