Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category
Choice based Conjoint
Choice based Conjoint (CBC) is a research technique based on the observation that consumers always choose products among a set of products in the marketplace, and a simulation of it is the closest to the real consumer behaviour. CBC is a technique wherein the respondent is shown a set of concepts (with specifications) and is asked for his/her preferences. This technique hopes to simulate the tradeoffs that consumers make in their daily buying experiences; the tradeoffs could be among the attributes of the product or among the products and brands listed. This technique is generally used to understand the interaction among the attributes, and for pricing studies.
One needs to list down the attributes and the levels for each of the attribute. For example, to conduct a CBC to understand the importance of the features of a smartphone; an example of an attribute could be “RAM Size” and the levels could be 512MB, 1GB, 2GB or whatever options you would like to present to your consumers. The options should be as close to the actual product as possible and the attributes and the levels should be given an extra-ordinary amount of thought. CBC should ideally be done on a sample of around 300-600 respondents who are aware of the products and the category.
One of the issues I faced while deciding on the attributes and the levels is that it is a little on the easier side for a very functional product like a smartphone or a car, where you can easily distinguish between different engines or processors, (different features like power steering, windows, etc…). The features and levels in functional products are easily distinguishable and conceivable. On the other hand, for products such as biscuits, toothpastes, sanitary napkins, etc. I am not sure how well people can distinguish and conceive different product benefits in such categories where you know the product only by experiencing it.
History of CBC
Limitations of CBC
- Not all brands are equally known to the consumers, and there is a risk of popular brands mostly being preferred in a CBC study.
- CBC doesn’t take promotions and distribution into consideration, and it assumes that all brands are available and have enough media spends.
- It assumes that the consumer has the ability to buy the product.
- The number of questions involving different choice sets could easily increase, causing respondent fatigue.
Brand Price Trade Off
BPTO is a simpler version of a conjoint analysis where a set of brand/price combinations are shown to the respondent. As the respondent choses a particular brand, the price of that particular brand is increased and the consumer is again asked to choose among the new set of brand/price combinations. This technique helps us understand how the consumer trades off the brand and price, and what is the best price point or price band for your product.
The one biggest advantage of this method is its simplicity, while it has quite a few critics in the market. One of the disadvantages of BPTO is that consumers may become conscious and may start playing around with the lowest price, or consumers may be protective of their brand and may always prefer a brand and take it to unrealistic pricing levels.
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With increased exposure to global brands, latest internet communications, and desire for better lifestyle, the consumers today are looking to use the global, trendy, life-style oriented products and are demanding more in terms of the shopping experience, simplicity, quality products, and value.
The evolution of Modern Trade is just meeting the demands of these consumers and together causing rapid growth in modern retail. With increased exposure to Modern Trade, the consumer today is becoming more and more comfortable and loyal with Modern Trade. Nielsen says that a fifth of the Urban India Shoppers now regularly shop at Modern Trade stores. (refer http://www.indiaretailing.com/upload/ContentImage/Market_Research_pdf/NielsenShopperTrends110912.pdf)
Technopak forecasts that the penetration of Modern Trade in India will triple to about 15-20% in the nextfive years by 2018.
From the consumer point of view, modern trade results in:
- Consumers feel that they are smart buyers
- Increased availability of choice in brands and categories
- Promises better prices and value to the consumers
- Better quality products
- Enjoyable shopping experience with product and brand voyeurism
- Perceptual benefits of improved standard of living
Consumers feel smart as they have more control in Modern Trade
With increased brand choice, freedom to browse the products, and the visibility of deals and promotions, the modern trade consumer perceives his buying experience as a smarter way of buying things. It also leads to the consumer willing to experiment more, buying new brands and categories in the modern trade store. It is observed that the modern trade consumers look to buy large packs and aggressively look for promotions, trying to get more value out of every buy.
A family shopping experience with enjoyable product and brand voyeurism
The modern trade consumer is most likely to be accompanied by family and friends, and is not so likely to shop alone. It is increasingly seen that kids sit in the shopping cart, and the mother and father discussing about the product. This increases the fun in the buying experience and provides more opportunity for the retailers to increase the basket size and increase interaction with wide array of brands.
Moreover, the large displays, islands, and the strict arrangement of brands always make the consumers be voyeuristic of the brands and products. This makes them checkout products that were never in their consideration and drop it in the basket. Modern Trade consumers’ willingness to buy new products and niche variants is making manufacturers add high-end variants to upgrade the consumers.
The rise of mini-modern stores to meet the “modern consumer” needs
The Sarvodaya supermarket in Mumbai is an example of a growing trend of traditional stores adopting modern practices to meet changing consumer needs. There are about 100 such stores in Mumbai, and this trend is soon catching up in smaller towns too.
The future implications of Modern trade evolution are obvious as more and more consumers flock to the modern trade stores, and as more global retailers look to enter India after the FDI approval.
Wholesellers are none but middlemen who buy products from distributors (wholesale/retail) and sell them to retailers. In most cases, the retailers come to the wholesellers to buy products to replenish their stock. However, wholesellers may also sell to end consumers, but such sales are minimal.
In the Indian FMCG market, we have broadly two types of wholesellers:
1. Modern Wholesale stores such as Metro, Wal-Mart BestPrice, etc.
2. The neighbourhood wholesellers around the streets in India
Wholesale distributors buy in bulk (high volumes) bargaining low prices from manufacturers. Wholesellers in turn buy products in demand (what retailers ask for?) at low prices from wholesale distributors. Because of this reason that wholesale distributors are bulk buyers, it is generally seen that wholesale is cheaper than retail. But, it also depends on how many middlemen it passes through, as each middleman adds his margin to the selling price.
What’s in it for the retailer?
Few reasons why retailers buy from the wholesellers:
- No direct distribution of a brand to their stores
- Low margins by distributors
- Direct distributors dictating terms
- Better deals at wholesale
- To be aware of the high selling products and brands
Retailers also face some disadvantages in buying from wholesellers:
- Buying goods on immediate cash
- Transportation costs of the goods
- Wholesellers may not take back the unsold inventory/stock
What’s in it for the manufacturer?
The wholesale channel helps the manufacturers achieve sales from markets where they are not directly able to handle retail sales and their shipments. In a country like India, where 95% of the retail environment is unorganized, and spanning across millions of small stores, it is impossible to reach all the stores directly through your distributors.
Most companies will have strong direct distribution in cities like Mumbai, but as you go deep into India, the dependence on wholesale indirect channels increases. Most top selling brands and categories have a good amount of wholesale component. For example, a brand which is selling in Pan-India (across the regions in India) may have a wholesale component ranging from 20% to as high as 50-70% depending on the category/brand’s dependence on Rural India. It is obvious that most of the sales in Rural India happen through wholesellers. In Rural India, you will have strong wholesellers for every group of villages or in the nearby town, where retailers go and replenish their stocks.
Manufacturers would always like to have a higher contribution of retail sales to their overall shipments, as this helps them directly to control the nuts and bolts in the operations such as trade promotions and schemes, in-store visibility, relationship with retailers, pushing and increasing their assortment within the stores, maximising profitability, increased visibility of their sales, etc. The top FMCG companies are driving their direct distribution in Rural India as they mine the Gold at the Bottom of the Pyramid.
CENTURYPLY is undoubtedly one of the major furniture brands in India. Century Plyboard stayed away from TV advertising from the last four years, before it came back on TV with its new TVC on the World Anger Day – 28th Aug, 2012.
In this blog post, we shall evaluate this TVC from Century Plyboard and understand if it met its objectives. Please watch the TVC below.
Though Century Plyboard is a major brand in India and consumers trusted the brand, research suggested that it is not an aspirational brand in the eyes of the consumers. So, Century Plyboard wanted to build a campaign that brings out the brand as a “lifestyle brand” and truly make it aspirational. As we all know, for any brand, the ultimate apex in brand hierarchy is to be aspirational for its target group.
However, in process of making it a lifestyle/aspirational brand, Century Plyboard also wanted to communicate a key functional aspect – “durability of the furniture“.
Let us check the TVC on some of the key parameters.
1. Does it command the attention of the recipient? √
No doubt that the thrown car and the angry gorilla at the beginning of TVC attracts your attention, and is clutter-breaking among any group of advertisements. I would say 100 out of 100 for the Bates team for such a clearly clutter-breaking start for the TVC.
Great! Now that it got the attention of the consumer, it would have to be relevant and communicate the message.
2. Communication of Durability √
As the consumer watches attentively, the next scene that attracts attention is that the gorilla is not able to break the door and it enters the house breaking through the roof. As the gorilla lands on a dining-table, the dining table doesn’t break and the gorilla chases the person in the scene to the cupboard. Until this point, the consumer is still attentively wondering “what is the gorilla upto?”.
Now, as it turns out that the gorilla is the husband’s imagination of his wife’s anger, it brings out an element of empathy and fun making the whole commercial very enjoyable. The message in the background also re-emphasizes on the visual communication.
It is a great story with an element of suspense, and clearly communicating the durability of the furniture. I give 100/100 in the communication of the functional aspect “durability”.
3. Does it bring the Lifestyle/Aspirational element? Χ
Though the advertisement communicates the durability aspect, it communicates it in a raw manner and definitely doesn’t communicate it creating an aspiration for the brand. The point of concern is: is “durability” a differentiated factor among branded furniture or is it a hygiene factor where the consumer is looking for more than durability. This is why Century Plyboard as a brand should become a lifestyle brand and be more aspirational in the consumer’s mind. This helps to enhance the product portfolio and target the up-class consumers, together bringing in the brand aspiration.
The TVC clearly falls short in the aspect of creating aspiration. The commercial is definitely enjoyable and it has the brand recall with “CENTURY PLY” cards at the end of the ad. The advertisement would have been perfect, had the situation been that people don’t have much trust in its durability. However, the situation here is to somehow create an element of aspiration for the brand.
On the whole, it definitely does well on breaking the clutter, consumers will enjoy the ad, communicates the aspect of durability and increases the awareness of “CENTURYPLY”. However it falls short in creating aspiration.
For years, Cadbury Dairy Milk (CDM), India’s favorite chocolate brand, has been trying to be the symbol of celebration and expression of every sweet moment in your lives. In continuation of its pursuit, Cadbury Dairy Milk celebrates the beginning of new friendships with its latest TVC, ‘nayi dosti ka shubh aarambh’. The TVC showcases the first magical moments of a blossoming friendship between a young girl and boy on the sidelines of a wedding, an occasion that in itself connotes new relationships.
The new commercial plays out at a traditional wedding ceremony. A teenage girl and boy exchange notes on how every family has a “dancing uncle/aunty” and an “allergy aunty/uncle”. They quickly realize that the two families have much more in common than they thought. When the girl excitedly asks, “Tumhaari family mein mere jaisa kaun hai?” the boy smiles and replies ”Main”. A piece of Cadbury Dairy Milk is exchanged to celebrate their new found friendship and the closing VO states, ”Nayi Dosti Ka Shubh Aarambh. Also, the commercial plays the same jingle which would help establish a strong brand recall.
On Air on July 21
It is set to hit TV screens nationwide on July 21, 2012 and is expected to have a presence in over 70 television channels. To further
strengthen the brand’s digital presence, the TVC was released online on YouTube and Facebook on July 13.
Ad Timing: Friendship Day and College Re-opening
The campaign is perfectly timed to be on-air two weeks before the Friendship Day on 5th August. Also, with most colleges opening in June of the year, it also has good timing with students just starting to make new friends in colleges. CDM wants to be the chocolate through which the students express their emotions of the ‘friendship moments’.
The TVC will be supported by a robust integrated marketing campaign, including on-ground activations in 80 colleges, creative print placements, interesting radio capsules in leading radio stations across many cities and outdoor, to urge people to make new friends and celebrate special “friendship moments”.
Symbol of different things in different contextual situations
Cadbury Dairy Milk is trying to own every sweet moment of celebration and expression in your lives. This is part of the long-term brand building campaign ‘Shubh Aarambh‘. CDM has taken a very difficult challenge and it has done a decent job by partly owning the festival and family celebrations with its product line ‘Cadbury Celebrations’. It later built on the valentine moment between a boy and a girl.
It now comes up with this intelligent TVC trying to own the moment of ‘friendship’ with the message and building on its earlier moments – valentine, family, and celebration – with the background of marriage. This is intelligent, as CDM is trying to become the message itself within different contexts, and bringing all the moments together.
It is very encouraging to see Kraft Foods continuing its strong brand-building activities, despite the inflationary times. With the consumers feeling the price increases on all products, consumers are already decreasing their discretionary spends such as chocolates. So, it is very interesting to see whether this will translate into sales in the short-term or not, but it definitely is going to help the brand in the long-term. This is a classic example of a strong campaign with a long-term vision for the brand.
The press release for this advertisement has been shared by the strategic communications agency, The PRactice (www.the-practice.net).
LG stands for Lucky Goldstar – the product of a merger of two South Korean commodities businesses – but over the decades with a steady stream of innovative consumer electronics and home appliances, consumers concurred with the conglomerate’s backronym that Life is Good.
LG Home Appliances (HA), the arm of the Korean giant, which makes refrigerators, washing machines and vacuum cleaners amongst other such appliances, clocked a turnover of Rs 6,500 crore in 2011, and expects to close the current year with a 30% increase, taking the top line in the region of Rs 8,500 crore.
Market Leader in Refrigerators and Washing Machines
LG is currently the market leader in both washing machines and refrigerators as per Gfk-Nielsen. For 2012-13, LG is targeting a turnover of Rs. 5000 crore in refrigerator segment. LG will launch flagship products across the home appliances category which will help in strengthening its product leadership.
LG has launched 33 new models in refrigerators. In televisions too, it is targeting the No 1 position in the Flat Panel TV segment with a 30% market share.
Samsung – a concern for LG
In India, Samsung has been flexing its muscle locally and capturing more of consumer mind share – riding on its successes in the mobile space – and with it a bit of market share, too. Samsung’s aggression in the mobile space has rubbed off on its appliances, although LG’s strong equity in home appliances holds it in good stead.
LG’s dependence on white goods is also a cause of concern for the brand, unlike Samsung which has managed to earn its spurs as an as an innovative and bestselling mobile phone brand. Recently Samsung overtook Nokia as the world’s highest selling mobile maker.
In the last few years, Samsung is catching up with LG especially in refrigerators. The Indian appliance space is synonymous with LG and Samsung. Some brands manage to represent the category and that is the case with these two.
Before reading this article, just close your eyes zeroing your mind for a moment and recollect three television advertisements. Write down a few details of each of the television advertisements you could recollect.
Of all the numerous advertisements I’ve watched, I could recollect only three advertisements:
- The old Nescafe advertisement
- The recent Flipkart’s advertisement of office-going children
- The JK Cement advertisement
These are the only three advertisements I could recollect instantaneously. It is strange to think that I hardly could recollect any other advertisements. Now, close your eyes and recollect a few brands. I recollected a few brand names listed the following:
- Dairy Milk (chocolate)
- ICICI Bank
- Ford Figo
Also, if one wants to understand which brands do consumers associate with a category, then we have to ask the consumers to recollect advertisements w.r.t those categories. The above shouldn’t be mixed with this.
Clearly, the top of mind (TOM) set of brands are the above. I read through the list and tried to recollect the last seen advertisement in each of these brands. I could recollect the advertisements of all the above brands. Now, why couldn’t I recollect most of these advertisements in the first question? It is because the first question lacked a context.
This shows that a television advertisement on its own is generally of not much use. But if you provide a context to the consumers, then the television advertisements will help the consumers connect the brand with the context. Consumers going to the shop will subconsciously recognize the brand that they’ve watched it on television. This means if you are investing in television advertisements, you have to provide sufficient contextual support such as in-shop presence, BTL, distribution etc.
Until now, we spoke about two things: Advertising your product on television and creating a context offline. This helps the consumers connect the brand with the context. But what actually helps the consumer receive your communication in the first place.
To communicate something you need to first command the recipient’s attention
Consumers, as human-beings, switch on and off in various situations based on different factors. One of the key factors that make the consumers decide to switch on or off is Relevance. A consumer who is about to buy a car will suddenly switch on (becomes attentive) while watching an advertisement of a car. The same consumer 2 years back might be passive and switched off to advertisements of cars.
Also, anything different from routine generally catches the attention of people. For example, the Flipkart advertisement having elderly looking kids. Another example is the use of celebrities. Because consumers become attentive when they look at celebrities, usage of celebrities and other unique elements commands attention.
I’ve put celebrities and unique creative elements under one category because they are good in commanding attention. But they are not enough. Only uniqueness in the creative will help consumers remember the advertisement, but consumers will not remember the brand of the advertisement.
To communicate something you should be relevant to the recipient
The presence of unique elements or celebrities doesn’t make a communication relevant. But the problem is relevance is something that has to come from the consumers. I cannot shout in the media that I am relevant to you, hear me! For example, a consumer considering to buy a car finds the advertisements of cars relevant. Does this mean that to communicate to a target audience I have to wait for the consumers to feel my category relevant to them? No, in such cases you have to build category relevance to the consumers. You have to give them reasons why they have to use the category.
But, how does one build relevance? Relevance is a recurring theme. You build relevance to a category by relating the category to what is relevant to the target audience. For example, if you want to communicate something on conditioners, you have to make consumers relevant to the category. But the category is very nascent and consumers don’t feel a relevance to the category. So, in such cases you build relevance for conditioners by understanding what is relevant (1-level below) to the prospective buyers of the conditioners and connecting that (1 level below relevance) with the category. So, you come up with elements like softened hair, strong roots, etc which are relevant to the consumer and connect that to the category. This is building category relevance for effective communication. The recent TVCs on Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief is also an example of the category relevance.
But what if the category is already a well penetrated category like shampoos or toilet soaps? As the category is already relevant, all brands clutter the consumer confusing him and he switches off to the category. This is where brand relevance comes into play. This means you have to make the consumer feel relevant, not by talking about the category, but by talking about the brand. Here you don’t talk about the category elements like softened hair, but you try to build relevance by distinguishing your brand such as natural, herbal, seeds of some plant etc. You have to give reasons to buy your brand and make your brand relevant. This is the true test of marketers on how well they can create the brand relevance – the brand associations, the aura of the brand, brand values, brand differentiation etc. Consumers have to feel a specific brand in the category relevant to them.
Most television advertisements today fail because they are not relevant to the audience and they failed to build relevance. The media is so cluttered today that advertisers struggle to draw attention first, and the very few that draw attention fail in being relevant to the target audience. So, television advertisements are an effective tool to build brand awareness and recognition. But it is a difficult task to build brand relevance using TVCs, because consumers are not ready (and too much clutter) to receive the differentiating factors that should make this brand relevant to them.
In my next post, I will write about how to build effective relevance and how we can connect relevance with the consumer decision making process.
Working Capital is the total of the amounts invested in current assets of the company. Net working capital results from the deduction of current liabilities from current assets; Working Capital Management consists of determining the volume and composition of sources and uses of working capital in such a way that would increase the wealth of stockholders. Working capital management is the management of current assets and current liabilities such that would result in the most desirable level of working capital and maximum company profitability. Inadequate working capital leads the company to bankruptcy. On the other hand, too much working capital results in wasting cash and ultimately the decrease in profitability.
Conventionally, it has been seen that if a company desires to take a greater risk for bigger profits and losses, it reduces the size of its working capital in relation to its sales. If it is interested in improving its liquidity, it increases the level of its working capital. However, this policy is likely to result in a reduction of the sales volume, therefore of profitability. Hence, a company should strike a balance between liquidity and profitability.
Refer to the ppt working-capital mgmt on Working Capital Management and how it affects Profitability.