7 fatal mistakes in Indian market entry

India is super exciting, vibrant, colourful and amazingly friendly. People are accessible and available. Deals can be signed and MOU’s are much loved. The population of over 1.2 billion is soon to become the largest in the world and is soon to overtake China.

While India will probably not be “another China”, it is becoming a global power in its own right and an economy that will soon not be too far behind the USA and China.

So, it makes sense to be there real quick, yes?

YES be there – but watch out for these fatal mistakes

  1. Trying to do the whole country at once will exhaust and confuse you – even Indian companies take years to cover it. Select your best one or two points of entry and the rest will follow.

2. Going in quick on price might seem exciting – but who is actually winning out of this deal? You become a disposable and cheaper provider – so your future is very short term.

3. Appointing the first person who says “yes” seems exciting and then nothing happens. Later you might work out every Indian says “yes” – in their culture, they have to. It takes time to find a “yes” that is real.

4. Focusing on injustice, slums, inequality and the Indian way might be something you think is important but of course it is pretty offensive to your hosts. Sure the traffic is diabolical, but there is no benefit in whinging.

5. A short time frame such as one year is a real killer for Indian market entry. It needs to be a minimum 3 years. If you cannot give it time, go somewhere else.

6. Going it alone sounds brave – but is stupid and wasteful. India is all about relationships and collaborations. And you will need “hand holding” by someone who knows the ropes.

7. Ignoring cultural differences is a recipe for misunderstanding and disappointment. Cultural differences between India and the west are massive – and what we have in common is also massive. You need to understand them both.

Melbourne set to attract more movies and digital games creativity – maybe Bollywood too?

Great move by my home town, Melbourne – Victoria’s thriving creative industry received a massive boost with the State Government announcing a record investment of $33.8 million in the 2020-21 Budget in local screen productions to allow more global and local projects to be shot here.

This includes international film Blacklight which started shooting in Melbourne last week. The Liam Neeson feature is one of a number of productions currently shooting in Victoria while adhering to strict COVIDSafe protocols.

Some $19.2 million will be allocated to attract international and interstate screen projects through a new Victorian Screen Incentive. This incentive will target physical productions, visual effects, animation, post-production and, for the first time, digital games projects.

There will be $4.7 million for the development and production of local content across film, television, online and games and $8.6 million to continue Film Victoria’s successful local production investment and industry and skills development programs, on top of Film Victoria’s ongoing operational funding.

As Docklands Studios Melbourne prepares to break ground on its $46 million sixth sound stage, $1.3 million will be allocated to create a trade and technical hub close to the studios for screen crews and support businesses.

Melbourne is a creative city – so if you are a creative, time to take a look…

For more information, visit https://www.film.vic.gov.au/funding/incentives/

To learn more about Victoria’s thriving digital games sector, visit https://www.invest.vic.gov.au/opportunities/technology/digital-games

Contact us to explore opportunities to be a part of Victoria’s thriving creative industry.

How did India miss out on being part of the world’s biggest trading bloc?

India is missing from the world’s biggest trade bloc which has just been formed – 15 countries representing 2.2 billion people have signed on to a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Talks on RCEP began in 2012 and it has now created a bloc which accounts for about one third of the world economy.

This is a massive new initiative for global trade.

India and the USA have missed out – India because of concerns for farmers produce, and the USA because President Trump pulled the pin on the concept.

India is the mystery case in the region because opting out of RCEP is not going to help its economy. Concerns over lower tariffs hurting local producers won the day and India moved out of the deal.

Did India also withdraw because the relations between India and China are sour, with border disputes and other issues on the rise?

But India could ultimately join RCEP – the doors for India to join the bloc will remain open in future, according to the participant countries.

Otherwise, India looks like being one of the two big losers in this move.

The RCEP group is composed of the 10 Southeast Asian (ASEAN) countries along with China, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

Vietnam “hosted” the final deal online and said the deal will help to lower trade tariffs between the participant countries, over time, and is less comprehensive than the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“RCEP will soon be ratified by signatory countries and take effect, contributing to the post-COVID pandemic economic recovery,” said Nguyen Xuan Phuc, prime minister of Vietnam.

The actual legacy of President Donald Trump’s “America First” withdrawal from multilateralism and deals like TPP and RCEP could be a declining US role in world trade.

In contrast, China could be the big winner – experts say that this pact is a testament of China’s strong influence in the region.

The RCEP will lower or eliminate tariffs on various goods and services, although the scope of the agreement—essentially an extension of free trade under existing frameworks—is limited.

So, what is the biggest benefit of RCEP? The pact will create so-called rules of origin, which make it easier for companies to set up supply chains spanning multiple countries.

This is super important – it will be much easier to manufacture and sell goods in the region once RCEP comes into force.

Is your city like Melbourne – optimistic for a “better normal” post Covid19?

Australians’ practical response to a problem –“She’ll be right mate” – remains true of Melburnians, despite months of COVID lockdowns. This was a key finding of an international “Better Normal” survey conducted this month by the Melbourne-based global thinktank, the Centre for Optimism.

The “Better Normal” Survey asked 3000 people from 37 countries whether they made positive changes to their lives during lock-down and what were their expectations for the future.  Two-thirds of respondents and two-thirds of Melburnians said: Yes! They want a better normal, not a return to old ways of working.

With most businesses still awaiting a full return to work, the Centre found considerable change in people’s attitudes to work, with the majority seeking more co-operation and productivity, a greater balance between work, life and home and a greater focus on wellbeing.

“The results show the need for all businesses and agencies to ask their workforce, customers and other stakeholders about the improvements they have made and what they expect,” said Victor Perton, Founder of the Centre for Optimism. “It is a change that management needs to be aware of and to address because the expectations are now considerably different to a year ago.

“We have a people – young and old – changed and strengthened by the pandemic and the lockdown state of disaster!  Government and business would be crazy not to understand it better and respond.”

The Centre’s Chairman, Robert Masters said the change highlights that organisations need to be prepared for the unexpected.

“The pandemic has been a global societal shock,” he said. “Through the collective conversations in the survey, the greatest damage to an organisation lies in unsuccessful management of the new expectations of stakeholders. This can be achieved only by complete and accurate data and insights.”

Check out the Centre for Optimism – highly recommended:

https://www.centreforoptimism.com/

Modi pushing hard on reducing imports and increasing exports

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi set out an ambitious plan to boost exports while reducing imports – and it is working.

According to data collected from the Centre Government, India’s exports to the USA amounted to USD 5.1 billion in September 2020, 15.5% more than the figures for the corresponding month (USD 4.4 billion) in 2019.

In addition, imports from the United States decreased by a substantial 34.3% to USD 1.8 billion in September 2020, compared to USD 2.8 billion in September 2019.

Similarly, in the period from April to September this year, imports from China, one of the largest producers of commodities across industries, decreased to USD 27.4 billion. Therefore, imports have decreased by 24.5% from the USD 36.3 billion amount for the same duration last year.

Meanwhile, Indian exports to China increased by 26.3% to hit USD 10.6 billion in the above-mentioned period, a substantial increase from USD 8.4 billion for the period April-September 2019.

It’s a stunning turnaround and more is to come…

Four Indian startups become unicorns during Covid19

Great Indian story of succeeding in tough times – four Indian startups, Postman, Nykaa, Unacademy and Razorpay, have become unicorns amid covid-19.

In the venture capital world, a “unicorn” is a startup with a value of $1 billion.

The nation is on track to have 8 unicorns in 2020, almost the same number of additions as in 2019.

According to a study titled ‘Covid-19 and the Antifragility of the Indian Startup Ecosystem,’ India is on its way to having 100 unicorns by 2025.

The study was launched by TiE-Delhi, a global non-profit organisation supporting entrepreneurship in collaboration with Zinnov, a global management and strategy consulting company.

It revealed that total funding fell by 50% compared to pre-covid levels during the lockdown. As a result, around 40% of start-ups have been adversely affected and 15% have been forced to discontinue operations.

The third largest start-up ecosystem in the world was jolted by the multi-dimensional pandemic and the effect was extreme during the lockdown period from March to June 2020. However, the rate of recovery, both in demand and in investor sentiment, was faster than anticipated as the economy opened.

Why is India doing so well in tough times?

During Covid19 there has been a big move to digital consumption – so startups in education, healthcare and trade have boomed.  

India to be focus of Canada’s giant pension fund investments

 Canada’s massive pension fund plans to invest up to a third of its funds in emerging markets over the next five years and India is an important destination, according to a senior executive. 

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) manages about 434.4 billion Canadian dollars ($329.75 billion) as of June 30. A bulk of its investments are in North America — around 34% of total assets are allocated in the United States — followed by Asia. 

“We expect to invest up to one third of the Fund in emerging markets by 2025 and India is a key component of that,” Suyi Kim,  CPPIB’s Asia Pacific head, told CNBC by email.

“Our investments in India span different asset classes including infrastructure, real estate, public and private equities, funds and co-investments and credit,” Kim said, adding, “We see domestic consumption, technology and increasing demand for infrastructure to support the growth underpinning many of the themes and opportunities we look at in India.”

CEO Mark Machin recently told CNBC that the pension fund was reviewing its bond holdings in light of near zero interest rates. watch nowVIDEO02:50Near zero interest rates are challenging for Canada’s massive pension fund, CEO says

CPPIB has an office in India. Some of its investments thereinclude a stake in Kotak Mahindra Bank as well as $225 million to the India Resurgence Fund, which invests in distressed assets in the country. 

In December, CPPIB said it agreed to invest up to $600 million in India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund that included a $150 million commitment in NIIF’s Master Fund and co-investment rights of up to $450 million in future opportunities.  

Time for Australian superannuation funds to increase commitment to India?

Indian firm Godrej innovating with PR

Direct Communication is one of the global PR, because when done well it ensure the brand engages directly with audiences and influencers.

It is rarely done well – but Indian firm Godrej is showing the way.

Of course, direct engagement is not a replacement but represents a complementary approach to traditional communications based on paid, earned and owned media.

Godrej is pioneering direct communications in India through its owned media platforms L’Affaire, Vikroli Cucina, Design Deko, etc.

Sujit Patil, VP & Head Corporate Brand and Communications Godrej Industries Limited & Associate Companies was driven into this because research few years back showed that the affinity towards for brand Godrej amongst Millennials and youngsters could be much better. There are 450 million millennials in India. so you better take notice when they are not.

Patil says: “The three pillars of our owned media platform strategy are – content creation, experiential engagement and building a community of advocates for the brand Godrej.”

Godrej began with the food space as seven of Godrej businesses have a significant share of the kitchen (Interio kitchens, appliances’, Real Good Chicken, Cartini Knives, Protekt hand wash etc.).

Patil again: “The runaway success of ‘Vikhroli Cucina’ as a platform to engage with KOLs in the food space encouraged us to launch ‘L’Affaire’ which is  our owned media property that enables brands and businesses in the lifestyle space to meaningfully engage with audiences in an experiential manner.”

“Since the customer experience and brand ethos are the core of owned media platforms, it pushes brands to create Relevancy among its target consumers to drive Engagement using interesting Content which eventually leads to Community building through Experience.

“The authentic content that gets created is used as a constant fuel for the social media handles of the participating brands. 

Godrej has innovated to support people during Covid19.

“We started the L’Affaire Saturday night live music series during the initial phase of the lockdown. This was basically started to keep our followers engaged by giving them a good dose of happiness and positivity during the uncertain times. It still continues every Saturday and due to a good traction for the Masterbrand, we added Wilderness Wednesdays, Travel Tuesdays and now Writers Wednesdays. “

Sujit Patil says the PR industry is undergoing a huge cultural and behavioral change.

“The ‘R’ in PR today represents Reality, Resolution, and Reputation. Brands will look at building closer ties through experiences and engaging content with the audience. In fact, the skew will be towards building more direct channels with the target audience offering bi-directional engagement opportunities. The trust in earned and owned media will witness an increase. Therefore, brands which have utilized the lockdown time to re-assess, introspect, and adapt their communication strategy have an edge over others” he concludes.

India’s “festive season” runs to the end of the year – brands should take the digital advertising route

Right from August, India gets into a festive mood.

In India this is the time to shop. But what about this year, with the impact of Covid19?

Sanjay Mehta is the Joint CEO of digital marketing consultancy Mirum India and he has some sound advice for brands and the festive season.

“What should you do to become a winning brand? Yes, you’ll certainly want to do marketing, but what specifically? It may not be the best time to experiment with expensive brand campaigns, simply because the lack of measurability of such campaigns makes it difficult to evaluate impact. Your key objective would be to spend money to deliver the best ROI in this challenging year.

“Digital advertising is the most potent weapon for a marketer to reach the consumer. After all, the Covid era has definitely seen significantly increased online time spends by the consumer. And the high level of measurability on digital allows you to do extremely result oriented marketing.

“Digital advertising is often used as a catch-all term to cover several different types of online marketing strategies, but what you should include in your media plan is a good combination of search engine marketing, some programmatic display ads — most certainly social media ads on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc — video ads, and maybe a good influencer marketing programme as well.

“In these last few months of stay-at-home, we have seen several edtech, fintech and healthcare brands create a huge market for themselves, solely using such digital advertising means.

“The overarching recommendation is to have a good budget apportioned for digital advertising, and spend it prudently on the best result-producing media, to ensure high impact” Sanjay says.

He also advises brands to be set up for selling online.

“Additionally, owing to the consumer now getting used to the convenience of online shopping, ensure that your brands are well-set up to be sold online, and provide the consumer a very seamless experience shopping at your online store.

“Get set for digital fireworks in your marketing mix for the festival season and have a happy Diwali for your business!” he concludes.

So – get involved and active in India’s festive season.

E-commerce and wellness trends spark new opportunities in South Asia, says Austrade

The health & wellness trend

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, consumers in South Asia have focused on boosting their health and immunity. This is a sector where Australian companies have already made commercial inroads — and more opportunities will arise. Australia’s iconic wellness brand, Swisse, reacted quickly and is now selling across 10 major e-commerce platforms in India.

Indian consumers are highly receptive to Australian wellness products. Consumers appreciate our clean, green and reliable manufacturing standards, and these high standards confer an automatic brand premium on Australian wellness products.

Similarly, there is increased demand across South Asia for products that are perceived to boost people’s immune system. In India and Bangladesh this applies to fresh produce, and in particular to Manuka honey. The demand for Australian citrus in Bangladesh has remained high this year, even during the local harvest season.

E-commerce: the next big shift

The rapid growth of e-commerce in the health and wellness sector is accelerating opportunities for Australian companies and South Asia is uniquely poised for a boom. With a combined 670 million internet users – and over 130 million online shoppers – the region is the second largest mass market for Australian companies, second only to China.

Growth in regional e-commerce is rapid. Online retail clocked A$75 billion in sales across South Asia in 2018–19. With year-on-year growth of over 40 per centthe region’s internet economy is forecast to be worth more than A$200 billion within the next five years.

Based on market observations by Austrade in South Asia, we forecast that the market for Australian e-commerce products will grow exponentially in the coming years. This applies especially to health, beauty, nutraceuticals and processed-food products.

The impact on Australian exporters

These two consumer trends – a growing appetite for wellness goods and enthusiasm for e-commerce – create good scope for Australian companies wanting to diversify their export markets to the South Asia region. Australian companies with a brand narrative that speaks to health and immunity will likely find ready markets among consumers.

Thanks to Austrade for the above analysis