Brand marketing has seen some exciting wars in the last couple of decades. In the 90s we saw the Cola War, between Coca Cola and Pepsi. That was followed by the, not-so-famous, Card War between Mastercard and Visa.
Then came the Cell War between BPL Mobile (now Loop) and Orange (now Vodafone). That was followed by the Toothpaste War between Colgate and Pepsodent. The Airline War between Kingfisher and Jet in the last decade was epic.
And in this decade we are seeing the "Click" war between Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal.
Flipkart seems to have lost this round of the "click wars" as website glitches on its Big Billion Day sale flipped (pun intended) hundreds of e-shoppers and bargain hunters.
Sachin and Binny sent an email to all its customers last evening (including me) apologising for what happened. Their honest, "direct dil se" apology seems to have won back some hearts and re-emphasised that customer centricity that Flipkart always talks about.
In my view, it’s great PR during adversity from the young founders. Good brands never take their customers for granted. Mistakes happen, good brands own up, promise to correct things and make those corrections.
I'm certain the Flipkart guys will learn from their mistake on this one. However, the war is far from over. In fact, it may have just begun. Do Sachin and Binny have the heart for a long fight ahead – both in terms of running its business successfully and managing its PR? That's the 'Big Billion' rupee question."
Vipul Bondal is Founder & CEO of Veriitte Consulting, a specialist PR firm based in Mumbai. He helps small companies and start-ups manage their communication needs.