The year that was…

The year that was...

Bindra dug gold,
Economy caught cold,
Of the moon we got a hold.

Dhoni’s boys reigned,
1-2-3 claimed,
Confidence UPA regained.

Vishy ruled,
Bollywood fooled,
Over Nano everyone drooled.

Politicians terrorized,
Terrorists politicized,
Mumbai incized.

Adios, 2008. Namaste, 2009.
Here’s to joy, prosperity and peace in the fresh year. Cheers!

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‘Watch’ out!

Watch out!

Many Mumbai citizens have added a skill-set to their profiles, especially during the rainy season – swimming! The rain Gods have been overwhelmingly generous on Mumbai city for the past three – four years. And trust the wily marketers to capitalize on such a situation as well.

On my way to work on one of the pre-monsoon days, I came across a truly innovative marketing idea. From the least expected quarters. Watches are one of the biggest sufferers during the monsoons. And the promises of water-proof watches have fallen flat with the consumers. But what if you have someone who backs the promise with live proof? What if you have someone who’s selling watches that are immersed in a bucket filled with water… with the watches running perfectly fine? What a way to walk the talk! Without having to shout your lungs out. Genius.

Move aside marketing managers and marketing gurus. A roadside hawker proves that simple logic is all that’s required to do marketing wonders.

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Virgin Mobiles
“We are more experienced than our name suggests!” :)

Virgin Mobiles We are more experienced than our name suggests!

Virgin Mobiles, a cellular service provider and one of the brands from the Richard Branson owned Virgin Group’s stable, was all set to be introduced in India. However, the fact that the Indian telecom market was already crowded with many established players, Virgin Mobiles needed to do something strikingly different to penetrate and stand a chance to be called ‘successful’.

Choosing the Indian youth as their target audience, Virgin Mobiles entered the Indian market with a strategy that summarizes what they needed to do – “Think hatke” (‘Hatke’ is an Indian word meaning ‘different’). Market research threw up encouraging stats – there are 215 million urban youth mobile subscribers in India and an additional 50 million are likely to join in over the next three years. This would make the urban youth a juicy 10% of the total telecom market in India!

The marketing ploy was simple yet brilliant: A Virgin Mobile user would earn 10 paise per minute for every incoming call from any network! What makes this a pathbreaking marketing idea was the fact that where most rival cellular companies were boasting about how all incoming calls were free, Virgin Mobiles went a step ahead and offered to pay its users for every incoming call! Now this is undeniably ‘Hatke’ thinking!

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To VC or not to VC

It’s a strange irony for us at Eggfirst to be faced with the issue of ‘To VC or Not to VC’. Gives us a sense of deja vu, really. While the chicken has been laid to rest for good, let’s for now just take head-on, the VC question.

This is about a panel discussion we were attending at the Tie-World conference in California (May 16/17 ‘08). The panel on ‘To VC or Not to VC’ threw various perspectives on the issues and did a wonderful task. Salil (Bay Partners), Peter (KLM Capital) and Jasvir (Sufi) were crystal clear about possibilities and connected concerns. Ron Weismann from Apax – one of the amazing speakers on that panel, introduced Venture Incubators. The moral of the discussion was: Go to a VC ONLY if you need them. For money or any ‘other reason’. This ‘other reason’ is what we are still trying to figure out.

For instance, one important ‘other reason’ could be to seek strategic advice. Well, with the sense of supreme confidence (a.k.a. arrogance!) we have, it’s difficult to justify that as reason enough for dilution.
The next in line was a good one that really had us thinking: Access to markets. Connections. Well, though not quite new or path-breaking a thought, but yes, there’s merit in that proposition. And it may just seriously justify dilution. However, it did leave us with a set of new questions that need to be answered, to answer the first.

And hopefully some of you can shed some practical light and brighten our day: How does one ‘approach or structure’ a VC relationship proposing dilution in return for access to markets? Do the VCs bite into it? Do they find it worthwhile?

Well, it does leave us with these questions yet! Wasn’t life easier with answers being as conclusive and unavailable for comment, as the ones that Eggfirst leaves you with 🙂

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Safe drinking water wherever you go

Safe drinking water wherever you go

Aquaguard is an established market leader in the water purification systems in India. However, its crown has come under threat by entry of new players in the market. But trust a true leader to come up with a stunning marketing strategy at such times.

Aquaguard has tied up with the Indian Railways to set up stalls at major stations where safe and purified water, directly from the Aquaguard water purifier system, will be sold. The strength of this unprecedented, pioneering marketing initiative lies in the fact that while bottled water is sold at Rs. 7 (500 ml), Aquaguard will sell their water at just Rs. 2.

With this, Aquaguard has targeted the vast middle class population that uses the Mumbai local trains. Not only will the brand Aquaguard get great visibility and hence enhanced brand recall but the initiative will also help Aquaguard further strengthen its promise of ‘pure, safe water’.

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