Any marketer would be quite familiar with the concept of ‘Test-Marketing’. You want to launch a new product, a new campaign or re-launch one, you might want to test it first. There are also ‘gurus’ who can help. For instance, if you want to re-launch Hamam soap across the nation again you might want to test-market it with some new features and packaging. Though the brand is nationally known Unilever now claims it’s a market leader in Tamil Nadu. Umm... like AIADMK or DMK. Like these two parties Hamam sales in TN also add to the national kitty of Unilever. So where would you test a re-launch of Hamam? In Mumbai? Oooh.. too big a market, too risky. In Delhi? Again, too big a market, too risky. Failing in these markets might cause a severe dent and make course corrections and return difficult. Okay, how about, say, Shimla? You could add nearby Panchkula and Chandigarh in one go? Yeah, why not? Sounds like a reasonable and fair risk, doesn’t it? That’s a good mix of urban and semi-urban markets and not a huge risk like Mumbai or Delhi. But you see, the REAL Hammam has different ideas. Don’t worry we’ll get to that in a few.
|Politcally 'Numero Uno'|
First, after two consecutive posts concerning Rajdeep Sardesai (RS) I thought why not make it a hat-trick. RS is, after all, the Numero Uno political analyst according to the Social Genius. After his channel, CNN-IBN, ran the spurious headline of Nitin Gadkari being an accused in the Maharashtra irrigation scam it was atrocious to see Gadkari in an interview with RS. Anyway, let’s help ourselves to a few sound-bites from that show. Some excerpts (from Moneylife):
RS: The Robert Vadra issue began in March 2011. It is October 2012 now. Why has the BJP been quiet all along? Why didn't you raise this issue when it first came out in The Economic Times?
Reply: Why the hell are you asking me? Is it a political party’s job to conduct investigations like CBI? My party has been working on seeking more information before raising questions. We don’t accuse people like you accused me in your headlines. We aren’t a cheap sensation-seeking, Congress-mouthpiece TV channel. Are you too steeped “head to toe” in real estate scams? When my party man asked you, you said “Point taken”, what do you mean by that? Why aren’t you asking Robert Vadra instead of everyone else? What stopped you from doing your job? You didn’t even air the ET report findings. You did not investigate further. You did NOTHING! You buried it like C4V! Have you forgotten your job?
Haha! Don’t jump! That “Reply” wasn’t Gadkari’s but my own imagination. NG is quite an affable guy with media persons and doesn’t shout down people like Manish Tiwari or Kapil Sibal. Here’s the actual reply and some more:
NG: I have not received any paperwork on this matter.
RS: At no stage were you informed about Vadra's involvement?
NG: I have no paperwork. I kept hearing about it but I had no evidence. I can't accuse anyone of anything without evidence, can I?
RS: The reason I'm asking you this is because that same Arvind Kejriwal is also targeting you. He held a press conference targeting you.
NG: I am 100 per cent ready for any inquiry. I have no problem.
RS: Do you think that Arvind Kejriwal is making baseless allegations? Many are saying that he, and not the BJP, is taking on the role of the Opposition today? Are you worried that Kejriwal is targeting both the BJP and the Congress?
NG: Let Kejriwal do whatever he wants. I am not at all worried about him.
Let’s also understand one thing. What are being referred to as “allegations” by AK aren’t really allegations. Information from ROC, Balance sheets, P&L accounts can’t be termed allegations. Information from statutory sources or official documents do not constitute allegations. AK has only put public information already available in the public domain again. Simple! Of course, the Vadra issue or non-issue has put Coalgate, Irrigation scam, Kalmadi and Raja, 2G, Thorium and other scams on the back burner. Exactly what the media wanted? Wag the dog?
GOI has announced there will be no investigations into Vadra’s dealings. Robert Vadra reacted with a message: “I’m a mango man in a banana republic”. Funny that! That statement also doesn’t fit with all the Congress and media defence of his transactions. So what about AK and his new political outfit? Allegations and burning of electricity bills are fine. But sooner or later his party would need to contest elections. Where should he launch his electoral campaign? Where should he launch his new ‘Un-corrupt party’ product? Aha! This is where the ‘Guru’, Numero Uno, Rajdeep Sardesai comes in. And RS will guide AK on test-marketing. Unpaid! Nice, isn’t it? Take a look at the pic below:
See any differences in the 3 pics? You’re right! The Congress guys are in “topis” and so is AK. The BJP guys can’t seem to afford topis even. Product differentiation is essential for a successful launch. So a day before AK disclosed Vadra’s DLF transactions RS came up with another Friday blog-buster (talk about Timing): “The topi has to fit” on October 4 in Hindustan Trolls. A day later CNN-IBN’s online news partner, Firstpost, repeats the post with another headline: “Team Kejriwal, forget national power, start with Delhi polls”. Huh? This runs contrary to what I proposed for Hamam in the first para of this post. I must be a bad marketing guy. You see, RS recommends TeamAK should launch their product in Delhi and not smaller markets like Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland or Meghalaya. Not even Gujarat, which holds elections just after HP. Why? Not just that, he also recommends giving up the “topi”. He writes:
“While political symbolism is important in the age of the visual image, does it really need the ritualistic wearing of the Gandhi topi? If Team Arvind really wants to break with politics as usual, they need to discover life beyond the symbols and soundbites”. Hmm! You see, wearing the topi also makes AK look a lot more like the Congress guy. Doesn’t it? I wonder why Rajdeep didn’t have to say: “Don’t wear saffron turbans or shirts or scarves. You don’t want to look like a Hindu, do you?” Of course, there is no advice from RS on wearing a skull-cap or anything green either. He has more well-intentioned test-marketing advice for AK:
“The system will not change with a nudge from outside, it needs a shake-up from top to bottom. And that will not happen if power changes hands from a Congress to a BJP, or a Left to a Mamata or a Mayawati to a Mulayam. Those are internal palace coups, not the revolutions that Team Arvind is looking for”. It’s not important that Bengal or UP aren’t up for contests right now. Delhi is up for a contest very soon and is critical. And the Sheila Dikshit govt is affected by both; scams and bad governance of her own govt and the scams of the Cong-UPA govt will also affect her campaign. There is every likelihood, as RS fears, that power may change hands from Congress to BJP. And as he says that may not shake-up the system. Clever eh? So TeamAK must launch their product in Delhi and test the customer acceptance of their product.
TeamAK, if they follow Numero Uno’s advice, and that of the Hammam, and launch in Delhi, some customers have to not only reject their current brand but also reject the other brand that they were poised to buy. So customers who were poised to buy brand BJP who listen to marketing guru RS will give brand TeamAK a try. Therefore, there will be a 3-way split in the market share. Guess which brand will then have the largest market share? Good advice for Congress! But is it good advice for TeamAK to make a high-risk launch in an important, critical and large market like Delhi? Or was that the objective itself of the whole exercise? Who will the Guru’s advice really benefit? You decide! And decide if you want to wear a “Topi”!