Pitch Exclusive: The Blackberry dilemma
In its pursuit to reach out to a larger consumer segment, Blackberry is going increasingly mass. But the question is, how can Blackberry become a mainstream choice without losing its exclusivity...
Research in Motion (RIM), the maker of Blackberry, has been focusing on stepping out of the boardrooms and making a space for itself in the mid-segment. Currently, Blackberry is doing pretty well in the Indian market. It has successfully managed to step out of the corporate boardroom and has become a mainstream choice. But in this pursuit, the brand has lost its exclusivity. The dilemma for Blackberry is how it should reach out to a larger consumer segment and yet maintain its snob value and exclusive image.
The reason behind Blackberry’s huge success is the fact that it was one of the early movers in the smart phone space and had a differentiated offering.
In the effort to expand its reach, a couple of months back RIM slashed the price of Blackberry Curve 8520. In fact, it was for the first time that a Blackberry handset was available at a price below Rs 10,000. The brand at the same time has made an effort to shift its positioning too. The popular Vodafone ‘Blackberry Boys’ campaign was an effort in that direction. In a more recent Airtel BBM (Blackberry Messenger) TVC, some boys in a dormitory use BBM to communicate at night, much to the confusion of their warden. The strategy from Blackberry is simple. They are making an effort to come out of the black suit image they were confined to, to increase volumes. Blackberry has more than 10 lakh users currently in India.
Blackberry’s approach in India is to focus on the young users, which is the most lucrative segment and the largest too. Sample this: More than 60 crore people in India are currently below the age of 30. That’s half of India’s total population. Moreover, this is the segment that likes to be connected to the world all the time. And that’s why BBM has become an important selling point between the younger generations to be in touch with their friends across the world at no cost.
KJ Singh, CEO & Co-Founder, Evolve Brands (an independent marketing services company), agrees, “Today’s youth find BBM a very handy tool to keep in touch with their friends through Facebook and other social networking sites, games, music and chat rather than being bound to laptop/ desktop for the same purpose. One of the most attractive features of Blackberry is that BBM allows a free chat platform across the world.” Thus, targeting this segment will help in expanding the smart phone market in India, which is currently 15 per cent of the entire handset market.
Going mass Vs maintaining brand equity
But a larger question here is – won’t it dilute Blackberry’s brand equity? Naresh Gupta, National Planning Director, Cheil Worldwide SW Asia, said, “Blackberry has lost its premium image. This is a harsh reality for brands that want to go mass in India. But if numbers are a concern, it pays to lose the premium edge. If the company had stayed premium in imagery, it would have remained a niche player.”
So, how does one balance out the pursuit to get numbers and retain the premium imagery as well? Competitor brands like Samsung and Nokia have done this smartly in India. Both the brands offer phones from the very entry level to the most premium level by creating sub brands to cater to the needs of different segments. Take Nokia, for instance, it has its E series smart phones, which are mid and premium handsets, while the C series caters to the lower end of the smart phone market. Similarly, Samsung has its range of smart phones under three sub-brands Galaxy, Omnia and Wave. All the three ranges have different operating systems and cater to different consumer segments. This way, these brands are able to cater to a larger set of consumers without the threat of diluting the brand positioning. In contrast, RIM is relying only on Blackberry. Jagdeep Kapoor, Chairman & Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants, has a different point of view. He asked, “Why do you need a sub-brand if you have a strong mother brand to encash on?”
With the snob value gone too, corporate world is looking beyond Blackberry and the brand may end up losing its crème customers. In a key market like the US, most of the buys for the brand are for low-end models, which is affecting the margins despite the booming smart phone market. Blackberry’s share in the US smart phone market fell to 15 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 from 37 per cent in the same period last year (The Nielsen).
The real test for this brand in India will start now. And the fate will depend a lot on how it handles new launches and how smartly it works out the positioning of the brand. Also, how the company differentiates its high end models from the low ones.
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'CTV is the sweet spot between digital and television'
Panellists at the e4m TV First Conference shared their perspectives on how connected TV is the essential link between digital and traditional mediums
By exchange4media Staff | Feb 3, 2023 4:51 PM | 4 min read
Connected TV is a huge opportunity for brands to reach a vast pool of influential consumers with high purchasing power, according to a power-packed panel of experts at the e4m TV First Conference. The topic of discussion was ‘TV + Digital – An Advertiser's View’.
The panellists comprised Punit Dharamsi, Vice President -Marketing, AMFI; Pradnya Popade, Head of Marketing and Communications – Samsonite; Samir Sethi, VP & Head of Brand Marketing – Policybazaar.com; Shilpa Desai, EVP & Head, Marketing – HDFC ERGO General Insurance and Anooj Kapoor, Chief Creative Officer, Dangal2. The session was chaired by Nikhil Kumar, Vice President, India & South East Asia – mediaSmart.
Initiating the conversation, Kumar pointed out how consumers switch between TV, mobile, laptops and many more in today’s multi-screen world.
Sharing his views on advertising memos, Sethi noted: “Whenever we are watching television, it is no longer undivided attention that we are giving to television. We are constantly fiddling with our phones – texting friends and colleagues on WhatsApp, answering work-related emails, looking at Instagram reels and a bunch of other things.
"On the positive side, the phone is completely unengaged because your primary medium of entertainment at that point in time is the big screen (television). So for example, if you are a digital brand and a consumer likes your proposition through advertising, they don’t really have to wait for their next store visit to respond to your communication. They might just pick up their phone and log on to your website and download your app which is exactly what we see.
"We plot the spot data of our TV campaigns along with our website traffic data to figure out what’s happening after we are running ads but also to dig deeper and figure out what components of the media plans are working better than the others for instance what channels, time bands, days of the week and also what creatives are working better. So, when we advertise on television, apart from the long-term brand-building benefits, we also get immediate ROIs. Therefore it acts as a good performance medium apart from being a long-term brand-building medium.”
Sharing her perspective on how the digital and linear world is evolving, Popade commented: “We have reached out to almost 25 per cent of Samsonite affluent audience through FIFA, KBC, Sony Liv advertisements through connected TV because our audience is mainly those who are having 40,000 plus devices. That’s how we could map the data and connected TV is giving you that particular data. Today you can see whether it is a small tab or a 40 or a 65-inch TV.”
Dharamsi noted, “We use each and every medium that is available to us to send out our message. For us, TV gives the reach and digital helps us to create reminder medium, recall, engagement and then get into their consideration set. We use each medium to their strength and try to convert that into consideration for our category.”
Moving further into the conversation, Desai said, “One per cent of GDP is the amount of insurance that gets sold. 99 per cent of the population is not insured. As we understand, television is a very laid-back medium. Digital is a hyperactive medium. Connected television is a very sweet spot between the two and as marketers, you need to nuanced about what is the role of each of these devices in your overall life and hence, the opportunity for advertisers to create some kind of impact.
"What digital has allowed us to do is put a lot of accountability in the way we spend and I think connected televisions give you that sweet spot. If you combine the nuances that digital allows you to leverage along with the medium like television which is one to many, you have a great opportunity to create very compelling advertising provided you understand what’s the play for it.”
From a content standpoint, Kapoor conveyed, “So far as the regular television is concerned, we all know the rules of the game, from an advertiser’s and a content creator’s perspective. In our market, largely soaps and comedy are in the GC genre popular and mass brands advertise on television. I think there are a lot of opportunities for small businesses because sometimes in connected TV, you can approach only a local market. I also see a great opportunity in the digital space in terms of curating specific content to block competition.”
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Metaverse is the future of all digital media: Rob Gilby, Dentsu
The CEO of Dentsu APAC spoke on ‘Creating value in the Web3 digital Economy’ at the unveiling of the Dentsu-e4m Report
By exchange4media Staff | Feb 3, 2023 11:40 AM | 5 min read
Having been in the media and entertainment industry for 30 years, and having visited India in 27 of them, Rob Gilby, CEO, Dentsu APAC, says there has never been a better moment for the country.
Gilby was speaking at the unveiling of the Dentsu-e4m Report 2023, released in Mumbai on February 2. He delivered the keynote address on ‘Creating value in the Web3 digital Economy’ and how we could create value in the Web3 digital economy and support India's goal of becoming a $1-trillion digital economy by 2025.
Remarking that India was more the size and scale of a continent than a country, Gilby spoke about how the government’s insistence on pushing the idea of ‘Digital India’ over the last six or seven years had transformed the country, and coupled with the availability of cheap 4G data, with vast changes in the digital ecosystems of news, entertainment, commerce, payments and much more.
“You not only pioneered success within India but became a model for markets around the world. When 5G launched late last year, I got even more excited because this is the start of your next phase of digital transformation, one where I think you're going to lead the world at scale. And so 5G is not just a backbone infrastructure technology, it enables different experiences and enables different technologies to connect with consumers,” he said.
Noting that Dentsu helps brands make human connections “through amazing creativity, technology and a deep understanding of the emerging media space,” Gilby went on to get to the heart of his speech, taking the audience into the metaverse and Web3.
“Everybody has a slightly different description of the metaverse and the metaverse has gone through a standard Gartner Hype curve. Various people are at different stages on that hype curve. Some are getting to the peak of the expectations, some have gone over that hill into this solution but beyond that comes the sustainable development of any hype curve where the reality checks in and people understand what their role is, where we're at and how to experiment,” he said.
Gilby asserted that the metaverse is the future of all digital media and commerce and the successor to the current Internet. “Some of you may not believe that, but we're at the start of the journey to do that. Many people at the start of the internet did not believe that it would play the role that it did. And we're at the start of that journey now. But there are some different traits about the metaverse and the role of web three in this next phase.”
Calling web3 the backbone, Gilby opined the metaverse is the presentation layer of web3, and a few tenants were slightly different to those of the current internet.
“The first is value exchange. We hear a lot of talk about tokens, fungible tokens non-fungible tokens, but it's really the smart contracts that enable transactions (of those tokens) from one person to another person without the need of intermediaries in a safe and secure environment,” he said, noting the smart contract systems that are built on top of blockchain are enabling rapid interchange at scale.
“Another important differentiation is self-sovereign identity. We've grown up in digital economies of the last five to 10 years but our identity was managed by large organizations, amazing organizations that will still continue to exist. But the self-sovereign identity allows the individual to have their identity back and have it protected and to control their data and to choose which applications they engage with and how they interact,” said Gilby.
And naturally, he said, underlying all of this are the decentralized technologies and obviously, the blockchain is the backbone of that. “For brands, one of the questions I often get asked is, yep, that's all very cool and exciting for a lot of the engineers but what does it mean for me? Well, we have to answer that question. We have to think about what it means to consumers. How would they engage with the metaverse?” he pointed out
He said many consumers are familiar with gaming and web 2.0 Plus gaming platforms like Roblox or games like Fortnite are a first step into the world of the metaverse. They are web 2.0 versions, but many of the web 3.0 versions are offering richer, more immersive experiences either on a gaming platform or the web.
“Now a lot of that relies on virtual reality, which requires the coming together of some physical technologies, and the actual production of the immersive worlds that people are entering,” he said, going into the minutiae of bringing together both elements of the technology and experiences.
Gilby also spoke about the increasing popularity of wearable devices and how interfaces between consumers, their environments, the media they consume and the brands they interact with are constantly evolving, and how Dentsu was empowering companies and advertisers to leverage these emerging technologies into a cohesive ecosystem for brands and their consumers to engage, exchange and co-exist.
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Muthoot Finance ropes in Madhuri Dixit as ambassador
The brand already has Amitabh Bachchan on board
By exchange4media Staff | Feb 3, 2023 9:36 AM | 2 min read
Muthoot Finance has signed on actor Madhuri Dixit as its brand ambassador. The brand also continues to have Amitabh Bachchan as their brand ambassador as well.
Sharing the news about this new association, Alexander George Muthoot, Joint Managing Director of The Muthoot Group said, “We are very delighted to welcome Madhuri Dixit to The Muthoot Group family as our Brand Ambassador. We are confident that her association with us will greatly help in taking the brand to much greater heights. We continue to have Amitabh Bachchan as our brand ambassador as well.”
He further added, “Madhuri has demonstrated a strong connection with diverse audiences through her extraordinary performances, for a long period of time. She continues to amaze people through her new roles as a producer and a reality show judge. Her immense success and goodwill can be attributed to her work ethic, dedication, integrity, and uncompromising values. Our brand resonates with her on-screen legacy and off-screen image, which makes her a natural and cultural fit for our brand.
On the association, Madhuri said, "Muthoot Finance is India’s Most Trusted Financial Services Brand as certified by The Brand Trust Report 2022 and I am happy to be associated with them. They are a brand with a strong legacy of doing business with values and crores of Indians have transformed their lives after availing a Gold Loan from Muthoot Finance.”
“Last year, I had the privilege of knowing about some life-changing, real-life success stories of Muthoot Finance gold loan customers. I look forward to being a part of this wonderful journey yet again,” she added.
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The time of making just 2-3 TVCs is over: Arnab Roy, Coca-Cola
The Vice President-Marketing, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia for Coke Studio Bharat, talks about the newly launched Coke Studio Bharat
By Tanzila Shaikh | Feb 3, 2023 9:25 AM | 3 min read
Staying relevant in today’s fast-paced world of internet has become a tedious task for brands. From making two-three TVCs a year to communicating on a daily basis through different mediums to keep the connection with consumers intact, the marketing space has evolved greatly over the past few years. Coca-Cola is one brand which has successfully managed to always stay connected with its consumers through all possible mediums. One such very popular initiative by the brand is Coke Studio. On February 02, 2023, Coca-Cola India brought back the celebrated property as Coke Studio Bharat. The property, which was discontinued in 2015 after four seasons, has returned after eight years with more than 50 artists. Coke Studio Bharat aims to celebrate independent artists and their music around the world through the digital medium.
Speaking on making the comeback now, Arnab Roy, Vice President-Marketing Coca-Cola India and South West Asia for Coke Studio Bharat, said they had been studying the Indian market for the last 2.5-3 years and they thought this was the right time to launch Coke Studio Bharat in India. “At some point in time, Coke Studio in India had to come back. The question was not whether it would come back, but when it would come back. We had been planning to relaunch it and it's time. We got our confidence from Coke Studio Bangla, which has seen phenomenal success. We are even planning to launch the second season in in Bangladesh in a week’s time.”
Further speaking on the idea behind Coke Studio Bharat, he said, “Indian independent music has exploded in the last few years. Digital platforms have enabled that, and therefore you see artists coming not only from Bandra or Colaba, but from Meerut Jalandhar, Lucknow, and they are so good. It is an unlock waiting to happen. Therefore we said, that the time.”
When asked how Coca Cola is leveraging Coke Studio for building their brand, Roy said music is one of the biggest ways to connect with people. “One of the things which is very critical is that if you have to survive as a brand you have to be connected to culture in an authentic way. There are very few things that you can do to connect with the culture and one of the most powerful of them is music,” Roy shared.
Talking about their marketing strategy in order to stay relevant for the new-age consumers, Roy explained, “The time of making just 2-3 TVCs and saying my job is done is over. I think it's challenging in the context of India right now when you have got 7 million pieces of content being made by crowds across. Just working on TVCs is not going to work for you. It's a very difficult scene right now. You have to take a very different marketing model approach.”
When it comes to connecting with the consumers, Roy said there are two mantras that he believes in - authenticity and being rooted in the motherland. “Authenticity; don't try to be what you are not. The second insight is that this new generation is not just interested in what is happening in the western world. This is a generation that is confident and they feel proud of what their roots are.”
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Analysis paralysis or creative whimsy? The better approach to brand strategy
Guest Column: Roshni Shroff Strategy Director at DY Works reflects on the concept of brand strategy & how it is interpreted by various strategic partners to brands
By Roshni Shroff | Feb 3, 2023 9:12 AM | 3 min read
3 brand strategists meet at a bar – one from an advertising agency, one from a consulting firm and the third from a brand design firm.
The advertising strategist says we create brands to be distinctive and disruptive, the consulting strategist says we create brands that are grounded in market and business realities, the brand design strategist says that they agree with both perspectives.
Advertising is generally known for creativity, disruption, whimsy. Therefore, the advertising approach to strategy is more often than not, talkworthy, creative and right brained. Where the strategist is building the brand in its most outward sense for the consumer or external audience.
Consulting firms focus on the innermost layers of the onion. Where every brand is studied first as a business. Meticulously unpeeling various organizational metrics and processes to develop a strategic roadmap for clients. An analytical approach where the left brain is shooting signals for brand solutioning.
Brand Design firms look at the foundational or innermost aspects, studying them for outermost, creative manifestations. Embracing both left and right brain thinking to combine them into a whole brain approach to building brands. Perhaps a best of both worlds approach where advertising creative whimsy & consulting analytical muscle come together and cater to all potential stakeholders.
However, despite these differences in approach, each firm delivers effectively to brand objectives. Each disparate approach somehow can lead to similar, favourable outcomes for businesses and brands. The reason behind this is a simple one – we are all building solutions for the human at the heart of it.
Having said that, arguably the best work we do in brand strategy is when we recognize the human in ourselves as well – not forcing oneself to disproportionately be left or right brained. Offering a whole brained and whole hearted solution to the clients we partner.
The move by Accenture to acquire Droga5 speaks to this shift. When crafting a purpose for their client Huggies, they rooted it in an analytical opportunity of parents having to navigate an overwhelming amount of information (often misinformation) and a creative opportunity realizing that being born is new for babies too. Birthing the purpose (pun intended) ‘Helping Navigate The Unknowns of Babyhood.’
At DY Works, immersing myself in case studies had me wide-eyed in my initial days. Whether premiumization of ACC Cement which focussed heavily on the cement bag – tracking its journey and watching it change hands to devise a creative solution.
Or the brand redefinition work for Safal Stores. Safal Stores, one of the largest fruit and vegetable chain stores in Delhi NCR wanted to change perceptions and associations with the brand. The analysis for them was approached creatively too – decoding semiotics, watching trucks deliver produce one after another, studying levels of motivation, among many other aspects.
Leading the team to the big shift from ‘price’ to ‘provenance’ and the brand core of ‘Protecting Natural Goodness.’ But our work here wasn’t done, the information was packaged for various stakeholders and cascaded through multiple workshops across the value chain, leaving no stone unturned and rocketing sales from 200kg/day to 650kg/day at the pilot store. As brand strategists, embracing our natural instinct to freely operate and express in multiple ways creates effective work but also fulfilling work. And, in creating work that embraces our logical thinking as well as our emotional response, we create work that is meaningful, that each individual involved can take pride in and that attracts a positive emotional response from our audiences.
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How brands are telling stories to woo consumers
Industry observers say that creating relevant content helps brands resonate with the target audience but needs to be relatable and interesting
By Shantanu David | Feb 3, 2023 8:59 AM | 7 min read
While doing research on a recommended product, treatment (cosmetic or otherwise), supplement, or even an activity, you go down the rabbit hole of internet searches, you often find the best, certainly the most accessible and easy-to-understand information, personal accounts, and stories on websites that are curiously purveying just what you’re looking for, a quick hyperlink away.
Product demos and reviews, long-form or short video tutorials and how-to(s), and behind-the-scenes looks are all examples of content to commerce, an advertising strategy engineered to help us become members of a tribe who buys better, because we know better, resulting in the self-satisfaction of even more sweet dopamine.
Keerthi R Kumar, Business Head-South, FoxyMoron (Zoo Media Network), says that brands can build trust and establish themselves as experts in their field by providing valuable and relevant content to consumers, which leads to increased sales.
“Furthermore, thanks to technological advancements, brands can now easily integrate e-commerce functionality into their content, making it easier for consumers to make a purchase directly from the content they are viewing. This can be accomplished through simple tactics like shoppable on different social media platforms or by linking directly to a product page from within a video or even a blog post,” Kumar said.
Watch, research, buy
Manish Solanki, COO, and Co-Founder, TheSmallBigIdea, says that for the model to work effectively, brands have to invest in building engaging and informative content through LIVE streaming, augmented reality and virtual reality, which can be used to create immersive shopping experiences.
“Creating valuable and relevant content that resonates with the target audience will help brands attract customers who are more likely to be engaged with the brand and more likely to make a purchase. I would like to call it ‘assisted reality’, where we can use relevant content to effectively guide and assist the customer in making a choice,” he says, adding that while advertising can help build recall, content can help augment the brand’s value through related content.
An interesting example would be the Good Glamm Group, which was one of the first to adopt this model by investing in content companies like Miss Malini, ScoopWhoop, and POPxo. Another example would be the beauty and personal care brand Mama Earth, for which the content strategy worked well with the mother-focussed content platform Momspresso.
Shivani Kamdar, Associate Creative Director, SoCheers, observes that there's been a paradigm shift in the way consumers make their purchase decision today.
“They trust an informative/educative and credible piece of content more today over just another promotional ad. It's them who decide where and how they want to consume content making their purchase journey much more seamless. By probing through reviews, blogs, and websites, they arrive at their purchase decision and these serve as the perfect touch points for brands to leverage their communication,” she says.
Stories in shopping
Shubham Singhal, CEO, Dot Media Solutions Pvt. Ltd., believes that the content-to-commerce base is the most important way to establish a brand personality and create an identity. “It is not a process of a few days but something that brand’s need to be consistent about for years in order to solidify their connection to their audience. If you have a story to tell, ensure it's interesting and relatable. If not, make it up. Ensure the content you put out on the internet is from the perspective of informing, not selling,” he says.
According to a recent study, D2C brands in India are expected to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 30% over the next five years, with the market projected to reach $3 billion by 2026. Dharmender Khanna, Country Head - AnyMind Group, says this rapid growth is being driven by several factors like the growing importance of social media and digital platforms, the increasing popularity of influencer marketing, and the growing focus on customer experience.
Additionally, D2C brands are also leveraging the power of influencer marketing to further boost their content-to-commerce efforts. According to a report by the Influencer Marketing Hub, the influencer marketing industry in India is expected to grow by more than 20%, reaching $5 billion in 2023.
Khanna says partnering with influential figures in their industry or niche, these brands are able to tap into a pre-existing audience and drive more traffic and conversions to their e-commerce sites. As brands gain a deeper understanding of the model, they are shifting their focus from quantity to quality. Instead of hard-selling their product, they are focusing on telling their side of the story in the most interesting way possible.
Singhal notes, “You forget the products, prices and offers, what you remember is the story. An example that is particularly effective are the advertisements created by Cred. Sure, they showcase their USPs but what their content focuses on is establishing their brand personality.”
Arihant Jain, CEO at marketing agency Wubba Lubba Dub Dub, points out that content has been around since time immemorial, but it is not always preferred due to the assumption that content may not guarantee sales. “As for ads, you can be absolutely certain that your investment of Rs 1 crore will make an X number of sales in a specific period of time, and since it’s data-driven, it’s easy to rely on it without having second thoughts.”
“However, I believe that content marketing has reached a crucial stage right now, making it imperative to start creating content on your platforms - Insta, YouTube, Twitter, and Discord, to reach out to audiences organically and convert them into customers. Unlike Ads, it’s easier to interact on platforms via content since it’s a two-way street and the engagement can be tracked down easily,” Jain added.
Beyond Walled Gardens
Kumar points out that the content-to-commerce model has a significant impact on major walled gardens such as Facebook, Instagram, and Google because it enables brands to leverage the platform’s vast reach and audience to promote their products and drive sales. “The platforms benefit by providing brands with tools and functionality to easily integrate e-commerce within their content, such as shoppable posts and product tags, and by allowing them to reach a highly targeted audience.”
Kamdar adds, “To put it in simpler words, it is data democratization, which means it's like breaking their monopoly right? With brands adopting intelligent commerce platform strategies and consumers being receptive to the same, content-to-commerce does pose a serious competitor for these big leagues from their individual business point of view.”
Experts say the content-to-commerce model has adversely affected major walled gardens. There is an influx of content on a daily basis on these platforms disguised as influencer marketing, digital marketing and SEO, that is designed to fit in and stand out on these platforms at the same time.
However, the content-to-commerce model presents difficulties for these platforms. One of the most significant challenges is the possibility of increased brand competition as more companies seek to capitalise on the content-to-commerce model. This makes it increasingly difficult for any single brand to stand out and capture consumer attention.
Sharing thoughts on this barrier, Kumar says, “As these platforms evolve, they may need to adapt to new technologies and trends, such as augmented reality and virtual reality, in order to remain relevant and provide value to both brands and consumers. Another issue that the model faces is privacy concerns and the use of consumer data.” Platforms need to ensure that they comply with data protection regulations and maintain consumer trust, Kumar noted.
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More ad spends to reduced tax burden: MSMEs applaud Union Budget 2023's new credit scheme
Modi government’s last budget before elections in 2024 brings good news for the MSME and retail sector
By Nilanjana Basu | Feb 2, 2023 1:01 PM | 4 min read
The Union budget 2023-2024 presented by Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday came in a new ray of hope for MSMEs and the retail sector, who are quite optimistic about the new measures announced by the government. Experts and industry leaders think the new steps will also help in increasing the marketing budget of these companies, in turn helping with the growth of the sector, especially after being dealt a blow during the pandemic.
According to the Economic Survey 2022-2023, the credit growth to the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector has been remarkably high, over 30.6 per cent, on average during Jan-Nov 2022.
Under the budget presented for 2023-2024 from Narendra Modi’s government, there will be a revamped credit guarantee for MSMEs which will take effect from Apr 1, 2023, through an infusion of Rs 9,000 crore in the corpus and the scheme will enable additional collateral-free guaranteed credit of Rs 2 lakh crore and reduce the cost of credit by 1%. The retail market thinks it is a positive sign for the industry.
Sigh of relief
Vidit Aatrey, Founder and CEO at Meesho believes this scheme will help the sector to bounce back from pandemic lows. "It is heartening to see the government’s continued thrust on supporting the MSME sector. The infusion of Rs 9,000 crore in the revamped Credit Guarantee Scheme, enabling collateral-free guaranteed credit of Rs 2 lakh crore, will help address the working capital issues of small businesses. Our 6.3 crore MSMEs, which collectively employ nearly 11 crore people, have been able to bounce back from the pandemic on the back of similar proactive interventions in the past and this step will further hasten their recovery. Meesho is committed to working closely with the government towards making our MSMEs competitive and self-reliant."
Abhay Batra, Co-Founder & CFO, Clovia talks about how this budget will help smaller businesses to grow and how it positively impacts Clovia’s growth plans. “Budget 2023 is positive and balanced with a strong focus on a prosperous and inclusive India. It is encouraging to see that key pillars of growth include skilling and job creation, opportunities and reduction of compliance burden for small entrepreneurs, and the empowerment of women entrepreneurs.
"The reduced tax burden for small entrepreneurs will mean reduced supply-chain costs and hence more competitive markets. This will help Clovia's initiatives from day 1 of its existence of incubating small and medium manufacturer entrepreneurs to build their technical expertise, develop products and create sustainable revenue streams for themselves. The reduced individual tax burden will mean higher disposable income; this is a welcome step for the retail industry as a whole. Steps like carry forward of losses for start-ups in case of shareholding, the extension of date of incorporation amongst other steps is a step forward for the start-up ecosystem."
Meet Jatakia, Director of Branding & Marketing, Cossouq says that the reduction in the cost of credit will help with sourcing funding. “With their intention of reducing compliance and decriminalization of legal provisions, the budget has taken positive steps towards encouraging development in the startup and MSME ecosystem. The Rs 9,000 crore corpus set to take action through the revamped schemes for MSMEs is an important benefit to come out of the 2023 union budget. Further, the cost of credit reduced by nearly 1% will decrease start-ups’ initial funding fixed cost, encouraging them to source funds from the government or banks.”
Budget to help MSMEs increase ad spending
Indranil Dutta, Vice President, Insights Division, Kantar says the measures announced for the sector will positively affect its marketing spends. “Indian MSMEs are the backbone of the Indian economy. We have noticed in Kantar ITOPS 2022, MSMEs are quite upbeat in terms of their spending and business growth as are confident about the Indian economy doing well. Today’s budget has come as a huge boost to the MSME sector and is expected to loosen up their cash flow. This essentially means that they will have more money in their marketing kitty to wisely spend on. Considering the extremely competitive environment they are in; they would like to spend on advertising to attract more customers. Today’s budget announcement will further help them on their ad spending which otherwise would have pinched.”
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