What was it that the erstwhile Hutch (now Vodafone) did as it’s first move into the Indian Mobile service provider scene? They gave us 1000 free SMSs at an obnoxiusly low price of Rupees 6/- a joke so laughable that we used to message just to get our mobile batteries low, a feat now affordable to people with BSNL Student SIM Cards… And all this was to ensure that the market share was OWNed by Hutch within a few months, riding on the Youth’s need for a cheap communication medium which was hip and happening too…

Now, after the dreaded change called Vodafone, the prices of an SMS have shot up from less than a Paisa to 10 paise per SMS and yet Vodafone leads with the share, partly because people would rather stick to the number they’ve been using for quite some time.

But this post is not about Vodafone, it’s about market share and pricing of goods.

Today, roaming around in the market in the evening, my curiousity led me to a general store to ask the price of the new energy drink named Cloud 9 (or 9 Cloud, whatever it is…) which is being pegged as India’s First Natural Energy Drink which is produced locally. The branding, shape and graphics of the can and the contents point out to only one thing- They’re trying to compete with Red Bull.

Here’s where the brand is going to fail-

a) The price of the drink is put at Rupees 75/- Ring any bells? The Price of a Red Bull, which is imported from outside is also set at Rupees 75/- So if I’m going to pay the same price, why not buy the branded goods which have worldwide acceptance and have proven market value? (I’ve had Red Bull, it’s good, Full Stop)

b) The Ad agency hired by the company for Cloud 9 made it good to rope in players of the Chennai Super Kings, most noticably Mahender Singh Dhoni and also, Shilpa Shetty for the launch and RP Singh as the Brand Ambassador, and then wasting away these big faces in a string of downright Stupid Advertisements that in no way make the Indian Consumer want to go out and buy the drink.

c) The drink is being pegged as India’s First Natural Energy drink. As though the average consumer cares. Haven’t we been having Coke and Pepsi and Vodafone long enough NOT to care if the brand is Indian or Global?? Haven’t we become used to all sorts of Unnatural foods and drinks to not care if the drink is Natural at all? What’s so natural about Coca Cola by the way??

Small Note to Cloud 9: Don’t even think that a person who’s just come from the gym will go buy your drink for 75 rupees, they’ll buy milk. And even if they do spend money on an energy drink, it’ll be Red Bull. Here’s Why-

What’s Cloud 9 offering that’s different from Red Bull?

ans) Nothing, the price is the same. I have no reason to buy a brand that’s just entered the market instead of a worldwide accepted brand.

Why can Cloud 9 never beat Red Bull in marketing?

ans) Cloud 9 has the worst possible marketing agency, useless. Red Bull has been making innovative ads since they were born. And they have a lot of money which they can squander on popular actors and cricketers.

Now, What’s the solution? Here’s what Cloud 9 must do in order to beat Red Bull for the market share…

a) We all know the drink doesn’t cost more than 25 rupees. Bring down the price to something near that.

b) Fire your marketing agency. No, am not telling you to throw him off the job, drink a case of Cloud 9, load up your gun and fire AT them. They’re useless and they’re wasting your money. Get someone else to make your ads and make sure that they are very very cool.

c) On the Cloud 9 website there’s a video in which the Director of Cloud 9, Priyesh Ganatra accepts very un-suavely that they copied the USPs of all major energy drinks from all over the world in order to create their own. That video is very very UNCOOL. Remove it. Also remove every trace of CORPORATE nonsense from that webiste. Reason- If I visit the website of a Youth Oriented product, I want to see downloads, product Videos and features like games and more sales pitch, not your God Damn Company’s Address. You want a Hint? Go to the Fuel Deo website here.

In the end I just want to say that Indian Brands have yet to realise the importance of market share and how to capture it.

p.s. To my readers- I have cc’ed this post to the Cloud( manufacturers. Lets see if they have the brains to read it and change a LOT about their brand.

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