Friday, September 25, 2015

Food for stomach, food for thought: WORKSHOP MARKETING approach

Glamorous start!
Times Network had an interesting concept that was meticulously executed at Hotel Taj Vivanta, M G Road, Bangalore on 18.9.15.  I was invited for it… another colleague Mr. Harish, too got an invite for the same.  It was what I call as a WORKSHOP MARKETING approach.

Times Network is a big media organization having pan-India market leader products like The Times of India, The Economic Times and six TV channels including Zoom, Times Now …

The idea was to engage with prospects (like me), try and convert them into TV advertisers.  The bait was a 45 minute highly engaging educative talk by STEPHEN PEAD, Marketing and Branding expert, NRS Media International, Sydney, Australia.  The topic of Stephen’s talk was: THREE WAYS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS.  The setting was Taj Vivanta: a five-star hotel on M G Road, Bangalore, an up-market address!

The entire event was given an aspirational appeal, so attendance was good.  The follow-up too was sharp and persuasive, so prospects were motivated to attend the workshop.

The marketing process from the TIMES GROUP, including, sending invites, telephone follow-up, sorting the prospects and understanding those prospects where conversion chances were bright, was thoroughly analysed and executed with aplomb by their sales team.

Scintillating Stephen

Stephen Pead, gave advertising gyan in an attractive manner with great graphics and videos too.

Some of his gyan (knowledge) nuggets are here:

a)      In the three ways to grow your business, answer the question: WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS PLAN?  The business plan should be robust: the sales and marketing strategy in the business plan should drive customers to the business.  This can be done through advertising.  The advertisement should promote the product successfully and be effective.
b)      Brand advertising is also called top-of-mind advertising, image advertising, brand recall advertising and awareness advertising.  It is easy to recall 3 brands in any category.  However, the fourth and fifth is always difficult.  So it is vital to ensure leadership positions for the brand in a category.  Advertising helps move the brand into the consideration set of customers (on top of the ladder of recollection).
c)      CALL-TO-ACTION advertising supports brand advertising and branding.  This is a tactical advertising approach.  An example of call-to-action advertising is: September sales is here!  50% authentic discount on product A, rush and buy today, offer open till stocks last!!  However, such campaign or activation or call-to-action advertising approaches, which have sinus curve, will show gaps in the advertising campaign (ie., there are periods with no ads.).

Peak and valley activation advertising strategy has gaps in campaign (see ppt foto)
d)     To maximize impact of advertising, it is essential to have a campaign for 12 months, and the call-to-action advertising should ride over and above this sustained twelve month campaign.
e)      Good advertising should clarify: WHO YOU ARE, WHERE TO FIND YOU AND WHAT WE DO.
f)       “Repitition makes your reputation”: repetition is the core of advertising.  Promote in a differentiated way in a confusing market place. 
g)      The equation of advertising success and for a good advertisement:
Good advertisement = HERO (product) + EMOTION + RECALL

Make the product the hero, ensure person (reader or viewer or listener of advertisement) gets positive emotion and ensure recall through differentiation (eg., clutter free ad., excellent colour, etc).
h)      Stress on the USP of the product; provide the competitive advantage of the product, and the point-of-difference.
i)        Answer the question to WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME (customers are posing this question in their minds constantly).
j)        Analyse: What are you saying? To whom are you saying?  How many times are you saying?

The other speakers from Times Group provided information on exciting invitation deals for potential advertisers to enter national advertising using the TV channels of Times group.  They also gave analogies on how commodities through right use of branding concepts (logo etc) can be converted into brands for obtaining better market value.  The central message was to latch onto power of branding through TV advertising using the TIMES network of 6 TV channels.

This was done by Times group through a smart way of WORKSHOP MARKETING, the workshop being conducted by Mr. Stephen Pead! 

Indian pharma entrepreneurs always spot an opportunity!

The above is a photograph of the report in Business Standard (22.9.15, page no. 2), highlighting the success of Caripill (an Ayurvedic formulation) for increasing platelet count in dengue patients.  This product has started with a bang.  In just two months, Caripill (from Micro Labs, Bangalore) has achieved Rs. 7.00 crores sales (Rs. 70 million), the market grapevine is that Micro Labs sales team of Rajasthan and Delhi achieved their sales target for Sep 2015 by 9.9.15 (ie., in nine days itself!).  There are reports of business enquiries from S E Asian countries for importing Caripill.  If this trend keeps up, it won't come as a surprise if Caripill hits a jackpot of Rs. 100 crores (Rs. 1 billion) in one rolling year!  A blockbuster performance by the Indian yardstick!!  Kudos to this example of pharma entrepreneurship.  

Micro Labs is essentially a me-too branded allopathic formulation manufacturer and marketer.  However, the zeal to succeed through entrepreneurship, is apparent through the above example, where Micro Labs has moved on to launch an Ayurvedic formulation, traditionally not their forte.  They have leveraged their strength in marketing to astutely establish ayurvedic Caripill.

Strides Arcolab, another Bangalore based company, having a spectacular global performance in nutraceutical and pharmaceutical (including injectables) contract manufacturing, is looking for breakthroughs in domestic pharmaceutical formulations market.  Strides acquired Grandix Pharmaceuticals, Chennai, in 2007, and made their entry into the domestic branded formulations - pharmaceutical market.  The idea was to increase their spectrum of pharmaceutical activities - and not just stick to their knitting of contract manufacturing.

Strides Arcolab, is as aggressive as Sun Pharmaceuticals in its own way - by focusing in niche areas of global pharmaceutical business.  A win-win deal was recently struck  between Sun Pharmaceuticals and Strides Arcolab: the latter has purchased Solus and Solus Care divisions, these divisions market  niche CNS drugs.  Solus and Solus Care - are part of Ranbaxy - Sun Pharmaceuticals had made a historic purchase of Ranbaxy for 3.2 billion USD in March/April 2015, Sun now through this acquisition controls nearly 10 percent of Indian Pharmaceutical Market.

This astute move by Sun to sell Solus/Solus Care is truly win-win with Strides.  It gives Strides Arcolab an opportunity to add another niche therapeutic market, thus, concentrate on a high-tech niche area.  Strides Arcolab is in fact, a niche hi-tech player.  Strides Arcolab is strengthening its competency in biogenerics (biosimilars) manufacturing (Stelis division in India and Malaysia).  Some of such new biogenerics are likely to be in the area of CNS disorders.  Thus, Solus and Solus Care can be used as platforms to launch high tech, niche area, high value, high margin, branded biogenerics to the domestic pharmaceutical market by Strides Arcolab.

For Sun Pharmaceuticals, which is already a very strong player in CNS segment, it does not make sense to have Solus and Solus Care, since Sun Pharma has a deep coverage of CNS drug prescribers.  The point - less overlap between Sun Pharma and Solus/Solus Care will not expand market, it will only cannibalize the market for Sun Pharmaceuticals, hence it has happily shed Solus and Solus Care divisions to Strides (for Rs. 165 crores).

This is truly exciting contemporary development in above vibrant pharmaceutical companies based out of Bangalore


A session in progress: Vitafoods Asia 2015, HK,

It is not the intelligent of the species that survives, it is the adaptable of the species that survives: Charles Darwin

Intelligence, integrity and energy – three factors for success: Warren Buffet

Vitafoods is a series of nutraceutical events held in Asia (Hong Kong), Europe (Geneva, Switzerland) and South America (Sao Paulo, Brazil) on an annual basis for stakeholders.  Informa does an impeccable job of organizing Vitafoods Asia 2015 – it was my second visit to this event, earlier being Vitafoods Asia 2014.  This year, our employer company sent 5 personnel as registered delegates.  So we were able to attend the education seminars too along with the visit to exhibition area (the latter area does not require any paid delegate registration) – this was the essence of our participation at this interesting nutraceutical destination event.

Mr. C J K Simon, Director S & M (to the reader's right) and self at Vitafoods Asia 2015

Below are some pearls from my participation at Vitafoods Asia Sep 2015 (2.9.15 and 3.9.15):

a)      Hong Kong, city of sky scrapers, has a lot of greenery and land available unlike Singapore, which is constrained and contained.
b)      HK is like a big shopping district, with lots of shopping experiences in store.
c)      Going to the Giant Buddha by cable car, is an amazing experience (on last day we could hurriedly do this too!)

View from the cable car
 Ethereal view
Giant Buddha at background

d)     The chill effect is very prominent!  HK is AC crazy, the Hotel Regal Airport and the airport itself was bone- chilling, better take thermals and jackets even though HK has a hot climate!
e)      Although it is a coastal city, there are no coconut trees (as you would expect in India!).
f)       People in HK have limited knowledge of English language – can be vexatious to the traveler.  (Singapore scores over HK on this…).
g)      There is energy among participants in the exhibition area for scaling up, gaining new customers and selling …
h)      Many products have scientific back-up.
i)        SOD B range from Bionov (France) based on the melon is a very interesting antioxidant natural ingredient, delivered as a coated substance, has an unique mode of action.  On oral administration, SOD B, thanks to the gastro protective coating, is released in the intestines.  There it locks with specific receptors and induces the body to produce higher levels of endogenous antioxidant enzymes: superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase.  Amazing mode of action isn’t it?  It does not get absorbed etc… it makes the body produce more natural antioxidant enzymes.
j)        Nutrisens range from France, provides a range of clinical nutrition in pouch form (18 months shelf-life) – the contents are semi-fluid, and is targeted to patients who suffer dysphagia (swallowing difficulty) or have trembling hands … eg., patients with Parkinsonism and elderly subjects.
k)      Daiwa Pharmaceuticals, Japan: the elderly person from this company was again there, with his polite smile and behavior.  Biobran the immunomodulator, NKCP – the natural blood thinner based on Bacillus subtilis strain, rice kefiran (a phytogalactoglucan from LAB), Epoglan (gamma linolenic acid) and GABA (to improve sleep) were their innovations backed by clinical evidence and other scientific studies.
l)        An American leader company with trace elements in liquid form (used for fortification of beverages etc) (Company: Trace Minerals Research) was also there for second time.
m)    Phytologic showcased their anthogenol (Vitis vinifera grape seed extract) as a super antioxidant.
n)      Monteloeder of Spain displayed hydroxytyrosol (olive leaf extract), topical melagenol and other interesting products for metabolic syndrome.
o)      Norst Omega 3, Norway: offered a very tasty amazing liquid formulation of omega-3-fatty acids in cola flavor and vanilla flavor.
p)      Konark Herbals from India (an enthusiastic brother-sister duo manned the stall) were there promoting their standardized extracts, including nano curcumin etc.
q)      Lemon verbena extract from PLX, Spain positioned as an adaptogen and antioxidant were there, she also presented a talk at the Exhibition Presentation Theater.
r)       Novastell, Spain/France had a range of phospholipids: from - egg, marine source, soya etc…
s)       There were many interesting exhibitors including Catalysis, Spain who offered very interesting range of products for urology segment: Diamel to promote kidney health in diabetics, Spermotrend for male infertility, Renalof for kidney stones, Oncoxin for BPH, standardized glycyrrhizinic acid for topical management of STD, and Viusid for herpes.
t)       There was a range of premium products with very unique and hard-to-source ingredients, from Energybalance, Switzerland.
u)      Vidya Herbs, from Bangalore, India, were showcasing once again their competence at their booth (there were there in Vitafoods Asia 2014 too) – this is an amazing company, run by a very down-to-earth person: Mr. Shyam Prasad and ably assisted by his younger brother: Mr. Chandrashekar, you can read about them here (it is an article published in a very popular magazine: Business Today): )

Vidya Herbs has a global sales of Rs. 350 crores/annum!

Great talks

1)      Dr. Bejit Ideas, from Japanese Society of Anti-Aging Nutrition talked about the trends in nutraceutical foods and beverages in Japan, including probiotics, prebiotics, collagen drinks for beauty…
2)      James Tonkin, President of Healthy Brand Builders, had a sparkling presence, with his exhaustive and authoritative powerpoint supported talk on functional beverages.  In fact, his speech content more than met audience needs, he gave best bang for the time spent.
3)      Anirban Mukhopadhyay, Ph D, Prof. in Marketing, HK was at his effervescent best, very affable and well-read, his participation was attractive and informative.  However, he should have been in Stream 1: Your Business rather than Stream 2 – Your Science.
4)      Sam Waterfall of Healthy Marketing Team of Singapore presented his four factors concept for getting food and beverage innovation in a most convincing way.  He has great grip on the subject matter.
5)      Martin Pasquier of Agence Tesla, Singapore was at his energetic best rendering insights into the world of social media …. Did you know Philippines is the selfie capital of the world?!
6)      A talk at the Exhibitor Presentation Theatre on Lemon verbena and hibiscus (Metabolaid) for combating metabolic syndrome by Sandra Lum was very interesting.
7)      Natasha D Costa, from Frost & Sullivan, conducted an interactive workshop and gave enlightening insights on nutraceuticals market behavior, in her speech.
8) Ms. Emil gave good data and insights into functional food market of SE Asia.

At the networking dinner-cocktail on 1.9.15, we met very interesting people, including a mother-daughter pair from Singapore, they were well-to-do entrepreneurs, and had lots of interest in Mr. Narendra Modi, PM, India and in India.

All in all, a very engrossing visit to Vitafoods Asia HK 2015.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Soar high, fly high!

Above image from here.

If you want to soar in life, you must first love to FLY (First Love Yourself)! – Mark Sterling

Success and wish to progress is a delightful subject to ponder on… because there are no precise answers.  There is no perfect formula or factor to deliver the intended situation of success… it is situational application of certain factors.  Timing should be right!  An attempt is made below to reflect on factors that will help people fly high!!

Self-esteem (unconditional self love) is an important foundation attribute to achieve personal success.  Self-esteem makes a person confident (fearless), and he is able to manage circumstances and people effectively.  This ability to communicate without fear is a key trait for success.  In various management situations, one has to manage people with complete absence of fear.  Confidence is infectious, when a person is confident - he gives confidence to his people, and this establishes leadership.  Instilling confidence in others is not possible by inconfident leaders.  Hence, confident behavior springing out of self-esteem is vital for success and progress.

Focus is the next requirement for a successful life.  Focus is the reaction by a person to the acceptance of a purpose.  For example, when a field salesperson, is given a sales target, he is first given confidence by his leaders.  This makes the field salesperson accept the sales target wholeheartedly.  This target becomes the purpose.  The next obvious step is that the field salesperson starts focusing on the sales target.   Concentration or focus is the absence of distraction.

It is not the intelligent of the species that survives; it is the most adaptable of the species that survives!! – Charles Darwin.  Adaptability means learning new ways and adjusting to the situation.  This learning attitude creates survival and progress.  Learning means gaining new theoretical and practical knowledge, and new skill sets.  Learning helps add value and improve things for the better.

Practice makes a man perfect!  Being talented, skilled and knowledgeable alone are not sufficient qualities.  One has to have the inner drive to overcome inertia and look to apply the skill sets continuously.  Only then will proficiency levels increase.  Regular practice makes a person proficient, and proficiency helps make a person successful in his career.

Getting people co-operation!  Team play is the order of the day.  Most things are achieved by teams.  Hence, the ability of people to work in co-ordinated manner has greater value in today’s world.  Team working requires mutual trust, understanding, patience, co-operative spirit and knowledge sharing.  Team leaders need to inspire these elements and make team mates work enthusiastically towards the preset goals.  It is impossible for an individual or organization to soar high without good team working.  Hence, in the contemporary world of business, team play and team leadership are important requirements.

Perseverance is a de rigueur quality for contemporary success.  A customer has more choices today, than he can imagine.  To get customer engagement one has to persevere to a greater extent.  There has to be a systemic engagement strategy.  This involves team working.  A salesperson has to follow-up with fellow team members, colleagues and customer to ensure a sale and customer delight.  Perseverance and patience are key traits to succeed and fly high.

“Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny.” – Tryon Edwards

Change comes from our thinking.  Our thoughts are at the root of change process.  As we think, so we become!  If we constantly think of the purpose or mission, our actions will follow through.  Becoming one with the mission is key to success.  Dedication to the mission will help, in all preparation activities, and will result in hard working.  A mission dedicated person, will never shirk responsibility, passing the buck will never occur to him.  A problem solving attitude will come naturally to such an individual.  In modern resurgent India, the youth brigade has humongous opportunity, to build interesting careers.  However, to soar high, an open mind is required, change is the new order.  

End quote:

“Don't allow the fear of falling stop you from pursuing your dream. Prepare. Practice. Pray. Jump! It's through the fall that you'll realize you can also fly.”
― Yvonne Pierre