Friday, August 28, 2009

Bzzzzzzz: Harley is in town mate!

The mere sight of this on Indian roads, and most of the viewers would drop their jaws with awe. I’m talking about the sight of a Harley Davidson on Bangalore roads. The last time I saw one, it was for display at Leela Palace and supposedly belonged to the GM of Leela Palace Mr. Charles De Foucault.

But come 2010 its no more going to be a rare sight! What I am talking about is the fact that Harley Davidson are going to hit the Indian Roads in mid-2010. After a 2 year negotiation with the Indian government regarding reduction in the 110% import duty, Harley Davidson have decided to price it at INR 7 – 15 lakhs (double of what it costs in the US) and create a niche segment for this bike.

Harley Davidson

Harley Davidson would be entering the 7million strong Indian motorcycle market, which as of now has a very small percentage of super bikes. The superbikes sold in India are mainly the Yamaha R1, Yamaha R6 and Suzuki Hayabusa; which together sell about 400 bikes a year.

According to Matthew Levatich, president and COO, Harley-Davidson they intend selling about 100 units a year and are initially bringing about 15 designs (the flagship Fatboy and Night Rod Special would be the first 2 models to be unveiled) out of their 43 existing models. They are also open to making other types of motorcycles and different engines which would be more suitable to the Indian riders.

The Indian consumer would soon have access to buying Harley’s, Jaguars, Volkswagens, Land cruiser’s and what not. But the million dollar question is:

When will the Indian roads be good enough for consumers to enjoy these street kings to its fullest?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

You need Lady Luck even here :)

Was out for a coffee and having a nice relaxing weekend and saw this interesting signboard on the washroom door. Hope it makes you smile!

Funny Washroom

Saturday, August 15, 2009

'Dreaded Synonyms' - Swine Flue and Influenza A!

  • The most dangerous and widespread ooutbreak after the Hongkong Flu, Spanish and Asian Flu
  • WHO marked this pandemic at Level 6 after over 4 decades
  • Pune in India is the worst affected by this flu
  • Medicine research on a cure for this dangerous flu has amounted to about $390million

Swine Flu
I'm sure you know what i'm talking about - "SWINE FLU". Well, everyday in the newspapers and media you have something about Swine Flu, and unfortunately the news of a casualty from swine flu is inevitable in everyday's news.

But is Swine Flu really this deadly?

I'd like to challenge the fact that it is the most deadliest virus in over decades. Firstly a simple statistic to start off my debate:
  • Over 1.6 lakh people infected around the world with Swine Flu, of which about 1100 people died
  • But every year, about 2.5-4 lakh people die around the world due to normal Flu
Swine flu has a cure in the form of Tamiflu, which has cured a huge chunk of the affected population. Moreover if the cases of death's are seen, most of them have already had other health issues, hence swine flu has only added to this. The recent case of a 26-year old teacher in Bengaluru who died owing to being affected with swine flu, had an acute case of diabetes.

Well when it is seen that this Flu is like any other flu, then why all this panic?
Like always the media should be given credit for creating this frenzy (just another TRP increasing mechanism). But the mechanism has not only increased TRP, but also increased the sales of protective masks.
The marketer too has a role to play in this, with the fact that a protective mask called the N95 is the so-called branded protective mask (Phew :) )!
Economics has its say too - Remember the supply-demand curve. A normal mask costing INR 20 is being sold at increased price of INR 100 - INR 150! When the demand exceeds the supply the price keeps rising till a point where the supply and demand meet.

Now picture this? Every winter when there is a climatic change and the cooler temperatures set in, normal viruses are prevalent everywhere and get into everyone. A few who get affected with viral fever are those whose immune system gives way! Then shouldn't swine flu behave in the same manner being a virus itself? Moreover in America, pigs get swine flu every year during a particular time after which a few die and the rest survive, then how on earth did a human being, only get affected this year?? Unless done on purpose! (Or may be the virus consulted an astrologer and choose the right time to start affecting human beings ;) lol... ).

Swine FluThe more dangerous issue in question is that of Dengue fever which seems to have started flirting with Bengaluru having two casualties. This unlike Swine Flu has no guaranteed medical treatment. There are no specialised drugs.

But everything said and done, we are all human and tend to be apprehensive when anything that has claimed lives is on the outbreak. In case you believe in homeopathy, here's a medicine that you may want to have
  • Influenzium 200: The recommended dosage is 5 pills 3 times 3days and it would (as the homeopath's proclaim to make you immune to the Swine Flu virus hence a good precautionary measure
Just like to re-emphasize the age old saying:
"Health is Wealth"
So stay healthy and stay happy people!

Monday, August 3, 2009

They Journey from a Premium to a Mass Market Brand!

‘Bangalore has a galore of promotional offers’


‘Bangalore is on sale’

It’s up to one’s own perception to decide which one more appropriately describes the fact that nearly everything that is sold in retail outlets and company showrooms in Bangalore is being offered at discounted prices. Name it from clothes to jewellery to watches to shoes to mobiles to shades etc has a discount. This has been going on for roughly a month in Bangalore.

For quite some time now, Bangalore has been having discounts and offers running during the months of June and July as in South India (or may be even the whole of India) month’s with no festival in it are considered low business months. Our earlier generations believed in buying clothes, watches, jewellery etc during festivals and hence the peak business days were the once preceding the festivals.

But now times have changed, and Bangalore has by far been influenced and changed to the greatest extent by westernization and increase in purchasing power among the Indian metros. With the IT boom and the fact that Bangalore is now a cosmopolitan with a huge amount of techies, the purchasing power of the people of the age group of 20-35 has increased considerably in the last decade.

I would for one term the Bangaloreans in the age group of 20-28 as “Locomotive Shoppers”. Previous generations believed in Window Shopping, where they would just pass by stores and look at products stocked, on the other hand, Locomotive Shoppers are an extension to Window Shopping where they buy anything that they like (provided it is within their budget) as and when they see it. The product categories that attracts nearly all locomotive shoppers are: Clothes, Shoes, Watches and sometimes even Jewellery.

Bangalore Sale

Aftermath of the Discount Race in Bangalore

United Colors of Benetton (UCB) offers upto 70% off, Levis offers a flat 50%, Tommy Hilfiger offers upto 50% off, Pepe Jeans offers flat 40% off, name the brand and its on sale. I walked into a mall in Bangalore which has most of these Brands and the crowd in that mall was as though something was being distributed for free. As for the Levis store all I can say is that ‘All Hell Broke Loose”!

Say these promotional offers go on for another couple of weeks. What after that? Which sane person would buy a UCB shirt at INR 2500, after having seen UCB offering 70% discount. The premium image of a brand like UCB is surely dented. As for Tommy Hilfiger, I have no words. I doubt people would again ever pay INR 4000 for a shirt from Tommy Hilfiger after seeing them sell it at 50% off. What on earth were the Branding Specialists in these companies thinking??

The premium brand image has come crashing down and hit the floor hard. Everyone did try to increase sales and cash in on increased purchases, but what about the intangible effect of these discounts on the premium brand image??? If they wanted increased sales and offered discounts to reach the masses, then why on earth are they still called Premium Brands? They should rather be in the category of mass market products!