Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why is Rahul Gandhi not appropriate for the post of PM?

He has the killing Persian looks, is one of the most media savvy street smart politicians and is touted as the PM in making by many. The author is talking of none other than the scion of Gandhi family Mr.Rahul Gandhi. Though Mr. Gandhi is considered as next PM who can lead India to newer heights, the author has got strong opinion against him.
(To be very frank the author will like to make it very clear that he does have reservations for the Gandhi family and Congress regime but today the discussion will be solely on objective facts)

Author will also like to make it clear that:-

1> Mr. Gandhi cannot be deprived from the post of PM because his original name is Raul vincy:- Though Mr. Gandhi is from Italian origin but that does not mean he cannot be the PM. As long as the person is capable and efficient enough to carry on the responsibility even an Alien will do.

2> Mr. Gandhi cannot be the PM because it will affirm that India is a monarchial democracy:- Well author will like to reiterate that India just needs a capable and efficient PM, it does not matter whether he is a Monarch, Autocrat, Plutocrat, Socialist, Communist or anything else.

Now the point comes why cannot he be the PM

1> What kind of experience he has?:- when Dhiru bhai Ambani launched his sons Mukesh and Anil he didn't give them the profile of a Ceo, they were initially inducted as normal management trainees, once they gained ample experience senior profile where given to them. The same must hold true for the PM's office in India, the job requires very high degree of capability and experience and cannot be executed by any neophyte. If Mr. Gandhi is really serious to execute this great duty with full efficiency then he should have taken some portfolio in the current ministry and tried to learn how things really work. If he thinks that just because of the Gandhi surname ruling and administration is a part of his DNA then probably it’s a blunder that the nation might has to bear.

2> Mediocre academic background: Though academic background is not a prerequisite for the post of PM, but having a good background is an added edge. In spite of all the rumors that Mr. Gandhi has degrees from big foreign universities, the fact is that he had been a below average student who just managed to pass during his St.Stepehens days and could not even get a post graduate degree.

3> Lacks aggression and eloquence: since the past six years Mr. Gandhi is visiting the parliament as a MP. But hardly there had been a single incident where he would have shown some courage or eloquence which is the prime requirement for a leader.

4> Is unaware of realities: Born and brought up in a situation of paranoia and isolation he is devoid of the ground realities of India. In Narendra Modi’s words he is like a fish born and brought up in a captive atmosphere of an aquarium.
(Views are personal)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Branding: the 360 degree edge

Today author intends to write on a very important field of marketing and branding known as 360 degree of branding. It should be known that between any brand and its target audience there happens to be many touch points, there are many media channels through which a target audience can get to know a particular brand. It can be the regular once print media, TV, radio, hoardings, live shows and demonstrations, emerging once like web medium or even something unconventional as theatre or street plays. Often it had been seen that just one or two medium is used to promote a brand but when a company decides to use each and every one of the available medium, when it tries to communicate at each and every one of the touch points then this approach is known as 360 degree of branding.
It is quite evident that 360 degree of branding is an expensive as well as time consuming approach and cannot be used too often, but it becomes extremely essential when a brand has to be launched in the market. Whenever a brand is launched it needs a very high degree of recognition. If all the existing media channels are not used then the chances are very high that the nascent brand might not get the amount of exposure it should have got to be successful. One must understand that whenever a brand is launched the very first thing which it needs to be successful is awareness among the general public. Once the awareness sets in and people began to start making perceptions for the product then only the final selling can happen. If the general awareness itself cannot happen at the first go , perception for the brand let alone final sales is never going to be realized. So it’s very essential that whenever a product or a brand is getting launched companies rather than choosing one or two media channels must go for a 360 degree kind of approach where the newly evolving brand can be communicated through end no of media channels. A point that has to be considered over here is that often 360 degree branding does not end up in huge sales figure ,the reason being that communication efforts get diluted over a large no. of channels but it does provide a huge amount of brand awareness that can be capitalized over a period of time in making sales.
One reason the author intends to write this blog is that often start ups are not willing to spend much on brand promotion. Rather than going through the 360 degree frame work, now day’s entrepreneurs prefer just one two media channels in which the web medium predominates. Given the rate at which web penetration is increasing day by day the importance of the web medium along with the social networking sites cannot be discounted but at the same time it will be fool hardy to neglect other regular channels like the TV, radio, newspaper, magazines ,hoardings etc. Every medium has its own importance; every medium has its own takers. So it is in the interest of startups that they should try utilizing whatever touch points they can in order to create brand awareness for their newly launched product. One must understand that for a newly launched product branding should be wide spared covering as much audience it can cover.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Book review: In Search of Excellence

Today the author attempts to write the review of one of his best book ever. A book that escalated his
interest in the world of management like anything.


In Search of Excellence (here after referred as ISOE) written by two management consultants Tom Peters and Thomas Waterman is among some of the best written management books ever. The book has been among the best bestsellers in the world with more than 3 million copies sold worldwide. It was written by surveying 43 best companies in America. The fundamental idea of the book was to find out what drives excellence in a company. What is that common factor which is common in all the top notch and top performing company? The story of writing the book is also very interesting. In 1977 McKinsey director Ron Daniel launched two projects; the first and major one, the Business Strategy project, was allocated to top consultants at McKinsey's New York corporate HQ and was given star billing. Nothing came of it. The second 'weak-sister' project (as Peters called it) concerned Organization - structure and people. The Organization project was seen as less important, and was allocated to Peters and Waterman at San Francisco. Peters traveled the world on an infinite budget, with license to talk to as many interesting business people he could find about teams and organizations in business. He had no particular aim or theory in mind. But after the conduction of the in depth analysis Tom tried to prove that it is not systemized philosophies, high level of no. crunching and bureaucratic systems that make a company great, it’s the so called soft sides such as culture and people that makes a company great. In a way ISOE was an attempt by Tom to refute the ducker’s principles of management that heavily relied on systematic frameworks. The essential message of In Search of Excellence is very simple:-


• Customer

• Action

Main ideas of the books:

The book is based on the 7s framework of “Mckinsey”:-


• Strategy

• Systems

• Shared values

• Skills

• Style

• Staff

The book is fundamentally divided into eight chapters. After their conclusive study the authors found that there are eight parameters that are always very important for a company’s success.

1. A bias for action, active decision making - 'getting on with it'. Facilitate quick decision making & problem solving tends to avoid bureaucratic control

2. Close to the customer - learning from the people served by the business.

3. Autonomy and entrepreneurship - fostering innovation and nurturing 'champions'.

4. Productivity through people- treating rank and file employees as a source of quality.

5. Hands-on, value-driven - management philosophy that guides everyday practice - management showing its commitment.

6. Stick to the knitting - stay with the business that you know.

7. Simple form, lean staff - some of the best companies have minimal HQ staff.

8. Simultaneous loose-tight properties - autonomy in shop-floor activities plus centralized values.

The best part of the book is that the top 43 American companies are from various backgrounds. These companies include IBM, McDonalds, Caterpillars, 3M, and Walt Disney etc.

The common theme of the book is that it is the kind of culture and shared values that are built in a company are actually responsible for its success and profitability. The book puts huge emphasis on building a culture of innovation. It strictly says that the world is changing (the world here means the business world) and to survive and constantly deliver in this chaotic world it is very important that modern companies should innovate and evolve constantly. Until unless the innovation factor is not there it is very hard to grow continuously, but innovation in itself is not very easy. It is such a dimension that needs to have a very strong culture to support. A culture that isn’t dependent on any particular but on a set of factors. It talks about giving more and more freedom to people, who are in line jobs, who are more close to customers. Because it is these people who are at the front, a CEO dressed up in a resplendent suit may not know what is happening in the field very soon, but the field worker who remains at the market for most of his time can get the glimpse of changes very soon and so it is very essential that authority and freedom must be given to him. Because until unless he will not have this he cannot deliver the message to the upper echelons. The book also has a great message to the top executives of the firm. The book suggests them that they should also try to be visit the field and rather than always getting restricted to their glass chamber they must assign some days of the year where they can directly visit the field and can have a firsthand experience of what actually happens in the field. For this the book gives the example of Walt Disney where the bosses are supposed to visit the field at least once in a year, they are supposed to be dressed as cartoon characters and they greet various customers. These kinds of experiences always make top management close to their customers and help them understand the general psychology of their customers. It also states that the most successful companies are those companies that promote their employees to innovate. Even in the entire process if the firm loses some money they really don’t care much. Additionally when it comes to innovation it’s not essential that innovation will be driven by the top team of scientists only, it can even be driven by normal workmen working in the floor. To strengthen this point the book has given example of companies like 3m which known for coming up with a very high no. of innovative products every year. The book takes a critical view on the “Bean Counters”(Bean Counter is the term used for top B-school graduates in the time of 60’s and 70’s in America, they were highly systematic in approach and used a wide range of numerical tools .) The book is not very supportive of the stands taken by the bean counters. Bean counters were known for doing a return of investment analysis for everything that was done. According to the book such an approach might look sophisticated in the beginning but hampers the qualitative aspect of a company in the long run.


The book is wonderful read that has its own unique flow. The best part of the book is the maverick approach followed by the authors, anyone who has a penchant to do something unique and to think of a situation with a non stereotypical approach, this book is a must read. The book is highly inspiring and very systematic in approach. It’s among the very few books of its time that had tried to consider the “people factor “and “Culture factor” in the success of a company. Another important strength of the book is that it is based on the fundamentals of solid research rather than assumptions.

Though like any other good piece of work it has its regular flaws too. The book primarily focuses on companies that have American origin. The time when the book was written lot of Japanese firms were also rising but hardly any focus is given upon them. Secondly many of the things that the book talks about are in general vague in nature and cannot be described very easily. The book also does not have any analytical tools as such.

But all in all the book is a great read and can be read by all sorts of people such as corporate, Entrepreneurs, Managers, students and general readers etc.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The martial art of marketing

As someone who has always been passionate for "marketing as an art”, author attempts to describe the martial art of marketing, the hidden skills and art which good marketers should have. Having said this the blog does not attempt to write the obvious ones like good communication skills, better negotiation power blah,blah,blah(these are the fundamental requirements & no one can be a good marketer without them)

A marketer has to be a great "Mind Reader": A marketer has to be great in reading mind of other's. Marketing is such a profession where one is exposed to end no. of people ranging from customers, suppliers, clients, channel members etc. He is never independent in making decisions which depend heavily on the other factor mentioned above; hence he has to read the mind of others beforehand to craft his game plan.

A marketer has to be a good actor: As discussed in the above point he has to communicate with a lot of people. Many a times his job includes a lot of negotiations, communications & other related stuffs, has to don many hats at the same time, many a times has to pretend things. For all such a good acting skill is a prerequisite.(May be that’s why all the great marketers in India such as Bharat dabholkar, Alyque Padamsee, Sohail seth etc have background in theatre)

A marketer should be creative with his computer skills: Marketers are suppose to give lot of presentations, many a times in front of people who might not have much of the subject related knowledge. Under such situation what does matter is not content but the creative aspects of the presentation.

Knowledge of music is an add on: Marketing requires a lot of networking with people. It had been seen that music (includes all the three parts, dancing, singing and instruments) is a great tool in helping people do networking with others.

An indulgence with various forms of art helps one understand and evaluate alternatives: Marketing is such a profession where one needs to have the hunch of understanding and evaluating available alternatives, needs to have the insight to think beyond the obvious. Having an interest in various forms of art such as acting, music, and writing can help you hone these required skills. (Because the world of art is something that attempts to look at the world in its alternative form)

Though marketing has its own analytical and mathematical sides but the author believes primarily it’s an "ART" or rather a "Martial Art" where one needs to don many hats at the same time, use the best of the available techniques, the realm of human psychology has a very important role to play and creativity is the best weapon to attract and stimulate someone. Due to all these things marketing requires individuals to be well aware (and if possible well equipped) with different facets of art.