And, The Price is Wrong!!!

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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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How To: Add Google SMS Channels To Your Blog

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Hey Hey Hey!!!

This is the post all you bloggers have been waiting for! Specially my dear friend Arpit Rastogi.. Hope you find this useful…

Ok, so Last time we discussed how to Make a Google SMS Channel which gives people updates about your Blog… But what good is it if people don’t know how to access your Channel and subscribe to it??

One way is to simply send email invites to everybody in your list but that’s the most un-cool thing you could ever do to yourself (of course, it’s very very effective, but we’re trying to be cool here people! :D).

The better way is to add this function as a Widget to your blog and put it right next to the email invites so that people notice it. Now, since there was no direct way or a pre-made widget to do this thing for me, I mixed and mashed a few widgets and came up with the following code to Make me a widget!

Without any more festivities, here’s the code:

<a href=”http://labs.google.co.in/smschannels/subscribe/NitinsBlog”&gt; <img src=”http://labs.google.co.in/smschannels/inc/SMSChannelsLabsLogo.gif&#8221; alt=”” height=”50″ width=”150″> </a> <br> Have GMail? Now get my posts via sms! <b> <br> Just <a href=”http://labs.google.co.in/smschannels/subscribe/NitinsBlog”&gt; Click HERE </a> </b> <br><br>

Now, here’s an explanation of the code, the first href link within the double quotes is the link for your SMS Channel, this is the one which will be embedded within the cute little picture of Google SMS Channels which will be part of the widget… Oh and also, the second href link is your sms channel too!!!

Google SMS Channels

So, all you have to do is this: Change the two href double quoted links from My SMS Channel (NitinsBlog) to the Subscribe link for your SMS Channel and post it in the Widget for your Blog and you’re done…

Oh wait! How to make your own widget?? If you are on WordPress, simply go to the Widgets page in your Admin and add the Text Widget to your Widget list and add the Code there…

If you are on Blogger, go to the Layouts page in your Admin and click on the Add a Gadget link, then, click on the HTML/JAVASCRIPT widget in the Basic Gadgets and add the code there…

One last note, make sure you change the href link and make sure you put the subscribe link for your sms channel in double quotes for it to work properly.. and if yuo don’t change it, you’ll be making sure that people join my blog instead of yours! 😀

And a p.s. No common user uses Google SMS Channels right now so they’re going to have to register themselves to it first and that’s a slightly confusing process. I have already added the whole procedure to my earlier post, here and I seriously suggest that you read it and write your own blog post about how to join the sms channels for the benefit of your readers… Feel free to copy from my post…

Finally, if you want to get a feel about how Google SMS channels treat a new user, register yourself from my blog’s channel using the widget given at the top right side of my blog 😀

Have fun!

A SubPrime Crisis for India

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India is always fast in picking up various trends from the International markets. Whether it be clothing, fashion or foreign policy. Thus how is it possible that India not pick up international faults and repeat them in its own style? Well, I’m not just talking about the cost fluctuations due to Oil Prices and the whims of the Oil Sheikhs and those of the Federal Bank of the US. I’m talking about taking the biggest blunder of the century being adapted to the Indian scenario. We all know what the sub prime crisis has done to the United States, the world’s biggest economy is now at the brink of a recession best remembered way back between the World Wars… And its not even War right now, it least not for a majority of the world (I hate to say this, but I’m wrong, it IS war for most part of the world). But India is Unique in that unknowingly it is having a sub prime crisis too. No, not food grains, Cellular connections. India is currently one of the largest growing cellular markets and in order to woo the populace, the many cell operators in India Introduced very early various schemes for which the ICM (Indian Common Man) fell hook, line and sinker. But these amazing schemes have a draw back. Lifetime prepaid is a dream well dreamt, but most people are not staying with it at all. Thousands of free smses per month are a boon for the college student, but the companies providing these facilities are now facing the heat of not just TRAI but also the fact that they have to earn money in order to buy more spectrum in the coming years. So companies like Hutch (now Vadophone) and Spice have done a volte-face and upped their prices. MTNL and BSNL still hang on to the Great Dream but they too will soon realise that the government is not interesting in funding their whims and fancies.

 

Worse of all is the fact that the govt will be introducing Number Portability as early as 2009 in many circles. This will give undue power to the consumer in threatening the Cellular Operator into giving away freebies or loosing vital subscriber database which already has their favourite phone number. This will lead the companies to join hands under the Aegis of TRAI and set the minimum standards for call and sms rates. This will also lead to a uniformity not achievable as yet as each operator tries to use some loophole to their benefit.

 

For Example- TRAI told all operators to start charging rupee 1 per sms on goverment denoted holidays or festivals. This was a bane for prepaid consumers who had to develop strange habits of being overpunctual in wishing their relatives a day before the festival in order to save precious talktime. But odd it is when you still recieve many smses on the good day too! These are from PostPaid consumers who, amazingly have been granted the boon of being exempted of such silly reforms.

 

May God only Intervene in the Crisis now ravaging the minds of the mobile happy ICM.

Hoping that solutions be Just a corner away,

Nitin.