8th September, 2018

Our interpretation of literacy differs across the globe. Let’s take the United States for example; people who can simply read out a few stanzas based on the education received in the first four grades of school are presumed to be functionally literate. On the other hand, in India, having the ability to sign your own name is deemed ‘literate enough’.
“Without education, you are not going anywhere in this world.” This powerful statement made by Malcom X still holds true today. It resonates with what India, as a country, needs to achieve.

If we look back at India a century ago, the need for education or ‘literacy’ was not strongly felt. It was not essential for a person to be educated, especially a girl. Take a city like Ahmedabad for example; approximately 3% of the women and 12% of the men were educated. Fast forward to today, 84% women and 92% men are literate in that same city. It took a century for this huge leap in literacy to transpire. Now, the leap might be commendable but the literacy gap between men and women is miniscule.

Talking about female literacy in India, the growth in that arena has not been substantial. An estimate of 20 million girls drop out of school every year. Why are women not soaking up the knowledge in today’s modern-age India? Why are they still restricted from receiving the rightful education they deserve? The negative attitude of parents towards a girl child and her education is one of the major reasons as to why the female literacy rate in India is low. Lack of education is an instrument to lack of awareness. Illiterate women are unaware of their rights; this generates a direct and negative impact on their development. When you educate a girl, you educate a nation. Project Nanhi Kali, first started in 1996 by K. C. Mahindra, talks about this very concept. It is an initiative to educate the young girls of India and ensure they complete 10 years of it. Since the start of Nanhi Kali, there are approximately 1,54,000 girls being educated and 94,736 girls are in primary school. The impact of this campaign has grown tenfold in the last 20 years. Nestle then partnered with this project and started the campaign #EducateTheGirlChild; Nestle won the hearts of millions with this move. Nestle went bold and changed the packaging of its famous products. The cover of KitKat read ‘No break from education’, Maggi noodles packaging illustrated ‘2 minutes for education’ and the packet of Nescafe read ‘It all starts with education’.

Start early; Read in Time was an extraordinary project started under the Girls Education Program in the year 2017. Highlighting the significance of educating children and reviving the allegiance towards lifelong learning with regards to sustainable development goals gave impetus to this project. Another commendable campaign is the one started by Pratham Books’ Champion program 7 years ago called One Day, One Story. It is a visionary initiative where around 6,300 storytelling sessions are held for underprivileged children in order to foster in them the inclination to read books. These sessions that span all over India are recited in over 26 languages and are free of cost; this encourages and ensures the partaking of the children. The Dell Aarambh campaign was an initiative by Dell India to allow students to have access to technology and utilise it to its best. Such campaigns bring about an integration between the digital world and the illiterate children in India. It is something that helps making education fun, accessible and interactive.

India is growing at a tremendous speed. But there is an imminent need to bridge the literacy gap today and eradicate the inequalities. To ensure it is implemented, this year, World Literacy Day should highlight the challenges and opportunities in promoting literacy in India. Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself!

Natasha Bhatia


19th March, 2018

Tall, lean and pale models with accentuated cheek bones peer at us from screens and billboards everywhere, setting standards of beauty unattainable sans makeup and photoshop.

The ‘Scarcity Principle’ dictates that less the availability of something the more it is valued. Marketeers have capitalized on this formula to such an extent that they deliberately portray and popularize what does not exist. Further, when the concept of beauty is deployed to fuel cultural sensitivities and social inequalities, it can create insecurities deep enough to mask science and logic, and emotionally drive consumers into aspiring for an unreal standard of what is but subjective perception.

The million-dollar question then is- How do you market products aimed to augment looks without implying to the consumers in any way, that they inherently lack beauty? While we have seen several brands attain this delicate balance to different degrees, one particular case stands out- not because it failed or succeeded, but because it did both and simultaneously!

Unilever with its vast list of subsidiaries has an interesting way of using social ques to promote its marketing objectives. Dove, a Unilever brand recently rose to global acclaim for its ‘Real Beauty’ campaign featuring untouched photos of regular women of all races and all body types. This campaign aimed at reducing the dissonance between the unrealistic media representation of the female figure and women’s actual bodies. It not only allowed women to connect to on screen models for the first time but also refrained from inducing in them, self-doubts regarding their body images.

Surprisingly enough, the same parent company also fosters under its umbrella brands like Axe and Fair and Lovely, with visions diametrically opposing that of Dove. While Axe objectifies women, and reduces them to lust magnets, Fair and Lovely plays on consumer psychology to promote fairness as a factor of success. These cases raise serious eyebrows from the morality and ethics critiques. Katherine Froehlich, among many others has remarked- “Upon examination, the hypocrisy of Unilever is remarkable – one brand advocates need for ‘Real Beauty’ and condemns the world’s current beauty standard, while another frequently presents and encourages unrealistic beauty ideals.”

While this duplicitous move makes sense in the context of brand positioning and targeting widely different consumer segments, it nonetheless cannot justify research outcomes that suggest demeaning natural skin color in a country where most women are on the duskier side leads to lower self-dignity and confidence among women.

Ultimately is marketing all about deluding consumers to achieve financial objectives? Does corporate social responsibility stop at organizing community service events? Can businesses ever create value in the true sense not just for shareholders but all stakeholders? The future of Dove and Fair & Lovely might offer answers. For now, we can wait and hope that the answers will be ethically aligned.

– Indu Upadhyay
PGPMR ’17-18

References-
Dove. “The Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty.” Social Mission Articles & Advice. Web. November 2015. http://www.dove.us/Social-Mission/campaign-for-real-beauty.aspx

Froehlich, Katherine. “Dove: Changing the Face of Beauty?” EJournals.bc.edu. Vol 12, No 2, 2009. Online PDF. November 2015

Indu 2

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19th March, 2018

How would it be if an article spoke about 50 different things at the same time?

Interesting? Appalling? Cacophonous ? Utterly confusing? I leave that to you.

In the modern context however, consumers want to read everything quickly. On the downfall, the subject may not be comprehensively absorbed neither by the publisher nor its audience.

Added to it, what is interesting is that the audience loves to read actual news than ‘viral’ news. They simply don’t like being told what they must know! They just want the gist of the article in the simplest way possible and move on to something else.

According to Al Ries and Laura Ries who authored the famous ‘The 22 Immutable laws of Branding’, in order to have a consistent reader base who don’t switch article after article, website after website, it’s crucial for them to have an association which makes them associate with a website.

Buzzfeed’s inception was in the Year of 2006 while Mashable on the other hand was created in the year of 2005. Both are based on the “listed articles” or “listicles” format and have produced a plethora of content.
Here, the Law of Consistency comes into the picture where you need consistent content to keep the visitor visiting your website time after time. The law of consistency says “A Brand is not built overnight, Success is measured in decades, not in years”. To keep up with the same, many listicle websites would pour out content, many of it absurd, pointless and frivolous -a dime a dozen!

The law of euthanasia says that “No brand will live forever, Euthanasia is often the best solution”. While Buzzfeed is still producing content, it is facing a steady decline.

No wonder why Mashable was sold to Ziff Davis in the last month of 2017 for $50 million was termed as a “fire sale” by various publishers. It ranks a shocking 1,014 on the Alexa website ranking platform dropping 179 places from before.

Buzzfeed ranks 178 on the same platform while dropping 17 places from where it was before . The readers of both the websites are mostly USA centric
How long can you make a reader stay with ‘relatable quizzes’, ‘favourite TV shows’, ‘favourite band’.

You need a captive reader to be constantly and consistently engaging with your website. And the readers, today, are alas, not as captivated or enthralled of the platform,

If the topics are the starting with something like ’29 most’ ‘100 most’, ’13 times’, ’11 reasons’ are what pull your readers in to read your article, I personally believe it to be kind of sad. Websites like Buzzfeed and Mashable are like Viral news itself. They rise from nowhere, gain the world’s attention, and after a while, we replace them with something “newer”.

I guess, you can never forget:

“Content is King, But the Customer is King-Kong”

-Vishnu Sudharshan

Citation
https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/companies/2017-12-04-buzzfeed-and-mashable-struggle-as-google-and-facebooks-chokehold-tightens/
https://mg.co.za/article/2017-12-04-time-is-running-out-for-buzzfeed-mashable
https://www.wsj.com/articles/buzzfeed-set-to-miss-revenue-target-signaling-turbulence-in-media-1510861771

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19th March, 2018

What is an advertisement to you? A classic ad that portray’s the product in an exceptional setting and a catchy jingle, which will stick in your mind and have an instant brand recall. But is that the kind of advertisement you wish to watch now a day’s?

With the rapid change in time and the mentality of people, our world is going through a social revolution. With an introduction to new media people have shifted to different interactive platforms. As advertisers/marketers it is our responsibility to reach out to them through their preferred medium.

But in the clutter of these clichéd advertisements, where can we break through?

In the new progressive world, brands are no longer defined by their TVC‘s but with what the consumers can associate the product with. Marketers and Advertisers have realized the need to make ads, which touch a human feeling by targeting relatable social topics. This is where Acts not Ads comes in.

The philosophy of Acts not Ads connects consumers and brands to a new level where the consumer can emotionally connect with the brand. The new language of advertising is not the spoken one; it is the language of action! Any idea that creates compelling content will lead to a conversation which will eventually lead to a greater penetration of the idea in the society. Media in any form can be interactive if you add action in centre of it!

A beautiful example of this philosophy is the Tata Tea – ‘Jaago re’ campaign made by Lowe Lintas. The campaign was based on the thought that “tea can wake you up but Tata tea can awaken you”. The campaign perfectly touched the uninterested masses and provoked them to wake up and face the issues of the society. It drove people to take an action and contribute to bring a change in the country. More than thousands of people participated actively in the campaign on more than 200+ live projects.

After understanding what this philosophy means, we can understand that ads have actually moved ahead from their basic purpose of gaining sales as they realized how acts can impact the mindset of the consumer. Acts help brands play a meaningful role with a purpose in people’s life.

-Jinal Patel

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19th March, 2018

Northpointers greeted this new year away from the comforts of home, in a stranger atmosphere and ready to conduct their first solo research project. Yes, it was time for our Rural Internship.

Each batch was divided into three groups with their own objectives or brands, while each group had three teams tackling their individual markets- Nagpur, Indore and Lucknow. The Market Research batch had diverse objectives. From testing the efficacy of Digital India initiatives to mapping the efforts of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education in providing basic necessities, the Market Research batch set to prove the ground reality of the government’s much touted ventures.
The Marketing Communication Batch on the other hand was given briefs from three different clients in different categories- from hair oil to edible salt and shavecare, the batch had to use their rural research to effectively communicate the brand’s concerns. Stay tuned to get more updates on our rural findings!

The preparations were done. The research design and conceptualization was done in Northpoint under the guidance of Mr Indranil Ray and Mr Sharad Varshney(insert designation) who redirected us whenever we took off from the correct path.

Armed with their survey forms and discussion guides which they took weeks to deliberate, ponder over and prepare, the Northpointers were ready to research in their respective rural areas. The objective- to gather data- both qualitative and quantitative from 7 Villages in the neighbouring areas of our designated cities.

From stepping in, in the early morn, to stepping out before dusk, our entire experience of a village life opened up our eyes while at the same time humbling us. Our perceptions were shattered while the ground reality was reinforced.

We came across people of varying beliefs, ethics and perceptions towards life. From open-hearted grandmas inviting us inside their house for lunch to being shunned and scorned with suspicion by others in the area, our experience was on the whole hugely diverse yet with a tinge of warmth. The communal behaviour of a village made us feel as if we were a part of something bigger, that as an experience would be incredible and difficult to replicate.

Snigdha Lahiry

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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

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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 Sudharshan
PGPMarComm 2017-2018

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