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Pitch Exclusive: Marketing the unusual

18-October-2011
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Pitch Exclusive: Marketing the unusual

The Indian marketplace is evolving at a ferocious pace. And one of its impacts is visible in increasing use of marketing concepts in unconventional sectors like books, hair & beauty salons, e-commerce and even new food categories like oats.

And the success of brands like Hair Xpreso from Jawed Habib, Quaker Oats, Flipkart.com and Books by Amish Tripathi are a few examples that show that if applied rightly, marketing principles can work wonders for the undermarketed categories too,

Take for instance Jawed Habib’s Hair Xpreso – India’s first affordable designer hair styling brand. Habib has rightly tapped into the consumer insight of Indian masses getting conscious about brands, but at a reasonable price. Thus, he created his no-frills dry hair styling unisex salon that offers a big brand label (Habib) at affordable price points. This has made Hair Xpreso a rage among the masses. Habib says, “People are hungry to come to Jawed Habib, a name which has in the last 20 years earned a place of respect and even greater brand value. But most of these mass consumers are scared of high prices, Hair Xpreso is the answer. So they can get a branded haircut for a mere Rs 99 and walk out with pride.” This has resulted in huge brand building for brand Habib, so much so that the kiosks have monthly walk-ins of 35,000 customers. That’s the largest walk-in for any single hair or beauty salon.

Moreover, distribution, which is an important P of marketing, has also played a key role in the success of this salon. Hair Xpreso salons are largely opened in malls and other high footfall markets, capitalising on the modern retail phenomenon. With this idea, Habib has once again rewritten the script in the hair styling space and is challenging not just other branded salons, but also the local beauty salon market.

At the Pitch CMO Summit, Habib will reveal how he has scripted the success of HairXpreso.

Another interesting example of marketing driving the success in an unusual category is the success of bestsellers ‘The Immortals of Meluha’ and ‘The Secret of the Nagas’ written by Amish Tripathi. Tripathi, an IIM graduate and an ex-banker, put to use some unconventional marketing, like video trailers describing the book (both on web and in-store), events, etc. His unconventional marketing (apart from his excellent writing skills) has made him an overnight publishing phenomenon. Released in March 2010, Tripathi’s Shiva Trilogy (of which two books, ‘The Immortals of Meluha’ and ‘The Secret of the Nagas’, have been published) has over 350,000 copies in print. Tripathi rightly puts it, “Books need to be both written well and marketed well. Doing just one will not do.”

Tripathi will share his learnings from marketing the undermarketed at the Pitch CMO Summit.

We realised that if these marketing mantras can work wonders in the unusual categories, perhaps a microscopic look at these case studies will drive learnings for the mainstream sectors too. Hence, we have invited these marketing kings of the unusual space to share their learnings with the rest of the marketing fraternity at the Pitch CMO Summit.

Watch out for this space for more.

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