Marketing review news
13 February 2004

Motorola pushes handset business in India
US-based telecom company Motorola Inc, is chalking out an aggressive plan to revitalise its handset business in India.

The new plan includes launching 10 new handset models, competitive pricing for entry level handsets and an expanded network of sales, services and distribution network.

According to consumer research firm Gartner, Motorola ranks fourth in the mobile handset market (for the GSM and CDMA handsets) in India. Motorola is the second largest handset player in terms of global market share

New mobile users along with the replacement market provides a great opportunity to telecom players. The Gartner study said Nokia and Samsung held their number one and number two positions respectively while LG and Motorola occupied the third and fourth position in the mobile handset market in India.

MRPL gets nod to set up retail outlets, brand, logo
Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), a subsidiary of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, has received a nod from the Government of India to market transportation fuels in the country under its own name and logo.

MRPL plans to set up 500 petrol stations in the country. Most them will be set up in south and west India, which include 110 each in Karnataka and Maharashtra.

MRPL retail outlets will also come up in eight other states — Kerala (22), Tamil Nadu (56), Andhra Pradesh (56), Goa (12), Gujarat (56), Madhya Pradesh (22), Rajasthan (28) and Haryana (28).

MRPL is the sixth company to have been granted the licence to set up petrol stations in the country.

Taj Group of hotels: global plans
The Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL), has embarked on a plan to strengthen its marketing and sales teams abroad. The aim is to create greater awareness in global markets, which will help the company achieve its global expansion plans.

Recently IHCL has opened sales offices in Dubai and Australia and will shortly open one in Europe. It already has a sizeable presence in the US and UK.

IHCL has commissioned Landor Associates to develop the brand architecture for all the existing hotels after which, the decision would be taken whether or not to change the brand name of the company.

The company is also considering acquiring hotels abroad and its recent $150 million foreign currency convertible bond, oversubscribed by more than 20 times, will give the company more bargaining power to close international acquisition deals faster and further its growth plans.

Big Mac to open outlets in Southern cities
McDonald's is finally moving southwards and expects to open its first outlet at the Forum Mall in Bangalore by the middle of this year.

Officials said the delay in setting up the outlet in the south was due to the setting up of its distribution hub as well as finalising the model for running the operations in the south.

While Connaught Plaza and Hardcastle Restaurants, the two companies which run McDonald's restaurants in the north and western region respectively are joint ventures with McDonald's Inc, the Bangalore outlet will be run on the franchisee model and all investments would come from the franchisee.

Currently, the McDonald's distribution chain is serviced by 32 suppliers, with stuff ranging from breads to lettuce and cheese.McDonald's has 35 restaurants in the north and 21 in the western region.

Group insurance schemes from MetLife
Metlife India Pvt Ltd has launched a group insurance policy aimed at domestic and multinational companies located in the country.

According to company officials, the policy would be customised to meet both employer and employee requirements. The company has branded the policy as Met Group Life.

Hoping that group policies will contribute at least 25 per cent of its premium accretions, MetLife plans to leverage its international relationships and already has arrangements with about 90 top corporates worldwide.

The Indian affiliate has already placed its first policy with Phoenix Global Solutions, a captive software maker for the US parent. However, Metlife does not intend restricting its focus only to multinational companies and will look at a wide spectrum of companies.

Freebies from MTNL
Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd is launching loyalty schemes for its customers. According to the scheme, customers will be given bonus points for loyalty, high usage, early payment of bills and using unified services. These bonus points can be redeemed for attractive gifts.

Through its new schemes, MTNL will offer incentives such as internet account for 250 hours, attractive cordless phones and virtual credit cards in many denominations.

The schemes will be launched in a few days.

Raymond to have shop in shop for its brands
Raymond Apparel Ltd is creating a shop-in-shop for its super premium brand Manzoni within the Raymond's Showroom with the object of creating a niche within the showrooms, and also for giving a distinct identity to Parx and Park Avenue brands.

The company may also set up separate flagship stores for its brands to further the aim of brand identity.

The aim behind having shop-in-shop for Manzoni is to give the super premium brand a better visibility in the showroom.

To begin with, the company will have shop-in-shop for Manzoni in 50 showrooms all over the country in the next couple of months.

The company wants to push the Manzoni brand more prominently in the minds of the customers. Raymond's has a total turnover of Rs 250 crore, of which Manzoni contributes five to seven per cent to the total turnover, while Park Avenue's share is 60 to 65 per cent with the balance coming from Parx.

Samsung India sets aside $2.5 m for Olympics
Samsung India has earmarked $2 million-$2.5 million (approximately Rs 10 crore) this year towards promotional activities.

The expenditure will be spent as sponsorship of the Indian team participating at the Olympics, the Olympic Ratna programme under which five Indian athletes are being provided with scholarship support, and related marketing/advertising activities.

Samsung is the official sponsor (in the consumer electronics, home appliances and telecom category) of the Indian Olympic team to the 2004 Olympics The company is also the world-wide sponsor of the Athens Olympics in the wireless telecommunication equipment category.

Samsung recently stepped up its Olympics campaign by launching the `Run for Ur Dream' nomination programme for the first global torch relay to the Athens Olympics. Through this programme, Samsung is inviting participation from the general public in nominating torchbearers.

Siyarams to expand number of exclusive showrooms
Siyaram Silk Mills Ltd part of the Rs 1,000-crore Siyaram Poddar Group is aggressively chalking out marketing plans to provide competition to global brands that will enter the domestic market next year when the WTO agreements come into force.

For starters it is expanding its number of exclusive showrooms called 'Siyarams' from 20 to 50 across the country within a year. Following this the company is planning to increase its wholesale dealers from 300 to 400 to promote its entire range of products across the country.

Siyaram is also coming out with new products like a new range of polyester viscose suitings with additional specialty fibres such as lycra and linen to provide fine quality suitings to consumers by the summer of 2004.

The company will also upgrade technology for manufacturing the entire range of suitings for which it is sourcing machinery mainly from Germany, Italy and the UK. The aim is to provide its customers with suitings at value-for-money and competitive prices to gain a competitive edge over global brands

Compiled by Mohini Bhatnagar

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