Friday, July 29, 2016

Poking into the Pokémon Frenzy

The month of July 2016 has taken the entire gaming fraternity to a new high altogether. Yes, I’m talking about that one augmented reality game that has stormed the world by its popularity in just couple of weeks. You guessed it right! I am talking about Pokémon Go!

What is Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is Niantic’s free-to-play location-basedaugmented reality game developed for iOS and Android devices which released in most regions of the world in July 2016. The new game lets your inner 90’s self, roam the streets with your smartphone to capture, train, battle and trade your favorite Pokémon. What makes this game different from the traditional ones is its reliance on your GPS position in the real world to find catchable Pokémon. So, if there’s a ‘Squirtle’ – one of the Pokémon’s in your neighbor’s backyard, you’ll need to trespass to get it, which is fairly illegal last time we checked.

How the PokéMania is taking over?

As of July 8, the augmented reality smartphone game has been downloaded on more than 5 percent of all the Android phones in America — more than Tinder, according to the website-analysis company SimilarWeb. Three percent of all American Android users play the game daily.

Pokémon Go’s popularity might seem puzzling to those not struck with the urge to catch ‘em all yet. But perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Numerous hints about augmented reality’s potential appeal have appeared in research literatures over the past few years. Augmented reality shows users a video feed of the real world with text and images superimposed on top of the feed on their smartphone or other smart devices. In Pokémon Go, players see cute Pokémon animals apparently hanging out in their bedrooms, on sidewalks, and at local parks.

As much fun the game may sound to be, it has come amidst dark clouds of speculation over the risks it carries. Besides jolting technical issues like draining the battery life and exhausting the cellular data of your phone, a lot of privacy concerns have already been reported across the world by the users, which the makers of the app have shunned stating that the effect of Pokémon Go on consumer privacy has been overhyped. People’s worry, however, over the collection of their personal information still remains. Not only this, there has been a spike in the crime incidents caused due to the game across the world. Multiple police departments in various countries have issued warnings, some tongue-in-cheek, regarding inattentive driving, trespassing, and being targeted by criminals due to being unaware of one's surroundings.

So, all the budding Pokémon trainers out there - remember it’s always better to look up, away from your smartphone and then cross the roads. Stay safe and catch ‘em all!

- Mr. Sumit Chakravarty, Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, July 25, 2016


Is there a difference…no it’s same…or used interchangeably? Arguably one might say that hotels are a part of hospitality and all the allied industries would be categorized under service. So why are we discussing this since it could mean the same or used in varied context. To further decode it according to Aaron Bare, entrepreneur and strategist: Service is delivering on your promise. Hospitality is making people feel good while you’re delivering on that promise. “Hospitality” means exceeding the basic services you promise.

Hospitality as a term or as an industry is not new it has been around for ages, but the fact is that there are too many players and then there’s a lot of competition, so what that unique element that you provide that makes you shine on, favored and recommended. For those who are acing hospitality carry on and for those who have been stressing more on service it’s never too late. Incorporating hospitality into the existing service standards doesn’t mean that one has to change their entire system and processes. In turn what needs to be done is to include a small gesture in the service model that would stand out, become worth mentioning. Once done you’ll discover that guests will notice the difference and will boast to others about their special experiences.

Few examples where hospitality takes over service would be:

Accor Hotels at its Sofitel and Novotel properties in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. –identified their loyalty members interests through their social media profiles. On arrival there was gift given to the guest “Take guest recognition to the next level, to a more powerful level.

Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples asked Facebook fans how they like their coffee. If you answered, then stayed with them, your coffee would arrive perfectly sugared—without having to ask.

Hospitality today has become synonym with every industry not just hotels. Earlier it was understood that if you are working with hotels only then one needs to become hospitable. But the fact today is that every service industry is focusing on hospitality, it has become an integral part of any business operations. It’s a tool that is used to have a demonstrative link with a guest/client or customer. Just look around hospitals, airlines, retail sectors, corporates and educational institute all are focusing on creating that distinctive connection with people that they serve or cater to.

So how can one achieve this? There’s a saying that attitude can’t be trained, I however disagree on this. The result may not be instantaneous and is unquestionably time consuming and needs an individual approach. Is it possible, the answer is a big yes, the key being hire and train right.

You know how to train people to become better at what they DO ...

The Bad News: The essence of hospitality cannot be taught as if it were another job skill.

The Good News: You don't need to teach it. It should come naturally which is an innate capability of all human beings.

The Great News: You may already know WHAT works, but when you really understand WHY it works, maintaining that warm feeling can become remarkably effortless.

- Ms. Bindu Menon
  Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Friday, July 22, 2016

Thalaiva – India’s true Superstar

Thalaiva…just 8 letters, but this name packs a punch for fans  all around the world. July 22nd 2016 will surely be etched in history, as the day South of India and some cities abroad too, came to a standstill with the release of Thalaiva’s movie, Kabali. Companies declared holiday to avoid the burden of excuses their employees would pull out to skip work to watch Thaliava’s movie; tickets are being booked by Minister’s PAs by sending special request letters to movie hall owners; and life size posters are being given milk bath despite Thaliva’s earnest request to refrain.

Thalaiva…that’s Rajnikant for you, a demigod of sorts, one of the most revered actors of all time in India. His USP could be anything, from his larger than life persona in reel life, to his charity work in real life, or just that his movies have that magic that makes the audience go ummm!

So, how did the Rajni phenomena evolve?

Born in 1950, fourth child of his parents, Rajnikanth lost his mother at a very young age. He did many odd jobs to survive, like that of a coolie and a carpenter. His last before he joined the regional film industry was that of a bus conductor in Karnataka state transport corporation. Performing stage plays simultaneously helped him nurture his acting skills. It’s been 25 years and Rajni hasn’t looked back. He even dabbled in a few Hindi moves, tasted both success and failure there, and realised that south Indian film industry is where he belongs. His movies are now dubbed in multiple languages and released in screens pan India across many countries simultaneously, to cater to the appetite of his ever growing legion of fans. His successful movies include Enthiran and Chandramukhi, the former a sci-fi, the latter a horror. His movies collect a cool Rs.1 billion in very short durations.

Business of Kabali

With Kabali, Rajnikanth has allegedly pocketed multi - crores even before the release date. Air Asia has plastered its one airline with Kabali poster. This is a promotional coup d’etat for the airline that has been apparently featured in the movie as well. Air Asia went further and announced special Kabali airfares. Kabali has since then tied up with many brands. FMCG major Emami is Kabali’s brand partner to capture the cultural relevance of southern India market with its product Fair and Handsome. The movie makers have cashed in on Rajnikanth’s superstar status with multiple tie ups with brands like Muthoot Finance, VS Hospitals, Airtel, and Cadbury. Amazon and PVR cinemas have the exclusive rights to sell Kabali merchandise including Rajni dolls. All of this monetarily adds up to more than 40 crores in just brand value. The movie will itself cross Rs. 500 crores, leaving all investors and brand partners laughing their way to the bank.

Interestingly, Shivaji Rao Gaekwad aka Rajnikanth, our Thalaiva, does not endorse any brand!

- Ms. Monica Mor
  Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, July 18, 2016

Da Da Ding...did Nike get it wrong or right?

Da da ding, da da ding, da ding, Wake up in the morning, coz I got goals and I won’t take no for an answer, Got the grace of a dancer, The heart of a panther..”

The lyrics of the new Nike commercial, written by the ad agency Weiden + Kennedy and Genera8ion has the song sung by the latter in collaboration with rap star Gizzle, is not only peppy but also quite inspiring. It focuses on the panther inside a sportswoman that propels her to train to the limit and perform to her best. The 2 minutes 53 seconds video directed by a French director Francois Rousselet has been garnering its share of bouquets with close to a million views just about a week after its release on YouTube. It features many Indian sportswomen, some who are popular and some representing sports that aren’t yet popular in India, like surfing.

Below is a brief about three such ladies:

Rani Rampal was the youngest player in the Indian women’s national field hockey team in 2010. She was the only 15. Hailing from a small town near Delhi she’s the only Indian to be nominated for the International Hockey Federation Women’s Young Player of the Year Award.

Jyoti Ann Burret began her soccer journey with the Indian football team in 2013. Interestingly she also has a Masters Degree in Sports and Health Science from University of Exeter, had plenty of lucrative job offers, yet chose soccer as her career.

Ishita Malaviya is India’s first professional female surfer, who is working very hard to promote India’s peninsular coastline as a surfing destination.

Why the craze about this ad?

It’s serious when an ad creates such a buzz in the internetscape. I am writing about this advert because it’s a definite feel good, it’s a commercial that propagates something genuine, implores people to worship their bodies like temple and to maybe “just do it”. In a world where Govts are trying to reduce consumption of junk food by imposing ‘fat taxes’, this ad’s concept, I found it to be rather refreshing.

There are many sportswomen in our country and I believe it’s time we started celebrating Indian women sports personalities. What with the Sanias, Sanias and Mary Koms dominating their respective areas. It’s time, in India we worshiped our women sports stars just like we do the men, we paid them as much and gave them just as much publicity.

A burgeoning sports market in India

Nike may have its agenda of tapping into the Rs. 6000 crore sports business in India, especially after Reebok’s successful foray into gym wear with a sweaty and calorie burning Kangana Ranaut playing the lead in their adverts. Overtime as women have become important customers of sportswear and sports products, companies like Nike, Puma, Adidas, Columbia, Asics are pumping money into the Indian market.

Well yes, there is Deepika Padukone in the video, but even she is seen doing her athletic stuff.
The ad is a step away from focusing just on the artificial glamorous side of the world and raises its eulogy to sportswomen. And that should leave viewers with a smile on their faces and a lovely tune in their ears which is quite humble, to say the least.

“Da da ding, da da ding, da ding…”

Ms. Monica Mor
  Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A frenzy called Politics in India

Indian politics is a jamboree of councils and assemblies, of multiple parties both national and regional, of politicians young, middle aged and even nonagerian (90 year olds). It can get overwhelming for a newbie to understand how the Parliament works, how the elections are conducted and how the Governments are formed or even brought down. The game of power is rather intriguing and while there may not be as much bloodshed in the name of politics as in the medieval age, but there are definitely enough Machiavellis to be wary of.

In light of the recent Cabinet expansions announced by our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, let me take you through a beginner’s journey into the Frenzy called Indian Politics. Fasten your seat belts because this ride could be kind of turbulent!

How it all began in India…

Once upon a time a country called India became independent and decided to move ahead with a constitution that believed in socialism. Remember, then we used to be rather friendly with USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and we wanted to follow their style of economic system. Well that country doesn’t exist anymore – it split into 15 countries, ummm..not all are friendly with us. And along the way we gradually abandoned socialism and adopted an American baby called Capitalism. So is this politics? No, not really. But our economic system defines the manifesto of the various political parties that battle it out during elections (National or State), so it is important.

Anyway the country’s journey continues rather simplistically. It decides to adopt everything that is British, the democratic system, the bicameral legislature, the election commission, and while they have a rubber stamp Queen, we have one in our president. How convenient!

Our Parliamentary system

So let’s talk about our Parliament and how it functions. The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body and has two houses for its legislative members. The Upper House or the Council of States is called the Rajya Sabha, and the Lower House or House of the People is called Lok Sabha. There are 543 members in the Lok Sabha, all of whom are directly elected by the citizens of our country. Soon NRIs will also be able to vote from their respective new countries of residence. The Rajya Sabha on the other hand has strength of 245 members only and can expand to only 250. 233 members have to be selected from States and Union Territories (based on their population strength), and 12 are nominated by the President from the expertise of different fields of science, culture, art and history.

At the State level, there are 7 states, namely Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh which have bicameral legislature. These states are the most populous ones and hence have an Upper House called Vidhan Parishad and a lower House called Vidhan Sabha. The remaining States and UTs have unicameral legislature, i.e. there’s only the Vidhan Sabha. 

Elections are held separately for the Central government and the different State and UT governments. Although, now there are talks of cutting costs and preventing loss of man hours by holding elections across all SUTs and the center simultaneously.

Now that I have confused you thoroughly, my suggestion is go ahead and find out how many seats does BJP have in the Lok Sabha, in the Rajya Sabha and how many states is it present in and has formed the state government. Not such a tall task, go ahead and plunge into the depth of craziness!

For more details about our political system, keep watching this space.

-Ms. Monica Mor

 Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, July 11, 2016

The potential of Renewable Energy

 Renewable Energy Sources and technologies have potential to provide solution to the long standing energy problem faced by Developing countries. As INDIA is also a developing country so the problem of energy crisis is also a major challenge for India. The renewable energy is only the option to meet this requirement.

On an approx. India will require an assured supply of 3-4 times more energy than the total energy consumed today. Sources of renewable energy are Solar and wind Energy, Geothermal energy, Ocean Energy, biomass Energy and Fuel cell technology can be used to overcome the energy shortage problem in India.

Today india Constitute about 33% of India’s primary energy consumption. As government is also focused on the renewable energy sector, so this will be the positive step to ensure a more sustainable future. Moreover India is projected to be the second largest contributor to increase in global energy demand to 2035(IEA,2010). It is an estimation that in upcoming 25years Indian’s electricity demand is expected to grow at an average rate of 7.4%(world bank,2010).

In this reference, Renewable Energy represents a win-win opportunity for a country like India. It is true as per the report of World Bank 2010 every 1GW of renewable energy reduces emission of Co2 on an average of 3.3 million ton in an year.

In India the renewable energy sector is administered by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) (Former ministry of non-conventional energy source). Although its true that the formulation of Renewable energy development was started in early 1990. However the first act comes in 2003 under the name of Electricity Act 2003.(EA)

The EA 2003 mandated the State Electricity Regulation Commission (SERC’s) to develop REP (Renewable Energy Power) in their respective states. EA 2003, comes into focus because it includes fixation of minimum quotas for the sourcing the REP known as Renewable energy Obligation (RPO’s). The RPO’s obligates each distribution licensee to includes REP as a certain percentage in its resource Portfolio.

To make this easier in the complying RPO’s Procedure, MNRE introduced REC (Renewable Energy Certificates) that indicates the percentage allotted. Also to help REP generating company the minimum price is fixed below which REP can’t be purchased it is called Feed-In- Tariffs (FIT’s).
RPO’s has been implemented at different times and vary between states between sources of renewable energy. This is the reason the comparison is difficult.

This type of Regulation should on the one hand give a positive signal to investor to develop energy capacity on the other hand stimulate demand for REP in order to comply with state legislation.
Hence it is clearly visible that FIT and RPO’ have a positive impact on the development of REP. At the end it is well known that importance is given in National policy to create and enable environment for the Renewable Energy Development, but emphasis is shifted from Center to the state for the development of policy and regulatory support.

- Mr. Vaibhav Mittal
  Student, INLEAD

Triumphant Trump and its impact on India

The reality TV star and supposedly successful real estate mogul has, in a very short span of time, become United States favourite nightmare. Ever since he threw his hat in the ring as a presidential candidate, Trump has appended all notions of decency, civility, decorum and code of conduct. To him rules are merely suggestions that he could play around with. From his profanity littered speeches to his almost reality TV like campaign events Trump has captivated people like a Rahul Gandhi speech you can’t just stop watching.
So, if one were to entertain the idea of Trump as President of the United States Of America, what would it mean for India?
PM Modi has invested a considerable amount of time and political capital into Foreign policy. He has so far visited over 33 countries in an effort to build bridges that had almost vanished under the tenure of Dr. Manmohan Singh. One particular highlight has been the close rapport he has built with incumbent President, Barrack Obama. PM Modi pulled off a coup by getting President Obama as the guest of honour on Republic day. It also led to the resolution of the contentious issue of the nuclear liability law, which was the bone of contention between the two nations.
Although not all is well between India and the US, relationships have progressed by leap years compared to the previous administration. Issues like WTO food subsidies and issues over IPR still however remain.
Donald Trump is rather unpredictable. He is a volatile and a supposedly shrewd businessman but he has so far failed to provide a great deal of insights into his foreign policy other than “Bombing the of ISIS” but if one were to extrapolate using the pattern he has so far displayed it would be a morose and troubling period for US as well as the world.
He has already dragged China and India over the issue of jobs. This issue might become a bargaining chip to underline his bombastic credentials to the people of US much like his xenophobic rhetoric over immigration. India would feel deeper nerves in the following points:
·    India will have a far harder time dealing with US under Trump, given his policy inexperience and his tendency to look towards short term headlines.
·    Trump will most likely resort towards using inverted domestic protectionist policies to shore up his domestic appeal because that is how leaders like him stay favourable in the public eye.
·    His presidency would be also be one of the most uncertain periods for global institutions including the IMF, WTO, NATO and so forth over which US has maintained an iron grip. He might also use them as tools to pressure countries like China and India over labour issues and exports there by posing a sizable threat to India.
·    Trump’s presidency would also mean a great deal of uncertainty for the Middle East. It would also mean exposing hidden fault lines between nations, thereby putting India’s foreign and economic policies and relations under stress.
·    He has hinted at the US taking a backseat in the Middle East, but the deep nexus between the administrations and industrial military complex would not be broken so easily. It might also result in Trump using his Middle East policy to lash out at vested interests and his political opponents thereby further muddying the picture somewhat.
·    Under Trump, India will also have to contend with the possibility of increased uncertainty over labour and exports which will severely impact the IT and Pharmaceutical industries.
·    It would also mean that India has to move towards building relations with China, rather than trying to counterbalance it like it is doing now with the help of the US. There is strong possibility of Trump bungling the South China Sea issue which will have an out sized impact ton India’s relationship with China.

India will have to build bridges and strengthen its relations will all its closest allies and trading partners because an era of Donald Trump can very well be a terrible mistake the whole world will have to pay.  At a time when the global economy is teetering on the brink of collapse, the threat seems more prescient.
- Mr. M.Ankit, Student, INLEAD  

Monday, July 4, 2016

Revenue Management- The Concept

Revenue Management for an organization means to Increase Profit, utilizing market demand and converting the demand in revenue maximization.

This utilization can be from:

1- Resources available are limited or fixed
2- Resources are perishable (as Vacant Seat in airline flying today cannot be used tomorrow)
3- Customer willingness to pay a different price for the same product/service (there will be  a difference between booking done in flight six months before & 1 day before the departure, here comes the role of demand and supply)

The strategy of Revenue Management is to focus on price rather than costs when balancing supply and demand. It suggests exploiting each products value cycle & continually re-evaluating revenue opportunities.

The strategy of Revenue Management is to focus on price rather than costs when balancing supply and demand. It suggests exploiting each products value cycle & continually re-evaluating revenue opportunities.

For Effective Revenue Management an organization must have:

1-Segmentation (Know your Customer based on Pricing) a different rate must be charged to Leisure guest and a Corporate Guest 

2-Price Fencing, it must be done properly in order to sustain for long term in market as the price must be according to market it may not be more or less.

Online Travel Agents (OTA) are considered as Frenemy for hotel business as they provide the business in the time of low occupancy as well as they cut the profit margins of hotel at the time of peak season, Here the part of Revenue Management plays effective role of taking decision how to deal  with situation and raise more revenue.

Tools for Revenue Management

Sticker is related to pricing strategy of Revenue Management, Sticker must be placed according the market condition as how the organization wants to capture the value of product or service. It must be marked different for Superior, Inferior & Substitute products or Service.

Stock is the Holding Inventory with the company. The Revenue Management focuses on controlling & effective utilization of its Inventory as an when demand of market.

Organizations performance is mainly dependant on the way of product or service presented to the consumers by the Marketing, an effective marketing promotion helps to maximize revenue & increase the loyal customer.

Mode of Distribution plays a vital role in Revenue Management. It decides proper Channel of distribution that is cost effective for both organization & customer. For example a customer purchasing online is more Price conscious than a customer doing offline shopping so the channel of promotion & distribution must be through e-business or Web portal.

During the time of Recession Revenue Management played a vital role in effective utilization of available resources by the means of Cost Optimization.

“Poor marketing can damage an organization, poor pricing can damage an entire market”  -Colin Jasper.

-Dixit Mohit Tejkumar,
 Student, INLEAD 

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