Gold and the man

Harish Bijoor | Updated on November 03, 2012

Getting in on the act: Young actor Varun Sandesh at a jewellery store in Hyderabad _ MOHAMMED YOUSUF

Jewellery is mostly worn and flaunted by women. Why then this overt focus on the male brand ambassador by jewellery brands in India?

- Rohini Pillai, Tiruvananthapuram

Rohini, though gold has always largely been about women, we need to remember that in most cases, in traditional gold-buying families, the decision-maker, in terms of funding the buy, is the man. He who funds, therefore, wears the pants! Sad and chauvinistic, but true.

Gold players have remembered this. In the South, male actors are a rage. In cinema there, they command prices that are a multiple of 10 to 20 of what women actors are paid. Men, therefore, rule the roost in more ways than one, when it comes to the South.

I do believe male stars add to the aura and help create awareness for the brands in question. The aura of the actor rubs off on the brand. Further, television continues to be the lead medium when it comes to reaching out to women. Print is read by fewer women than those who watch television. The male star, therefore, rules on television for jewellery brands.

How is the current retail franchise environment? Do garment brands find big takers in this space?

- K. K. Morarka, New Delhi.

Morarka- saab, most certainly, yes. The market is ready, and more importantly, willing. Niche players in apparel and footwear will be welcomed. Brand offerings that will stand apart and somewhere between the offerings of a mass retailer such as Walmart and a super-premium Louis Vuitton will succeed in creating the differentiation a fashion-oriented market craves for.

But remember, nothing comes with ease in India. Marketers need to be brand- and retail-savvy. Add to that patience, and you have a winning formula in this space.

With FDI, the market opens up to variety, much needed variety. FDI will open up different price segments on offer as well. Every price segment will have an international dog tag to carry and flaunt.

I do believe we will take off in this space. Our development will be slow, but solid. Quite unlike the Chinese model of fast but dissipated!

For a B2B enterprise, is social media a good tool to tinker with?

- Ravi Bhoopati, Hyderabad

Ravi, it is. Don’t just tinker with it, do more.

Social media is space that is occupied by one and all today. The population you find in social media has three avatars. One is a B2B avatar and the other is a B2C avatar and the third dimension is the C2C dimension.

The first dimension is when you as an employee within an organisation are doing business with another company. The second is when you as a company are interacting with your customers, and the third is where you as a consumer are interacting with another consumer.

The social media space is filled with these three types of people. What is important to understand is that each one of us wears different hats at different times. We flip these hats seamlessly as well, from B2B to B2C to C2C and vice versa. Therefore, for a B2B enterprise, social media campaigns are always good. They appeal to one and all.

B2B enterprises can deliver the business story seamlessly on social media, without the daunting walls of physical organisations and what they represent as behemoths in the B2B space. An IOC talking to an ONGC can be that much more softer and seamless in the social media space. Further, social media is unintrusive to the extent that it works at its own pace and its consumption is voluntary and not forced.

A B2B campaign that speaks level and 1:1 works best in this space. A campaign that softens the stance of the business giant. A campaign that offers a window to the heart of the business, instead of a door to the commercial bank of the enterprise.

Remember, however, to keep some things in mind. Be careful that you talk one to one. Don't talk top down. Be soft. Be human. Be real.

(Harish Bijoor is a business strategy specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.

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Published on November 01, 2012

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