One of the most widely held beliefs in advertising professes that celebrity
endorsements are a simple and effective way to enhance persuasion and improve advertising effectiveness. Celebrity endorsements are believed to be an easy way to improve both brand image and sales and an effective strategy to distinguish and separate products from those of competitors. Research suggests that in western countries between 20% and 30% of all advertising used celebrities in the late 1990s. The first paper, “Significant Decline in Celebrity Usage in Advertising: A Review”, by Christian Schimmelpfennig and Svend Hollensen, discusses why parts of Europe and America have become particularly celebrity saturated and consumers have become cynical about their true intentions. The authors argue that this may be due to excessive celebrity usage in the past decades. The paper concludes that in spite of the present trend of the eroded potential, celebrity icons have infiltrated the society in general and the lives of consumers in particular so much that it is impossible to imagine that celebrity endorsements will disappear altogether.
Halal branding is a global phenomenon which has emerged due to two main reasons, viz., globalization and increased awareness among Muslim consumers. The purpose of branding products as halal is to ensure their suitability for consumption by Muslims. Further it ensures a promise of trust, quality and value. This is ‘halal marketing’ or in a broader sense ‘Islamic Marketing’. The second paper, “Factors Influencing Halal Products Purchase Intention in India: Preliminary Investigation”, by Adil Khan and Mohammad Khalid Azam, investigates the consumer purchase intention for halal certified products in India and motives which influence the consumption behavior of these consumers. This study, conducted on Muslim consumers in Aligarh and Delhi region, shows that ‘attitude’ and ‘perceived behavioral control’ are the most significant in predicting the purchase intention of halal certified products. However, religiosity is obtained as an insignificant predictor of halal purchase intentions contrary to common sense assumption.
Organized retailing is now the most happening phenomenon. It includes malls, hypermarkets, Multi-Brand Outlets (MBOs), Exclusive Brand Outlets (EBOs), factory outlets, etc. The third paper, “Store Choice: Understanding the Shoppers’ Preference in Selecting an Apparel Multi-Brand Outlet”, by M Rupesh Kumar and A G V Narayanan, focuses on organized retailing, particularly MBOs and EBOs. The availability of different brands under one roof is the USP of MBOs. Further, the paper aims to find out the factors influencing the shopper’s preference in selecting an MBO. Store image and wider choice are the two most significant factors for choosing an MBO. The authors recommend good parking facility and courteous salesmanship to further the cause of promoting MBOs, as courtesy of salespeople stands as a strong reason for the shift from EBOs to MBOs.
The last paper, “Consumer Awareness and Consumer Activism Among Adolescents: A Socialization Perspective”, by Amardeep Kaur Ahluwalia and Preeti Sanan, discusses consumer affairs knowledge and consumer activism among vulnerable adolescents. This study is crucial as in comparison to the west, studies on this topic are limited in India. A survey carried out on 800 adolescents in the age group of 10-17 years belonging to different government and private schools in Punjab, reveal that the male adolescents, older adolescents and adolescents belonging to upper economic class have more consumer affairs knowledge. The results reveal that the concepts related to consumer socialization in school curriculum and consumer socialization activities in schools are not effective in inculcating consumer knowledge in adolescents.
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs): The Changing Face of Banking in India
Information and communication technology has changed the way in which banks provide services to its customers. These days the customers are able to perform their routine banking transactions without even entering the bank premises. ATM is one such development in recent years, which provides remote banking services all over the world, including India. This paper analyzes the development of this self-service banking in India based on the secondary data.
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is playing a very important role in the progress and advancement in almost all walks of life. The deregulated environment has provided an opportunity to restructure the means and methods of delivery of services in many areas, including the banking sector. The ICT has been a focused issue in the past two decades in Indian banking. In fact, ICTs are enabling the banks to change the way in which they are functioning. Improved customer service has become very important for the very survival and growth of banking sector in the reforms era. The technological advancements, deregulations, and intense competition due to the entry of private sector and foreign banks have altered the face of banking from one of mere intermediation to one of provider of quick, efficient and customer-friendly services. With the introduction and adoption of ICT in the banking sector, the customers are fast moving away from the traditional branch banking system to the convenient and comfort of virtual banking. The most important virtual banking services are phone banking, mobile banking, Internet banking and ATM banking. These electronic channels have enhanced the delivery of banking services accurately and efficiently to the customers. The ATMs are an important part of a bank’s alternative channel to reach the customers, to showcase products and services and to create brand awareness. This is reflected in the increase in the number of ATMs all over the world. ATM is one of the most widely used remote banking services all over the world, including India. This paper analyzes the growth of ATMs of different bank groups in India.
If ATMs are largely available over geographically dispersed areas, the benefit from using an ATM will increase as customers will be able to access their bank accounts from any geographic location. This would imply that the value of an ATM network increases with the number of available ATM locations, and the value of a bank network to a customer will be determined in part by the final network size of the banking system. The statistical information on the growth of branches and ATM network in select countries.
The financial services industry in India has witnessed a phenomenal growth, diversification and specialization since the initiation of financial sector reforms in 1991. Greater customer orientation is the only way to retain customer loyalty and withstand competition in the liberalized world. In a market-driven strategy of development, customer preference is of paramount importance in any economy. Gone are the days when customers used to come to the doorsteps of banks. Now the banks are required to chase the customers; only those banks which are customercentric and extremely focused on the needs of their clients can succeed in their business today.