Aur Dikhao, Aur Dikhao – When Technology Meets Tradition

By on April 25, 2015

Aur Dikhao,  Aur Dikhao     –  When Technology Meets Tradition

‘Hindustani Dil Kehta Hai Aur Dikhao Aur Dikhao’….

What’s dangerous is not to evolve – Jeff Bezos


It’s an open secret that strives to be the e-commerce destination where consumers can find and discover anything they want to buy on line. A-Z as they underscore it in their brand logo. In this they have become a global brand and a powerhouse driven by cutting edge technologies thru & thru.

However what’s really intriguing is that this technology powerhouse/ global iconic brand, has worked to find it’s ways to the Indian consumers hearts by way of tradition and culture than pure product superiority and/  or functionality (aka Apple – Apple is apple no matter in any geog, on all aspects of product, technology, brand message and marketing communication) – something that rarely happens in business (regardless of all the think global, act local hype), for is cutting edge marketing at play.

For one, just attempting to embrace a nation’s tradition in many ways is akin to doing the impossible, if not taking the huge risk of antagonizing a whole nation and facing the backlash, embarrassment, etc, that could well backfire on the business –  should the TVCM/ advert have got confused and gone wrong. To elaborate:

  • Many concept led (sans technology support) brands in India have come close to empathizing with local cultural contexts/ nuances and have succeeded in doing so – but they have just about empathized to a consumer need, habit, behaviour, social trend or product shortcoming, to ensure some brand usage and go about building their business. They just take a real life situation or pdt shortcomings as possible and communicate thru their ads (backed with good production values) evoking empathy and subsequent trial, usage etc – examples are galore, Surf’s lalithaji of yesteryears yore, coke – diwali ads, pepsi ipl (yeh hai India ka tyohar), dettol, docomo india (and hundreds more).  They are there for sure as power brands etc – but yet to make a leap to become the spirit of a nation and transgress beyond their overt emotional appeal(s) –  while having to spend mega dollars along the way – rendering strategic and marketing roi challenges for such marketing leaders.
  • Big technology companies and technology led/ based brands (mostly top end MNCs) when they enter fiercely competitive markets have the luxury of ‘share of voice’ leadership/ outshouting everyone or creating a product based discontinuity which makes everyone to sit up and notice. They work aggressively to own share of mind and more with the target segment for sure. And such technology companies have the challenge to refrain from selling technology (on which they have spent billions of dollars in r&d etc) and to recognize that consumers do not buy technology – but that they simply buy benefits – perceived or real.
  • So in this it is truly rare to see a technology behemoth (like amazon) meeting consumers head on via tradition – just by embracing it so naturally and brilliantly. This can but be the testimony of the top men in charge of this brand and their leadership aspirations, as to what they really felt their technology can do and/ or should do from a long term perspective in India – that is by becoming one with the nation in soul and spirit to begin with.
  • From my personal exp I can recollect but two examples over the last 20 years where technology has gone out to meet tradition either by challenging it or by embracing it –  the first being P&G’s Ariel compact detergent  (1991, Leo Burnett), where possibly for the first time, technology was leveraged in India to change century old habits and entered a family via a mother in law/ daughter in law, warm but conflicting type relationship (the bahu khoob tikiya ragadni padegi … line) and went to become one of the most seminal connects and discontinuous product/ advertisement ever to be made in India –  and setting a new benchmark in Indian product marketing/ advertising industry (that hitherto was largely into doing their own concept thing than the consumer thing). The other being Airtel In Andhra Pradesh (2003, Rediff) in an ethnic/ state lingo context via Mana Airtel, Mana Pradesh (My Airtel, My State – aka My Life) – whence an umbrella brand eulogized slice of life situations (persuasively in a heart warming musical format), to become a mainstay aspect for every individual or enterprise/ be it an auto-rickshaw driver, a nri returning telugu speaking professional, a sme or a corporate honcho, or any urban dweller or rural farmer –  and going on to deliver possibly the highest ever brand indices (of unaided top of mind and purchase intent  scores) ever in the history of Indian advertising.

The amazon ‘aur dikaho’ ad in many ways is just this and more:

  • It uses slice of life to bring in intrigue, mystery and connect – based on a simple connect that Indian consumer chooses selectively, wants variety and typically chooses ‘one’ item after seeing very many options while constantly asking the shop salesman to show more (aur dikhao, aur dikhao, aur batao, show me more), before making the final purchase decision – justifying to stretch his/ her limited disposal income from unlimited choices, for that bang for buck choice –  and this is the raw truth that has vividly been depicted across to low, middle or upper income households, urban or rural households, large town or small town consumers.
  • And, delivering the same realistically (with no glitzy models or contrived situations), to a music loving nation on a well executed musical format, seconding all of Amazon’s technology prowess, their scale and above all their global size and stature –  each and any of them that could have easily hijacked their focus and long term vision and thereby their ability to build an all time great brand and business.
  • This is but brand and management humility + marketing savvy at play to say the least. And often is but the DNA of a learning organization – i.e., to learn, adapt and grow endearingly all along.

In sum, the gist of above all is what goes to make a great brand advertising and businesses viz., (a) to look beyond the obvious (b) to customize the message endearingly (c) to take it to the streets aggressively (d) while preserving a little mystery and (e) remembering to make it memorably endearing to the heart and having fun all along the way.

Clearly the ‘aur dikhao’ ad does all the above with a vivid portrayal of real life “aur dikhao” situations, backed with excellent production values and a jingle that keeps you humming, while not losing the core technology character of the business (all via a mobile app).

Ergo, the USP: That Amazon offers a wide choice and range to be that shopping destination point. And a resultant resonating shopper who just loves his/ her maximum choice, without any chest thumping or loud references to bigger, better, bolder, stronger, etc type competitive stances.

Overall great stuff and possibly will open up the Indian market even more than ever before. Clearly a category captain in the making to take the global brand to masses, as shopping aspirations, mobile and internet become a way a life even in class, II, III IV towns and rural India…











About Subba Rao NV

Subbarao is an entrepreneur, management professional and a hands-on business leader with +20 years exp in consumer goods, tele-communications, wireless applications/ solutions and retail sectors, where he has handled large teams and multi unit businesses. Earlier he held VP- Sales & Marketing, COO/ CEO/ Apex positions at TATA Docomo, Bharti Airtel, Tanla Solutions and Conagra Foods (India). Having started at P&G as a management trainee, he has worked and led over 25 brands. Over the years he has lived and worked in different geographies including US, Japan and Vietnam, while holding p&l and growth responsibilities for market & value share leadership. In 2012 Co-founded Reboot Systems (India), a refurbished computers business - set up the brand, business and retail/ franchisee store model. After successfully exiting same (03/2015), is working to launch and establish his next start up - ( a platform based integrated 'jobs-skills one stop portal - presently in development stage'), to find a way out of skill-gap issues and to address the problems of skill-divide. Subbarao is also a member of Hyderabad Angels and a charter member of TIE and in his spare time runs a blog called best matters. [ email: ]

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