Shoppers bags

Shoppers bags

Recently, the Indian retail store chain brand ‘Shoppers Stop’ underwent an image makeover. In marketing, one of the most difficult exercises is to convey a re-branding message. However, Shoppers Stop came up with an innovative way to spread the awareness.

An English daily in India comes out with a Sunday supplement, along with the regular newspaper. The supplement features the latest in lifestyle, shopping and better living – something that perfectly appeals to the target audience of Shoppers Stop. So what Shoppers Stop did was it inserted the magazine in a shopping bag carrying the new logo of Shoppers Stop.

The bag was quite a surprise for all readers. It gave the brand a very nice exposure and was also used as a mobile media for long term advertisement.

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Turning it around

Turning it around

One of the biggest reasons for losses in the Indian Retail Marketing sector is the unavoidable damage of goods while handling and transportation. However, if the new-age marketers have their way, companies will not only put an end to this problem soon, but also turn it into a profit making business.

Future Group is leading this innovation by planning to open stores where these damaged goods will be repaired and sold at a discounted rate. This is a perfect example of exploiting the Indian consumer’s psychology of ‘compromising on quality for cheap pricing’.

This will not only be profitable for the company but will also please the appetite of the Indian consumer.

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Laughter during relieving

Free movie tickets. A bucket full of popcorn. Just what you need to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. We had got one such invite for the movie ‘Beowulf’. Angelina Jolie was making things quite jolly while we feasted on popcorns and had a popcorn fight with the front row kids. Slurping on the large size cola overloaded my bladder.

As I ran towards the men’s room to unburden myself and was just about to shoot the pot, I saw a very interesting thing written on the wall right in front of me. It was a dialogue from a movie; it read, “Not bad for a human.” – Aliens (1986). It got me grinning. Relief plus laughter! That was one of the most satisfying leaks ever taken.

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Cross cultured

Being in India it’s difficult not to comment on the ongoing cricket controversy involving Australia and India. We can learn a lesson or two in communication across cultures from the incident. Let’s reflect on what happened in Australia recently.

India was playing a ‘test’ match against Australia in Sydney. India’s Harbhajan Singh was batting. Harbhajan Singh is known for his short temper. After a particular over got done, Andrew Symonds from Australia muttered something to Harbhajan. Not the one to take things lying down, Harbhajan gave it back to Symonds. Now, it is alleged, by Symonds and other Australian players, that Harbhajan called Symonds a monkey.

Here’s a quick lowdown on what transpired between the two parties:
India was playing a ‘test’ match against Australia in Sydney. India’s Harbhajan Singh was batting. Harbhajan Singh is known for his short temper. After a particular over got done, Andrew Symonds from Australia muttered something to Harbhajan. Not the one to take things lying down, Harbhajan gave it back to Symonds. Now, it is alleged, by Symonds and other Australian players, that Harbhajan called Symonds a monkey.

This one word – ‘Monkey’ has been the keystone of the controversy. For the Indian, Harbhajan Singh, a monkey is just another name kids call each other by while teasing. But that’s the Indian culture. Distinctly different from the Australian. In Australia, calling an aboriginal (Symonds is an aboriginal) ‘monkey’ would be considered a racist slur (it’s as good, or rather as bad, as calling a black man ‘negro’). Symonds filed a complaint with the match official and Harbhajan was handed a three match ban.

Harbhajan and Symonds come from different cultures where the denotations of certain words, like monkey, are vastly different. We can learn an important lesson in communication – it’s imperative to keep in mind the sensitivities of your audience. You ought to know how your audience will soak in your communication.

Read our take on the pros and cons of outsourcing offshore.

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The rational mind!

It’s not right to overhear conversations. However, in public places, there’s little you can do. A girl and her friend, in the seat next to mine, were having a rather interesting conversation. The girl seemed pretty upset with her inability to find the Mr. Right for herself.

“It’s been six years since college and no luck as yet. I don’t think god has made anyone for me.” Her friend tried consoling her with the clichéd PMA (Positive Mental Attitude, sic) blah blah. Naturally, it didn’t help cheer the girl. Then quickly changing tact, he said, “Hey, I think God really loves you and doesn’t want to share you with anyone!”

Now, that did the magic turning the whole thing around. The girl was smiling wide on hearing that. And so was I.

As they say, the medium is as important as the message. ‘Packaging’ your communication is vital. Being boring is passé. You and I know what the reality is, and so does the girl. But the emotional mind just wants to hear things it does.

Strangely enough, most consumer decisions are dictated by the emotional mind, and then rationalized by the intellect. Isn’t the Whopper® from Burger King, with more than 600 calories, proof enough!

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