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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Femina Hindi: Made for a desi girl but in urban style

It is meant for an Indian woman... a desi girl! I am talking about Femina – a 50 years old magazine for a contemporary woman of today's India. Though they claim to be number one women magazine in India, the truth is that it has got tough competition from Cosmopolitan, Savvy, Women's Era, Elle, Gurlz, Seventeen, 4thD Woman, Marie Claire, Prevention, Vogue etc. along with a little bit change in their respective positioning.

In such a competitive scenario, it becomes necessity to think out of the box to expand your brand visibility or even for sustaining your brand’s mindshare. In order to meet such requirements publications generally starts brand extensions in their own ways. World Wide Media India, perhaps for the same reasons, has decided to come up with the Hindi version its 50 years old brand – Femina… and the blunder happened!

Mistake also repeats itself
This kind of decision is not made for the first time by any publication house, same has tried several time in the past as well. And earlier also were done with the same kind of mistakes which WWM India has repeated now with the Hindi version of Femina. As the result, rarely any of those earlier magazines has managed to even survive. CHIP, GR8, Auto Motor & Sports, Overdrive, 360 Magazine & many more… whichever was started with same business model, fell down on the face and on the contrary they become a ‘successful’ case study of 'failure’ of this kind of projects.

Femina (hindi) seems so flawed and substandard product because of so many reasons-


  • It has no independent product name (which could give it its own identity…that clearly shows its negligence by publishers)
  • Articles are taken from old issue(s) of Femina and presented in the same way (without knowing the TG psyche & their preferences, their liking-disliking)
  • Flawed & wrong translation (it seems that there is no dedicated team and its done by some sub standard freelancer translators)
  • Very artificial language of articles (it seems that need of sub-editing is absolutely ignored)
  • Unountable spelling errors (it seems that no proofing is done)
  • Language inconsistency errors (it seems that text written & fed by several people, who have not followed any style sheet)

Trust me that I am not exaggerating, just have a look at mistakes I have found on the cover itself. And also the 'editorial' page as one example of erroneous pages of Famina (hindi). It clearly shows that Femina (hindi) is nobody's baby that is why it is launched with such a negligence. Otherwise no publisher can afford his product to be so flawed that can even damage the reputation of entire publication.

It could be dangerous for others
Publishers at WWM India, perhaps launched this hindi version as their brand extension, but they should have kept this in the mind that ‘this’ brand extension would have to compete with other strong & established magazines in the same genre. Looking at the quality & credibility of Femina (English) content, this hindi version could be a great threat for its competitors like Meri Saheli, Jagaran Sakhi, Manorama, Vanita, 4thD Meri Sangini, Grih Lakshmi, Grih Shobha, Good Homemaker, Madhurima, Woman on Top and various others. Now, here is good news for those competitors that they don’t need to take it seriously, until Femina (Hindi) is taken seriously by its own publishers.

Content
Femina (English) is respected & one of great women magazines and for its hindi edition is made from the articles from the same. That is why the content is pretty fine, but it could be far better if a few articles were original (or customized or re-written exclusively for the TG). Wrongly translated & misspelled words/sentences leaves very bad taste of reading that’s why it won't be able to hook the TG into it.

Cover photograph is good but the treatment of cover story is poor… Designer only can tell why the typo-cluttering is used or why that dirty looking red patch is put there on the cover. Lots of copy & spelling errors gives very bad impression of the product even on news stand itself. It stops a prospective buyer to make buying decision right there; and for a product's launch issue that is not good sign.

Design
If a publication house has two different magazines and both can not have the same design because of their different personalities, then why it is not true for both the versions of Femina? The layout, color schemes, grids, effects… which work well for the TG of English edition, not at all will appeal to the TG of its hindi edition.

Perhaps, same design team was asked to design pages for the hindi edition and they done it very reluctantly... just by replacing text on the pages, rest everything is same. Design & layout should have done keeping different positioning in mind. Through out the magazine, right from the cover till the last page, single font is used everywhere- be it body, box, heading, titles, captions, blurbs or quotations… and that create clashes & confusions among various text elements.

Printing
This is the only aspect where the hindi edition of Femina can win its reader's heart. Prepress work is excellent & printing is equally good.

Product
At the cover price of Rs.40 for a monthly magazine, the quality of paper its using, the amount of article it is carrying, it is a decent package.

As, I have mentioned in the starting, if language & presentation is not improved, rest everything is useless. If this magazine is treated as a separate and individual product by its publishers, then only it can be improved seriously & then only it can be at the level where Femina English today is.

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