12th December, 2017

What is the one thing that ties chewing gum and advertising?
Contrary to popular belief, both of them have beginnings rooted in ancient history.
While advertising began with the ancient Egyptians carving out notices on metal in 2000 BC, chewing gum began as lumps of tree resins chewed on by prehistoric men and women. The Ancient Mayans chewed chicle, which was sap from the Sapodilla tree.
Chewing gums were manufactured by John Curtis in 1848, as the habit passed on to American settlers. Earlier gum was quite sticky and flavourless, until paraffin wax was added to it.
In 1871, Thomas Adams patented a machine to manufacture chewing gum. It wasn’t until the late 1870’s that flavours were added to chewing gums. Adams was the first one to sell chewing gums out of a vending machine. He called them Tutti-Fruti.
By the late 1880’s, Adams gum was sold widely. They produced five tons of chewing gum daily.

It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that Chiclets was added to the list.
Wrigley’s started selling chewing gum in 1891. He was the first one to advertise chewing gum and had a huge role in making it wildly popular among the masses.
The first chewing gums to be brought to India were the Wrigley’s double mint, spearmint, and chiclets.
They were officially launched around 1950-60’s and were greatly popular amongst adults and kids alike.
Advertisement for chewing gums in India were largely limited to print ads until local companies like Big Babool started advertising on kids’ channels.
Chewing gums have certainly come a long way: from being used by ancient Mayans to stay off thirst and hunger, to Nicotine gums helping people trying to kick the butt, just like it’s advertising, the humble stick too has come to be one of the symbols of the modern world.

– Abhinav Roy
PGPMR ’17-18

ChicletPostPoster

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9th December, 2017

What happened in Mumbai on August 29 was reprehensible. Thirty centimeters of rainfall in a day, making it the worst rainfall in the region since 2005, drowned a city celebrated as India’s financial capital. Lakhs of people were stranded at railway stations or their workplaces or spent the night wading home through flooded roads. The rain had slowed down the city’s vehicular traffic and hundreds were stranded without a way to reach back home in the suburbs. Most of the railway tracks were waterlogged and the Mumbai local trains, the lifeline of the city, were also affected.

In times like these, the brands of the country stepped up, becoming a boon to the people stuck in the situation.
Some brands offered help in the form of their own intrinsic services. Ola spread the word about a shuttle service which didn’t require any bookings, just for people in various areas to reach their dedicated shuttle locations. RedBus offered help by arranging free stay at hotel they’re affiliated with. Uber used UberPOOL to great efficiency by giving free rides to all those were stuck.

Other brands spread messages about safety and offered to provide shelter, Maggi and wi-fi to Mumbaikars stranded nearby. There were also local brands distributing food parcels to those who couldn’t get their hands at any. Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were used to circulate the message around, including images and posters, while instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp and SMS were used to spread text messages. Some of the many brands that reached out to help were Hypercity, Pizza Hut, Turtlemint, Radio Mirchi, Pizza Express, Oyo, MOM, Gokulbite, Kfc, Crownit, Bombay Canteen, Big fm, Rudram group, etc.
Ours is a society dependent on goods and services. Loathe as they sometimes are to admit it, consumers want and need the products – and marketing exists to inform them of their choices. But brands should be held accountable for more than just the quality of their products, their customer service, and their ads. They must communicate their sense of social responsibility as well.

In situations as calamitous as this one, brands have a responsibility not only to their affected customers but to all those who buy their products. I believe it is an excellent way to communicate the brand and engage the consumer at the same time. With most brands increasingly becoming socially conscious, brands must alter their strategies and stand for certain moral issues as well. For this reason, businesses must maintain communication with consumers throughout these times.

Rajvee Mehta
PGPMarComm 2017-18

References: http://www.afaqs.com/news/story/51232_Brands-that-reached-out-to-Mumbaikars-while-it-rained-A-Story-in-Screenshots
http://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/this-deluge-of-excuses-won-t-do-the-authorities-have-to-be-held-accountable/story-Wd7wUsUlnwWjHX8PmJoc4I.html

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9th December, 2017

11 months of a tumultuous and rewarding journey came to it’s grand finale for the Northpoint Centre of Learning’s batch of 2016-17.

The current batch believed that they deserved the best ending which they will remember for years to come. They were on their toes and up for two nights to give their seniors the best convocation to commemorate their journey.

It was the morning of 11th November. Thankfully, a bright, sunny day. Inside the NCL campus was a cacophony, a heady rush as some students clambered to complete their allocated duties, take care of the guests or the food arrangements while others ensured the whole event flowed smoothly.

But it was all worth it to see the joyous yet nostalgic look in our seniors’ eyes as they hugged, laughed and relived treasured memories.

The main event started at 11am sharp. The Alumni was invited inside with pomp and show amidst the smiles and applause from friends and family. Mr. Indranil Ray, our course director opened the ceremony and invited our chief guest for the Samay Lighting

Our chief guest for the day was Mr. Saugata Gupta, CEO & MD of Marico India. He was accompanied by our Chairman, Mr. Prem Mehta, Ex- MD, Nielsen, Mr. Partha Rakshit,head of Human Resources, Nielsen, South Asia, Mr.Mahipal Nair and CEO of the Lowe-Lintas group, Mr. Raj Gupta.

Our honourable guests commemorated the occasion by giving us words of advice and measures on how to succeed in life, climb the corporate ladder and what it means to be at the pinnacle of your career and still be a decent human being. Their words were both motivational and inspirational to the gathered batches. The batch collected their certificates and then awaited for the next stage of the convocation.

Mr Indranil Ray, took to the stage to give out the much awaited awards! The best student council award which went to NorConnect- the student council responsible for securing placements and industry connect. The students truly deserved it for all the hard work they had put in!
The next to be felicitated were the three marketing whizzes- Aditya Menon for Advertising, Mukta Chogle for Digital Marketing and Gurnain Thappar from the Marketing Communications batch.

The next set of awards was for the toppers of the batch. For the Market Research batch, the second runner up was Rohith Sundar, the first runner up being Aaron Mathew and the topper- Natasha Kumar! The Marketing Communication batch got equally hyped up and couldn’t wait to get their toppers on the stage. The joint third runner up were Alisha Narekuli and Anindya Ray, the first runner up being Aditya Menon and the topper of the batch- Anurag Naik!
The toppers were invited and gave heartfelt, moving speeches thanking all that Northpoint had done for them.

The ceremony came then drew to a close, with the entire batch lingering, thanking and sharing not so old memories. They were ushered for their photographs. Catch them in action below!

Jinal Patel
PGPMarComm 2017-18

CONVO NP

CONVO NP 2

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9th December, 2017

Choices that we make define our beliefs and design our behaviours. A lot of our present-day beliefs or behaviours are the outcomes of choices we had once made. Furthermore, behaviours are what we homo sapiens imitate and invariably recur and spread those in our social realms, without caring for the control in order to reverse their effect. It’s like, if we choose to buy a product to ease our lives, it will arguably ease our lives, and henceforth we may end up changing our behaviour towards a certain activity for it would have gotten eased up due to capability of the product.

Conceivably, our choices are not limited to the products we buy but extend to the rituals we adopt. The rituals, some of which had come from age-old notions; from generations of the past; which have been dictating a lot of our present-time dos and don’ts. One of the choices we had once made was to accept the myth that menstruating girls shouldn’t touch the pickle so that it doesn’t decompose, we also chose to believe that it’s a woman’s job to do everyone’s laundry at respective homes, because that was the age-old notion, also influencing our current thinking and behaviours. These are examples out of many. The ideal opinion is that none stands to be true, but we still end up following those. Mainly because the ones who modelled these, never cared about the social consequences. Over the years, these choices have become chores, at which rarely do we go back and contemplate.

An intervention was much needed in order to steer about a positive change of behaviour from the social issues arising out of inequality between men and women, increasing pressure to perform on teenagers, myths around menstruating women, so on and so forth. The task of intervening in these, is being taken up by one of the ace advertising agencies – BBDO India, by adopting “Make Acts, Not Ads” as their philosophy.

Make Acts Not Ads grows out from the study conducted in 2007 by a team of BBDO planners across the US, Western Europe, China, India, Japan and Australia – on the power and dynamics of social movements and how can brands adopt these. The idea was central to India as age-old notions were deep-seated in the minds of the Indian audience. They used psychographic analysis to establish what makes a social movement successful. A principal finding was that the possibility to drive change in behaviour lied in the fact that brands need not only enter social scenes but also have the freedom to play a pivotal role – freedom to drive change. They had realized that it was no more a one-way communication with the consumer rather a two-way messaging, in which consumers would want to interact with brands and understand what brands have to offer other than just products or services. It turned important for the brands to choose their noble cause, their modus operandi – a why and a way to deliver this purpose. This was meant to stir up the opinion leaders who further moved the cause to the rest of the audience. It’s like the curve of diffusion of innovation, but this time it was more about the cause than the innovation.

But the question is, does this philosophy turned into a plan really change behaviour? Subsequently, BBDO India ensured applying this formula to communications for their clients– whilst these include their 2009 work for PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats titled ‘Cops on Oats’, aimed at making Chennai Police heart healthy and fit. Then in 2011, the BBDO campaign titled ‘Great Wall of Education’ for Aviva that drove people to donate books for under-privileged children. Recently, BBDO India won a lot of acclaim for their work on ‘Women Against Lazy Stubble’ for Gillette India, ‘Touch the Pickle’ to nullify the myths of dos and don’ts for a menstruating Indian woman, their work on ‘Share the Load’ for Ariel to strike down inequality between men and women and urging them to rethink the division of labour when it comes to laundry, and the rest is history.

The reason to believe in the potential of this tactic is simple. It’s not that brands that adopt BBDO’s philosophy, are forging choices by plainly advertising features of a product or a service. Rather brands are intervening in their social issues and helping them a way out of it, to act out of it. The theory of Make Acts Not Ads doesn’t only drive a positive change in behaviours but also serves the consumers a sense of belonging every time they make a purchase. At the end of the day, helping them make better choices by challenging the old ones.

Devansh Thakker
PGPMarComm 2017-18
Northpoint Centre of Learning

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9th December, 2017

How do we get to learn? Be it swimming, cycling, playing a musical instrument, playing a sport? How do we get to learn? We fall, we make mistakes, we humiliate ourselves till we eventually learn.
We had a similar experience with our Sales Internship. With no prior experience, we were thrown in the deep side of the swimming pool and in the end, we learnt to swim!
Standing all day didn’t seem like a task at first, but after the first two days itself, we realized that it was a harrowing experience. Giving EMI breakups to the customers was an easy first task. The difficult bit came in when we had to judge who was the ‘right’ customer and who was not.
Slowly, we got a hang of things and started to achieve conversions. We understood the behaviour of the customer, gained valuable learnings and insights.

Handling the customer took patience, skill and sometimes a lot of trickery. Sales is a sector field where the competition is immense between brands and so is the competition between salespersons, between stores and between customers itself!

The war for gaining an edge over status symbol during the Diwali period was quite evident in the kind of purchases the customers made. People exchanged their 40’ inch fully working Televisions which they purchased a year ago for something five or ten inches bigger.

Between this clutter is where we placed to work, we had to have knowledge of all the brands that we were selling, right from Air Conditioners, Televisions, Mobiles, Washing machines, Laptops and personal computers and everything else in between.

If we got stuck while selling anything, the salespersons were always there to help us out. Capital First is located among all major Consumer durables outlets possible and also in small electronic outlets.
So, effectively, Capital First, the customer and the store, these are the three parties involved in a typical EMI transaction.

Permeating though these channels and being present everywhere is where Capital First wins the game. So, basically, the store wants sales to happen, the customer wants products readily available and Emi options with them and Capital first wants more customers to make use of the Emi option.
Thus, it becomes a Win-Win-Win situation for everyone involved in the transaction.

Managing the customer’s expectations is a tricky part, agreeing to everything what the customer says goes a long way. Here, Adequate service is the basic service that a customer wants from the store and subsequently from Capital first. Desired service is something that beyond that surpasses the customer’s expectations. The Zone of tolerance for the customer varies from every service experience.

For Instance, if a customer has a bad experience, it is seen from the diagram below that the Zone of tolerance has decreased. Sales is a volatile field with a barrage of emotions of everyone in it. Thus, the focus should not be on Customer Satisfaction! But instead something called as Customer delight factor.

If the performances are consistent over a period of time then the customer won’t just be satisfied, but he will be delighted!

zone of tolerance

Vishnu Sudarshan
PGPMarComm 2017-2018

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6th October, 2017

Patanjali Ayurved Ltd (PAL), headquartered in Haridwar, has been touted as India’s fastest growing FMCG company. Having doubled their revenues since the past financial year to over Rs 10,000 Cr, Patanjali Ayurved has driven conglomerates and giants like HUL to sleepless nights. HUL plans on cutting its staff by 10-15% in an attempt to reduce costs1 while at the same time relaunching their premium Ayurveda based line “Ayush” at more affordable rates2. Other established FMCG companies like Dabur have called Patanjali’s success a “Blessing in Disguise”. CEO, Sunil Duggal believes that Ramdev’s charismatic persona and strong connection amongst the countrymen has converted many sceptics to firm Ayurvedic product users. Dabur, which for the past 19 years had focused on diversification to Non-Ayurveda based products, has regrouped and plans on doubling its herb production, from the current 2000 acres to 3800 acres to account for the increase in products they plan on selling.3

What does it actually feel like, working for Baba Ramdev?

First things first, it certainly isn’t like working in a regular corporate office. It has a unique work culture based on the concept of “Seva”. The first thing which strikes an outsider is how the workers abandon their posts to queue up and touch the feet of Baba Ramdev or his right-hand man, Acharya Balkrishna. Workers are heavily discouraged from asking for a raise. The work culture in the higher offices is unique. During each meeting, Ramdev sits in a raised seat while everyone else gathers at his feet, below him. The concept of brotherhood is perpetrated through this exercise4.

Can the organization grow at the same pace as the past year?

On the outlook, it seems like a difficult prospect mainly due to the large expectations of people and maintaining the same level of consistency in all their products. Maintaining brand loyalty especially in the face of competition from other brands-both in the Ayurvedic and Non-Ayurvedic sectors will be a challenge.

Can it sustain the same growth without the saffron political support?

Baba Ramdev has been a huge supporter of the Modi-led NDA and the “Make in India” campaign resonated with his “Swadeshi” movement. One of the major reason for Patanjali’s success was that it fed on our inner fear of being “looted” by foreign companies and his “swadeshi” ideology found great monetary and resource based support from the ruling party. However, Baba Ramdev hasn’t extended an all-weather branch of friendship to NDA and has been known to take a potshot or two against them. In the end, the right wing leaning of PAL and the ruling party will certainly go hand in hand towards creating an informal alliance.

– Snigdha Lahiry

 

patanjali

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6th October, 2017

Slum dwellers are technologically un-savvy, mostly concerned with arranging daily food and basic necessities and would not have a reason to care about exorbitant luxuries like smart phones. With these preconceived notions, Mrs. Piyul Mukherjee, founder of Quipper Research, sent Northpoint students down to the Khandala slums for qualitative consumer research. A village with farms and tractors was imaginable but what exists under the corrugated tin roofs of an urban slum was a mystery.

Qualitative research we were told aims to understand the consumers’ lives from within. It goes beyond numbers and sumptuously elucidates the consumer psyche. We were also warned that great surprises lay ahead. We went in prepared to elicit from our subjects all reasons behind their use of feature phones. Handy, easy to use, long lasting and affordable- we had reasonable belief that these would emerge as the top findings.

We bought sweets, snacks and goodies to appease our hosts. We hesitantly ventured into the narrow alleys between the shacks and shanties, one person at a time. What followed was an evening full of humbling discoveries. The one room, one kitchen households had limited furniture but boasted television sets and multiple smart phones, often as many as five. Feature phones were either non-existent or only used by the older generation, not unlike our own homes. Our initial hypothesis stood nullified; we were forced to shift our lens in the midst of our fieldwork.

‘Ethnocentrism’- we read the definition of this term before leaving but understood it only after returning. To assume, judge and weigh someone else’s actions from one’s own perspective is to be ethnocentric. Urban slum dwellers aspire to the same modernity that gated community residents aspire to. The former buy Vivos and Oppos while the latter splurge on Apples. The desire for big screens and status recognition remains constant across the two.

Knowledge is volatile, reality transient, consumers variegated and assumptions deceptive. To truly know the consumer is to question the obvious, and to “leave no answer unquestioned”.

– Indu Upadhyay

Qual Photo

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5th October, 2017

A post-grad student with hunger for, and access to practical knowledge thrives in the professional sphere. At Northpoint, the idea of building actionable knowledge proves the same. Gone are the days of gauging students’ capabilities merely through the medium of scores that are fetched through memory tests, followed by recognized degrees. “The students who just want a degree to add to their CVs, are not the ones the corporate world is looking for”, says Ms. Piyul Mukherjee, CEO of Quipper Research and visiting faculty at Northpoint in an interview with Fourth Estate, Northpoint Centre of Learning. She highlights the importance of learning what is latest in terms of both research and communication sides of marketing and that it is hard to find the kind of exposure given to students at Northpoint as compared to that at any post-graduate institutes in India.

On a question about Ms. Mukherjee’s shift from being employed to forming her own organization, she denies it to be a big shift as such. She emphasizes on the fact that an individual must always have entrepreneurial spirit, not only to form one’s own organization but those are the kinds of people research organizations and large ad agencies actually hire. She even suggests that everybody should be on their own, because one never knows what today’s day and age has in store for them.

When asked about the importance of qualitative research in understanding a consumer, Ms. Mukherjee points up that one should not neglect quantitative research as it has a huge role to play in finding definite answers, for e.g. the new brand of a company that is not performing at certain geographical locations. But qualitative research is the human-oriented bit of research that answers all the whys. At the end, both complement each other. She underscores the fact that brands and communications are all about dealing with human beings and that is the reason why qualitative research plays a vital role in understanding consumers in this drastically changing world.

In terms of advice to students of Northpoint Centre of Learning, Ms. Mukherjee unnerves the students by giving two thumb rules to follow as they venture out in the corporate world. The first one being, “Don’t think anything will ever be laid out on a plate just because one has a certain degree or certain background. There are no more free lunches, so you have to keep working and moving.” She winds up by giving the second thumb rule that students will find it easy to be on top of everything if they also start learning to work smart.

– DEVANSH THAKKER

 

Piyul Mukherjee

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5th October, 2017

“The bad news is that time flies but the good news is, that you are the pilot!”

We relate to this statement without a doubt, here at Northpoint. It’s the fourth week already and the first week is a blur. No, not because I became comfortable easily, but because there was less time to be uncomfortable.

Speaking of discomfort, debuting in staying away from home was not easy for a lot of us. The transition was difficult, but since we’re all sailing in the same boat, we could be the co-passengers in each other’s journey and be there for each other.

From our first formal dinner to our latest late-night Maggie sessions, from starting to share living spaces to now sharing secrets, from talking for the first time to now communicating with just expressions, we have come a long way indeed and the road ahead will be full of surprises. We’re all learning here, not just lessons but also people, developing not just thoughts but ideas, trying to figure out life and not just our career.

While researching for this article, I decided to ask everyone about their experience till now. They all had vague answers. Awkward, slow, a struggle, etc. Honestly, all of this is true. It has been a challenging few weeks where time would either flow by or just stand still. I have a philosophy. Just observe a vehicle taking a turn. Before the turn, it must slow down. I believe that the same happens in life; while taking a new turn, we need to slow down before speeding up. And that’s the best analogy for our time here in Northpoint. We slow down, recoup to just gear up for the next hectic weeks, managing it all, together.

To everyone in the campus,

“Mai nahi janti yunhi sath chalte chalte hum kitni door jayenge,

Par aise hi chalte rahe to kareeb jaroor aa jayenge!”.

– DIVYA MESTRY

 

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23rd September, 2017

2) Was it really a dream?

“Get up Vishnu! Its 7 am, lunch is on the table, eat cornflakes for breakfast, and leave for college on time, Wake up!!
Now these were the things that my mother told me as she was leaving for school. Handling responsibilities of being a teacher, a mother, a wife, and just being herself! I wonder how she manages it every single day.
Where was my father? I was looking for him; he was nowhere to seen in the house, and then I remembered that he had left for a meeting at 6 am. Then it all came back, “I’m going to Pune, will be back by tomorrow night, have kept money on the table, and don’t sleep for too long”.
As I finally managed to wake up 10 minutes past 7, last evening’s events came back to my mind. I thought to myself, wait…how did I reach home? When did I reach home? I had no recollection of what happened. My last memory was asking that dreaded question to myself, ‘what was happening?’
As I was preparing coffee, I began to ponder really hard on what really happened. There were these recurring visions coming into my mind of me talking to that man.
Did I know him? How did he seem so familiar to me? Did I have a divine intervention? Was god taking his revenge on me for having no belief in religion? How could that happen? How was that even possible? Maybe nothing happened and I was just over thinking. The milk had boiled and it spilled all over the gas stove which made me get back to my senses and start cleaning the mess.
Maybe I was over thinking. I decided not to think much about it and that’s when my phone rang; the name displayed ‘hell’, and the time as 7:67.

I had heard the term shit scared, I had known people who were shit scared at a certain point of time, I even had a certain idea what the term could mean, it was at this moment I realised the true meaning of that term.

I dared not to pick up the phone, I pinched myself, it hurt, holy shit it’s not a dream!

How could this be possible??
What was happening??

Then I wondered, ‘was it really a dream?’

To be continued…

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