Saturday, December 18, 2010

IIPM Prof Rajita Chaudhuri on 'FIGHT FOR THE NO.1 SPOT'

Prof Rajita Chaudhuri follow some off-beat trends like organizing make up sessions

Rajita Chaudhuri

Rajita Chaudhuri at
Polo Exhibition Match

It’s not easy to reach the No.1 spot; you need to fight hard, and sometimes even snatch that spot, like Rin did. It came out with advertisements which clearly mentioned it was superior. The ads stated, “Tide se kahin behatar safedi de Rin”. Of course, Tide filed a case and Rin got into a controversy; but it helped generate a buzz – which is most important. Audi joined the top league when it came out with the advertisement which mentioned, “Audi is growing faster than BMW, Lexus & Mercedes.” Now, whether it was actually growing faster or not, did not bother the consumer much. However, it changed people’s perceptions about the car. Now, they clubbed it along with BMW and Mercedes. Audi jumped the rungs and established itself as the premium brand. Yes, sales increased too.

Sometimes, the fight for the top spot is taken public, consumers love it, and it never fails to grab eyeballs. Coke and Pepsi have been doing it for years. Apple and its humorous takes on Microsoft defined its brand personality and brand image as uber cool in comparison to the fuddy duddy one that competitor Microsoft had.

With the marketplace getting so cluttered for the No.2 was neglected. Of course, not always. Some very intelligent marketers knew that when there is no space at the top, it pays to be clearly labelled as No.2, for that makes people notice you. Avis did that years ago. Hertz was the leader and had the maximum awareness when it came to car rentals. So, Avis brought out its iconic ad, “We are number 2, that’s why we try harder.” Everyone knew who was No.1, but now for the first time a new slot was defined. So, if for some reason, a consumer could not get Hertz, he knew whom to call next. Avis carved a niche for itself, and did brisk business for now the consumer knew, maybe not No.1, but Avis was as good, and definitely better than hoards of others.

Hindustan Times (HT) seems to be doing the same in Mumbai. Its ads claim that “Hindustan Times beats DNA to become No.2 in Mumbai.” The beginning of this month saw HT advertising how it was now very close to the market leader, The Times of India, with a readership of 5.92 lakhs, a lead of 17,000 over DNA.

Sometimes, it pays to play the second fiddle. Miller High Life has always positioned itself as the “good” beer, providing “good” value for money. Miller Coors is America’s second largest company and it decided to take the second position seriously. In 2009, when the market leaders were paying $3 million for 30 seconds of airtime during the Super Bowl, Miller said it was No.2 and did not believe in spending so much and thought a “one-second ad” during the Super Bowl Sunday was enough to make its point. So, days before the Super Bowl, it started its 30 second teasers, promoting its 1-second-ad that it would air on Super Bowl Sunday, for its commonsense philosophy could be conveyed in just one second. The No.2, with a tiny ad budget drew more attention than the big spenders.

If you are sure about your product and your philosophy, you can tackle not one, not two, but many competitors at one go – much like our Bollywood heroes who cansingle-handedly fight all the bad guys and emerge victorious. That’s exactly what Brita water filter system did. It came out with ads which claimed that tap water in developed countries was excellent and there was no need to spend money on bottled water and increase pollution, for 16 million gallons of oil were consumed to make plastic water bottles – which could be totally avoided by using the reusable Brita water filter bottles. It asked you to drink responsibly and avoid buying bottled water in plastic bottles. Tap water was as good after all!

It takes vision and guts to speak out against the leader. But if you have a better product, it’s best to just bulldoze your way into the minds of the consumer with an aggressive marketing campaign. It works! Don’t knock ! Just barge in!
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