Friday, March 23, 2012

The brand of a hundred centuries

Sachin Tendulkar, who hit his hundredth hundred last week, is our country's contribution to the world of legendary brands.

The 16th of March was a day filled with tremendous possibilities. India's Finance Minister was presenting his Budget to a fairly sceptical country which had witnessed the petty drama surrounding a good Railway budget just then, and Sachin Tendulkar was having another go at his elusive hundredth century as he had done on quite a few heartbreaking occasions last year. The Finance Minister delivered a damp squib even as he quoted Shakespeare. Sachin Tendulkar reached his milestone late that afternoon several hours after the Budget presentation and India collectively released its breath.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

‘Our shy achiever from Indira Nagar'

Rahul Dravid is like a bank — silently, unobtrusively accumulating — and yet unlike a bank, he has a heart and good old-fashioned values.

Rahul Dravid has perhaps had more column centimetres and television space accorded to him over the last few days than during his long and distinguished playing career. In many ways he is not the ideal subject for a journalist seeking a headline or a sensation. He has never used an aluminium bat or dropped his trousers on a cricket ground, shown two-finger salute to the crowd or tackled a streaker. He has just made runs — a mountain of them in every part of the world, often when most of his more-celebrated teammates failed. He is like a bank — silently, unobtrusively accumulating — and yet unlike a bank, he has a heart and values that set him apart from the average IPL contract-seeking bloke. He has old-fashioned values — “the greatest motivation is playing for your country,” he would say when coaxed. I have interacted with him on a few occasions and wish to share those special moments. Let me start with an incident involving Dravid about which I heard from my colleague.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A gentleman with a bat

David Ogilvy the advertising legend wanted that rare breed for his advertising agency “gentlemen with brains”. The greatest gentleman that ever trod the cricket field – Rahul Dravid called it quits from all forms of cricket at a farewell press conference at Bangalore on Friday. Even as encomiums pour in from all and sundry from different parts of the world, I thought I would write a few words about Dravid the cricketer and the person. His deeds on the cricket field have been well recorded. The nickname “the wall” was earned after years of playing some of the finest bowlers in the world in every cricketing country in the world and even as Indians earned the justifiable nickname of “lions at home and lambs abroad” Rahul Dravid stood head and shoulders above his more celebrated and written about colleagues – as he simply batted better abroad. More than his batting was his selfless attitude of team first, something that individual record obsessed Indians never fully understood. When he first declared the Indian innings with a desire to win a cricket match when Sachin was short of his century (though he was truly dawdling at the crease), Dravid copped a lot of criticism. But he soldiered on – always taken for granted, never truly appreciated to the extent that he should have been.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Getting a customer to say Wow!

Make place for the necessary along with the exotic and the luxurious. - Photo: SATISH H.

Brands should not forget customers' basic needs in their zeal to delight with unique services.

As marketers we are always wondering how to give our customers an experience they will not forget. More critically, if we can get our customers to talk to their friends about their experience, or better still, go online and tell the whole world about the brand, then we can certainly reward ourselves with a drink! The reality, however, is that either because customers are getting more demanding by the day (or minute) or because we are constantly struggling to get our service act right, experiences like this seem to be a rarity.