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Holistic Marketing: Taking a Deep-Dive

Today, I got a question-cum-comment on the Kellogg’s Post. The Question was posted by Pravin. Here’s what he had to ask. “I wanted to know ‘What is Holistic Marketing?’ and ‘How it is used to market a product. E.g. Kellogg?’ ”

Good Question, Pravin.

Holistic Approach is at a base, an overall view of the System. Long long ago, there were times when several markets were supplier-centric on account of Demand over powering supply. Prices obviously skyrocketed until the demand-supply relationship balanced out. Eventually the markets stabilise to become Consumer and other stakeholder-centric. Holistic marketing recognises that everything matters in Marketing and that in Integration. It argues that all stakeholders of an organization including the Product and Brands are interdependent and tightly knit. A misalignment in one factor ultimately portrays it effects on other stakeholders.

There is very little known on Kellogg’s Holistic Marketing approach. But for the sake of an example, let’s consider the problem the company faced on entering Indian Market. When first introduced, the Corn Flakes were meant to be consumed in Cold Milk (Like it has been done across the globe elsewhere). In India though, consumers preferred Hot Milk at their Breakfast table. Upon mixing Cornflakes in Hot Milk, the Flakes turned out to be ‘Soggy’ and ‘Chewy’ and consequently disliked by major consumers. Kellogg’s had to thus immediately alter the flakes to suit ‘Hot Milk’ which obviously changed the original characteristics.

As a consequence of the above alterations made to the Original Corn Flakes, people (Current Consumers) from non-Indian origins and other Indians who were accustomed to cold Corn Flakes were left dumbstruck when suddenly served Cereals with hot milk. What the company is yet to realise is the fact that Consumer hold a holistic view to all product changes. Every change incurred to one factor has repercussions to other integrated factors.

Take the example of Red Bull Energy Drink for a perfect example. The company introduced a Sugar-Free version of their drink. That solved a problem many Red Bull drinkers never knew they had. Non-aware consumers were suddenly aware that apparently their favorite Energy drink was loaded full of Calories. To further add to the problem, consumers did not like the taste of the Sugar-free version not to mention the inevitable sales drop of the original Red Bull on account of Calorie conscious consumers shifting to the new version. Many Calorie conscious consumers who didn’t like the taste of the Sugar-Free red Bull simply avoided drinking Red Bull altogether.

If you’re a Marketer, beware of similar problems if your organization manages several brands. Marketing managers may make certain decisions for the Brands they’re responsible for without realizing the adverse effects such decisions may have towards one or more of other internally managed brands.

Further Readings:



Update: 31st December 2009 [Yes, Im working today (not tonight 😛 )]

Just a running thought on another example of Holistic Marketing. Yamaha India recently launced the Yamaha R15 bike through out India. The R15 is actually a look-alike of its much successful and aspirational (and expensive) bike, the R1 (Once a Dream Sports bike for youngsters in India). The new R15 cost peanuts compared to the R1 and is thus more affordable & obviously visible more frequently on the streets. As a consequence, the demand for R1 has taken a wild plunge andaspiring youngsters no longer dream of owning a R1 someday.

3 Responses to Holistic Marketing: Taking a Deep-Dive

  1. Pravin Reply

    December 2, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Thanks Meeher for the explaination about my query. i’m satisfied with your answer. i have one more query. Products like AMUL MACHO underwear and Axe deo- chocolate man are really meant/ not meant for Indian demography? Are this products doing well with the kind of ads shown against our demography??

    • Meheer Thakare Reply

      December 3, 2009 at 3:55 am


      Both products are meant for the YOUNG Adults market.

      Amul Macho’s Slogan Yeh toh Bada “Toing” hain, really doesnt mean anything. Yet it has been subjected to be adult. Their Advertisements nudge the fun-filled adulthood thinking of young adults. Their Ad campaign has recieved Nation wide criticism for walking on the thin edge between adultwear and Pornography. But their numbers do the talking. Sales of the Brand have increased by 35% & 48% in last two quaters.

      AXE Deodorants brought in their carried forward International Brand Equity into India. They werent expected to succeed with their adult ad campaigns, according to conservative critics. But their Ad campaigns managed to grab the ever existing adult feelings present in young Indian men (Something Conservative critics ans Marketers never acknowledged).

      Amul MACHO or AXE, in both cases, what ultimately matters is whether the ad campaign was able to attract and connect to the target consumer.

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