First and foremost, I’d like to wish all of you a very happy and prosperous New Year 2010. In continuation to my post on ‘The News Makers of 2009’, here is my take on the top five Marketeers of 2009. These are the people or things, which propelled themselves to the News Makers Category by smart strategic marketing, planning and adept publicity.
- Ratan Tata and the Nano: “Two year ago, I made a promise to the people of India that I’ll surely make and deliver a car within the budgets of every common Indian. Lot of things changed in the process, including the ever increasing prices of the raw materials. But a promise once made is a promise delivered. Here is my reward, the Nano, India’s people car worth only a lack rupees.” This is what Ratan Tata said during the launch of the most awaited car of the decade. Lot of things were said about it, lot of opposition was garnered. But Ratan Tata managed to overcome every thing, including recession and managed to ruffle enough feathers in the Indian auto mobile market. The car too lived up to its pre launch buzz. Though we are yet to see Nano’s flooding the Indian roads, largely due to the fracas between ‘Didi’ Mamta Banerjee and Ratan Tata for land acquisition in Singur. Eventually Nano moved its base from East to West and now will be mass produced from Sanand in Gujarat.
- Raj Thackeray, MNS and the Bhaiyyas: Raj Thackeray sure knows how to create a noise around himself and the places where he dominates. It is however a long debate to decide if it is a right noise. In any case, Raj who was badly beaten in the polls last season came back strongly to unsettle even those who had their feet deeply routed in Maharashtra politics. From beating the bhaiyyas out of the RRB exams to threatening Amitabh Bachchan & Karan Johar to beating Abu Azmi in full public view in the Vidhan Sabha swearing in ceremony for allegedly not taking the oath in Marathi, Raj has come a long way. His smart marketing techniques has taken the wind out of the Shiv Sena bastions. His party MNS was instrumental in BJP-Shivsena alliance’s whitewash in Mumbai in Lok sabha polls. Whereas 13 MLAs from MNS went on to win their seats in the Vidhan Sabha polls. I think Raj should win the top marketing award hands down.
- Ramalinga Raju and Satyam: Dont be surprised to see his name in the list of top marketeers. He indeed was one of the best industrialists who built a name to reckon with… and later to disown with. Credited with one of the largest frauds in the technology sector in the world, Raju is currently suffering from a heart attack and is in jail in Hyderabad. Idolised by many, he is a cursed personality today. But you can not undermine the sheer strategic brilliance in what he did to make Satyam what is is today, or was one year back. He siphoned off the money from Satyam and used it to fund his infrastructure ambitions in Maytas (opposite of Satyam). When things started getting off hand, he tried merging the two companies to cover up. But he failed to do so. Now any one else would have still remained at the helm of the company and tried to slowly sort every thing out. However Raju was smart. He risked criminal proceedings, having gulped a lot of money already, by declaring the fraud and quitting. He knew that this will lead to the collapse of Satyam. Then he would bring in the suitor of his choice to take over at a very cheap rate and let the company resurface again. Smart Raju, except SEBI turned out to be smarter 🙂
- Swine Flu: Didn’t we have enough reasons to panic already? Swine flu added to the misery. Though I failed to understand why the flu was so dangerous. I know for sure that more people die of Malaria and Dengue every year in India than all Swine deaths in the world put together. But of course, anti malarial drugs are available and the doctors have an experience of treating the disease. Swine Flu was new to them. Moreover no anti viral drug was available to treat it. (Closest was Tamiflu.) So it enjoyed the celebrity status in the minds of people and journalists all through out the 2009. People are still suffering. But the initial buzz has died down and now no one bothers to write or read about it. The headline news maker has now settled in the far corners of the internal pages.
- Emergence of Daood Sayed Gilani: Do you have any idea who he is? Not really? Me too. No one knew any thing about this guy, better known as David Coleman Headley until recently. He has been accused of plotting terror strikes on India and other similar terrorist activities. Born to Pakistani father and American mother in Washington in USA, David has spent a considerable time in Pakistan during his years of growing up. Hardly known in connection to the terror strikes until recently, David or Daood changed his name to David Headley in 2006 to facilitate his entry into suspected countries. Travelling on an American passport with American name, he was hardly suspected during his numerous visits to India. He also befriended many celebrities from Bollywood and established his presence here in Mumbai. He is believed to have coordinated the terrorist attacks on Mumbai. One hell of a strategic guy!