The Center for Global Development (CGD) was awarded a two-year grant from the Tinker Foundation in 2009 for a series of country case studies that examine efforts to improve financial services for poor and marginalized communities. In so doing, CGD hopes to encourage evidence-based planning among policy makers that attempt to address the persistence of poverty in Latin America. The Foundation's grant provided funding for the studies of Brazil and Mexico, which have recently been completed and released. Brought together with reports on India, Kenya, Peru and South Africa, the Center is developing recommendations and best practices to inform future efforts throughout the region.
From the Center for Global Development...
Designing financial products that meet the needs of the poor and the middle class and creating the policy environment in which financial institutions can flourish is a core development challenge. Such efforts are on the rise but have tended to be scatter-shot, based on intuition and belief rather than empirical evidence. Realizing this knowledge gap, CGD launched a research program directed by senior fellow Liliana Rojas-Suarez that aims to identify good practices, pre-conditions, and obstacles for improving financial inclusion. The project includes six case studies that apply a common analytical framework produced by a CGD Task Force entitled “Policy Principles for Expanding Financial Access”. Case study countries – Brazil, India, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, and South Africa – were selected because they are innovation leaders and because of the variety of financial products to improve access that they offered simultaneously.
Read the case study of Mexico (pdf)
Read the case study of Brazil (pdf)
Visit the CGD website to read more about their research and access other country reports.
Tags : Advertising, Simran Lal, One by One Design, Malvika Mehra, Home Decor Special, Good earth, BE This Week
When every fledgling or established brand in the Home Décor category is either taking the “branded content” route or telling the audience how “Setting is Everything” on national TV, one brand is creating four-minute-long videos on the making of a handcrafted luxury quilt. Wait, it gets better: that video is fetching the brand millions of views and thousands of likes on Facebook alone. How on Earth, you’d say. Good Earth is how.
Founded in 1996 by Anita Lal, a ceramic designer, Good Earth has created a name for itself as a lifestyle brand that marries traditional craftsmanship with luxury. That level of collaboration comes at a price so Good Earth is clear it isn’t for everyone. It doesn’t, however, explain why the brand has never taken the traditional advertising route even once in the last two decades.
Luxury brands advertise all the time. So why not Good Earth? “Because it’s a lot more powerful and authentic for a customer to talk about us than us talking about ourselves,” says Simran Lal, the founder’s daughter, and the company’s CEO.
Good Earth’s approach, she claims, has always been to focus on quality, great design, storytelling, and customer experience. “You see it on our site, at our stores, or in our packaged gifts. For us, marketing is about the consumer touch points,” she says.
It’s not like the company never talks about itself. You’ll find Good Earth actively engaging with users across social media platforms to share new things the brand has to offer. “But we don’t like to push a customer into buying our product. Even our sales teams at stores have been trained to help the customer with relevant information but never pressurise them into shopping.” Like Malvika Mehra, founder and creative director of Tomorrow Creative Lab, says, “I don’t think they are ‘away’ from advertising, they just do it differently.They invest in experiences, in associations, and brand extensions that reflect the same ethos.” Mehra is particularly impressed with the brand’s curation of design tours across its stores, or its association with like-minded design-driven brands like Pero, Eka, Raw Mango that often do pop-ups in Good Earth stores. “All these add to their overall brand imagery. I’m not sure they need a conventional TVC to do that.”
But not even banner ads on e-commerce sites or carousel ads on Facebook like the rest of them? “Are you kidding me? Never,” says Lal rather emphatically. As Anurag Hira, co-owner of Kolkata-based One by One Design says, “Good Earth is a mature brand and not a new startup that is trying extra hard to establish itself. The ‘no ad’ model works because clearly it is not competing with say a Fabindia, which has 250+ stores and therefore needs to try harder.”
Good Earth currently has 11 stores in India and three abroad. And it doesn’t intend to set up more than one new store every year. “We’d rather focus on getting better at what we do, and experiment with the salon we’ve recently launched in Raghuvanshi Mills, Mumbai,” says Lal. In sync with that, Mehra suggests the brand should not only have modern interpretations of its design stories but ‘new’ design stories altogether. “Something on the lines of stories and craftsmanship which embraces the new India and the new landscape that is emerging, something around cities, for instance. How about a collection called ‘Bombay’,” she adds. Lal believes initiatives like Pehchaan, a series of videos like the quilt-making one, are in line with the brand’s efforts to remain relevant to the new Indian aesthetic consumer. That said, she admits it does take longer to establish a brand the Good Earth way. Not every player has that luxury. As long as she does, it’s going to be aesthetic over aggressive for Good Earth.