Showing posts from August, 2009

Selamat Datang in Malaysia

I had been to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last week to speak at a Conference . This was my second visit to KL, although my previous visit lasted only a few hours – my former colleague and I had gone to attend a business meeting and returned the same day. There is something so special and magical at KL – it’s traditional yet modern; slow-paced (compared to many other cities in SE Asia) but fast in its own way. What I loved the most about the city was its infrastructure – right from the Airport – the gateway to any city or country to the skyscrapers – I could just say Wow all over. I was told that the Government has allotted an area admeasuring 10*10 sqkm for the Airport which handles over 25 million pax a year and is rated No. 1 among its peers in the segment. There is a High Speed Rail from KL International Airport to the City Centre; a distance of about 60 kms covered in just 28 minutes. And the best part is the rear side if the ticket thanks the user for helping reduce the Carbon footp

OMEGA - The End...

Many of you would have been noticing something unique on the masthead of the Times of India newspaper all through July & Aug. Swiss watchmaker Omega has been showing two small pictures of its models – Seamaster, Speedmaster, Constellation, DeVille, etc. While advertising on the masthead is not unusual, a brand such as Omega taking this approach in India is quite surprising. In India, the sale of premium and luxury watches picks up from Aug. onwards, especially with the upcoming wedding and festival seasons. Most Brands take either a first page solus or near the business pages, targeting the right set of customers. These ads actually set the mood – I doubt how much of purchase influence do they hold on a prospective buyer. And even more, when the ambassadors endorsing their watches are featured. For example, would someone buy a Tag because King Khan sports it? Are consumers so emotionally attached with the Brands such that their reasoning is impractical and loyal to their stars? Wel

When you mean Value!

Over the weekend, I visited the latest commercial addition in Bangalore, The Forum Value Mall at Whitefield (just a few minutes away from India’s silicon valley). Conceived over four years ago, the Value Mall was supposed to be Marathahalli (India’s largest Factory Outlet’s district) in a box! The Mall doesn’t have a common HVAC, which means that there is no air-conditioning, in the common areas, although every store is provided with individual facilities. The very thought that there wouldn’t be a common HVAC was a smart one, given the fact that the cost of electricity (and the running maintenance of equipments) forms the largest chunk of the Malls’ expenditure which in turn is passed on to the tenants as CAM (Common Area Maintenance). This was already tried by The Prestige Group who are the developers of this Mall, in their previous attempt - the EVA Mall on Brigade Road. So, it was possible to operate such a Mall in Bangalore where the weather is pleasant almost through out the year.

One-Way High Streets and Mall Footfalls

The front page of Times of India (Bangalore edition) today proclaimed loudly, “ MG Road will be one-way for a while ”. What worse news than this for Retailers in and around this area! And Economic Times (Bangalore edition) which is also owned and published by the same Bennett Coleman and Co., created headlines, quite literally, how the upcoming Mantri Mall has remained “unscathed” by global retail slump. With due regards to those who write such news items, one would agree that good research is a “MUST” before writing such articles. For starters, Mantri Mall was conceived in the year 2004/05 and leasing started even before Indian Retail hit its peak in 07/08, before coming down to realistic levels a few months ago. Most of the Retailers have been signed quite well in advance and the Mall is ready to commence operations within a few weeks time. So, the Mall space was not signed like, six weeks back! And by the way, this would be the first and only Mall (for now) to have a direct connecti

Brand Ambassadors and Brand Endorsers

Oscar Award winner AR Rahman had to grow and maintain his long locks for five years during his association with Sony Music in the late 90’s. The boys, men and uncles of the Indian Cricket team must wear formal clothing only from Pantaloons during their official public engagements. Shah Rukh must wear only a Tag Heuer (even as a local tapori in the movie DON) and Abhishek must use only a Motorola mobile outside his home. No one knows if Big B Amitabh Bachhan actually drinks only Pepsi at home and munches Cadbury chocolates with his grand children and if Sachin drinks only Boost to build his energy levels. Superstar Rajnikanth has endorsed only one campaign – The Polio Immunization in the early 90’s and never supported any particular Brand ever. Apparently, he doesn’t use a mobile phone and a telecom operator’s connection in his own name because he doesn’t appreciate the fact that they may consider his usage as an endorsement! According to a recent study by Sunday ET-Synovate, the most