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Showing posts from December, 2007

Wired Americans

a new-media survey from Deloitte & Touche reveals that About 38 percent of U.S. consumers are watching TV shows online, 36 percent use their cell phones as entertainment devices and 45 percent are creating online content like Web sites, music, videos and blogs for others.

The 'State of the Media Democracy' notes that in Deloitte's first edition of the survey just eight months earlier, 24 percent of consumers used their cell phones as entertainment devices, meaning that usage has soared 50 percent.

Is there a miracle in Pond's age miracle?

I wonder how many women will buy into Pond's age miracle's claim of making one look younger in 7 days? Especially when commercials on TV feature 'ageing women' (Mehr Jesia-Rampal for one) with loads of make up on intended at making them look younger.

Now my skepticism may not deter buyers. In fact maybe there is a miracle in there somewhere. I guess the female of the species is now exhilarated at the possibility of staying young. Or maybe the battle with ageing continues?

Amongst all this din, I wonder what's happened to 'ageing gracefully'? I can almost hear people telling me, 'Grow up'!


Small Cars on Indian roads

TataIndicaXeta 1.2* - Rs. 2.98-3.78 lakhs; 65 bhp; 12.5 kplFiat Palio Stile 1.1 - Rs. 4.07-4.50 lakh; 57 bhp; 12.6 kplMaruti Wagon R - Rs. 3.74-5.26 lakh; 64 bhp; 13.9 kplMaruti Zen Estillo - Rs. 3.74-4.39 lakh; 64 bhp; 14.3 kplHyundai Santro - Rs. 3.84-4.89 lakh; 63 bhp; 14.15 kplChevrolet Spark - Rs. 3.84-4.89 lakh; 63 bhp; 14.15 kplHyundai i10 - Rs. 3.97-5.57 lakh; 66 bhp; 14.15 kpl( *Price; Power; Mileage )

What's common to Modi's win and BJP's 'Indian Shining' loss

Nothing's common except for how Exit Pollsters got their predictions completely wrong.

The reasons behind both these 'off-the-mark' predictions again, don't have anything in common. BJP's India shining campaign was coined for general elections in India. No research agency in India has the resources to cover a sample size that truly represents the diverse length and breadth of India. Predictions were made sitting in Ivory towers, never realising that the battle is fought in the dusty by lanes and the scorching rural sides in India.

When it came to predicting the Gujarat election, there was a significant percentage of voters who refused to reveal their choice of candidate during the exit poll. Guess, they voted Modi. And didn't tell, 'cos they were angry at how the rest of India, and especially the media had painted a gory picture of their favourite leader.

The larger implication of these researcher's failures, point to the complexities one faces, while tryi…

The lesson in 'bouncers'

Watching India get pummelled into submission is common sight especially in Australia. My reference is to the Indian cricket team.

But what caught my attention more were two comments stark in their contrast. The first one was by SunilGavaskar. Watching Brett Lee bowl short pitched snorters, Gavaskar in his condescending tone warned about how this was futile, considering the fact that both Laxman and Sachin were battle hardened veterans. Exit Gavaskar, enter Ian Chappell. Chappell had a different take on the 'bouncers' He noted that both Laxman and Tendulkar were tending to weave away from the bouncers, rather than attack them with hooks or pulls. And so this was good enough reason to keep bowling short deliveries.

Surely enough, the tactic paid off. Laxman, trying to get out of the way of a bouncer fended with his bat, resulting a ballooned catch to Ponting in the slips.

Wish Gavaskar was smart enough to have heard what Chappel said. There's quite a lesson in his observation. …

Market share - Indian Mobile phone operators

Rural India's purchase power

Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) says that fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) worth $3.5 billion are expected to be sold in rural India by the end of this year.

The rural market accounts for half the total market for TV sets, fans, pressure cookers, bicycles, washing soaps, blades, tea, salt and tooth powder. Almost 70 per cent of rural households buy toilet-soaps and 38 per cent two-wheelers, Assocham's study based on feedback from leading players of the sectors said. The FMCG segment, in value terms, is expected to be over $18 billion as on December 31, 2007, of which the rural sector would comprise of a little more than one-fifth, the chamber highlighted.

Bangalore Yuppie

Characterising Bangalore as having a high-spending discerning cosmopolitan population is flawed, albeit partly. Sure Bangalore has quite a percentage that can be characterised as cosmopolitan, but it also has sizable numbers who wouldn't give an extra dime for anything 'designer'.

Premium international brands that intend to make Bangalore their test labs aren't making a mistake. After all, 'the esteem appeal' that these brands carry sure will appeal to the 'yuppie' crowd here. To spend obscene amounts on such brands, one has to be young, urban, rich, bereft of family oriented responsibilities and not have capabilities of 'rational evaluations'.

Bangalore sure has that kind of a crowd. And amen to that.

High octane romance at Rs. 99

M&B now promises Indians a heady spin of love and betrayal at a paltry Rs.99. HT reports that Mills and Boon, has come to India on the eve of its centenary year in 2008. Started in 1908 in the United Kingdom, and exporting to India for the last 30 years, M&B now has an office in Mumbai.

M&B will now for the first time print in India. The publishing house has already appointed an exclusive distributor to release five new titles every month on the same schedules as the UK and North America. Also, there are plans to have more Indian settings and characters in the romances published from now on. The books will be available at Rs 99.

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'Tipsy' Christmas

Is Christmas just the prefect excuse to hit an all time 'high' in Kerala?

Inside kerala reports that Liquor sales in Kerala are heading for an all time high of Rs 2030 crore by end of November, up from Rs 2000 crore during the same period last year. The Kerala State Beverages Corporation, the sole wholesalers of liquor and beer, reported that in the month of December, the total sales was expected to go up by 26 per cent as compared to other months because of Christmas. Total liquor sales went up from 8.6 million cases last November to 9.4 million cases this year and beer sales also went up from 2.8 million cases to 3.5 million cases.

Merry Christmas!

Travails of queuing up

What's worse than being stuck in a queue, is reachingthe counter to know that the product for which you stood in the queue, is not available.

Happened to me at the medical store at St. John's hospital. After being stuck in the queue for close to twenty minutes, I reached the counter to know that the prescribed drug was out of stock. Now, how irritating is that?

If you ask a consumer to queue up, one, ensure that he spends as less time as possible in the queue, and two provide him with whatever he queued up for.

'Flesh eating Madrasis'

Some 80 per cent of South Indians are non-vegetarian, as opposed to 44 per cent of North Indians, according to the Indian Food Intake Survey 2007, carried out by Protein Foods and Nutrition Development Association of India and market research agency Pathfinders: India.

The per capita consumption of chicken in South India is almost twice the national average. Chicken sales in Chennai and Bangalore have seen a cent per cent increase in the last year, as opposed to 10-15 per cent in the North.

Tamil Nadu is now second in the country in egg production and fourth in broiler chicken production. Egg consumption, in fact, has increased sharply. The state's mid-day meal scheme, covering 9 million children, offers each child three eggs a day. The Indian Vegetarian Congress (IVC) has objected, saying sathumavu (mixed cereals) laddu and fruits are cheaper and more nutritious than eggs.
Fish-eating is also increasing among former vegetarians in Tamil Nadu. Fish is available in plenty, given the…

Brand Racism?

'After the Arcelor success and many such examples, the world of investment may have turned a colour blind eye but the world of luxury goods hasn’t. Their view of India may still be fraught with snake charmers, beggars and despondency. So, whether it’s a luxury hotel, car or Scotch whisky, it’s easy to find a ‘brand logic’ to deny an Indian takeover. In the world of brands, perception rules. But whose perception? The users or the owners of the brand?'

- Partha Sinha

'If there was brand racism, Indian tractors would not have been cleaning debris after Hurricane Katrina. Worldwide, customers are beginning to buy the best value propositions irrespective of where they come from, and shareholders will vote for the best deals, irrespective of who is behind them. Surely, Indian companies will not be raising the kind of money they do in the LSE, NYSE or NASDAQ, if there was brand racism. If an Indian company doesn’t make the cut, it is probably because it didn’t offer the best deal;…

Anbumani and brand images

Just as brands need to be consistent with their 'image', so must people who intend to project a certain image about themselves. At times, brands 'shoot themselves', engaging in acts that dent their cultivated image. The anti-establishment persona that Apple had cultivated got it a cult like following. But their 'price cut' effected in a mere 6o days had their image taking a beating.

At certain times, people too do just that. And their image too takes a beating. Take Anbumani Ramadoss, for example. He joins the long list of high profile people who 'shoot themselves in the foot'. His latest remark on 'Bihar Doctors' has created an uproar, where else, but Bihar. After taking on the AIIMS director, bringing in compulsory rural posting for medical students, he was on the path of cultivating an image as a 'reformer', though the press did not take kindly to him. His latest gaffe will only add numbers to his growing detractors. At such times, it …

Way to go, Tata

HT report : Tata Group, easily India's most respected business house, has been named the world's third most accountable and transparent company by Britain's One World Trust although US hotel chain Orient-Express has not found it worthy of an alliance.

The report ranked GE and GlaxoSmithKline number one and two most transparent and accountable companies. Tata Group, was however, considered ahead of Coca-Cola, Petrobras, HSBC Holdings, PriceWaterCooopers International and Google, when measured on the parameters of transparency and accountable leadership among global companies.

Any takers for 'Made in India'?

In a previous post titled, 'Country of Origin effects or racism?', I had mentioned how being perceived as 'made in a particular country' can in many ways affect perceptions about a brand. Take Japan for example. For years I have witnessed Indian buyers refusing to attribute a 'top quality image' to any brand that was manufactured in Taiwan, Malaysia or any other South East Asian country. What they wanted was, the 'Made in Japan' tag. It didn't even matter if the product was from the Sony stable. It had to be made in Japan. I may even venture to say that this perception of quality still lingers on, among Indian buyers.

If the 'country of origin effect' is potent enough to dictate perceptions, are US Jaguar dealers and Orient Express management justified in stating that the 'India-association' will bring the brand value down?

Of course, racist attitudes still exist. The Eau de Cologne-perfume comment stands testimony to that. But its als…

Digitisation & Indian Entertainment Industry

A study by Ernst and Young and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) has shown that rising disposal incomes, increasing density of alternative delivery platforms and digitisation are collectively changing consumption patterns in the media entertainment industry across India.

While investment in exhibition infrastructure is increasing theatrical capacity, digitisation of distribution is helping filmmakers maximize revenues. Multiplexes set box office tills ringing with 100 per cent revenue and manifold increase in ticket prices, compared to the old single screen theatres.

Higher 'penetration' of television sets and VCDs/DVDs and the arrival of digital pay channels are opening new avenues of income, as well as changing existing business models. Digitisation, coupled with the new awareness among consumers and industry alike, has brought in a change of content. Niche is now the new buzzword in the multiplex circuit.

Vanity search

A considerable number of people don't seem to be narcistic. At least that what the Pew Internet and American Life Project study seems to show.

The study showed that 47 percent of U.S. adult Internet users have looked for information about themselves through Google or another search engine. That is more than twice the 22 percent of users who did in 2002, but not as high as what was expected, according to the researchers. Although men and women equally searched for online information about themselves, women were slightly more likely to look up information about someone they are dating.

Do consumers believe marketers?

Both Frito Lays and IFFKO-TOKIO understand a fundamental truth about consumers that comes across strongly in their respective commercial campaigns running on Indian TV channels. That is, consumers couldn't care less about what any one's selling. All they care, is about themselves and their needs/problems.

Frito Lays says that its chips are 40% less saturated fats. Now that makes sense if you are health conscious/worried about your calorie intake. IFFKO-TOKIO says they are the only ones that will settle your insurance claims, without hassling you. Makes sense if you intend to join in an insurance scheme.

But a note of caution. Do consumers believe a marketeer when he says that he is concerned about your health, especially when he sells you potato chips? Do they believe an Insurance company when it says it will 'settle' without any hassles? Especially when the last thing it would want to do is give the Insurance holder any money.

Will the son rise?

It seems the speculation on Stalin succeeding MK will soon become reality. MK made noises to the same effect in his speech at the DMK youth conference.

But will son 'rise' and rule the way his father did? Stalin already faces his brother's ire. And so he must not forget that in politics, perceptions play a role that must never be underestimated. Stalin's actions hence on will dictate the way he is perceived, especially since the whole of Tamil Nadu will follow his every move. And should he want to be perceived the way his father was, it would call for the very same tact and unpredictability that his father brandished.

Premium Coca-Cola?

I don't see why I have to pay a premium (an extra Rs. 5 that makes the final price Rs.25) on a 500 ml. bottle of Coca-Cola that I wanted to buy from a Coke-Georgia kiosk on the pathway in front of Safina Plaza.

Seems most people thought so too. That's what the guy at the fruit counter next to the kiosk, told me. No wonder Coke's seeing a dip in sales when it comes to their non-still drinks. Its time they got smart and noticed what I term 'daylight robbery'.

Reject rote learning

'Nothing will improve unless we are prepared to radically change what is taught, learnt and evaluated in our educational institutions. From our best educational institutions to our worst, from pre-primary classes to postgraduate levels, almost the entire enterprise of teaching and learning, with few exceptions, is geared to formulas and procedures involving students in "by hearting", and reproduction of a vast array of facts.'

John Kurien, 'Say No To Rote Learning'
Read the complete opinion here.

Everyone's a salesman!

Every one's a salesman. That's a lesson that must be learnt.

Compare my experiences with two major retail stores in Bangalore. One's the famed Big bazaar that sells decent quality items at competitive prices. The others is 'Total' that tries to be and maybe even better what Big Bazaar does. On a personal note the shopping ambiance at Total appeals to me over Big Bazaar. But this post is more about shop floor personnel service.

There are some items, especially groceries that don't come pre-packed with a price tag, at both stores. The shopper picks the quantity he needs, say for a grocery item, takes it to a counter where its weighed and tagged with a price. Now, I've had the experience of forgetting to tag an item, and coming to know of it only at the checkout counter. But, what surprised me is the reaction of the checkout billing clerk at both stores. At Big Bazaar, the billing clerk kept the non-tagged item aside, proceeded to bill me for all the other items…

India breeds technology for global use

HT reports that 'A global consortium of top students, professors and experts in various engineering fields plan to use the rapidly growing Indian automotive market as a launch pad for a new generation of cars that could revolutionise the international automobile industry.

Vehicle Design Summit, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology initiative, aims to develop a 4-passenger, 200MPGe, high-performance industry-standard car with minimal life cycle costs and wide appeal both in developed and developing countries.'

What's common between Superbrands in Politics and Business

Though Narendra Modi and V Achuthanandan have nothing in common, they share a particular characteristic that is similar. Both, at some point in time in their political careers, grew bigger than their parties. Narendra Modi is going through this 'high' at the moment; for Achuthananadan, it happened just before the Communist party gudgingly accepted him as the Chief Ministerial candidate. This was after facing flak from the common man over their attempts to hoist Pinarayi Vijayan into the Chief Ministerial chair. Narendra Modi on his part is riding a popularity wave that has the BJP worried.

Although both the politicians in question have benefitted from their respective 'waves', the downside has been the number of 'political enemies' that have sprung up for each of them. Their respective popularities have gotten them their respective enemies. As to whether both of them will ride out the 'rough time' their 'enemies' give them, only time will tell.


Can Ad campaigns assuage safety fears?

As a part of the Air Safety week, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has released full page print Ads in leading newspapers. The Headline asks, 'Is the thought of 'human error' making you lose your appetite? Just read further and you will feel much better today.'

The Ad goes on to say, 'Relax. Our pilots and Air Traffic Control Officers undergo the highest levels of training.....'

The ad then concludes that Indian skies are 'one of the safest in the world'. Its understandable the need for this campaign. Indian air travellers have been frightened out of their wits over the recent 'near-miss escapes' in our skies. Thankfully no major mishaps have yet taken place, except for the one involving a Saudi Arabian Jumbo and a Kazhak Airlines plane.

A consumer's involvement with a product or service is primarily dictated by the risks associated with the purchase. These risks in turn could be driven by financial, health, physical, social or emotional factors.…

Cars that have 'delighted' Indian buyers

J.D. Power Asia Pacific Reports: Three Maruti models, as well as models from Mahindra-Renault, Chevrolet, Toyota and Honda rank highest in their respective segments in new-vehicle design and performance in India, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2007 India Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study.

Now in its ninth year, the APEAL study provides an analysis of what excites and delights owners about their new vehicle’s performance and design during the initial two to six months of ownership. The study examines nearly 100 attributes covering 10 vehicle factors: vehicle exterior; vehicle interior; storage and space; audio/entertainment/navigation; seats; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); driving dynamics; engine/transmission; visibility and driving safety; and fuel economy.

Impossible to ignore India

NY Times reports that India is now a must see/visit place.

'A soaring economy and crumbling trade barriers are making India a “must visit” destination for foreign politicians and executives. The crush of visitors, often first-timers but also companies seeking to expand their existing operations here, lands daily. They all hope to sign deals, find local partners, sell their wares or just soak up the contradictions that characterize the world’s largest democracy, a singular melding of chaos and opportunity.

Bald demographics make India impossible to ignore, and the slowdown in the United States economy adds to its appeal. About half of the country’s 1.1 billion people are under 25, and its rapidly expanding middle class is already estimated to be as large as the entire population of the United States. A rocketing stock market and a fast-growing class of the superrich add to its appeal.'

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Are patriots ethnocentric?

Manasa raises an interesting point that demonstrates a paradox. 'Patriotic' Indians who go ga-ga over a movie like Rang de Basanthi shying away from buying an brand that has an 'India association' to it, as it does match up to the 'esteem appeal' they seek after. And as mentioned before, this is to due the brand's 'indian-ness'.

Brings us to exploring an interesting phenomenon. One termed, ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is the feeling that one's group has a mode of living, values, and patterns of adaptation that are superior to those of other groups. It is coupled with a generalized contempt for members of other groups. Ethnocentrism may manifest itself in attitudes of superiority or sometimes hostility. Violence, discrimination, proselytizing, and verbal aggressiveness are other means whereby ethnocentrism may be expressed.

Now, to the question. Are patriots ethnocentric?

The answer? Depends; on the 'nature' of their patriotic beliefs. The d…

Country of origin effects or Racism?

The 'country of origin effects' still seem to linger on, at least when it comes to Indian products and services. A discussion in my class today centered around apparel brands in India. The point of debate was whether brands from the Aditya Birla Nuvo stable such as Loius Philippe, Allen Solly, Van Heusen and Peter England would benefit from being identified as brands from the Aditya Birla Group. Or would it make better sense to not have this association revealed, as then, consumers may perceive them to be MNC brands resulting in 'premium associations' that would justify the higher price tag?

There seems to be a similar scenario when it comes to the Taj Group. The Taj Group of Hotels' interest in a stake in the Orient Express Luxury hotel chain has been spurned. ET reports that 'The luxury hotel chain has cited that any association of its brands and properties with the 'predominantly domestic' Indian hotel chain would result in an erosion of the brand and…

The Customer is always right, is WRONG!

In response to my post titled, 'Acknowledging a complaint', one of my students narrates an incident that she witnessed at a retail store in Bangalore. The billing clerk accidentally billed a customer who was not exactly the first in line. This got another customer furious, as he felt he should have been billed first. He got to point of being abusive even though the billing clerk, a lady, tried her best to explain why the mistake had happened. This customer then went on to call the store manager, resumed the shouting spree, telling the billing lady to shut up and bill. The store manager on his part, kept mum, and did nothing to manage the situation.

I guess most of us have witnessed such rude customers venting their anger in the most inappropriate of ways. How are such situations to be managed?

I am reminded of the case of Mrs. Crabapple and her patronage to Southwest airlines. She frequently flew on Southwest and was constantly disappointed with every aspect of the company’s o…

Gloria Jeans in India

ET reports: International coffee chain Gloria Jeans is looking to make India a manufacturing and sourcing hub. It is setting up its second global coffee roasting and blending unit here. According to sources, Gloria Jean’s has finalised on a couple of locations and will tie up with Indian farmers to procure Arabica beans, which will be blended with imported coffee beans from Indonesia and Ethiopia.

The US-based coffee chain, which has more than half of its 770 outlets in Australia, announced on Monday that it was entering India through a tie-up with Citymax India, the hospitality and restaurant arm of Dubai-based Landmark Retail. Citymax will invest around Rs 50 crore for opening 100 stores over the next four years.

Acknowledging a complaint

The worse thing than having a customer complain is doing nothing about it. Sure, there may be times when nothing much can be done, but that is no excuse to ignore a complainant. The least a company can do is acknowledge and empathise. In many cases this in itself calms the irate customer.

A common practice during times when service personnel are faced with a fast deteriorating situation involing irate customers is to abandon post and flee. There are even times when paramilitary forces have been called in to control angry customers. All of which could have been avoided if in the first place the service providers had acknowledged and responded to customer complaints.

Why 'Before-sales service' is more important than 'After-sales'

Of all the times I can remember buying shoes for myself, there isn't a single instance where the store salesman asked me about my work/play lifestyle. No questions about, what the shoe is for, where do I intend to use it, do I have an active exercise schedule, is it for walking or jogging, do I intend to ever wear sneakers to work, what kind of flooring do I have at home or the office...and so on.

In fact, the purchase scenarios I remember, all had salesmen waiting for me to ask for a particular pair of shoes and in some cases a few pairs were suggested to me. What's funny is, most of my 'other purchase scenarios' too have resulted in similar experiences.

Now those are opportunities lost for a sale. Without being too intrusive, sellers must gauge from their buyers, what need/problem they intend to fulfill/solve through a purchase. They must then demonstrate why the brands they sell can be for the buyer, the fulfillment/solution they seek. In most cases this can guarantee…

Is big really big?

When CNN-IBN hosts a programme on Gujarat elections titled, 'The Big Gujarat Debate', I am keen to see what's 'big' about it. Turns, out nothing, except for the decibel levels that the participants touch, while mouthing their views. Ditto for programs like the one hosted by NDTV, titled, 'Big Fight'.

I guess the word 'big' is aimed at getting the viewer's eyeballs by promising them something out of the ordinary, something that holds proportions greater than what we see in ordinary lives.

Are such promises met? In most cases, no. Now that's something marketeers ought to worry about. Using 'adjectives' in a communication copy does get you the eyeballs. But the 'adjectives' must be delivered upon. Else the receiver begins to doubt, and the next time around may not even respond.

I guess its time to title the shows, 'The High Decibel Gujarat Debate' and ' The High Decibel Fight'.

The folly of promos, back-to-back

There a few things going well for Maruti Esteem and few going against it. Being, the entry level sedan, it appeals to buyers looking for 'value for money'. But then, with an outdated design, rumours of a phase out, the brand has not been able to notch up the requisite sales numbers. This has resulted in a promo that promises up to Rs. 55000 in savings for any buyer.

What is to be noted is the time period till which the promo applied. It started with the promo being limited till the last week of November. Now the offer has reappeared and is stated to run till mid December.

Signs of desperation, to clear off stocks? Whatever the reasons, running promos back to back send signals that are detrimental to the brand's image. It also encourages consumers not to look at the promo as one that offers them a rare opportunity, thus slowing their response towards it. Some may not even respond, 'cos they expect the promo to be back, maybe with a better offer.

What could Maruti Esteem ha…

Is the obvious, obvious?

'Nothing is so obvious that it’s obvious. When someone says that something is obvious, it seems almost certain that it is anything but obvious – even to them. The use of the word “obvious” indicates the absence of a logical argument – an attempt to convince the reader by asserting the truth of something by saying it a little louder.'

Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg? (Part One); Errol Morris

Conforming to expectations

One of the reasons as to why the process matters is, if visible, it must conform with the way it plays out in the mind of the customer.

Witnessing a lady's anger at the way a Chinese food dish was prepared at a Food Court outlet, I was reminded of the same scenario playing out with me at the very same outlet a few months ago. At that time, I decided never to order from the outlet again. Something tells me the lady will follow in my footsteps.

The true taste of Chinese food is in the way its stir fried in a wok. This particular outlet at the Food Court of a Bangalore mall chose an easier way to serve Chinese food to its diners. Prepare the sauces separately and hold it in a Bain-marie. As and when an order for a particular dish is received, fry the item in question, dunk it into the previously prepared and held sauce and serve it to the customer. And do all of this right in front of the customer.

What does the lady, who saw how the Chinese dish was prepared, not in a wok, do? She tell…

Economic loss & Citizen health

FE report : Around 35 per cent of Bangalore's corporate citizens fall in the medium health risk category and are likely to be affected by at least one among the ailments like hypertension, diabetes and cardiac disorders, a health study indicated.

The survey "HealthTrac" carried out by PeopleHealth, a pioneer in Health Management Systems, on employees from the IT/ITeS segment between 25-50 years, suggested that 37 per cent of respondents suffered from moderate levels of hypertension; about 31 per cent have abnormal cholesterol; and close to 35 per cent are prone to cardiac problems and diabetes.
Average productivity loss due to employee health problems has been estimated at about two hours 38 minutes per person per week, causing substantial economic loss to employers.

When to serve and when not to

Its important for service providers to know the distinction between when to offer their services and when to stay away. For consumers at times want to be left alone and at times want to be served.

Let me illustrate. While browsing the aisles of retail stores, customers want to be left alone so that they can pick and choose from among the brands on display. At such a time, having a retail shop floor person hovering around, behind one's shoulder is seen not as great service but more as an intrusion. Yet there are times when the shoppers may require assistance in finding a particular item or in wanting more information about a chosen product. At such times help must be close at hand. It is indeed irritating for shoppers to have to move away from the aisle, in search of a shop floor person.

This is a lesson I had learnt when I started my career with a hospitality group. A great restaurant is one where the server is invisible, yet materialises and responds to any query or requirement of …

Does the 'esteem lure' work?

When the portal EliteIndian lures me with a line, 'As a member of this club, you will find yourself among elite professionals from top companies in every industry, be it IT, ITES, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Trading, Telecom or Retail', I stop in my tracks and think.

In fact the 'copy' of the lure is written so well it even gets me to investigate. But in the end, for the moment, I don't 'fall'. The reason? The link, 'view all memberships' gets me to see profiles that I don't believe are 'elite Indians' at all.

Just so you know, I ain't one too. Its just that 'networking' is not my cuppa tea.

Increasingly marketers are finding that the best way to get users to respond their products and services online, is by letting them initiate the dialogue. The more the marketers bombard users with messages, the more they are ignored. According to an HBS working paper to be published in the Journal of Interactive Marketing, consumers a…

Baba vs. Dada

Trying times have crossed both Sourav dada and Sanju baba. Though the trying circumstances that baba found himself in was vastly different and definitely graver than what dada faced, what's interesting to note is the way both have reacted.

Baba first. Baba, before his conviction, made quite a few trips to various religious places, offered many a prayers wherever and whenever possible. All of that did not quite come to his rescue. In fact it was a very nervous, downcast baba who faced the judge. On reading out the verdict and seeing baba tremble, the judge had to ask baba to compose himself, reminding him that he was a good actor and could always come back to his profession after his jail term.

Now, baba through his latest successful flick, which centred around Gandhigiri, has endeared himself to many Indians. Yet the way he faced his trial is not something for which he would be remembered or feted. He showed all of us that he is truly mortal.

Contrast this with what dada did. After b…