Last Week Weekend Roulade…

Okay, so last week I was feeling a bit under the weather, and I’ve just recently recovered… Although not 100% fit. Last week, I learned that I can put tags that describes the entry better than the categories in this blog, so from now on I will put tags and categories to better describe my entry.

Last week I posted the most debated ad ever (which I know so far) in my country. Well, what do you know, it actually a form of counter marketing… Yes, corny term again, but it is a valid term because the ad is actually countering another local cellular provider which is Xplor. You see, Xplor has this Rp. 1/second call rate, which amounts to Rp. 60/minute. However, it is just as misleading as Indosat’s Rp. o freetalk campaign although not as extreme. Xplor has this Rp. 1/second call rate scheme, in which (after reading carefully the terms and conditions), Xplor users (the postpaid subscribers) when their bill amass to Rp 150.000, they will get the Rp. 1/second call rate.

The clear indication that Indosat is doing counter marketing can be seen on some billboard placement where Xplor Rp. 1 is met with Indosat’s Rp. 0 plus the commentary “anything cheaper?”. Indosat’s Rp. 0 ad even backs up the claim that it is indeed a counter marketing, in which the ad depicts a bidding situation and the announcer said “Rp. 1, going once (1), going once (1)” and then there’s the shining girl walking by with her stupid hair blown out of nowhere while wearing a T-shirt with a text “Rp. 0”. Not being out gunned, Xplor actually returns the favor by making another ad saying that “there’s no such thing as free”… Or something, I don’t know it either, my friend told me that.

So there’s actually an advertising war between this two cellular provider. I’ll try to provide you all with proof of this and dig in deeper.

Typo Day… Creepy…

Yesterday I was out eating in a fairly new restaurant near my house, which my mom told me that is quite good. So I check the place, it’s a bakery/restaurant which serves mainly pasta and pizza, Asian style. So I ordered chicken mushroom pasta and a pizza with cheese and chicken… No, there’s no fancy name for both, just simple description and pictures. To say the place is nice is an understatement, it is very lavish and nicely decor’ed. But on the bakery side, I saw a lot of typo abound on some breads. That thing aside, when the food was served on the table, I reached out for the pepper… And I was curious looking at the title of it.

black paper

Really… Black paper, do they burn paper, ground it fine and serves it to the guest or what? And what’s Papper? Really man… That’s just wrong, I laugh for the whole day and make fun of it until today. The night when I want to get some sleep, as usual I watched National Geographics and Discovery Channel, to my surprise… Just take a look at the next picture.

I’m not even finished laughing from the bakery/restaurant pepper fiasco, now I saw that on the tv!! NATIONAL GEOGRAPGIC???!!!?!?? I hope NGC doesn’t display that typo on HD too, Is yesterday an international typo day? I’m just awe struck and still couldn’t believe it. However this could be a very nice article though, see you all next week.

The most debated ad ever… (which I know so far)

From my previous post of “Please Help Me Decipher This Code“, I’ve quote that an ad suppose to capture the audience intention and convey the benefit of the product. Now let me humbly provides another full of hidden codes advertisement.

The most debated ad

This is a billboard of Indosat latest advertisement oddity, because lots of people misinterpret the meaning of the ad which mentions about free talk, zero money, and a pretty lady which I don’t really care who she is. The billboard ad means that if you spend Rp. 5000 on a conversation, then you will be given another free talk of Rp. 5000. What the billboard mentions about free talk /zero money in particular is that the second Rp. 5000 call is free. But here’s the catch, that second Rp. 5000 is applicable to one condition only in that when the free Rp. 5000 is used up for the day, you pay for regular charge, and that Rp. 5000 free talk use the same call rate of (around) Rp. 1700/minute, therefore only giving you a free talk time of around 3 minutes…

Come on… That’s just stupid and misleading. Furthermore, the writings “Ada yang lebih murah?” literally means in English: “Is there anything cheaper?” Off course there is, there’s Esia, and Telkom Flexi, although both are CDMA base wireless service, it has the same function of telecommunication. After all, the billboard ad doesn’t mention anything about the specifics, ain’t it? Is it the cheapest in CDMA or GSM base wireless service? Is it the cheapest prepaid wireless service, is it the cheapest lie ever in an advertising? Well, you decide. Just for comparison, the half Malaysian owned XL tariff is Rp. 25/second or roughly Rp. 1500/minute to call other operators, while Mentari users pays Rp. 17ooish/minute to call other operators… Now is that the cheapest? I don’t know, perhaps I’m the dumb one.

This Indosat billboard ad further strentghened my opinion about marketing people goes to hell.

By the way, I use Mentari, and there’s a free SMS promo in which you buy Rp. 50000 voucher you’ll get 50 free sms and 150 free sms if you buy Rp 100000 voucher (free sms applicable to own network). For me that SMS promo is more valuable than the trashy Rp. 5000 free talk ad.

Weekend Roulade: Franchising Fiasco

So I’ve start a topic about franchising using Krispy Kreme as its example. Well, in Indonesia currently Krispy Kreme is facing a tough challenge in the form of a local branded donuts chain store, akin to KK. As a franchise, KK chain stores must sell products that is defined by the main headquarter somewhere in America. However, this strong point of franchising becomes KK main disadvantage in Indonesia.

KK looses to J.Co (the local branded donuts chain store) simply because J.Co modifies the recipe which at first tasted similar to KK donuts. J.Co listens to the customers complains about how its donuts are too sweet and changed the recipe to become less sweet… And what do you know, it works. Now KK chain stores in Indonesia couldn’t follow suit isn’t it? How’s that for franchising becoming the easy money people would hope?

I’ve mentioned also about the difficulties of setting up a franchise, especially about location. I ate at Burger King this afternoon, and really wonders about why oh why Burger King closed down so many years ago… Apparently there are lots of people eating there, and I don’t see a reason why they left, considering this must be a franchise, thus taste will not differ that drastically in just a short time. So this short minded brain of mine started to theorize a bit.

Burger King chain stores in Jakarta are available in the best, most glamour shopping place around, the Senayan City and Grand Indonesia. How about back then? Well, back then Burger King was available at Kelapa Gading Mall… Not the most glamorous place then or even now as a matter of fact. So does desirability location affect Burger King so bad it just went out so many years ago? Perhaps, but I need to delve in further with the many resource I have.

Oh about marketers go to hell thing… I really mean it.

Next week! Super Salesman, is there such a thing? Actually it has to do with my recent visit to a Suzuki dealership. With such a keen intention writing about how good Suzuki products nowadays, I was really surprised when I visited one of its dealership… Well, you can guess I’m going to rant.

Preemptive Claim in Marketing

Preemptive claim… Now where did I heard about that… I heard about preemptive strike, it’s where A strikes B on the basis that A fears that B is going to attack them (with or without proof). Or there is the preemptive measure in medical term where you are injected with a certain vaccine to be stronger or completely avoid a particular diseases. So what is preemptive claim in marketing means? Well, I couldn’t find one on my extensive selection of marketing books (actual figure: 3) back at home. However I heard my father mentioned about this term a lot, and well, it is quite true.

According to my father preemptive claim means that you claim something that is general in its sense but as an attribute to an existing product or brand. For example, in Indonesia there is mineral water company that claims its product is beneficial to health… Well, we all know that human body needs water to sustain its day to day function. So how come the water company claims like other brands/products is not beneficial to health then? Well, actually all mineral water is beneficial to health, regardless of what brand it is. But preemptively claiming something means that in all due respect, competing brand cannot use the same claim anymore. Because if they did use the claim, the company will be branded as a clear “me-too” which will benefit the claim originator.

Yamaha used the claim of “otomatis duluan” or in english: “The first matic scooter” on its Yamaha Mio marketing campaign. But what do you know, Yamaha isn’t the first company to sell an automatic scooter, but Kymco, a Korean marque was. However, Kymco used the slogan “automatic pioneer. So does preemptive claim in marketing is a moot point? Well, it depends. Claiming something that is general in its sense are a tricky thing. In the case of Yamaha and Kymco, both wanted to be recognized as the first at something related to automatic scooters. However both uses a different approach of the claim. Yamaha claims as the first automatic scooter, whereas Kymco claims as the pioneer. Is there something wrong there? Does Yamaha breach the claim as the first provider of automatic scooter? No.

One have to be highly observable in the marketing world. It is true that Kymco was the first pioneer of automatic scooter in Indonesia, but Yamaha also the first automatic scooter provider AMONG the Japanese motorbikes marque… AHA! There you go, a loophole that nobody knows. You see, being a marketer is like being a lawyer, in that you need to take advantage of the underlying small words and exploits it to no end.

Hey… Who said being a marketer won’t lead you to hell? At least wherever lawyers go when they die, they will see a lot of marketing people there too.

Edit: I’ve been asked by my readers for who is this father of mine which I based the logic of this article. Thankfully, my father is a double Doctorate degree holder in economics and communication and he wrote books about marketing communication principles (the other version). So at least I can attest by his input on the matter.

Suzuki, The Champion Of Rational Thinkers

Let’s make things straight here first okay… I love Honda, my passion is Honda, I dream of working for Honda, but I couldn’t help to fall to the tease of Suzuki and their offerings lately, especially the four wheel vehicles they are selling.

Growing up with Honda really makes it stick in my head for sooooooo many years, even though it does not erode until now, the thought of owning cars other than Honda just recently grew up on me. Suzuki never had a brand recognition as strong as Honda or Toyota here in Indonesia. What Suzuki is well known for here is the Suzuki Carry that is being used as a public transportation around “puncak” area. The Carry are well known because the fact that it is a 1 (one) liter/1000cc engine but carries a maximum of 7 passengers with relative ease on mountainous area (puncak means mountain in english). The reliability and the die hardness of the car puts Suzuki quite high in brand recognition… But alas, as a commuter/business vehicle.

On the other side of the spectrum, on its passenger cars, Suzuki is not known for reliability or advance technology, unlike Toyota with its very well known reliability and Honda’s advance VTEC frugality. Subjectivity aside, the last generation small sedan from Suzuki (Baleno Next-G) even got beaten for its design and technological aspect by Toyota Vios and Honda City. All seemed pretty clear where Suzuki was heading, but suddenly Suzuki came up with a new slogan and Swift, the first of a slew changes that will define Suzuki in the near future.

Suzuki now has a new slogan, “Way of Life”, and with it came a complete revolution of how things are made by Suzuki. The Swift was Suzuki first try on completely change its approach on designing a car. Gone are the pudgy looks that haunts Suzuki products, in are the European go-kart look of a car, hinting at everybody who are looking it that a car can be attractive yet convey a sense of passion along the way. The Swift is by no means utilitarian like Honda Fit/Jazz, it has small boot at the back, and the second row seats are cramped for anybody taller than 160cm, but from the outside… It’s whole lot different story. While Honda design the Fit to look cute deliberately, Suzuki designs the Swift to look macho and very boy racer-ish. Then there is the new X-factor, or rather called the SX-4, another unique and category buster car from Suzuki. While the SX-4 took the same Swift chassis and making it a bit longer and giving second row seating a better leg room, it also bust the segment of city car by introducing crossover concept, combining SUV stance and city car altogether. The result? A strange city car that is smaller than the medium class cars but have stance like SUV… This actually makes the car looks like a half size MPV… Or something, it bust the segment and defines a new one anyway.

So what makes me wanting a Suzuki after all this year being a Honda fan boy? Well, the first thing is now I am more of a rational guy. The Suzuki SX-4 is priced at around Rp 165 Million (around US$16500), it has on board computer to calculate fuel consumption, steer mounted audio control, ABS+EBD, and a dual airbag. Its smaller brethren, the Swift came in at Rp 145 Million (around US$14500) with the same stuff available on the SX-4. Now let’s take an example of Honda Fit/Jazz; For a similarly equipped car, the Fit/Jazz came in at Rp 170 Million (around US$17000) minus on board computer to calculate fuel consumption and steer mounted audio control.

If I wanted to replace my Jazz, I might go for the Swift because I don’t need the extra boot space anyway and I don’t have a lot to spend… I think the latter is the appropriate reason. Yes Honda or Toyota products have better resale value, but down the line,the difference only hovers around 5-10% of 5 years depreciation, and by that time I will have enough money to upgrade to something more roomy (might be another Honda though).

For now, Suzuki trump card is just that, value for money. How they achieve that is just a no brainer… Everything that is inside the Swift and SX-4 is basically the same technology available since 5 years ago on the original Aerio/Aerio Sedan/Baleno. The M15A engine which features a cam changing VVT mechanism is just refined and the automatic transmission is still the same 4matic technology featured on the cars I mention earlier. Using the same technology is not incapability of Suzuki to offer a new one, but if you can refine an existing technology, making it more bulletproof, why use something new that is unproven? Most of all, by using tried and true technology, Suzuki does not have to incur investment cost to bottomline price of its products. This rational thinking of Suzuki really goes with my current disposition towards the world after all.

Anywho… If I do replace my car with a Suzuki, rest assured, you will know me for I will definitely place “do you have a Honda” sticker at the rear glass. Honda will always stay, for the better or for worse… Even if it’s just a sticker. Until I have enough money, the Power of Dreams will be my driving force, to be united again with the one (brand) I desire most. Why is there tears coming down from my eyes… Shoot… Sometimes I get sentimental too fast, but letting go of a dream is quite hard… I’ve always wanted a used 04′ Civic or even an 01′ CR-V, heck! A Honda City would be fine, but I have my priorities now, and my personal dreams are met with conditional real world demands.

Franchise or not to Franchise… That is the question

Franchising, do you really need it? It’s a tale as old as time, as taking franchise promises the easiness of plunging straight into the hard boiled business world with little preparation. To open up a franchise, you only need a big start up capital and the rest will fall in order because buying a franchise means you buy everything from the know how (the recipe if it’s a restaurant), and the how to (the management process), is it not? Well, that’s just wrong.

Opening up a franchise involves a lot more work than people might expect. First of all, there is the human resource aspect that is not made available by the franchiser; we have to search for the employee to work for us by ourselves. Remember, weak under performing employee will never get you nowhere even if you buy the best franchise around. Then there is the geography problem, a place where you want to open up the business. We have to think about the ease of access, the surrounding locale, and the desirability of the location. Lastly there is the problem of who is in charge of it all? Certainly we need to know at least what is the nature of the business if we did not want to be bamboozled by the operating manager because our lack of knowledge operating the business.

You guys can look up for the pros and cons of franchising on the net. But I want to press about the cons of franchising using a unique example of franchising in Indonesia.

Krispy Kreme, and McDonald are two of the biggest franchise name in the world. However only one of those franchiser that thrives in Indonesia, and it is not Krispy Kreme. McDonald has the first mover advantage, being the first burger joints available anywhere in Indonesia, since late 1980s… Or something (forgot). However, Krispy Kreme is not so bad after all, being the third donuts chain store in Indonesia after Dunkin Donuts and Indonesia’s very own J.Co, even though KK came on a very late time (just two years ago).

When J.Co was introduced around three-four years ago, it became an instant hit overnight as people flock and queue long lines to buy just half a dozen of donuts. Hot on the tails of J.Co success is America’s leading donuts chain store, KK. Please pardon my lack of knowledge about who owns KK in Indonesia, but suffice to say it is still a franchised chain store therefore franchise traits are still applicable. So today marks the two years J.Co and KK has waged war to garner donuts lover into their shop, and wanna bet who wins? Well, it’s J.Co, the new startup Indonesian company.

The unique advantage of franchising sometimes is also its downfall in the case of KK in Indonesia. J.Co was rumored to use KK recipe to make its donuts before KK open up its store in Indonesia. However, once KK arrived, shortly after J.Co came up with a new recipe that is less sweet than the “competing brand”, and we know who that is. As a franchise company, KK cannot change its recipe, because that was franchising is all about, bringing the unique taste of the franchiser to anywhere in the world. This limited creativity is noted as one of the cons of franchising[1].

My family and friends love the less sweet taste of J.Co compared to KK, and the effects are as clear as a sunshiny day. KK customers dwindles, and in places where there are both KK and J.Co, like in Senayan City, you can see the void of visitors on KK but the same cannot be said to J.Co. KK even go as far as buying one dozen of donuts, you will get two dozens more… That is downright crazy. Well, you can say it is a promotional event, but I think it has going on for more than half a year.

So franchising in the case of J.Co and KK is not really a good thing isn’t it? Well, I am impartial in this issue, but if I have to take side, I’m going to say that franchising is not an option in the case of J.Co Vs KK. J.Co without the ties of franchise has the unlimited creativity to cater with the constant change of market demand. So why McDonald thrives? It is after all a franchise company too… Yes, it is a franchise company, but the franchiser (McDonald of America) has policies to let the franchisee expand its product portfolio. That is why McDonald has/had “local specialties” such as pork burger in Thailand, and Rendang beef burger in Indonesia.

As such, franchising is a prospect that needs to be taken carefully. One must weigh the pros and cons carefully and most important thing is the franchiser’s willingness to adapt to future situation. If you adapt (like McDonald), you will survive, if you just stick to your brand identity… Well, people don’t eat intangible things.


Amusing lines found on the internet

I just found this…

Welcome to the Internet! Where men are men, women are men, and children are FBI agents

And I made this…

If small European city cars are coffin, what makes a motorcycle? An open casket!

The last line of jokes actually belittle two Asian made small car on an automotive forum, but as I am Asian… All hail Asians! Buy a Harley.

Weekend rollade and what it is all about…

So a friend of mine asked about the weekend rollade and what it is all about. I said to him that on my blog I wrote up two or more unfinished article and concludes it on the weekend rollade section usually every weekend. Then he asked more about why rollade? Well I answer him that I wan to use a snazzy term like roll up, or “it’s a wrap” like those movie directors said after shooting the last part of a movie. Because I like to cook, I said to him I use rollade, to symbolize the closing of a weekend by rolling a piece of meat, just like a rollade…

And what do you know, he asked, “isn’t that roulade not rollade?” I ponder for a while, and try acting cool yet dumb at the same time, after which I said to him “is that your blog?” It’s mine, I can do whatever and write everything I like. I can even delete an entry each time I like… MWAHAHAAHAHAHA, this is my world!

… Okay… I will change it this weekend.

How do you solve a problem? More corny terms!

So how do you approach a problem? Problem approach is a unique phenomenon, we face it everyday, we will face problems in our lifetime, and if I might guess, you have a problem right now. But how do we approach that particular problem…? Well, none of my business really, but let me share a basic approach to solve a problem.

First there’s the shotgun approach

Yes, this corny termed approach define a problem approach just like how as shotgun buck shot explodes out of the barrel and onto the target. A shotgun buck shot spreads uncontrolled and wherever you aim, you can only target a general area where you expect at least one round of that shot hits the center of the target. There’s also the heavy recoil of the shotgun so your second shot might not be at the same position you took the first shot. Using the analogy of the shotgun, a shotgun approach is just like that, you approach a problem with little consideration and with many trial and errors. Using this approach means that at least when you try to approach a problem hard enough you’ll eventually lead to a conclusion but at the cost of time and effort if you didn’t get it right the first time

Then the sniping approach

Another corny term with similar corny definition. A sniper is the most patient people on earth, as when they want to kill a target, they have to wait for the right time and calculates everything from distance, angle of attack, range, wind speed, even he have to calculate the rhythm of his breath. More often than not, 90% of a sniper hit will be a bull’s-eye, straight to the intended target. So what does it have in common with the sniping approach? D’oh! The sniping approach is altogether different with the shotgun approach whereas using the latter you try to approach and solve a problem with a barrage of ideas, but using the former you take only one or two ideas and solve it with a timely manner.

These approaches differ on a very basic level but are trying to achieve the same goal. When you use a shotgun approach, most of the time you don’t think carefully of what specific problem you are dealing with. But with a barrage of ideas you will eventually solve a problem, and hey, if you are lucky you will solve it as soon as the problem arises. But there it is… There is luck involve on using shotgun approach, so if you are unlucky you will even get nowhere with the problem.

The sniping approach generally takes longer to execute and deals with a problem. Using this approach people will think carefully about which way they are going to take to solve the problem. People don’t just blurbs out ideas, but they take calculated risk, figuring out the pros and cons of each idea carefully. So this is why that “silent” type of people generally talks very little but always comes up with the best of ideas.

But let’s get into the real world shall we? What do you think people will appreciate more, those who solve problem using the shotgun approach or using the sniping approach? Well, off course people will always ask for the swiftest of response, and this is the part where the world is a crazy place to live in. Taken straight from my experience, people appreciates if you answer a problem fast and wrong rather than answering it later but right. It’s not about the result nowadays, but your effort that counts… Is that even right at all? Well, according to me, NO, but it’s how the world turns nowadays.

I may be a bitter man, but how in hell can somebody that answers a wrong answer be appreciated more? Well, it’s a result oriented world, therefore people will always have to answer fast to be taken seriously. So don’t wonder at all if your colleague got promoted because he’s a loud mouth with stupid ideas whereas you think you can do better. The best course of action is to practice expressing your thought using small exercises… Just like what I’m doing now. This blog is a place to train my brain by exploiting small ideas and making it bigger. The goal is to answer a problem fast, but not actually solving it… Confused? It’s a preemptive claim actually, here’s a fine example: When you are in a team and the team is given a question, you blurbs first using a partial idea you have and finish it later. The goal here is to get you recognized first, and by mentioning an unfinished idea, you can polish it to a complete and final one.

A quick unfinished idea will always be better than a finished stupid idea. Just train your brain so you can achieve that state where you can respond fast with a directed problem approach. Don’t let that loud mouth pass over you to that General Manager’s chair.

Phew, a complete article without using weekend rollade…