Rahul Gandhi, ‘Selling comb to the bald’, Innovation and Marketing

 The Congress VP, in his new found aggression of tone and tenor, mocked his political rivals, BJP and AAP. He said at the AICC meet, “Opposition parties can say anything. Their marketing is very good. They have used everything, name, shine and song. They are the ones who will sell combs to the bald”. “Now, some new people have come. The earlier ones used to sell combs to the bald; the new ones are giving haircuts. They are giving a haircut to the bald. Do not fall prey to what they say,”

His statement could be intriguing to many and confusing to others. Why did he get rousing applause when he mockingly said that rival parties’  ‘marketing is very good’. The people in the audience probably did not understand the real meaning of what he said.

Prima facie it is not possible to sell comb to a bald but if you are really a marketer it is not impossible. How? It all depends upon the extent of clarity that one has about marketing and selling. These are two alternate ideas or concepts or philosophies of running business.  But most people in the absence of understanding of fundamentals consider selling and marketing as same. But reality these concepts are diametrically opposite of each other. In this context Drucker wrote that the purpose of marketing is to make selling superfluous. Marketing and selling differ in terms of understanding of what constitutes ‘means’ and ‘ends’. That is if you practice marketing then the need for selling ceases. And with the practice of selling, marketing is preempted.

Then what is the difference between the two and what is their connection with comb and bald? Marketing is about creating satisfied customer (end/goal) by understanding customer needs/ wants by designing and delivering value (means) according to them. This diminishes the need for selling /manipulation (fitting square peg in square hole). Selling on the other hand focuses on conversion of goods into cash (end) to satisfy seller by all kinds of persuasion and manipulation (means)- fitting square peg in round hole. In political marketing, most of the times the candidates are thrust upon voters and the lack of choice forces voters to choose from a limited menu. Political markets are not fully competitive or perfectly competitive for the want of free entry.

The true practice of marketing requires innovation. The process of innovation implies that an idea is converted into something that creates customer satisfying value. It is about a new way of doing or making something. The goal of innovation is to make something better or making someone better (customer). Now consider selling or marketing comb to a bald. It is very in the box or un-innovative to connect comb with hair. In this scheme of things a comb is means to satisfying need for combing and which only a person with hair can have. So combs cannot be sold to bald. And the idiom ‘selling comb to the bald’ becomes a joke.

Now wear innovation hat on your head and think out of box. Free comb from its established connection and take a real close look and list all the wonderful needs/wants it could satisfy: scratching back, gift to your wife or girlfriend, decoration (imagine a big comb in your drawing room-pastiche), tucking bed cover with comb, use it as a scale, to make rangoli & draw patterns, brush your coat, to scrub corners and the list goes on. I am reminded of a case of a hair color marketer who discovered that his color was used by buffalo traders to give them a darker shade because dark animals fetched high price. In Punjab, many dhabawalas use washing machines to churn lassi in big quantities .Dettol by liberating the brand from narrow confines of nicks and cuts managed to stay relevant by innovating new uses and making people better.

So there is nothing to laugh about when he says, opposition parties can sell comb of the bald. What he meant was they are very innovative. 

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Customer role, Innovation and Value Creation

Things are changing.  And change is often so subtle that it shows up without any warning signs. Managers often discover its arrival when their performance metrics show deterioration. A late discovery can potentially erode customer and competitive superiority.

One of the important sides of marketing equation is market or customer. And no marketer can afford to ignore to check how developments are affecting customer. A change is both an opportunity and threat. It all depends upon how it is reacted to- whether it is seized and converted into customer value creating initiatives or it is allowed to depreciate value delivery. Consider how internet technology altered the value equation by enabling firms to deliver content (e.g. movies) directly to customers doing away with the need to buy or rent DVDs. Blockbuster lost to Netflix due to this. The web seems to be recasting the concept of market that can be targeted. The term ‘market’ now needs to be separated from the concept of location. The current campaign by eBay attempts to establish that shopping can be done sitting at home with an ease, economy, and convenience.

The customer side in a marketing exchange hides three roles. A transaction involves an act of buying, paying and using a product or service. This gives rise to three different sets of considerations. For the buyer ease (location, physical availability) of buying is important whereas payer role involves exchange of financial consideration like cash or card. The product or service is use or consumed and at this intersection point and benefits are delivered or extracted (user considerations involves what the product does and what benefits it delivers). Consider a simple case of Maggi noodles. The user often is a child (benefit-taste), the buyer may be the servant (ease or convenience) and the product is paid (price considerations) for by the parents.

In the old thinking, goods are produced by the firm to be exchanged with customer who ‘uses’ them to extract performance. This required for achieving satisfaction. Long time back Levitt proposed that people are not interested in drills rather their performance (holes). The user role can be complex which can deter people to buy drills. Recasting user role (simplifying) a drill marketer boost sales by creating do it yourself drills.  Earlier glucose monitoring systems made diabetes patients dependent upon doctors for reading blood sugar levels. New glucose monitoring machines have recast the space by transferring the user role to patients. Now they can monitor sugar level on their own, the skill required to do the job has been reduced. Washing machines intimidated many potential users for their usage required some kind of ‘expertise’ to press right buttons for right jobs. But now many marketers have launched smart models which on their own ‘read the wash requirement’ (fuzzy logic) create value by de-skilling the customer role as a user.

Apple’s current campaign (why wait?’) spells out how the brand can be bought and paid for in interest free installment plans. The company has adopted an open distribution model (not through mobile companies) and tied up with its distributors Redington and Ingram. This scheme tweaks the high upfront financial burden and places the brand within the reach of many who otherwise could not buy unlocking a hidden market potential. The new cab services launched by companies like Meru in metro like Delhi are based on altering the payer role. Now the cab service can be taken by distance travelled or time You pay for time you want to use a cab for or the distance travelled). This payment scheme allows firms to tap a new segment of customers. Earlier newspapers were expensive because they sought revenue from readers. But now newspapers make money not out of readers but from advertisers.  The ‘cash on delivery’ innovation has opened a huge internet based market in India.

There was a time when magazines could only be bought from newsstands or vendors. This subjected reader to ‘sold out’ situations and procurement inconveniences.  The shift to subscription based model by most of the magazines like India Today and Business Today creates value by changing buyer role. The inconveniences associated with buying things from markets and malls are throwing opportunities to new web based sellers like Jabong and India Times. Domino challenged the notion that warm restaurant food can only be ad in ‘dine in’ format by creating home delivery model.  Domino creates value by saving its customers from travel, parking, waiting, and weathering.

 

 

HUL, Sustainability, Dry Shampoo and Consumer Values

Given the threat to the planet earth many companies have begun to incorporate sustainability in their vision and mission agenda. Consumers, though in small number now have begun to evaluate their consumption factoring in their effect on environment. On the other hand, many companies have begun to embed sustainability in their business strategy. Environmentally sustainable practices are no longer moral or legal ‘impositions’ rather these make good business sense.
HUL in one such company which has committed itself to sustainability and it seeks to achieve this goal by innovations. The company has undertaken many initiatives at the back end (supply chain and manufacturing) to curtail its environmental footprint. Its eco efficiency programmes are aimed to reduced energy consumption, wastage, and other resources like water. On the front end, the company is focused on developing innovative products to meet its sustainability goals.
Surf Excel Quick Wash reduces the water consumption reducing the need for rinsing clothes less number of times (usually people rinse four times that needs four buckets). Now clothes can be cleaned with only two rinses without compromising the quality of wash. Dry shampoo is another innovative idea in this direction. One approach to saving water is to urge consumers to use less water while shampooing their hair but dry shampoo completely does away with the need to use water. The product comes as a spray which absorbs oils from hair and lends volume.
An innovative product, notwithstanding its merits and technical superiority must ‘make sense’ to customers. A product is an idea codified in a physical form. The acceptability of an idea depends upon how it ‘fits’ in a larger scheme of things where it seeks to find a place. New products often create cognitive and behavioral disruptions which manifest in resistance to adoption. For instance when pressure cooking (pressure cookers) were introduced, for many consumers the idea was unacceptable. It militated against the long held belief the slow cooking produces best taste. Almost similar resistance was faced when cooking gas was introduced. Though gas offered huge advantage over stoves and coal ‘angithi’/ stove but people associated coal cooking to be the best. Even now many people are wary of microwave cooking because ‘waves’ are perceived to be harmful and ‘food cooked is not as tasty’.


HUL is also likely to face similar challenge. Shampoo is used to wash hair and washing and cleaning are intrinsically linked to water. So the idea may clash with long held value system. Theoretically dry shampoo is disruptive in nature- it disrupts the way shampoo category is thought about and also the way shampoo is used. These double disruptions are likely to obstruct acceptance of idea and later call for behavior modification. It is here marketing strategy has a role to play. It must attend to the challenge of reconciling the two discrepant ideas. The transition from double edged blades to twin was much smoother for Gillette but is slightly difficult in case of shaving creams to foam. It took long for microwave brands to make people open to the idea of wave cooking.
The battle for HUL is set in the minds of people. The oxymoronic perception requires reconciliation for this product in order to win consumer acceptance.

Kodak: Burden of being the first and the biggest

Long back Ted Levitt wrote in one of the most influential articles in the area of marketing titled ‘Marketing Myopia’; every major industry was once a growth industry. But some that are now riding a wave of growth enthusiasm are very much in the shadow of decline. Others that are thought of as seasoned growth industries have actually stopped growing. In every case, the reason growth is threatened, slowed, or stopped is not because the market is saturated. It is because there has been a failure of management.

Companies and brands as value creators and signifiers seek constancy. Firms seek perpetuity and brands aim to defy the effects of time. Both do not exist in a vacuum rather belong to environment which is always in a state of spin. A boat can scarcely stand still in water without right paddling and maneuvering. Levitt claimed that railroads and Hollywood declined not because of market maturity but due their management who wrongly defined what business they were in. At the center of their poor fate was not the lack of technical competence rather their orientation or mind set. Levitt cautioned that, in truth, there is no such thing as a growth industry, I believe. There are only companies organized and operated to create and capitalize on growth opportunities. There are numerous examples of so called growth industries which are either dead or dying have caught in self-deceiving cycle. Levitt cited a mindset characterized by beliefs that: growth is assured by expansion of affluent population; no competitive substitute; faith in mass production and preoccupation with a product which lends itself to improvement and manufacturing cost reduction.

Eastman Kodak Company gave this world first hand held camera. Along with the camera Kodak is credited among other things for Kodachrome film, electronic camera which sent still pictures from moon, first digital camera, OLED technology, and Kodak image sensors captured close- up of Mars. The company was quick to become a great success by introducing a paradigm shift in the way pictures was taken and who took them. Its user friendly products allowed everyone to capture everyday moments. The slogan ‘you press the button, and we do the rest’ epitomized the essence of Kodak brand- empowerment to capture and store moments for posterity. Technically Kodak replaced glass photographic plates with a film roll making the photographing process much easier and simpler.
Technological developments are not always linear and incremental creating product improvements. Often these are disruptive and out of box. Imagine emerging competition between mobile phone makers and camera makers. Consider how Xerox which pioneered photocopying was threatened by personal computers. Post offices have almost been made irrelevant by e mail services. In the similar vein, old cinema reel prints are fast becoming thing of past as new films are distributed through digital prints. The brick and mortar mom and pop stores in India actually face a real threat from e commerce ventures rather than the likes of Wal-Mart. The dividing line between the television and computer may further get blurred in times to come.
Kodak had its own share of challenged being unleashed by newer technologies both disruptive and incremental. The shift from black and white imaging to color technology was seized by Kodak which allowed the company to exhibit robust performance in the US market. Till the mid-seventies Kodak held monopoly position both in film and camera market. However things began to change with the disruption introduced by the invention of digital technology. As a consequence the sales of both film cameras and film began to decline. The business model akin to Gillette cheap razor expensive blades which allowed Kodak to make money by selling films and processing developed cracks as digital cameras neither needed film nor professional processing. And even prints could also be created on home printers. Kodak’s serious entry into digital camera business come much late in mid-nineties, though it had good product but its high price never allowed to get volumes. The company could not give up its film manufacturing (product centricity) till 2009 even though obituary of the technology was written long back.
The greatest irony is that Kodak itself invented digital camera which eventually blew off company’s business of making film and film camera. It is not that the need to capture moments and share memories has vanished it is just that newer products are better able to satisfy it. The window of opportunity for others was created by Kodak itself as it failed to appreciate the new technology using customer centric perspective. What others did to Kodak, the company should have done to itself.
Who says competition kills?

Timeproof brands and branding

The desire for perpetuity manifests in images cast in stones. Some think one can defy time by converting the soul into matter or statues. But statues are nothing more than soulless body replicas which become relieving places for pigeons. Somewhat a similar dilemma confronts brand managers who seek to create time proof brands. Humans and products have a common enemy, “Time”. Does casting a brand into a physical product ensure its timeproofing?

Statutes do not make Gandhi or Martin Luther King perennial brands. Neither do their products in cases of brands like Lifebuoy or Lux which stood like rocks against time? Like a human body, products are transient and their transitory nature must be recognized. Too much love for the body or the product can be myopic. It can be degenerative and subversive. There cannot be disagreement on the fact that perpetuation of a body or a product is an unreachable goal. Life can be extended by science but it does not proof it against the effects of time. A statue acts as reminder of an idea not the person. It is the resonance with the idea that determines its perpetuity. The idea Gandhi signifies is ‘non- violence’ which has an endless appeal. Product is a physical manifestation of what a brand stands for. So the finite reality of a product or person can only be made infinite by creation of timeless essence, the reason of its existence.

For a brand to exist, it needs home. A product can be housed in a warehouse or retailer’s shelf. But brand and product is not one and the same thing, just as body and soul are not. A brand is perceptual entity; it needs a perceptual space as its home. So its home is consumer’s mental space. Then the obvious question which arises is, how can a brand achieve permanence when a consumer himself or herself is impermanent?

One way out it is to make a brand ‘the’ choice for a customer for his lifetime. This is difficult because consumers pass though life stages and psychological evolution. With the change in consumer demographics and psychographics, constancy of preference for a brand is unlikely. So what is the way out? One such route is to create a brand built on an essence or promise which is time proof. Consider a brand like Lux, which of course is a bathing bar but its essence is ‘beauty’. Beauty is not governed by the law of diminishing relevance. On the same lines Rolex brand is built on the core idea of ‘prestige’. Unless a person attains higher level of understanding of life, prestige makes sense forever. Though cowboys may be fossilized in great western movies but the archetype still holds a pull. Marlboro maintains its existence to the timeless appeal of ‘rugged independence’ which cuts across national boundaries and ages. Almost similar is the code of Harley Davidson, the metal appeals to a particular type of mettle: if one has it, he has it. It does not go with time.

Brands succeed when they enjoy customer patronage. A brand may face a leaky bucket like situation. It means that the brand makes sense to a customer for a certain period of time so customers join the brand and then leave it after some time. Consider a brand like Johnson’s baby care. Women get into motherhood and then move on. A similar transience exists for the users for a brand like Whisper. These brands are built on a very solid understanding of consumer need insight. Life of these brands is perpetuated by perpetual churn of customers. The brand in this situation must find ways to compensate for the customers who leave. It is an essential part of growing up to move from Tommy Hilfiger to Polo or Armani. Cadbury Dairy Milk became a much bigger brand by bringing back the customers who typically abandon a childhood indulgence by pushing the child in them into background. Their ‘kuch khas hai’ campaign was aimed at taking the guilt off when an adult consumes a chocolate.

Often brands are locked in a situation when the market or segments make a strategic transition. Consider the mobile telephony market both in terms of instruments and services. Similar is the reality faced in electronics and computers. This situation embodies a fundamental or structural shift. Nokia as a brand has suffered a setback primarily because it took time to realise the shift towards smart devices. Sony as a brand owes its perpetuity in shifting market by adapting to change as well as leading it. Given the imminent shortage of hydrocarbons, car brands are also on a cusp of shift. Accordingly some car brands have ‘read’ the subtle but fundamental change and are preparing for the next generation. The rise of ecologically sensitive consumer and green consumer are similar trends. Brands that seek perpetuity cannot afford to be aloof to these shifts. Bajaj, known exclusively for scooters ‘read and responded’ to shifts in two wheeler market. Before consumer whispers could turn into a revolt against Maggi for being perceived as unhealthy, the brand changed its track by incorporating healthy ingredients. Lifebuoy noticed the declining carbolic soap market and went on to resurrect the brand by leveraging the health and hygiene proposition. This brought the brand back into relevance.

Brands that look steady on the market horizon are like ducks floating on water. Beneath the serenity of their façade, a lot of paddling happens. Timelessness is about continuity and change. Reconciling the irreconcilable is the ultimate challenge of timeproofing a brand.

Anna Brand: From Promise to Delivery (8)

There are top brands and then there are the also rans and then there are named commodities. The route to the top is tough and difficult. Brands are not ‘advertised products’. Advertising and other forms of communication is the essential first step in etching ‘what the brand stands for’ in prospects’ minds. It is an ‘imprinting’ process. The brand name is ‘burnt’ or ‘etched’ in mind space. Unlike a few who reach to the top, thousands of other brands just don’t. They end up confusing ‘essential’ with ‘sufficient’. Burning a brand name certainly requires establishing an invisible conduit between the brander on the one hand and the target customer on the other.

This invisible conduit (communication) conveys the brand meaning as a starting point in developing relationship. Brand Anna is very clearly and firmly etched in terms of its meaning (anti corruption). It does not mean that the brand is established. Right now only ‘name’ or ‘symbol’ is planted. Brand ‘performance’ or ‘delivery’ is yet to begin. The onus on Brand Anna is very high as a very high level of expectations (or ‘promising’) has been created. Normally cardinal principle in brand management is to always ‘under promise and over deliver’. What is next for the Brand Anna?

Consider top brands like:Toyota, Gillette, Disney, Nokia, Apple, and IBM. Clever communication alone has not created these brands to be what they are. The defining aspect of these brands is their ‘value delivery’. Hundreds of ‘commodity with name’ brands are launched only to fail because managers fail to attend to the delivery challenges. The superficial aspects take precedence over the substantive aspects. Having firmly ‘appropriated’ a concept (like Gillette razors- freedom from  dependence on barber or Toyota – provision of a ‘reliable personal transportation’) these companies invested in the creation of back end processes (manufacturing and supply chain) and ‘continuous’ improvements such that the ‘delivery’ at the ‘moment of truth’ does not fail the brand (‘brand is a promise’). The true brand never fails the customer expectations and wins customer confidence (‘brand as trust mark’).

Take a brand like Gillette to see how a razor has been improved over time by continuous improvements. Brand Anna now needs to move over from ‘awareness to delivery’ mode. It must create structures and systems that people are able to actually ‘fight corruption’. The brand must go beyond rhetoric which relies on an oath that “I shall neither take nor give bribe”. It is easier said than done. Bribe is ‘inconvenience monetized’. The system sometimes is systematically orchestrated to reduce the ‘choice’ for the hapless citizen. It is sometimes difficult to take on the system singularly. Hence this is the time for the creation of an ‘anti corruption system’ outside the system which is to be fought with.

All good brands start with a ‘narrow’ front. Toyota is still a car, Gillette is primarily a razor and Rolex is a watch.Toyota’s ‘relentlessly pursuit of perfection’ in automobile manufacturing, Gillette’s ceaseless perfection of razor and Rolex’s boundary breaking innovations in horology has made these brand a cut above the rest. Brand Anna has achieved a brilliant success at the first stage of brand building. Now is the time to invest in systems and processes which would allow hapless people to easily ‘plug and play’ into a structurally sound ‘counter system’. There can not be fair play between two unequal parties. The system of corruption is strong therefore the anti corruption must also take the form of an equally powerful ‘anti system’. Worldwide consumer movement could only become a serious ‘countervailing’ force only by moving beyond the ‘movement’ to ‘system’. In the US Ralph Nadar took head on heavy weights ofDetroit. In India Anna has done the same for corruption. In the absence of systems the brand has a risk become becoming hollow. Now is the time to give the brand a high performing ‘organization’.

Business Success by breaking the mold- Innovation

Etymologically invention and innovation have different origins. Invention is related to ‘find’ or ‘discover’ and innovation comes from the word ‘novus’ which means ‘new’. Invention implies discovery of something new to the world. When we think of inventions the images of scientist conjures up like Newton and Edison. The importance of ‘new’ for an organization stems from the fact that it must enjoy steady stream of revenue from the market to recover costs and generate entrepreneurial reward. The dynamic nature of the forces around the organization creates tensions between the firm and its customers. The new ideas must be generated and translated into actions which open up new revenue opportunities from existing and new customers.
The new ideas which have little or no revenue implications have no business relevance. The ultimate acid test for an innovation is its validity from customer’s perspective. History is replete with examples when the inventors could not take their ideas forward into making them a commercial hit. The cases in point include computer and baby diapers. Both IBM and P&G benefited from others’ discoveries and went on to create huge business by innovative marketing practices. New discoveries and ‘finds’ have no use unless these are applied to create something of value for the customers. Business organizations are essentially innovation playgrounds. And the competition between firms is about innovating new ways to making customers life better. This requires unshackling the innovation concept from the narrow by lanes of product and technology centric interpretations.
Consider enormously successful business corporations like Dell, IBM, Apple, McDonalds, Southwest, Federal Express, Starbucks and Rolex. If doing better was the key to business success then we would not have had automobiles rather faster horses. Betterment of an existing product or practice offers leverage but only up to a point. It is much easier to progress in a linear fashion. Clinging on to something familiar is much more comforting than experimenting and creating something new. Doing the right things is more important than doing things right. Since the environment is not a linear extension of past, the discontinuities and disruptions render the old model of incrementalism a risky proposition. Therefore products and services have become better, but better commodities. Betterment provides no guarantee from commoditization.

It is for this reasons a large number of firms fight their battle trapped in incrementalist mindset in most industries. Take for instance computers- box with microprocessors and some circuitry- has high degree of commonality among brands. This is true for many markets. A large number of firms see things as they are and try to make them better but few firms see things which are not there and innovate. Apple’s innovative view of technical machines like the computers and mobile devices has made the company what it is today. The experiential perspective it took to look at computers and mobile instruments has been the crux of innovations at Apple. Nokia on the other hand is beginning to crumble under its own burden for the want of innovative customer centric perspective. Innovations in aesthetics and use experience have created strong contenders like Apple and Samsung for Nokia.
A business organization is collection of activities and decisions. Setting of the routines set in different functions is an organizational necessity but getting frozen in these could be a serious handicap. Innovation opportunities exist everywhere from human resources, to finance, to operations to marketing. A mold shattering perspective is essential to introduce innovativeness. Each function in its own way contributes to organizational effectiveness. The crucial question to ask is: how does it affect our customers? Does it give opportunity for them to upgrade? Does it open acceptability in new customer pockets? Does it make them better use experience? Ultimately the takers of entire organizational acts or decisions are not the people inside rather they are outside. Innovation is about enriching customer experiences and meeting unmet needs with the product or service that a firm markets.
The following marketers had uncanny ability to look at the market and industry unlike others. It is their capacity to go of box of canned perspective and practices led them to do things differently:
Dell: revolutionized the way computers were looked at. It created the concept of ‘fresh’ PC which consumer could configure as against standardized model marketed by others through conventional distribution. Dell shipped directly to consumers from their factory eliminating the middlemen.
Advertising: one of the oldest once that I am reminded of is that of Volkswagen after Second World War. It could connect with prospective customers by lightening the atmosphere for Beetle in campaign with headlines like ‘The Lemon’ and ‘The Bug’. Similar feat was achieved by Pepsi in their campaign ‘Nothing official about it’. Vodafone could beat the clutter by innovative ‘zoo zoo’ promotions.
FedEx: Fred Smith innovation of overnight express service was to change the postage delivery worldwide. FedEx pioneered hub and spoke model to ensure that packets are delivered absolutely by ten the next day. Express delivery service catered to unmet needs of customers and created a new market space.
Southwest: There was land, air and sea transportation. And how air travel industry operated and the market it served, the rules were cast in stone. Airlines sold tickets via agents, did bookings, assigned seating, served meals on board and adhered to schedule. Southwest created the concept of no frill taxi in the air service and went on to become the most successful airline in the world with consistent profit performance in its history.
McDonald’s: known for ‘QSCV’ (quality, service, consistency and value) principle created a revolution of sorts by offering highly consistent burger delivered very fast to customers. It was out of box approach to feeding customers when the out of home food implied dine in restaurants. McDonalds’ challenged the way restaurants operated through a series of innovations which meant that their burgers were assembled not cooked in their outlets. There was a lot of supply chain innovations carried out to create what we know as McDonald’s.
IBM: gradually shifted from hardware business to what is called ‘solutions’ business. Instead of waging a war and fighting heavily by putting computers in the center of their universe they instead put their consumers at the pivot. The out of box perspective to what customer were looking for led IBM to innovatively push the hardware to the fringe of their value constellation. The commodity rut that plagues the hardware business now does not affect IBM for now it has moved up to a higher scale of value ladder.
Cease Fire: this product took very innovative approach to fighting fire by giving potential customers as easy to use fire extinguisher. Unlike big cylinder type hard to use and manual (in case of fire first read the instruction type) driven fire extinguishers this product innovation made firefighting a child’s play. The product innovation-small easy to use spray can- was not a liner extension of the way fire extinguishers were made and marketed.
Toyota: It was not unnatural for a car to breakdown. It is mechanical system and it would. Toyota’s relentless pursuit of innovations at the shop floor and operations revolutionized quality in automobiles and thereby making them trustworthy. The innovations such as JIT, quality circles and poka yoke directly led to products that meet customer needs better.
Apple: the essence of Apple brand is reflected in its symbol (bitten apple). Apple’s out of box approach has been to take ‘brain’ products to a new aesthetic and experiential level after all not all customers are tech geeks. As good medicine has reduced toxic effects, Apple products are about simplification and ease. This is easy to appreciate for users but imagine the difficulty that technology nerd would have form whom complexity gives kicks. Apple’s feat is precisely is achieving this internal transformation where in a technology person thinks like a potential customer.

Business entity is a constant but the environment of which it is a part of is dynamic: competition, customers, technology, economy and pressure groups. The intersection of a constant with dynamic has an upsetting effect. As a result products and organizations are pushed out of the marketing spectrum when customers abandon them. Therefore organization needs to evolve by innovating everything it does. Even areas like human resources and finance have enabling effect on marketing effectiveness. A business organization is what its managers make it to be depending upon their perspective. In order to appreciate innovation imperative the managers need to step out of their cozy chambers and step in customer shoes. It is only then the difference between ‘what we do’ and ‘what you ought to do’ would become clear. Innovation is all about bridging this gap. Consider how iPod liberated people and empowered them in music management; imagine the effect of cold water Tide when it did away with the need to have hot water; think of Surf Excel which gives opportunity for better parenting (‘stains are good’ because these give a child opportunities to ‘grow’); how Gillette freed men from barbers by making shaving a child’s play ‘no skills required’; and think of ‘Ujala’ fabric whitener which took the mess and inconsistency out of the whitening process.

What in your opinion is the most Innovatiive Marketing Company?