A Few Good Things

"Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller." – Ibn Battuta

A Few Good Things

Month: February 2014

IIM (Intrusive, Irritating, Marketing)

Even in the Internet era when you pick up the morning newspaper the 1st thing you want to see is the Headline.  Unfortunately you don’t get to see it.  As you lift the newspaper from the floor you see a bunch of flyers falling down , the 1st page is normally a full page ad for a premium Villa or a Smart Phone. Or its some flyer that is pasted on the cover page. It just irritates me. This is not Brand Building – this is Intrusive, Irritating , Marketing (IIM)


Its the same story online. Try reading TOI or ET online. When you reach the site you first encounter a Interstitial that hangs in there for 10 seconds and when you reach the home page its like walking across mines. Suddenly the ads pop up and you have to carefully navigate between the blocks , and even the lines to ensure that the hundreds of Ads hidden in a  page don’t explode in your face.  Almost 50% of the real-estate  on the home page of TOI /ET is used up by Ads. The Hindu & Business Standard were better – but as they are getting popular the share of Ads in the home page is continuing to increase.

The situation in TV is no better. Between 9 & 10 PM – you can actually watch TV for 10 Min , if you are on Times Now. 25 Min is dedicated to Ads and another  25 for Arnab – that leaves only 10 Min for the program speakers and news.


When you watch an IPL match or a 1 day – count the ads you see . There was a time that an ad used to come after every over , but in the last IPL it came after every ball. And it was the same ad in most cases being repeated again and again all through the program. Assuming the innovative Product has 100 features – why would someone harp on the same message again and again , why not showcase all the great things of the product in each messaging.

Marketing is strategic it works at building the message for long term , it creates aspiration , it builds value & Premium .Well at least its supposed to . Thats what Dr Philip Kotler talked about in  5 P’s of Marketing. 



But what do you see today ? there is only 1 P that is visible – PRICE. Look at what gets advertised – EMI , Buy Back , Tables showing how much you pay now and how much in your instalments . When was the last time you saw an Ad that talked about Features, Advantages & Benefits. Maybe 15 years back.

I wonder what they teach at MBA schools in their Marketing Course. Or is is that the sales guys have taken over and everything is tactical. A sales guy thinks of this week , this month this quarter. And how much did I overachieve ! If we see the type of advertising that is happening its clear that the war for communication and branding is now being run by Sales and all that Marketing can do is negotiate the rates and choose the media mix. SAD – Marketing was such a great function.

This at a time when our products are bursting with exciting new features and users sadly don’t use 90% of these features, Shouldn’t we be educating them on these rather than selling price as the one and only value proposition ?

Well I guess the world is changing and the mad rush for numbers has killed one more function. Would it be fair to say that Marketing is dead ?  I Think so. Marketing is strategic it works at building the message for long term , it creates aspiration , it builds value & Premium . Its sad to see it being buried.



To all the companies that come out with IIM ( Intrusive , Irritating , Marketing) techniques and the big 1 page Ads that scream price I have just one thing to say – look back in history. Remember PCL , Shiva Computers and recently Sahara – these were companies that came out with big 1 page Ads in their heyday. Look where they are today.

Flameback Lodges- A lovely getaway in Mudigere (Chickamagalur)

Bangalore has great getaways. Most people head to Mysore and onwards to Coorg, Bandipur, Waynad, Nagerhole, Kabini & Ooty. There are numerous nature spots all along the Cauvery. And Chickamagalur  is another lovely destination 250 Km ( 4hrs from Bangalore).

I always thought it was called Chickmangalore (Small version of Managlore)  – but realised after reaching there otherwise. Chickmagalur means – Chicka ( small ) Magal (Daughter) Ur ( Town) – It is said to have been given as a dowry to the younger daughter of Rukmangada, the legendary chief of Sakrepatna. I have heard of Chickamagalur for 3 reasons – this is where Indira Gandhi fought and won elections after Emergency , The Chick Chicky Chicks of Chickamagalur was a common JAM topic in College and Cafe Coffee Day owner and beans for CCD Coffee comes from the vast coffee plantations of Chickamagalur. Nestled in the midst of nature and not too crowded the place has been inviting for many years.  This X Mas  we took off to Chickamagalur for a 3 night 4 day trip.

Getting There 

Its a nice drive. NH48 Bangalore – Mangalore is an excellent road and you can Zip at 120 Kmph. We left at 7.30 AM and by 9.30 were at our first stop Shravanabelagola. ( Blr to Shravanabelagola 158 Km) This is supposedly the worlds largest monolithic statue 57 Feet tall perched on the top of a hill. A holy site for Jains – the statue of Gomatheshwara Bahubali is revered by Jains from across the world. You need to walk up ~ 650 rock cut steps ( and you need to walk barefoot) – so avoid this in summer as the place can get really very hot. Its an easy climb and going up , visiting the shrine and coming down can be easily done in 1 hr. Was it impressive ? Maybe for some – we found it OK.


From Shravanabelagola we drove down to Hassan for lunch ( 51 Km ~ 60 Min). The best place for lunch is Hotel Ashok Hassan. Good spread – Indian, Italian at reasonable prices. Place was empty, neat and clean.


From Hassan we headed to Flameback Lodges at Mudigere. You can reach this place without touching the town of Chickamagalur. Going Via Belur. Its about 45 Km and takes an hr. IMP – Avoid Google Maps – it takes you to no mans land. It does locate Flameback Lodges but fails miserably in guiding you. We reached by 2.30 in the afternoon ( after a 30 min last mile problem).

Flameback Lodges

Flameback is located inside Kathikeya Coffee Estate spread across 200+ acres. The lodge is over 10 acres. It is set in the midst of nature , includes a serene lake , overlooks the hills and is adjacent to paddy fields that stretch to the jungles. Its an oasis of peace and tranquility. There is an eye for detail in everything and why not – its owned by royalty. The owners are descendants of the King of Sandur (Bellary Mines) who in turn are descendants of Shivaji.

They have 8 rooms – 3 Cottages , 3 Villas and 2 Suites. We stayed in a Villa that was facing the lake. It was well done up had a hall with a fireplace, a large bedroom , a pantry , a powder room , and a very large bath. It was like a 1 BHK house with  a huge patio that faces the lake. Rooms come with TV & Satellite connection . The Villas are perfect for a family of 2 Adults + 2 Kids. The suites are also big – but located in the main building they have no nature view. The cottages are perfect for couples. The place has 24 by 7 generator, RO Purified Water, a small but lovely pool and a 24 by 7 restaurant that serves Veg * Non Veg food.

kathikeyan cottages

Its best to come to the place in a group and maybe book all the 8 rooms. Food is customised and liquor , tea , coffee everything is on the house. One rate that is all inclusive. Breakfast , lunch , dinner , canoeing in the lake , trekking. The buffet spreads are decent and the food is tasteful. Service is excellent. They have a small Spa and the quality of treatment is A++ , good fusion of Ayurvedic and Swedish Massage – and its very affordable at just Rs 1000/-. We paid 17 K / night – and had booked nearly 4 months in advance. They have no meeting / conference halls – so planning a company offsite here is a challenge.

What else can you do 

Flameback has limited entertainment. There is a lovely lake and you can go kayaking. They also take you for long treks – in and outside the plantation. Treks can vary from 1 hr to a few hrs. There are some ancient temples , waterfalls close by which are worth a visit. But by and large its nature and solitude.

lovely lake

Few other places you can head to

1. Belur , Halebid – the lovely rock cut temples built by the Hoysala Dynasty around 1117 AD. Belur is home to a Vishnu Temple and is still operational. The road from Mudigere to Belur is in good shape and you can cover the 38 Km distance in 45 Min. However the road from Belur to Halebidu ( 16 Km) is in very bad shape and will take another 45 min. The architecture of both temples are very similiar – so if you have seen one you have seen both. They have remarkably intricate rock cut sculptures. Unfortunately they are not UNESCO heritage sites and I could see the steep deterioration in maintenance now and from my previous visit about 17 years back.

lovely rock cut temples

Sringeri – Land of Shankaracharya and orthodox Hinduism is 120 Km – 3 hrs away. Drive is scenic thru steep ghats. Roads are not in great condition. Further down from Sringeri ( 30km) is Agumbe – The forests here have the highest concentration of King Cobras in the world. It takes a lot of courage to trek in these jungles and many do.

Bhadra (Muthodi) Tiger reserve is 55 Km away – about 2 hrs drive. We did not go there – but were told that the access is only to the fringes of the sanctuary so the chances of seeing Tigers are remote

If you are in Bangalore and have done Mysore , Bandipur , Ooty & Kodai – then Chickamagalur is a good 3 night – 4 day break. A good mix of nature , old temple architecture and quiet laid back relaxation with some simmering hot coffee and tasty food.


Contact : Bharath +91 9242714197

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