Monday, 26 July 2010

the 'abcd' keyboard- simplifying life for your consumers.

Lava, a mobile phone brand in India recently launched 'the world's first 'adcb' phone'. The 'abcd' phone as opposed to the 'Qwerty' key-board has the alphabet arranged linearly....a,b,c,d....

Its the first of its kind in the world.

Why did they do it? Well, in our view, its simple to an interesting feature and for most Indians who buy a cellphone before they learn to type, its just logical to search for alphabets serially. And there is no pain of learning to type in a new way.

Our doubt is on why the keyboard was launched on a smart-phone and not an entry level phone. The smartphone is still likely to be bought by more affluent people ( and hence with exposure to and with a habit for qwerty typing)....although this hypothesis could be challenged.

The bigger question is 'why did nokia or samsung or LG not do this?' For all the consumer insight, if you are aware that the mobile is the earlier buy (compared to a PC) .....why would you not simplify the phone experience for these 'new comers'.

Wow. We learnt a heck of a lot from this product launch.

Ritu and Venkat

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Nike Shoes and Services

Click the title above to read this interesting note by Elie Ofek in the site that we frequent. What was particularly awesome was this passage:

For the current World Cup, Nike launched its Mercurial Vapor SuperFly II. But someone that buys a pair gets more than the enhanced acceleration the new shoes are designed to provide. The shoes come with a unique user code that, once entered online, unlocks a full training program. Its Nike Football+ program was developed in conjunction with the world's leading coaches and players, and offers a myriad of video training sessions, tips, and methods for improving one's play. Programs can also be downloaded through an app to an iPhone or to other mobile web-enabled handsets to take to the field. No longer are athletes being asked to pay upwards of $300 just to have a better physical shoe; they're also getting a service that helps them become better players.

I mean, this is it. We all know the great margins are in services - ask IBM and HP and all those companies that make money on product check ups and the sort.

Now Nike goes and applies this to shoes?? Wow! What a winner of an idea.

OK Adidas, so maybe you can make a shoe of similar style. But how about the fitness program that we have packaged with the shoe?

We only hope Nike is collecting data from its new shoe that allows it to see what kind of training the users are undergoing and then build more specific packages for them.

This is a classic marketing initiative. Well done Nike! We have always advocated that consumer products should build 'services' targeted at their consumers...this is a fabulous example.

By the way,!/nikefootball?v=wall
is also one heck of an online campaign. We dont enjoy the game, but we thoroughly enjoyed this site and what Nike is trying to do. Connectivity and Empowerment. Consumers want to belong to a network, but be able to express their individuality.....beautifully captured here.
Ritu and Venkat

Thursday, 8 July 2010


"I want to work someplace less bureaucratic" i said.

"Bureaucracy is not a bad thing", said my friend, "it ensures people follow standard operating procedures. That's not bad."

"Well", i reflected. "I measure bureaucracy not by how fast messages go down the organisation chart. I measure it by how fast messages go up the organisation chart".

We both agreed on that.


Friday, 2 July 2010

EMIs- How and when to you use a monthly payment plan

We are very sure about this so any views to the contrary will be appreciated.

A leading mobile phone company launched a campaign today allowing consumers to purchase its phones in 3 equal monthly installments.

This is a leading company under attack in India from low cost phones in the mass market as well as the 'smart phone' segments.

This campaign surprised Ritu and me immensely.

Installments plans , particularly in an emerging economy, should only be used to develop a product category. And when they are used, the installments should be such that they at least equal the current alternative.

We explain:

Eg: House-ownership: It is expensive and house ownership in urban India is very low. So an EMI from banks (over 10 or 20 years) allows people to enter this category and the size of the (monthly payment) EMI usually is equal to the monthly rent paid out anyway. So the offer of home ownership is very attractive.

For mobile phones, this does not work. India has 600 mn mobile phones (estimated). So the category exists.

For a premium brand to use 3 monthly installments to bring the cost (per month) to that of the full cost of a low price competitor - this is not logical. A premium player approaching its target audience on price is a sure sign of panic.

If i cannot afford a premium product in a single payment, very very unlikely i will be able to afford it in 3 payment plans....or very unlikely i will still not be distracted by a competitor model at one third the price- with mostly all comparable features.

The campaign needs to be re-looked asap.

Ritu and Venkat