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The art of becoming a good salesman

New Delhi, Aug. 22: Remember the days when Lalitaji would tell you how buying one brand of detergent meant ‘samajhdari’ or the little moppet girl would extol how ‘utterly butterly’ delicious a particular brand of butter was' But advertisers now have a tough choice to make between brand ambassadors and icons.

Are celebrity brand ambassadors spoiling the turf for brand icons' Have Lalitaji of Surf fame, the Amul girl and ‘Gattoo’ of Asian Paints been upstaged by the ‘Khans’ of Bollywood like Shah Rukh and Aamir and other celebrity endorsers like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid'

When advertising guru Alyque Padamsee popped the question at a marketing summit, there was initially a hushed silence: and then the unequivocal response from the audience was ‘Yes!’

With changing times, the transformation of the Unique Selling Proposition to the Unique Strategic Personality has been swift and demanding.

In a clear ringing voice, Padamsee said, “With the economy going into a recession, the customer is no longer the king but the emperor,” followed by “Long live the TUPIE instead of the old Yuppie”. TUPIE, he explained, stood for-technology savvy, user-friendly, price sensitive, internationally aware and entertainment-hungry.

According to Padamsee, the consumer in this century is more technology driven. Companies should soon learn to follow the dictum of shareholder relationship management instead of just customer relationship management. “Talking ATMs, virtual showrooms, CD burners, speech recognition and video on mobile are some of the IT originated terminologies which now our consumers are well-aware of,” said the ad guru.

“When technology and imagination go together it gets savvy,” he added.

“When Sabir Bhatia could start from $ 5,000 and in two years time sell Hotmail to information technology giant Microsoft, I am sure there are other guys who can do good as well.”

Stressing that a user-friendly product makes life a whole lot easier for the consumers, Padamsee said people are overtly fond of the concept of tele-banking, home-banking, dial-a-plywood, credit cards and Net banking. “You don’t need a ubiquitous piece of plastic to write when you can work on the Net!”

Coming to speak of price-sensitivity, Padamsee said, “With the ongoing recession, the concept of two-free-with-one is creating stiff competition in the market and marketers who don’t realise this now will soon land up in debt marketing.” Giving the example of $ 1 store mall shopping concept existing in America, he said if not $ 1 then surely a $ 5 shopping mall is expected to hit India soon.

Percolating down to the internationally aware audience, Padamsee said: “Thanks to the foreign brands that are coming in, we now have products varying from Cartier watches priced between Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh for a single watch to Coke which sells for just Rs 10. That’s the kind of brand choice the consumers now have”.

The last but not the least, he said, was the concept of an excitement-hungry audience that is constantly looking out for vibrant choices. The journey from Benetton to Killer Jeans has been well-accepted by consumers who are not only on the look-out for something new but also innovative at the same time. The more versatile the brand, the bigger the response.

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