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Showing posts from April, 2007

Trip to Cochin

I am taking a trip out of Bangalore to Cochin. Will be gone for a week. During the time am gone, will post less frequently.
I will be back to active posting by May 1st.
Cheers....

Buy / Sell car in India ?

I came across a comprehensive portal on buying/selling cars in India with a lot of features that include Car searches, finding out what your car's worth, reviews...etc. Having done quite a bit of navigating on the various car sites in India, this one, Carwale.com, i feel is the best. Check it out and see for yourself.

The company behindCarwale.com is Automotive Exchange Pvt Ltd with Seedfund picking up a stake of 30%. Carwale was founded by MohitDubey.

Is TimesJobs really No. 1?

The war of the Online Job Portals is hotting up. TimesJobs claims to be the No. 1 portal with 30.73 lakh active resumes ( less than 6 months old), which is 3.45 lakh more than it's nearest competitor, which is Naukri.com.

Now is this really true?

Check out SanjeevBikchandani, CEO of Naukri.com's response -

'1. As per Alexa and Comscore, Naukri remains by far the leading job site in India. On Alexa the three month reach of Naukri at 855 today is thrice that of TimesJobs which is at 257. According to Comscore, Naukri got more than 2.3 million unique users in February as compared to slightly more than 1.3 million of Timesjobs.
2. In fact, as per Alexa, TimesJobs has slipped to fourth place behind Clickjobs.
3. The statistic that TimesJobs is referring to is “Active” resumes in the last six months, not total resumes. Here TimesJobs has a different definition of “Active” as compared to Naukri. In TimesJobs, if you open a job alert email and click on a job in the email to go to the s…

Pursuit of Happyness

The 'Pursuit of Happyness' is a must see movie. Chris Gardener's life is an example of what can be achieved if one pursues it no matter what. Will Smith's portrayal of Chris Gardener, and his son played by Will's real life son Jaden, is brilliant.

A 'must see' film.

Managing Advertising 'debacles'

Pepsi has had it rough with its Blue billion rising commercials. Each time they projected a victorious Indian cricket team , with the blue billion behind them, the team went out and lost!

But that has not had Pepsi backing away. Each time they came back with commercials that tried to build hope for the future. Watch two of these commercials here and here.

Wonder how long this is gonna go on?

Bezwada Wilson - Crusader

Photograph by T Narayan, Outlook Magazine

Featured in the 'alternative power list' of India in the Outlook magazine, Bezwada Wilson leads a nationwide crusade to abolish the dehumanising practice of manual scavenging.

He says he won't rest till he destroys the last 'dry latrine' in India.

We salute him ! We salute them all.

The 'Alternative Power List' of India

The 'real' power list of India, as compiled by the Outlook magazine. Kudos to them for telling us who these people are.

These are the people who make a 'difference' in India, 'sticking out' as Outlook terms, 'for the greater common good'.

P. Sainath - Putting rural India and the farmers' crisis firmly on the national and media agendaIrrfan Khan - Among the New Generation of actors, his ability to set every role on a slow, crackling flame has set new standards of excellenceProf IrfanHabib - A leader among social scientists, cutting across disciplines. Uses history to counter communal propaganda, modern myths.Jean Dreze - His incisive work on hunger, child malnutrition and other issues has brought the Other India into intellectual and policy focusKandalaBalagopal - Fighting for the rights of the marginalised all over India, exposing state abusesC. RammanoharReddy - Runs a magazine that has set the agenda for intellectual debate, government policies for …

'Couple' Brand Power

The Ash- Abhishek wedding slated for today will create the strongest 'star couple' brand endorsers. The leaders till now were the Kajol-Ajay couple, charging rates as high as Rs. 6-8 crores per endorsement. That will now be supplanted by Ash-Abhishek who are expected to charge in the tune of Rs. 10-12 crores.

As individuals, AishwaryaRai endorses brands such as skincare brand L’Oreal Paris, Swiss watch brand Longines, Lux and Coke, among others. Abhishek, on the other hand, endorses American Express, LG Electronics, and radio station Big 92.7 FM, among others.

Cashing in on a controversy - Does it work ?

Nike has recently released banner ads that cash in on the Don Imus controversy. Though the Ads don't directly mention Don Imus by name it's pretty obvious who they are referring to. This raises two pertinent issues.


One, Do such ads that cash in on controversies work in the sponsor's favour ? Two, Are companies like Nike hypocritical when it comes to exhibiting concern towards the various injustice in society?
The second one first. Something tells me Nike couldn't care less. It's all an act. If Nike were this concerned, what about the controversy when Nike abruptly dropped Oregon's prep player of the year, Kevin Love of Lake Oswego, from the prestigious Nike-funded Portland Elite Legends team. The young man's sin? Playing at Reebok's summer camp instead of Nike's. Now this 'move' has been termed by some as pure business.

Sure, they could be right. But what about Nike's concern against racist rants? Social Responsibility? Far from it, it'…

'Must Read' book for all Marketing aficionados

Paco Underhill's, 'Why we Buy : The Science of Shopping' is a brilliant book on Retail shopper behaviour that is a must for all Marketing aficionados and experts.

Paco Underhill is Founder, CEO and President at Envirosell, which is a behavioral market research and consulting company.
Read the book's review by Amazon.com here.

Rivals meet...

Check out this interesting interview on Economic Times that features two 'rival' CEOs, Air Deccan CEO, Capt. G R Gopinath and UB Group chairman, Dr. VijayMallya.

Spark may 'ignite' a Price War !

The launch of Chevrolet Spark, priced between Rs. 3.09 lakh and 3.89 lakh may hot up a price war between the various Car manufacturers in the small car segment. Spark is priced at Rs. 12000 lower than its nearest rival, Zen Estilo.

Check out prices at http://www.carwale.com/.

Also check out a comparison between small car brands at here,
Price Comparison -

Hyundai SantroXingXK (Non-AC) eRLX - Euro III - Rs. 2,82,402
Maruti Zen EstiloLX - Rs. 3,26,865
TataIndica V2 DL-BS III - Rs. 3,23,900
Fiat Palio D 1.9 EL PS - Rs. 4,46,381

Price (Ex-Showroom Mumbai)

Jet Lite - Positioning by finding an 'unowned' position

Jet Airways has rechristened 'Sahara Airlines' as a new brand, 'Jet Lite'. The airline will be positioned as a value carrier, which is "not fully low-cost but positioning fares lower than full service airlines", Jet Airways chairman NareshGoyal said.

The attempt is to fill an unowned position between Low fare airlines and Full Service 'premium' fare ones. The target segment obviously are those who are hassled by services provided by 'low fare' airlines and so do not want to fly them, but are also not willing to pay 'premium' fares as charged by elite carriers.

This is classic positioning based on filling an 'unowned' position. Will it work? I am willing to bet on it as long as they get their act right.

Shopping Behaviour

Even my own grocery shopping trips are interesting enough for me to write about. This Sunday we went shopping for groceries to the Big Bazaar outlet at Koramangala (Bangalore). The very thought of standing in a long queue at the check out counter makes me sweat whenever I think of visiting this store. Thankfully this day was a bitdifferent with a smaller crowd at the store.

Big Bazaar tries to recreate the 'bazaar' environment inside the store with announcements of offers on products, bells being run to catch people's attention and so on. It truly sounds like a bazaar. That was all right with me. But my wife reacted differently to this, wanting a quieter environment to shop in. Our li'l son (all of 6 months old) was actually lapping in all the sights and sounds safely tucked in a baby harness.

What was interesting to note was when we reached a counter selling rice, dals and other pulses. The scene recreated the kirana store concept where a customer could check out the va…

Flying, Speeding, Running Billboards

The idea turning Airplanes, Trains and Autorickshaws into billboards is a good idea. In the case of Airplanes its being billed as an added revenue that may help inflows in a sector that is reeling under losses.

Airline company, Skybus unveiled its first "branded plane," an Airbus A319 with a Nationwide logo, along with the insurance company's tag line, "Nationwide Is on Your Side," plastered on the exterior. The marketer plans to take its message inside the plane too, on everything from beverage carts to overhead bins.
As for the 'speeding train', the first branded train in India rolled out as 'Kurkure Express'. Mindshare world India, the ad agency handling PepsiCo's Kurkure brand, has bagged three out of four tenders floated by South Western Railways seeking co-branding opportunities from corporate India.As for Autorikshaws, the first time I came to know of a site named 'Baaja.com' was when I saw the URL inked on the back panel of an…

Harvest Festivals of India

The diversity in India is breathtaking.

April 14th marks Harvest festivals across the country.

Happy Vishu, Baisakhi, Pongal....!!

What is a paradox?

A paradox is a statement of conclusion that seems self-contradictory or absurd but is really true. This was classed by philosopher and logician W.V. Quine as a veridical paradox. An example is the adage, “It is better to give than to receive.” It seems obvious that the benefits of receiving inevitably outweigh any possible advantages of giving, but many people find that, contrary to expectations, this is not their experience.
A paradox is a statement that contradicts itself; "`I always lie' is a paradox because if it is true it must be false"
A paradox is an apparently true statement or group of statements that leads to a contradiction or a situation which defies intuition.

Impossible Object



State of the Nation - Nation of Paradoxes

A farmer's family in Bolangir District Outlook Magazine, 09 April Issue, Photograph by PrashantPanjiar



Rupali's Norwegian and Persian cats use deodorisers, scented litter. Oultook Magazine, April 09 Issue, Photograph by RahulSurve



'Quotes' of the Day

1. 'Jet has shot itself in the foot. It's like marrying a girl just because you've lived with her'
- Capt. G R Gopinath, MD, Air Deccan commenting on the buyout of Sahara Airlines by Jet Airways.

2. ' Bollywood is 99 per cent non cinema. It is primarily a theatrical representation of the commercial world.'
- AhsanMuzid, Film Director from Assam, Debut film - 'Sonam....the fortunate one'

State of the Nation

The 'State of the Nation' special issue brought out by Outlook Magazine is a must read. You can read it online by registering (free). It throws light on an India that most people on the outside don't see. This unseen India is not a pretty sight. In fact that's an understatement. It is horrific ! Urban India has largely benefited from the economic unlike rural India, which has been left by the wayside. This obviously is not a reason to stop what's happening in India. It's just that, as a Nation we must not be blinded by "India shining'. We must open our eyes to harsh realities that exist, though remain unseen, especially in Urban centres. A little excerpt from one of the articles ,
'Eerie Indicators As per an NCERT survey, nearly a fifth of the 25 lakh- plus full-time primary school teachers are untrained. A 2001 survey in Bengal’s Purulia, Birbhum, West Midnapore districts showed only 7% of those who didn’t take tuition could write their names. In Punja…

Physics

I first read MaulikParikh'spieces in the Outlook magazine and enjoyed them tremendously. I still read him in this same magazine.

His latest one too is a delight. Sample this ,

Consider the coin toss at the beginning of a match. You might think there's a 50 per cent chance that the coin will land heads up. But that's not truly a matter of chance. If you were to carefully observe the way in which you flicked the coin with your thumb, if you were to account for the size and weight and shape of the coin, you would be able to predict—correctly, with 100 per cent accuracy—just how the coin would land. The seeming randomness of the coin toss comes about merely as a result of our ignorance of the precise details of the toss. Similarly, when we say there's a 30 per cent likelihood of rain, the indefiniteness of that forecast only reflects our incomplete data on the weather. Randomness, like guessing on an exam where you don't know the answer, stems from a lack of knowledge. A…

Perceptions

The study of perceptions is fascinating.

As a part of Buyer Behaviour, perceptions play a very important role in dictating an actual purchase of a product or service. All 'first' time purchases are based on perceptions. Consumers have no experience of 'reality' to go by that helps them decide.
One of my favourite 'read' about perceptions is in the bestseller, 'The 7 Habits of highly effective people', by Stephen Covey. The book startswith a description of 'perception' that Stephen and his wife had about their son. It then goes on to describe how their understanding of their own perceptions that they had about their son resulted in them realising that to really help their son blossom they had to first 'change themselves'. And to change themselves effectively they had to first change their perceptions.

I can never tire of reading this book over and over again.

In this first part of the book, the line that remains with me ? A quote from Emerso…

Happy Easter

But if the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Romans, Chapter 8 :11

UP Polls

Polling for the Ist phase of Uttar Pradesh elections is underway. Opinion polls done by NDTV seem to suggest a hung assembly though it's too early to predict.

What would be interesting to watch is if the endorsement of Mulayam Singh's government by Amitabh Bachchan in commercials aired regularly would have an effect on voters.

Brings us to an earlier discussion. Can celebrities influence voters (consumers)?

Good Friday : Why did Lord Jesus Christ have to die ?

Most of us have heard that Jesus Christ died for our sins, but what does that really mean? Why was His death necessary? What part does Christ's sacrifice play in God's plan for mankind? How is Jesus Christ's death reflected in God's holy festivals?
Jesus' sacrifice is the pivotal event in God's plan to save humanity. Speaking of His certain death, Christ said He, referring to Himself as the Son of Man, must be "lifted up" (crucified) even as "Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness," so that "whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" ( John 3:14-16 )
We see here that Jesus' sacrifice, the central message of the Passover, was a supreme act of love for humanity. This important event laid the foundation for the remaining annual Holy Days and festivals. It is the most m…

Rupee at all time high !

Just two weeks ago, I made a Euro currency transfer.
The transfer of Euros 2200 cost me Rupees 1,29,206 @ 58.73.
The same transfer today would have cost me Rupees 1,26,256 @ 57.34

That's because the rupee has hit an all time high in eight years. The Rupee has climbed to its highest level in nearly eight years on Wednesday, breaching 43 to a dollar as banks sold the US unit to raise funds to meet statutory reserve requirements. At 10:15 am today, the rupee was at 42.925/935 per dollar, off an early high of 42.84, its strongest since June 1, 1999, when it traded at 42.83, according to Reuters data. The rupee ended at 43.065/075 on Tuesday.

Wish I saw it coming.

Lak Paritran splits

When the LokParitran Party was formed, the IIT tag was its USP. The urban populace looked at the new formation with admiration and expected it to make a little but significant contribution to the Indian political scene. The Urban population respects institutions like the IITs, and so associates the IIT tag with ethical behaviour.

The forming of LokParitran was generally welcomed by a skeptical audience that was desperately looking for some solace within a political setup that had largely disappointed.

But now there is not so encouraging news.

LokParitran has formally split. LokParitran, the political party formed by a group of ex-IITians in 2005 witnessed a vertical split just ahead of the UttarPradesh Assembly polls.
The breakaway faction is called BharatPunarnirman Dal (BPD) and will take on LokParitran head on in the UP poll field.

This goes to show how complicated and not so easy to traverse, the Indian political scene is.

Alto still the hot seller

MaurtiUdyog Limited has had a whopper of a year. It posted a 5.6 percent increase in domestic car sales for March 2007, selling 64,556 vehicles as compared to 61,141 vehicles in the year-ago period.

For March, Maruti recorded sales figures of 71,772 including exports of 7,216 units. Overall in 2006-07, MUL posted a growth of 21 percent in domestic sales selling around 6.35 lakh vehicles, posting the highest ever annual sales in its history, a company statement said.

Its largest selling car brand has been the Alto. Sales were powered by mainly the Alto which grew by a whopping 41.1 per cent over the previous year. This model recorded sales figures at 2,23,846 units which is higher than the total domestic sales of any other car company in India, Maruti said.

Chocolate Buffs in for a treat

Hershey will be in Indian markets soon with their brand of chocolates and confectioneries. The Hershey company enters India by acquiring stakes in Mumbai-based Godrej Beverages and Foods (GBFL).

GBFL, which has a turnover of about Rs 400 crore has a presence in categories such as juices, soya foods, tomato puree and bakery fats with brands such as Sofit, Xs and Jumpin. GBFL's acquisition of confectionery brand Nutrine has resulted in a significant presence in the confectionery category in India. Post acquisition, Hershey's is likely to tap this distribution network to introduce its own brands in India.

Easily Gullible ? Happy All Fool's day :-)

As consumers, are we gullible?
Sure!

My personal favourite ( This was ranked No. 8 on the list of top 100 hoaxes listed by the Museum of hoaxes ) -

#8: The Left-Handed Whopper in 1998 Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a "Left-Handed Whopper" specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, "many others requested their own 'right handed' version."

:-) !