Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The World is NOT Flat! - Reader's Response

My dear friend Anand comments:

"read ghemawats article and have read friedman's book but comparisons amongst them is immature..... Both composition capture different dimensions of the industry. For instance at one sphere Telecom business world over would appear completely flat considering the stage of movement of the underlying technology being used and the evolution path per se...but at the ground level the target markets are so different...infact almost....same in the power business and infrastructure if we look at logistics....world is not flat....though almost ...:-)

keep up your great work

Anand works with Darashaw Securities, and one of the best financial minds I have seen. Thanks Anand.

B2B Branding - The Harvard Business Way!

For all those Brand & Branding freaks, this is a must read.


Happy Branding, oops, reading!


The World is NOT Flat!

HBS professor Pankaj Ghemawat begs to differ with Thomas Friedman, author of "The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century . Prof. Pankaj thinks of it as partly globalized, or "semiglobalized."

Click on the link and read this very interesting interview, where he talks about this research, thoughts, Toyota & Wall Mart


Happy Reading!


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Living by the Seafarer's Code : Readers' Comment

I am all excited when I get a feedback from any of my readers! Here is one which I just received.

"Its good. It reminds me a book called “Bite the Bullet” by the longest serving chairman of ITC in 80s. He recounted that he actually sent his technical guys to VST Ltd. in Hyderabd, and trained people of their biggest competitor, the owner of “Charminar” brand and pulled them out of penury when things were not going all right. It actually helped ITC immensely in the long term as they became great friends and helped each other. It also helped both companies to grow despite immense competition.

This is the truth of life but to become that generous, you got to be a great person. Ajit Haksar not only made big cigarette brands like Wills and Gold Flake but also created the most recognized brand “ITC Sheraton” hotels and Bhukhara, Dam Pukht, finest restaurants of the group.

By the time he retired ITC become one of the biggest and most successful corporations in India. Nobody, then thought, BAT (British American Tobacco) Ltd. can transform itself to such a successful group.


Manoj Kumar
Instituitional Sales,
H & R Johnson India Limited,

Living by the Seafarer's Code

I got this by email sometimes back, and I thought its amazing. Therefore, I am copying here the entire article. I am very sure you are going to like it a lot.

"Living by the Seafarer's Code - Merchant sea traders have a simple code they live by: you shall assist a carrier in distress regardless of your personal affiliations. It applies to competitors and non-competitors alike - no matter if, at ordinary days, both of you vie to get more business than the other. This same code was applied even during the height of the Cold War between democratic and socialist countries - what they see is the need to help and not the flag which the boat is carrying. The code is simple: aid a fellow seafarer in need with the hope that you'll receive the same assistance if you're ever in the same situation too. You see, having engine problems or getting stranded in the middle of the sea is a whole different ballgame than when you have problems with your car. You can just pull your car over, call for a towing service and flag a taxi to get you to your destination. You can't do the same to a boat unfortunately, you can either wait for help to arrive or take out the oars and row to the nearest shore. The latter even depends on how big the boat is by the way. So do you see how important it is to get help out in the big blue?

This symbiotic relationship is not unique to seafarers; the same rule can be applied to everyday life and business too. Practicing this code in business and being a recipient of it should the need arise all depends on you. Here are some ways to make sure you won't be left floundering:

Network: Join organizations where you can learn or be involved in the business you're in. Knowing the people in your industry is a big plus. Not only because you'll know who your competitors are but also what's the latest news in the business. A personal relationship with them gives your group that certain honorable pledge where competition is in the work quality and not in any underhanded methods.

Extend help, as much as you can, to both regular and non-regular clients: Needless to say, you'll earn a good reputation with this attitude.

Extend help, as much as you can, even to your competitors: It could be as simple as referring a client to them when you\'re fully booked or lending them equipment for an urgent requirement they have. Like the seafarers, they will remember what you did and you can bank on their help should you be the one with problems."

You can also subscribe to them at:


Have a Good Day,


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Is Branding relevant in a B2B scenario?

Let’s start with the Basics:

There are 5 key attributes in B2B Branding:

A. Intangible Attributes-
1. Trust
2. Relationship

B. Tangible Attributes
3. Price
4. Product
5. Logistics

Prices fluctuate, products rust and supply chains merge –
The only thing that keeps a Brand in the mind of the customer is the relationship that it enjoys with the Brand and whether it can trust it for using it in its most complex applications

B2B Brands:

In a B2B scenario, marketing strategies and the need to build a B2B brand cannot be achieved through advertisement. It depends on the price-sensitivity of primary and secondary customers:

¡ When both buy mainly on price factors, work on reducing their cost but not your price.
¡ when both buy mainly on non-price factors, competitive advantage depends on building relationships throughout the value chain, emphasizing service, product enhancements and the contributions of your processes and systems to customers' business success.
¡ When the primary buyer responds to value-added and other non-price appeals, but the secondary customer is a price buyer, your job is to provide the systems and product enhancements that help the primary customer cut its price to secondary customers.
¡ When the primary buyer is price-driven, but the secondary customer seeks value enhancements and other non-price reasons to buy, promote cost-justifiable product enhancements that improve the primary buyer's value-added appeal to the secondary buyer

Therefore, Creating Value for the customer is the Key to success

Creating Value

— Understand the value-chain and the effect of your product on the value-chain
— Create the next best alternative
— Make it important to all the stakeholders in the organization
— Innovate continuously
— Work with the customers to reduce their cost of manufacturing
— Be a solution provider and not just a product / service seller; work as a Consultant
— Upgrade your customer to the next technology by yourself
— Touch your customers’ emotion! – Be there whenever they need you!!!

Last but not the least

In a B2B market, the sales person is an extension of the Brand. So, take care of
i. Your looks
ii.Your clothing
iii. Your etiquette
iv. And most importantly, the customers’ cultural background


1. Empathize with the customers’ problem and be their ‘Good Friday’
2. And, remember the success of a B2B product is only achieved when not only the customer is successful – but, everyone down the value chain is successful.

Consider yourself successful when

1. The end-user demands your product to be part of the final product at her hand, e.g. Intel
2. Your Brand has become synonymous to the generic product category, e.g. Xerox