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Independent Marketing Strategist, Children and Youth Marketing Expert, Visiting Faculty at Business Schools, Corporate Trainer, Social Media Marketing enthusiast. Google me for more. Check me out on: marketingpundit.com, indianroadie.in .  Connect, like or follow me on: Linkedin @ deepbanerjee, Facebook @ deepbanerjee.marketingpundit, Twitter @ deepbanerjee.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Was major stake of LINTAS ever owned by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity

You won’t believe what I read on my Twitter feed moments ago .....

LINTAS, the esteemed advertising agency had substantial part of its stake owned by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity.

Does anybody have any clues?

Found it in the Twitter feed of Joy Bhattacharjya: @joybhattacharj

Read the article & the subsequent comments on this link:

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Automotive Lubricants industry in India - Part 1

Lubricants mainly find usage in automotive, industrial and marine and energy applications.

India is world’s third largest lubricants market, next only to US and China, with a total consumption of approximately 2.6 billion litres in 2016. The industry in India is made up of over 30 established players, viz Public Sector Undertaking – Oil Marketing Companies (IOCL, BPCL, HPCL) as well as the other players in the private sector (Total-Elf, Shell, Gulf Oil, Mobil, Valvoline, Motul, etc) on tenterhooks.

Break-up of Lubricants consumption in India:
•1.2 billion litres would be automotive lubricants,
•770 million litres would be industrial oils,
•with the remaining being process oils.

The overall India lubricants market is expected to register a CAGR of 4.64%, during 2018-2023. The major factors driving the growth of the market is undeniably the increasing vehicular production.

Overall vehicle sales grew by ~7% during 2017, compared to the previous year. In 2017, commercial vehicle sales increased by 9% overall, while heavy commercial vehicle sales grew by 2%, medium / light commercial vehicle sales (MLCV) by 14% and tractor sales moved up by 15%. Passenger car sales (including utility vehicles) also increased by 9% and two-wheeler sales moved up by ~7%.

Developments in the Automotive sector in 2017-18 FY has been a healthy year for the Indian Automotive industry in spite of a volatile regulatory environment. Total industry volumes grew by around 11.3% over April-December 2017 on a year-on-year basis. The Passenger Vehicle segment went up by around 8.1% and the Commercial Vehicle segment by around 15.2%. The total two- wheeler market grew by 11.8% and its exports at a healthy 13%.

The lubricants market growth (other than industrial and marine & energy) was 3% for 2017 post a recovery in the second half of the year. Other longer term macro-trends in the industry remained largely unchanged.
With Indian households generating higher disposable incomes, there has been a significant boost in vehicle sales for personal mobility, both for two and four-wheelers. First time users of personal mobility vehicles, along with growth in usage of two-wheelers in small towns and the emergence of gearless scooters driven by increasing number of women riders, has also led to a growth in two-wheeler sales.

Mineral oils hold the largest share among all the automotive lubricants used in the country, synthetic and semi-synthetic lubricants are expected to grow at a rapid pace during the period 2018-23.

Problems and prospects in the Automotive Lubricants sector:

Problems: Imports and supply of base oil are primarily controlled by the PSU-OMCs. This has a direct bearing on the pricing of the end product, timely supply and distribution.
With focus on marketing and zero red tapeism, Castrol India has its distinct advantage.

Prospects: The market opportunity across the Automotive Lubricants segments in India:
• Heavy duty automotive diesel engine oils 420 million litres per year,
• 125 million litres per year for passenger cars,
• 235 million litres per year for motorcycle oils and
• 280 million litres per year for transmission & axle oils, across the vehicle segments.

Demand for Automotive Lubricants is driven by the usage of vehicles in the country, while the growth in the market in recent years has been due to the rapid expansion of vehicle population.


(i) Opportunities
a. Personal mobility: With multiple opportunities in personal mobility, including the growth of first time users, increase in usage in smaller towns and rural areas, as well as a growing number of women riders, the Company is tapping these segments for growth.

b. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) partnerships: The Company works with OEMs to build enduring partnerships, such as its recent tie-up with Maruti for their premium Nexa channel and Piaggio for two-wheelers. It also works with OEMs on product development with new technologies as well as addressing the environmental needs of lower emission and fuel efficiency.

c. Medium / light commercial vehicles (MLCV): While the MLCV segment was moderately impacted by the economic slowdown in the first half of 2017, it is poised for growth due to the last-mile connectivity offered, which enables the Company to continue to focus on this category.

d. Improving technology in trucks: With the advent of stricter emission norms resulting in newer technologies
for trucks, the CI4+ segment is the fastest growing segment in the commercial vehicle category, in which the Castrol India enjoys a strong position.

e. Distribution: The Company has a large distribution network in the retail market. Renewed focus on distribution and customer reach in different market segments will enable future growth.

(ii) Threats
a. Economic uncertainty: After relative stability of low crude prices in the first half of 2016, the Company has seen an upward trend of base oil costs from late 2016, which rose further in 2017. This is likely to continue throughout 2018, based on the current and future market environment estimates.

b. GST: With GST rollout in 2017, there was very low inventory and stocking, and hence, overall production.
The effect started diminishing gradually in the second half of 2017. Also, the Company has been one of the first among lubricant players to transition smoothly to GST and bill customers immediately, post its introduction.
While some uncertainty around GST implementation currently exists, and measures are being taken to iron out these issues, this uncertainty is likely to continue in 2018.

c. Competitive activity: Competition in the lubricants market is intense and most international players have identified India as a focus market. Competitive activity is likely to remain high in the foreseeable future. There is also a trend of some OEMs introducing lubricants under their own brand name, further impacting the competitive landscape.


(i) Opportunities
a. Personal mobility: With multiple opportunities in personal mobility, including the growth of first time users, increase in usage in smaller towns and rural areas, as well as a growing number of women riders, the Company is tapping these segments for growth.

b. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) partnerships: The Company works with OEMs to build enduring partnerships, such as its recent tie-up with Maruti for their premium Nexa channel and Piaggio for two-wheelers. It also works with OEMs on product development with new technologies as well as addressing the environmental needs of lower emission and fuel efficiency.

c. Medium / light commercial vehicles (MLCV): While the MLCV segment was moderately impacted by the economic slowdown in the first half of 2017, it is poised for growth due to the last-mile connectivity offered, which enables the Company to continue to focus on this category.

d. Improving technology in trucks: With the advent of stricter emission norms resulting in newer technologies
for trucks, the CI4+ segment is the fastest growing segment in the commercial vehicle category, in which the Castrol India enjoys a strong position.

e. Distribution: The Company has a large distribution network in the retail market. Renewed focus on distribution and customer reach in different market segments will enable future growth.

(ii) Threats
a. Economic uncertainty: After relative stability of low crude prices in the first half of 2016, the Company has seen an upward trend of base oil costs from late 2016, which rose further in 2017. This is likely to continue throughout 2018, based on the current and future market environment estimates.

b. GST: With GST rollout in 2017, there was very low inventory and stocking, and hence, overall production.
The effect started diminishing gradually in the second half of 2017. Also, the Company has been one of the first among lubricant players to transition smoothly to GST and bill customers immediately, post its introduction.
While some uncertainty around GST implementation currently exists, and measures are being taken to iron out these issues, this uncertainty is likely to continue in 2018.

c. Competitive activity: Competition in the lubricants market is intense and most international players have identified India as a focus market. Competitive activity is likely to remain high in the foreseeable future. There is also a trend of some OEMs introducing lubricants under their own brand name, further impacting the competitive landscape.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Volumes decline in non-Maggi portfolio disconcerting

Nestle India Ltd does not disclose segmental details in quarterly results and these disclosures shared in the annual report feature disappointments particularly on volumes. While
prepared dishes and Cooking aids (primarily Maggi noodles) sales declined by 55.6% YoY in CY15 to INR13.1b (15.6% of sales in CY15) due to the Maggi issue, the largest segment, milk and nutrition (55.4% of sales in CY15) grew by only 2.1% YoY in value terms, the lowest level of growth since the turn of the
millennium. Even this growth in the segment was mainly led by realization
growth of 4.9% with volumes declining 2.7% YoY, the fourth consecutive year
of volume decline in what is Nestle India’s largest segment. The other two non-
Maggi segments, Chocolate and Confectionary as well as beverages also
reported disappointing numbers in CY15 with volumes for both segments
actually declining in double digits by 19.5% and 10.3% respectively. Volumes
for both these segments show a worsening trend in recent years.

Friday, October 06, 2017

India gives away 27,000 FIFA U-17 tickets to avoid empty World Cup stands

India has given away 27,000 tickets to the opening games of the FIFA U-17 World Cup to fill empty stands in a desperate bid to avoid an embarrassing repeat of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The under-17 World Cup, which kicked off on Friday 2017-10-06, marks India's first attempt at hosting a FIFA tournament, but sales for the high-profile event have been poor, despite some seats costing less than a dollar.

Organisers scrambled to ensure that the 56,000-capacity Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi appeared packed when Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the opening games which saw India play the United States.

The organisers have given away 27,000 tickets to schools around the Delhi region. They also provided pick and drop facility. It would have been embarrassing for the organisers if the stadium looked empty.
The event, which runs until October 28, has been dogged by bad news, with Greenpeace issuing a report on Wednesday 2017-10-04 that said the poor quality of air in India's pollution-clogged cities poses a "serious health risk" to players and spectators during the tournament.

Twenty-four nations are competing in the event, which is being held in New Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Kochi, Guwahati and Kolkata.

(Image: BCCL)

Greenpeace said all the six cities "share dangerous levels of air pollution" but singled out New Delhi as the venue with the highest risk.

"Air pollution levels during the Indian tournament could be significantly worse than during the 2008 Beijing Olympics," the report warned.

India's capital will host its last game of the tournament on October 16, just before pollution levels spike around the Diwali festival, when Hindus celebrate by setting off huge amounts of fireworks.

Media reports said matches were deliberately kept out of Delhi after October 16 because of pollution fears.

India's Supreme Court has ordered authorities to take precautions ahead of the festival, and measures under consideration include pulling some cars off roads and closing polluting industries.

World Cup organisers did not comment on the Greenpeace report.

The event is among India's highest-profile global tournaments after the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010 which were meant to showcase the country's status as an emerging power but instead left memories of shoddy venues, empty stadiums and massive budget overruns.

(Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com dated 2017-10-06)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Luring customers with words and images on August 15, 1947

Advertising India: How companies pitched themselves for citizens of independent nation

A look at the art of luring customers with words and images from the archives of Hindustan Times on August 15,1947.


Still in the market: An advertisement for Horlicks in the August 15, 1947 edition of Hindustan Times.(HT archives)

Updated: Aug 14, 2017 11:25 IST

By Zehra Kazmi and Sujoy Das, Hindustan Times

On the day India was freed from the British rule, life changed for its citizens, but some things remained business as usual. Indians were still buying and selling, from items of daily use such as toothpaste or shaving blades to luxury items such as cars and movie tickets.

Advertisements have existed almost as long as newspapers have – even in 1947, newspaper front pages carried ads. Digging through the Hindustan Times’ archives from 1947, one glimpses cultural history of a different kind – what was being advertised and how? What were the products you were most likely to find in Indian middle-class homes? What movies were in theatres; which film stars were the faces of popular creams? What ideas and values were advertisers peddling back in the day?

What you can see is a little bit of India in brands that are familiar names. Advertising copy, however, has come a long way – from being flowery and formal, today’s ads usually employ a more conversational tone. Many advertisements mention addresses and offices in the cities of Delhi, Karachi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Lahore and London, the big financial hubs.

Inside India’s cupboards in 1947

Some of the products ubiquitous in India’s cupboards were already crowd favourites at the time. Dettol antiseptic, Colgate toothpaste, Eno fruit salt, Glycodin cough syrup, Cipla remedies, Johnson’s baby powder, Hamdard’s Safi, Kelloggs’ cornflakes, Lipton tea were household names.

Apart from these, what were the lotions and potions that catered to the vanity of India’s middle and upper classes? You will spot some familiar names here, and familiar advertising tropes: Brylcreem was advertising its greasy charms, Gillette was selling smooth shaves; Lifebuoy was telling consumers it would make them popular and land them jobs, while Palmolive was selling its ‘exciting shampoo’ that would make hair “sparkling, silky smooth and easy to curl”. ‘Lovely women’ everywhere used Ponds, and Lux had already roped in a film star as its face.

New technologies

The other thing that jumps out is the breathless air with which new technologies and features were being advertised. Kodak is marketing its ‘lumenized lenses’, a technology it pioneered during the World War II. Eveready’s long-lasting batteries could provide ‘unfailing, bright and powerful’ light, while Phillips’ low-cost battery-operated radios promised “finest radio reception”. And Reynolds, the humble makers of our favourite blue-and-white pen, were announcing the Reynolds’ Rocket Ball Pen, which could go 15 years without a refill!

For the movers and shakers

Then there were items that spelled luxury. In the August of India’s independence, an Air India ticket from Delhi to Bombay cost Rs 140, a substantial sum. The return flight made a stopover at Ahmedabad for refuelling.

You could buy a shiny, smooth new Buick Sedan for Rs 12,700. What seems like a pittance now was a princely sum back then. A Parker pen or a Chevrolet is still a luxury in today’s India, but in the year of India’s independence, very few Indians could afford these at all.

For those who could, going out to the matinee was one of these treats. So what was playing in theatres in 1947? Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious starring American heartthrobs Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman was playing in Plaza Cinema in January, while Regal cinema was showing Henry Fonda-starrer ‘The Return of Frank James’. In Indian cinema, it seems historicals were the flavour of the season -- Ritz Cinema at Lothian Road was playing Veerangana while Jagat Cinema was playing Surendra and Suraiya’s “1857”, a retelling of the first war of Indian independence.

In some respects, nothing seems to have changed. The latest films still play at Plaza, and Cook and Kelvey continue to sell Rolex watches at Scindia House.

The winds of change

While commerce continues, these vintage advertisements are not untouched by the events of 1947. Biscuit manufacturer Parle-Gluco wishes consumers prosperity in ‘this new year of freedom’ in an advertisement.

India’s homegrown industrialists such as DCM textiles and Modi industries had gained a solid foothold in the market. The Imperial Bank of India would soon be renamed the State bank of India in 1955, post Independence.

This 1947 advertisement for the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun was striking. The IMA was looking for young officers of ‘quality, character, vigour, grit; lovers of rough outdoors and adventurous life need apply’. But you had to be a “British subject of Indian domicile or descent”. How this would change four months later, when India gained freedom from colonial rule.

This rather bold ad pitches Colgate as the perfect toothpaste to fight bad breath so you can kiss your beau. Toothpaste wasn’t a necessity back then, many Indian households still relied on the traditional meswak method to keep their teeth clean.

Newer generations may know Eno from its ‘Eno on, acidity gone’ tagline, but as this rather grandiose 1947 advertisement for the fruit salt shows, the brand has been around for a long time. "Eno knows no race, no flag, no boundaries – it extends to all peoples, so great is its fame as a healthgiver," the ad announces. Also worthy of note: The ad bears the mark of JWT, one of the world’s oldest advertising agencies, which was founded by former US marine James Walter Thompson in 1896.

We have all gargled with Listrine mouthwash, but in 1947, the company was peddling its toothpaste where a mother tells her about-to-be-wed daughter to brush with Listrine so "you can hold your pretty smile…and the admiration of your husband." The sexism here should feel antiquated, but is very much a part of advertising even in 2017.

Here’s the Czech shoe company -- which many Indians think of as homegrown because of how ubiquitous it has been – wishing its patrons on Durga Puja. Bata entered the Indian market in 1931, and was incorporated at Calcutta.

7’o clock was eventually bought out by Gillette and retails under its brand now. In 1947, Gillette’s blue blades retailed for Rs 14 for a pack of 5, while Indian brand 7 o’clock was a cheaper alternative with a pack of 10 slotted blades at Rs 12.

What’s he got that we haven’t, asks this ad? The answer, of course, is Brylcreem. Actor-singer Kishore Kumar and cricketer Farokh Engineer were some of the big names to endorse Brylcreem in its early days.

American company Pond’s foray into India started with advertising an entire beauty routine – cold cream, vanishing cream and powders.

The soap brand’s long tradition of getting film actors to market its products stretches back to 1947-- actress Ratnamala who had played the lead in 1945’s Vikramaditya was Lux’s face.

It wouldn’t become Parle-G till the 1980s but India’s ‘premier biscuit manufacturer’ already ruled the roost.

General Motors, Buick’s promoter in India, started business in the country in 1928, assembling Chevrolet cars, buses and trucks.

Parker was already a leading name in pens by then. The Parker ‘51’ with a gold cap retailed for Rs 63 – and has now acquired a collectible status.

The white-and-blue Reynolds ball pen is advertising something revolutionary in 1947: a pen where you won’t need to change the refill for 15 years!

A measure of how drastically cigarette advertising has changed over the years – in 1947, Will’s could openly advertise, "To assess the quality of a cigarette, all you need to look for is the name". Current laws prescribe that cigarette and tobacco packaging needs to carry health warnings.

India’s first airline stated that it was there "to serve the nation, to serve you". In 1947, a Bombay to Delhi flight had a stopover in Ahmedabad for refuelling. The Tata-owned Air India had a touchingly nationalist tagline, "In India, it pays to fly Air India". An October advertisement notifies an increase in the fare price.

The ‘longest established travel company’ in the world was founded in 1758 with the purpose of aiding the regiments posted to India. It was founded by Richard Cox under the command of Lord Ligonier. It started off with shipping clothing and other personal effects of soldiers and requisitioning of weapons or supplies, but later turned into a travel company. When the British packed up and left, Cox & Kings stayed behind and thrived in the subcontinent.

An advertisement for the Bollywood movie ‘1857’, based on the first war of Indian independence, starring singer-actor Surendra and Suraiya. The film had several songs, with music by Sajjad Hassan. Though Jagat Cinema had downed shutters, Chandni Chowk is still home to the Gramophone Company.

Mobile phones may have become our default torches, but Eveready is still synonymous with batteries in India. The National Carbon Company started operations in India in 1905 with batteries imported from the USA, but set up its own battery and flashlight plant over the years. In 1951, the name was changed to Union Carbide Company, which was involved in the tragic Bhopal gas disaster in 1984.

This 1947 advertisement for the Indian Military Academy is looking for young officers of ‘quality, character, vigour, grit; lovers of rough outdoors and adventurous life need apply’. But you have to be a "British subject of Indian domicile or descent", which was to change four months later when India gained independence.

On January 27, 1921, the three Presidency banks of Bengal, Bombay and Madras were amalgamated to form a single entity, the Imperial Bank of India. In 1955, the IBI was transformed into the State Bank of India.

Connaught Place’s glittery Plaza Cinema is playing American blockbusters ‘Notorious’ and ‘Abie’s Irish Rose’. But the Sunday morning show is Ashok Kumar’s Hindi movie, Kismet.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mahindra & Mahindra's ‘Live Young Live Free’ ad campaign makes a comeback

The Mahindra & Mahindra campaign has been conceptualised by FCB Interface and aims to embody the emotions of freedom and adventure as suggested by the tagline, 'Live Young Live Free'. 

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M), India’s SUV manufacturer, recently launched a sequel to its popular television commercial, ‘Live Young, Live Free’ to showcase its complete portfolio of SUVs, including all the recently launched SUVs. Targeted at those who seek varied experiences, the new umbrella communication embodies the emotions of freedom and adventure, and propagates the core value proposition of Mahindra SUVs to enable lifestyle enhancing experiences.

Inspired by the original ‘Live Young Live Free’ score from the first campaign, the sequel uses a melange of tunes such as Hard-rock, Dub-step, Carnatic, Hindustani & Folk, elevating it from a song to an anthem running across the nation. As the leader in the SUV segment in India, over the years Mahindra has built a strong portfolio of vehicle brands with differentiated positioning and brand values.

The Live Young Live Free 2.0 film brings alive the unique proposition that Mahindra’s sports utility vehicles offer and the film underlines the common Mahindra DNA, a thread that binds the entire portfolio of SUVs. This film showcases different people, from different walks of life enjoying their own adventures in a Mahindra vehicle across the breath-taking landscapes of Ladakh, the serene lakes of Shillong, the dense forests of Assam and enigmatic dunes of Jaisalmer. With its stunning visuals, the film aptly showcases the go anywhere capability of Mahindra vehicles.

Watch the spot here:

Speaking about the campaign, Vivek Nayer, chief marketing officer, automotive division, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. said, “The sequel to our already popular TVC ‘Live Young Live Free’ celebrates the emotions of freedom and adventure among our SUV owners, and propagates the capability of Mahindra SUVs to enable lifestyle enhancing experiences. Mahindra vehicles with their unique DNA are best suited to offer a fun filled adventurous lifestyle to our customers, and the film reflects this in a very aspirational but relatable way. The Live Young Live Free anthem further enhances the strong emotional connect and exhorts people to join this movement. Essentially this TVC further builds on the earlier one and dwells on the fundamental nature of the human spirit which aspires for the freedom to pursue one’s passions.”

Nayer further added, “As part of our consumer insight studies we also found that with changing lifestyles, one of the key emerging trends was the growing number of road trippers in India, and the consequent increase in the sharing of experiences through social media. Our customer value proposition is at the heart of this trend. Hence while we have our TVC, print ads and content marketing strategy to amplify the Live Young Live Free communication, the newly introduced LYLF app is an enabler to plan and share the experience of road trippers.”

Robby Mathew, chief creative officer, FCB Interface said, “This film celebrates the sheer joy of breaking free. Breaking free from the limitations of the road, and by extension, the limitations that we have set for ourselves. It is also a subtle reminder that we have but one life, and there is no excuse whatsoever to not live it to the fullest. Like they say, sequels always have it hard. We evaluate them much more ruthlessly than the original. Happily for us Amit Sharma (Chrome Films) has done a phenomenal job with the film, and Mikey’s music score is truly a breakthrough – an eclectic mix of genres and voices and styles.”

Source: ETBrandEquity  |  January 21, 2017, 08:25 IST

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Kolkata's street food is now available on online food delivery platforms

Move over biryani, daab chingri and Thai green curry. Now, Kolkata's street food is available on online food delivery platforms. From bhelpuri, soda shikanjiand papri chaatto rose khass, phuchka and even paan - everything can be ordered online and delivered at your doorstop.
The online menu of Sandip Soda Shikanji at Vivekananda Park now lists everything from rose milkshake and kachha aam milkshake to kala khatta and khass. Mouthwatering pictures of khatta meetha churmur , dahi pakora chaat and dahi phuchka are all available on line as are paans from Ashok Paan shop on Bondel Road.

"It's been three months since we started offering this service to keep pace with the digital world," said Rahul Kumar Chaurasia from Ashok Paan shop, adding that the app helps them deliver to places as far away as Tollygunje and Kasba.Most of his clients opt for gundi paan, which costs Rs 8 each, but there are also many takers for the special singara paan that costs Rs 50.

Delivery boy Bapi Roy says he delivers street food worth Rs 300-400 each day . "There is one client on Mayfair Road who has ordered lachha paan worth Rs 150 at least 25 times in a month!" Roy said.

Piku Pandit, who runs the popular Durga Pandit Ka Phuchka Stall, is upbeat about online delivery. "Clients who can't physically come down are happy to be served this way . On some days, I even get as many as 15 online orders,“ said Pandit, who packs extra chillies, onion and lime with every order. Sandip Das, the owner of Sandip Soda Shikanji stall, insists that it is important to ride the app bandwagon to survive. "This shop was set up by my grandfather. Elderly people might not understand apps, but I need to be savvy to survive.There are days when I get 50 orders through the app," Das said. He rues that he can't serve online customers his trademark golas because he hasn't been able to "get the packing right".

Advocate Tridib Sen drives down to Das's stall only to have the gola. The rest he orders online. "Time and distance are important. In my profession, it is difficult to find time to go and have food on the streets. Since these are now available online, why wouldn't I avail the facility? It costs approximately Rs 10 more per delivery but that doesn't pinch my pocket at all. In betwe en work, all I need to do is go online and order a masala ThumsUp or a shikanji and it's delivered within minutes," Sen said.

Piyali Saha, in-charge of an educational institute, places online phuchka orders at least thrice a month. “Of course, the fun of having phuchka on the streets is missing at home or office.Yet, it's better than not having it at all. It's all about adapting to the need of the hour,“ she said. There's one catch though.Customers can no longer cajole for a free sukhha puchka or a helping of bhujia to top the chaat. But that's a small sacrifice to make for street food delivered straight to your workstation.

(Source: The Times of India, Kolkata dt 2017-02-19)

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Ramesh is OLA driver partner of 2016

Congratulations Ramesh, (from Kolkata) on becoming the OLA driver partner of 2016 and winning a BMW 3-Series. He is the only winner in India.

We at Marketingpundit and MarketingGyanology appreciate this marketing and motivation enhancement initiative by OLA in India.

Friday, December 09, 2016

A Summer Project is NOT Agent Recruitment Project

I'm shocked at the way number of B-Schools in India are forcing their Marketing Management students to appear for campus interviews - for Final Placements as well as for Summer Training.

For Summer Training, private Insurance sector companies are awarding projects which involve appointment of agents for selling insurance products. The students are being paid a commission for the number of agents they manage to recruit. They are being threatened that if they do not appoint a bare minimum number of agents, they may not get their "certificate of satisfactory completion" from the company at all. Once these students pass out the following year, companies marketing branded products may not touch them with a barge pole. What these students do in the name of Summer Project for a period of 6 to 8 weeks is not a project at all.

Final year MBA Marketing students (with a background in Engineering) have been offered final placements (during campus interviews in February) in insurance companies with the job profile remaining the same as that of Summer Training. The insurance companies issue "Letters of Offer" to practically every individual who appear for the interview. What is worse is that, thereafter, the students were not even allowed to appear for other campus interviews by the college authorities between February and June. The final year students were not even informed about their job content, i.e. on what they were expected to do on joining the company. Final year students have also realized in June that the remuneration promised to them has a very very very high component of variable pay (in the form of incentives). No wonders there's a large number of demotivated fresh and young MBAs in the marketplace. Will someone counsel these youngsters properly, please? I'm keen to hear from youngsters incidents which are very similar to these.

Digital Dabbawalas in Mumbai - from delivering dabbas to offering click-based services

It’s been more than a decade that the world woke up to the reality that Mumbai’s lunch-dabba system is an act of urban genius.

Some called it as the most ingenious food delivery system in the world. The Forbes magazine gave the dabbawalas (lunchbox deliverymen) a Six Sigma performance rating or a 99.99999 percent of precision, which means they make one error in 16 million deliveries! In the last 125 years, there has not been a single instance of a lunchbox that has not been delivered to its destination. Come rain or shine, heavy crowded local trains or Mumbai traffic, the lunch box is picked up from home and delivered. This is the precision of their service – and all this without using any technology.

In recent times, with the world and India taking digital leaps, the dabbawala’s too have found the need to embrace technology and offer click-based services.

"Most of our staff is semi-literate. We earn around Rs. 10,000 to 12,000 per month and were looking for opportunities to have an additional source of income. Our Prime Minister is working towards Digital India mission, and when we got an opportunity from Anulom Technologies for rental registrations, we too decided to offer digital services," says Ulhas Muke, President, Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association.

Dabba delivery to digital services

Around 5,000 dabbawalas travel over 60 to 70 km daily to deliver over 2 lakh lunchboxes across Mumbai, and have earned a reputation for their meticulous operations, integrity and honesty.

In October 2016, with the launch of digitaldabbawala.com, they are now expanding their delivery from just lunch boxes to last-mile delivery of digital services. This is a combined initiative with Anulom Technologies, a government approved rental-agreement registration website.

Ad: India is the third largest breeding ground for technology start-ups focusing on digital innovation and disruption. Is your organisation fully digital?

"Today, everyone wants to work with a trusted facilitator for digital services. The first of such services by us has been around online rental agreement registration. Anulom directs our dabbawala to a customer’s doorstep with a laptop and a biometric device where the rental agreement format is shown, thumb impressions are taken with the help of biometric machine and documents collected if needed," says Jaising Pingle, Treasurer, Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association, and who is the first trained digital dabbawala.

Before launching this service, Anulom handpicked a 15 member team for process and laptop training. Each of these 15 individuals were chosen from different regions in Mumbai and Thane.

"We were amazed to witness that within two days this group had completely explored most of the laptop features and knew basics like turning it on, logging in and connecting to the net. Post this we held a two day boot camp in the evening for four hours to train them properly, both on the usage of laptops and biometric device working and also around the process of rental registration. We installed an app on their mobile devices. So there is no need to type a single letter. All they need to do is point and click and it is easily understandable. They are exceptionally fast learners," says Prabodh Navare, CEO, Anulom Technologies.

These people initially trained by Anulom have now become the building blocks of the digital movement and are training their fellow dabbawalas. Going ahead, digitaldabbawala.com is planning to launch services like making of Aadhaar cards, changing names on documents, marriage registrations or making other government documents.

(Source: Ashwani Mishra, ETCIO.com dated 2016-12-02)

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Durex condoms - will you choose condoms or an infant's feeding bottle nipples


How the Brain Processes Different Types of Content [Infographic]

Sometimes, the movie adaptation of a book is better than the book itself. Maybe it's the acting, maybe it's the special effects or the soundtrack, or maybe the story is simply better told on the big screen than in our imaginations.

The reason? Different stories are better told in different formats depending on the message they're trying to convey.

The folks at Main Path Marketing created an infographic to break down common types of content marketing formats and how they communicate information to your audience. And some of their insights may surprise you. For example, did you know that the human brain processes videos 60,000X faster than text? That's part of what makes how-to videos so popular in online search habits.

Source:Written by Sophia Bernazzani in Hubspot

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Beat smog with fresh air from Wales

Beat smog with fresh air from Wales

Sales Of Bottled Air From 'Fresh-Smelling' Places Take Off As Pollution Chokes More Cities.

Would you pay $100 for a whiff of Welsh air? In some of the world's most polluted cities, people apparently will: Sales of bottled air from fresh-smelling places are taking off. An Australian company is hawking six-packs of air bottled in places like Bondi Beach in Sydney or the eucalyptus-covered Blue Mountains. A Canadian firm sells containers of Rocky Mountain breeze as an antidote to smoggy skies ("a shot of nature," its marketing promises).

Aethaer, a British company , is hoping to turn packaged air into a popular luxury item in fast-growing markets like China. The company sells glass jars holding 580 ml (a bit more than a pint) of air from Wales -with a "morning dew feel", according to its website -for £80, or $97.
The company's 28-year old founder, Leo De Watts, said he hoped buyers would come to regard his product as a collectible, like a "sculpture or a limited-edition print made by an artist". "Clean air is actually a very rare commodity," he said. The market for all kinds of pollution-fighting tools is booming popular in many smog choked cities in China, India and Southeast Asia. Innovations abound, including air purifiers that are attached to bicycles and outdoor towers that are meant to suck up smog.

Bottled air is one of the least practical but most talked about ideas. It can hardly replace the local atmosphere -one person would require at least eight to 10 bottles a minute to breathe. But residents in smoggy places are snapping up the stuff anyway .

The Australian bottler, Green and Clean, plans to ship about 40,000 containers a month to China starting in December, and then expand to India, Malaysia, Chile and West Asia.

Some people purchase bottled air as a gag gift.Others buy it to inhale themselves, and say it reinvigorates them on days when the air is really bad. "It makes my lungs feel clean," said Pan Li, 37, who works at a technology start-up in Beijing and buys about six bottles a month. "It might just be my imagination, but I'm willing to try anything."

(Source: NYT News Service)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Why buy when the same can be cooked at home, new mantra of Indian consumers

While consumes are cutting down on eating pizza and burgers at stores like Domino’s, Pizza Hut or McDonald’s, they are cooking similar western foods at home.

While same store sales of western style foods have slowed down to less than 5 per cent over the past two years, companies which supply and sell western condiments such as speciality sauces, mayonnaise, dips, olive oils and other similar cooking aids are witnessing retail sales growth of anywhere between 25 per cent and 60 per cent over the past 12 months depending on the category, industry players said, quoting data from researcher Nielsen and internal industry estimates.

This indicates that while consumes are cutting down on eating pizza and burgers at stores like Domino's, Pizza Hut or McDonald's, they are cooking similar western foods at home. On the other hand, two industry officials said growth in sales to leading global quick service restaurant (QSR) brands have been growing at barely 3-4 per cent.

"Western condiments and cooking aids gained popularity because of QSRs and out-of-home consumption. It's this familiarity which has led to increase of in-homeconsumption of our products and triggered growth in usage at home," Yogesh Bellani, chief executive of FieldFresh Foods, a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Del Monte Pacific said.

Bellani said retail sales of Del Monte's base mayonnaise grew the fastest over the past 12 months — posting 65 per cent volume growth, while its ketchup grew 25 per cent. Quoting Nielsen, Del Monte said it was now the No. 3 brand in ketchup after HUL's Kissan and Nestle's Maggi. Its olive oil, meanwhile, grew 12.5 per cent up from 9 per cent the previous year.

To leverage the increasing in-home popularity of such products, this summer Del Monte rolled out eight new variants of mayonnaise, for which it is running high-decibel campaigns stressing on multiple uses of the mayonnaise as spread and dips.

Cremica Food, which sells sauces, mayonnaise, chutneys and dessert toppings among other condiments, is rolling out a series of new products tailored for the retail sector including vegetarian mayonnaise, dips and speciality sauces.

"Retail sales of our condiments has been growing 40 per cent over the last one year," Cremica Food Industries chairman Akshay Bector said. He attributed the improved sales to innovation and consumers taking to cooking western style foods athome.

Another small but rapidly emerging category which is resonating similar trends is olive oil. "The retail is growing faster for olive oils; the Horeca hotels , restaurants and catering) space is not happening so much," olive oils maker Borges MD Rajneesh Bhasin said.

He said Borges, with 35 per cent market share of olive oils, is spending 10 per cent of its turnover on advertising across cinema, television channels, cab branding and is in talks with a few airlines for inflight branding, to leverage the trend. Borges has now rolled out 100-ml PET packs of olive oil for the retail segment, which it is distributing in small towns, which Bhasin said, was getting 'very encouraging' feedback.

Some players said while out-ofhome consumption was also growing to an extent, the space has been getting too fragmented - which has led to sales being spilt between a large number of players. "The plethora of choices is tremendous - from Indian and western QSRs, to fine-dine restaurants to takeaways to neighbourhood delivery stores," Del Monte's Bellani said.

QSR category leader Jubilant FoodWorks posted its slowest same store sales growth (SSG) — 3.2 per cent year-on-year drop — across seven quarters in the April-June '16 period.

Source: ET Retail.com dated 2016-09-14.

Happy Kali Puja & Happy Diwali 2016. Stay blessed.

Wishing you & your dear ones a very Happy Kali Puja & Happy Diwali 2016.
Stay blessed.

Ratan Tata-Cyrus Mistry divorce settlement might cost $16 billion

This week's acrimonious separation between the chairman of Tata Group and its majority owners may now be heading for a divorce. Ratan Tata, who returned to head the conglomerate after ousting Cyrus Mistry, is looking for a partner to buy the ex-chairman's stake, Bloomberg News reported on 2016-10-27.

Should Mistry agree to sell, how much can he hope to get for his family's 18.4% of Tata Sons.

Bear in mind that following his dismissal, Mistry raised some very serious allegations about both the holding company and several of its biggest publicly traded units.

In hitting back at the board that fired him, Mistry said the group's net worth of $26 billion could be impaired by as much as $18 billion -- shrinking to just $8 billion -- should writedowns be needed at businesses like Tata Steel's European operations; Tata Motors' passenger car business (ex-Jaguar Land Rover, the jewel in the empire's crown); Indian Hotels' overseas Taj properties; one of Tata Power's plants; and a floundering wireless telecom venture with NTT Docomo.

As a seller, Mistry is unlikely to behave anything like a spurned chairman trying to score debating points. To maximize value, he might say he overestimated the risk of Armageddon. He might even admit the possibility that Ratan Tata's return to a conglomerate he chaired for two decades will reinvigorate the operating companies.

Maybe Tata can't repeat a near sevenfold increase in book value over the period 2004-2012, but if global steel demand stabilizes, there's a fair chance the group's assets could reach a book value of $28 billion after a year. In the base-case scenario, the coffee-to-cars-to-software conglomerate won't be any worse off, and its assets would be worth in 2017 what they are today: $26 billion.

Now suppose that status quo has a likelihood of 50 percent, while the probability of a massive writedown is 20 percent, and that of an improvement is 30 percent. That gives a one-year-forward book value of $23 billion. Considering that General Electric trades at three times its estimated book value for next year, and companies in the more diversified Tata Group sell at 4.8 times, Mistry could perhaps ask for a halfway-house multiple of 3.75 times, valuing his 18.4 percent stake at a little under $16 billion.

Only a patient investor who cares more about growth than current income would be willing to write that check. After all, the dividend received from operating companies yielded just 1.6 percent on Tata Sons' investment last year, according to the Economic Times. An investor who paid a multiple of 3.75 to relieve Mistry of his stake would earn a divided yield of 0.4 percent.

As for Mistry himself, at $16 billion, he would walk away with an annualized 4.5 percent return on the $200 million loan the Tata family took from outsiders 91 years ago. Include past dividends, and he might even have matched or beaten the 9 percent annual return from the U.S. stock market since 1928. That's hardly a divorce to feel unhappy about.

(Source: Bloomberg News l 2016-10-28)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Barbie's got a new and likeable body

In January 2016, Mattel announced its new Barbie Fashionistas line with petite, curvy and tall body types, seven new skin tones and various hairstyles.

Now the largest US toymaker is seeing the success of diversity with a worldwide sales increase of 15.8 percent in Q3 2016. Barbie sales jumped 16% compared to the same period in 2015 and, along with American Girl, helped power Mattel to net income of $236 million in Q3.

Part of its success stems from Mattel’s new campaigns like "You Can Be Anything" emphasizing the potential of women in various professions.

Mattel Creations also formed a multi-year partnership to develop cross-platform content by leveraging Tongal’s network of more than 120,000 creators.

The joint goal is to develop and produce "an amplified slate of content" based on Mattel’s library and intellectual property while Tongal uses its platform, marketplace acumen and experience to inform Mattel’s digital content strategy worldwide.

"Mattel Creations is dedicated to discovering new ways to share creative, captivating stories across all platforms. Our partnership with Tongal and its robust network of creators will enable us to build out an innovative, scalable offering of content for all channels and markets around the world," said Mattel CCO Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, of the announcment. "Tongal is re-defining the content model and we look forward to working closely with their team to further our brand strategies and build our storytelling platform."

Tongal has worked with more than 10 Mattel brands including American Girl, Thomas & Friends and Hot Wheels, as well as with LEGO, Nestlé, NASA, Unilever and General Motors.

Mattel continues to leverage the strength of its brands. In August 2016, it announced a multi-year partnership with Toys 'R' Us to open nearly 100 American Girl mini-shops within store locations to reach a wider customer base. Mattel products are also available in 1,100 Kohl’s locations.

Mattel has invited some mommy bloggers & media outlets to check out the new shop in shop.

Mattel continues to make some very good progress and continues to see real strength in core brands, according to Mattel CEO, Christopher Sinclair.

Barbie is proof that old dolls can learn new tricks—and that Mattel’s notion of diversity might be able to fill store shelves for a long time to come.

Why customers have the wants that they do

Friday, October 21, 2016

Paan turns over a new leaf as FMCG

The ubiquitous paan is quietly shedding its repulsive spit stains image and gaining cool quotient as an FMCG product.

The modern no-spit paan has approval of the food regulator, is assembled and packed at factories and comes with a shelf life of more than six months.

"We sell about a lakh paan pieces a month," said Pankaj Shah, fourth-generation entrepreneur of Chandan Mukhwas, a Mumbai-based supplier of mouth fresheners.

"Consumers want convenience and hygiene and paan is no longer frowned upon." Chandan Mukhwas sells a dozen variants from about 3,000 stores.

It also exports to nearly 30 countries, catering mainly to Indian diaspora. There are over a dozen other brands that sell paan, such as Dizzle, Yamu's Panchayat, Mapro Mazaana, Pethawala Agra, Surbhi, Dil Bahaar and Natraj.

Mukhwas or mouth fresheners is one of the largest categories within food, but largely unorganised. Retailers, however, expect sweet paan to outpace western desserts, if marketed well."Add shelf life, remove harmful ingredients, brand it and you have an Indian equivalent of After Eight mints," said Devendra Chawla, president of FMCG and brands at the Future Group that runs the Food Bazaar chain of supermarkets.

"This is category creation that can give chocolates a run for their money if positioned well. Indian consumers embrace traditional food products that are packaged well." There are an estimated 7 lakh shops nationwide selling the desi treat, which, according to the Bhagavata Purana, was even chewed by Lord Krishna. Paan has been retailing online in markets such as the US for about five years now.

Twist in the paan
So, what has really changed in India? As traditional recipes from aam panna to jaljeera are branded for organised trade now, the all male paan too has left the street corners and is sold at supermarkets and online stores. And women are a big customer segment.

"It reaches us mostly as a friend of tobacco and men. We're missing a trick there. Paan is quintessentially an Indian food and if placed on the food shelves and not near tobacco, would find its rightful appeal amongst families," said Damodar Mall, chief executive at Reliance Retail, which is doing a pilot study in the National Capital Region to present fresh chilled paan next to yoghurts.

Paan companies are also exploiting the halo effect from herbals. "Paan has medicinal quality and is used as digestives for centuries. We are just adding a cool quotient to it by packing it attractively," said BK Shaw, general manager at New Delhi's Yamu's Panchayat, which partnered Reliance Retail to list its products.

The company runs 56 paan outlets, many of them 'manned' by women. Sweet pan, lacking cured tobacco, is priced at Rs15-35, with a host of options, from chocolate-coated and strawberry paan to saffron and kiwi.

Although companies claim modern trade helps in creating higher visibility, margins aren't lucrative. Paan parlours sell fresh paan at Rs 10 to as much as Rs100 a piece. On the other hand, cost of branding and packaging can eat into profit unless volumes are large enough.

The flipside comes from the local 'panwadi.' "People will still prefer fresh pan as it can be customised and made to order rather than having a processed one," said Mahesh Tiwari, a local paan shop owner at Mumbai's western suburb of Borivali.

(Source: ET Retail.com dated 2016-09-17)

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Startups shifting focus towards baby products for better value

The winds of change are blowing for Indian parents, long used to leaning on an established circle of parents, in-laws and pediatricians for unsolicited and much needed advice on child rearing.

An unsolicited piece of advice stood out from all the social media noise that Prachi Arora, 31, a freelance writer and young mother, waded through every day.

On a Facebook group, another woman looked at a photo Arora had posted of her daughter and unilaterally declared that she might be autistic. Such a pronouncement came as a bolt from blue. “I lost sleep over it,” she says. Rather than panicking, she logged on to BabyChakra, a 22-month-old online platform for baby products and services to hunt for a solution. “My SOS was to a BabyChakra mother, who has an autistic child and also works with various experts in spreading awareness,” she adds. “A conversation with her helped me restore my peace and I also found a special needs educator who categorically ruled out this diagnosis.”

The winds of change are blowing for Indian parents, long used to leaning on an established circle of parents, in-laws and pediatricians for unsolicited and much needed advice on child rearing.

Parents today are getting more aware, using the internet to update their knowledge on the best products (and to hunt for the best services) for their children and shifting a market reliant on old networks.

Social change — with more young mothers returning to work quicker and joint families giving way to nuclear ones — is beginning to significantly change this market, with old and new companies jostling for a share of this segment — from the time a woman is expecting till the child turns five.

According to industry analysts and insiders, this isn’t an easy market to crack. For starters, some 90% of it is locked up with old-world offline baby product retailers — some 8,000 of them countrywide, according to one estimate. With fewer choices for their babies, Indians tend to buy fewer products or substitute adult ones. “From warehousing to last-mile delivery, everything associated with baby care is a difficult job,” says Supam Maheshwari, cofounder and CEO of FirstCry, a venture that has raised $76 million in funding from the likes of SAIF Partners, Vertex Ventures and IDG Ventures. “We are selling products — from diaper pins weighing 5 gm to car seats weighing 25 kg. Consumers want an expert and not a generalist to sell them these products.”

The Big Daddies
Perhaps the biggest obstacle, at least in consumer goods, is the domineering presence of Johnson and Johnson ( J&J), which owns nearly three-quarters of the market in which it operates.

“With our presence, historically, we have been the only brand trying to grow the size of this category,” says Ganesh Bangalore, marketing chief for J&J India. “There is a tremendous opportunity in this market.”

After being around for over a century (globally, and 70 years in India), J&J is looking to show that elephant can dance, by launching new products (Bedtime range, Top to Toe wash and Baby Milk soap, as well as more offerings for ailments such as diaper rash) as it seeks to hold its dominant position in this market.

Bangalore of J&J says that baby sleep is another area in which the company is interested. Indian babies sleep the least at night — for just nine hours — whereas American and New Zealander babies sleep around 11 hours. Indian babies wake up the maximum during sleep, at 2.07 times, as compared with babies from New Zealand getting sound sleep and waking up only .93 times followed by the UK at 1.06 times.

To try and improve these statistics, he proselytises the firm’s Bedtime products, which include a three-step ritual, beginning with a warm bath with Johnson’s Bedtime wash, followed by massaging the baby with a Bedtime lotion and then spending some quiet time with the infant/toddler.

Bangalore also says J&J has launched its Bestforbaby YouTube channel to spread worldwide learnings and tips from spending a century in the baby care business.

This behemoth’s looming presence and other complexities have already felled many players who have tried to enter this market offline in the last few years.

Offline, baby product retailers are dogged by concerns similar to others in the field such as high rentals, people turnover and slim margins. Online, companies need to build a large enough inventory and strong supply chain backbone to deal with the wide array of orders in this sector. “It is difficult for horizontal ecommerce companies to service this market,” says FirstCry’s Maheshwari. “Consumers, especially mothers, look for a specialist for their needs, not a generalist.”

Anupama C, 28, a banker, lives with her husband and two-year-old son in South Mumbai. Bringing up their son without the help of extended family means she’s constantly looking for new ways to save time with her parenting, even as she meets crazy work deadlines. In the last six months alone, she has ordered a car seat, diapers and baby clothes off FirstCry and, elsewhere, located a baby sitter and playschool too. “Food, diapers, toys… there’s a lot that’s constantly changing for the better and as parents we must keep up,” she says.

Charge of the Tiny Tots
According to an estimate by Research and Markets, the average amount an Indian parent spends on their babies is expected to double in the next four or five years. In turn, this is creating fresh opportunities for companies such as BabyChakra.

“We want to build a trusted platform for children and parents in India,” says Naiyya Saggi, a former rainmaker with management consultancy McKinsey, who used her learnings in the field of maternal and child health to start her fledgling venture.

“A massive opportunity stood out to disrupt the way parents made choices,” she adds. “We have 17,000 service providers listed across three cities (Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi), with 5,00,000 users logging in every month.”

These numbers mean that BabyChakra is building a platform that hopes to disrupt the way parents make choices. “We are focused on building the next wave of users that is going to drive how online markets and information works.”

So, BabyChakra’s services today cover everything from infertility experts to playschools, as it seeks to reel in more users to its platform. While Saggi is focused on increasing the number of users for BabyChakra, she is also looking to increase the number of people who stick to the platform and the frequency with which they log in.

Other companies are also looking at this information gap and changing family dynamics. One such area is nutrition, where young parents, mothers specifically, are hunting for quick yet healthy fixes to feed their children.

“As mothers ourselves, we struggled to find breakfast and snack options for our children,” says Meghana Narayan, a cofounder of Slurrp Farm, a provider of food for babies and (soon) young mothers.

“We are devising food you can prepare at home, without additives, focusing on just the basics of taste and quality.” For example, the startup has devised options such as a nutritious porridge with wholegrain cereals and readyto-serve cold milk breakfast options and cookies for teething babies.

“We eventually want to get into food for pre- and post-natal mothers. All our offerings are based on traditional recipes our grandmothers would have made,” she adds. First-hand experience proved handy for Narayan and cofounder Shauravi Malik.

“When we first conceived of this idea, we didn’t have kids and lived abroad,” Narayan explains. “We were besieged with requests from friends to bring back products for their kids.”

Sensing a gap, the duo set up Slurrp to devise healthy, organic, preservative-free options using quality ingredients.

“We learnt our lessons along the way — parents in India, for example, didn’t want completely ready-to-feed food for children. They were looking at ready-to-serve options, since they wanted control over the ‘last mile’ of what their children ate,” she says.

The company is gaining some traction with its products. Unlike in the West, Indian children have the same (or very similar) food that their parents eat. Then there are factors such as under and malnutrition — many kids irrespective of economic strata are eating too much of the wrong type of food and there’s an opportunity to set this right. The founders are talking to both online and offline retailers to vend their products and after an initial pilot with 20 stores, a Delhi and online launch are currently underway and they hope to make a bigger splash across Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai next year.

Already, the duo have snagged some loyal fans. “Slurrp Farm did a pilot last year, and not just my kids but the entire family loved their cookies,” gushes Shivani Gandhi, a parent.

“We prefer them to others because of the ingredients they use. Their products have a high percentage of ragi, whole wheat flour and real butter (not palm oil).”

At the other end of the size spectrum, consumer goods giant Hindustan Unilever is looking to extend the strength of its Dove brand into baby care.

“With growing disposable incomes and awareness, more and more mothers are beginning to use specialist baby care products,” says Prabha Narasimhan, vice-president, skin care, HUL. After building Dove into a `1,000 crore brand, she believes it can be extended to baby care.

“For over 50 years, Dove has been listening to women… Now, for the first time, Baby Dove will be doing the same for the most important person in a woman’s life — her baby,” she adds.

For a start, Baby Dove will focus on areas such as moisturisers for babies, before extending its brand beyond. “Babies’ skin loses moisture up to five times faster than adults and therefore it is important to choose products that replenish the moisture of delicate baby skin,” says Narasimhan.

“The new Baby Dove range has been created to support mothers… with products that go beyond mildness to replenishment.”

Then, in August this year, yoga guru Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved also joined the scramble by launching its baby care products (hair oil, massage oil, body lotion and body wash gel) under a new brand called Sishu Care. These products will be priced between Rs 70 and Rs 85 for 100 ml packs, a rate competitive with market leader J&J.

Baby Care Choices
Bengaluru-based Himalaya Drug Company — still best known for liver care product Liv52 — has been steadily building its baby care business and in the last couple of years it seems to have been given a growth booster.

In spite of the growth of its own portfolio and those of market leader J&J, HUL and Dabur, these companies have a long way to go. “Despite the growth of large companies and startups, baby and mother care is a vast and underserved market in India,” says Philip Haydon, president and CEO, Himalaya Drug Company.

Even at Rs 2,500 crore (an estimate from market researcher Nielsen which is double the more conservative estimate from Euromonitor), the scope of this market in India may be undervalued.

“Many people are using regular products for their babies — soaps in urban India alone is an Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 crore business, for example. There’s a massive opportunity to move these consumers to products more suited to babies,” he adds.

Already, Himalaya has a strong presence in segments such as pre-bath (massage oil), bath (soap, bubble bath) and post-bath (creams, lotions and curatives). And as consumer spend on babies increases, Himalaya is expanding its range. For instance, it has forayed into wet wipes and diapers.

Now, it is looking not just at babies, but at young mothers as an extension of this push. “We are looking at women during pregnancy and beyond,” says Haydon. “We are looking at products to pamper them such as massage oils, soothing baby butter and nipple care and anti-rash items.”

Some parents appear unsure which way to go. While they trust older brands (the likes of Dove and Dabur and Co have been around for decades) and buy their products without question, being increasingly aware of new trends has them torn.

After living in a small town in Tamil Nadu for years, Sandra S, 25, was used to advice from family and friends to use adult consumer care brands on her six month-old baby.

Then, she moved to Mumbai to discover a far larger range of baby-specific brands. “There are so many options here for us, but I have to rely often on knowledge from strangers to make a choice, rather than the familiar words of family,” she says. “This is a difficult choice to make, but a changing environment compels us to make fresh choices.”

Even for the largest companies, the biggest headache may be changing mindsets. “This is a challenging market, since Indian consumers are replacing trusted, age-old, homemade baby care offerings with our products,” says Rana Banerjee, head, marketing, healthcare, Dabur, the 132-year old consumer goods company.

With its recent Dabur Baby offering, the company needs to be more cautious with its launches.

“We need to be really careful at product level… babies are sensitive with skin, hair, oral care products and more prone to infections and other health hazards,” says Banerjee.

The firm spent the last two years building its new baby care business, and is keen to launch products in segments such as massage oils, soaps, shampoos and moisturisers.

Dabur also wants to extend its core ayurveda business into baby care. According to Banerjee, the relative lack of (safe) branded options is compelling Dabur to step on the gas.

“In sectors such as massage oils, organised players account for 11% of the market,” he explains. While Dabur is best recognised for its Lal Tel massage oil, company executives are keen for some fresh impetus to their baby care unit.

Compared with the presence of HUL, Dabur and Himalaya, Mohit Sadaani’s Amishi Life, a startup founded just a few months ago in May 2016, is a lightweight. Sadaani and his wife had their first child in the UK and were pleasantly surprised by the plethora of baby care options.

In contrast, the second time around, this time in India, they found much slimmer pickings. “For paranoid parents, there are not enough safe and natural baby care products in India,” he says. “Educated and aware parents are willing to look beyond big brands for their baby’s personal care needs.”

After raising a seed round of funding recently, Sadaani’s firm will shortly launch a series of personal care products, including bodywash, shampoo and lotions for expectant women and young mothers. “Indian mothers are willing to consider natural and safe products for their babies,” he contends.

If fledgling startups are looking for some inspiration, FirstCry could provide some answers. The company, which Maheshwari cofounded in mid-2010, started with barely 1,000 products on its platform.

Then he quickly realised that being only online wouldn’t get him far. Back in 2011, he set up his first offline store and today FirstCry has some 180 stores operational and over 1,25,000 items listed.

“There is a lot more awareness in the market today than six years ago,” says Maheshwari. “Parents have different aspirations for their children… more than what they get from the neighbourhood store.”

FirstCry labels itself as Asia’s largest baby care store, and expects to have 700 offline stores in the next three or four years.

Some startups are looking at other fragmented baby and child care opportunities too.

Meeta Sharma Gupta of Shumee wants to crack the toys market. The former researcher with IBM is leaning on new learnings from psychology, which push children to be discoverers with their toys and encourage them to learn. All of Shumee’s toys are made of wood (but not traditionally handmade ones), use safe paint and are safer for the environment, says Gupta.

“The market for toys is highly fragmented and products from global brands are limited and costly,” says Gupta. To try and cut it in a market dominated by the likes of Mattel and Hasbro, Shumee will primarily be focused online, even as it seeks to look for new avenues for growth.

At an event in Mumbai, its wares were sold out on day one, even as the company sells around five to eight toys a day (each priced around `1,500). Gupta has hired full-time designers and is planning international sales too.

With over 26 million babies expected to be born in India every year, companies big and small are jostling for a share of this fast-growing market. The action may just be getting started.

(Source: The Economic Times dated 2016-10-02)