Saturday, July 25, 2009

G. Bhimani, Commentator, ESPN-STAR Sports


1. Fevicol’s ad campaign
2. Hutch’s ‘Where ever you go, our netowrk follows’ campaign
3. ‘When barriers break’ campaign from Airtel

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Go bite this ‘Apple’

IIPM only B-school in India to be Ranked Ahead of The IIMs in so Many Parameters! Regularly!

It was long due for Microsoft to pursue an aggressive marketing strategy in response to the direct attacks from Apple in the past. Will it hurt Apple?

After the Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts’ coffee combat and the recent Mountain Dew and Vault’s battle, it’s now the turn of the two techies – Microsoft and Apple, to get back in the ring after two years to wrestle it out for a fatter market share. Undoubtedly, the former is a much bigger player amongst the two but there is no denying that Apple has been giving nightmares to Microsoft for almost a decade now.

Microsoft has come up with two TV commercials explaining why it makes more sense to buy a normal PC during these recessionary times, rather than opting for Apple’s Mac, which is more expensive than its competition. It may have a direct impact on Apple’s top lines. Well, it was long due for Microsoft to pursue an aggessive marketing and advertising strategy in response to months and years of marketing attacks on it. Apple’s ‘Mac vs. PC’ commercial is one of the classic examples of its aggressive attacks on Microsoft in the past.

Apple has had nearly an uncontested run at Microsoft’s market share for almost a decade. Microsoft is now contesting and may hamper Apple’s ability to grow its share, provided Microsoft executes this well. Experts have claimed many times that Apple can be a threat to Microsoft’s top position but the long-awaited Microsoft’s reply has reinforced the fact that Apple is undoubtedly Microsoft’s biggest competitor. A US-based technology expert feels, “There has been a brand battle between the two companies and that is intensifying with Apple’s increasing success. Microsoft is obviously the larger player among the two, but it needs to protect its business.”

As far as the effect of the campaign is concerned, it will depend on content accuracy, volume and tone of the commercials. Apple’s campaign succeeded because it used humour to highlight some real operational problems in Microsoft products. “Microsoft will succeed if it addresses the problems highlighted by Apple and at the same time points out some inherent problems in Apple’s product,” says Richard L. Ptak, Managing Partner, Ptak, Noel & Associates.

However, experts fear that the strategy may backfire at Microsoft. The commercials showcase Mac which may give free publicity to Apple. Well, it will be very interesting to see how Apple responds to it. But the road isn’t that smooth here, as Rob Enderle, Principal Analyst, The Enderle Group states “With Steve Jobs on the bench, Apple’s ability to respond to this is more limited than it has been for over a decade and that too will help Microsoft avoid any backlash.”

But there is no denying of the fact that Microsoft has got this one right and timely, which may bring some serious hiccups in Apple’s so far uninterrupted growth path. But if Apple manages to come up with yet another campaign like the first one (Mac Vs Pc), it will not take much time for tables to turn against Microsoft. Ballmer may again have to go back to knock at Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s door (Microsoft’s ad agency for the latest campaign) to get them another campaign aiming at Apple. Well! Whosoever be the winner of this battle, it will be an interesting one to watch.

Pawan Chabra

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article.

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2009

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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Friday, July 03, 2009

“Mistakes are made by all...”

Why has IIPM always been opposed to B-school rankings?

Though last quarter saw Vishal Retail taking a huge hit in profitability, it’s still not ready to bow down to the slowdown heat. But then, how? The Group President answers...

4Ps B&M: Have you scrapped the expansion plans of Vishal Retail given that the company’s profitability has been badly hit?
AK: We haven’t scrapped the plans, but have paused them for the time being. Our main concern at present is to improve our same store sales growth and also the company’s financial health. We have been growing at 100% y-o-y. In fact in 2008, Vishal Retail achieved a turnover of Rs.10 billion and we hope to take that number to Rs.14 billion this fiscal. However, we are facing a little problem on the personnel front. We had increased our hiring in the last quarter, because of which our employee cost had gone up tremendously. But, as of now, we are in the process of rationalising our employee strength and shedding off the excess flab.

4Ps B&M: What were the main reasons behind the whopping 86% fall in December profits?
AK: Our main sales in winters come from North India. But this year, the weather conditions were such that there was no winter. Moreover, we do not anticipate good results in the coming quarter too. We have a huge inventory pile up for the season and we’re determined to sell it off, even if it means selling at low prices to avoid handling and maintenance costs.

4Ps B&M: What’s the rationale behind centralising your warehouses?
AK: In our endeavour to consolidate our back-end operations, we have brought all our 22 warehouses across north, east, west and south under one zone. At one time, we had warehouses covering 1.2 million sq. ft., but now we have consolidated our operations under 4-5 warehouses spread over just 0.4 million sq. ft. This step will not only help in consolidating our supply chain management, increasing our operating efficiency and reducing costs, but also keep an eye on pilferage. In the bargain, we are even resorting to reverse logistics and have converted our cost-centres to revenue-centres.

4Ps B&M: What strategies are you adopting to induce the customer to buy from your stores?
AK: We are rationalising our SKUs and revising our price points. The prices at which we offer our products are the lowest in the industry and yet our quality is no less than any branded product. We are aggressively pricing our products to attract customers to our showrooms. When customers will come to our stores, we will introduce them to our private labels. Once a certain amount of confidence is generated among customers for our private labels, our sales will touch the sky and give a much required boost to our bottomlines. Moreover, as the awareness about our products increases, it will be easy for us to sell through distributors.

4Ps B&M: Any plans to tie up with local kirana stores?
AK: There is no such plan as of now. Currently our focus is on improving the same store sales growth. Rumours of our tie-up with kirana stores are doing the rounds in the market, but there is nothing in the pipeline as of now.

4Ps B&M: Are you in talks with banks to lower the interest rate on your debt?
AK: Vishal Retail has currently Rs.7.5 billion debt at 13-13.5% interest rate. We are in talks with banks to reduce the rate of interest and they’ve been quite positive so far. In fact, few banks have even assured us that they would drastically slash the interest rate.

4Ps B&M: Efforts by you are on to re-size and relocate your retail stores. Why such re-organising?
AK: There is nothing wrong in re-organising our retail set-up. Most of the other retailers are also doing the same. If by re-sizing or relocating the stores, we can improve our per sq. ft. return, then I would say it is a very wise decision. Mistakes are made by all and the need of the hour is to correct those mistakes. And we’re just doing that.

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article.

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2009

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

For More IIPM Info, Visit below mentioned IIPM articles.
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