Top 5 Strategic Initiatives of 2009

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!

The News Makers of 2009

2009 is on his way out. Here is my take on the 10 most featured and most discussed news makers of India in 2009. Remember, this is only my take on the people, places, parties and things. Enjoy!

  • Ajmal Aamer Kasab: A guy like hi needs no introduction. Unlike the others who accompanied him through the sea route, created a havoc on Mumbai on 26/11/2008 and died for their cause, Ajmal Kasab was captured alive and looks all set to very much remain alive for the year 2009 too. The shoddy governance and the inability of the police to frame the case means Kasab keeps doing the U turns on his confessions and enjoys a protected stay, savoring Chicken Biryani. Shame on us and our judiciary system.
  • Chandrayaan: This has been a major boost to India’s mission to moon, or should I say ISRO and its space programs. After already spending close to some $ 80 million on the project, the shuttle final entered the Moon’s orbits and boy, what a job it did. The ISRO scientists not only claimed but proved that indeed they found water on moon. It came as a shock initially to every other nation. But later it was confirmed and accepted even by NASA. Chandrayaan 1 has made us a lot proud. Chandrayaan 2 is already in progress and slated for a launch in Dec, 2013.
  • Sonia Gandhi, Dr. Manmohan Singh and Congress: It makes me wonder, why is the Congress government elected time and again? There are many people like me. But none have the answers. So I have no choice but to accept the good performances by Dr. Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi yet again. Despite the terror attacks and the instability, Congress managed to come back to power and is very much likely to stay. AT least we have a stable government. I’m happy.
  • Sachin Tendulkar and the Indian Cricket Team: Indian team and Sachin Tendulkar were both in the news for long time this year. Although they could not repeat the success of the T20 championship they won two years back, they did scale new heights by convincingly beating almost all the teams they played against (including Australia) and captured the pinnacle of test cricket rankings in November after they beat Sri Lanka. Sachin Tendulkar surpassed the world record of being the highest run scorer in test cricket beating Brian Lara and also completed his 20 years in international cricket. I think he might have easily surpassed the definition of a Legend as well.
  • Large Hadron Collider: I simply dont know what to comment on this one. It simply created a lot of furore and panic around the world. But nothing really happened. The had scheduled a second run in November. I’m sure it was successful. But what was the end result of it? Has it answered the fundamental question of the existence? WIll it answer in future? I’m sure we will hear more of it in future.
  • Stock Exchanges, Dr. Y V Reddy and Dr. Subbarao: That name Dr. Y V Reddy appears there in the heading because I think he was largely responsible to prevent India and Indian banks from going down the recession drain. Dr. Subbarao, who took over from Dr. Reddy as the governor of RBI had himself acknowledged the fact that it was difficult for him to match what Dr. Reddy had done. But he indeed matched. The stock market did plummet to 8 thousand some thing, but bounced back and thank fully doing well. India is credited today for largely keeping the economy stable despite difficult economic conditions. All credit to Dr. Reddy, Dr. Subbarao and and the financial planners
  • Tiger Woods: Again, need I say more? A person who redefined golfing also went ahead and redefined the serial monogamy. The stories of his casanova acts are dominating the world news papers today. And there are so many, it might even over shadow Giovanni Jacopo Casanova, the original one 🙂
  • The Copenhagen Summit: Climate change is the prime concern today and will remain a prime concern unless we dramatically or radically change the way things are. The summit was attended by the UNFCCC member countries. They did arrive on an ‘agreement’ drafted by US, India, China, Brazil and South Africa, named as ‘Copenhagen Accord’. However it was only recognised and not accepted. This becomes another reference and another conference, meaning Climate change issue will resurface soon.
  • Shiney Ahuja, Ruchika, Jessica Lal, Aarushi: All of them have been criminal cases, some recent and some long pending. Top story earlier was the denial of bail for Shiney Ahuja, who is accused of raping his minor maid. Recently the Jessica Lal murder case and the Ruchika molestation case has been reopened. The debate still goes on. The talking point, in my opinion is, there are many other Ruchikas and Jessicas around us. We need to reopen them all. This is why most of the common people do not believe in Indian Judiciary.
  • The bollywood flops: There have been many. Consider this, 138 films have been released in 2009, and only 4 of them can be classified as hits. Sorry state, isn’t it? Bollywood was not even helped by the ongoing feud between the distributors and producers as well. But that remains the story. It started with Ghajini (released in Dec 2008), then we saw Love Aaj Kal, Ajab Prem ki Ghazab Kahani, New York and finally 3 Idiots. And all of them have been differently made movies. I think the KJo’s and the Chopras of Bolly world need to under stand this. The viewer is short of patience. SO dont show us another Kurbaan or a Dilli 6. Dont teach us… entertain us!

So thats me Mayur signing off 2009 on a happy note. Happy new year to you all. Ta!