Monday, February 8, 2016

Persuading Subliminally

Have you ever thought about what influences us to choose a specific product or service?  Have you ever tried to find out the reason  behind  your inclination  towards selecting  a particular thing out of many?

We may come up with many answers citing many reasons to choose.

Nowadays, marketing firms are using a technique called SUBLIMINAL PERSUASION (Stimuli that are too weak or too brief to be consciously seen or heard) in advertising and other marketing communications to influence the buying behaviour of the consumers.
Subliminal Persuasion is anything that sends you a message without your Knowledge of It, usually picked up on by your subconscious mind.  People rarely catch them, even when they are right in front of their eyes--more obvious than anything.

The concept of subliminal persuasion was put to test on 1957 when a market researcher named James Vicary inserted the words "Eat Popcorn" and "Drink Coca-Cola" into a movie called PICNIC in 1957.
The words appeared for a single frame, allegedly long enough for the subconscious to pick up, but too short for the viewer to be aware of it. The subliminal ads supposedly created an 18.1% increase in Coke sales and a 57.8% increase in popcorn sales.     This created a havoc in marketing sector and many researches were conducted to find its authenticity.

Though it is a very controversial topic to discuss, but past research and evidence suggests that subliminally created attitudes may shape the formation of beliefs about the attributes of an object. This technique is used for mass or a people with low level of consciousness.

Images containing subliminal messages:

Messages associated with pleasure using letters/words like “s- explosion”

Logo containing subliminal messages:

The FedEx logo with an arrow in its negative space placed between E & x. Even a glance subliminally inspires thought of efficiency and forward motion.

Notice the Smiley using the arrow & the concept of a to z (the range of books / products) that amazon wants to provide you with.

Subliminal perception is a lot about reaching into the deeper canals of your mind subtly rather than creating obvious visuals or sound effects. Sometimes sublime concepts affect you more than that which is in your face all the time. It surely leaves a deeper impact with its conversation value. It’s just the beginning, and we shall see more usage of this, since high decibel marketing is kind of falling out of favour for many reasons.

-Naveen A. Muley

Isn’t personal anymore: Social Media Faux Pas

“This is Bill.

Bill likes playing games on Facebook, but knows that his friends don’t play. Bill does not send them annoying requests.

Bill doesn’t post vague posts just to seek attention.

Bill goes to Starbucks but doesn’t take hundreds of selfies there, doesn’t post them on Facebook and doesn’t post ‘likes’ on them by himself.

Bill is smart. Be like Bill!”

Be like Bill is a social media meme that has been described as "a way for people to passive-aggressively call out social media behaviors that annoy them”. This and many such memes have mushroomed across social media platforms to target using wit and humor, social media behaviors which are touted inappropriate or in poor taste by many of us, who metaphorically ‘eat, sleep and breathe’ on social media.

The primary reason for the ascend of such treatment is - that social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are now being widely used by businesses and professionals as strong Branding tools. In the current scenario, how you behave on Facebook is directly proportional to how you are perceived by others across your personal and professional networks.

As social media grows and sharing becomes easier, social boundaries seem to have taken a nosedive. However, one needs to be diligent enough to ascertain what to be shared. Here are a few common faux pas made by the netizens across various social media platforms:

·         Profile picture: Your profile picture is your first impression to the world – the world that would judge you completely based on your behavior, not just physical but also on social media. Avoid posting those pouty, self-obsessed selfies. The world does not need to know that you drink beer. For professionals who are active on social media, using a common, sober and professionally clicked photograph is a must.

·         Posting and sharing: Avoid shouting out your entire day’s routine to the world. Whether you sneezed, feeling bored or loved, on a date or at the movies, there’s a high population of your friends on Facebook who really aren’t interested. Sharing over a thousand pictures of you and your darling while on honeymoon isn’t quite appropriate.

·         Likes and Comments: Being active on social media does not mean you like, share or comment every post you come across. There’s no competition, no race! Unless a post is really necessary or interesting, avoid clicking the thumb. And more importantly, do not like your own posts – it’s like the height of self-obsession one can achieve.

Remember, Social media is a very powerful tool. It can be put to use for better causes which are relevant to the society. It’s there to help you create positive memories, not ones for which people would like to shun you away! Act responsibly!

-Sumit Chakravarty

 Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, February 1, 2016


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched a scheme for girls named Beti Bachao Beti Padhao in order to save the girl child and educate the girl child all over India. The programme was launched on 22nd of January, Thursday in 2015 at Panipat,. This scheme was launched especially in Haryana as this state has lowest female sex ratio (775 girls/1000 boys) all over the country. It has been effectively implemented in hundred districts across the country to improve the status of girls. 12 districts (Ambala, Kurukshetra, Rewari, Bhiwani, Mahendergarh, Sonepat, Jhajjar, Rohtak, Kaithal, Panipat, Karnal, and Yamuna Nagar) have been chosen from the Haryana state itself because of their abysmally low child sex ratio.
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In order to improve the status of girls and to give them importance, Haryana Government celebrates an event named Beti ki Lohri on January 14. The purpose of launching Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme is to make girls independent socially and financially while using their proper rights and higher education. It helps in improving the awareness among common public and improving the efficiency of welfare services given to women. If we have a sight on latest census report of 2011, we see a continuous decrease in the female child sex ratio (of age group 0-6 years) from last some decades. In 2001, it was 927/1000 whereas in 2011 it remained at 919/1000. There is a huge reduction in the number of girls because of the practice of aborting female fetus after sex determination, or female infanticide, through modern diagnostic tools in the hospitals. This bad practice came into existence because of the gender discrimination in the society.

And, after birth of a girl child, often she has to face other types of discrimination in terms of education, health, nutrition, safety, rights, and other needs of the girl child. We can say that women were dis-empowered instead of being empowered. In order to empowe women and to give them their full rights right from their birth, Government of India has launched this scheme. Empowering women brings all around progress especially in the family and society. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme is the way to achieve positive changes in the human negative mindset for girls. This scheme may make a call to people to end the discrimination between sons and daughters and work as a key to end female foeticide. While launching the scheme, PM reminded the whole medical fraternity that the purpose of medical profession is to save lives and not finish lives. There are some positive aspects that this scheme would deliver, and this is a great start to remove social issues against the girl child. We hope that there would be a day when no girl child would be killed, uneducated, molested, raped, or subjected to any form of inequality because of socio-economic reasons.

As a woman, I completely endorse Beti Bachao Beti Padhao program and sincerely hope it is aimed to make girls independent both socially and financially by reducing the sex discrimination all over the country.

-Priyanka Sinha
 Student, October 2015,


A sense of humour gone missing or ….

How often we have heard of a stand up comic’s image being publicly maligned online or otherwise for making fun of a well-known personality! Russel Peters was rebuked for calling Aishwarya Rai Bachhan a wooden actress, and very recently Kiku Sarda (Palak of ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil’) being arrested for doing a spoof on Ram Rahim, founder Dera Sacha Sauda. They are in the profession of comedy, we can’t expect anything but that.

In a Golden Globe award function hosted by Ricky Gervais, an English comedian, in 2010, Ricky was on a roll leaving no stone unturned in insulting Hollywood stars. He had even made fun of a very senior star, Mel Gibson who had then been arrested for Driving under influence, and had involuntarily made a spectacle of himself. Mr. Jervais was also rebuked and openly criticised by all the Hollywood stars who had been subject to his funny barbs. Seth MacFarlane, host of the Academy Awards in 2013 had mocked the late Abraham Lincoln while calling out for the Oscar winner Daniel De Lewis for reprising the role. Mr. MacFarlane’s supposedly witty remark was found to be too crass.

These incidents often leave us with the debate on how far can a joke be taken. When does it become edgy and when tactless?

Greek scholar Aristotle argued that many successful clowns and comedians make us laugh by eliciting a sense of superiority. That is when humour ceases to be positive. Throughout history dwarves, people with deformities, certain cultures, have had fun poked at them. A study conducted in Australia found that 60% of all jokes are cracked by men; that 71% of women laugh when a man cracks a joke and only 39% of men laugh when a woman cracks one.

When you are a public figure and you are being closely scrutinized for every breath you take and every move you make, you tend to get a little unnerved when unknowingly you are a source of wisecracks & anecdotes. Nevertheless I am of the opinion that over time our tolerance towards many things humourous has diminished. We have started taking ourselves too seriously. We need to keep reminding ourselves that those who are most loved are the ones who are rather self-deprecating.  Humour provides a window to one’s personality. The ability to reel off lots of jokes indicates a great memory and a natural entertainer. Sometimes however, laughing at jokes humiliating others may not be the politest thing to do, and as many stand-up comics have realized, not the best jokes to be thrown at an audience.

I would still reiterate, buck up people, take a swing at yourself, loosen up and exercise those facial muscles. As they say, “Laughter is the Best Medicine”.

-Monica Mor

Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, January 25, 2016

China Rout (Revisited) 2.0

Almost all headlines across all Financial papers, economy-related discussions, whether online or offline start with ‘China’. It’s like the world’s sneezing just because China has caught a cold. A very, very bad cold at that!

In my earlier blog published in late August 2015, titled “Is the Chinese Dragonlosing fire?”, I had traced China’s growth path over the past 4 decades and the bottlenecks thereafter it faced that eventually stalled its growth. The fallout then wasn’t as severe for the Rest of the World as it is now. Yes, there were losses to the tune of billions of dollars due to Shenzhen and Shanghai stock market crashes, but prospects then didn’t seem as bleak as now in 2016.

So, what’s wrong with China?

The world’s most populous country has a growth rate even now that’s still faster at 6.5% than USA’s 2.5%. The Chinese numbers, the world feels, is significantly inflated and either the top leaders are incredibly good at meeting the targets or the analysts in China are too scared to reveal the truth. The Shanghai composite indexes plummeted 15% at the start of 2016 and since then stock markets world over seem to be under a Bear grip.

China's industrial production slowed last year. Yet borrowing jumped a further 5 per cent as banks pumped more and more money into less and less economic factories, housing schemes and loss-making businesses. The message that the government sent was investment in real estate is fine even if the world does not have the appetite for its manufactures, according to Sydney Morning  Herald. China aimed to keep inflating its GDP even if the houses they built went unoccupied. Unfortunately there’s more capital outflow from China than inflow. Investors are not as keen on China, and local Chinese are stashing their money abroad. China’s president, Li Xinping’s authoritarian attitude isn’t helping either.

Solution to this persisting conundrum:

There’s a possibility, according to Bloomberg Asia that reserve requirements of Chinese banks may be cut which will increase liquidity of banks who can therefore lend more. The question however remains, are there companies who have the appetite and the need to borrow more? Inept communist policies have to be redrafted, private debt within the economy needs to be reduced, and more importantly market needs to have a free hand to work the Yuan

The world went into turmoil with the US subprime crisis in 2008, followed by Eurozone meltdown. Now the Chinese seem to be riling the world with its worst economic performance in 2 and half decades. All major stock markets will get shaken since the correlation between their performances is quite high. Well, let’s sit this one out and wait for reassuring financial news sooner rather than later.

-         -Ms. Monica Mor
Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Brand Development by DABUR via CSR

Companies these days other than the fact that they have to compulsorily undertake some corporate social responsibility initiative, are also working on their corporate branding to build on their brand equity. For example, CSR initiatives of DABUR are driven through Sustainable Development Society or SUNDESH, an outcome of the vision of Dabur India Ltd’s founder Dr. S.K Burman. SUNDESH is a non – profit organization engaged in carrying out welfare activities with the aim of improving the quality of life of the people in rural areas. The activities done under Sundesh are in the areas of Education, Healthcare, Microfinance & Veterinary Services.


Since its inception about 120 years ago, Dabur has managed to create a niche for itself in a huge range of FMCG segments like healthcare, consumer care, ayurvedic medicine, hair oil, etc. Its brands like Vatika, Anmol, Hajmola, Babool, Real and certain other products under the parent brand like Chyawanprash and Gulabari are extremely successful in their respective product segments. Dabur’s inclusive marketing and herbal association has made it a household brand name, and that too a very reliable one.

While studying Brand Management, I was intrigued by how Sundesh was helping build upon Brand Recall for DABUR as well as create goodwill amongst its consumers and beneficiaries.

Let’s look into some of these initiatives by the company:

• Education
Non-Formal Education- Education to children between 6-14 years of age by holding classes at village centers and encourage them to seek formal education.

Adult Literacy- Sundesh provides education to women in the age group of 14-35 years. After attaining education, these women are also provided with training in various self - employment activities such as cutting and tailoring, food preservation, mushroom cultivation, mehandi application, etc.

Special School for Child Labour- Sundesh provides special education to child labourers (8-13 years of age) under National Child Labour Project. Currently Dabur is running five education centers in Loni Block.

Library- Sundesh manages a library for children to inculcate the habit of reading amongst them.

• Health Care
Sundesh provides health care facility to the villagers. The main aim is to empower villagers with essential knowledge which would enable them to lead a healthy life. Sundesh Health Team includes a medical officer, lab technician, Community Health Workers and Traditional Birth Attendants.

Health aid priorities include:
• General OPD at the center.
• Pathological Testing Facility at the center.
• Provision of essential drugs at the center.
• Health check - ups through OPDs and camps in the villages.
• Self Help Groups (Micro Credit Society)

Sundesh has taken an initiative to promote, support and design a number of poverty alleviation programmes in collaboration and guidelines given by District Rural Development Agency, Ghaziabad through Swarn Jayanti Gramin Vikas Sawrojgar Yojna for Below Poverty Line people and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for general families in the targeted villages.

Main objective of this programme is to form Self Help Groups / micro credit groups and link these SHG’s with credit institutions. Dabur provides cooperation in building mutual trust and confidence between the bankers and the rural poor. These credit groups are motivated to utilize the savings for economic betterment. For this they are also given training on various income generation activities such as mushroom cultivation, cutting and tailoring, bee keeping, food preservation etc.

• Income Generation
To promote self-employment in the area, Sundesh provides need based training programmes such as Bee Keeping, Mushroom Cultivation, Food Preservation, Tailoring Training, Embroidery Training, and Mehandi Application. This facilitates the trainees to sustain their livelihood and not fall back to below poverty line status.

• Veterinary Services  
Villagers are given information on livestock health and care at Sundesh Integrated Rural Upliftment Center, village Chouna. Sundesh organizes vaccination and animal health checkup camps in the villages. Medicine is provided at subsidized rates to the villagers. This ensures that farmers remain engaged with the company, and benefit as well with their source of livelihood being well taken care of.

Impact of CSR initiatives on Dabur as a Brand
Dabur, while its name connotes reliability & warmth, with these CSR initiatives the company is gaining immensely from the goodwill generated by SUNDESH initiatives. Dabur symbolizes not just good quality products but also a friend, philosopher & guide that is with the beneficiary and consumer at every step of their life.

 Student, INLEAD
 INBM October 2015

Monday, January 18, 2016

Hotels with unique concepts

It’s the 21st century and people presume everything and anything different or unique that could be done has already been done and achieved. Well, the Hotel industry doesn’t believe in this philosophy for sure. There are hotels all over the world which are coming up with new concepts almost every day to provide the best of amenities possible to its guests. Hence, I feel they believe a mention for maintaining their uniqueness and thinking out-of-the box concepts even in this 21st century, highly competitive world.

• Marina Bay Sands in Singapore with its unique design and 2560 rooms, has become one of Singapore’s iconic buildings. The hotel offers separate amenities for business and leisure traveler. There are 32 food and beverage options, including 14 fine dining restaurants and 18 casual dining establishments. The hotel also houses the world’s 2nd most expensive casino.

• Burj-Al-Arab, Dubai is an icon of modern architecture and classic design, on a man-made island of the mainland Dubai. The hotel has the highest tennis court in the world which also doubles up as a helipad. It is graded as a 7 star all-suite hotel with 202 duplex suites. The hotel amenities include chauffer driven Rolls Royce for personal outings and access to the artificial Majles Al Bahar beach.

• Tron themed ice hotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden was inspired by an eye popping nightclub depicted in Tron. Two British sci-fi fans Ben Rousseau and architect Ian Douglas-Jones built a Tron-themed hotel suite entirely from ice and snow. The entire hotel is made up of ice, including the bed. Every November, ice from the frozen Torne river is fused with snow to remake the hotel – new themed suites are designed every year.

• Atlantis Hotel in Bahamas is located in one of the most preferred exotic holiday destinations. The resort has 6 different towers housing 11 different kinds of suites. Each suite has a different theme. The resort also has a casino, water park and fantasy camp for children.

• Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi (on a man-made island) stands as one of the icons in the area. The hotel’s main theme is based on the royal palaces of the Arab royal families. The hotel has 394 rooms in different categories. The 4 royal Khaleej suites have their own reception and give private access to the beach. This hotel has the world’s first and only gold dispensing ATM machine.

• WhitePod, Betraye, Switzerland is located amongst Swiss Alps, this resort has 5 domed shaped structures, each 8 feet high. The resort has 24 rooms with luxurious amenities and limited electricity, and plumbing lines. It is located at a height of 5600 feet and is accessible only by ski or by foot.

• Conrad Rangali Islands, Maldives is set on a private island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The hotel has water villas, beach villas, and water spa villas, with the facility for specialized treatments. Itahaa undersea restaurant is the world’s first and only undersea all glass restaurant.

• Treehotel, Harads, Sweden is a compound of four individual tree houses built among the native pines of the Lulea River Valley. Each tree house has been distinctively designed by a different architect and includes visually exquisite elements, such as a rope bridge entryway, a bright red exterior and a mirrored fa├žade.

• Armani Hotel, Dubai located in world’s tallest man-made structure, the Burj Khalifa Tower. The hotel has 160 guest rooms including its suites located on the 38th and 39th floor. The hotel has been designed and styled by renowned designer Georgio Armani.

In the end, I would like to encourage the mankind to take inspiration from the hotel industry and try to be as unique as you can. After all, “You are one of a kind and unique. Never forget that.”

- Ms. Bindu Menon
  Senior Faculty, INLEAD

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Eternal Vivekananda

Today (January 12, 2016) marks the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda and is celebrated as World Youth Day all across the globe. Throughout the years of my upbringing, I’ve admired him as a Youth Icon and been deeply influenced by his ideologies of Karma and Moksha (salvation). Yet, as I sit to pen my tribute to him, it suddenly appears to be quite a daunting task. 

For more reasons than one, writing on Vivekananda’s teachings is a challenging task.  Firstly, Swami Vivekananda taught on aspects (not restricted to India alone) encompassing Spiritualism, Universal values, Religion, Character building, Education, Spirit of Service and Social issues. Secondly, his teachings influenced contemporaries, inspired innumerable followers and sparked movements all across India (continuing to do so even to the present day). Thirdly, Vivekananda lived over a century ago (before the world wars) and a lot has changed with India and the world since then - India is now an independent democratic nation; so, some may argue that the concepts like Practical Vedanta, Karma Yoga, Bhakti etc. are “old-fashioned”, “obscure” or “mere rhetoric” and as such impractical or inefficient for progress of present-day India. Moreover, the society today is much different, much better than it used to be. 

So how is Vivekananda relevant as of today?

Swami Vivekananda toured all over India and to several places abroad preaching and working on diverse problems. He played a major role in introducing India and her spiritual culture of Vedanta to the Western world, and in reviving and refining Hinduism within India. His main teachings may be summarized in terms of his views on Education, Religion, Character building, Womanhood, Hinduism, Spirit of Service and National Integration. 

1) On Education: “Education is the manifestation of perfection already in man”. He said that education which does not enable a person to stand on his own feet, does not teach him self-confidence and self-respect; was useless.

2) On Religion: “To be good and to do good to others – that is the essence of Religion”. According to Swami Vivekananda, religion is the idea which raises a brute to man, and a man to God. Swami Vivekananda preached that Truth is the basis of all Religions. 

3) On Character:  According to Vivekananda, Jiva is Shiva (every man is potentially divine). To become divine (or great), man must give up suspicion, jealousy, conceit and learn to work unitedly for the common good. 

4) On Womanhood: According to Vivekananda, there is no chance for welfare in the world unless the condition of woman is improved. He felt that it was impossible to get back India’s lost pride and honor unless the condition of women was improved. 

5) On Hinduism: Vivekananda strived to give to Hinduism a clear-cut identity, both nationally and internationally. Within India, he preached about the common bases of Hinduism, the common ground of all its different sects and brought about its overall unification. He also toured the Western countries in an effort to convey Hinduism’s liberal and universal values to Westerners and raising his voice in its defence. He also worked among the masses fighting social evils and superstitions and trying to integrate the best elements of Western culture into Hindu culture.

6) On Spirit of Service: Vivekananda said, “Do not stand on a high pedestal and take five cents in your hand and say, “Here, my poor man”; but be grateful that the poor man is there so that by making a gift to him, you are able to help yourself. It is not the receiver that is blessed, but the giver”. 

7) On National Integration: Swami said that despite innumerable linguistic, ethnic, historical and regional diversities, India has always had a strong sense of cultural unity and has been one nation. He strived to instill in Indians, a greater understanding of their country’s profound spiritual heritage and pride in their past. 

You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.

-   Mr. Sumit Chakravarty
     Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, January 11, 2016

Visit to the National Stock Exchange

Traditionally, banks have been a prime source of finance for organizations all around the world. Banks are those financial institutions, which accept deposits and extend loans to the companies and during the entire course, make an effort to earn some profits so that healthy returns could be offered to the investors. From years, banks have been top most choice of financial managers to raise funds for their business enterprises, but during past few years due to ongoing recession and financial crisis, people are increasingly losing their faith in the banking system. Moreover there are now quite a few other dynamic options than debt. Overtime risk appetites of companies have increased and they have ventured into raising funds through the equity route.
Emergence of Capital market in India
The last few years have seen the emergence of alternatives to bank funding. These alternatives have offered customized solutions to the funding needs of various corporate entities all over the globe. Some of these are private equity, public offerings, private placements etc. Out of these, instruments like public offerings, private placements are classified into the category of capital market funding. This channel uses the funds available with various market players like banks, financial institutions, retail investors and various funds for fulfilment of the needs of the corporate entities.
The development of capital market has not been limited to the developed countries alone. Emerging markets have also made significant progress in development of capital market channels for the purpose of fund raising. One of the reasons for the same has been the attractiveness of these markets in terms of the growth potential offered by them to the investors.
India has been one of the leading emerging market economies. It is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The growth in the economy has been accompanied by a rise in the industrial and business activity in the country. The steep growth has brought about a spurt in the fund raising requirements and in turn led to the development of capital markets. Alongside the development in capital markets, there has been a development in the capital market platforms. National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) are two of the leading platforms in India.
Our Industry Visit
On the 12th of December INBM students of INLEAD visited NSE housed in Jeevan Vihar, Sansad Marg, New Delhi. We were apprised with the foundation of NSE, the growth that the stock exchange has seen in a short span of two & a half decades and the type of products that trade on NIFTY, as also how to conduct trade on a stock market.  The most important reason why NSE has grown the way it has, has been primarily due to the fact that only AAA rated companies can trade in its bourses. The session on financial instruments followed by a virtual trading of some stocks left us immensely interested in the capital market.
-Ranjeet Singh
Student, INBM, July 2015


Medical advice just a click away

header-mobile.png (475×329)A country that boasts of one of the highest growth rate in sale of smartphones clubbed with a population which is going on 1.4 billion, do you think that medical advice via apps or emails or messages is not a possibility in the near future? In fact people are & will be increasingly resorting to using apps primarily due to the convenience of a phone as also because it takes a lot of time to reach healthcare centres these days. So if it’s not a life threatening malaise taking help from a Siri or a Cortana to connect to some health app is definitely a near likelihood. It won’t be out of place to say that “devices once only in the hands of a doctor are now in the pockets of consumers”. Read on about some of the popular apps:

Apps for patients

Let’s begin with an extremely popular aggregator app called Practo. This app automatically uses GPS & WiFi to set the location of the app user and generates the results for doctor & diagnostic lab queries, along with details like doctors’ qualifications, consultation fee and exact address. In a tie up with Uber, Practo even facilitates a cab ride for the patient to the chosen clinic. & home-deliver medicines provided they are accompanied by prescriptions. However for over the counter drugs no prescriptions are required.

MeraDoctor is an app that brings consultations with a doctor to your phone. The app allows 15 minutes free chat sessions, where doctors help patients understand their existing condition, tests and possible side effects. They can however, prescribe only OTC drugs.

eMocha is a platform created by clinicians at Johns Hopkins to help deliver effective healthcare to patients in South Africa diagnosed with Multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis. Using this app patients record themselves taking the prescribed drugs & then upload it on cloud for verification by doctors in Johns Hopkins, USA.

Apps for physicians

Apart from Apps which can be used by patients, there are apps that can be used by physicians. Some of the popular ones include:

Epocrates: This app enables physicians to review drug prescribing and safety information, select health insurance formularies for drug coverage information, perform calculations like BMI and access medical news and research.

Medcalc: This app isn’t free. It features an exhaustive list of formulae, scores, scales & calculations.

Skyscape & WebMD: These apps are decision support tools which feature drug information, medical calculator, evidence based clinical information & summaries of journals.

There are also Vet apps like PetFirstAid (an ios app) which has detailed videos & step by step illustrations while caring for pets.

Then there are the Wellness apps for calculating your BMI, checking your glucose levels, measuring your pulse rate, etc. which are present in almost all devices running on iOS, Android or Windows platform. Recently a patient suffering from a heart problem in USA managed to get assistance 30,000 ft above sea level inflight, by using an iPhone app to consult with his doctor.

There are many pros to the above mentioned & other such Medical apps, yet doctors have expressed their apprehensions on do-it-yourself medications for patients. They have asked patients to use these apps cautiously. Chemists too in India have objected to medicines being sold using apps and other ecommerce platforms. Nevertheless, there is an increasing interest in such apps and more & more people including physicians are exploring (maybe not endorsing) these platforms.

- Monica Mor
Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, January 4, 2016

A New Remedy for Headaches – ELECTRONIC ASPIRIN

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Changes in daily lifestyle have led to certain lifestyle diseases that are unfortunately an integral part of our daily lives. Causes could be many; ranging from hormonal changes to stress, changes in wake-sleep pattern to reaction to certain food additives, and the list goes on. Now, when migraine attacks besiege you, it leaves you retching, nauseatic, suffering from a constant throbbing pain, dizziness, and immense discomfort. Your immediate reaction is to call a doctor. And here’s what the doc says, “Take two aspirins and call me in the morning”. Migraines, cluster headaches, other causes of chronic, excruciating head or facial pain force you to take an aspirin or to and yet there is no sign of relief. Now, imagine an almond- size implant along with a small Smartphone-sized remote control – Electronic Aspirin, which stops the pain at its onset itself.

Medical reason behind migraine attacks

Medical Professionals believe that a facial bundle known as sphenopalatine neural structure (SPG) situated outside the brain behind the nasal passage and near the eye socket is associated with severe headaches and migraines. However, they haven’t until now found a treatment that works on the SPG long-term.

Electronic Aspirin

Electronic Aspirin is a technology that is a patient-powered tool for blocking sphenopalatine ganglion signals, when a patient feels the first signs of a headache. It is under clinical investigation at California based company, Autonomic Technologies, Inc.

Electronic Aspirin works by permanently implanting a small nerve stimulating device in the upper gum on the side of the head normally affected by headache. The lead tip of the implant i.e. the tiny tail connects with the SPG bundle, and when a patient senses the onset of a headache, he or she places a handheld remote controller on the cheek nearest the implant that sends a radio signal to the implanted device.  That triggers a slight electrical charge to stimulate the SPG nerve cells and block the pain-causing neurotransmitters.

Implant procedure

For patients, the implant procedure to get the device implanted is almost as easy as a wisdom tooth extraction. The patient can turn it on and off as needed. Furthermore, the patient can leave it as is or take it out, when no longer necessary.

Autonomic Technologies has been approved to treat migraine and cluster headaches in Europe, and the company is currently waiting for the FDA to approve them for testing in the U.S. In a clinical trial for people who suffered chronic headaches, upon using Electronic Aspirin, 68% reported improvement. Moreover, weekly average headaches were reduced by 31% and 75% of those reported improvement in their quality of life. 

 Medical devices are not a cure for illness, but they are improving the daily lives of people to live longer, healthier, and hopefully happier lives. Imagine the future for Electronic Aspirin, the monitoring and management of migraines with additional applications for medical devices to improve their patients’ lives. This is a new realm of science and medicine and the future for controlling pain and developing cures has only just begun.

- Mr. Iman Ikram, 
  Healthcare Administration 

What’s in a Name?... Ask a Brand.

For the longest time we have been using  brand names, sometimes because we want that particular item and sometimes because we are addressing a category of products.

A “Band Aid” is an adhesive medicated strip (how many of us knew that??), but it represents all brands in that category be it HandyPlast or HansaPlast. The brand “Surf” has for the longest time signified a detergent powder and “Lux” a bathing bar. We often use a brand name as a verb, like “Google” this phrase for doing a web search or lets “FaceTime” for a video call. Such brand names are called Generic brands.

So what’s a brand?

According to American Marketer’s Association a Brand is a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or a group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competition. We identify a product, its quality and its relationship with us with the help of its brand name. We associate an image, self-respect, a sense of heritage as also feelings like warmth and excitement with brands, like say Cartier, Louis Vuitton and our very own in-house brands like Dabur and Tata.

Choosing a brand name

So how does a company choose a brand name? There are innumerable stories behind choice of a brand name. Sit back on your IKEA futon, pick up a cuppa Nescafe and enjoy reading about some of those:

Some brands emerge from the name of the creator like Maggi noodles was named after its creator Julius Maggi; LandT named after it’s co-founders Henning Holck Larsen and Soren Kristian Toubro (2 Danish Engineers who sought refuge in India during pre-independence and founded the company LandT in Mumbai).

Some brand names are derived from certain terms:
Google is named after the term Googol which represents 1010 zeroes. The brand Canon (the famous Japanese camera company) is derived from the name of a Buddhist goddess, “Kwanon”.  The brand Amazon is named after the world’s largest river, Amazon (to signify the volume of business the ecommerce company envisioned for itself). Sony, the founder of Walkman, is derived from the Latin word “Sonus”, which means sound.

Some brands are a result of misnomers, like Spotify (one of the most popular digital music service hub) got its name from a wrongly pronounced “identify” by the founder himself.
Blackberry (the famous phone company) calls itself so, because the digits on the phone looked like the fruit blackberry’s drupelets.

Sometimes an acronym becomes a very popular Brand name, for instance UCLA (full form – University of California Los Angeles); BMW, the full form of which is Bavarian Motor Works; YAHOO, the full form of which is Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.

There are plenty of such stories that tell us a little bit more about brands we buy, we consume and embrace in our daily lives. In reality however, brands become such an integral part of our lives, we often do not pay attention to the company they belong to or why at all they have that name. And the journey to discover brand names continues…

- Ms.Monica Mor
  Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, December 28, 2015


India is a democratic country which means of the people, by the people and for the people. As one would have observed, the definition begins with a crucial aspect–“of”, which means that any democracy is formed by a set of people who decide their own elected representatives. An important and unavoidable reason as to why democracy is not successful in India is because of corruption that has entered and ruined the system of democracy.

More often, elections and election results are wrongly perceived and interpreted. Most candidates are bought; votes and voters are bought, while bribes and materials are given to potential voters to woo them. It is shocking for a citizen to know that in some part of rural areas people are threatened to give vote to a particular candidate. People nowadays do not do politics rather they play politics.

Why one must vote:

 Ideally, as a citizen of your own country, one is expected to vote and participate in the formation of the government. It is an opportunity given to every eligible Indian that one must not miss if he/she wishes to see a particular set of people ruling the country. The fact that you vote is living proof that you, as an individual, participated in the formation of a democracy as huge as India. But, more often than not, this doesn’t work as a sufficient reason to urge voters to come and exercise what is their fundamental duty as a citizen. One needs to be above 18 years of age in our country to be able to vote. But, how many of us actually take that extra effort to get out of the house and vote for our desired candidate? Going by most election statistical figures, average voter turn-out in most Indian states is not more than 60%. By knowing the total population, these figures are a shame.

“How can my one vote make any difference???” is the reason given by most of the highly educated people who do not have ignorance and lack of knowledge for not stepping out of the house to give their vote. One another weird reason given is that they do not believe their one vote can make any difference, or that there aren’t worthy enough candidates who deserve their vote. One token to this is the concept of Negative Vote which is an option given to the voters which is the “none of the above (NOTA)”.  It means that the voter has expressed his/her dissatisfaction with all the candidates. However, it is a very absurd option because, it works in the favor of the candidates. Even if one were to give a “negative vote”, it doesn’t help the situation in any way as one among the given set of candidates would still win, with or without the voter’s vote.

So should voting be made compulsory?

Since the voter turnout is very low, we must ensure that people come and vote. Now, the question arises, how? Well to start with, the entire exercise must be made compulsory for all. But, making anything compulsory nullifies the purpose of democracy.  Handful of experts believe that there is no other way to ensure that everyone votes and one can hope of a more equal and desirable government. Some experts do not believe that making voting compulsory is the right way to achieve the desired goal. While the intention may be strong and truly right, the procedure is indeed questionable. If a person is compelled to vote, he/she will be robbed of his/her own free will.

In countries like Australia, voter registration and attendance at polling booths are compulsory activities and this has turned out to be the reason for largest turnout of voters in the world. But, in country like Brazil, this process has backfired. Making something compulsory does not solve the problem. I personally feel, it’s better to have a 60% turnout when we know that the people who voted did so voluntarily, out of their own free will and choice, than a 99% turnout when we know that more than half of that the huge figure voted out of compulsion and reluctance rather than willingness and choice.

-Ms. Parminder
 Student, INLEAD

A flight that never took off…Air Asia

How would you feel if the onboard announcements go like this, “Ladies & Gentlemen fasten your seatbelts. Okay don’t..ummm… unfortunately we can’t take off.  Very dense Red tape.”

If as a flier you are disheartened, imagine, what would be the plight of shareholders of Air Asia who have invested in Air Asia Bhd. They would surely be shattered and suffering from anxiety attacks.

About Air Asia

Air Asia is an airline from Malaysia, one of the fastest growing, it looked at India as the next frontier. The brand entered India with equity holdings of about 49% by Tony Fernandes, CEO of Air Asia Bhd, 41% by Tata Sons & the remaining by Telestra Tradeplace owned by Delhi based Arun Bhatia. With hopes flying high and a dynamic CEO in Mithu Chandilya, Air Asia was ready to soar in the Indian skies. But fate had other plans, and even after more than 2 years in service the company has only 6 aircrafts and a hold of only 2% of the domestic passenger market.

What went wrong?

Aviation sector in India has a rule called 5/20 which implies that any airline operating in India needs to operate in the domestic territory for atleast 5 years, have a fleet of 20 aircrafts and then only can operate internationally. This rule is now under the scanner and soon there will be some modifications to it, especially after a plethora of objections being raised by other Aviation companies. This served as a major cause of Red tapism & has impeded the growth of airlines like Air Asia & Vistara and prevented them from making money via lucrative international routes. The new rule that could come in place is the DFC or Domestic Flying Credit which requires an airline to accumulate 300 DFC points in domestic circuit before flying in international routes.

As if this wasn’t enough there have been noises from the Air Asia board about ongoing fights between Tony Fernandes, Arun Bhatia & Tata Sons, which has created huge rifts within the organization & has led to many senior executives quitting. A big cause of the company failing has been very little infusion of cash during its inception in India, a mere Rs. 30 crore. Losses are close to Rs. 65 crore.  Tata in another venture has tied up with Singapore Airlines & launched Vistara in India with Rs. 100 crore. Rs. 30 crore pooled in by shareholders apparently is very little, the cash pool has dried and with mounting losses funds are available only via advance sale of tickets. This is truly a dire situation, especially for an aviation company!

What’s the solution

Each shareholder would need to cough up more funds, but while Tony Fernandes is busy with Air Asia Malaysia, Tata Sons with Vistara & Arun Bhatia being nothing but a rabble rouser, there doesn’t seem to be any silver lining at the end of the dark cloud. This could be just another Kingfisher and we may not be able to enjoy the good inflight services of Air Asia any more.

- Monica Mor
  Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, December 21, 2015

Creating Memorable Guest Experience

“Athithi Devo Bhava”…“The Guest is always right”…“Guest is God” are some of the mantras that the hotel industry stands by and goes that extra mile to ensure that the community follows. It’s a known fact that the guest is the reason why the whole Hotel Industry is in business. The guest has the power to take away business from you by spending elsewhere, so it’s just right that the hotel channelize all their efforts in ensuring that the guest experience should be one of the biggest investments that they make.
The different stages where the hotel can create memorable experiences are:
Though the guest is physically not at the hotel at this stage, but great service begins at the website, advertisement, and social media page, wherever the guest can see or interact with the hotel. The information available must be up-to-date and accurate.
Once the booking process is complete, follow-up is essential which can be either through an e-mail or a phone call. At this stage the guest can be provided with lot of information and one can also obtain information from the guest to make their stay more comfortable.
The best time to hugely influence the guest decision, that they have made the right choice by staying at your hotel. Having a room ready for the arriving guest is one of the most important things during this stage. Getting away from the counter so that the front desk agent is in close contact with the guest, a sit down check-in counter, welcome letter in guest room, pleasant staff and courtesy calls once the guest is in their room all adds to guest experience.
During the stay
Utilize every opportunity to interact with the guest. This need not be just limited to the Guest Relations; staff across departments can also interact with guests for feedback. Addressing a guest by name and creating a comfortable ambience leads to an overall satisfied stay. It is also the best time to ask for a review or a check-in update on social media from a guest. A lot of millennial travelers prefer posting updates during their stay.
Be pro –active, ask guest about their stay, make certain that the departing guests are happy. This is the best time to suggest regarding loyalty programs and if they can do an online review. Collect personal details about the guest like their email id, contact number and social media handles.
Follow up
A mail thanking the guest once they have checked-out will definitely help in converting the guest to a loyal customer. This will help strengthen positive feelings about their stay, therefore resulting in a better chance of a review or a return visit.
Keep in touch

Keep networking with the guests on a regular basis through social network and personalized emails. Let them know about events, packages and discounts prevailing. It would be good idea to wish them on important occasions.
- Ms. Bindu Menon
  Senior Faculty, INLEAD

The saga of Indian policy paralysis

Is politics hampering reform process in India?

It looks like current winter parliament session will also be wiped out due to latest controversies related to congress high commands misconduct. The question is, are our parliamentarians across party lines serious about their basic job of passing legislature, making laws and running parliament for benefit of people of this country. Instead, they use floor of parliament to play their dirty politics. GST, land reforms and numerous other important bills are stuck in the parliament for a prolonged period now. And, the credit goes to two of our major political parties. With BJP in power, Congress has been opposing it and when Congress was in power in Delhi, BJP opposed it.

The great game of politics goes on. Differences are bound to occur on issues but they can be resolved in a logical manner.  Our politicians have converted the well of Parliament into an arena of wrestling and what is astonishing is that they are getting paid for that. A question at this point: can common people of this country even think of getting salaries without work? Crores of Rupees from taxpayers pocket is getting wasted for every unproductive day in parliament. Is Politics is getting bigger than our country’s national Interests, is a question we all need to sit and ponder about.

A peep into China

Take a look at our neighbouring country,, China, which had a GDP like India’s up to 1980s. Despite their communist political system, they have made their progress due to their political leaderships’ decision making ability at appropriate times. As of today, China has a huge first mover advantage over India in the global economy, and India as a nation is many years of progress behind as compared to China. The kind of infrastructure they have built, the kind of trade surplus they have, can India even think of reaching any way close to that level? That too with this kind of politics that’s up for display in our country?

Solution to the policy paralysis

It is, I believe, up to our great Indian leaders to cook up a solution. The need of the hour is to restructure our old parliamentary system. If politicians want to protest they can very well do it on other platforms, online, Jantar Mantar, but definitely not inside parliament.  With due respect to our parliamentarians it is the taxpayers money which is at stake and more than that countries future is at stake! Can India as a nation afford to lose a Golden chance to become an economic powerhouse only due to selfish politics that we have in our country? I leave that to our nation and its great citizens to mull over.

-Shreyas Tamboli
 Student, INBM, 
 INLEAD, October 2015

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