Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Quotient

How to remain Happy in the murky times!!!

In the days of tension, economic crisis, rat race of competition, exam pressure—being happy is the default state of mind for most of us, few are still learning though. When asked with a question like “Are you Happy? ” people ogle each other so incredulously as though they are asked “Have you seen God lately?”

Well there are people who manage to remain in high spirits despite the mess we are in. They find means to remain tolerably cheerful—surely to crack the code the rest of us need to cope in trying times. The best example can be none other than Khuswant Singh, who was thrown out of his job couple of times, risked his life in pre & post independence riots, lived through the 1962 China catastrophe, the anti-sikh riots (1984), the serial blasts in Mumbai (1993), Gujarat riots (2002) and now the double whammy-the dreaded terror spectacle in Mumbai and the worst recession in the post globalized India and still maintains his quietude and sense of humour in tact.

* Let me quote the H (Happy) quotient prescribed by Khuswant Singh:
Good Bank Account ; Good Company & Good Digestion;

H quotient given by noted psychiatrist, Dr Avdesh Sharma
Good Family Time, Good Health, Regular Exercise, Taking Up a Job & Meditation

Last but not the least, the recipe to remain happy as suggested by APJ Abdul Kalaam is : Family Life, Being Taught Early in Life to Overcome Problems Rather Than Let Them Overcome You, Good Books, Gardening & Carnatic Music

*Reddy, Sheela; Business Line, 25/12/08

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hats Off to Indian Security Force & the Media

The terror strikes…and India is assaulted once again. The commercial capital of the country undergoes the scrupulous and well orchestrated dance of terror. The pride of Mumbai…The Taj attacked along with Oberoi Trident & Nariman House and other locations …… and large number of innocent people taken as hostages and killed. Indeed a dozen or two terrorists changed the entire state of affairs of Mumbai. The greatest attack till date, not only has shaken Mumbai, but the entire country is under shock. Indeed we are so unsafe and only at the mercy of the attackers…At this long hours of ordeal, the efforts exhibited by the Media men and most importantly the Indian security force (NSG & Marcos) is highly commendable and laudable who could save the lives of the hostages.. (We don’t leave any stones unturned to carp the security force and media personalities)… Wonder what Raj Thackeray has to say regarding the whole episode..I take the opportunity through my blog to thank and congratulate them..Hats off to you!!

May God give strength to the family members who lost their dear ones while saving the lives of innocent people.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Will this BIG BOSS ever end?

The nonstop insane acts of the characters of the so called house of Big Boss does not seem to end even after the "winner" been declared on 22nd Nov, 08. I understand when a new channel 'Colour' was launched almost 4 months back, they required a masala program to market their medium, not to forget the TRP tricks..and after the visual treat the channel has given to the viewers for 3 months,the remaining channels on Indian Television (even the prestigious news channels) cannot stop but discuss the so called 'milestones'(wonder what were those) achieved by the winner Ashutosh and the sacrifice done by other inmates so that he wins and blah blah...even till today, i. e. on 24th Nov, 08. Even a mega event HT Leadership Summit (Nov 21-22, 08) held in the Taj failed to arrest the media time and space. I fail to understand whether this is the taste of entertainment of modern Indians? or The media guys are having dearth of stories to keep their audience captive?? And to my utter surprise, even a prestigious daily, the Times of India very benevolently donates space and religiously provides a wide coverage of the " acts " of the inmates. At times I ponder, do our university toppers or those intelligent boys & girls who top the CAT or IAS manage to acquire such extensive coverage for 3-4 days in national network / national dailies..

Monday, September 15, 2008

Creating Customer Value

To really serve a customer requires a deep understanding of their needs
It also requires customization, personalization and empathy

Service.. service.. and service …24 x 7 service… toll free after sale service and what not; these days we hear this term quite often. And it is no more restricted to those archetypal service endeavors like health care, hospitality, consultancy etc; even the organizations dealing with hardcore consumer durables / FMCGs also discuss customer service..The punchline of Chevrolet says "car is yours, maintenance is ours", i.e., the organisation will bear the maintenance cost of the cars for the initial 3 years.The term "customer service" also occupies a very prominent position in the retail sector. By coincidence, I happen to teach Market of Services…hence I thought to pen down few lines on creating customer value on the blog..

If we manage a service organization, the business is to do work for the customers—work that they value enough to make a repeat purchase. For any service organization, fulfilling the customers’ desire is the core requirement. However keeping in mind the competitive periphery, simply meeting the requirements of the customers qualifies a service provider only to compete; there can be no guarantee of earning customer loyalty. Increasingly what creates right and equally importantly perceived customer value is the ability of the service provider to personalize service delivery and convey an aura of understanding and excellence to the customers.

Yet we see that many service enterprises fail to meet these objectives as they are mired with in either of two extreme service paradigms: the service factory model or the servitude model. The former accentuates efficiency, consistency and cost effectiveness delivered through processed system with proper standardization and control-for e.g., Pizza Hut / Mc Donald’s and other fast food establishments. The latter model highlights responsiveness, customization as well as empathy achieved through a phalanx of skilled & experienced service employees- for e.g. the butlers.

Service is doing the work of the customer. As a result, it requires high level of people to people contact, plus communication and coordination with the customers. Moreover, the service provider also requires to develop a level of customer intimacy. Once this intimacy is lost, the service provider will lose much of its potential value. In order to be efficient, a service enterprise needs to know each individual customers personally and be effective in fulfilling their total service requirements.

Today, we can take the advantage of ITES and engineer customer knowledge into service delivery process so that intimate customer knowledge can be harnessed to:
Customize the service, Foresee customer needs by tracking customer history and profiles, Increase perceived value and Improve service recovery by prompt responses.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Industrialization in West Bengal: A Distant Dream

Two incidents on Tuesday served as a reminder of the tragedy and mockery of industrialisation in West Bengal. One was the death of T. J. Bata, head of the Bata empire, at the grand age of 93 and the other was a development that captured Tuesday's headlines - Tata Motors announcing that it would roll out their NANO project from Singur. The experiences of these corporations in West Bengal symbolize the political inconsistency that make industrialization in Bengal such a litigious issue.

T. J.Bata's connection is fragile but significant. The Indian operation of the footwear kingdom he inherited from his father were located on the outskirts of Kolkata. Batanagar, the expansive complex that stretched out into a suburban town, represented the lavish industrialisation of an era when competition was limited - Dunlop's factory in Sahagunj or the tea estates of the Dooars (in north Bengal). On the business side, Bata's Naughty Boy Lace-Ups, Plaid Sneakers, Keds and Pathfinder school-shoes were all hot sellers under the product line. The glamour of Bata's social life diminished after foreign exchange controls saw the exit of managers - faithful up keepers of social traditions and more critically, the reservation of footwear manufacture for the small scale sector saw Batanagar's supremacy decline – similar to the problems faced by the integrated textile mills in Mumbai. The escalating need to contract out production to small scale players, depriving it of the obvious benefits of economies of scale gave birth to militant trade unionism - stimulated by the Naxalite movement .Batanagar seemed to be perpetually suffering lock-outs , thanks to labour troubles or its other management problems. Despite this, Bata managed to stay mostly in the black and its management occasionally tried to perk up the company with new range of product lines or product mixes- its teenage shoes and clothing brand North Star being one brief but notable example. However the late eighties proved the growth of popular and profitable regional brands like Khadim's, Sreeleathers and Liberty, which began to outsource at low cost to the numerous outfits in this shoe-manufacturing town rendered desperate by the frequent shut-downs of its major customer. When the BATAs approached the Left Front that its labour unions weren't doing them any favours, it had lost its former charm. The headquarter was shifted to Gurgaon ( Kolkata remains its registered office) .

When Tata Motors responded to a reformist Bhattacharjee's proposition, state government-sponsored trade unionism had much subsided. The Leftist guided by the Grand Dad, Jyoti Basu had learnt a harsh lesson when unions backed by congress stalled the sale of the Great Eastern Hotel to the Accor group.

And now the idiosyncratic lady, Mamata Banerjee, who, was originally a Congress worker hogged the limelight in the state by virtue of her antics. Madam Banerjee is also known popularly for her favourite slogan in English "For the peoples, by the peoples." Her protest at Singur looks vilely illogical. It is matter of utter shame and disgrace that in an era when the entire world is marching towards advancement, technological expansion and economic progress, the developmental activities in West Bengal lies much behind. Today's tabloid carries the news of first victims of the roll out of the NANO Project and God knows, how many more shall follow….I would like to reveal to my readers (if any) that I am no political writer, but the present scenario prevailing in Bengal makes my heart bleed….I am a frequent visitor there and the state of affairs in the capital city…Kolkata(infrastructure, education, employment, etc) is in a pathetic condition and I sometimes ponder upon-in future will there be any entrepreneurs investing in Bengal?? Tata Motors' Nano factory complex was supposed to have reversed the kind of decline that Batanagar represented. But as Mamata Banerjee has shown, the Left Front is paying the price of the negative revolution it started three decades ago…

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Indian R&D :The 3 Imperatives

The three imperatives of the Indian R&D are Packaging, Marketing & Selling. The rule of the hour is Market or Perish. Increased competition & sophistication of customers' requirement followed closely by technological advancement, have forced the R&D organizations in the country to rethink their approach. Moreoever, it has been rightly said "If you are not market savvy these days, you are out of the market."

Despite the best technology on vaccines, drugs or polymers, to name a few, Indian R&D organizations' efforts have been botched on an international scale. Undoubtedly they are rich in scientific expertise,and possess sufficient potential for knowledge creation, but they need orientation for market savoir-faire and competitiveness. These organizations are yet to create a high brand equity in the global scenario. As Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPOs) flourish, it is essential for our desiR&D organizations to realize that even the best of the ideas need to be attractively packaged and sold.Simply creation of knowledge is not the of knowledge is equally important.

The modern market forces have changed the role of R&D from a isolated function to a more integrated one in the product development process. This facelift changed the emphasis from technology push to market pull and makes R&D a strategic issue that demands apposite alignment with all other components of corporate strategy. Post liberalized India has witnessed free foreign entries and investments resulting in superior quality of products (automobiles /electronics, etc). Therefore, there is an urgent need to take more initiative and increase brand value of Indian R&D institutions.Scientists should make wider use of ICTs, create suitable websites and modernize the technology itself. Despite the strong presence in NASA and renowned companies like Microsoft / IBM, India continues to lag behind in the field of inventions. Knowledge needs to be treated as an intellectual property or a marketable product and it has to be strategically sold. The R&D organization must not only invent but market it too.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Marketing : The changed paradigm

In the words of Philip Kotler, the Marketing Guru, ‘Marketing is a social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others.’ Now let us post mortem the concept keeping in mind the modern products/ services….say Bachhna Aay Haseeno starring the most wanted bachelor of Bollywood- Ranvir Kapoor, sizzling Deepika, sultry Minisha and of course the bong bombshell Bipasha; every now and then we log on to any TV channel, or surf the pages of print media we see the 3+1 “selling their product”, trying to reach their target audience which is offered to us on the 61st Independence Day of the nation. In fact, this has become a practice…any Bollywood blockbuster ready for release, we find the filmy celebs, taking advantage of their status pull crowds not only to the multiplexes, but also in reality shows/news channels and also by visiting the shopping carnivals taking place very frequently in malls. Well… B2B marketing, you know. We may refer SRK’s efforts to promote OSO during a cricket match, which later helped him to land on certain controversy. Flaunting emotional tie ups/ break offs are the promotional strategy, these days. Well that’s modern marketing and the marketing communication tactics…oops (the social and managerial process to satisfy needs and wants of the viewers / readers, i.e., the target audience) these days. Even the ruling UPA Govt have hired a private agency to promote their party, highlighting their (USPs) i.e. activities performed in the recent past. Well …we can say that a beginning of the political marketing has taken place. Earlier too, if we remember the previous election campaigns, BJP and their counterparts had benefited immensely from the celebrity appeal at least to gather crowd, if not impinge on the ultimate output These days it is no more the monopoly of the FMCGs / Electronics / Apparels to draw on the celeb appeal to bring to light their USPs, occupy the media space and create value in the mindset of the prospective customers in order to earn desirable brand position.The stage is set for the non conventional products/services to parade in the ground of marketing-creating value in the minds of prospective customers, be it the audience or the voters, exhibiting their flamboyant traits.

Lets wait and watch what more MARKETING has in store for us.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Health Tourism: India Marching Ahead

Health tourism can be broadly defined as provision of 'cost effective' private medical care in collaboration with the tourism industry for patients needing surgical and other forms of specialized treatment. This process is being facilitated by the corporate sector involved in medical care as well as the tourism industry - both private and public. It is a developing concept whereby patients travel from one country to another country for medical treatment in order to save costs, or get treatment faster or even to avail of better medical facilities. It has become a common form of vacationing, and covers a broad spectrum of medical services. It mixes leisure, fun and relaxation together with wellness and healthcare. People desirous of seeking such treatments need to contact either the medical centers of such countries or the travel agencies who work in conjunction with some medical centers to provide healthcare tourism services. Among the various healthcare tourism destinations, India, Singapore and Thailand have emerged as most the popular ones. With cutting edge technology in the health care sector at disposal, India now has the wherewithal to offer comprehensive medical solutions to the world and is poised to become the preferred global healthcare destination. The Apollo Group, Escorts Hospitals in New Delhi and Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai are to name a few which are established names even abroad. Corporate hospitals such as Global Hospitals, CARE and Dr L.V. Prasad Eye Hospitals in Hyderabad, The Hindujas and NM Excellence in Mumbai, also have built capabilities and are handling a steadily increasing flow of foreign patients. In fact, India has much more expertise than Thailand or Malaysia. India's healthcare industry is growing at 30 per cent annually and the Apollo group alone has so far treated 95,000 international patients, many of whom are of Indian origin. If estimates are to be believed at, the medical tourism industry will be worth US $2 billion by 2012. India is providing “first-class service at a third-world price”, citing the low death rate for coronary bypass operations as evidence of quality healthcare. The immense potential of the industry has resulted in more healthcare investments in such countries offering the service. The Indian government is leaving no stones unturned to make it a global healthcare destination. The government is offering one-year medical service visa as an incentive to international patients who come to India for treatments and plans to collaborate with private sector to promote “Internationally Competitive” doctors and make India the medical service center for the world.

Undoubtedly the medical tourism industry in India has had a brilliant run in the past and is expected to maintain the momentum, but the market of health tourism still lies highly unveiled and is still in a very nascent stage. Apart from countries like Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, etc who are offering their services, some of the Asian countries like Thailand, Singapore, Philippines are all big players in the market. India however has some distinct advantages which guarantees preference above many of its’ competitors in the continent. Prospective consumers are still not very clear on what exactly is on offer and at which destinations. Efficient marketing techniques and awareness can create a favorable environment for the medical tourism sector and provide an opportunity to avail superior quality medical treatments at fair rates.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Papa my best friend…

First Sunday of the eight month of our calendar is celebrated as the friendship day…people all around exchange SMSes wishing their buddies all the beautiful thoughts that might have thumped their mind. Well for me, my papa is my best friend…thank u papa for being there always for me…probably you are the only one who understand me so well. Always you stood beside me, whenever I laughed you enjoyed with me, on my sorrows, you shared my woes… you were there to guide me always…even now when the world shirks me, you are there to shore me up…. Wish you a very Happy Friendship Day!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The terror strikes again…..

The beautiful soil of our motherland is under the clench of terrorist attack once again.... As the nation gears up to celebrate the 51st Independence Day, the innocent populace are shaken by the horrid and grisly act of these terrorists. The general public are so tensed, every time they step out of their house there is a nervousness whether they / their kith and kin shall be returning back home safe. Every now and then there is a threat call or an e-mail by the self styled jehadis to blow out the nation. Grapevine persists in every circle, be it in office, metro stations, college canteens; some of the fellow citizens even go to the extent saying that the acts performed by the terrorists are only the curtain raiser. We are yet to face the worst. The citizens of independent India are under tremendous fear, it seems we have lost the freedom of movement. I want to ask my readers ( if any) is this the result of the sacrifice done by Mahatma Gandhi, Shaheed Bhagat Singh or Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose? Is this what was dreamt by our freedom fighters? If this is the state of condition of independent India after a few decade, where our political leaders in order to serve their vested interest take resort from these ‘jehadis,’ what impression are we giving to our next generation?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Consumer Behaviour & Decision Making Process

India’s way is not Europe’s. India is not Calcutta or Bombay. India lives in her seven hundred thousand villages. (Mahatma Gandhi, 1926.)

Every business activity begins with an attempt to understand the consumer. What are the consumers’ desires and requirements? How do they behave in the market place while they seek to fulfill their desires? How the firm can develop and create need satisfying products to generate the greatest consumer satisfaction as well as corporate return? With urban markets being saturated for several category of consumer goods and with rising rural incomes, marketing executives are fanning out and discovering the strengths of the large rural markets as they try to enlarge their markets. Today the idea has grown of its infancy and dominates discussions in any corporate boardroom strategy session. Adi Godrej, Chairman of the Godrej Group, unhesitatingly proclaimed, “It is a myth that rural consumers are not brand and quality conscious.” Since the liberalization and growth of Indian economy in early 1990s, the Indian rural consumers are witnessing an increasing exposure to new domestic and foreign products. In fact, it is larger than the urban market for both FMCGs (53% share of the total market) and durable (59%). Today large number of businesses are diversifying their focus on rural market while aligning their strategies to meet the demands of the high volume customers there. India's rural majority today accounts for more than US$100 billion in consumer spending, making them by far the biggest buyers in the country and contributing significantly to India's gross domestic product. However, despite enhanced socio-economic status of the rural community, the rural penetration rates are low, due to lack of strong business system infrastructure, high cost and geographical notabilities, thus offering tremendous potential for growth. It is rightly observed by C. K. PRAHLAD, THE MANAGEMENT GURU, “Selling to the poor may be more profitable than selling to you and me. This is where the future is. Opportunities are every where. The digital divide is not about lack of opportunity, it is about the lack of imagination.” Success in rural marketing calls for a sound network and a thorough understanding of the rural psyche. (Godrej black hair dyes were used on buffaloes in Raichur so as to give them a presentable look in the village haats.)

From the age of “Buyer Beware” the Indian consumer is progressively moving into the concept of “ Seller Beware”. This is also true for the rural consumers as compared to their urban counterpart who are exposed more to all the information at the click of the mouse. A rural consumer may be illiterate but he is intelligent and very conscious of value for money and expects good value in return. In recent times, Indian consumers are at a point where there is multiplicative effect of income growth, aspiration to consume and changed consumption friendly ideology, particularly in rural India. The buying behaviour of rural consumers are of special interest these days to the marketing analyst because rural India is zealously consuming everything from toothpowder to motor cycles. The purchase decisions in Indian homes have become a collective process with women and teenagers playing the vital role on product and brand choices. It is the joint process in the family where woman being the initiator, man the financier and child the influencer. To understand rural buying behaviour a marketer must comprehend the factors that influence buying behaviour and the variations present in behaviour. The behaviour variations that are unique to rural markets are influenced by the place of purchase and occupation and sometimes get reflected in the creative application or use of products. They exhibit different purchase behaviour as compared to their urban counterpart. Thus the understanding of rural consumer purchase behaviour is a must for the marketers in tapping the large latent rural markets.

(Full paper published by IIM Kozhikode, April 2008)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

India Inc: Branding Strategies

Branding involves a gamut of activities the sum total of which lead to the creation of the brand. A successful brand has high awareness, depicts a desirable and unique image, gets easy recognition and is highly trusted by customers. A brand derives strength from its experience with its customers. The most important strategic decision facing the marketing manager during launch of a new product is in choosing not just appropriate brand name, but to select a good set of identities. (Robertson, 1987). A brand identity is an outward expression that includes the name and visual appearance. It originates from the company that is responsible for creating a differentiated product with unique features. We can cite the case of the cola giant- Coca Cola that has been able to maintain its strong presence in the soft drink market because the trade marks Coke and Coca Cola denote values that go beyond mere physical attributes and product labeling. For the communication strategy to be successful, companies have used strong brand identity as foundation with differentiated products that have high awareness and a good image perception in the minds of the consumer. The marketing mix strategy also plays an important role in establishing a brand identity. For example the tangible attributes that comprise the product will send a message to the consumer about the important features of a brand. However with time the functions, or the essence of brand has changed. Today it is what they do for people that matters more, how they reflect and engage them, how they define their aspiration and enable them to do more. The objective of brand has become more of emotional and psychological than that of mere recognition and differentiation for which the concept of brand came into existence. Powerful brands can drive success in competitive and financial markets, and indeed become the organization's most valuable assets. Marketers engaged in branding seek to develop or align the expectations behind the brand's experience, creating the impression that a brand associated with a product or service has certain qualities or characteristics that make it special or unique.

India is a country which is witnessing robust growth and a booming economy. The growth in the country is happening at a steady rate as foreign funds flow to fund infrastructure and consumer markets that seek to tap the domains in an extensive manner. The opening up of the Indian economy has given a level playing field for foreign brands against Indian brands. Several MNCs have begun to focus their attention on Indian markets. Global brands are threatening the existence of Indian brands which have strong presence in the minds of the customers all round the globe and have performed consistently for a long time. Customers buy brand not only for the intrinsic values associated with it but also because the brand has surprised them in the past with newer and more novel experiences. Branding is a promise made to the customer that will deliver values beyond expectation. Branding strategy hence should also involve continuously communicating to the customer of the novel experiences that he/she has had with the brand.

The film Love Story 2050 which exhibits the sky rails and ultra-high rises of an almost star-wars-ish Mumbai--has been created by Sun Microsystems. The SUN brand appears in the film through some innovative in-film placements, hoping to reach out to millions and help create a positive disposition towards their brand alongside the glamourous Priyanka Chopra and the newbie Harman Baweja.

So, how do the dynamics change with the change of settings ? Should the biggest democracy in the world go for branding? US see India as a resource for intellectual capital. Some of the Asian and Arabian countries consider India as a place for quality medical services at affordable prices. Koreans look at India as their market place for selling consumer durable and some of the European countries view India as one of the important tourist destinations in the World. Different countries look at India in different approach but every one is optimistic. Therefore even a country like India has to go for her own branding.

(Full paper presented in a National Conference in India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, February 2008)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Yet another epic on the small screen..

Kahani Hamari Mahabharat Ki started to be aired on 9X Channel, …special thanks to TV Baron Ekta Kapoor. In this era of multimedia and animated films, where our children are glued to the TV sets to watch their favourite cartoon characters (Doreamon, Sinchan, Kitretchu etc.) swing in from every corner under the sky or yet blindly admire their cricket idols all throughout the year, it is indeed a boon to enhance their knowledge in these epics…..Ramayan & Mahabharat. It is also a relief for the people of our generation who are exhausted to watch the never ending Saas Bahu saga or the so called reality shows or even the much more pathetic 24 hours NEWS CHANNELS on the idiot box…...ooops I mean TV.

Todays’ children are not in the habit of reading books outside their school syllabus; thanks to our education system and the socio cultural fabric of our society. They are either burdened with unit tests every week or to fulfil their parents’ dreams to be the No 1. As if these were not enough, we find that our children seldom finds a place to play any outdoor games. They relax by engaging themselves in computer / video games, grab the mobile phones from the elder members of the family or even we parents do not mind taking our children to multiplexes and buy them a membership card for play station etc., as it satisfies our belongingness needs or self esteem requirements…I still remember, we used to exchange the Enid Blyton’s or Shidney Sheldon’s books or even Tintin or Amar Chitra Katha comics. Thus, it is only the small screen which can acquaint our children with the rich and strong cultural heritage of our country. This prerequisite has been timely identified by the small screen producers as well as media houses and therefore, keep their set of target audience cemented to the idiot box. In the age of nuclear families where parents are tied up with taut job schedule and find it very difficult to share their little knowledge on Indian mythology, it is only the television with such offering that can bring a sigh of relief……of course the senior generation would compare the scripts, cast and other technicalities with the previous screening of Mahabharat by the legendary B.R.Chopra...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Advertising, Media Planning and Celebrity Endorsement..

Brand is the intermediate link between an organization and its prospective consumers and it's the ultimate word of communication between the marketer and the consumer. It creates differentiation in the minds of its consumers in regards of quality, value for money, price, etc., and sets it apart from rest of the competitive brands. The organizations try to impart a valuable and desired message through brands. Due importance must be given to the fact that the right message should reach the consumers. Advertising acts a channel to deliver the right message and create desirable perception in the minds of the consumers. It creates a distinct identity and media planning helps in targeting the appropriate consumer segment by focusing on the relevant niche segment. However, celebrity endorsement which is not a new phenomenon, are directed not to push sales alone but to grab the remote happy television viewers. It urges consumers to relate with some brands and thus assures brand loyalty. In India Bollywood and sports personalities, like Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, M.S.Dhoni, Saurav Ganguly, etc., rule the mind space and airspace. It is interesting to watch Big B “touch our hearts” with Nerolac, playing the matrix for Reid & Taylor, playing a doting grandfather in the Cadbury’s commercial; SRK playing the style icon for Hyundai i10. As an endorser, the celebrity fulfills the FRED objectives-Familiarity, Relevance, Esteem and Differentiation. Needless to say, using celebrities is a craft and technique. About the taste of the masses, there is no dispute; they like gazing at stars. The effectiveness and ultimate selling force of stars rests on astute application of this technique. The role of media planners are highly crucial because they need to understand media behaviour to advise clients on which channels and programs to advertise on. The media planners look at past trends and predict what kind of viewership will occur in the future. However, the job was easier when there was few channels. The moment a September 11 happens or IPL T20 match goes on or even the sensational murder mysteries absorb the utmost media space, there is ‘disturbance’ in normal viewing trends that affect performance of even top channels. The spread of remote control sets or frequent changes of channels with innovative programs are a great hindrance to viewership stability. When a rival channel gets a celebrity host in a prime slot (Salmaan Khan in 10 KA DUM in Sony Entertainment Television or Shah Rukh Khan in KYA AAP PANCHVI PAAS SE TEZ HAI? in Star Plus) viewership in the remaining channels tend to vibrate remarkably. The implication on the media plan would be more demanding. They need not only demand more consumer focused, but moulded into the traditional sense of discipline so as to reach the consumers’ mind space.
Pretext of advertisements is to create demand by information, influence and persuasion. At times, to boost sales, the organizations tend to advertise too much that rather puts the customers in havoc. The advertisements of ‘n’ number of soaps are aired and after that an ad comes that elucidates the fact that soaps contains harmful chemicals for skin, so one should end up buying a soap free face wash. To overcome customers trepidation as “what to buy” and “which brand” accentuated the need for captivating customers with their favourite celebs in the ad. After all it is the ‘name game’. Getting celebs endorsing a product has become haute couture. Celebrity endorsement affects the customers psychological process of brand building and recognition which creates a linkage between the product and the customer. In this era of show off where everybody wants to prove “ I am modern”, buying brands endorsed by a celeb has become a status symbol which extends rapture to them. We often hear ladies in the kitty parties gossiping about the ‘D'damas Jewellery’ they are wearing is absolutely the same design that both ‘Aishwarya’ and ‘Katrina’ are wearing in the respective ad campaign. Also we find men going for cars like ‘Hyundai i10’ as ‘SRK’ has said “Catch the I in India first” or Santro Zing as he said “Santro Wale Hain” created a distinction amongst the small car owners. These statements by the super star ‘King Khan’ really makes a lot of difference to his fan base and the result is you and me can easily watch ‘n’ number of these cars running proudly on the roads.Celebrity selection is a crucial factor which is to be carried out in a scientific manner. Selecting the right celebrity does more than increasing sales; it can create linkages with the celebs' appeal, thereby adding new dimension to the brand image. Known popularly as the TEARS model, the celebrity selection are carried out by the following parameters :

Trustworthiness: Amitabh Bachchan, known popularly as the Big B, who is an image of trust, promoting ICICI Bank.
Expertise: Sachin Tendulkar promoting sports brand or health drink such as Boost, Milo
Attractiveness: Superstar Shah Rukh Khan encashing his style statement by endorsing Hyundai i10 or actress Katrina Kaif earning crores in just endorsements.
Respect: Former Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and the Eye Donation campaign.
Similarity: Darsheel Safary, child artist of the popular flm “Taare Zameen Par” promoting a brand.
A celeb scoring high on all the above mentioned attributes can prove to be good endorser for a brand in question. But everything is not hunky-dory; celebrities are after all mere mortals made of flesh and blood like us. If a celebrity can aggrandize the merits of a brand, he or she can also exacerbate the image of a brand. There may be cases where brands do not take off despite strong backings by the celebs. The media planners have “NO TEARS” approach, which help them in selecting the celebrities and avoid them in taking unwise decision. Certain parameters that postulate compatibility between the celebrity and brand image are:

Ø Celebrity credibility
Ø Celebrity and brand match up
Ø Cost effectiveness
Ø Celebrity attractiveness
Ø Endorsement saturation factor
Ø Celebrity and target audience match up

“The health of a brand can definitely be improved up to some extent by celebrity endorsement. But one has to remember that endorsing a celebrity is a means to an end and not an end in itself.” (Chillibreeze). An appropriately used celebrity can prove to be a massively powerful tool that magnifies the effects of a campaign. But the aura of cautiousness should always be there. The fact to be emphasized is that celebrities alone do not guarantee success, as consumers nowadays understand advertising. People realize that celebrities are being paid a lot of money for endorsements and this knowledge makes them cynical about celebrity endorsements... In the Indian context, it would not be audacious to state that celebrity endorsements can enhance the overall brand. We have plentiful examples exemplifying this claim. A typical example here is Coke, which, till recently, didn't use stars at all internationally. In fact, India was a first for them. The result was a universally appealing Aamir Khan stating Thanda Matlab Coca Cola. The recall value for Nakshatra is only due to the sensuous Aishwarya. The Parker pen brand, which by itself commands fair play, used Amitabh Bachchan to revitalize the brand in India. To market a product to the minds of customers and to impose views the organization need to understand the customer’s psychology as what works and what does not in commemorating the advertisements.