It aint over, till it is over

by Aparna Mohan on Thursday 9 August 2012, 8:10 PM | Category: Summer Internship Contest| View: 7004 views


“All we expect out of you in the end of these 2 months is an OUT OF THE BOX THINKING !!!”. For the next few hours I found my head echoing with “Out of the Box...Out of the Box thinking”. Well this was the very first day of internship & just like everyone, I didn't know what I am supposed to do, under whom I am supposed to work, which brand / which product I am going to spend the next 2 months with.The expectations as stated during the orientation only made me gain all possible hidden + known energy, sit erect and believe in having that air of doing “IT” so differently that finally I could myself be surprised with the output I may come out with. Within a few hours of my very first day I was given a paper stating my project topic and the product. I must be lucky, as I believe, that the product was just too close to the whole female fraternity and hence I could sincerely get attached to it as soon as I got it. It was nothing but a “Hair Removal Cream”(HRC)..! Well I was an intern with Dabur Ltd and the hair removal cream brand was “FEM”.

My work started as soon as I was allocated the topic and the next few weeks went in unveiling and dissecting the HRC market, studying the competitors and the users. I came across so many unusual, surprisingly funny facts. One of them is as follows : The very prestigious competitors spend millions of rupees on advertising with a set of prestigious firms who carefully & cleverly “copy paste” the branding ideas from the international brands, and these very ideas ROCK in our country and make these firms the set of most creative heads sitting under one roof. Then I challenged myself in doing some real original good in terms of communication for my brand. And I did come up with some awesome (as stated by my mentor) print ads which were witty, clear and surprisingly nice. I was myself astonished to look at this creative side of me.

I took my project ahead and decided to walk down the hot, burning Delhi roads with the sales personnel who would make me have a face to face interaction with the real stakeholders - the retailers, who were selling the product directly to our prestigious customers. Those few days on the roads covering one market area after another could not be forgotten. Honks from all the possible sides of the roads, people rushing in and out of the metro at the same time, the whole city seeming to be running after some unknown glory, girls adoring themselves in the metro – at times looking at their nailpaints / dresses / trying to have a view of theirs from the smallest possible metallic frames and then having that satisfied air of dressing “TIP-TOP”. And I very well aware of my destination for the day, decked with sports shoes and the loose most kurta / denim, felt so disowned by this happening Delhi-crowd. That day was the one that made me realize how it feels to be in true love ! Not because I saw some handsome chap in the metro but it was realised for MARKETING. Probably I realised that this was one good decision I took for myself. It was phenomenal to see how the real world works and, how a customer makes a conscious call of letting a brand win over another, thereby making a place into his/her shopping basket. And I also intelligently understood that my project was nothing but to create a set of steps which would make our product make a place in the shopping carts of our target customers. It wasn't just the price-off or a free-product which would make a customer loyal to one product, but the whole set of benefits, ingredients and communication that would make us win their trust and hence a place in their shopping basket. I was floating with the whole rich experience when the retailers told about the way consumers step in the shop and demand for the products based on the natural ingredients, Eg: “ Sandal wali HRC !”. People really are getting that conscious and aware.

An internship is so much of a myth breaker. It took me away from the unrealistic picture of sales stint. And now I completely agree to the fact that a successful marketing person should go through the enriching experience of sales. I came back after the whole research compiled with a new set of ideas to work on the packing for our product, which should definitely be able to convey the maximum possible concern our company had in making difficult product like HRC to go natural. Finally, I chose the colors that the cartons should have to make customers believe in the first sight itself that they are looking at something which is safe for their body. And then weeks passed in making the whole set of packing to make the product look safe and natural.

After psychoanalysis of the communication and packing which we were to adopt, I went on to explore the distribution front of the HRC. The world is so systematic, nothing here happens without a firm reasoning and an in-depth thinking. Why does a product launch only in particular cities, why do the trade promotions vary from city to city. I like a fool used to believe that the products are mostly launched in the cosmopolitan and metro cities. Cities that consume a maximum of a particular kind of product, the pattern of growing sales from city to city is actually what make those products reach those cities first. After brainstorming with loads of excel sheets from the sales department I came up with a concrete plan for the distribution and launch ! Trust me, excel sheets so much look like a burden, full of numbers difficult to comprehend. But once you make friends with those numbers, they become such interesting company that you could actually spend hours with them, exploring them and surprising your ownself with the kind of information they hide within themselves.

After exhaling out the experiences from the deliverables of my project, how could I fail to mention the wonderful experience of meeting our advert team, the production heads and, the procurement teams? The kind of hierarchical flow a product has with the way it is connected to all the departments, and realization of the need of synchronisation within these departments for a successful launch was stupefying. That the world of corporate which is only blamed to work for 10 hours a day in a row, could actually be so interesting and overwhelming was unknown to me. I loved each and every day that I spent on my project and with every passing day the feel of being a SUPER MARKETEER strengthened.

Also it was so encouraging to see how the management was ready to lend its ears to the summer interns whenever they needed it. My mentor, herself a Symbiosis alum, was enthusiastic, supportive and welcoming. Her concern, guidance and appreciation led me do things to my maximum potential. The major concern when one goes for an internship in an entirely new territory is about the “Mentor” under whom one would intern. My case was fortunate in a lot of ways.

And also the kind of healthy competitive environment that prevailed in Dabur for those 2 months definitely added a lot to learning as it had one of the best brains from the best of institutes in India. A lot of brains working together are always better than one brain working alone. We, the interns from different arenas, found time to gossip, eat together, crib together, spend weekends together and, know about each other's colleges and schedules. It was a holistic view on things in itself. Apart from being in the office in this 2 month trail I also got some time to hit the gym and hence accomplish my second dream of losing some wicked pounds of flab, though the hectic routine during summers did help me in doing so as well.

“It ain't over, till it is over”. It is so true. Since the last day of my project, till today I am waiting for the product launch, to uncover which of my ideas and concepts have actually been so appreciated that they could become a part of the launch. It would definitely be a moment of pride to see the product I have worked on, resting on the shelf in its newest form and winning a place for itself in the basket of shoppers right in front of me when I would be trotting aimlessly in the aisles of some supermarket. 




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