Monday, May 31, 2010


What comes to your mind when you hear the term ‘brand’? The answer for the question would be something like adidas, puma, Apple, Chanel etc. But a brand can be anything, any product, any service or anything which has something substantial to show and make a brand identity for itself and eventually create a brand image in the consumers’ or the audience minds. It can be seen here that brand identity and brand image are two different concepts, the former is the way in which a company or a product portrays itself while the latter is how the consumers perceive it, but once they become the same, there comes a great brand.

Now there was an article long back in Times life saying there are six types of men: The dependable spaniels like Shahrukh khan, Glam studs like Salman khan, Charming foxes like Sanjay dutt, Macho tiger like Akshay kumar and John Abraham, Shy chipmunks like Sachin pilot and finally Skimpy Chickens like Rahul mahajan. All these personalities are brands in themselves because they have been consistent in portraying themselves in the similar manner across decades. Hence, the companies and the advertisers choose them for a particular type of product to show that the product is in par with the personality’s persona, be it the fair and handsome by SRK, Castrol by John or Thumbs up by Akshay kumar. If the above personalities loose the consistency they are sure to dilute their brand and the related products. Consumers buy those products relating to these personalities and trusting in them.

Can ordinary people like you and me be a BRAND! Of course, may be not famous like them but yes we can and we are. Just look around, your family, your friends, colleagues etc. their perception on you depends on the way you have been behaving or portraying yourself. If you have been consistent, you must be a strong brand by now!

The point to be stressed here is CONSISTENCY... the same is applied even to the products. A brand has to send its brand promise and keep reinforcing it again and again to get consumers attention, progress to become Share of mind and finally into top of mind recall. Let’s take an instance here; Radio Mirchi is the first private fm radio in India. Their positioning has been totally targeted towards the urban youth. The name, the tagline, the jockeys, the format of the station and even the promotional campaigns are in sync with the positioning. A research on the consumer perceptions shows that Mirchi is the no. 1 station in India with respect to listenership, Likability and entertainment. This station has never diluted its brand promise of giving ‘Hot’ entertainment to the youth; moreover it has adapted to the local flavor and yet kept its essence. This makes a great brand.

- Summu Saif

Detailing in Retailing

Time and again when I enter a supermarket/hypermarket, I wonder what is so great in this format of retailing except neat display of merchandise and air-conditioning. But, reality seems to be completely different. There is a lot of planning done to make your shopping experience 'Extra'-ordinary.

Extensive use of technology and deep research is conducted to understand the shopping patterns of the consumer and structure the store accordingly. There is cavernous logic behind the construction of the aisles, positioning of the signages, location of the shelves and the visual look and feel of the merchandise within the store. The intention is to persuade the customer to buy more and to increase the frequency of purchase.

Retailing is no easy business; it’s rightly said that “Retail is all about detail.” And in this extremely competitive environment where retailers have to face stiff antagonism from emerging superstores and also from well-operated kirana stores, it becomes extremely necessary to understand the nuances of retail and build the plan.
There is a segment of retailing known as Space Management which takes care of this planning that involves how the store layout is designed, what arrangement is done to the shelves, etc…

Budgets are suddenly tighter, and retailers are under more pressure, the decisions retailers make today carry much greater weight than they did before. It is during this time that retailers need more than ever to be more agile, more productive, and more profitable. Thus Retailer has to give utmost importance to every minute detail and bring continuous improvements to the process.

See how Shelving and Visual Merchandising of products leads to increased sales and improved profits:


Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Baap of all advertisements - ‘Write the Future’

Have you ever wondered why companies spend so lavishly during major international events? The answer to this question is very simple. And the answer is immense VISIBILITY and a great opportunity to make an impact on your target audience. Remember the ZooZoo advertisements by Vodafone? These were made especially only for the IPL season. Following the pattern many companies jumped into the foray. This years IPL was flooded with advertisers to make an impact, and boy they surely did!

Catches were re-named as the Karbonn-Kamaal Catch, Sixes as DLF Maximum… etc. Maxx Mobile and Micromaxx ran their advertisements throughout the season. Even though the advertisement rates sky-rocketed, companies went forward to put their ads and were successful in making an impact.

As World Cup Football is nearing; legendary advertisers such as Nike and Pepsi have released their ads. Their scale is just terrific and huge. These ads have been shot by Hollywood directors and money has been flown as water to produce these ads. Any other company would have shied away from making investments of this proportion only to produce a commercial. But, that’s the difference which makes these advertisers so great. Nike has been synonymous with Football due to its immense association with the game. Just have a look how Nike managed to “write its future”…!

Watch d Video:

Turmoil in Greece: Was it destined to happen?

Greece is in a severe economic mess; investors have stopped and even called back all their investments in this debt-loaded country. Standard & Poor has given a NEGATIVE rating to Greece which means the Investors have lost their faith in this country which worsens the condition even more. The reason put forth is that Greece has taken large magnitude of loans which have even exceeded their GDP. This lowers down their re-payment ability and their ability to sustain the economy. Their growth is stand-still and has even gone negative after the US downturn making it more susceptible to economic depression.

The question here is whether is it a routine economic condition? What should have Greece done to stop this? Was it predictable that this can happen? How can Greece bounce back to the path of Recovery?
It’s not only Greece which is facing this scenario; but the whole of Europe. The €  value is its lowest and all of Europe has come together to bail out Greece as they know that they can face a similar situation if they don’t help Greece come out of it. Euro shares have fallen down to a great extent and even a new convention has been termed – ‘PIGS’; which signifies the group of countries which can go into depression in future. The ‘PIGS’ include – Potugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain. Imagine the sentiments have lowered so down that even Tourism in these countries have been effected. Tourism which forms a major contributor to GDP in these countries have shot down suddenly leading to more worries and adding up to the turmoil.

To understand this phenomenon better lets know how the BUSINESS CYCLE works. The concept isn’t new; economists around the world have done extensive research to understand the pattern and put forth their ideologies. India which was once termed as a “Sone ki chidiya” later became one of the poorest countries after colonization and now is growing to become an economic superpower in some years. Similarly US which grew exponentially after the Industrial Revolution had the Great Economic Depression in the 1930’s and Recovered greatly after the World War II. Later in 2008 it faced one of the biggest downfalls in the history of world economy which sent ripple effects throughout the world. To what extent is it possible for us to learn from these events? How can we predict these occurrences and stop them before-hand? May be these are difficult questions to answer. Lets understand the pattern of Business Cycle atleast J

Phases of Business Cycle

Saturday, May 29, 2010

2 C's for Entrepreneurial Success

It’s the phase where markets are fiercely competitive and the face of business is ever-changing. Every day several new businesses are launched in the hope of leveraging the opportunities available. Do you realize that about ninety percent of these ventures fail? Its not that there has been something unusual with the business plan or the market strategy; but the foundation of the businesses are weak. If you enter the market only with the profit-generation aim, you lose then and there. Yes, profit IS an important factor; but its high time we need to realize that business is NOT personal; it’s connected to several lives. Hence to grow, u need to grow ALONG with others. There is a very famous adage that says “You cannot win a war alone”. So applies to business; you need people who can believe, share, communicate, work and collaborate with you.

Considering the current scenario; I suggest 2 C’s for entrepreneurial success:
     1. CLOUD
     2. CROWD

You may find the names rhyming and similar; but there’s only one great similarity between the two. That’s the key to your Venture’s success. It is with the help of these strategies, startups such as Google, Salesforce, Amazon, Facebook… etc have grown exponentially and transformed into multi-million organizations today. You would be astonished to see that how Indian entrepreneurs such as Bhavin Turakhia and Kashyap Dalal are re-defining innovation with their ventures – Directi and Inkfruit. These young, dynamic entrepreneurs knew that they had to do something very fresh and innovative to sustain in this highly competitive market environment. They sensed the situation and put forth their strategies which were backed by the 2 C’s.

Let’s start with:

This is not a very new concept. This emerged as a by-product of the Internet Revolution. Google was successful in identifying it early and see the magnitude to which it has heralded the company to greatness. Even the biggies such as Microsoft have to fear from two normal Stanford Grads who showed the world that businesses run on INNOVATION and constant evolution. The idea is behind a cloud is very simple; that a remote server will provide all the services you require. This gives you the ability to make your business flexible, scalable, cost competitive and hence low maintenance. This concept has penetrated in various businesses and has affected many people. It provides the ability to bring low cost services into the market and hence acts as a factor of competitive advantage to you. Take a well established company such as SAP which sells various Enterprise Applications. It faced extreme competition from small Vendors who were selling Business Intelligence Applications as SaaS (Software as a Service) and using Cloud platform (Ex: Gooddata, Birst, MAIA). There began tremendous demand for applications using Cloud; as it costed meager several thousand dollars instead of million of dollars.

Have a look at some presentations on the technical aspects of CLOUD COMPUTING:

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing

“Harness the power of Crowd” is the ultimate success mantra of today. Have you ever fell short of ideas? Then this the best time when u could have got some – from the CROWD. Crowdsourcing may help your business grow with the power of unlimited, unleashed power available from the crowd. Take Wikipedia for example, there are millions of contributors to create this mega encyclopedia a profound success story. Its 15 million articles (over 3.3 million in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site. And now it is currently the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet…..! Unbelievable, yes it is.

Unlike outsourcing, where a company moves for cheaper labor costs, crowd sourcing opens up work and creative inventions to everyone — "the crowd." – says Margot Adler. If you want to get a notion of crowdsourcing, think of NASA giving a $200,000 prize to an inventor, Peter Homer, who designed a new space glove in his dining room. His goals, he said...

Mr. PETER HOMER (Inventor): One was to beat the NASA glove, and my second goal was to impress the NASA guy.

ADLER: Getting $200,000 was icing on the cake. Or think of something like Wikipedia, where people create a product together - in this case, an encyclopedia.

Most crowdsourcing involves an open call over the Internet. Take the company Inkfruit is an online t-shirt store, where t-shirt designs are submitted and voted for by a community. Hence not only it gets several t-shirt design ideas; but also great publicity and a positive word of mouth through its community members. The idea behind this being VIRAL Marketing. The community of Inkfruit submit tshirt designs. These designs are put to vote on a scale of 1 to 5. The design that receives most votes 'wins', gets printed and is put for sale. The member whose design is selected gets paid a winning amount.

Hence, this not only allows your businesses to get several new ideas constantly, but also interact and grow with the crowd. And crowdsourcing, creates a lot of productive capacity that didn't previously exist.

Learn more:

Cambrian house- Case Study

Business and Crowdsourcing
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