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Friday, April 11, 2008

If you Thought that the colour of success was red, blue or pink; think again, my friend! It’s positively Green...

MadonnaIf you Thought that the colour of success was red, blue or pink; think again, my friend! It’s positively Green... will “speak to the planet” at Wembley stadium in London. She would call for mass global change to reduce carbon emissions and to tackle the “climate crisis.” Former US Vice President, Al Gore, has turned into an environmental campaigner and has started a spectacular series of concerts across the world called “Live Earth” to raise awareness about global warming. The world’s biggest stars would perform across all the seven continents (even Antarctica!) to appeal to the world to reduce its “carbon footprints”.

In fact, Carbon foot printing is the latest buzz among environmentalists. It is a way of measuring how much impact you, as an individual or a corporate, have on the earth in terms of units of carbon dioxide produced. You can now calculate your carbon footprint (how much you have contributed to polluting the earth); you can even offset your carbon footprint. You could plant a tree in Kenya to help reduce CO2 emissions. In fact, your wedding too can now be customized to become “carbon-neutral”. Instead of receiving 10 juicers or 5 toasters you could ask your guests to donate trees to organisations like carbon footprints.com at the cost of £10 per green tree.

The world is getting more and more carbon literate, especially with the scare of global warming looming closer and everyone wanting to leave a greener earth for their children. Many are busy calculating their carbon footprints by measuring the amount of CO2 they are producing through consumption of gas, heating and electricity. Even the means of transport – not just cars, but lights too emit CO2 and cause environmental damage – and people across the world are doing their best to cut it down as much as possible.

Superstars like Madonna and Kate Moss, thanks to their private jets, their super luxury cars and their ultra lavish lifestyle are among the worst polluters and have the largest carbon footprints. This is no small matter and companies are now under pressure to reduce their green house gas emissions, and come out with more carbon- neutral products, services and even events. No wonder even “Live Earth” concerts are being lambasted for causing immense emissions. With stars jetting in from around the world, fans arriving in gas guzzling cars, thousand of tonnes of rubbish, and sound equipment using so much power, these events are slated to become big polluters. Ironical?!
Green Marketing is Smart Marketing

Companies are now developing products keeping the environment in mind and marketers are using “environmental- friendly” as the new trick to sell their products and make them look more attractive. Running short of ideas? Well, you could get great ones by just brainstorming with an environmentalist. The Arm and Hammer brand of baking soda for 7 years had no growth in sales. Then they decided to market their products as an environmentally preferable cleaning agent. Sales rose by 30% in 35 months!

Toyota and British Petroleum too are big organisations that have realized the power of eco-innovation and green marketing. Toyota has beaten its domestic competitors, hands down, by introducing new automotive eco-innovations. Its ecofriendly cars like Prius are slowly eating away into the competitors’ market share. British Petroleum’s advertising campaign “Beyond Petroleum” highlighted the company’s support of renewable energy recourses. It is one of the very few companies that mention climate change in their annual reports.

Shareholders are today demanding that companies reveal more about the environmental impact of their products and explain what they are doing to make them more environmentally compatible.

Ireland’s largest insurer “Irish life and Permanent” has launched “green loans scheme,” designed to reward borrowers, who wish to borrow money for environment-friendly improvements to their homes by offering them a 1% discount on the normal lending rate for its personal loans. Similarly, HSBC had started a “green sale” that reinforces the bank’s commitment to environmental issues. It would donate £0.50 to WWF for every customer who signs up for internet banking during the period of sale. It expects to raise £1 million this way. Such schemes have helped HSBC to become the world’s first carbon neutral financial service provider.

Wal-Mart too is testing an energysaving retail store design. Philips has introduced energy saving bulbs. P&G’s new laundry detergent – Tide Coldwater is designed to clean clothes effectively in cold water, & hence help the consumers save energy. Steelcase, the world’s largest office furnit u r e manufacturer has come out with a “Think Chair”, which is 99% recyclable – its presence symbolizes a smart socially responsible office! Xerox promotes its solid ink printer as being non-toxic and producing 90% less waste than laser printers. McDonald’s is doing all it can, to show to the world that it cares by incorporating a series of environmental and social initiatives. Early this month, it announced that it would turn its spent cooking oil into bio-diesel fuel to power vans in the UK. Its menu now has coffee, soya, et al, that is sourced from companies, which do not destroy rainforests. Its décor of bright red & yellow is slowly being changed to dark green to reinforce its environmental faith and have a positive influence on consumers.

Pret-a-manger, a sandwich chain in the UK today has 1.3% of the sandwich market eating out of its hand. It snatched the share from Marks & Spencer (the original inventors of the sandwich for lunch concept). They did this by using only natural ingredients and minimum preservatives and making sure everything in their shop was recyclable, as also caused minimum waste (of paper) & damage to the environment. GM too launched a campaign “Live green, go yellow” to promote its flexible – fuel vehicles & its support of ethanol-based gasoline.

Green: Colour of money

It’s the youth that are turning more “green-conscious” today. According to a poll done in America, 50% of the respondents from the age group of 18-29 years, said that they were ready to spend more on products that were organic/environmentally-friendly or fair trade. It shows that Generation Y is obviously more environmental savvy than its seniors.

No wonder, the very popular website among the youth called “Second Life” where people create virtual doubles of themselves, has launched a competition for the best idea to redevelop an area in the city and make it more environmental-friendly. People from everywhere participated, which shows that people want to do something for their surroundings, if given an opportunity.

Countries that have suffered environmental disasters like the Bhopal Gas Tragedy (India), the Exxon oil spill, the Chernobyl disaster (Ukraine) that caused radioactive contamination are today demanding their pound of flesh. They want better, safer products & don’t mind paying more, but they want to put an end to these manmade disasters.

Green is the new mantra. Anything “green” sells, even the green Ogre “Shrek”! It raked in more than $600 million and created history as the largest domestic debut ever for an animated film in the USA. Remember how Popeye, the cartoon character, solved all his problems by gulping down a jar of green spinach – well, if you want to win and watch your competitors turn green with envy – go green!

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2008

IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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Friday, April 04, 2008

From bestsellers to blockbusters

Harry Harry PotterPotter, The Da Vinci Code, Lord of the Rings, Gone with the Wind, et al were all bestsellers before they become thundering blockbusters. Not only these, the best of Hollywood cinema has been picked up from the best pot-boilers. But, when it comes to Indian films, such cases are few and far in between. However, cinema adaptations of books have seldom failed to work their magic at the box office. Fascinated by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay’s book Pather Panchali, Satyajit Ray decided to portray it on silver screen. The film went on to become one of India’s most recognised films globally. When it comes to cinema inspired by literature, Bengali cinema boasts the maximum numbers – Devdas, Choker Bali, Parineeta to name a few. In recent times, Vishal Bharadwaj, has mastered the art of putting life into the written word. His critically acclaimed Maqbool was a take off from Shakespeare’s Macbeth; while the recent hit Omkara was a local spin off on the great playwright’s Othelo. Even Booker prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake was recently translated onto celluloid by Meera Nair and was well-recieved. Nevertheless, the fact that on the Indian cinema has largely ignored the literary powers of Indian authors, is intriguing. Does Indian literature lack the punch or are desi filmmakers not book-savvy? The jury is still out!

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2008

IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Read between the lines

Why Study Abroad When IIPM Gives You 3 global Advantages!

Potter’s swan song is taking the global literary world by storm. Is the Indian publishing Industry turning green? 4Ps B&M searches for the magic wand!

For John, getting up early in the morning is an ordeal. If work or play require him to be up before the crack of dawn, he doesn’t sleep at all. July 20 is one such day in the life of John, a merchandising manager at one of the leading bookstores in the country. Midnight will mark the launch of the seventh and the last book of the Harry Potter series – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Bookstores all over the country will pull up their shutters as early as 5 a.m. in the morning, only to be greeted by droves of eager fans waiting to lay their hands on the book before it’s ‘sold-out’. “This Potter mania is for real,” the Store Manager of Landmark bookstore tells 4Ps B&M. “There were dozens of fans waiting outside the store last time (when the sixth book was launched in July 2005) and this time around, we are expecting a larger crowd,” he says.

Heavy discounts, attractive offers and thousands of pre-bookings mark the grand finale of the Harry Potter series in the country like elsewhere. Penguin India which is distributing the book in the country is expecting to sell 260,000 copies of the book, the number is up by 100,000 this time. Retailers are not only ready with various allures for book-lovers but are also going the extra mile to set the mood through various events, promotions and are decking up their stores with Harry Potter paraphernalia.

Never before has this Bollywood and cricket crazy nation witnessed such love for a book. Looking at Pottermania in the country, a patriot is compelled to ask – if Potter can do it, why can’t an Indian book? “There is no hit formula in books. You never know what may click. Books like Harry Potter come once in a while,” offers Sanjoy Roy, Marketing Manager, Cambridge University Press. Neat! But, the patriot is not convinced. India is taking huge strides globally, the Sensex is zooming northward, and Indian companies are on a global acquisition spree. But, the cover of the Indian book publishing industry still sports the look of a cottage industry. Why?

Industry estimates place Indian book publishing industry’s size at Rs.70-80 billion, which is growing annually by 20%. However, no one has accurate figures. The annual report of PricewaterhouseCoopers on Media and Entertainment sector gives book publishing a miss. “We don’t do much on Indian book publishing industry as it is highly unorganised,” says a media analyst with PwC. However, their global report on publishing has a chapter on India which puts the industry’s worth in India at $1 billion, which includes all kinds of books, B2B publishing and also outsourcing and e-publishing. The global book publishing industry is worth $121 billion and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 3.6%. “However, out of this $1 billion, retail forms a very small part. The per capita spending of India on books is as low as $1,” she adds.

But, the country’s low spending on books does not signal that India is bereft of good writers. The names might be handful but Salman Rushdie, Mulk Raj Anand, Vikram Seth, Khushwant Singh, Arundhati Roy, Amitava Ghosh, Jhumpa Lahiri are some Indian writers writing in English who have made the country proud by winning international acclaim. But with a sale of 5,000 copies considered a bestseller here, Indian publishing industry has a long way to go. Agrees S.C. Sethi, President of Federation of Publishers’ and Booksellers Association of India as he points out, “We have excellent fiction writers in the country. But the industry is facing many challenges. Piracy is one. Then the Indian market is not very big, therefore not much is spent on advertising. A Penguin India will only print 1,000-2,000 copies of any book, but a publisher in America will print over 100,000 copies, as the market is huge and people are into the reading habit. In India, people are more into buying chocolates and sweetmeats instead.”

While piracy continues to be one of the biggest growth dampeners, many also complain of the high prices that both Indian and foreign books demand. Moreover, the industry is highly fragmented with only a few players dominating it. Forget acquisitions abroad, Indian publishers are not able to even compete with foreign players like Penguin on the home turf. But, all is not dark. There are silver linings which promise a better future. Says, P. Sukumar, CEO, HarperCollins Publishers India, “When I joined the industry eight years back, Penguin controlled 90% of the market. Today, publishers like us are equal contenders and even homegrowns like Rupa are doing extremely well.” Sukumar also hints about the increase in demand. “Earlier, if a book sold 3,000 copies it was considered a bestseller, today most books comfortably cross the 5,000 mark; and now 8,000 copies is generally considered a mark of a bestseller,” he adds.

The retail boom in the country is also set to give major impetus to the industry, doing away with the ‘display’ problem that the industry faces. And as far as the nation’s reading habits are considered: Here’s hoping that Harry, the wizard kid leaves behind a long-lasting spell to cure that!

Edit bureau:
Surabhi Agarwal

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2008

IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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