Business Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Aug 22, 2006
Variety - Lifestyle
States - Maharashtra
Dabbawalas cash in on their `marketing' reach
Quality of service and their sincerity has made them a cult figure in Mumbai
Coimbatore , Aug. 21
The famed dabbawalas of Mumbai, whose supply chain management expertise could be the envy of many corporates, plan to leverage their vast reach in the sprawling metropolis to advertise/market products, as a revenue-generating activity to help out the nearly 5,000 dabbawalas to lead a better life.
Already several leading business houses have used the reach of dabbawalas, who are involved in collecting and delivering food from close to 2 lakh households across Mumbai city, as a means of advertisement, and even the Maharashtra Government had roped them in to spread AIDS awareness.
But the initiative for such exercises came from the corporates and Government and not from the dabbawalas themselves. Now, they want to seize the opportunity provided by their unmatched reach to take the corporate messages to lakhs of homes in the city for a fee.
Speaking to journalists from The Hindu group in Coimbatore, Mr Raghunath D. Medge, President, Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Sup. Charity Trust and Mr Manish Tripathi, Hon. Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Trust, said that the trust wanted to take advantage of the growing awareness about the dabbawalas and their ubiquitous presence in the city by associating themselves with the corporates in spreading the corporate messages regarding products, events, services etc.
They said that the quality of their service and their sincerity has helped them become a cult figure among the people of Mumbai.
They said that they would like to utilise the opportunity to be associated with the corporate houses.
In the past, several corporate groups like the STAR TV, Radio Mirchi, Colgate, Sahara TV and the manufacturers of Saffola had utilised their services.
Mr Tripathi said that while leveraging their strength in distribution, the Trust wanted to exercise caution regarding the institutions with which it would associate itself since the dabbawalas' credibility was their main asset. They also would like to respect the privacy of their clients and would like to ensure that the huge database that they have about their clients was not misused.
Mr Tripathi said that the Trust was offering the option of advertising on its Web site. It is now thinking of sending promotional materials such as leaflets/stickers with the dabba for a fee.
Sharing the revenue
The revenue generated through this exercise would be shared among dabbawallas that would help augment their income and lead a better life. The Trust would build a database of 2 lakh households, including their addresses, household income, details of work place, etc. which would be a powerful marketing tool.The Trust would not share the entire database with the advertisers but would distribute the promotional material to the targeted group. He said that the dabbawalas could also be engaged in the delivery of products directly from companies at a discounted price. Some companies have already made enquiries with the Trust for partnership.
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