Making it Big in the World of Sales

Making it Big in the World of Sales

The most beautiful thing about learning is that, “Nobody can take it away from you and that it is a constant ongoing process, not bound or restricted by the four walls of a classroom”. Curiosity and observation are the drivers of this incredible process of learning. This was the crux of the guest lecture delivered at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, on 31st August, 2019. Our beloved Jaguars were as always invigorated by the opportunity to learn more, as Ms. Aayushi Singh, National Key Accounts Manager (Modern Trade) – Hector Beverages, and Mr. Deepak Pandey, with more than 10-years of experience with Nestlé took the stage. With a razor-sharp agenda in mind, Ms. Aayushi and Mr. Deepak addressed the Jaguars to intimate and educate them about the intricacies of the adrenaline-rush filled field of “Sales”. They dived deep into the workings and career opportunities within this field.

Ms. Aayushi Singh, handles Business for the following Modern Trade Chains – Walmart, Future Group, Easy Day, Vishal Mega Mart, DMart, ABRL, Reliance Retail, Spencer’s, GPIL and Tesco (Star Bazaar) in Hector Beverages. She has worked as a brand manager with Paper Boat as well. She is an MBA graduate from FORE School of Management.

Ms. Aayushi Singh from Hector Beverages addresses the PGDM Students at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, on how to make it big in the Sales domain.

Mr. Deepak Pandey, carries expertise in Digital Transformation of Energy Management and Automation in Homes, Buildings, Data Centers, Infrastructure and Industries. He has also worked in Nestlé for over 11 years in various profiles like Sales Officer, Sales Executive, Sr. Area Manager and Senior Key Account Manager. He is an MBA graduate from IIFT, New Delhi.

Mr. Deepak Pandey from Schneider Electric addresses the PGDM Students at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, on how to make it big in the Sales domain.

Mr. Deepak kicked off a session of learning with his experience with Nestlé and explaining the importance of sales as a career option by citing examples of Suresh Narayanan – Chairman & Managing Director, Nestlé India. He used numerous examples to drive home the importance of accepting the company you work for and how passion comes into picture. He then dedicated a lot of time to explain B2B and B2C sales, revealing the spider’s web and attempting to clear these two terms for our “Primed for Placements”, Jaguars. The reaction that followed was evidence enough to say, “Mission Accomplished”. He, then moved on to Sales Automation, where he explained how Sales Automation is the upcoming field for all the techies interested in sales. He explained how Sales Automation is vital for the companies and how costs are taken care of along with the advancement of technology. He strongly emphasized the importance of visibility in the sales process which can be achieved through Sales Automation. By touching upon the road ahead for sales he passed the mic over to Ms. Aayushi.

Ms. Aayushi, an extremely energetic, driven and passionate individual, was extremely relatable to the Jaguars as she had very recently begun her own journey in Sales and thus, she tried keeping the topic general, simple and yet quite insightful. Extracting a round of laughter from the crowd, Ms. Aayushi started off with a question, “How many of us are actually interested in Sales?” She went on to explain the qualities companies look for in a candidate seeking a career in Sales. She explained different challenges faced by her as she was a woman in a man’s world, choosing sales as her career. Everyone right from her family to her friends and colleagues tried to talk her out of this idea, but she came out on top and “sold” her ideas to them using her negotiation skills and thus proving she is well equipped for the same. She stressed upon how sales, the ultimate reason for the existence of a company is important and even people working in other domains should understand it as Sales is the only department that has multiple touch points to the end customer and this helps in developing strategies. She elaborated how sales as a career has changed her way of thinking and shaped her personal life for the better. Ending her talk with two of her go-to motivational videos, she opened the session for questions from the audience. A barrage of questions and answers followed, post which the Jaguars thanked the guests for their guidance, insights and their valuable time.

Written by:

Ms. Jaswinder Kaur, PGDM and Mr. Indrajeet Vadgama, PGDM Class of 2020 “Jaguars”

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

Data Analytics v/s Biased Decision Making – Deloitte on Campus

Data Analytics v/s Biased Decision Making – Deloitte on Campus

“Data is the new oil”, is what Clive Humby said in 2006 and that is what we at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, believe. Seeking an opportunity to give our beloved Jaguars, the PGDM class of 2018-20, direct exposure to the Data Analytics industry and the possible roles they can play in it, we played host to Mr. Abhimanyu Dasgupta, Head of Science Based Services, Deloitte Analytics & Cognitive and Mr. Samidh Chatterjee Manager in the Applied AI group in Deloitte India (Offices of the US).

Mr. Abhimanyu Dasgupta, specializes in the design, development and deployment of data science algorithms across Insurance and various other sectors globally. He began his journey with Deloitte 13 years ago and has led engagement teams in driving end-to-end data science solutions for leading firms. He has contributed to several industries and data science forums through his points of view, speaking engagements, articles and patents.  He is recognized as one of India’s top 10 data scientists by Analytics India Magazine, 2016.

Mr. Abhimanyu Dasgupta from Deloitte addressing the PGDM Students at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon.

Mr. Samidh Chatterjee, Manager in the Applied Artificial Intelligence group in Deloitte US-India office at Gurgaon. Mr. Samidh leads the technical team in client projects, and is also one of the mentors in the team for junior as well as senior level folks. Before joining Deloitte, Mr. Samidh used to work for HERE Technologies at their R&D office in Mumbai. Prior to HERE, Samidh was based out of the US and Europe where he worked for Xerox Research as well as in algorithmic trading industry followed by multiple start-ups in the field of location analytics, digital marketing and digital advertisement. He has a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Computer Science (Experimental Algorithms & Computational Geometry) from Florida State University.

Mr. Samidh Chatterjee from Deloitte addressing the PGDM students at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon.

The excitement in the room was tangible after the guests were introduced, as the Jaguars realised they were being addressed by two of the top Data Analysts in the country. Over the next hour, our guests enthralled our Jaguars by helping them understand the need of analytics, how it is being used in consulting industry with some real-life implementation examples and finally by explaining the roles aspiring data analysts can play in this industry.

Mr. Abhimanyu started the session with the question, “What is Analytics?”  for the clique. He then went on to ask the crowd to guess the population of San Francisco given that the population of New York is something around 8.5 million. Our Jaguars understood the possibility of a catch, to which Mr. Abhimanyu said, “Humans are heavily biased in their decision making. So, we need analytics to get actionable insights from data and take decisions without any bias. Data science is a business revolution and in turn changing the way we live, work and enjoy our lives”.

“It’s not to say equations can do a better job than experts, it’s about them (equation and experts) working together, proving to be more powerful than just one of them in isolation” stated Mr Abhimanyu. Connecting with the young audience with references from the movie Moneyball, Mr. Abhimanyu tried to drive home the above point. Election campaigns, identifying diseases using analytics and helping doctors in diagnosis and treatment were some of the other examples, all of which supported the fact that data analytics is a tool just like many others and it is about how the tool is used to achieve desired goals. He also explained the concept of General AI, Narrow AI, Cognitive Analytics, Intelligent Automation and RPA, stating that humans right now are somewhere in between the Narrow AI and Cognitive Analytics, General AI being one that is comparable to Skynet from the famous Terminator movies.

Bringing a real-life example to the table, Mr. Samidh explained one of his implementations of analytics for a large telecom provider in US. The project basically aimed at augmenting human supervision with analytics. He also touched upon the biggest challenge chat-bots face, the one where they lack the emotional quotient required to hold meaningful conversations with human beings. Another real-life analytics example shared was identifying the purity of oil by extracting information in real time from the acoustic signals generated during the extraction of oil. This is where the Jaguars’ minds were blown by the amazingly intuitive way of judging the purity of oil by analyzing the sound it makes in a pipe while being pumped out of the ground, practically reducing the time taken to confirm the purity of Oil from several weeks to instantaneous.

To conclude the lecture, our guests drew a clear picture of the skills needed to become a data scientist of tomorrow. Mr. Abhimanyu highlighted that to become a Data analyst the three basic skills required are Statistical/Quantitative knowledge, Coding, and Business Understanding.

The floor was then opened to questions and discussions flowed from the implementation problems of cognitive analytics, business consulting to the coming age of analytics. The audience was awed by the depth of the session and by the presence of a stalwart of Indian analytics zeal. Indeed, a truly remarkable afternoon to remember.

Written by:

Indrajeet Vadgama & Emmanuel Swain, PGDM Class of 2020 “Jaguars”

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

Locking Horns: Airtel vs Jio

Locking Horns: Airtel vs Jio

PGPM Class of 2019-20 Student Sayali Nadhe, of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about the brewing broadband war between Airtel and Jio

Bharati Airtel Limited, commonly known as Airtel, is an Indian global telecommunication service company and one of the top providers of telecommunication service across Asia, Africa and Channel Islands [1]The company, which was India’s largest operator till a year ago, lost its spot to Reliance Jio which stormed into the telecom sector in September 2016 with its disruptive voice and data offerings [2].

On one hand, we have the worst time for India’s automobile sector and on the other, the telecom sector is set to boom as telecom tower tenancy ratio will increase from 1.95 times in 2016 to 2.9 times by 2020 due to the expansion of 3G, 4G and the onset of 5G technologies [3]. “Data is the new oil” says Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries and Founder of Reliance Jio, who entered the telecom sector with the launch of Reliance Jio, shook up India’s telecom market and grabbed the number one position by revenue within just three years.

PGPM Class of 2019-20 Student Sayali Nadhe, of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about the brewing broadband war between Airtel and Jio

Is Reliance Jio creating a monopoly in the market? Jio aims at creating an entire digital ecosystem, offering services almost in every telecom application. Increasing customer base by providing attractive offers was always their strategy of expansion. Jio’s mega plan, Jio GigaFiber, can disrupt the home internet space just the same way it transformed the mobile internet landscape. It is constantly expanding its customer base by proposing “Welcome Offers” through free subscription to Hotstar, free HD or 4K LED TV and 4K Jio set-top box, and a ‘First Day First Show’ feature expected to be launched by 2020 which would enable premium subscribers to stream new movies on the day of their theatrical release [4].

Jio has triggered a broadband war with other telecom operators, and which Gladiator would turn out to the champion in this war will be decided by no one else but the customers. Consumers are attracted towards cashbacks, free goodies, and convenient services which carry a low switching cost. Jio has indirectly made it inevitable for other operators to come up with new services to increase and retain their customer base.

PGPM Class of 2019-20 Student Sayali Nadhe, of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about the brewing broadband war between Airtel and Jio

Airtel has returned fire by providing new offers in response to Reliance Jio’s disruptive broadband services. Airtel is coming up with the Omni-Channel strategy to entice all types of users from Mobile Services, Direct-to-Home TV to Broadband, with a range of super-premium tariff packs. The operator is tying up all loose ends to beat Reliance Jio’s offerings. For starters, the telco would offer an Android-based Smart Set-Top Box with high-speed broadband, free LED TV, which may also be bundled with various digital plans in ways similar to Jio’s.

From the point of view of coverage, even if Jio has reached a number of rural villages in India, considering data speeds Airtel fares better than Jio. Therefore, Airtel can certainly leverage this capability to target rural areas. A good and stable high-speed internet service can aid seamless access to the internet at home, schools, colleges and business places. This can help Airtel to have an edge over Jio with its sizeable customer base across post-paid mobile, DTH, broadband services, etc. Airtel has also merged with Tata Teleservices to expand their customer base and gain wider access to the 4G spectrum. This deal will again help Airtel to compete with Jio.

Customers now-a-days demand not only high speed data access, but also an uninterrupted service at the lowest price point. Therefore, value-rich tariff plans that would carry its seamless services across wider geographies would aid Airtel in its game plan to attract new customers and retain existing ones, thereby sustaining and improving its revenues and overall growth.

PGPM Class of 2019-20 Student Sayali Nadhe, of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about the brewing broadband war between Airtel and Jio

Written by: Sayali Nadhe

PGPM “Spartan” Class 2020

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

Sayali Nadhe of PGPM "Spartans" Batch of 2019-20 at Great Lakes Institute of Management talks about her views on the Broadband War between Airtel and Jio.

Sources:

[1]: https://www.statista.com/topics/4859/airtel/

[2]: https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/jio-beats-airtel-voda-idea-to-be-top-telecom-revenue-earner-at-rs-10900-cr-in-june-quarter-4378251.html

[3]: https://www.investindia.gov.in/sector/telecom

[4]: https://www.hindustantimes.com/tech/reliance-jio-gigafiber-commercial-launch-announced-check-details-here/story-z65w6135sU3yiOti2NFJ1O.html

Decoding the Reliance-Aramco Deal

Decoding the Reliance-Aramco Deal

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, student Surya Jain talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal.

An investment in Reliance Group, rather the biggest one in its 53-year history, might just result in one of the largest ever foreign investment by any overseas company into India. This investor is none other but Saudi Aramco, which is not only the world’s largest and lowest cost-per-barrel producer of crude oil but also the most profitable company in the world [1]. This company is in talks to invest a handsome amount in the largest private-sector corporation in India.

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, PGDM 2019-21 student Surya Jain talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal.

The relationship between Saudi Aramco and Reliance Industries has already been a long one, 25 years to be specific. Saudi Aramco has already supplied 2 billion barrels of crude oil for processing at RIL’s refinery at Jamnagar till date. A potential 20% stake in the Oil-to-Chemical division comprising of Refining, Petrochemicals and Fuel Marketing Business of Reliance Industries carries an Enterprise Value of US $75 billion [2]. This deal will also result in Saudi Aramco supplying 5,00,000 barrels of Crude oil per day to Jamnagar refinery on a long-term basis [3].

However, the deal didn’t really have a great start. It fell apart on multiple occasions with Reliance demanding a higher valuation which, indeed, they were able to command with a much higher multiple than industry standards. As a part of the deal, Reliance industries will carve its oil-to-chemicals division and will become an independent entity in 5 years. However, for the first 5 years, Saudi Aramco will not directly own shares in the business division, though it will get a chance to appoint a key business leader, tentatively the COO, to oversee it [4]. Apart from this, Saudi Aramco has been on an acquisition spree and making other major investments in Asia to bolster its presence, building refineries in Indonesia, South Korea, China, and Malaysia.

PGDM student from Class of 2019-21 at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, Surya Jain, talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal.

To put things in perspective, Saudi Arabia’s oil export to the US was ~2,62,053 BPD in July 2019, nearly 62% down from 6,87,946 BPD as compared in August 2018, as a result of the US becoming self-reliant than ever [5]. This has resulted from the US Shale Oil Revolution and has been one of the major reason of OPEC production cut in 2017, resulting in reduced supply to the largest, transparent and timeliest market – The US. At the same time, according to a report by Wood Mackenzie, India will surpass China to become the second-largest oil demand growth center in 2019 remaining only behind the US and helping them offset a slowdown elsewhere through growth in Indian markets [6].

On the backdrop, this deal seems to be a perfect solution for Saudi Aramco to maintain stronghold and grip on the fastest-growing oil market in the world (bolstered by the swelling middle class) where it is facing stiff competition. By competition, we also mean the US, which is ramping up shale exports, and Russia who is looking for new customers and trying to making inroads

Suppliers of Crude Oil to India
Source : Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas

Stepping into Mr. Mukesh Ambani’s shoes and understanding the story from his perspective, the deal will provide Reliance with the much-required cash to de-leverage its balance sheet, bring net debt to zero by March 2021, and fund the Jio and Digital business [7]. This is part of the company’s larger effort to expand its consumer-facing business including its retail chain, and its effort to move into the technology sector and internet services by diversifying from its core oil refining and petrochemical business. This deal seems to be a perfect synergy between the interests of the world’s largest oil producer and the ambitions of one of India’s largest conglomerates.

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, PGDM class of 2019-21 student Surya Jain talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal and how it would benefit Mukesh Ambani's conglomerate and the world's largest corporation.

Written by: Surya Jain – PGDM “Apache” Class of 2021

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, PGDM class of 2019-21 student Surya Jain talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal and how it would benefit Mukesh Ambani's conglomerate and the world's largest corporation.

References

[1]: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/news/the-worlds-most-profitable-company-4984378/

[2]:  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-14/saudis-defending-coveted-indian-oil-market-with-reliance-tie-up

[3]: https://www.vccircle.com/reliance-to-sell-20-stake-in-oil-to-chemicals-business-to-saudi-aramco

[4]: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/oil-gas/ril-to-hive-off-oil-to-chemicals-business-into-separate-company-in-five-years-rils-pms prasad/articleshow/70651943.cms?from=mdr

[5]: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/15/saudi-arabia-dramatically-changing-its-oil-exports-to-china-and-the-us.html

[6]: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/oil-gas/india-to-surpass-china-to-become-2nd-largest-oil-demand-centre-in-2019/articleshow/67641257.cms?from=mdr

[7]: https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/reliance-industries-agm-live-updates-mukesh-ambani-jio-giga-fiber-jio-phone-3-ril-stock-price-reliance-plan-12-aug-2019/1672964/

Change is Good, “I’m Lovin’ It!”

Change is Good, “I’m Lovin’ It!”

Ranjeeta Gupta, PGPM Class of 2020 student at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about a sustainable new strategy for McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

McDonald’s is the world’s largest restaurant chain, with 37,855 restaurants serving over 69 million customers daily in over a hundred countries worldwide [1]. Short time-to-serve, attractive pricing and offers, adapting to local tastes and preferences in different countries, and the traditional McDonald’s Happy Meal have been some of the prominent strategies of the chain that have stood the test of time. They understand the desire of their consumers and keep upgrading and evolving, not just for the consumers but for the benefit of environment as well.

Two British children,aged 7 and 10 have, launched a petition stating that the plastic toys that come with McDonald’s Happy Meal cannot be recycled and often end up being discarded. This petition has already garnered 325,000 petitions [2]. This movement gives a new direction to the firm in a constructive manner. Amidst growing environmental concerns, the fast food chain is also trying to live up to the expectations for minimum or no disturbance to nature. In the past, it has replaced plastic straws and cups with paper ones. Now the focus has shifted towards plastic toys given away by McDonald’s as a part of its Happy Meal packs and its hazardous effect on the environment.

Ranjeeta Gupta, PGPM Class of 2020 student at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about a sustainable new strategy for McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

McDonald’s can now explore new avenues such as “Sweet Edible Toys” of different flavors, which children can enjoy playing with, and would be not only be harmless but also serve as a neat dessert idea after a scrumptious Happy Meal. This would curb the menace of plastic pollution and, at the same time, would entice more kids to ask for a Happy Meal at an outlet. Introducing new variants of these toys with trending animated movie and comic book characters would help the brand and the product build and maintain its clout among its young customers.

Another option they can explore would be personalized happy meal boxes. Young patrons can have their own pictures or personal messages printed on the biodegradable paper boxes used to pack Happy Meals. Binding this with customer-driven social media campaigns for user-generated content can turn out to be a cost-effective marketing strategy and drive more customers to go “I’m Lovin’ It!” Social acceptance and bragging rights are some of the top priorities of the digitally-enabled youth worldwide. Engaging customers in content co-creation would be mutually beneficial for the customers as well as the brand.

The fast-food giant has started taking all possible steps to reduce the harm caused to the environment by its activities. By 2025, McDonald’s plans to use renewable, recyclable and certified materials in all kinds of packaging [3]. “With great power comes great responsibility”, and McDonald’s is very well cognizant of this fact. To survive in the long run, it is imperative for the company to be sensible enough in taking rational decisions which is in-line with the expectation and need of the society as a whole.

Ranjeeta Gupta, PGPM Class of 2020 student at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about a sustainable new strategy for McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

Children these days need not always be enticed with physical incentives such as toys and the likes. Proliferation of technology and increase use of personal devices by younger demographics have opened up doorways to new ideas for types of incentives. A brand like McDonald’s can bring about a revolution and transform itself into an environmentally-responsible brand by going eco friendly or by going digital, or both. This is where we would let the creative heads at McDonald’s’ marketing fraternity do the thinking.

Written by: Ranjeeta Gupta – PGPM “Spartan” Class of 2020

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

References:

[1]: https://expandedramblings.com/index.php/mcdonalds-statistics/

[2]: https://www.wsj.com/articles/mcdonalds-happy-meal-toys-caught-in-backlash-over-plastic-11562583605

[3]: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/mcdonalds-packaging-sustainable-cut-renewable-recycling-latte-levy-a8162231.html

Marketing – A Science or an Art? Deep Insights by Mr. Julius Augustine: Vice President, Kantar

Marketing – A Science or an Art? Deep Insights by Mr. Julius Augustine: Vice President, Kantar

Great Lakes Institute of Management leaves no stone unturned in ensuring that students are not only introduced academic concepts, but also real world scenarios at a very early stage. They get the opportunity to meet achievers who have contributed to the industry at large and learn a great deal from them. The Spartans – the PGPM Batch at Great Lakes, Gurgaon, this year – had the privilege of interacting with Mr. Julius Augustine, the Vice President of Kantar. Mr. Augustine was here with a platter of marketing concepts and the students were all set to gain a broader picture of their theoretical learning.

Mr. Julius started off his career as a Senior Research Executive at Mudra Communications where he performed customized research for brands such as Rasna, HLL, P&G, and Reliance Industries. He then joined ORG-MARG (now AC Nielsen) and spearheaded the Client Servicing portfolio for Media clients.  He has also served as the Associate Vice President for Hansa Research Group wherein, he was responsible for Business Development and Client Servicing. He then served as the Associate Director & Country Manager for Acorn Marketing & Research Consultants in Kuala Lumpur. Mr Julius has serviced clients such as Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance, ICICI Bank, Reliance Communications, Fame Adlabs, Piaggio, etc. Presently, Mr. Augustine is heading the Coca-Cola India and Havells accounts at Kantar, working towards Brand Communication, and Creative & Media Consulting.

The session was extensively insightful for the upcoming Management Professionals, as it was fascinating to walk through topics such as Market Safety, Market Research, Segmentation, Micro-Management, Customer Retention, and Branding. What made the session more engaging was hearing about his experiences with organizations such as Coca-Cola, Swiggy, Amazon, and other high performing organizations.

Mr. Augustine took the students through the age-old debate of marketing being an art or science, while we drew parallels of marketing with religion as leveraged by marketers, and how segmentation of groups for market development is prevalent within the demographics of India. To quote Mr. Augustine, “Marketing is the antithesis of Religion, you need to desire religion and hence you need to market religion.”

While addressing the importance of good advertisements that please masses in general, he made sure the students learnt to appreciate the aesthetics of acceptability – the underlying art of marketing. He explained how, during the content creation for an advertisement, facial detectors track reactions of the people to whom the content is being showcased. He displayed and described the example of the latest Coca-Cola advertisement, emphasizing on how the first draft of any advertisement is decided by the face value of recognizable people, along with brand recognition. He gave the students the real world picture of Branding, and the underlying Market Research and Psychology behind branding a product.

He addressed a lot of questions from the students as well, especially on topics such as Market Expansion, Market Growth, and Market Intelligence. What made this part the most impactful was the fact that he shared and linked these to all his experiences pertaining to each of the wide sectors and companies he has been associated with. The students were left awestruck by his humility despite being an industry leader, motivator, and an inspiration.

He ended the session by stating “Be a researcher and never be bored,” and every Spartan could resonate with his words.

Compiled by Devyani Sormare, Somil Tyagi and Sunrita Sarkar

PGPM 2020 “Spartans”

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon.

Vicks – Generations of Care: Marketing beyond Product Promotion

#TouchOfCare: On March 29th, 2017, a new video advertisement promoting the Vicks brand created a sensation by striking the most sensitive nerve of the Indian population. Created by Publicis Singapore, the video, spanning 3 and a half minutes, tells the story of a young girl Gayatri who is on her way to boarding school. 10 years ago, Gayatri lost her mother to a life-threatening disease and was later adopted by Gauri Sawant. Being thrown out of the house at the age of 18, Gauri has seen her own share of struggles in life before she met Gayatri. Gauri raised Gayatri as her own child, pampering and looking after her all along. Gayatri recalls a memory of being ill and Gauri using Vicks to treat her and spending the night by her side. In a span of 10 years, the two grew closer to each other, surpassing the mother-daughter relationship and becoming best friends. Gauri wants Gayatri to become a doctor. But Gayatri aspires to become a lawyer, for her mother Gauri, a transgender woman.

The ad has received 10 million views on YouTube and has been one of the most touching ads to go viral in recent times. This video has been a part of numerous “Try not to cry” challenges as well. A guaranteed tear-jerker for most who have watched it, the video still continues to be shared on social media more than a year after it was released.

Vicks as a Brand: For generations, Vicks has been a part of nearly every household around the world. It’s an easily available over-the-counter medicine for mild fevers, cold and cough. Vicks VapoRub ointment, along with other products under the brand, basks in the glory of a 96.5 market share in the “VapoRub” segment. What began as an innovative new home remedy christened Vick’s Magic Croup Salve in 1905, by pharmacist Lunsford Richardson and Dr. Joshua Vick, was later rebranded as Vicks VapoRub in 1912. In 1985, American multi-national consumer products manufacturer Procter and Gamble Co. bought the Vicks brand and has been manufacturing and distributing its products worldwide. Vicks VapoRub can be found among the common medicines in a large number of households and even in travel kits of people all around the world.

The Evolution of Vicks VapoRub

“Mother”: With a brand image and a market share as immense as it has, why Vicks need to invest in such an emotionally charged advertisement to grab the attention of the masses? The answer lies in the very heart of Indian values and culture. In a typical Indian family, the father is the head of the family, following a patriarchal family system for centuries. But it’s the mother who breathes life into the family. A mother is someone who has borne intense pain to give birth to her children and raise them. And she continues to do so for the rest of her life even after her children have grown up and are capable of taking care of themselves. She spends sleepless nights when one of her children falls ill. Right from working and earning to doing household chores like cooking, a mother always does everything keeping her children in mind. For a majority of children in India, as well as a fair share of adults, there’s no worry in the world that a mother’s touch and soothing words cannot cure. Through this ad, Vicks and Publicis Singapore emphasize this very sentiment which has been the cornerstone of Indian families for ages. And Vicks VapoRub has been one of the instruments of motherly love as most Indians have a memory of falling ill and their mothers applying Vicks VapoRub on their chest, nose and foreheads before they drift off into a peaceful sleep for the night. And the ad reinforces this role that the product plays. But the story does not end there.

Discrimination against Transgender Women: India has a population of roughly 4.9 lakh transgender women. Discrimination against them is on the rise. Every day, they are subject to harassment in public, often even of a sexual nature. They are despised and looked down on by “normal” people as an abomination. There have been cases of doctors refusing to examine transgender women or trying to molest them during an examination. Humiliation has become a daily routine in their lives. In recent times, a number of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Institutions such as Sahodari Foundation and The Transgender Welfare Society have taken the bold initiative to stand up for transgender rights and welfare. But a lot more needs to be done so that the discrimination is curbed and transgender women are treated and respected as a member of the society that we all are a part of.

Marketing beyond Product Promotion: With subtle product placement in the video, the Vicks VapoRub ad calls the attention of the vast Indian society towards the concerns of the neglected and harassed transgender women of India. It showcases the capability and calibre of such a woman in raising and taking care of a girl child all by herself through the true story of Gauri Sawant and her daughter Gayatri. The adoption law makes it difficult for a single man or a woman to adopt a child. And it makes it much more difficult for a transgender woman to do so, owing to societal norms and taboos. Gauri Sawant sets an example by fighting all odds in making the right choices in life with pride.

Watch the heart-touching video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zeeVEKaDLM

Author: Bruno Nellissery

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon