Archive | December, 2008

At the Sunset of 2008

30 Dec

2008 ends on a sad note. The world has plunged into recession . Maybe we can venture a bit further and say – Depression. But then world economy is  at the end of the day  nothing but money and employment. That is OK. As a rule, whatever goes up has to come down. So we will be back to normal in no time.

what is sad is the massacre of Gaza. I was reading an article in The Hindu today on how a father of age 47 was preparing the funeral of his 2 sons aged 18 and 25. And I think. What is the kind of grief should he be going through? what will happen to his New Year ? What about his plans, dreams, wishes he would have had for his family?

How can you pacify a father who would have spent the best part of his life raising his children filled with dreams and aspirations , only to be taken away by a missile ? what happens to the hard work he would have put for the past 30-40 years where he would have sacrificed a lot to see his kids happy? Why should the world be so cruel to a man who had nothing to do with geo-politics or militancy or terrorism ?

As a fellow human being , what answers do I have for him ? This tragedy was not by nature. If it was of nature’s doing then there is no need for any justification. It was nature doing its work to bring balance. But then this monstrosity is man-made. I am as responsible for his sons death as the people sitting in Israel war cabinet deciding when and where to launch the next strike.

Can the US govt explain to me , why is Israel using bunker busting bombs ( the most devastating non-nuclear bomb) in a city filled with civilians? It is not a battleground . Can the US govt tell me How can they call Iran, North Korea, Iraq as Axis of Evil when the nations who are indulged in the killing are the Us and its Allies? What logic and justification is there in killing innocents ? How can they snuff out the future of a child and yet call themselves victims of terrorism? Haven’t you guys avenged enough for Sept 11?

I haven’t come up with any resolutions yet. But I ask myself today. How can I devote my life so completely to someone and make that person happy no matter what happens around me ? To what extent can I go to sacrifice my happiness to keep others happy? How should I define such a life ?

12 steps to successful PR campaign by Stephen Davies

28 Dec

I stumbled upon this interesting article on Public Relations and I thought I would share it here .

Stephen Davies of 3W PR writes on 12 steps to a successful PR Campaign.

Read on…

Big Retail Store Vs Mom-Pop store – who wins?

27 Dec

Here is a reason why mom and pop stores are gonna to stay for a long time to come in India.

Was getting back home around 10 pm today.

There is a Heritage Fresh retail store near to my house. I always stop by to pick a Tropicana juice pack before i head home . Usually i get there before or by 10 pm . Today, I got late and reached there around 10.10 pm. The shop was not yet closed. But they were putting out the lights. I stop there and explain , ” Sorry I got late. Can i just pick up the juice ?” .

The guy at the store says , ” Sorry we are closed. Billing is closed” .

I was like , ” what the hell are you talking about ? the shop is not yet closed. the shutters are not down( The bugger  knows that i am aregular customer to his shop. I have been coming here everyday for the past 6-8 months to pick up juice pack) Why cant you just  go in there and get me the Rs 18 juice pack .”

But he wouldn’t budge. He put his foot down and refused to get me the juice pack.

I was determined to get my juice today. I went in search of another retail store. I found most the big retail stores closed. Spencer Daily was closed. Daily Life was closed. But …

But, the small shops were open. I zeroed in on a shop named ” Anna Stores” . Not a sophisticated  shop at all. He sells stuff across the counter. And guess what ? He  has almost everything you would need for day to day household purposes.

He was about to shut the store. It was already close to 10.25 pm. The shutters were  down halfway and he was checking if lights were all switched off.

He saw me approaching his shop, gave me a nice smile and asked , ” enna vennum , sir?” ( what do you want sir?)

I dint get my tropicana juice pack. He dint have stock. I got Appy Fizz drink instead. Not exactly the  juice I would like to drink before I hit bet. It cost me Rs 25. Why did I buy it ? Because , this guy took the time out to re open the shop , just for me, and offered to sell the stuff I wanted. Even before he re opened the shop I told him that I needed the Tropicana. He knew he dint have stock and yet he said , ” I will check and see if I can give you something else” .

He apologetically added , ” I usually keep 2-4 juice packs for my regular customers. But today i dont have stock. Come tomorrow I will keep one extra for you.”

I beamed …..

See ..  The Big Deal is – I was not his regular customer. Rs 25 was not going to set his cash register ringing to a bounty. He could have as well said no to my face and got back home to see his family after a hard day at work. Instead, he knew more about customer service than a professionally managed “hi-funda” retail store like – Fresh.

Now, why did that mom and pop shop owner go about his way to help me out ?

Where do you think I would go tomorrow to get my juice pack, my next soap,Gillette,Maggi noodle purchase?

Amir Khan gymn workout pics for Ghajini

26 Dec

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Books I am reading right now …

26 Dec


The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meraman Scott

Tribes by Seth Godin

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

We almost missed the Health Care : KPMG-CII report

26 Dec

We did .. dint we ?

So here is Big Question – How many of you guys read the India Health Care marketing report released by KPMG ?

No , I am not talking about the press article on the relase of such a report . I am talking about reading the actuall report. I bet , you haven .. All busy with your own life – job, family, gf, bf .. all that stuff..

But you should have ..

Why ?

First check if you have a good health care insurace. If you dont , then may i suggest you get it immediately .. ASAP .. check Star Health Life  Insurance or Apollo DKV, LIC  or better still, pick Outlook Money mag and they have some good info to help you chose . Recession or no recession. That is no excuse for not getting a well covered health insurance policy.

You dont need a more better reason than that .. like duh! … It is your health in question here ..

But, here is the Big Idea :  you should know where India stands in the Health Care sector. If not for humanitarian reason,  why not look at it with a corporate eye ? Health Care in India is a un-organized sector . But here is the catch. It is more lucrative than than next-big-thing Retail Sector which hogs the media floodlights almost everyday .

why arent we more concerened on health sector as much as we care about retail boom in the horizon?

Dont ever forget that following sectors are completely recession proof , any day :

  • Health Care/Hospital Management
  • Integrated PR
  • Doctor
  • Education ( this includes teaching)

It would do us good if we can help in anyway to do something for the health care sector in India . You may be a IAS officer, a marketing professional, PR specialist , web designer.. any profession. Just do your bit ..

See ya around ..

Meanwhile , read the report here :

Health Insurance Inc, The Road Ahead – 2008

News report here :

Health Insurance Inc- The Road Ahead KPMG – CII report

Will write more on Health Care management soon


Read Paul krugman for simple economics

20 Dec

krugmanListen, don’t read Paul Krugman because he won the this year’s Nobel for Economics. For  a commoner  like you and me , whatever he wrote and published on trade theory based on Keynesian concepts will go way out of head.So don’t read him because he won the Nobel prize.

But if you still show bravado then I suggest you read Adam Smith’s “Wealth of nations”, Karl Marx “Das Capital” and John Keynes ” General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money” . By the time you finish any one of these books. At least one! You will hate economics from the depth of your heart. Economics is not for faint heart-ed or for the non-receptive sapiens.

Read because he writes some really good economic stuff in very simple words which is  easy to understand and contemplate on.

He is very much against the policies of Bush Government . And rightly so. But when you read his articles you would definitely  understand the policies followed by the US Govt and in fact discuss and debate about it with your friends and peer group and claim you say in it ..wont that be simply great ?

He regularly write for New York Times and they get are published in The Hindu news paper.

You can read his articles here –  Paul Krugman Coloumn

He is a question for you –

We all know what the Madoff crisis is all about. But have you noticed the word “ponzai”  in the articles on the issue? Have you ever wondered what “ponzai” means ?

Food for thought, no ?

How Dell uses social media as PR tool

19 Dec

Dell Inc is one of the top companies who have used social media and corporate blogging as an effective PR tool for marketing and driving sales.

Here is an article on how Dell does it   from PR communication blog

Dell Drives The Social Media CRM Market

I think Dell has one of the best website in tune with using Web 2.0 tools

The top 12 books on Innovation and Design by Business Week

19 Dec

Here it is … Finally , we have the list of top 12 books on Innovation and Design for 2008 .

Business Week has a great list here, but has missed out on 2-3 books which could have made it to the list.

Read it here Best Innovation & Design Books of 2008

I have read three of the books in the list-

The Game Changer by Ram Charan and A.G Lafley

The Age of Innovation by C.K Prahalad and M.S Krishnan

The Back of the Napkin by Don  Roam

Want to read :

Groundswell  by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff

Book that should have made to the list :

The New rules of Marketing and PR by David Scott

Tribes by Seth Godin

Share your thoughts and your list… would love to have opinions here

How the Rs 10 soup selling gal gets its right and Satyam doesn’t on customer service

19 Dec

The race to MBA degree is mind boggling. In India especially, it is craze sometimes rivaled only to cricket. You can see it for yourself the hordes of mba wanna- be’s and the media coverage peak during the Nov-Jan season every year. What a spectacle to watch . Almost every magazine worth its salt come out with b-school suvery giving a list a top 50 colleges “you should study at ” . Some even bring out a separate book to cash in on the boom. And, hey .. don’t count me out.. I am in the race too .

A degree in MBA teaches you to understand cash flow statements, how to come up with great marketing ideas and all that jazz. But I wonder how did Shankari ,a 1 st year B.com student from a low rung women college get great ideas on marketing and customer service.

Let me give you the story first .

I love soup and for having that one or two cups of it  I go all the way to Ananna Nagar park where this guy sells really mouth watering , pipping hot soup ( completely natural ) at Rs 6 per cup. He has good stuff. You have to give him that credit !

These days( 3 months approx) ,  I drink soup from one of the Fresh retail outlets i visit. The soup is sold in small kiosks at Rs 10 per cup. You would have seen similar kiosks selling sweet corns and popcorn’s at a retail store near to your house. Small enterprising men/women take franchise contracts from the company which sells these products , then pay rent to the retail store and put up a kiosk outside and sell it. Great business idea . Has the ideal ingredient of entrepreneurship, job and wealth creation and good products to customers at affordable rates.

Now, getting back to the story . Shankari is a 1st year student studying for B.com at W omen’s College. She sits at the kiosk every evening with a book in hand selling Rs. 1o per cup soups. I have options to chose as well – Tomato, Plantain, Mushroom, Vegetable. For reasons unknown to myself I always buy Plantain or Mushroom. I knew what I was  buying but never gave it much thought to it. I just go up ask  , say , Monday it is plantain soup , Tuesday it is Mushroom. It is cyclic.Till the day – about  3 weeks back – shankari popped the question at me , ” Sir, why do you always buy Mushroom and Plantain soup, why don’t you ever try Tomato and Vegetable?” …

I dint know what to tell her. I muttered and gave some lame answer about my preference for mushroom and not liking tomato taste and stuff.. the next question caught me by surprise.

“Sir , other than mushroom and plantain, what other variety you like ?” ..

I gave her my options. And then asked what is she gonna do about it . She said , ” I will ask my brother to check if the company can give us the soup of your choice” ..

That bowled me out completely . Why did she bother to find out what my taste are ? why didn’t she just sell the soup at Rs 10 and continue to sit and study with that book in her hand ? why ? why ?

Normally, unless you pack it to your house, one drinks the soup standing there right next to Kiosk. There are 2 advantages to it – One , the soup remains hot and two you get extra corn as second helpings. I love the corn which comes with the soup , so I stand there and finish the soup then drop it in the dustbin and go back home.

That day,  while I was standing there drinking the soup ( I was drinking vegetable soup with lots of pepper. I had cold and shankari said drinking that soup with lots of pepper helps) she was asking the same question to lts of other customers of hers. Not every one. But a lot of them . Similar questions . In her own ingenious way she was conducting a survey. Maybe she realized what she was doing . Maybe she dint. That is not the point. She was proactive. She tried to understand her customer.

Later when i asked why she only asked the questions to a select few customers , she replies , ” They are my regular customers” ..

I felt privileged that day to  be a customer of hers.

Her brother has taken the franchise contract from the parent company. While she sits at the fresh outlet , her bro is doing the same thing some other part of the city.

I wonder if  she had read any of those management books? did  she read “The New Age of Innovation: Driving C0-Created Value through Global Networks” by C.K Prahalad on how to serve customized products to a customer in a collaborative environment with the N=1 , R= G rule ? How did she get this idea what a Univerity of Michigan Author did after much research ?

By the way, The New Age of Innovation has made it to the top 12 books on innovation given out by Business Week.

Read it here :  Best Innovation & Design Books 2008

But how come Stayam Computers dint get it right ?

The big fiasco of merger/buying Mayatas infra and properties which caused ripple of appalling magnitude among the investors across the table is there for everyone to see.

I read somewhere that the ISB’s dean was also part of the board which took the decision to buy out the two companies ( run by Ramalinga raju son’s). I am no authority to question the merit of the proposed buyout. Nor am I an investor. As a rule i don’t directly invest in Sensex. No speculative, sentiment prone gambling for me..No Sir.

But what I would like to know is how come such highly educated ,the creme-la-de creme managers and CEO and CFO of the company dint have the inclination to ask its investors and clients their opinion before taking such a decision? How come the MBA’s of IIM and MDI and blah blah dint know the tenets of customer service when such a proposal was mooted in the first place?

But man, what a PR and Corp Comm nightmare they should be having right now ? I cant but feel sorry for the guy who is handling the company’s PR account. He must be literally running pillar to post to get things “done” . The green horns must be having a great time in learning the art of crisis management. what better case study can they get .. ?

By the way , I loved the new Idea Cellular ad . About asking the people first before taking a political decision. The creative guy and the copywriter deserve full marks for the new ad . The previous ads were highly creative but not practical . The new one is very creative, very practical and got the execution right . kool Ad huh ?

IBM has a great caption going for its print ads – “STOP selling what you have and Start selling what they want”. Now, they get it .. Bingo ..

You get the drift ?