Category Archives: Uncategorized

India Finally Ready to Embrace Globalization?

We all know that India is a thriving market with booming potential and endless opportunities. With the huge size of their population and growing economy, companies have the possibilities of a giant customer base. So far, India has preferred to remain self-sufficient, allowing domestic business to compete and control the market. However, their recent decision to open frontiers to global retail stores such as Wal-mart and Tesco will change the scene. The foreigners are definitely excited!

There are two sides to this story and I am unsure of my stance on the announcement. This decision could be what Indian markets needed. A boost of globalization to increase growth rates of the economy while allowing the country to participate on a global scale. Indian citizens will now have more choice and the competition will drive local businesses to charge lower prices and offer better quality. But then there’s the negatives. What happens to all those local retails like “Big Bazaar” that have been enjoying being market leaders all these years? Will their customers stay loyal? Will local products stand a chance against the multinational? Will India’s retail industry become dependent? All these questions cannot be answered with certainty. Only time will tell. Although…it would be interesting to see joint ventures and partnerships with multinationals and local business. This could turn out to be a win-win situation.

Cutting Jobs, Cutting Costs

So the big buzz in the telecoms industry is that Nokia Siemens is laying off 23% of its workforce to cut costs and recover from their losses. They aim to declare an IPO to save the company that has been running on losses from the very beginning.

This could be a risky move considering all that is at stake here. Firstly, they’re letting go of trained labor and high skill that may be difficult to recruit again. Secondly, firing 17,000 employees is obviously going to cause some tension within the company. Remaining employees may lose their sense of security and may be demotivated/disappointed/intimidated, resulting in inefficiency, perhaps? Also, there’s a high chance Nokia Siemens gets bad PR out of this announcement. However, there’s a way they can make these lay offs without appearing as the villain. The company can provide severance packages to their employees to make up for the trouble caused. But then again, this is costly on a short term basis.

On the bright side, they save about a billion euros in doing so. And the shares went up 2% to 4.27 euro since the announcement. This could be a good opportunity for Nokia Siemens to maintain better cash flow and save the company. As long as they take care of their human resource and organizational structure, that is! 

Charity + Profits = Social Entrepreneurship

Being charitable and earning a profit are two opposite ends of a pole. A common misconception. Over the past decade, the Business world has witnessed a shift towards social responsibility. To me, it almost seems ignorant and mercenary now, if a company does not aim for social welfare along with its other goals.

And that is where social entrepreneurship is defined – running a profitable business that also benefits the society as a whole. Most large companies run Corporate Social Responsibility departments. Here’s how they work. Socially aware aspiring entrepreneurs approach them with their ideas. These departments then choose the projects they would want to fund. The problem here is that CSR departments are flooded with commendable causes but not all of them can be approved. To be an entrepreneur, social or not, requires skills and a level of ability.

One can start off just like any other entrepreneur, with one brilliant idea – Cause related marketing, for instance, that is, linking a cause to a brand. One of my personal favorites is UK’s Peppa Pig charity for Tommy’s pregnancy health charity. Another notable partnership is Apple’s Product Red campaign for Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa, where a portion of sales revenue from certain products goes to the charity.

This marketing strategy has mutual advantages for all participants. The business benefits from improved brand image, customer loyalty, opportunities for marketing. The non-profit organization benefits from wide-spread promotion, funds and a greater reach to the public. So why not tie up with charity? It’s a win-win situation and a lot of companies are starting to realize that.

A Response to the Two Rs

I recently came across an interesting article and was instantly reminded of a classmate’s blogpost about the advantages of reusing over recycling. The blogger brings up an interesting idea about how recycling is not really the best option when you consider the enormous costs involved in the process. It is more effective to just reuse instead.

I agree with the concept entirely. Recycling brings up a number of extra expenses like fuel and equipment to name a few. Why not reuse products instead? The same theory applies to ICT as well. Electronic waste is highly harmful to the environment and has potential to be reused. Reusing allows organisations with surplus or replaced ICT an opportunity to recuperate costs from the selling renovated equipment or to save substantial sums by reusing ICT instead of spending on more expensive brand new hardware. Most companies overlook this, and end up throwing out old ICT during their upgrade seasons. Companies can also trade and share products depending on their requirements. They can send their equipment to under developed countries to be used there. However, reusing can only be done if the products are tested and investigated for safety. The idea should be publicized more.

A Toast to Expensive Wine

Majestic Wine just saw their half-year profits shoot up by 20%, with a pre-tax profit of £8.8m! So how exactly did this happen? That’s right, customers bought expensive wine. Sales of wine that costs twenty pounds more, rose by a fifth since the previous year. Majestic really knows how to sell their products.

They’ve increased their distribution channels by opening 6 new stores this year. Now they have an impressive total of 174 stores! They also opened more stores that sell fine wines. In my opinion, spreading out your locations and maintaining a higher number of stores is essential in reaching out to more potential customers. In a way, it can be considered as marketing the brand because more people are aware of the stores, increasing their chances of purchasing from it. Moreover, Majestic has a website and their online sales rose by 9% this year. Apparently, customers buying online are required to buy at least twelve bottles of wine. Online shopping is becoming increasingly important owing to the convenience factor. More companies should tap into the potential there and allow online purchases from their stores.



A Response to the Google-Author War

Google is a HUGE business. We all have to agree. The world is their customer base. With all that power comes responsibility, not free rights. I read a classmate’s blogpost on the current lawsuit that Authors Guild filed against the search engine giant. The company’s “Google Print Library Project” is aimed at making parts or full texts from some major University libraries available for online references. This includes scanning all those volumes of texts.

Although the idea may seem impressive, that is an open violation of copyright laws. I agree with Jeremy in that Google is taking advantage of its massive popularity. No matter how big their database is, they cannot be allowed to scan texts without permission from the authors/publishers. The company does not own the content. If all of it was made freely available online, people would visit libraries much less and prefer to do research from home.

Who wouldn’t like the idea of being able to search for library texts on Google? The convenience would be incredible. It would save time, costs and efforts. Advertising on these webpages would also generate more income for the company. However, the fact that it is unfair to the authors and publishers of the texts outweighs everything. They need to find a different way to implement this idea. Because right now, Google is being ridiculous!

Too Many Marketricks?

I read a recent blogpost about the almost unethical marketing techniques of most clothing brands. The blogger focuses on how unrealistic images portrayed in adverts deceive audiences to believe that is what the ideal person looks like. Customers begin to identify the brand with the intentionally advertised “attractiveness” so that when customers buy from the company, they feel like they are joining the “attractive” segment of the population. A very good example stated in the blogpost is that of Abercrombie & Fitch, which only uses images of very skinny good looking models for their adverts. Customers start to believe that, THAT is what perfect looks like.

Similarly, cosmetic companies are known for exaggerated marketing. When I watch some the adverts on TV, I wonder if these strategies can be considered ethical. It is very likely that customers are deceived and believe that it is actually possible to appear that perfect by using those products. Let’s face it, these companies are not being very honest or fair.

Recently, a L’Oreal ad was banned for going overboard with image manipulation. The overdose of airbrush was not accompanied by any messages mentioning that the product alone was not solely responsible for the flawless image. And even though consumers might be aware of these little tricks, it does not give companies the right to continue deceiving!

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HTC, Too Quiet?

HTC’s tagline is “Quietly Brilliant” and it has been living up to it in most senses. It seems to be growing in popularity with its fancy android features and specialization in ‘touch’ software. But it has been facing recent backlash for the quality of customer service it provides. In the UK, some of its customers have been left disappointed because their repair requests and complaints haven’t been taken care of in the best way. There are instances, of the company losing phones that have been sent back to be repaired. There have also been cases of poor communication between customers and the company’s customer service department. Although only a small percentage of HTC’s customers are disappointed, it is really important for the company to maintain a good brand image. It cannot afford negative publicity, what with strong competitors like the iPhone and Samsung offering revolutionary products and services. Even a small number of unhappy customers can reduce overall customer loyalty and possibilities of new customers. Moreover, the iPhone 4 S is going to be realsed soon which means that HTC has some immediate damage control to do. It needs to maintain quality control of its service centres and train their employees in better communications and customer relations. It needs to supervise all their branches.

It’s a good thing Asia has not been disappointed yet. Making mistakes in a huge potential market like that would be pretty detrimental!