20 May, 2024

Thank you, HR

It was a surprise to see Zoho Corp, take up front pages of leading newspapers today (20 May) to celebrate International HR Day. Seemingly, they have created quite a buzz. 

People from all quarters have been wishing their HR Heads and HR Managers and teams through social media and offline. 

Of all the days kept aside for such celebration, I think this one takes the cake (quite literally) since every employee, no matter how senior or junior the person is, always rests back on someone in the HR Team.

From getting travel bills cleared quickly or getting leaves approved, employees always ensure they build a strong camaraderie with the key persons in the HR Team. 


Mentoring (by those in the HR Team) to the others on the Organisation is not a privilege for most of us. 


There are some incredible managers and heads in the HR Team who offer a lot of advisory, guidance and remain a cushion for many in the office. 


And then there are those in HR, especially in the leadership team, who profess something to the employees at large but behave quite the opposite to their own team members! Apathy, I say.



Very few HR leaders whom I have interacted with all through my career have been a guiding light to me. I take this opportunity to celebrate some of them for their affection on me in this post.


Circa 2001, I was almost in tears when I rushed to the Head Office of RPG Retail at the Spencers Plaza in Chennai. 


I was the only Management Trainee who was posted 2,500 kms away from my home – to Kolkata, after I completed my 3-week orientation program. 


I confessed to Ms. Latha Nambisan, GM – HR at the time, that the farthest I had travelled in my life until then was to Madurai or Kumbakonam for family events and to Mumbai just 4 times since I was born, as my maternal grandparents resided there. 


And, that why was I being given this “Punishment posting”? 


She smiled at me, made me relax and asserted that it was in my best interest for me to go that far and I was the most suitable among the 40+ trainees who had joined after our MBA. 



I took her word and left home for the first time alone with 2 suitcases and 2 carton boxes – one had my Sony Music system and the other had two speakers! I was part of the progress at the then largest music store of Asia - Music World, Park Street, spread over 6,000 sq ft. 


We sold plastic cassettes and CDs worth Rs. 60 lakhs a month. That December, the store touched its all time high of Rs. 92 lakhs in revenues. Back then, over 70% of revenues came from cassettes priced Rs. 28/-. 


The next 365 days were the most memorable in my entire career till date. 


Not a single day went without me learning a thing or two, with no family members or relatives around me. A couple of years ago, I happened to meet Latha at an event where we both were guests and I thanked her on the stage for shaping my career. 


The next HR Leader who transformed my career was Tuhin Biswas, who saw potential in me to create and lead the retail transformation at Bangalore International Airport, the country’s first greenfield, private airport which was inaugurated in 2008. 




His continued encouragement to me was an added bonus. 


My first international travel had a Swiss Visa stamped on my passport and it was because of this gentleman, who pushed my case to the Management for a Knowledge tour that I would undertake to 3 countries – Switzerland, Germany and the UAE. 


During my tenure at BIAL, I would then travel to 10 countries (airports) worldwide to speak about Indian Aviation and Travel Retail, as well as to learn best practices. 

Every other HR Head or a member of the HR Team that I have interacted all through my 2.5 decades of professional life have indeed left some positive impact or the other on me. 


Thanks to Zoho, today many decided to celebrate International HR Day! 


Last but not the least, I have also had the privilege of interacting with several HR consultants from small boutique firms all the way up to top ones. 



One name I should mention here is Ganesh Kumar, Founder of Intigra HR, who pushed my boundaries to deliver what was beyond me when I was leading “Levista Coffee” during the most turbulent Covid-19 period. 


As I would say, we must celebrate the undaunting efforts of the HR Team every day, rather and not just restrict to one day! Thank you, HR.  

22 January, 2024

A Firefly finally takes off

Monday - 22 Jan. ‘24 is a very important day in my professional life. I complete eight months today in my role as Executive Vice President at Daily Thanthi’s digital start-up division. But that’s not why it is such a significant day.

“Minmini” has been in the making for the last 30 months or so. And today, it has taken wings to fly through the globe and connect Tamils together. 



What started off as a digital transformation exercise at the group level, with the Vision of our Group Chairman and Managing Director Thiru Balasubramaniam Adityan, has now evolved into a full-fledged hyperlocal social app, ready to welcome users across the world and be a single platform for sharing posts, videos and collaborate on many other things.

 

When I first met him for my interview a few days ahead of Pongal 2023, the concept was still at an ideation stage, even as M/s Accenture was strategically advising the organisation as well as developing the product. 



From just being an alternative to the likes of “Reels” and “Shorts”, Minmini has taken giant strides over the months and is now the first hyperlocal social app focussed on local and global Tamils and is ready to connect digital users to the retail fraternity around them.


During the days of brainstorming and internal meetings since I joined in May ‘23, several ideas have evolved on how the local communities could come together, embrace each other economically and drive the society towards a single purpose of prosperity.

 

Minmini will eventually host lakhs of shops, shopkeepers and service providers such as electricians, carpenters, plumbers, mechanics, tuition teachers, tailors, drivers and every self-employed person to assist them spread their network. And all this comes “free” to the users as well as the professionals as they discover one another around them. 



The newest baby of the eponymous Daily Thanthi group, “Minmini” has taken a flying start today, quite literally. 

 

As you read this article, many of you would have already seen the full-page advertisement in today’s edition of Daily Thanthi across Tamil Nadu, Mumbai, Bangalore, Dubai and Sri Lanka along with today’s edition of Times of India across Tamil Nadu. 


Our ads are live on Tv, Radio and several digital properties as well from today onwards. Here’s a link to the press release that appeared earlier today. 


 

I have been on the other side of Retail since 1997 – frontline operations for over a decade followed by Strategic Management and Business Development. Went through the ups and downs of Entrepreneurship and eventually decided to get back to professional employment – to be on this side, the digital side of things. 

 

As Superstar Rajinikanth says in one of his movies as a dialogue, “This is just a trailer, main picture is yet to come!”. 

 

Through Minmini, I believe I have a chance to onboard thousands of small and marginalised retailers on to the digital bandwagon. 


If I can make a small difference in the lives of a few hundreds, I will feel happy that one of the main purposes of my life is achieved. Time will tell.

07 January, 2024

My Himalayan Odyssey

Just like every December, my family and I departed on our annual vacation expecting intense flight delays due to fog-related congestions across various airports that converge at Delhi.  

To our good luck, the flight departed and arrived on time at Indira Gandhi International Airport New Delhi, giving us plenty of time to – shop and dine! 


A view of the Himalayan peaks from Almora


Right from the word “go”, it was a shopping delight for the kids. A bit of airport shopping, in-flight (junk) food and then the eponymous walk along the inner circle at Connaught Place, New Delhi. It was their first visit to one of the retail havens of India and they enjoyed every bit, save for the prying eyes of random people on the streets. 

 

We first ate a hearty meal at Haldiram’s before undertaking the long walk, so as to end up at Wagh Bakri for a pre-dinner snack. 


 

Over the next 5 days, we travelled over 2,000 kms by road and rail across Devbhoomi Uttarakhand. We visited off-beat locations, including temples and high-points on the hills.

 

At every point of sale, it was surprising, perhaps I shouldn’t be, that the shopkeepers were accepting payments through UPI. There were instances where the vendor preferred a digital payment, for want of not accepting Rs. 500 and offering change.


 

Until 2017, this was a dream, rather a nightmare. It was not just important to carry along a Debit card, the town or city needed to have a functional ATM too. So, one had to carry adequate cash to shop, eat and consume goods and services. 

 

It is indeed incredible that in a quaint little town such as Bageshwar that the roadside vendor selling groundnuts was willing to accept Rs. 30 using UPI. 



Jageshwar, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited and offered his prayers, has atleast 50 shops and each one of them offer various items including pooja articles, trinkets, gifts and much more. All of them accept UPI payments, though many of them do not even have a credit card swiping machine. 


 

While a lot of credit would go to the Modi-style governance, I would also give it 100% to the users – shopkeepers and consumers for embracing UPI-based payments. And seamlessly. 

 

India is shinning and will further shine for the next 10-15 years, irrespective of which political party will rule the country. A continuity in regime will certainly help improve governance. The consumer boom will continue to stay as well, what with a growing middle class which is on a spending spree, whether it is during festivals or otherwise.



The tourism opportunity is opening big time in the country and domestic tourism spends are expected to double in the next 10 years. 


PM Modi’s recent visit to Lakshwadeep islands to promote tourism is nothing new. In 2019, he met the Chinese Premier at Mamallapuram, near Chennai, a historic travel point. Since then, visitors to the coastal town have swelled, post pandemic especially, including the springing up of various hotels, resorts, home stays and lodges. 


 

Similarly there have been many such examples of our PM promoting Indian tourism. Which is well followed by consumerism at its best. 


I have already swore I will tour more within India in 2024. We have shortlisted a few locations for our summer vacation during the last weekend. Where are you travelling next? Share your story.

08 November, 2023

We are already working 70+ hrs, Mr. Murthy

The world is split into two for the last week or so, ever since India’s self-made billionaire and tech mogul Mr. Narayana Murthy (NRN) said India and Indians should work long hours. It was a tete-a-tete with his former Co-Founder Mr. Mohandas Pai where he drew a parallel and to various developing economies of the previous century. 

Mr. Murthy corroborated and said that our countrymen and women should take it up as national pride and commitment to work 70 hours a week and drive the economy further, just how Germany and Japan did after the World War 2. 

A lot has been said (and remains unsaid) by top leaders, chiefs of conglomerates, politicians, State Heads, and so on, responding to NRN’s views. 

The father-in law of the current British Prime Minister Mr. Rishi Sunak, has been known to be a workaholic for well over 50 years. I travelled with him in the same flight in 2005 from Bangalore’s HAL Airport to New Delhi. He sat in the first row of the Economy class of the now defunct Jet Airways without much fuss. 

When I requested him for an autograph on a book that I bought specifically at the airport for this purpose, he politely declined, though he spent a few minutes chatting with me enquiring my whereabouts. 

Exactly a year later in 2007, another Co-Founder of Infosys, Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan and I travelled in the first class of Singapore Airlines from Bangalore to Singapore, where I was a speaker on India’s aviation future at a much revered global conference. We hardly spoke with each other as it was a midnight flight, but it was a warm eye-connect between the two of us.


No comparisons between the two, but to each his own. Infosys has been built brick by brick, click by click rather, by millions of former and present employees of the company, which was one of the front-runners of the late 90s and all through the 2000s in shaping India as the “back office of the world’s IT needs”. 


If NRN has worked for 70 hours or more a week during his prime years, so have many of his employees. And many, across IT and ITES in India continue to do so till date. 


In fact, after the Govt. imposed and later on, self-imposed WFH regimen by scores of Indians since the first ever Covid-19 led lockdown from Mar. ‘20 onwards, employees have been working for over 70 hours a week, if we were to include intermittent times spent on calls, chats and email over dinner table, on weekends and during vacations.


Earlier this year in May, I proudly completed 26 years in retail. I started my career scooping ice-cream part time from 11am to 3pm at Chennai’s first and India’s second Baskin Robbins parlour way back in 1997. I would attend NIIT to learn computer languages from 7am for 2 hours and completed my graduation at RKM Vivekananda College in the evening from 4pm till 8pm. 

 


After I finished my MBA in Marketing, I joined RPG Retail where I worked in consumer facing retail formats in Store Operations roles at Musicworld and Foodworld at Kolkata & Chennai respectively. This was followed by tenures at The Future Group and CafĂ© Coffee Day – gaining significant experience in front-end retail as well as Strategic Management. 


All along, it was a 6-day workweek for most of us, especially serving consumer aspirations, as scores of Indians came out to spend their earnings in new, shiny retail formats. 


Last week, Bengaluru’s northern suburb, Hebbal witnessed the opening of one of Asia’s largest shopping centres, aptly titled “Mall of Asia”. As much as there was celebration inside the mall, there was a severe traffic jam outside and on both sides of the National Highway (cum Airport Road) leading to the mall. 


People complained on social media with photos and videos about the massive traffic jams (while they were indeed the traffic!), which was picked up and reported extensively by mainstream media. What no one shared was the lives and strains of retail employees inside this mall and many hundreds across India, over ten million at last count in organised retail, who are working towards uplifting their own lives, their families and the Indian Economy.



Many of us, millions of us rather, Mr. Murthy are already spending over 70hrs a week at work. This includes those employed in the pharma and para-medical industry, hospital staff, semi-professional services, those working for formal transportation businesses and so on. 

Of course, our beloved staff of Swiggy, Zomato, Zepto, Dunzo, Flipkart and Amazon (in who’s Indian entity, NRN’s Catamaran Ventures was a majority shareholder until last year) who deliver us stuff from 6am till 10pm. 

The traffic jams in India are unique and mostly self-made, where urbanites spend over 90 mins a day driving from/to work. This is also a part of the 70-hr work week. In a city like Bangalore, where the condos and apartments are mostly owned by IT & ITES professionals, the EMIs to banks flow through people who work over 70 hours a week, who ironically end up living in compromised, rental houses for well over half their lives!


The pressures of being employed are, at times, worse than the nightmares of several self-made Entrepreneurs who dread interest and debt repayments. EMIs for salaried people, on the other hand is a domiciles sword which hangs above one’s head all the time, all through their lives.

What we don’t expect or even ask for often, especially in retail Mr. Murthy, is an appreciation of our work. At least, do give us an acknowledgement that we are overworked as a tribe. And that’s enough. About our contribution to nation-building, lesser said the better, Sir.

26 October, 2023

The joys of festival shopping

Come festivals and its shopping time. Families flock together to shop, dine and celebrate the festive times with their extended social circles. While the big ticket shopping such as electric appliances, consumer durables, clothing, fashion, jewellery, automobiles and upholstery for are common, what is intriguing is the endless small-ticket shopping that happens on-and-off during these periods.


Navarathri / Dushera / Dassera / Pujo was celebrated for the past fortnight as I pen this article.



The flavour and fervour of these celebrations is distinct in various parts of the country. In one region, it is Goddess Durga who is worshipped primarily while in some others, it is the trio of Goddesses Durga – Lakshmi – Saraswathi who are celebrated for nine days, three each. And in another part of the country, Lord Rama’s arrival to Ayodhya from Lanka after the destruction of King Ravana is celebrated. 


In a different planet altogether, scores of Indians are using the festive holidays as a noble excuse to travel to their hometowns or to vacation locations such as hill stations, spending time with their own selves, their families and friends and by boosting the local economy. 


In Tamil Nadu, especially in the city of my Madras (now known as Chennai), the festivities are largely around two areas – festivities and special pujas at temples and the revered Navarathri Kolu – the doll exhibition display at homes. The origin of this cultural aspect of displaying dolls at homes is not exactly clear from our past texts but has been a practice for long. 



What we understand from elders and those from previous generations, is that during this period, scores of dolls made of clay and painted with colourful vignettes were displayed at temples of yore, so devotees can see how the idols and forms of Gods and Goddesses are at various shrines in the Bharatha desa (desam / desh for those who prefer that way!). 


This was because mobility of people across the country was quite limited over 100-200 years ago and one would just have to imagine how idols were imagined, based on texts and hear say. 


What began as a display at temples slowly penetrated to homes, with similar displays coming up at houses. Families and households would alternate and exchange the idol displays at their homes each year and the entire celebration would be around the nine-day festival. 



Visitors would go hopping from one home to another to see the dolls’ display, sing songs on the deities, chant religious texts, exchange gifts and have a hearty laughter with their kith and kin.


The local economy, meanwhile thrived. It was the smallest of the sellers, vendors and retailers who would serve the society with their requirements and hence made handsome money during this time. Food items, especially the nine pulses are served by host families to guests.


From the neighbourhood grocer to the unorganised sellers of flowers, fruits and other household items are the biggest beneficiaries, come Navarathri, especiallin in Tamil Nadu. 


The past fortnight for us has been among the most fulfilling over the last so many years when we celebrated the 9-day festival. We had over 50 guests come home and we visited several households too. Almost every guest brought us something and we reciprocated the same during our visits too. 



For those who couldn't visit us this Navarathri, here is the link of our home Kolu. 


I was so happy spending money with local and roadside vendors buying so many things and my better half went shopping for new idols this year too, just like any other year.


Festivals are all about giving, as much about receiving good wishes from friends and family and blessings from elders and the Gods. 


However, it is also about spending money – especially in the context of Retail – to boost the local economy. We did our best and ensured the “online shopping” from Apps with discounts were as minimal as possible – an anathema that the entire offline retail industry is struggling for the past so many months, especially.  

27 September, 2023

Reminiscing the past

It’s been over 5 months since I wrote anything on this blog, especially. Not that I didn’t have anything to observe, even better to share my experiences in retail as I learn a thing or two new every passing day. Frankly, the last 4 months have been overwhelming to say the least.  In my new role as Executive Vice President that I am helming at the Daily Thanthi Group - the world’s oldest and in-continuous production Tamil language publication for over 80 years, we are building an incredible digital product that has the potential to touch millions of lives, especially the small and marginalised retailers. 

More on that, later.


Yesterday, 26 September was the 9th Founding Day of my first entrepreneurial (mis)adventure Smiling Baby. Conceived as a one-stop baby-shop focussing on young parents and their little ones, we opened the first store on this day in 2014. Located right opposite to the city’s famed Malar Hospital at Adyar, the concept had the potential to spread its wings across the 33+ districts (back then) of Tamil Nadu. What remains today, is several crores of money invested without returns, memories, good and bad and a lot of life lessons.



I didn’t fathom the courage to write this piece yesterday. One, It was a long and busy day at work. And these thoughts do not come when I am positively preoccupied with things I enjoy doing. Second, I didn’t want to strain my emotions further on such a day.


I was an accidental Entrepreneur. My father was a Foreman at ITC Ltd., a class-8 pass-out turned factory worker for 33 years. My mother was a school teacher and ensured she superannuated, even though my elder sister and I were already working. My parents taught me to stand on my own legs, never to borrow money and live within our own means. 


I never had a childhood / youth-hood aspiration to become an Entrepreneur ever. It was always a safe sail that was preferred, from my spouse to parents and my closely knit circle of friends. In fact, none of them pursue their own businesses. So, it was always a salaried job, slog till one can, save as much for a rainy day and die peacefully. I lived that life for 35 years.



In 2014, I was pushed to entrepreneurship – by none other than myself. Not that there was a void of job opportunities for me; in fact that was one of the best periods for me professionally. However, shopping every other weekend for my second child, I felt that there was an insatiable opportunity in the baby care, kids care and maternity space. Just like most other Entrepreneurs in India who started off with their wife’s hard earned savings, I too did the same. We invested almost One Crore rupees in the venture, to set-up a world class baby products store, backed with technology powered by GoFrugal technologies (now owned by Zoho) and a solid business plan that we went about sharing with potential investors. 


A very few close well wishers whom we approached, advised me not to pursue this venture, instead of encouraging me with their financial investments. They were worried about their risk-taking abilities on a retail concept which was 98% semi-organised in India back then. None of our friends were in a position to invest, as they were struggling to pay their own EMIs and maintain a certain lifestyle. Well noted.



We managed to pivot an omni-channel model with a 3-hour delivery, a franchise model, just-in-time inventory supply chain system (that actually worked well) and expanded up to 5 stores across three cities in Tamil Nadu. Our concept of setting-up a small unit at a leading maternity hospital in Coimbatore turned out to be a game-changer. Even though potential investors refused to wake up and smell the coffee, my suppliers kept encouraging me, especially for the straightforward and clean business activities that we undertook. For the record, I ensured a 100% cash-and-carry model with zero credit. Childhood habits and upbringing, perhaps. However, from a cash flow perspective, I was locking up all my money against stocks without any leverage but future sales, though I was making 2-3% extra margins.


After pitching to over 30+ leading pre-Series A investors across India, I decided to give up. Not on my dream of setting up India’s largest regional retail chain in the niche that is “baby care”, rather being fed-up of justifying why I had to quit my corporate career to pursue a business. 


Some where outright honest – they said my aspirations were not big enough since I was not expecting or working towards a huge valuation outcome and a handsome exit for myself over a 5-7 period. A lot of them said I should remain unprofitable for many years by focussing on topline (sales) and pay salaries and marketing through funds raised. A few said that I should borrow big, both equity as well as debt from Investors. 



I didn’t want to skip my dinner and a 7-hour sleep everyday like many other entrepreneurs who had done this “mistake” before, so I decided to let it go. After losing several crores of hard earned money, a fledgling career that could have turned out to be an even more prosperous work-life and several sleepless nights on my inability of staying afloat, I called it quits in August 2019. I still believe it was one of the best decisions of my life. “Stop losing more money” was not just my mind voice but a writing on the wall. Loud and clear. I quit.


As I went to sleep last night, all I could remember was the learnings, the hardships, the insults, the helplessness of staying in the business to keep my aspirations live and most importantly, the time I lost trying to build an incredible business model in a niche, that continues to remain even more narrowed till date. There is not a single, regional, offline retail chain in India which has a standardised baby products offering. 


Will I start ever again from the ashes – perhaps a BIG no. While I continue to remain a risk-taker in other streams of life, raising money and selling lies to investors is not something I am capable of. Interestingly, and I have seen a hundred such instances in the last 9 years, that is exactly what Investors want – a sugar coated approach where they pass on their risks!



Scars remain, memories scare sometimes, but Life moves on. And so is the case with me. 

29 April, 2023

Brand Tags and why they matter

When I wore a new T-shirt during a weekend holiday earlier this month, my teenage daughter pondered why I chose this one with a loud-brand name on it, as usually I go mellow on displaying brand love. Even my walking shoes would hardly display the swoosh or the cat or the three stripes. It has been years since I bought formal shirts which bore the “iconic crown” on the cuffs. But even those would be gelled in to the fabric colour. 

So much for a person like me who is brand-conscious but not displaying it in public.

On the contrary, many brands, especially fashion apparel make sure their company / brand names are loudly displayed on their products. Even on PCs, HP, Dell, Lenovo and Acer – the top 4 companies with a collective market share of 95% in the personal computing space display their names while Apple shows just the logo.



From Bata shoes to Adidas, Levis T-shirts to Hidesign wallets, one can see the brand names liberally displayed on the products. Though it is easy to identify, premium bikes such as Royal Enfield or Harley Davidson by its looks, have still large, loud brand forms. When the car ignition is turned on, there is a dramatic appearance (with music) of the brand logos, from Honda to Volkswagen and everyone in between. 


While people buy products for their functionality, consumers “pay the price” for brands.


It is psychological, after all. Essentially, display of brands one uses is one way of display of wealth too. Most people in the world, who earn several lakhs per year (in India) and perhaps over USD 100,000 pa globally are not putting in their efforts for just 3 square meals a day. It is much beyond. 


From the locality and the apartment complex one resides in (especially in India) to the vehicle they drive; filling premium fuel at Shell vs value fuel from HPCL; the brand of eyeliner to the grooming essentials one uses; from the school the kids attend to brands they consume at home from the dining table to the rest rooms, there is an intrinsic tie with the psychological needs, based on the theory of hierarchy proposed by Maslow. 



As people start moving up the value chain, their desire to consume “brands’ over products increases. I have seen this first hand at hypermarkets such as the erstwhile Big Bazaar. While there would be heaps of dal, sugar and rice piled up in large steel utensils, it would be common for women to interact with the staff to enquire the prices and make mental calculations comparing with the local shopkeeper. 


And then, there would be a small set of customers, who would prefer packaged sugar, salt and grocery. There is, in fact premiumization even in these categories such as pink salt, low-iodine sugar and so on.


A friend once told me, whether you travel in an Audi or a (Maruti) Alto, the destination is the same, and that both vehicles have just 4 wheels, a steering wheel and an engine. So, why pay a premium? True.


Between a Jockey and a Lux inner wear or Sudarmani how does it matter what one wears, as this is not even to be seen by anyone! Quite true, minus the quality of the fabric, inner comfort, etc. 



Well, these are the “outlier customers” for brands who do not wish to pay a premium for utility. 


However, as is always said, it takes years to build a brand name while basic products (and services) are offered for their purpose of gratifying a simple need. 2-3 decades back, Indian customers were buying goods and services. In the past 15 years, we have seen branded showrooms for various products mushrooming all over the country. A simple business such as grooming – hair saloon / beuaty parlour – as it was called, is now one of the largest branded business with over 2,500 “salons” across the country. 


There are an estimated 300 malls in India which have the best-in class Indian and international brands. The top 50 apparel, accessories and jewellery brands have in excess of 10,000 exclusive stores, each around 800 sq ft. across the country. Branded coffee shops, from CCD to Starbucks and the much acclaimed neighbourhood favourites, are over 4,000 in India now.


Consumers today are chasing brands and not just the other way around. 



Two new Apple stores were inaugurated in April 2023 at Mumbai and Delhi. Seeing the crowds waiting to be among the early birds for store inauguration in the past for Ikea, Starbucks, H&M, Uniqlo among others, I can confidently say these two stores would have done tremendous business this month. 


While many companies continue to offer higher importance for the “brand” in the communication – on the product, inside the retail store and other communication material, many small as well as large companies ignore it. Unless there is a deeper focus on brand building, with a long term outlook, existing and new consumer stickiness is going to be minimal or worse, nil. 


Indian consumers will buy more branded products in the next few decades. Loud display of affection, from dresses to kitchen knives to drinking glasses to shoes, it is a kind of self-gratification after all.

Thank you, HR

It was a surprise to see Zoho Corp, take up front pages of leading newspapers today (20 May) to celebrate International HR Day. Seemingly, t...