June 25, 2011

Trust is a Must: Future of Retail in India

If you examine the reasons for failure of organized retail in India many factors have been cited by various experts but no one has pointed out the most critical issue of absence of trust as the prime culprit. After all there is enough growth in economy leading to healthy demand for goods & services, some players have deepest pockets too, there is reasonably good transport backbone and India has quite a few well established fmcg majors present for long enough periods too.

We witnessed huge customer interest in buying at such outlets in the beginning & any research could reveal that customers could return to buy from organized retail if the players could get their act together. Quantity, prices, packaging, buying convenience, availability, variety and experience are few given factors that are in favor of organized retail.

Though most retail players failed due to absence of managerial competency for such operations particularly in marketing function lacked the understanding & creativity required to maintain a robust interest of customers in the stores. Across the board players focused on product images to lure the customers without strategizing the brand pull in an effective manner.

Retail is a service but the organized retail players choose to run the biz without regard to the basics of services marketing. Only if Reliance Fresh, Big Bazaar, Spencers etc could learn few lessons from professional service marketers and trained & retrained their teams on a continuous basis they can pull off the act in a powerful manner. There is lack of training, sense of belongingness & trust among the people working at the outlets. 

It’s very important for the retail players to craft a suitable training programme for their team to keep them involved in the business with a degree of pride. Without inculcation of pride among the team working at the outlets its impossible to run such an operation. We must keep in mind that we are not USA or Europe where people generally trust each other. We are a society that’s fractured by insidious mistrust that keeps people from behaving like a cohesive them. First step towards success of retail is to build a trustworthy team that in turn could inspire trust of the buyers, Till such mindset is achieved even Walmart would have to struggle in Indian market. 

June 24, 2011

Their Sun is the Centre of their ‘Universe’

Dentsu India has probably forgotten that their illustrious parent has Japanese origins who, unlike them, believe in hard work, honesty and dedication. I am shocked to see an advertising slogan on the front page of June 24 2011 ET that reads …Sun may be centre of universe for others…., how could they write such a falsehood with so much seriousness? Sun is centre of solar system, not universe. We have known it since 1920’s. It’s a case of bad semantics & wasteful advertising.

Indian advertising industry has always been known churning out large quantities of completely ‘inspired’ works, much like our cinema. Most of our films and advtg too, are nothing but stupid copies of otherwise fine piece of creativity. We understand business & also have had demonstrable greed to make money through any means fair or foul but we have not yet learnt the method of honest work and truly inspiring beauty. And this reflects well through our advertising too.  Dentsu India could surely produce better work.

June 6, 2011

Political Marketing & might of salwar kameez

India is maturing into a reasonably functioning parliamentary system. Like other places the system would evolve organically to fulfill the desires of the people. As a student of political marketing i would like to point out the vacancy available for a secular national level party to keep the nation on track.

We have seen that whenever a secular alternative is offered to the citizens they have grabbed it with tons of hope. Recent elections like that in Orissa, Tamil Nadu & Bihar indicates towards same reality. So far as the right & left wing parties they would always have a marginal role to play before they dissolve into oblivion. Religion/Culture based parties would loose their already shrinking base with spread of scientific temper as a consequence of education. 

Congress seems to have given too much importance to Ramdev but i hope that the Congress knows fully well that Ramdev combined with RSS & rightist voters pose no significant threat to political fortune of congress. But if Ramdev gets together with a new secular party then congress would be under real existential threat. There is place for a second national level secular party in India as per the marketing logic and three years is a long period for an outfit to make a difference in our media soaked society. A saffron Ramdev is a lesser threat  to the political power of Congress but a salwar- kammez  wearing Ramdev would present a real a present danger to Congress. At least the marketing logic says so! 

June 3, 2011

Career Planning & Corporate Orientation workshop

Career Planning & Corporate Orientation workshop!
Dear Engineering & Management students: We understand that most often you do not get industry experienced mentors to introduce you to various options available for your dream career. We would enlighten you about the job options available in corporate, train you for the interview battles & arm you with ammo required for a rewarding job hunt safari. Classes are planned for Sat-Sunday to fit your needs. Cheers. 

Morning Session
Post Lunch Session
Ice breaking & Formal Introduction

Movie on business Management
Identifying your personality type

Personality to Industry compatibility- which function/sector would be fit for your type
Effective Resume

Attractive Cover letter
Preparing for Interviews

Role Play
Prepare your Elevator speech

Prepare for war in the interview arena.
Professional Etiquettes

Hygiene Factors & manners - Role play and Video session
Winning in Group discussions

Feedback and Role Play
Voice Culture and impact

Recording & feedback session
Social Media Marketing for job search

Social media training session.
Contours of Global & Domestic industry

Shooting resume to suitable companies & discussions


                      Course fee:       9500 only
                     Duration:         60 hours 8-10 days [Sat-Sunday]
                     Batch size:       25 participants
We welcome our students to take advantage of our customized Career Spa for selecting a suitable career & winning at the interviews. Video resumes for the fresh graduates are most desirable in the current corporate environment.

MBA has changed

MBA/PGDM course continues to be taught the way it used to be in 80s in India. Even the curriculum in most places has remained unchanged. Well PowerPoint presentations have replaced the overhead projectors but contents and pedagogy remains mostly the same. The question is do we really need a new way of dissemination of knowledge with learners?

MBA/PGDM is a business management program that prepares human resources for the industry. Has the industry undergone any change in last couple of decades? Have the processes and concepts of managing business changed significantly over the past years? Is it enough for a person to get acquainted with few concepts and analytical tools before entering the corporate for a successful sojourn? The questions are many so are the answers. But definitely a good MBA/PGDM qualified person continues to command higher value with the passage of time. An average MBA/PGDM degree holder may have lost it sheen completely.

How to be a valuable MBA/PGDM so that corporate takes interest in you? Let us list the steps required to become a good MBA/PGDM;
1.Decide/select the industry and function you wish to work with in the first semester itself.
2.Focus on intensive study of the select sector/vertical while writing assignments & tests.
3.English is no loner a foreign language, therefore go for Chinese, Korean or Japanese.
4.Keep regular track of your industry selection by interacting with working professionals.
5.Learn Excel thoroughly & read one local & one global business magazine.
6.Try your hands at a small business or simulation before taking the maiden step in career.
7.Post your video resume on every possible website directly or indirectly related with your chosen industry sector.
8.Undertake extra study to build your intellect & aesthetics through appreciation of fine arts.

Teaching of MBA/PGDM would take years to change itself to align with the industry requirements therefore its incumbent upon the student to set his own agenda for a successful career. Wish you a happy career.

June 1, 2011

Building private self financing Higher Education

Quite a number of self financing professional education institutes are coming up all over India as per the plans of the government to expand this sector to enhance the enrolment from current 13 percent to 25 percent by 2015. Such institutes are regulated by AICTE, UGC and the afflicting universities to check the quality standards. I don’t wish to comment on the effectiveness of the mechanism in this piece as I would like to address the larger issue of institution building.

Generally most businesses, at least in India, are inspired by the success stories of the pioneers & current leaders of the sector. Therefore when private engineering colleges came up in south India they tried imitating the systems practices of the popular government run institutes. Following the south region, such activity began in North India in late 1990s peaking in the period 2000-2004. Unfortunately most new institutions did not focus on upgrading the value offer over the existing ones as is the normal practice in business but took a narrow profit seeking view of the entire process. Consequently students enrolled themselves at the nearest, cheapest institute with the objective of acquiring the degree without going through the rigor of learning process.

India has been saddled with ever new institutes that showcase work in progress campuses, relaxed classroom environment with security of getting the paper called a degree that promised to unlock the doors of high flying careers annexed through hook and crook. Each new institute had no problem of filling the allotted seats till 2009 so the process kept on uninterrupted. Scene changed after 2009 as even the established institutes faced with falling admission numbers and stagnant revenues.
Large education management groups have deep pockets that enable them to bombard media to create an impression of being a market leader in their region & domain. But the large number of single campus institutes do not have the financial muscles to factor in the media spends. Let us first investigate the reasons of fall in admission to professional higher education in India.

There is a general agreement that lack of academic excellence at new higher education institutes is the prime culprit in driving students away from higher education. It’s followed closely by the lack of new available jobs for the fresh graduates. Some institutes believe that poor branding of their institutes is also responsible for the crunch. These are the points on which there is a general agreement amongst the players. Interestingly all these point to a traditional product led approach followed by people at the helm in these education enterprises.
Most important factor responsible for decreasing admissions into higher education could be traced to stagnation of land prices across India. The spike in land prices during 2002-2007 generated large surplus incomes for the semi urban areas which allowed them to send their children to expensive higher education institutes. Post 2009 there is lull in land prices has forced the households to cut back expenditure on education leading to students preferring low cost diplomas over high cost professional degrees.

Branding an higher education organization in such a scenario requires strategic alignment to the students profile in the particular region. Mass media advertising is great source of recall but has limited value in building an education brand. An intensive institute wise analysis would be required to carve an effective branding. A general list of factors that lead to creating powerful brand is as give below;
1. Infrastructure beginning with the entrance
2. Quality of the staff & faculty
3. Proximity to the centre of industry & trade
4. Curriculum & quality contents in classroom
5. Industry interaction
6. Transport system
7. Technology base
8. Global exposure

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