“Go Guerrilla !!”; “5 Unorthodox Ways to Market Your Brand” | by: Mike Trigg | Entrepreneur

Before a million pails of cold water brought the disease to global attention, many people had never heard of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or #ALS…!!

But after a summer of ice bucket challenges, the devastating motor neuron disorder now has an astonishing level of awareness…Though the campaign didn’t originate as a deliberate marketing strategy, it’s a great case study of the power of guerrilla marketing in the social-media age.

Inexpensive, small scale and non-traditional marketing tactics can be extremely effective ways of promoting your brand if the idea catches the public imagination and goes viral. But so-called “Guerrilla Marketing” covers a huge variety of activities, from PR stunts to viral videos…

To determine if there’s a tactic that will work for your business, consider these five tips for crafting an effective Guerrilla-Marketing campaign that will resonate with your target audience…


1. Have a Hook:

If your product or service is something people don’t ordinarily care about, you need to give it an attention-grabbing hook, like the ALS ice bucket challenge.

Dollar Shave Club made the hardly earth-shattering idea of mail-order razor blades really engaging with a hilariously offbeat and low-budget YouTube video. Within two days of launch the commercial went viral, generating 12,000 new orders.

Or try connecting with people in unexpected ways, like this fitness company ad that appeared on German subway trains showing a man hanging out to a weight, rather than a subway railing…

2. Be Provocative:

Controversy sells so if you’re willing to break taboos and speak truths that people usually prefer to ignore, you can turn heads. This is a common tactic for charities and non-profits, like the visually arresting ketchup packs created by Campaign Against Landmines. The packets say, “In 89 countries walking on a mine is still routine” and on the flipside is a pair of legs…When someone opens up the ketchup packets, it depicts blood on the legs…

My company Hightail has indulged in the occasional provocative but fun stunt. We once handed out free cronuts to attendees at a competitor’s annual conference….The pastry packaging came with step-by-step instructions, including “Discard Box”. It was a playful and controversial (we were kicked out of the venue) way of targeting a very specific audience..

3. Sell an Idea, Not a Product:

As a startup, your passion for what you do and vision for changing the world is incredibly powerful. Stating that vision boldly and selling your product based on emotional appeal, not rational argument can give you an advantage.

Salesforce did this brilliantly with its “No Software” logo that evangelized the company’s underlying vision of simple, inexpensive, cloud-based services rather than focusing on what its product actually does. I still remember Marc Benioff’s ad in which a fighter jet shoots down a biplane. Though it was a little cheesy, the image represented a powerful idea that ultimately lived up to the analogy.

Also, you don’t have to be starting out to harness the power of ideas. IKEA celebrated the 30th anniversary of its popular Billy bookcase by filling 30 of them with books and placing them on Bondi Beach in Australia…Beach goers could swap a book for one of their own or donate to a literacy charity. By focusing on the popular beach pastime of reading, the furniture company got people’s attention while still promoting its product..

4. Make it Tangible:

Physical manifestations are great guerrilla marketing. Translating your idea into an object or event can help explain a product, especially digital services…

A Westfield shopping mall in California installed a real-life Pinterest board to act as an interactive store directory. Though Pinterest didn’t initiate the idea, by approving the use of its logo, the company got agreat real-life demonstration of its online service.

Even better, if you can capture your physical-world tactic and share it online, you can get a viral multiplier.  Adobe cleverly achieved this with a bus stop prank in which they Photo-shopped waiting passengers into a fake digital movie poster, as a way to advertise its Adobe Creative Day. The “candid camera” appeal of this stunt has garnered more than 22 million views on YouTube..

5. Take a Risk:

Some of the best ideas sound unbelievably dumb on paper (and may still, in fact, be dumb when you actually do them). They may flop, but you won’t know until you try. Many guerrilla campaigns get attention precisely because they are unusual, outrageous or unconventional. So don’t worry about people laughing at you.

For instance, ride-sharing service Uber has promoted its service by delivering ice cream or puppies to customers. In December 2013, Canadian airline WestJet asked passengers boarding a flight to Calgary what they wanted for Christmas then delivered these gifts when they landed.

Whichever style of #GuerrillaMarketingCampaign, you devise, remember to document and publish everything…Most #GuerrillaMarketing, is by its nature small in scale but it’s the shared links, laughs and likes that will make your campaign a big success…!!

“6 Viral-Marketing Lessons” to Learn From the “Ice-Bucket Challenge”| Entrepreneur

Social feeds from across the country are chock-full of videos and photos of Celebrities, Inventors, CEOs, Athletes and Politicians all taking part in the most recent viral sensation : “the Ice Bucket Challenge”…!!

Whether you’ve laughed at your friend’s reaction to the ice cold water or taken the challenge yourself, postings about it are everywhere. This initiative has achieved something that’s every marketer’s dream: going viral and capturing wide attention across the nation in a month or two..

How did this simple initiative turn into a movement that has scored participation from some of the biggest names in the country, including Bill Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, Mark Zuckerberg, Kobe Bryant, Oprah and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ??

The #IceBucketChallenge, benefits the ALS Association, which is dedicated to raising funds to research a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis as well as caring for those with the disease. It gained steam with the participation of Beverly, Mass.-based Pete Frates, who since 2012 has had the illness (also called Lou Gehrig’s disease)...

6 Viral-Marketing Lessons to Learn From the Ice Bucket Challenge

#StartUps, established firms and marketers of all types can learn from the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge…Those trying to develop a viral campaign can take the following steps :

1. Identify the Goal OR Cause :

The goal of the Ice Bucket Challenge has been to spread awareness and raise funds for #ALSResearch, and its success has exceeded initial expectations. The objective is simple and clear and the challenge doesn’t require much effort from participants: going online to donate or pouring a bucket of ice water over the head, or both.

Today’s consumers like simplicity and direct messaging. They typically won’t take the time to read through an entire article, newsletter or web page to understand a message. Marketers, simplicity is your friend…

2. Make it Fun and Easy :

Few things are funnier than seeing people have ice poured all over them and watching them cringe, scream or freeze in place. The web has been flooded with comical videos and images of those who have accepted the challenge.

People like to laugh, so keep members of your audience entertained with a video or photo that they would enjoy viewing. Keeping things lighthearted lets people connect with an organization on a human level and can encourage further engagement in an authentic way…

3. Add Immediacy :

Those asked to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge have only 24 hours to do so…If you want an idea to flourish, keep the window of time brief to propel the process forward rapidly…By giving your audience a deadline, the initiative will become a greater priority.

4. Understand the power of Multiplication :

The ALS challenge calls on participants to encourage three additional people to participate, thus creating a multiplier effect…When possible, let consumers involved in an initiative have a chance to engage with their network so as to experience the joy of others joining in. The bonus for a marketer is bringing increased exposure to a company’s brand..

5. Share on Many Platforms :

News of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is being shared on many social-media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube…

If you’re hoping for an idea or campaign to go viral, make it easy for others to share updates across multiple platforms. Don’t give people a reason to not become involved..

6. Give Participants a Chance to feel Good :

Everyone loves to feel a little better about himself (or herself). The Ice Bucket Challenge raises funds for a medical cause, and no matter the size of a donation, participants can feel good because they’re helping others in need.

Plus, the challenge gives participants a sense of unity : They are sharing positive feelings and a goal with the rich and famous…!!

Setting up an initiative like this lets participants also allows for an emotional connection with an organization and opens up an opportunity for conversation…!! 

“Building a Luxury-Brand Image” in a Digital World | INSEAD

Luxury Managers often see #DigitalMedia, as a threat, worrying that mass appeal will take power away from the #Brand. But digital channels offer powerful connections with customers and closer integration with their ecosystems.

“Hermès has no desire to become “masstige” (a mass producer of prestige goods) said the company’s CEO Patrick Thomas in 2009, despite two-year waiting lists for its famous Birkin or Kelly handbags at the time. The luxury brand maintained that it did not want to dilute the brand image and compromise on quality in the interest of short-term profits…

Such a dilemma is par for the course in Luxury and is also applicable to the digital presence of the companies in the industry: How to maintain demand and a big customer base while remaining exclusive? This is all the more important as #DigitalChannels, “expose” brands regardless of whether they want to or not, through the hundreds of thousands of press articles, comments and pictures that are posted daily about #LuxuryBrands…If Brands do not embrace digital media, they risk being shut out of conversations about their products..

Hermès has resisted selling any of its “core”, highly sought-after collections online, and the company emphasises that its brand website is more of a channel for consumers to explore the world of Hermès, from its seasonal inspiration, to its heritage, art and museum collaborations and exhibitions. The same is seen on the company’s Facebook page…#Hermès, has also embraced the mobile app channel but only with their Silk Knots app that educates consumers on how to vary their scarf tying techniques.

Since digital attracts a much younger demographic not necessarily seen in physical stores yet, educating customers and other stakeholders about the brand’s DNA and what it seeks to represent is central to building the future generation of customers whose spending power will increase with age. Such approaches also entice them to the exclusivity of the store. To successfully engage people on digital channels while maintaining “distance” from the mass market, brands must answer two key questions: first, how to coordinate offline and online efforts to offer the best multichannel experience? And second, how to build an exclusive image online?

How to marry Bricks and Clicks ?

Luxury and fashion brands built their brand promise through a unique in-store environment and intimate personalised service that they can hardly transfer to the online world. So how should luxury brands marry bricks with clicks? Critics within the industry are often opposed to bringing clicks to bricks, arguing that the former endangers the later by cannibalising sales and potentially threatening the brand image by making the brand more accessible through online channels and social media.

While these dangers exist, deserting digital media would be even more problematic and would leave room for rivals to build awareness and competition, and prevent the brand from actively engaging with customers and responding to critics. In fact, brands that have been very successful so far have focused on maximising the synergies and complementarities with physical stores..

For instance, multi label boutiques like Lane Crawford and Neiman Marcus that have long started their #E-commerce sites, do encourage and enable customers to pick up their e-purchases in store, or visit a store for exchanges or refunds. It is a way to drive double footfall and traffic both online and offline. The key differentiating factor of luxury brands is and will remain the store experience and customer service, hence many luxury brands feel that a consumer needs to ultimately walk into a store to experience this, in order to gain “true” customer loyalty in the long-term. In sum, digital engagement should be seen as a way to leverage an additional consumer touch point, rather than jeopardising existing sales.

Second, inherent to the notion of luxury is that it supposes to create a distance between the brand and its customers  to create the dream…But this is in direct contradiction to the notion that social media and digital channels connect people with one another and lower the barriers to entry.

How to build a Prestigious Image?

The power of image relates to how a brand can increase its brand awareness and value by embracing and leveraging different digital channels to reach consumers.  It is further complicated when different consumer groups choose different digital channels.  Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and blogs, certain brands have compartmentalised their reach differently. This gives consumers the choice of which platform to be engaged with depending on which resonates most strongly with their lifestyle and desires, and also gives the opportunity for brands to intelligently use browsing data in order to more effectively target specific demographics.

The Burberry Facebook page for example, is very product driven, and lists many smaller accessory pick up items like wallets, clutches, sunglasses, versus their higher end exotic lines. It also features more of the brand’s music influences, which is not seen on its Twitter and Instagram accounts. The company’s Instagram account is much more “backstage” driven, with scenes of London; behind the scenes photo shoots; and live pictures from runway shows. This appeals to the slightly more visual and artistic customer who craves instant gratification from staying updated and plugged in real-time. The Mulberry blog, or journal is much more lifestyle-driven, and posts much less product, but more on styling influences, travel stories, events and even food recipes.

By giving people the opportunity to give their own representation of brands online, the Digital Revolution has led to much more fragmented, bottom-up, multifaceted #BrandBuilding…In turn, this requires that #LuxuryCompanies step up and strategically engage in image building with #Customers, and use digital platforms as a springboard for engagement and sales…

The “SEVEN Habits” of Highly “Effective Digital-Enterprises” | McKinsey

The age of experimentation with digital is over… In an often bleak landscape of slow economic recovery, digital continues to show healthy growth…. #E-commerce, is growing at double-digit rates in the United States and most European countries, and it is booming across Asia…

To take advantage of this momentum, companies need to move beyond experiments with digital and transform themselves into digital businesses…Yet many companies are stumbling as they try to turn their digital agendas into new business and operating models. The reason, we believe, is that digital transformation is uniquely challenging, touching every function and business unit while also demanding the rapid development of new skills and investments that are very different from business as usual…To succeed, #ManagementTeams, need to move beyond vague statements of intent and focus on “hard wiring” digital into their organization’s structures, processes, systems, and incentives…

There is no blueprint for success, but there are plenty of examples that offer insights into the approaches and actions of a successful digital transformation…. By studying dozens of these successes—looking beyond the usual suspects..

We discovered that Highly Effective #DigitalEnterprises, share these SEVEN Habits:


1. Be un-reasonably Aspirational:

Leadership teams must be prepared to think quite differently about how a digital business operates. Digital leaders set aspirations that, on the surface, seem unreasonable. Being “unreasonable” is a way to jar an organization into seeing digital as a business that creates value, not as a channel that drives activities. Some companies frame their targets by measures such as growth or market share through digital channels. Others set targets for cost reduction based on the cost structures of new digital competitors. Either way, if your targets aren’t making the majority of your company feel nervous, you probably aren’t aiming high enough.

When Angela Ahrendts became CEO of Burberry in 2006, she took over a stalling business whose brand had become tarnished. But she saw what no one else could: that a high-end fashion retailer could remake itself as a digital brand. Taking personal control of the digital agenda, she oversaw a series of groundbreaking initiatives, including a website (ArtoftheTrench.com) that featured customers as models, a more robust e-commerce catalog that matched the company’s in-store inventory, and the digitization of retail stores through features such as radio-frequency identification tags…During Ahrendts’s tenure, revenues tripled. (Apple hired Ahrendts last October to head its retail business)….!!

“Netflix” was another “Brand with an Un-reasonably Aspirational Vision”….It had built a successful online DVD rental business, but leadership saw that the future of the industry would be in video streaming, not physical media. The management team saw how quickly broadband technology was evolving and made a strategic bet that placed it at the forefront of a surge in real-time entertainment. As the video-streaming market took off, Netflix quickly captured nearly a third of downstream video traffic. By the end of 2013, Netflix had more than 40 million streaming subscribers…


2. Acquire Capabilities:

The skills required for digital transformation probably can’t be groomed entirely from within. Leadership teams must be realistic about the collective ability of their existing workforce. Leading companies frequently look to other industries to attract digital talent, because they understand that emphasizing skills over experience when hiring new talent is vital to success, at least in the early stages of transformation. The best people in digital product management or user-experience design may not work in your industry. Hire them anyway.

Tesco, the UK grocery retailer, made three significant digital acquisitions over a two-year span: blinkbox, a video-streaming service; We7, a digital music store; and Mobcast, an e-book platform. The acquisitions enabled Tesco to quickly build up the skills it needed to move into digital media. In the United States, Verizon followed a similar path with strategic acquisitions that immediately bolstered its expertise in telematics (Hughes Telematics in 2012) and cloud services (CloudSwitch in 2011), two markets that are growing at a rapid pace.

This “acqui-hire” approach is not the only option. But we have observed that significant lateral hiring is required in the early stages of a transformation to create a pool of talent deep enough to execute against an ambitious digital agenda and plant the seeds for a new culture.

3. ‘Ring fence’ and “Cultivate-Talent”:

A Bank or Retailer that acquires a Five-person mobile-development firm and places it in the middle of its existing #WebOperations is more likely to lose the team than to assimilate it…. #DigitalTalent, must be nurtured differently, with its own working patterns, sandbox, and tools. After a few false starts, Wal-Mart Stores learned that “ring fencing” its digital talent was the only way to ensure rapid improvements... FOUR Years ago, the retail giant’s #OnlineBusiness, was lagging…It was late to the e-commerce market as executives protected their booming physical-retail business. When it did step into the digital space, talent was disbursed throughout the business. Its $5 billion in online sales in 2011 paled next to Amazon’s $48 billion…

In 2011, however, Wal-Mart established @WalmartLabs, an “idea incubator,” as part of its growing e-commerce division in Silicon Valley—far removed from the company’s Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters. The group’s innovations, including a unified company-wide e-commerce platform, helped Wal-Mart increase online revenues by 30 percent in 2013, outpacing Amazon’s rate of growth…

Wal-Mart took ring fencing to the extreme, turning its e-commerce business into a separate vertical with its own profit and loss. This approach won’t work for every incumbent, and even when it does, it is not necessarily a long-term solution. Thus Telefónica this year recombined with the core business Telefónica Digital, a separate business unit created in 2011 to nurture and strengthen its portfolio of digital initiatives….To deliver in an #Omnichannel world, where customers expect seamless integration of digital and analog channels, seamless internal integration should be the end goal…


4. Challenge Everything :

The leaders of incumbent companies must aggressively challenge the “Status-quo” rather than accepting historical norms…Look at how everything is done, including the products and services you offer and the #MarketSegment,s you address, and ask “Why?” Assume there is an unknown start-up asking the exact same question as it plots to disrupt your business….It is no coincidence that many textbook cases of companies redefining themselves come from Silicon Valley, the epicenter of #DigitalDisruption…Think of Apple’s transformation from struggling computer maker into (among other things) the world’s largest music retailer, or eBay’s transition from online bazaar to global e-commerce platform…

#DigitalLeaders, examine all aspects of their business—both customer-facing and back-office systems and processes, up and down the supply chain—for digitally driven innovation. In 2007, car-rental company Hertz started to deploy self-service kiosks similar to those used by airlines for flight check-in. In 2011, it leapfrogged airlines by moving to dual-screen kiosks—one screen to select rental options via touch screen, a second screen at eye level to communicate with a customer agent using real-time video.

We see digital leaders thinking expansively about partnerships to deliver new value-added experiences and services. This can mean alliances that span industry sectors, such as the Energy@home partnership among Electrolux, Enel, Indesit, and Telecom Italia to create a communications platform for smart devices and domestic appliances.

5. Be Quick and Data-driven:

Rapid decision making is critical in a dynamic digital environment. Twelve-month product-release cycles are a relic. Organizations need to move to a cycle of continuous delivery and improvement, adopting methods such as agile development and “live beta,” supported by big data analytics, to increase the pace of innovation. Continuous improvement requires continuous experimentation, along with a process for quickly responding to bits of information.

Integrating data sources into a single system that is accessible to everyone in the organization will improve the “clock speed” for innovation. P&G, for example, created a single analytics portal, called the Decision Cockpit, which provides up-to-date sales data across brands, products, and regions to more than 50,000 employees globally. The portal, which emphasizes projections over historical data, lets teams quickly identify issues, such as declining market share, and take steps to address the problems.

U.S. Xpress, a US transportation company, collects data in real time from tens of thousands of sources, including in-vehicle sensors and geospatial systems. Using Apache Hadoop, an open-source tool set for data analysis, and real-time business-intelligence tools, U.S. Xpress has been able to extract game-changing insights about its fleet operations. For example, looking at the fuel consumption of idling vehicles led to changes that saved the company more than $20 million in fuel consumption in the first year alone…


6. Follow the #Money:

Many organizations focus their digital investments on customer-facing solutions. But they can extract just as much value, if not more, from investing in back-office functions that drive operational efficiencies. A digital transformation is more than just finding new revenue streams; it’s also about creating value by reducing the costs of doing business.

Investments in digital should not be spread haphazardly across the organization under the halo of experimentation. A variety of frequent testing is critical, but teams must quickly zero in on the digital investments that create the most value—and then double down.

Often, great value is found in optimizing back-office functions. At Starbucks, one of the leaders in customer-experience innovation, just 35 of 100 active IT projects in 2013 were focused on customer- or partner-facing initiatives. One-third of these projects were devoted to improving efficiency and productivity away from the retail stores, and one-third focused on improving resilience and security. In manufacturing, P&G collaborated with the Los Alamos National Laboratory to create statistical methods to streamline processes and increase uptime at its factories, saving more than $1 billion a year.

7. Be obsessed with the Customer :

Rising customer expectations continue to push businesses to improve the customer experience across all channels…Excellence in one channel is no longer sufficient ; customers expect the same frictionless experience in a retail store as they do when shopping online, and vice versa…Moreover, they are less accepting of bad experiences; one survey found that 89 percent of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. On the flip side, 86 percent said they were willing to pay more for a better #CustomerExperience..

A healthy obsession with improving the customer experience is the foundation of any #DigitalTransformation… No enterprise is perfect, but leadership teams should aspire to fix every error or #BadExperience….Processes that enable companies to capture and learn from every customer interaction—positive or negative—help them to regularly test assumptions about how customers are using digital and constantly fine-tune the experience…

This mind-set is what enables companies to go beyond what’s normal and into the extraordinary. If online retailer Zappos is out of stock on a product, it will help you find the item from a competitor. Little wonder that 75 percent of its orders come from repeat customers.

Leaders of successful digital businesses know that it’s not enough to develop just one or two of these habits…The real innovators will learn to excel at all SEVEN of them.. “Doing so requires a radically different Mind-set and Operating approach…!!”

A “Scientific Take on Viral Marketing”: “characteristics” that make a “viral piece of content” ? | by: Gregory Ciotti | Entrepreneur

In defining “Viral Marketing”, many creative descriptions have been put forward…!!

At its core, #ViralMarketing, is simply the “spread of an idea” that helps market your business or cause…It’s putting material out there that by its very nature attracts attention and discussion….!!

Perhaps the most objective way to look at the practice of viral marketing is to examine the research of some highly intelligent folks who have dedicated years to deciphering the common elements of #ViralContent…

Below, I’ll dissect some of my favorite research from an associate professor at the Wharton School of Business, as well as examine some classic viral marketing examples to see what lessons can be had from campaigns that managed to spread far and wide.

Best Practices in Viral Marketing ?

As much as many marketers try to tackle this topic sans-question mark, I’m here to tell you that there really is no way to make something go viral…That said, Wharton professor Jonah Berger has made the best attempt to date in researching and defining what characteristics are often found in a viral piece of content..!!

This began with his now famous joint paper with Katherine Milkman called What Makes Online Content Go Viral?, where Milkman and Berger found that (written) online content often went viral when:

1. It was positive, dwelling on positive issues or topics.

2. It evoked a strong emotional reaction (joy, fear, anger).

3. It was practically useful.

Later, Berger would take a full-scale look at the nature of virality and viral marketing in his book Contagious: Why Things Catch On…In his book, Berger outlines the more comprehensive STEPPS system which serves to examine common elements in viral pieces of content :

Social Currency :

People enjoy sharing things that compliment them, either by making them look “in the know” or by showcasing their good taste OR opinion on something. As an example, I’ve regularly found that customer service stories are the most viral types of customer service content, because sharing a list of great stories makes you look good..

Triggers :

Reading Berger’s book, you’ll be surprised to hear about how often very common brands are talked about (people talk about Cheerios more than Disney World? Who would’ve thought!). That’s because some topics/brands/products have more common triggers..

Many viral pieces of content rely on this ; remember how popular the Budweiser “Waaassssuuuuuuup ?” commercials were ? That’s because they could be used as a greeting, a very common trigger…

Emotion :

” When we care, we share,” or in other words, as Berger’s findings from his earlier paper show, people tend to share content that evokes a strong emotional reaction. Surprisingly (as depressing as the news often seems), the most viral pieces of online content didn’t focus on low-energy emotions like “sadness,” as marketer Carson Ward points out here :

A Scientific Take on Viral Marketing

These findings are (almost) exactly mirrored by more recent research from Kelsey Libert and Kristin Tynski, published on the Harvard Business Review, which echoes the fact that high-energy emotions are what truly stir discussion…!!

Public :

In essence, social proof. People need to see others doing something in order to easily embrace it. As psychologist Robert Cialdini revealed in this book Influence, sometimes people “fake it before they make it” to achieve this, such as mega-churches putting in money before they pass the donation plate around (people see the bills placed in and base their own donation on what is there).

Practical Value :

Great news for content marketers, practically useful material was shown to be highly viral. People like sharing “news you can use” because they want to help others and look good for doing so..

Stories :

As I’ve mentioned before, in the world of marketing, transportation leads to persuasion, because it’s so easy for us to get wrapped up in a good tale. If you’ll recall the viral attention that the Red Paperclip story received, it was all because people simply had to know what happened next in the tale…

The “why” of a Viral success story is not so easily explained through this sort of examination, however..

Another great way to learn about the practice of viral marketing is to look closely at successful campaigns that have been run in the past. Below, I’ll show you some of my favorite examples of viral marketing, hopefully providing some inspiration along the way..

Viral Marketing Examples :

The general public most often associates a “viral” piece of content with a hilarious YouTube video, such as Gangnam Style. While videos certainly are a big subset of viral content, many more mediums and methods apply…

1. Guerilla Tactics:

One of my favorite examples of a company going “guerilla” and creating a story worth talking about is WePay, and their stunt of leaving a 600-pound block of ice in front of a PayPal conference.

WePay’s execution here was brilliant: for years, people had been complaining about how PayPal would “freeze” their accounts, locking them out from withdrawing the money they earned. If you sell goods online, your PayPal account could be a big part of your livelihood, so to be locked out and ignored was obviously enraging for many people…

Since some of the biggest points of difference that WePay offered were dependability, security, and customer service that PayPal has often been accused of lacking, taking a jab at their competitor with this stunt wasn’t just for random, pointless press; it got people talking about a problem WePay truly hoped to address…

2. Baking growth into the Product :

Helping the product market itself has often been described as #GrowthHacking (a more modern term), but the spread of awareness in this next example also serves as a fine showcase of #virality..

The candle company Diamond Candles actually bases its entire unique selling proposition around the tactic they use to get people to talk about their products…Since the founders knew that 98% of home fragrance purchases are made by women, they decided to execute an unusual strategy to get women to talk about the product..

In every Diamond Candle, a ring is included. The founders made sure that these rings weren’t cheesy and that the “reveal” (packaging) was creative and exciting, and they added one final touch : once in a while, a real diamond ring (worth up to $5,000) is included in a candle…!!

The founders knew that discussion around the rings would be high (jewelry is naturally seen and discussed), but adding in this outrageous potential for a real diamond ring was enough to tip the scales and turned the campaign into a big win for the #E-commerce company, helping them achieve $1 million in revenue in 12 months…

3. Easter eggs and the “Experience” :

Viral marketing for horror movies seems to be a very common thing these days...Just a few weeks ago, to promote the re-imagining of the movie Carrie, the marketing team for the new movie created a ” telekinetic coffee shop scenario,” where an angry women in a coffee shop was made to look like she had the powers of  ” telekinesis” :

It was a smashing success with 47,000,000+ views, and was a really great example of creating an experience that people would remember and tell others about (as well as share online).

These sorts of tactics might need to pay homage to one of the originators, however, in the brilliant marketing used to promote The Blair Witch Project. The success of the indie film is largely owed to how the campaigns were so focused on making the experience so “real” to the viewer.

The website kicked things off with strange video releases that hinted at the horror that was to come in the full version (warning: still pretty creepy to this day). The team also released items like fake “Missing” flyers of the characters in the movie :

Another example that shows the power of “Easter eggs” (hidden surprises) in marketing is the viral campaign used to promote Halo 2, the video game for Xbox…. Hold on to your seats, because this is a weird one..

In the promo trailer for the game, a strange website called ILoveBees.com was shown, with no mention of what it was…The players who noticed this Easter egg were soon taken on a very strange ride :

I Love Bees was an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) that served as both a real-world experience and #ViralMarketingCampaign, for the release of Halo2... players who investigated the titular website discovered that the pages appeared to be hacked by a mysterious intelligence…. As players solved puzzles, audio logs were posted to the ilovebees.com site, which gradually revealed more of the fictional back-story, involving a marooned artificial intelligence stranded on Earth and its attempts to put itself back together…!!

Pretty absurd for the average Joe, but remember that this campaign was made to promote a science-fiction space shooter with a character who depended on an A.I. companion…

In short, whatever you may think of it, it appealed to the target audience of the game and turned into a massive success with millions of people hitting the site over the course of its history..

4. Viral series :

How the heck do you get people to talk about boring ol’ blenders ? That’s the question Blendtec found itself asking when it wanted to promote its new product line. It’s tough for a blender to have “social currency,” so what could be done ?

The brilliant answer was found in the series called Will It Blend ?, a video collection of Blendtec blenders destroying (or not destroying) popular items that definitely should not be in a blender..

The genius of this series was not only in how it made blenders a discussion topic (seriously, kudos), but in how the videos showcased just how rugged Blendtec blenders really were…The showmanship may have been great, but these videos were also moving products. If a blender can spit up and chew out an airsoft pistol, it can most certainly handle any fruits and vegetables that you’ll throw at it…!!

5. Interactivity :

Whenever people can engage with something, it definitely makes the experience more memorable. That it turn increases the likelihood that it will be discussed with others…

In what is probably my favorite example on this list–because it’s just so dang “out there”–Burger King took this interaction strategy to a whole new level when they created the Subservient Chicken website..

Offering proof that you really can “have it your way,” the Subservient Chicken domain offered users the ability to give commands to a guy dressed up in a chicken suit…and yes, you did read that correctly…

This interactive marketing has seen a resurgence on the web, with another notable example being Cleverbot, which is a bot that chats back to users as if they were in a chat room with a real person..

6. The classic viral video :

You knew this would be here..!! With the advent of free video hosting on YouTube, a viral video is often seen as the de facto example of viral marketing…Marketing videos are almost always creative advertisements. Below, I’ll highlight some of the better viral video ads out there..

The Dollar Shave Club advert is a modern classic that you may have come across before. It simply shows the founder walking through the process of what Dollar Shave Club is about, but with unapologetic bravado and humor !!

7. Viral Articles :

Writers can stop sweating, as I and many others will assure you that despite the many interactive examples above, the writer still runs this show…Although I showed you the characteristics that Berger found in highly viral articles, I’d like to point to another one of his studies entitled When, Why, and How Controversy Causes Conversation…According to Berger, the secret to creating controversial content is to focus on items of “low-controversy”–or debates that hinge on issues that won’t hurt any feelings..

Why might that be ? According to the study :

Data shows that controversy increases likelihood of discussion at low levels, but beyond a moderate level of controversy, additional controversy actually decreases likelihood of discussion…

I like to call this “water-cooler appropriate content”,  people don’t like discussing things that aren’t water-cooler appropriate because it might make them look bad or bring down the mood of the group..

This is why topics like toilet paper orientation or “cats vs. dogs” seem to stir up such a huge debate. These things are easy to argue about, the sides are split pretty evenly, and most importantly, it’s hard for anyone to get their feelings hurt. In a fairly recent podcast, Derek Halpern highlights this image on Facebook as one example that shows how people simply love to argue about dumb stuff ..

An example found on the blog is our article on Why Steve Jobs Never Listened to His Customers. The debate was between “internal innovation vs. customer feedback,” with the added twist of being wrapped around the words of a very famous man..

I couldn’t make the article go viral, but the stage was set for debate, and it turned into one of the most popular pieces during the early stages of our company blog (a time when we needed it most…!!)

“Marketers” ; take “Digital out of your vocabulary” | by : Drew McLellan

“Going Digital ” isn’t a passing trend….!! Companies are learning — and proving — that building a flexible, integrated agency with a digital emphasis is essential….And that lesson is still being learned the hard way, even at the world’s most prestigious organizations….!!

BuzzFeed leaked an internal report from The New York Times this week, providing an intimate look into how one of the world’s leading journalistic institutions is struggling with the exact same problem most agencies are: integrating digital into its existing company structure….

So, what can this teach the rest of the world…….??

It shows that combining traditional and digital media isn’t easy for any company, and even the most prestigious of organizations make common mistakes, including treating digital as something that’s separate — and often secondary — from the rest of operations..

Digital Dividing Lines :

Although many companies have employees who specifically focus on digital media, all employees need to think digitally. Whether they’re focused on strategy, creative, or media, they need to know the digital landscape inside and out..

Why ?? Because Digital isn’t a ‘ Department ‘ ; it’s a way of thinking….!!

When digital was new, it was used as a buzzword to set innovative agencies apart from those that weren’t digitally savvy…That’s not true anymore. Today, it’s a given. When you tell a client your marketing firm does digital, it’s like telling them that newspapers have writers on staff….!!

Most clients now realize that a mix of channels and strategies — including digital — is the most effective way to communicate with customers. They know that most potential customers don’t just wander into a store to shop. Instead, consumers start their search online. Digital helps your clients snag customers earlier in the sales-cycle.

But there’s a benefit to using Digital-marketing, such as landing pages and YouTube videos : It’s usually easier to measure and track, so it makes learning about a client’s customers and tailoring campaigns to their behavior much easier.

Designing Your Strategy :

How can agencies integrate digital into their traditional offline strategies ? Here are THREE Ways to do Digital right ? :

  • Integrate your Digital “ department ” with the rest of your company… Take a cue from The New York Times. Separating different disciplines doesn’t just keep your employees from communicating ; it keeps them from collaborating. Remember, every employee needs to be digitally savvy…Start this process by letting them work together and learn from one another..
  • Attend Digital Conferences to stay informed – Then, create a series of lunch-and-learns. Make sure every team member learns something new and shares it with the rest of your employees.
  • Think Holistically – Don’t artificially create digital opportunities. Instead, let them come about naturally. Map out a client’s sales funnel, and identify the digital and traditional opportunities you have. Then, build a marketing plan around those.

When my company promotes Agency Management Institute workshops, we use email marketing, targeted digital ads, and SEO to drive traffic to our landing pages. But we don’t just use digital media to promote our events. We also use direct mail, speak at conferences, and encourage our past customers to generate buzz.

Why do we utilize so many marketing avenues? Because you never know when — or how — a potential customer will hear about your client. Seamless integration between traditional and digital media allows customers to move from one type of media to another, just like they do in their everyday lives.

Ending the Digital Division :

Digital is the way your clients’ customers connect to the rest of the world. That’s why “digital” isn’t a relevant term anymore….It’s simply how things are done in your customers’ lives and at a successful agency…

This is the most important lesson of The New York Times’ innovation report : If you and your clients are going to beat the competition, you need to change your company’s structure to accommodate the digital world…That means ending the division between digital and traditional in favor of an approach that’s completely integrated…!!

Don’t live in the past, when Digital-Marketing was a novelty…..Take “Digital” out of your campaigns and company-structure and join the ‘modern world ‘ — one that transitions between digital and traditional media seamlessly…

“Why more CMOs” are “Wanted as Board Directors”| CMO Strategy | by: Natalie Zmuda | Advertising Age

” Experience in Digital, Mobile, Consumer-Insights and Diversity sought “…!!

Boards of directors at the country’s largest companies are in dire ” need of digital and mobile expertise”, “consumer insights” and “diversity” –  and they’re looking to top marketers to fill those gaps..

#ExecutivesSittingonBoards, over overwhelmingly are white males over 60 who are either current or former CEOs and chief financial officers..Increasingly, say recruiters, those boards are realizing they need to diversify both in terms of skill sets and demographics. According to Spencer Stuart, just 38 of the more than 9,800 board seats available at Fortune 1000 companies are filled by a #ChiefMarketingOfficer !!

” Boards” are really looking for “fresh perspective and strategic business insights”, said Bonnie Gwin, CEO of the board practice at Heidrick & Struggles…” There’s an agreement among board members that somebody who has deep marketing skills will also bring good business insights, is strategic and creative. … Many of those CMOs can also bring diversity, in terms of gender or ethnicity,” including international experience, which she said is “a plus”.

Ms. Gwin said companies in the midst of a transformation — such as a transition to an online mentality from an offline one, or from business-to-business to business-to-consumer — “are more inclined to seek out marketers for their boards…”

In the past month, Cigna added Michelle Gass, chief customer officer at Kohl’s, to its board, while Ruby Tuesday named Mark Addicks, CMO at General Mills, to its. Cigna cited Ms. Gass “#Customer-focusedExpertise”, while Ruby Tuesday, in the midst of re-positioning itself as “more casual, energetic and broadly appealing,” cited Mr. Addicks’ marketing chops..

Meanwhile, marketers like Mondelez’s Mary Beth West and Kimberly-Clark’s Anthony Palmer have been sitting on boards for years.

Greg Welch, a consultant in Spencer Stuart’s marketing-officer practice, said his firm is seeing increased demand for marketers across sectors. “In particular, Boards that are committed to embracing digital, from not only the philosophical perspective but also in terms of the very real financial investment that is required, need CMOs capable of asking the right questions”, he said.

“CMOs can offer perspective on the #IdealOrganizational Structure, how to assess the relevance of new technology to the business, choosing appropriate external partners and how to best eliminate internal roadblocks…”

Proven Leaders who have been involved with corporate strategy, run a P&L or have been closely involved with digital and social media are particularly attractive, added Carter Burgess, head of the board practice at RSR Partners…

” Utility and Relevance are big themes for Boards — Utility meaning band-width — they’re not just good at (Marketing), but provide perspective on other things”, he said.

While recruiters agree ” marketers are increasingly attractive to boards”, and say they are seeing an uptick in interest, it’s still a shift in its infancy…

John Abele, Global Managing Partner for the marketing, sales and strategy officers practice at Heidrick & Struggles, said he’s been contacted by colleagues who recruit for Boards twice in the last 12 months. “I didn’t get a single call like that in the four years prior,” he said.

” Boards are waking up to the fact that they need more Commercial orientation…They need to understand their Customers”…!!

“Online Pricing”; the “Dilemma before #ConsumerElectronics Brands” | Shyamanuja Das | ET Retail

” If they do not keep up with the times, someone else will…Maybe, that someone is already here…??

Ironic it may sound ; but even as “electronic products” have emerged as the ” Top selling category “in ” #IndianRetailE-Commerce, the top electronic brands are engaged in a proxy battle with the online retailers, ostensibly on behalf of the brick-and-mortar retailers and distributors. The contentious issue is, of course, the pricing of products by online retailers, which are offering huge discounts to consumers. The offline / Brick and Mortar, Retailers, are finding it difficult to compete and the OEMs are taking on the E-tailers / E-commerce companies, on their behalf…!!

But the difference in “approaches of Two sets of OEMs is hard to miss”…

The first group, for whom consumers are just one of the target segments-such as Lenovo, Toshiba, and even Canon-has come out in the open with war cry against e-tailers. Some of them have issued advisories to consumers saying they may not be getting warranty and services while buying from online retailers. Many have even warned consumers of the possibility of ending up with fake products.

The other group, consisting mostly of #ConsumerFocusedBrands (read phone makers) like Samsung, Apple and Nokia, is far more measured in its approach. These brands understand the criticality of online channels and selling and strengthening their brand through those channels and hence have preferred the path of discussion and negotiations with them, without coming out in the open.

Yet, they also seem to be worried about the phenomenon. The Economic Times reported some time back that senior official of the #TopThreePhoneMakers, met to discuss the issue, even as they keep fighting fiercely in the market place. That itself is a good pointer to how serious the issue has become for them. As the article rightly points out, it is similar to the situation which united the book trade in the US when it faced the Amazon challenge..

One up in Pricing:

But what enables the e-tailers to offer such huge discount? Part of the reason-and this also happens to be the more politically correct part to quote in this big debate-is the inherent efficiency of their model. With no brick and mortar stores in prime real estate, their overheads are low. This, coupled with tight supply chains with little inventory, make them more efficient.

The other, that cannot be ignored, is the scale. Many of them such as WS Retail-the retail arm of Flipkart-have a much larger scale, say in selling mobile phones, than any of the offline stores, modern or traditional. That allows them to be aggressive on margins…!!

But is that all ?? Come to India, circa 2013-14 and you have the harsh reality-harsh for offline retailers, that is. Unlike them, many of the large online retailers are backed by huge VC money…Offline retailers accuse that they use part of that money to buy market share-by offering huge discounts. The accusation is not entirely untrue, though it may not explain the entire phenomenon..

Actually, it is a Combination of All THREE and possibly more…

One of the factors – and which is the official line taken by the sites like Flipkart, Amazon, and Snapdeal-is the marketplace model. These sites maintain that being neutral marketplaces, they do not have any control over end-user pricing, as that is decided by the numerous retailers who sell on their platforms. However gamesman-like it seems, the claim is factually correct. Of course, they vehemently deny the accusation by some OEMs that fake products get sold on their platforms. Many of the sellers, it must be pointed out, are small time offline retailers who see online as yet another inexpensive new channel to sell their products..

To the uninitiated, it must be mentioned that the ” #Marketplace-Model “, which has “emerged as the default model in India for retail e-commerce”, has less to do with any inherent strength in the model and more to do with FDI regulations, which stipulates no FDI in retail (B2C) e-commerce.

Most e-tailers changed to the “marketplace model” to comply with this “marketplace”, where they do not sell directly to the end users..

The brand at stake :

While for the IT OEMs such as Lenovo, Dell and Toshiba, the battle is all about protecting their long time loyal offline partners, for consumer brands like Samsung and Nokia, it is also a question of brand dilution, to be sold at such heavy discounts. At the same time, they also do not want to be seen by consumers as fighting with the channels (online retailers) against something that is clearly in consumer’s favor-low prices. In the day of # TwitterAndFacebookCconsumerActivism, it could even do significant damage to their #BrandPerception.

Instead of coming out with aggressive, sometimes unsubstantiated statements, the OEMs must be seen to be acting in a fair manner that is in the interest of the consumers. Some of the questions that they need to examine and answer to themselves, consumers and the community at large is as follows…

How are the advisories that they have issued urging the consumers not to buy from online sites in the interest of consumers ?

Why should they withdraw the warranty that is offered with the products, whether it is from online or offline channels? Is it legal to do so ? Why should they make the consumer suffer ? They may probably offer additional warranty if consumers buy the products from offline stores. But how and why should they withdraw the basic warranty ?

Can they substantiate the claim that some online channels are selling fake or smuggled products ? If they can, they must come out in public with specifics and, with the help of legal system, must take strong action against the erring sellers. This will establish their credibility. The failure to do so will put serious question marks on their credibility.

They must seriously examine if online retailers are doing any price cutting using VC money to buy market share, as many offline retailers accuse. If the e-tailers are resorting to any unfair means of competition and violating any provisions of The Competition Act 2002, they must be dealt with using the law of the land. In any case, it is not a single player who is using its market power or staying power ; it is a large set of players which are accused of buying market share…

The future is already here:

But more than just fairness and long term brand dilution fears, the top phone makers have a bigger challenge at hand-something that regional middle level managers can be made to appreciate much better-market share…Many executives in the consumer electronics companies-especially phone makers-admit that it is a choice between the present and future. They have no doubt that online is here to stay and is increasingly going to take away market share.

The question that they are really struggling with is : how far is tipping point ? But big changes seldom happen without a disruptive challenger. A new challenger has no legacy and hence pushes the new, more efficient model to create an advantage in its favor.

That may already be happening-ironically spearheaded by a company, which is the oldest mobile phone company in the world, though now starting almost afresh. Motrola Mobility, now owned by Gooogle, and now the challenger in the mobile phone market, has probably taken the most decisive step in this direction. It has chosen to sell its newly released Moto series of phones in India exclusively through Flipkart, India’s biggest online retailer-ironically, at a time when other electronic brands are fighting a turf battle with the online retailers…

It is not an entirely new strategy though. Others have tried out similar strategy. Noted among them is Nokia, which tried it out in China. It had signed a deal in December 2012 with second largest Chinese e-tailer 360buy.com (now JingDong).. whereby the latter agreed to procure 2 billion yuan ($320 million) worth of mobile phones in one year..!!

The change is already happening…The choice before the brands is between accepting it gracefully versus accepting it bitterly…Trying to stop an idea whose time has come is unfair and is against the spirit of competition…

Ultimately, it is against the interest of customers. It is like forcing metro rail services to increase their fares because private bus services are getting impacted…Why should globally respected brands be indulging in something like that …?

“Flipkart & Myntra Merger Is a Done Deal” ; “Flipkart to Raise Another Round of Funding, before IPO” | M&A | NextBigWhat

” The great Indian E-commerce Wedding we’ve all been hearing about for long is done”….the Two companies have kept it under the wraps so far but according to our sources, the deal has been completed and integration between the two has begun…

Both Myntra & Flipkart will operate as separate brands. This was a major point of contention between the two companies as Myntra was keen on operating a separate brand. In between, acquisition talks had stalled due to this…Back in November 2013, before the deal talks were on, we’d written on why the two companies should explore synergies. The two companies danced for a while….And there was much speculation in the press..!!

We haven’t been able to confirm the deal size, but the cash and stock deal is expected to be over $250 mn in value. Flipkart is also out to raise another round of funding before it makes it big move to go for a public offering…


In October 2013, Flipkart closed a $360 mn round of funding from investors including Dragoneer Investment Group, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Sofina and Vulcan Capital and Tiger Global…Here are some of the details :

Common Investors + Margin Boost ?

Accel, a common investor in both Flipkart and Myntra, has been known to be a M&A friendly Investor. Take a look at the past:

  • Flipkart : LetsBuy
  • Myntra : Shersingh

For Flipkart, Apparel is the #NextBigWhat category to crack and the company has been trying to catch up with Myntra, which is a market leader in the category. Although apparel is a high margin business, the war between the Two would mean large discounts and paying a lot of money to Google.. for #SearchEngineMarketing, at the expense of investors..

Flipkart & Myntra : The Common Investors :

” Tiger Global, Accel Partners and Sofina are common investors in Flipkart and Myntra”….It would have ” cost them all a fortune if the Two had continued to battle it out while “Amazon” on one end and “Snapdeal” on the other” (Snapdeal recently raised $133.7 mn led by eBay)…..!!

And both Flipkart and Myntra are also notching up losses as their revenues go up..

” Myntra ” Revenues :

Myntra posted Rs 134 cr loss on a Top-line of Rs 212 cr for the year ending 31 March 2013…In the year before (2012), Myntra’s revenues were Rs 67 cr and losses were Rs 51 cr. Flipkart, on the other hand reported a loss of Rs 281.7 crore in the year ended March 2013, up from Rs 109.9 cr in the previous year.

Myntra closed a series F round in February 2014Table below shows how much each investor funneled into Myntra:


Total Amount Paid Incl. Premium

Tiger Global

Rs 31 Crore

IDG Ventures India

Rs 9 Crore

Accel Growth FII

Rs 9 Crore

PI Opportunities Fund – I

Rs 155 Crore


Rs 99 Crore

Here’s a look at how sales and losses have grown at ” Myntra “.

    FY12 – FY13*



YoY Growth (%)

Sales & other income

Rs 2,124,917

Rs 671,614


Losses after Tax

Rs 1,347,626

Rs 512,631


* Indian Rupees in Thousand

Given that after Series F, there isn’t a lot of equity to play around with, “#Merger-withFlipkart is probably the only option” (there are very few other options for ” Myntra to explore a merger-synergy with”, now that ” eBay” is in bed with Snapdeal)..

Myntra Funding : Timeline:

  • February 2014 : $50 mn from Premji Invest,  Belgian Private equity firm Sofina and existing investors. At the time it was reportedly valued at $200 mn
  • February 2012 : $25 mn from Tiger Global, Accel Partners
  • November 2010 : $14 mn series B led by Accel Partners
  • November 2008 : $5 mn from NEA- IUV, IDG Ventures, Accel

This deal, we expect will happen at over $250 mn with Majority being Stock…Launched in 2007, by IIT alumni Mukesh Bansal, Ashutosh Lawania & Vineet Saxena, ” Myntra “ had started out as an online personalised merchandising solution to companies, before it revamped to its current model in 2011.


“DIPP India, to push for FDI in E-commerce” : “strategy to give an impetus to manufacturing” | by: Dilasha Seth | ET Retail

” The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) will push for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in E-commerce with the New Government elected today (16th May’2014) as part of its strategy to give an impetus to manufacturing”…

DIPP held a stake-holders meeting on Thursday(15th May’2014), a day before the election results, to firm up its views on the issue. The current FDI policy does not allow foreign direct investment in business-to-consumer (B2C) E-commerce…!! Whereas such, 100% FDI is allowed in business-to-business (B2B) E-commerce…

The meeting was attended by 36 stakeholders, including “Amazon, Walmart, Google, Flipkart, eBay, CII, Ficci, CAIT, Fismi, Nasscom, KPMG”, among others. “It was to examine issues related to FDI in ecommerce. We feel that FDI is needed in the e-commerce segment to boost manufacturing in the economy. FDI in E-commerce is required for capital infusion in SMEs,” said a DIPP official…!!

DIPP will hold another meeting with the stakeholders in the next 10 days to formalise its view on the matter and present to the Next Government(New-Government). This push to FDI in e-commerce comes even as the exit poll forecasts a BJP-led government after the election. BJP has on the record said it is opposed to FDI in multi-brand retail.


“Twelve States, mostly Congress party led, had allowed Foreign Retailers to open Front-end stores in multi-brand retail “, which was opened to foreign investment amidst massive opposition. The new BJP-ruled government in Rajasthan has said it would reverse the Congress Government’s  permission Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which has vocally opposed FDI in retail and e-commerce, questioned the timing of Thursday’s meeting. “Why was the meeting called a day before the election results. DIPP could have waited for the new government to take charge,” said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general, CAIT.

He added that they would vociferously oppose an inventory based FDI E-commerce model as it will affect the business of small local brick & mortar players…!!  The department is in favour of same riders for FDI in e-commerce as FDI in multi-brand retail except for the one related to geographical boundaries.

In the current FDI policy for multi-brand retail, the final decision rests with states. In the case of E-commerce, the policy will be a national one – retailers will be able to deliver goods in any state….” We cannot have geographical boundaries in E-commerce, let us be clear on that. You do not have that anywhere in the world,” said the official…

The DIPP, in the discussion paper floated in January, had raised the question whether retail sale under multi-brand retail (MBRT), should be restricted to states that have agreed to open front-end stores. The paper received over 100 comments.

Industry surveys suggest E-commerce could contribute as much as 4% of GDP by year 2020…!!

In the Thursday meeting , None of the MNCs had an issue with the sourcing rider. Walmart pointed out that it already sources about 95% from India while Flipkart said that it sources about 66% from India..!!

As per the FDI in single-brand retail policy, companies need to comply with a 30% domestic sourcing condition while in case of multibrand retail, they need to source 30% from MSMEs. Sources said DIPP secretary Amitabh Kant firmly supported FDI in e-commerce…

Foreign retailers like Amazon & eBay have been strongly lobbying with the Indian government to allow FDI in E-commerce. Some of India’s big E-tailers such as Myntra & Flipkart are already under investigation for possible violation of FDI policy.

While MNCs pushed for an inventory-based model, domestic retail and SMEs only showed comfort over a marketplace model… “As far as the market-based model is concerned, we have no problems, and rather feel that the government should assist us in taking advantage of it.

Whereas, the impact of an inventory-based model on small-scale enterprises needs to be studied,” said Anil Bhardwaj of Federation of Indian Micro & Medium Enterprises…!!