Monday, July 19, 2010

Blackberry or BlackCherry??

A girl is sad that her Boyfriend is leaving for another town. But he assures that they will be in constant

touch. How? Through the Blackberry Messenger!!

This is the theme of the advertisement which Blackberry is broadcasting on radio these days.

My first reaction was that of a shock!

My first thought was that it must be BlackCHERRY - one of the numerous duplicates that Times of India proudly

advertises everyday. But No. This was the same business smartphone which last known had a significant

aspiration value linked to it. No doubt new models have been introduced, the prices have dropped making it much

more affordable. But still, if you draw the mindmap of the brand, the strongest link still is a "business

phone". An advertisment involving teenagers with the Blackberry Messenger being projected as the USP is totally


Is this a strategy to target an altogether new segment by blackberry(RIM) or is it just a random short term

tactic to meet some sales targets? Are there more 'cool' phones coming in from the RIM stable to accompany the

'smart' ones. Or is it that the choice of the generation today is more smart than cool.

There seems to be a trend of having connectivity on the go with everyone wanting to share their minds on FB,

Twitter there and then rather than waiting to get to a laptop.(which also augments the need for a qwerty


It may well be an attempt to build a loyal base of customers who start off with BBs in college and then go onto

better models as they rise in their professions later on - something which I feel Nokia has done successfully.

It basically ends up in a throw up between exclusivity and volumes. With their exclusivity of services like

Push mail already in doldrums with n number of mobile devices having the similar features, guess the way to go

for BB is to drive up the volumes.

One challenge that they will face with this segment is the price of data services - which are still steep.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Making "All" Users Happy

Apple - one of the best marketing company is experiencing one of their worst marketing challenges ever.

iPhone4 has been in news for all the wrong reasons. The problem has been accentuated by the negative word of mouth it is receiving on social media. It would be interesting to see how the problem is solved by the guru of marketing.  May be it will be a part of the case studies in near future as well.

As of now, Apple has admitted that there was a mistake and is trying hard to rectify the problem as soon as possible.  Admitting the mistake is an important step considering the trust in the quality of the product that Apple enjoys - both from its users & non users.

Secondly, they are giving away free cases till Sept 30 which will help solve the problem temporarily. Giving something free is important for customer delight in cases such as these. In fact, we as customers expect it. The question is that will there be a free replacement of the handsets if and when the problem is solved?

If the customer focus of Apple in the past is anything to go by, I will not be surprised if there will be something on that lines. This was emphasized on by Jobs in the press conference as well.

"We want to make all our users happy. If you don’t know that, you don’t know Apple."

After this and knowing that there is a true intent behind the statement,  who wouldn't want to buy an Apple product?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mobile Payments

Year 2007 - first trimester of MBA  and a presentation in the area of Information Technology.

Inspired from a Swaminomics article in Economic Times, I had chosen the topic of Mobile Payments. Mobile payments have already been implemented in other emerging economies like Brazil and South Africa. For India, it looked a bit futuristic at that time but the simplicity of it was what attracted me. India had the highest potential keeping in mind the mobile penetration which is in fact still going on on a scorching pace.

The problem with credit cards is that you need a swiping machine, telephone connection et al. This limits its scope. You still need to carry cash if you are travelling by auto, buying groceries from a mandi or paying to your next door mom-and-pop store.

M-payments change things significantly. Both the parties just need a mobile, where in I can transfer the money to your number. Just like a pre-paid connection holds money, this becomes your virtual bank. In any case, if you need cash, you just go to your nearest shop, transfer the m-money and get hard cash from him. Anyone would be willing to do it, making everyone around with some cash as a bank.

And considering the recent focus of telecom companies to target semi-urban and rural areas, it becomes a boon for a city dweller who needs to transfer money to his family back home in a far-away village.

It may have looked futuristic at the time of presentation but within 3 years its time has come . Yes Bank has recently launched mobile money services in Chandigarh (where else ;))

The shot has been fired, the race started. Right now it may be a hurdle race - technology issues, regulatory issues, legal issues. But I am sure in no time this hurdle race is going to become a cross country one - reaching each and every corner.