Marketing Idea No. 10 – Extending the Mama Halim business into an international brand

This idea is contributed by Toffael Rashid, Director of Innovation,  Pepsico Asia 

Which name stands for delicious halim in our mind? Unanimously, “Mama Halim”.

Therefore its a pity that Mama halim is just one store serving a limited number of city dwellers – not an international brand serving canned halim to all over the world. Whose stopping them? Probably themselves – and low awareness of the power of branding.

The Idea

1. Take Mama Halim and turn it into a International brand, available in cans in super markets and ready to be exported

2. Take Mama Halim and make it a chain store serving millions of Bengali’s all over the world.

Fakhruddin biriani is on the right path – thats why they have just opened an outlet in Singapore.

Marketing idea no. 9 – Branding the flower business in Bangladesh

A flower a day makes the problem go away. Everybody gives flowers. Everybody gets flowers. Nobody is branding flowers. Criminal!

Here are three very important facts about flower branding in Bangladesh

1. In occasions people give a bunch of flowers – not just one, wrapped in some paper, plastic or other form of packaging. And where there is packaging, there is scope for branding. Why not a distinct colored package (Like Tiffany does with their diamonds), that will stand out and immediately anyone will recognise that it is from that Brand?

2. When people receive beautifully packaged flower, they dont throw away the package – rather they keep it as it is. So – long term visibility of your flower brand.

3. Flower is the universal symbol of love. So any flower company can broaden their scope from being in the flower business to being in the “love” business and most importantly – DEMAND A PRICE PREMIUM.

Organizations who can benefit from this idea

We have flower stores like Malancho in our country, but they are hardly into branding. Is there any difference from a Malancho flower than any other flower? There could have been – if they had branded themselves. The same applies for any aspiring flower business in the country

Marketing Idea No. 8 – CEO should become CBO (Chief Branding Officer)

With an average shelf life of about 19 months, the role of modern CEO is one big question mark.

Lets disect. Chief Executive Officer – by the name itself it pre-determines that CEO should play a big role in execution of plans. But with the sole responsibility of creating a lofty vision and direction for the company to follow, the role of CEO should be more of planning – not of implementation. If so, isnt the name CEO sends contradictory messages?

Lets dig some more. At one hand we are saying that we should create a compelling brand experience at every consumer touchpoint by delivering the brand value through every customer interaction. But, isnt the only person who can control each and every aspect of brand experience through each and every interaction is the CEO – or lets just say the person we refer as “CEO”? If so, isnt branding becoming too big a deal for the more conventional Brand Manager and Brand departmental structure? 

The big question mark – Can brand manager control each and every aspect of the business interaction that takes place between customer and the brand – sales, service, hotline attending ritual, invoice preparations, dealer management? Most organizational brand managers – if not all- cannot.

The Big Idea

Time has come to rethink the role and name of CEO. Since he is very much the planning, strategy and branding guy – and not an implementation guy – there is no point in calling him CEO. Also, since in 21st century his job will be solely maintaining a healthy brand, why not make it officially his business? Why the charade of calling him CEO?

Organizations that can benefit from this idea

CEOs of the world – listen up! 

Marketing Idea No. 7 – To break through clutter Creativity is the answer, not strategy

Sounds contradictory coming from a Brand guy like me, but there is some logic behind it (That itself sounds corny, “Logic to prove that creativity is more important than strategy”!!!! Cant help it!) There is no denying that strategy is required and essential. But there is an age-long debate, which is most important Strategy or Creativity. We all have our views about it. So does Piyush Pandey, Group Chairman and National Creative Director of O&M – one of the most creative persons that came from this side of Himalayas. And i think he summed it up pretty well in favor of …surprise, surprise…..Creativity.

“Anyone who believes that strategy is more important than creative is an idiot. And you can quote me on that. The more edgy and different the advertising is, the more it sells.

The Big Idea rules. Creativity is something that helps reduce marketing costs. People are not realising that in tough times, it is great advertising that helps and not safe advertising. In times when the industry is in a slump and budgets are low, safe advertising needs to be run several times to make an impact. That leads to increase in spends. If the advertising is edgy, it can be re-run and rotated over intervals of time without boredom setting in. The freshness of the advertising remains intact. The important thing is to execute the big idea in its most required fashion. If you do that, you will be able to run the big idea less often and for longer periods of time.”

Organizations that can benefit from this idea

Any company who is willing to put their money to make an impact, rather than play it safe can benefit. Specially FMCG companies, who are fighting for mindshare with giants like Unilever or Reckitt can greatly benefit. 

Marketing Idea 6 – Sound Branding – Create brand exposure through sound

Everyone is saying that media is getting cluttered. True, but only regarding the amount of media exposure we see.

The prospect might be turned off by too many things to see. That leaves us with an option of letting him “hear” the brand – not only see it. And that is what Sound Marketing is all about. It is about creating identity based on sound, and market it to the extent that every-time prospect hears the sound, it amounts to 1 brand impression. 

In a city full of billboards, this might be the perfect strategy. Remember the Nokia message Beep tone? Well, who doesn’t?  How about the Windows OS start up tune when computer opens? How many of you recognize the Airtel theme, one that is prepared by A.R. Rahman? These are all powerful Sound Marketing examples, one that has broken conventional media wisdom and created instant brand impressions that will be hard to match.  In recent years, consumer purchase decisions have become more weighted towards emotional attributes rather than functional benefits. Music is a powerful medium that can bring the emotional qualities of products and services to life and help activate a Brand promise. In that respect, Sound Marketing serves dual purpose. It helps break the clutter by appealing to a totally different sense (the ear) with the brand message, also it helps the brand to emotionally connect with the customer. In an insanely visually crowded society, this might be the sanest media choice. 

 Organizations that might benefit from this idea

Big brands – Lux, Close Up, Dettol….where is your sound identity? Isnt it about time you have one? 

Marketing Idea No. 5 – Create a new category called Honest Advertisement and own it

I know what you are thinking, “Since when are advertisers known for honesty?” Well my answer is, in the age of continously increasing cynicism towards advertisements, isnt it about time that someone stands up and do something about it and earn some much required honesty points. Is there any better way to differentiate?

McCann Eriksson., one of the biggest ad agency networks in the world, had this slogan – “Truth well told”. In my mind, that should be what advertising is all about. You take an average truth and turn it into a well shot, well cratfted truth.

But saying “It prevents wrinkle upto 92% more” in the headline and somewhere, in an invisible corner of the communication it is written “Based on the laboratory test on 54 women” does not measure up as truth. Saying “Our product is the Car of the year” and then mentioning its based on the ranking done by an anonymous magazine, does not measure up as truth. Its manipulation of truth also known as half-lie.

 And its about time advertisers understand audience is smart enough to know these differences

Every company mission statement has the word transperency and trustworthy written all over it. But as a customer when we think about it, no company just springs in our mind as a company that speaks 100% truth 100% of the time.

And thats a big opportunity.

Organizations that can benefit from this idea

Big advertisers and ad agencies, wake up! If you understand the power you will get from the positioning of “Honest Advertisers” in an era of cynicism, than start work on it immediately.    

Marketing Idea No. 4 – Billboard that provides electricity

The problem

We have acute electricity problems. And we have way too many billboards.


Outdoor agencies use commercial power to light up the billboards. What they can simply do, is give some of that power, lets say for 3 -4 hours a day, to illumintae any house just beside that billboard. In so doing, the agency itself can earn some much needed soft spots. And more importantly, some family will have a readymade solution to a problem that should not have been there in the first place – electricity.

Apart from commercial power, billboards can be devised to generate and store solar power generated electricity, which again can be passed on for personal consumption

Organizations that can benefit from this idea

Any OOH agency, Rupayon, Advance Ad or anyone else, can gain from this idea in this very competitive OOH category. Also some corporate houses can gain valuable CSR points by letting the billboards that they use to advertise be used for this purpose

Marketing Idea No. 3 – If we can have Reality TV, why not reality based books, drama and cinema?

Let’s imagine. Humayun Ahmed is writing his new book. But rather than creating a fictional family, he uses your name, your family, your home, your life and everything related to you – wouldnt that be great?

Thats the idea of reality based books – even drama or cinema. Imagine how important you would feel. And imagine how much publicity that will create for the book or drama.

The execution is simple – the writer of the drama or books invites people to send their life story with details to him. Everybody wants their 15 minutes of fame – so it is safe to assume that people will want to star in a cinema or book big time and send a lot of entries. The huge uproar that creates will ensure that at least those who submitted their name for that book will buy the book and will definitely recommend people to buy it. Therefore, even before the launch the writer or publisher or producer can ensure a huge ready audience for the book or drama – making it an instant hit even before its launched. The novelty of the idea means people will talk about it a lot. And most importantly – it can make any average family a star – something that most of us dream of.

Organizations that can benefit from the idea 

By all means – any writer, publisher, cinema script writer, producer of drama, network executive – anyone can reap the benefits of this idea.

Marketing Idea No. 2 – Extend the dying book business into audio book business

The problem ( For Book industry…actually a very big problem)

None has time to read books, although everybody admits reading book helps. If only, time permits…they probably would have.


People are into listening big time, especially youth, the biggest segment that has moved away from reading. The book generation is slowly and gradually becoming the I Pod generation.


Its a given assumption that books need to be read. But to be true to the concept, books are just a media of spreading knowledge – and that not necessarily has to be read.

It can be listend to by people.

Lets launch audio books, which is simply transforming the books into audio format. The books will be narrated by different voice artists playing different voice roles. As a result of that, we can create a whole new market for books – people who are interested in gathering knowledge from books but dont have the time to read.

Companies who can benefit from the idea

I remember how big Sheba Prokashoni used to be when i was young. But today’s youth are into a whole new set of media. Therefore, any book publisher or book distributer in Bangladesh   – ranging from Ananya Prokashoni to Etc. can greatly benefit from this.

Marketing Idea No. 1 – Creating a specialized outsourcing business

According to Peter Drucker, the management guru, every business has two basic functions : innovate and market. The rest they can outsource.

Outsourcing is big business in western countries, but not here. Here we make the mistake of controlling all aspects of our business. But apart from basic marketing, we can outsource the procurement, manufacturing and finance,  not to mention HR and IT activities to third parties who can manage this business on our behalf. That will help companies to focus on the core aspect only – creating and marketing great products.

Organizations who can benefit from this idea

All the IT companies in Bangladesh can approach the big organizations like Grameenphone and manage their entire IT operations. Again Head Hunting agencies like Monwar Associates can broaden their scope and look after the entire HR operations of a particular company.

The learning is we can create a new company who will not manage their business, but manage other people’s business on behalf of them. This is a vacant area that must be explored