A reality check of corporate gifting domain

Corporate gifting companies in the thriving Noida and surrounding Greater Noida are steadily but surely on the rise. According to a news report, they are all keen to target clients across diverse domains, irrespective of sizes and turnover. In an effort to increase the market share, they are coming up with offbeat, innovative and customized gifting solutions.

From dazzling decorative objects to items that one can put to practical use by customizing the same seems to be the trend. These corporate gifting solutions firms, in fact, are trying every trick in the book to draw attention of finicky corporate clients. Logic here is quite simple: ‘Bigger orders mean higher margins and obviously more profits.

These players mostly work along a defined and focused B2B model. A majority of them are into procurement & retailing of gifts purely backed by a strong supplier-manufacturer base. The business for them tends to be more occasional or seasonal in nature with the peak period being festive occasions such as Holi and Diwali followed by Christmas and the New Year celebrations. On other hand, the regular business is generated from select corporate gathering, promotional events, employee appreciation programs and acknowledging business associates through gifting.

According to the corporate gifting industry players, production processes, labor costs as well as everything around marketing and branding has become expensive. As a result, corporate clients have become choosy when it comes to gifting. They seek research and other inputs instead of mere gift items. Many of them now avoid traditional decorative items, preferring to gift utility products, which are much more affordable.

In backdrop of the fast-changing business environment, gifting industry is obviously facing a new set of challenges. The problem is compounded by the fact that a large part of the industry is still highly unorganized. There is no dearth of ‘fake’ vendors in major metros of India who distort prevailing market rates by offloading low quality products, adding to their woes.

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Why not serve some delicious and palatable stuff?

A nicely arranged food hamper is among today’s most popular corporate gift items, especially in the west. Not surprising that the trend is slowly catching up in India. Most ready-to-eat and packaged food chains like RIL’s Fresh, Godrej – nature’s basket and spencers among others are keen to tap the nascent market. Continue reading

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Clients becoming more selective while picking gifts

According to corporate gifting industry sources, the estimated market size is in the region of Rs12,000 crore for corporate gifts, and the same is projected to increase between 5 to 10 percent annually.

Keeping this in mind, emerging players from the domain are unleashing an array of exciting, end-to-end gifting solutions. The idea is to tap the immense business potential and opportunity in this particular segment that has been still unexplored to a large extent

Of course, the competition is more intense and clients are getting extremely choosy. Those from the metro cities seek customized offerings for the branding purpose. Emphasis on their part is on proper packaging and attractive presentation to enhance their image. Companies located in tier II & III cities owing to constrained budgets are more conservative in approach. But there’s clear realization of the fact that gifts are a must to enhance the brand image.

An elaborate news report in The Economic Times highlights how corporate gifting industry players located in Noida and Greater Noida are gearing up to leverage the vast potential offered by the segment. Based on a series of interviews with the industry insiders, it makes some interesting observations about the current trends and corporate gifting market scenario.

For example, people in metro cities are more tuned to the prevailing market conditions and ground-level realities in terms of what is presently available and in demand, whereas those belonging to tier II and III cities are not averse to go with what is available instead of customizing their gift items because that is not feasible owing to lower budgets. The priority is to cut costs so they crosscheck with different gift providers so as to bargain harder and secure a better deal.

Despite tough market conditions, corporate entities especially from FMCG, travel & tourism, media etc stick to periodic gifting programs since these boost the morale of their business associates, lift the spirit of their employees and help them win client goodwill, thus nurturing mutually beneficial business relations with all stakeholders.

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Branded content as the new ‘tangible’ corporate gift

Corporate gifting has been an integral element of marketing strategies for long, since it’s an effective tool to acquire and hold on to key clients. However, stringent and complex corporate governance policies, in many countries, are hampering the scope for giving and receiving gifts, as it could be construed as a bribe. Continue reading

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Filmmakers try to capitalize on merchandise

Film merchandising has emerged as a major source of promotion and branding for filmmakers, a trend that was prominent during Shah Rukh Khan-starrer ‘Ra.One’. With an idea of reaching out to masses, production houses now go all out, especially to target young movie goers by coming up with catchy products at par with Hollywood hits like Iron Man and Spiderman.

Though an established formula in Hollywood, the Hindi film industry has not been hugely successful with merchandising; Shah Rukh and his innovative production house and Yash Raj Studios have tried to fill the void in this lucrative segment. On the eve of ‘Ra.One’, SRK was quoted as saying, “I’ve always loved collecting memorabilia of my favorite films and am hoping that for our films too, if people like them, they should have the option of collecting good quality merchandise.”

For the film, licenses were let out to different companies. For example, since G.One drew his power directly from the sunlight and was environmentally-friendly, an array of solar charged power decks were conceived. There were the regular magnets, toys, and danglers.

When Bollywood actor Dino Morea’s www.coolmaal.net, a film & celebrity merchandise site was launched, the aim was to access film lovers to cater to the demand for such products. During Dabangg, they had come up with a collection of watches, shades, and tees apart from the Chulbul Pandey line. A tie-up was done with a multiplex chain to ensure that the Dabangg merchandise served as a logical extension of the movie watching experience. The Dabangg 2 app was launched and conetsts were run with cool merchandise to be won for Salman Khan fans.

More and more production houses are eager to launch film memorabilia as well as autographed products even leveraging the reach and power of the Internet. Merchandising is an avenue, which they realize can be tapped for branding and promotion. Everyone obviously will want a slice of a successful production. And if the merchandise is really cool and carries some amount of utility value, it will sure be popular.

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Gift a goregeous musical greeting card

Here’s a heart-warming news bit for true romantics and die-hard film lovers, who can now give away a lovely musical greeting card. It contains tunes and pictures from Yash Chopra’s evergreen films such as Mohabbatein and Veer Zaara. Continue reading

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Give away ‘inspiring stories’ of MFPA artists from India

The original idea behind forming of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists was to sustain themselves through their inherent artistic talents, and to nurture a sense of security, which had eluded them. Blending his business acumen with creative abilities, he established a co-operative body for reproducing its member artists’ work in the form of calendars, cards and books.

Jayantilal Shihora

At the age of 14 he lost both arms in an accident with a firework. He describes the months following as a ‘dark period full of depression’. Five years after his accident he learned that there were artists who could paint with their mouth or feet. With perseverance and diligence he practiced drawing and writing with a pencil in his mouth. Soon afterwards he was able to control both a pencil and paintbrush in his mouth. In 1963 he received a scholarship from the association which gave him the opportunity to begin his studies of the fine arts. In 1964 Jayantilal won the first prize for his artwork. He mainly paints oil and tempera pictures. At first he painted landscapes and sea scenes before focusing on traditional Indian art.

Augustine Swapna

She was born without arms in Kerala in January 1975. Already as a child she made a habit of performing all tasks, including painting and drawing, with her feet. As her talent for art was soon discovered, her parents and teachers gave her the necessary support and encouragement to continue painting when she was only a schoolgirl. Her paintings were published in students’ newsletters and youth magazines.

Ganesh Kumar

At the age of just one, he was affected by polio. Mr. Kumar started painting at the age of 3. He did not attend school but he learned to write and read in English. Everything he does, is self-taught. At the moment Mr. Kumar’s work consists of over 6000 paintings.

Hari Ram Kohli

The artist from Maharashtra fractured his spinal column while doing gymnastic exercises; as a result his limbs remained paralyzed and he became a quadriplegic. In 1978, he started teaching himself to draw and to paint with his mouth. He earned his living by painting greeting cards with his mouth. Mr. Kohli has sold over 5000 original paintings, mostly flower and animal themes till date.

There are several such MFPA artists from India whose inspiring stories are reflected in their beautiful works. By gifting them you are propagating a truly noble cause.

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Magnificent Mouth and Foot Painting Artists’ work for corporate gifting

The seeds of the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists cooperative were sown in 1956. This was the year when a polio-stricken mouth artist, Erich Stegmann, brought together a small group of disabled painters from eight countries of Europe, spreading its wings around the world including India. Their branded objects will make a perfect gift, signifying your commitment to a great cause.

The association has been operational in India since 1980.The Indian arm is a member of the International Association that runs its affairs from the headquarters in Liechtenstein. MFPA India office is in Mumbai. The artists largely work from their own homes and submit their works to the managing board for careful assessment. The pieces chosen are reproduced on various products like seasonal cards and annual calendars.

Many of the MFPA artists deliver talks and give demonstrations to schools and other interested groups, providing a clear understanding of the activities being conducted by the Association as well as several possibilities and avenues open to the disabled people given the scope.

The international organization of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, owned by the artist members themselves, looks to:

•    Build contact with people who are either artists who have lost the use of their hands and/or legs through accident or illness and who paint with the brush held in their mouth or between their toes; or disabled people who wish to learn to paint and support themselves through the sale of their work.

•    Take care of its artists’ interests by helping them to sell their work, primarily in the form of reproductions as greetings cards, calendars and other artwork; publish material which communicates and supports the purpose of the organization; help disabled artists to attain self-respect, creative fulfillment and financial security.

•    Create a countrywide marketing network to make MFPA products easily available to people. Make the people aware about these incredible artists who earn their livelihood through art despite their disabilities.

A small number of able-bodied staff are employed to look after marketing, distribution and those matters with which the disabled artists need expert advice or cannot physically cope themselves.The differently abled artist’s works are canvassed in the form of calendars, prints, greetings cards will make a delightful gift. You can thus be a proud part of unique worldwide movement that blends art and social commitment.

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Interesting business books to gift – I

Chanakya, an astute thinker who belonged to 3rd Century BC, is considered a savvy leadership guru with innovative ideas on identifying potential leaders and grooming them. ‘Corporate Chanakya: Successful Management The Chanakya Way’ by Radhakrishnan Pillai is your handy guide for ensuring corporate success. It’s a book, which encapsulates ancient Indian management ideas in a modern context.

Drawing upon a research project done at the Stanford Univ. Graduate School of Business, researchers Jerry I. Porras and James C. Collins took eighteen long-lasting and exceptional companies to study all in direct comparison to one of their immediate competitors, summed up in ‘Built To Last: Successful Habits Of Visionary Companies’. ‘Execution: The Discipline Of Getting Things Done’ by Larry Bossidy is also worth a look!

Fine-tuning leadership, management and training

Chanakya’s ideas have been well documented in his book ‘Kautilya’s Arthashastra’. Interpreting them in the contemporary context, the author simplifies the age-old formula of success for leaders of the corporate world. Divided into 3 sections of Leadership, Management and Training Corporate Chanakya includes tips on various topics like organizing and conducting effective meetings, dealing with tricky situations, managing time, decision making and responsibilities and powers of a leader. Read on to discover the ‘Corporate Chanakya’ in you.

What makes exceptional companies different?

Authors Jerry I. Porras and James C. Collins in ‘Built To Last: Successful Habits Of Visionary Companies’ have examined the companies from their very beginnings to the present day – as start-ups, as midsize companies, and as large corporations. Throughout their research, the duo asked: “What makes the truly exceptional companies different from the comparison companies?” It provides a master blueprint for building organizations that will prosper long into the 21st century and beyond.

How to get things done and deliver best possible results?

‘Execution: The Discipline Of Getting Things Done’ by Larry Bossidy  shows how to get the job done and deliver results whether you’re running an entire company or in your first management job. The leader’s most important job-selecting and appraising people-is one that should never be delegated, it asserts. Once the right people and strategy are in place, they are then linked to an operating process that results in the implementation of specific programs and actions and that assigns accountability.

(Information courtesy: Crossword)

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Interesting business books to gift – II

Subroto Bagchi’s late blind mother’s last few words to him were Go, kiss the world’. They became a sort of guiding principle for his life. Through simple words of pure wisdom and personal anecdotes, he brings to the aspiring professionals some valuable lessons in working and living.

Prompting ordinary to lead extraordinary lives

Subroto Bagchi grew up amidst what he calls the ‘material simplicity’ of rural and small-town Orissa, imbibing from his family a sense of contentment, constant wonder, connectedness to a larger whole and learning from unusual sources. From humble beginnings, he went on to achieve extraordinary professional success, eventually co-founding MindTree, one of India’s most admired software services companies. ‘Go Kiss the World’ urges us to recognize and develop their inner strengths, thereby helping us realize our potential.

What it takes to achieve greatness for companies?

An interesting book, titled ‘Great By Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos And Luck– Why Some Thrive Despite Them All’ by Jim Collins and Morten T Hansen  distinguishes itself from the former’s prior work by its focus not just on performance, but also on the type of unstable environments faced by leaders today. With a team of researchers, the two studied companies that rose to greatness – beating their industry indexes over fifteen years – in environs characterized by big forces and rapid shifts that leaders could not predict or control. The research team then contrasted these ‘10X companies’ to a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to achieve greatness.

Another document worth considering for the purpose of gifting is ‘The South Asian edition of Marketing Management’. It remains the bestselling textbook in the field because it continues to reflect the latest changes in marketing theory and practice. Retaining the original frameworks and concepts so vital to the book, this edition presents a contextually relevant text for students of the subcontinent by incorporating South Asian case studies and examples.

(Information courtesy: Crossword)

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