Monday, November 23, 2009

Ethics and Marketing

A question in the Ethics and CSR exam today asked for your views on ethics in marketing mix. Many of you did appear to be fairly comfortable with the subject and the questions. There are however some issues you guys need to consider.


1.       Ethics and “law” are two different things altogether. You don’t necessarily need to be unlawful to be unethical.

2.       As managers, when discussing ethics, you should take a long term view and ask yourself if the trade practice under consideration will in anyway damage the social and cultural fabric of the land?

3.       A case in point is the “fairness cream” ads. Though within legal limits, do you think they may be in anyway sowing seeds of un healthy self image in adolescents who may not be “fair”?? Now imagine so many product categories promise to make you “slimmer”, “taller”, “teach you English” and what not!! All on the hidden message that if you are not a tall, fair good looking person fluent in English you may be lesser than others!!! Think about it…

4.       Consider this; The way media is building up the 26/11 anniversary, has that event not become a “product”. On 26th all channels will vie for TRPs and most people will end up watching the “most interesting” presentation of the issue which invariably will be the most extreme. So do you think such marketing of negative event anniversaries promote extreme views in the society? Another case for marketing ethics debate!!!

5.       Our ever popular “saas bahu serials” have been held responsible for degrading family values. Would you agree?

6.       The pricing and the matching positioning of gadgets and lifestyle products are promoting deviant adolescent behaviour. Remember how bad it felt when we could not buy that iPhone?? Do you think some young guys and girls may have indulged in negative behaviour to acquire it, like stealing maybe??? Even otherwise, don’t you think that the admiration and the strong feeling just below your sternum (do you know what is the sternum) which you get when you see a class mate use an iPhone is itself an example of how pricing and positioning makes you graduate products from being desires to needs???


These are just few points for your consideration. Do discuss them in your class.

Friday, November 20, 2009

What is your aim in life?

Is it necessary to have an aim in life? Can we not, as colleague of mine says, “just live”? Are we not supposed to be doing something, heading somewhere?

Do I have an aim in life? Let us see…..

I knew since I was a child that I will become an army officer!! When we shifted out of our house in PAU where I had spent all my life, I came across scribbled drawings on the loo wall…… Drawings of PAU campus and markings where gun positions would be in case of a war!! During my school days, My notebooks would be full of imaginary attacks and defenses!! I knew of the words like “attrition” and “maneuver” long before I knew the table of 12!!

But SSB rejected me.

And I also always knew that if do not become a general, I would be a teacher…… And as fate would have it, I am one now!

My decision to B.Sc Agriculture was with an aim to pursue higher studies in environment studies but ended up doing an MBA instead. Why?? No apparent reason….. Probably got influenced by the glitz and glam of the material world! Probably my decision pursue natural sciences was not strong enough!

My parents wanted me to be a doctor….. and an IAS officer…… and rich! They gave me all I would ever need to be that. My Dad used to avail personal loans to but us books worth thousands! He would make us interact with some of the greatest minds, visit historical places, watch great programs on TV.

They did all they could.

I never became a “good student”. I was at best a mediocre student even though I was very good at sciences and social sciences. In the end, neither did I become a doctor nor an IAS officer and the way things are, I will die poor!

In fact all my parents’ effort to make us read and meet great people almost made a socialist out of me and even my decision to become a teacher was influenced rather heavily by it.

But despite all what has happened, I remained happy! My life till now and to a great extent even now has been one roller coaster ride of emotions and experiences.

All that ever mattered to us was friends, fun, games, trips, debates, quizzes, photography, romance, more friends and even more fun!

But then during all this, I still manage to ask myself this question; “What is your aim in life?”

As of today, my aim in life is:

To utilise my assets on platforms of higher education to make drive positive change in the society."

I know it sounds grandiose, but I feel that it can be done and being a teacher gives me a great opportunity to do it. That does not mean that I am forsaking the material world!!! I still enjoy the finer things in life and do fel good if i acquire one, like the Canon EOS500D, I bought recently. I however am clear that whatever I will earn shoud be as a consequence of achieving excellence in my professiona and and that I should and will be always defined by my aim in life rather than some brand or a car or a bank balance or a great house. 

I however am not sure I am on the right path. I feel that even though I am what I wanted to be, a teacher and I am already on a platform of higher education, I still am not doing enough of what I feel would be of any significance to any body.

I guess I need to reevaluate my strategic position, weigh my strategic options and erase the gaps in strategy implementation.

If after a decade of doing MBA, I am still thinking on these lines, as students, don’t you guys think that you guys should be doing the same??? Imagine the time you would have to achieve if you were to know what it is that you really want! I assure you, “package”, “position”, “designations” etc. etc. sound great but all these usually turn out to be worth less unless you were clear about your deepest self.

I would suggest, take some time and try to introspect, talk to yourself, find out who you really are and what you really want before you take the plunge.