Thursday, July 11, 2019

You market what you speak/post!

  • In 2005, disappointed with Dell’s customer service, blogger Jarvis coined the term ‘Dell Hell’ in his blogs, which brought Dell national embarrassment.
  • In 2012, McDonalds launched a campaign on twitter with hash tag #McDStories about the heritage of company’s food, which turned into a chaos when the hashtag was being used to share negative or funny stories about the company.
  • In 2014, Zomato, had to take back its hiring advertisement and issue an apology. It had created a controversial recruitment ad, comparing two cities—New Delhi and Bengaluru—on different parameters and lifestyles, which did not go down well, especially with people working in Bengaluru.
Word-of-mouth (WOM) communication is widely accepted as a critical factor in building marketing strategies and communications. Invention of the Internet and proliferation of social media have added a new electronic dimension to traditional WOM, thereby converting it into electronicWOM (eWOM).

eWOM impacts—

    Consumer’s purchase decision process
    Utilization of eWOM to build brand strength
    Consumer loyalty
    Information diffusion, and
    Creating buzz among potential consumers.

Features of eWOM communication–

→ It can be expressed in different forms such as opinions, online ratings, online feedback, reviews, comments, and experience sharing on the Internet.

→ It utilizes online communication channels, for example, blogs, review sites, discussion forums, online e-retailers, firm’s own brand and product sites, and social networking sites.

A take-away for marketers—

The traditional marketing approach is being revised and modified to utilize the power of the Internet. Consumers have more power with them due to proliferation of social media and the Internet forums and communities.

→ Marketers can utilize eWOM for
  • Building product awareness,
  • Improving sales and other related performance parameters,
  • Strengthening brand value,
  • Building customer loyalty.

→ eWOM also acts as direct feedback to marketers.

→ They can use positive and negative eWOM to improve their product and service deliveries and to offer recoveries and address consumer grievances.

Click here to know more about electronic Word-of-mouth (WOM) communication. 

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Disaster Management and Women

“If women and girls are left out of disaster management efforts or risk reduction measures, the talents, skills and knowledge of 50 per cent of the whole population will be ignored and their needs are unlikely to be met.”

 Indian Journal of Gender Studies

Different types of disasters have globally increased in intensity and magnitude. Gender shapes people’s responses to disasters, both directly and indirectly. Although both women and men can be vulnerable to the negative consequences of disasters, women are generally looked at as helpless victims.
Considering women as a highly vulnerable group can be the result of highlighting the negative effects of disasters on women rather than their coping capacities.

To ignore women’s capacities and focus only on men’s abilities can adversely impact women, households and the whole community.

Women’s capacities in the recent natural disasters of Iran were explored in a qualitative study which was carried out in East Azerbaijan, Bushehr and Mazandaran, stricken by earthquakes and floods in the years 2012 and 2013.

Incorrect media portrayals—

The media show the images of women as a passive group waiting for rescue and relief by strong men. These pictures reflect the common notions of gender, which shape disaster management policy in hazard-prone regions.

For instance, the analysis of shots taken from women after the Australian tsunami showed that women were absent in 55.5 per cent of all photos. In 35.5 per cent of pictures, rescued women were depicted as the passive victims who could not do anything but cry and ask for help.


     A number of studies did mention women’s capacities in disasters including high level of risk awareness, social networking practices, extensive knowledge of their communities, environmental resource management and caring abilities.

     The management skills of women have been neglected in post-disaster scenarios.

     Women are the key organizers in their families in everyday life, and more so in disastrous situations.

     This study, probably the first of its kind, indicates that women can survive disasters better and turn into a resilient group in disaster-stricken communities as well as disaster-prone regions.

     Women’s disaster management skills grew out of their experience in handling family affairs and contributing to family livelihood.

     Disaster management officials can benefit from women’s knowledge, skills and capacities in policy-making, planning and resource allocation.

Click here to read similar articles.

Monday, July 01, 2019

How loyal are the Indian Shoppers towards their malls?

“Once shoppers get what they value the most, they are expected to be more loyal to the shopping mall.”
It was often debated whether Indian loyal shoppers look for hedonic or utilitarian benefits during their visit to a shopping mall. Since shopping malls are relatively new to the Indian markets, shoppers are expected to show initial euphoria due to the novelty value of the entity.
In contrast with the traditional retail stores, shopping malls offer superior aesthetics, ambience, and marketing orientation.

This implies that shoppers look beyond the basic chore of shopping and experience while shopping plays a vital role. To attract the attention of shoppers, mall developers make huge investments in mall promotion and ambient factors in order to enhance the shopping experience.

As the Indian shoppers’ euphoria about shopping malls gets toned down with time, mall managers need to focus on something more substantive. 

Such fundamental benefits can be offered to shoppers only if mall managers know what is more relevant for the shoppers visiting the malls. 
Past studies have identified a number of factors such as—
  • Ambience,
  • Physical infrastructure,
  • Convenience,
  • Safety, and
  • Marketing activities.

High-risks involved—

Shopping malls involve high capital investment that is recovered over a very long time period. At the same time, consumer preferences too evolve over a period of time. Besides high initial investment, shopping malls have a high operating cost to keep the infrastructure and facilities in good shape. Over time, the operating cost (maintenance cost) increases steadily because physical infrastructure and facilities deteriorate exponentially with time. The manpower costs also rise.

This study establishes that Indian mall shoppers predominantly look for convenience.

This strongly indicates that Indian mall shoppers are more utilitarian than hedonic. Results of this study, however, should be examined in its proper context.

Click here to read the full article.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Water ATMS: Causing a Silent Revolution

It was a hot summer afternoon in New Delhi, India, and Mr. Siya Ram, the Group General Manager of Rail Neer, the packaged water brand of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC), was having his lunch in his office on the 11th floor of The Statesman House, the corporate headquarters of IRCTC.

His eyes fell on a group of 10–12 people crowding a road-side stall buying bottled chilled water to quench their thirst.

His thoughts flew back to the event yesterday, where he launched an Automatic Water Vending Machine at the New Delhi railway station, a product developed for the Indian Railways (IR) by private manufacturers. The vending machine made purified and chilled drinking water available to customers at busy platforms of railway stations, dispensing different amounts ranging from 300 ml to 5 l with an option to collect the water in a packaged or a refill option.

As he cast his eyes again on the road-side stall selling water, now teeming with a different set of people, he wondered if he was on the verge of a solution that provided clean drinking water at public places in India.

He rued that despite 70 years of independence; a large population still lacked access to clean drinking water and were either exploited by corporations or forced to use water of suspect quality. The huge volume of people traveling by IR on a daily basis made him hope that intervention by railways in the packaged drinking water segment could harbinger change across geographies and societies in the country. He, therefore, felt that this was an opportunity for the IR to revolutionize this product category.
With this came about Water ATMs at the Indian Railways.

The challenges in providing affordable clean water to the masses—

Ø  The water ATM project was not a priority for the officials at railway stations.
Ø  They had to meet their daily responsibilities and neither IRCTC nor the vendors chosen by IRCTC to implement water ATMs had an authority to enforce the agreement at the local level.
Ø  In addition, railway stations stood to gain only 15 percent of the revenues generated through water ATMs.
Ø  Vendors had begun losing interest and were now reluctant to apply for new licenses.
Ø  Pressure from seniors to install water ATMs at a large number of railway stations.
His long experience in the railways told him that the solution was in managing relationships on a day-to-day basis at ground zero. He needed to put in place a framework within which the relationships could be managed. The legacy of IR of more than 100 years had built-in a rigidity in the system that was difficult to shake off.

Click here to know how these challenges were overcome with grit and confidence of a man.

 Liked what you read? You may also like:

Antecedents of Customer Loyalty in Banking Sector

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Call for Papers
Vikalpa: The Journal for Decision Makers

Special issue on Healthcare Management

Vikalpa: The Journal for Decision Makers invites authors to submit papers focusing on various aspects of Healthcare Management on topics focused on but not limited to:

• Enhancing Service Quality and Patient Experience in Health System
• Issues in Hospital Management
• Patient Empowerment and Patient Centered Care
• Accessibility in Healthcare
• Innovations in Healthcare Services including Strategies and Use of Technology for Enhancing Healthcare
• Management of Public Health Systems
• HR issues in Healthcare Systems in India
• Role of Operations in Healthcare Delivery in India

Vikalpa is a quarterly, peer-reviewed, open-access publication of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA).

Papers should be submitted with the understanding that they are original, unpublished works and are not being submitted elsewhere. Please read our submission guidelines at Manuscripts must be submitted online at

Last Date of Submitting the manuscript: December 31, 2019

For any questions, please contact:

Joshy Jacob, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, India

Guest Editors:
1. Dhiman Bhadra
Associate Professor, Production and Quantitative Methods
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

2. Rajesh Chandwani
Assistant Professor, Human Resources Management
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

3. Vaibhavi Kulkarni
Assistant Professor, Communications
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

Monday, June 24, 2019

Living the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Martin J. Ossewaarde, has an MSc in economics from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, with a major in institutional economics and a minor in public administration. He designed and conducted several courses in the field of governance and development. His research interests include eco-cities and green economy. Martin established the Green Campus Movement in order to green AUCA’s culture in anticipation of the university’s move (in 2015) to its new, sustainable campus. SAGE is the proud publisher of his book Introduction to Sustainable Development.

It’s been four years since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 were adopted worldwide. A quarter of the time to achieve them has already passed and still, awareness is low around the world. Good education and training for sustainable development may change that. During my own formative years at Rotterdam University in the 1980s, I was struck by the impacts of dying forests, nuclear disaster (Chernobyl), desertification, and (still in its infant stages) climate change. The planet I loved was threatened by our ignorance, mismanagement and perhaps even greed. On top of that, injustices cause the very unequal and unfair distribution of the costs and benefits of wealth creation. I began studying the issues in-depth and this led to a lifetime involvement in the field of sustainable development. Moreover, I realised early on that I needed to take responsibility for my own impacts, reducing them wherever I could in a process of continual improvement. I am still at it.

Indeed, we can all do good things for people and the planet. However, these efforts find their limit in matters that are decided by others, especially businesses and governments. Their leaders design and modify the institutions that enable or restrict our collective action people, planet and prosperity. I am speaking about laws and board decisions. Other institutions, such as traditions and social norms, grow more organically, yet they too change over time. Deliberate change takes effort, skill and lots of patience. Last but not least, technology allows certain efficiencies in the way we use resources today, but maybe improved tomorrow. Such improvements are not the result of an autonomous process but of the complex interactions of attitudes, institutions and the incentives they generate.

Why is this important for the SDGs? How shall we make decisions for inclusive, sustainable development, if our consciousness and mindset have not been impacted by integrated SDG thinking? How shall we generate the graduates needed to fill the millions of jobs that now require knowledge, attitudes, values and skills for moving towards the future we want?

My contribution to this educational task is my textbook ‘Introduction to Sustainable Development’,  published by SAGE India in April 2018. It is the fruit of a decade of lecturing in Central Asia and a lot of additional self-study. It is not a compilation of issues and their solutions. Instead, it seeks to challenge and inspire the readers to pause and think about sustainable development in relation to their roles as individuals, parents, future managers and leaders of business, government and civil society. Part One gets to the roots of unsustainable development and paints the promise of sustainability as a new direction for development. Part Two presents all relevant stakeholders and the roles they play best in the complex transition to a sustainable future. Part Three has concrete applications of sustainable development thinking to the key areas of energy, food & agriculture, urban living, and green economy. Every chapter has material from various South Asian countries.

This book may not only be relevant for dedicated courses in (sustainable) development, but also for wider courses about the interactions between agriculture, business or technology on the one hand and society on the other in this age of great global challenges

Last but not least, I hope that this book serves to enlighten environment and development professionals who need an update on their knowledge and background in areas relevant to the SDGs. Finding one’s place in the movement for our common (sustainable) future is a rewarding pursuit.

Get your copy here.

Click here for the complete list of textbooks which will help you in your course and thereon.

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

FIIB Business Review: Call for Papers

Special Issue: Customer needs and demand management in the global marketplace: Emerging management and marketing practices

The current climate of global competition, web-based technologies, and the use of social media and integrative software systems among others has created a shift in the business model for companies from selling products and providing services to a strategy that’s focused on customer satisfaction.

Establishing strong relationships between the firm and its customers and suppliers has resulted in using methodologies to create a value chain to deliver the best value to consumers around the globe.
The discussion on critical issues of satisfying customer needs and managing demand under the marketing and management prisms of subjects such as: (1) customer relationship management and consumer management in the internet age, (2) co-creation of shared value, (3) building new marketing capabilities, (4) managing effectively and efficiently supply chain networks, and (5) demand management strategies will offer for the first time a clearer picture about organizations’ challenges of balancing customer demands with customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The purpose of this special issue is to highlight important multidisciplinary contemporary themes, perspectives, and emerging practices in management and marketing in order to meet customer demands in the global market place. The intention is to raise the understanding of the new issues of the term “demand management” and how it can be achieved today in the global marketplace. This special issue is targeting academicians, researchers, and managers. However, the aim is to offer significant original knowledge and visualize its value to practitioners, professionals, and consultants.

Topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • New conceptualizations and approaches for demand management
  • From narrow management and marketing approaches to the creation of shared value
  • Barriers and the transitioning to Marketing 3.0
  • Profiling management and marketing practices in emerging economies
  • Building and deploying marketing capabilities by emerging marketing firms in competitive markets
  • Consumer management in the internet age
  • Customer needs, wants and demands and strategic decision making
  • Balancing competing customer demands with customer satisfaction and customer loyalty
  • New demand response models
  • New theories, models, and frameworks to understand customer demands today
  • Effect of marketing channels’ practices on organizational performance
  • Facilitating customer relationship management
  • Models and frameworks for omni-channel retail supply chains
  • Managing long supply chain networks
  • International marketing strategies in emerging exporting firms
  • CRM as an emerging management practice
  • Customer centricity in small exporting firms
  • Customer demands and privacy: big data’s marketing applications
  • Customer perspectives on managing sustainability orientation
  • Foreign global brands and cultural respect in emerging markets
  • Brand localization in international markets.

All papers are refereed through a peer review process. All papers must be submitted online.
Please read our submission guidelines at

Last Date of Submitting the manuscript: August 15, 2019

For any query about the special issue feel free to get in touch with the guest editors:
Dr. George Spais
Western Greece University of Applied Sciences, Greece

Dr. Hooshang Beheshti
Radford University, USA

Dr. Sudhir Rana
Fortune Institute of International Business, India

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

An affair to remember-Consumer and brands in Movies

As the line between entertainment and marketing gets increasingly blended, the notion of brand placement in an entertainment context receives considerable attention from scholars and practitioners alike. Although there are many definitions of the term, brand or product placement have often been used interchangeably and generally refer to the use of a product’s name, packaging, signage, or other trademarks in media.

Screening thousands of films every year, the film industry is fast emerging as the medium with the maximum potential to capture and convert audiences to potential consumers. Tag Heuer in Don (2006), Coke in Dhoom 2 (2006), Singapore Tourism Board in Krrish (2006), or Pepsi in Pearl Harbour (2001), product placements have a very significant role in India and international movies.

While product placement is riskier than conventional advertising, it is becoming a common practice to place products and brands into mainstream media, including films, which are an extremely popular medium among advertisers.

How does it help?

By doing so, not only does the offering reach a larger audience, but it also gets a much longer life than a 30-second commercial.

However, in the era of expanding global competition, where companies are trying hard to reach out to their customers effectively and efficiently to market their product and services to different national cultures, an important yet lurking question that remains unanswered is:

To what extent have marketers been able to successfully reach their customers?

Individuals look up to successful people in the hierarchy, such as movie stars. And, since passion among the Indian audiences for celebrities is no lesser than idol worshipping, the impact of such emotional attachment is that when an actor performs in a film, the audience wants to emulate their style and image. 

The consumers view the brand to be associated with the celebrity whom they admire. Without further investigation of the brand, they make a connection between the film, the actor, the product and its consumption, and look at product placement as a perceptual clue which directs behaviour to purchase a product to satisfy a need or reinforce a social status.

─Excerpt taken from Consumer Response to Brand Placement in Movies from Vikalpa: The Journal for Decision Makers

Like what you read? 

Here are the recommended reads from Vikalpa: The Journal for Decision Makers:
What are the future possibilities for entrepreneurship in India?
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Friday, June 07, 2019

Sexual Slavery: A Case Study of devadasis in South India

The notion of women as ‘transferable property’ of men is most practically observable in the community of the Devadasis (or Joginis). This idea is demonstrated unequivocally in a saying in rural India that goes as ‘A Devadasi is a servant of God but a wife of the whole town.’
As ‘servants of God’, these women are disowned by the entire village and only used for the sexual gratification of all the men there, including the priests and the upper castes. Sexual abuse towards the lower caste women is one instance where the religious ideas of ‘purity’ and ‘pollution’ are disregarded by the society in a culturally acceptable manner.
The United Nations identifies a broader idea of slavery as follows:

[A]ny institution or practice whereby a child or a young person under the age of 18 is delivered by either or both of his natural parents or by his guardian to another person, whether for reward or not, with a view to the exploitation of the child or young person.
The practice of ritual sexual slavery through theogamy has existed for several centuries in the ancient cultures across the world, including Africa, South Asia and even Europe, in many forms. What is astonishing, though, is the continuity of this practice in certain areas, primarily the Devadasi practice of Southern India, which successfully resisted many years of efforts of eradication.
Even in the twenty-first century, it is unfortunate to witness large sections of an ostensibly democratic Indian society being affected by the trappings of ignorant, discriminatory and unjust practices like the Jogini system. The practice has persisted in the deep recesses of southern India, has claimed the lives of women and has been perpetuated in the lives of their progeny.
What are the key reasons for this?
Poverty, lack of proper health care, social exclusion and systemic caste and gender exploitation is a daily reality for the girls initiated as Joginis. Fuelled by caste, patriarchy and inefficient legislation, the immediate future for the existing Joginis seems rather bleak.

The existence of the Jogini system in today’s state should serve as a bold headline for those left behind in the mainstream discourse of development.

Do not miss the latest articles from ANTYAJAA

Friday, May 31, 2019

What are the policy initiatives required to make rural women economically active?

As an economy transforms from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy, a decline in participation of female labour force is observed.
With an increase in income levels of the households, a woman no longer prefers working as an unpaid worker or a helper or as a casual worker unless the work is remunerative (as in MGNREGA). 
However, such opportunities are limited in rural India and as a result women are not finding jobs matching their preference (regular part-time jobs close to their households). Furthermore, with low skill levels, jobs in the non-farm sector are also limited.
These factors perhaps have led to the withdrawal of women from the labour force.

Policy Strategies
The decline observed in rural female labour force participation is due to a complex mix of several forces working simultaneously.
While the focus is on education and income effect, research reveal that the lack of sufficient non-farm jobs in rural areas has forced women to stay out of the labour market. The wage conditions prevalent in the rural labour market show that female workers have experienced a better hike in wages/salaries; it implies that the gender gap in terms of wages/salaries has started declining. But the opportunities available in rural India which are compatible with their education levels are dying out.
Dedicated efforts in skilling, re-skilling and improving their educational outcomes through infrastructure development, female teacher availability, incentives along with creating an adequate number of favourable job opportunities are necessary to harness their potential.
Considering the constraints experienced by the rural females to enter the labour force, policy initiatives are required to make them economically active. The initiatives should focus on microfinance-supported self-help group-centred activities, which will make them economically active along with handling domestic duties.

Join the discussion on Vikalpa’s official Facebook page here!

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Monday, May 20, 2019

The Essence of the Story is in How one Creates it

“I have been a Research Analyst for 10 years, but after this training, I feel that I’ve been doing it all wrong!”, said one of my Training participants recently.

The key reason we are not able to communicate effectively with data is that we don’t have a clear understanding of the ‘message’ we want to provide to the audience. We get stuck in numbers, facts, and lose sight of the insights that these numbers lead to. More often, we have a tendency to present the data and insights that we think are interesting without once considering what the audience might want or need.
Charts and Words are just tools that help us convey our thoughts. The star of the show here is our ‘thoughts’, but often we get bogged down and overemphasize on the usage of these tools rather than focusing on ‘what we wish to convey’ with these tools.

When people hear the term Data Storytelling the first thing they think about is complex and fancy charts and then their focus shifts on learning how to use the tools that help them create these. Unfortunately, it is often forgotten that no matter how complex or advance a tool might appear, it still needs ‘your direction’.

When talking about Data Storytelling, first comes the Storyteller – their take on the story and then the tools come into the picture. The emphasis should be on creating an impactful story – which depends on the Storyteller’s ability to think, analyze and then connect relevant insights to present clear conclusions and messages. When the story is well-formed in the storyteller’s mind, even the most basic of charts and writing can make the message impactful.

When creating reports or presentations one should remember that the star of the show is not the complexity of the charts, but it is in fact the simplicity with which the Story – the message, is communicated to the audience.

The Power of Data Storytelling strongly emphasizes on the need to build the story before crafting it and introduces new tools to make this story building exercise simple and effective.

*Credits: Sejal Vora, author of The Power of Data Storytelling

                                               Do you want to ace the art of Data Storytelling?                                  

Click here to buy the book