“11 Leadership Lessons” from “Alexander the Great” | by: Manfred Kets De Vries | INSEAD

Visionary, Team-Builder, Mentor, he shows us some timeless Leadership-Lessons but also some Glaring Failures…!!

Although the “Great Man” Leadership theory belongs to the scrapheap of history, its allure continues to mystify…Underlying this theory is the assumption that if the right man (yes, it is often assumed to be a man) for the job emerges, he will almost magically take control of a situation and lead a group of people into safety or success. While such leaders are rare, there are times when a singular individual steps out from the crowd and serves as a paragon of leadership.

One such individual was Alexander the Great; one of history’s most famous warriors and a legend of almost divine status in his own lifetime. He falls into the elite category of individuals who changed the history of civilisation and shaped the present world as we know it.

From a Leadership perspective, it’s not very difficult to say that Alexander was without peer…He could be magnanimous toward defeated enemies and extremely loyal toward his friends. As a general, he led by example, leading from the front…!

Alexander’s reign illustrates a number of important leadership lessons which remain applicable to business and political chiefs today:

1. Have a compelling vision - Alexander’s actions demonstrate what can be accomplished when a person is totally focused—when he or she has clarity coupled with a ‘magnificent obsession’. Through dramatic gestures and great rhetorical skills, Alexander spoke to the collective imagination of his people and won the commitment of his followers..

2. Be unsurpassed in execution - Alexander not only had a compelling vision, he also knew how to make that vision become reality. By maintaining an excellent information system, he was able to interpret his opponent’s motives and was a master at coordinating all parts of his military machine. No other military leader before him ever used speed and surprise with such dexterity. He knew the true value of the statement “One is either quick or one is dead ” !!

3. Create a well-rounded Executive Team - Alexander also knew how to build a committed team around him and operated in a way that allowed his commanders to build on each other’s’ strengths..

4. Walk the talk - Alexander set the example of excellence with his leadership style; he led his troops quite literally from the front. When his troops went hungry or thirsty, he went hungry and thirsty; when their horses died beneath them and they had to walk, he did the same. This accessibility only changed when he succumbed to the luxury of Persian court life..

5. Encourage “Innovation” - Alexander realised the competitive advantage of strategic innovation. Because of his deft deployment of troops, his support for and reliance on the creativity of his corps of engineers, and his own logistical acumen, his war machine was the most advanced of its time..

6. Foster Group Identification - Alexander created a very astute propaganda machine to keep his people engaged. His oratory skills, based on the simple language of his soldiers, had a hypnotic influence on all who heard him. He made extensive use of powerful cultural symbols which elicited strong emotions. These ‘meaning-management’ actions, combined with his talent for leading by example, fostered strong group identification among his troops, and motivated his men to make exceptional efforts..

7. Encourage and Support Followers - Alexander knew how to encourage his people for their excellence in battle in ways that brought out greater excellence. He routinely singled people out for special attention and recalled acts of bravery performed by former and fallen heroes, making it clear that individual contributions would be recognised. He also had the ability to be a ‘container’ of the emotions of his people through empathetic listening.

8. Invest in Talent Management - Extremely visionary for his time, Alexander spent an extraordinary amount of resources on training and development. He not only trained his present troops but also looked to the future by developing the next generation.

9. Consolidate Gains - Paradoxically, three of Alexander’s most valuable lessons were taught not through his strengths but through his weaknesses. The first of these is the need to consolidate gains. Alexander failed to put the right control systems in place to integrate his empire and thus never really savoured the fruit of his accomplishments. Conquest may be richly rewarding, but a leader who advances without ensuring the stability of his or her gains stands to lose everything..

10. Succession Planning - Another lesson Alexander taught by omission is the need for a viable succession plan. He was so focused on his own role as king and aspiring deity that he could not bring himself to think of the future when he was gone. As a result, political vultures tore his vast empire apart after his death.

11. Create Mechanisms of Organisational Governance - The final lesson that the case of Alexander illustrates (again by omission) is the paramount importance of countervailing powers. Leaders have the responsibility to put proper mechanisms of organisational governance into place, using checks and balances to prevent faulty decision-making and the abuse of power.

Alexander began his reign as an enlightened ruler, encouraging participation by his ‘companions’—Loyal soldiers drawn from the noble families in Macedonia. But like many rulers before him, he became addicted to power. Hubris raised its ugly head. As time passed, Alexander’s behaviour became increasingly domineering and grandiose…

He tolerated nothing but applause from his audience, so his immediate circle kept their reservations to themselves. As a result he lost touch with reality, another factor leading to his failure to consolidate his empire…!!

“Global Luxury Brands” : Why India matters ? | by: Sapna Agarwal | Livemint

A look at the issues related to the potential of the ” Indian Luxury Market “, estimated to be worth $14 billion a year..!! 

A large and growing middle class in India is not only buying luxury goods and services but, inevitably in an Emerging Market the size of India, is also redefining the luxury market..

There’s an image of India—one that has persisted despite being a cliche—that is contoured by contrasts: Maharajas on the one hand, in full regalia and motorcades of Rolls Royce limousines, and poverty and hunger on the other. As India of the 21st century aspires to rank among global manufacturers and service providers, the luxury that once defined the Maharajas is a matter of widening aspiration, too..

The national airline—whose mascot was the Maharaja—no longer carries just the privileged few to the Swiss Alps and other luxury holiday destinations. A large and growing middle class in India is not only buying luxury goods and services but, inevitably in an emerging market the size of India, is also redefining the luxury market. But while India tops the list of tomorrow’s markets, it is yet to make it to the top in the priority markets list of luxury marketers..

What will it take for luxury marketers to tap into India? And what will it take for India to realize its luxury potential to the maximum? Experts and marketers gathered at a two-day Mint Luxury Conference in Mumbai on 31 October and 1 November to discuss some of these issues and challenges. Firstly, the definition of the Indian luxury consumer needs to change—start with banishing that cliched image of the Maharaja. “Luxury cannot be limited to just the very top or 0.01% of the population,” says Abheek Singhi, senior partner and director, Asia-Pacific leader-consumer and retail practice at consulting firm The Boston Consulting Group.

He estimates the Indian luxury market to be worth $14 billion. But for a country with a population of 1.2 billion, there are just 117,000 people who are classed as ultra-rich—people who have family wealth of over Rs.25 crore or earn Rs.3-4 crore a year, says a July report by Kotak Wealth Management. This segment of consumers prefers to do their luxury shopping abroad. In the local context, luxury denotes brands that globally are a notch lower than the finest, appealing to a wider audience of the top 1%, 5% or even 15% who have the aspirations and the money to buy them, said Singhi..

To grow the luxury market, “marketers selling in India need to be innovative and reach out to new consumers”, says Sanjay Kapoor, managing director of Genesis Colors Pvt. Ltd, parent of Genesis Luxury Fashion Pvt. Ltd whose portfolio includes brands such as Bottega Veneta, Burberry and Canali. According to Kapoor, luxury marketers need to continually “upgrade” consumers used to buying premium to luxury goods and services. “It’s a continuous process of educating people about brands to grow the existing business,” says Kapoor. Adding new brands and opening new stores is the business part of the same process..

There are FIVE Luxury Consumer Segments emerging in India, says Singhi : Classpirationals, who want to blend in with the classes; Fashionistas, or Trendsetters; Experiencers who love travelling, wine tasting, etc.; Absolute Luxurers for whom luxury is about exclusivity and customization; and Megacitiers—part of the global elite..

As such, the Indian luxury consumer is spread across the metros, tier-I and tier-II cities. “Close to 40% of the Indian luxury consumers are living outside of metros and shop on their travel overseas or in the metros,” says Singhi..

Firms seeking to expand in India speak of infrastructure challenges. For instance, India got it’s first luxury mall—DLF Emporio—in south Delhi in 2007. Now, there are just two more luxury malls in the country. “The biggest impediment to the development of the luxury market is the lack of infrastructure and an environment,” says Rahul Prasad, managing director (Asia-Pacific and Middle East), Pike Preston Partners Ltd, a boutique advisory firm on mergers and acquisitions in the fashion and luxury segments..

Meanwhile, with the new National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in India, businesses are hopeful regulatory hurdles will be resolved. “The new government’s approach has energized a number of companies, including multi-brand retailers and international retailers..,” says Pierre Mallevays, founder and managing partner of Savigny Partners LLP, a corporate finance advisory firm focusing on the retail and luxury goods industry..

At the Mint Luxury summit, Nirmala Sitharaman, commerce and industry minister, agreed to look into the requirement of 30% sourcing from domestic companies for single-brand foreign retailers who are allowed to invest 100%..

The challenges remain daunting. According to Armando Branchini, vice-chairman of the Altagamma foundation, a conglomerate of several high-end Italian companies, there are 17 Italian luxury brands in India at the moment, a number that has remained unchanged since 2005..

British luxury brands are focusing their efforts in other markets such as China, says Charlotte Keesing, director at Walpole British Luxury, a consortium of British luxury retailers like Jimmy Choo, Harrods and Burberry. Eight years ago, India and China both were on the long-term radar of luxury product marketers..

Today, China has become one of the biggest growth drivers of such products, and India is yet to take off…“ There are only 18 of 90 British luxury retailers present in India today and less than a dozen are looking at entering the market in the next two years,” said Keesing…

“Mall Management” – The “New Success Mantra” for Malls In India | Realty Plus

The Indian #RetailMarket, has gone through a prolonged (and sometimes painful) process of transformation…With rapid development across the country, India has witnessed the emergence of a well-entrenched mall culture over the past decade….However, there are several malls in the country which are faring less than well…

Failing Malls – A Growing Problem :

The not insignificant number of under-performing malls in the country definitely gives rise to concern…There is no dearth of instances where #MallDevelopers, have scrapped the entire blueprint and business model and converted their malls into office spaces. The reasons for the lack of success of these malls vary..

Some of the challenges that the developers of these malls have not been able to address are providing for adequate parking and scientific people movement within the malls, coming up with a dynamic plan for upgrading facilities, attracting a suitable tenant mix and proper positioning..

Success Ingredients : 

There is now a distinct need for mall developers to introspect on the factors that contribute to either the success or failure of a mall. For instance, there is an increasing awareness among mall developers that leasing mall spaces as opposed to selling them is the way to go. Malls in which spaces are individually sold (or ‘strata sold’) tend to suffer from the absence of proper mall management – which is now the acknowledged fulcrum for success, regardless of how large or well-conceived the mall is.

There are basic parameters that mall developers must keep in mind at the very conception and design stage of their malls. Location is, of course, a vital ingredient for the success of any mall. Approach and accessibility, especially in terms of proximity to the key centres and ingress and egress of the mall, are equally important..

The mall must have adequate facilities and provide retailers with good accessibility to their stores, space for storage and staff utilities. Very importantly, it must get the parking equation right…

Untangling the Parking Knot :

A mall that does not provide sufficient and properly planned parking in India is headed for disaster. In India, the issue of parking is a challenge to both mall owners and customers. Creating parking facilities when the cost of land is high is a very capital-intensive decision for a mall developer. This is especially true if such measures are attempted to be enhanced in retrospect. As a general guideline, developer must provide parking while keeping the size of the mall in mind. The decision on how much is needed and how much is sufficient is a critical one.

Rotation of parking slots is another important function, as malls experience more footfalls on weekends, during which customers spend more time in malls. Parking must not become an issue in high traffic periods. If a mall cannot provide enough conventional parking, it must have innovative parking facilities such as multi-level and/or automated parking systems.

Since convenience is of prime importance in a mall, the access and exits to car parking is yet another factor besides the parking area itself. The more successful malls even provide valet service to attract more patrons by providing them with more ease of access.

While the future may bring malls that have public transport connectivity, we are not quite there yet. Metros and buses connecting directly to malls can bring down the usage of personal cars, and play a major role in be dealing with challenges such as parking and increased traffic. Until then, mall developers are constrained upon to make the most of existing infrastructure.

The Mall Management Solution :

The baseline philosophy behind the creation of any mall is that it must be a place that continually attracts people into its premises, keeping them engaged and tempting them to stay for longer periods. This cannot be done just by providing a massive number of shops. Today, Indian mall visitors expect various entertainment options and engagement mechanisms, as well. Malls cannot be just shopping complexes – they must be one-stop family destinations. If they fail at this, they invariably fail completely..

With these and other reasons why malls can potentially become under-productive and sub-optimal, mall developers are now discovering that professional mall management can be a catch-all solution. In fact, one of the most common causes for the failure of malls is that they were are not professionally managed and promoted. High-grade mall management is the single-most reason why some malls have managed to perform well even during the worst periods of economic distress..

Professional mall management is about a lot more than just keeping up the facilities in a #ShoppingCentre…It is about strategizing and implementing success formulae that have been specifically tailored to the mall. Often, a professional mall management firm can undo a significant amount of ‘done damage’ by reinventing the mall’s positioning, facilities and operations almost from the ground up..

Significantly, a mall management agency can result in operating costs reducing by between 5-7% in an up-and-running mall, and by up to 10% if it is engaged at the very inception stage. However, the cost-saving element is just one side of the story. With the implementation of professional mall management, even a languishing mall can be realigned into a destination that provides the needed success ingredients – and an overall ‘experience’ for customer..

A #MallManagement Agency can Re-engineer the shopping complex’ parking arrangements, tenant mix and internal customer traffic, and also assume the responsibility of promotional activities. Simultaneously, such an agency will ensure optimal staffing solutions and keep all facilities within the mall running flawlessly..

Not surprisingly, more and more Indian mall developers are now adopting the mall management mantra as a one-stop solution to ensure that their investments reap the best possible returns for them…!!

“South India’s Real-Estate Hotspots” for Investments | by: Juggy Marwaha | Realty Plus

Until only recently, the South Indian Real-Estate Market was known as highly price-sensitive, with buyers primarily focused on the Affordability quotient…!!

Developers had to adopt a strategy to entice potential end-users and investors by offering their products in the right price band. However, with more and more foreign companies establishing their back offices in prime locations of South Indian cities and offering power jobs to the local populations, the South Indian economy has witnessed rapid growth over the last few years. This has visibly reflected on their real estate markets, as well..

Of late, the most important South Indian real estate markets – Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi, have been faring very well. This dynamic was evident even when the nation was going through a phase of low sentiments. While the burgeoning IT sector in these cities is the main reason behind the real estate boom in these cities, some of them also have a rapidly strengthening industrial base which is further augmenting real estate demand..

Bangalore :

The commercial office leasing trends in Bangalore clearly reflect that the city is topping all others in terms of space and job creation. IT, ITeS and retail are driving employment creation in the city. Bangalore is expanding in all directions, and with most phases of the Metro on track in terms of deployment, Bangalore has emerged as one of the best investment destinations for affordable, affordable luxury and luxury segment housing.

North Bangalore has seen residential prices doubling in the last 4-6 years, and many other pockets have witnessed good appreciation as well. Brigade Gateway, one of the best integrated townships in Bangalore featuring the World Trade Centre, a mall and a 5 Star hotel, was launched at a price of Rs.5,000/sq. ft. about 4-5 years back and is now transacting at above Rs. 10,000/ sq.ft.

There are numerous such examples wherein reputed developers and landmark developments have been instrumental in prices doubling and going even higher in the last 4-6 years. The finest developments in Whitefield by Sobha, Brigade, Prestige, Total Environment and Chaitanaya have practically doubled in terms of capital values in the last 5 years.

Chennai:

Residential property prices in Chennai have escalated the fastest among the cities in India, witnessing an appreciation of almost three times of what they were in 2007. However, Chennai still faces supply constraints in its prime locations in terms of new and organised development..

Traditionally, buyers in Chennai were hesitant to move to the suburbs, as the options available in the key pockets were highly priced. Very similar to the cities like South Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, buyers in Chennai are very particular about address and pin code value. As the city is in expansion mode with the rapid development in Chennai’s social and physical infrastructure, the suburbs and extended suburbs such as Velacherry, Peringudi and OMR belt are witnessing an upsurge in its property prices with corresponding demand.

Areas like Ayanavaram, Virugambakkam, Nungambakkam and Ashok Nagar have recorded the maximum appreciation. With limited supply and few organized developers in Annanagar and Kilpauk, end-users and investors are finding prices attractive in these neighbouring areas. With noted developers such as Chaitanaya, Vijayshanti and Arihant-Unitech active in these areas, there is a steady increase in demand.

The Central business district of Chennai, Nungambakkam, has managed to maintain the highest appreciation values with only few organized developers active in the area. However, with the Metro rail route passing through Ashok Nagar and with host of reputed and local developers’ active along the belt, a considerable amount of demand has shifted to this micro-market.

This is because of the presence of large commercial and entertainment-shopping establishments such as Phoenix and Forum and the availability of adequate social and physical infrastructure such as quality educational institutions and hospitals have proven beneficial in garnering demand from end-users and investors.

The three key growth drivers of IT / ITES, automobile manufacturing and education sector are instrumental in driving the job creation in Chennai. The price appreciation in specific pockets forecasts to be extremely good over the next 12-18 months. Some of the projects which are garnering attention from end-users and investors are Falling Waters in Peringudi, Oceanique on ECR Road, Embassy Residency and Pristine Acres in OMR.

Hyderabad:

Taking in consideration the current prevailing prices, developers have very little room for profit. Properties here are value buys in all respects, and one cannot go wrong with buying into quality projects at the current price levels with an investment horizon of 3-5 year. The Telangana agitation was the primary reason for the stagnation of prices in Hyderabad.

While Hyderabad’s average prices may reflect stagnation, there are multiple exemptions to this rule. A few such instances are Jayabheri’s Orange County, which has seen 33% absolute appreciation within a horizon span of 3-4 years and Jayabheri’s Silicon County, which has almost doubled in the last four years. Aparna’s Sarovar Grande has seen about 43% absolute appreciations in the last 12-15 months.

Good projects by reputed developers have shown very robust capital appreciation in the city. Though Bangalore and Chennai has clocked better appreciation values, Hyderabad by no means has lacked appreciation growth – it has merely been selective.

The socio-political and economic scenario is now far more favourable for the real estate sector. Hyderabad’s real estate market is likely to grow at a relatively faster pace to give renewed competition to cities like Bangalore, Chennai and Kochi. In the mid-to-long term, investor confidence in Hyderabad real estate will emerge in force once more. Companies like Facebook, Google and Apple have long-standing plans to expand their bases in Hyderabad – a factor which will work in favour of faster appreciation.

One of the hottest emerging locations is Vijaywada, where land prices have increased by almost 300% because of speculation. This renders Vijaywada unviable for residential projects over the short term, but a price correction from the speculative levels in anticipated over the next one-and-a-half years. After that, many more corporates will move into Vijaywada, thereby boosting residential demand as well.

Kochi:

Kochi is an emerging metropolis where modern urban lifestyles are merging with the city’s traditional framework. During its initial realty boom, Kochi grew exponentially, with more people migrating to the city and consuming even the outlying catchments of Kakkanad, Palarivattom, Vytilla, Edappally and Kadavanthra.

Development of IT/ITES projects such as the Kochi Smart City and initiatives to channelize traffic and improve connectivity – such as the Mobility Hub at Vytilla – have fuelled the current real estate boom, with more and more developers cashing in.

The days when builders in Kochi focused only on affluent buyers are over. The Kochi residential real estate market is now replete with affordable housing projects, which account for about 60% of the total housing development in the city. The soaring land prices have made it difficult to own or build independent houses, which were once the most popular configuration in Kochi. There is an increased demand from the emerging mid-income segment that wants homes packed with amenities at affordable prices.

The demand for budget housing is so strong that supply has penetrated even the poshest areas. The prime localities that offer luxury multi-storey apartments, such as Marine Drive, are seeing the arrival of affordable and mid-income housing projects in the vicinity to the more expensive waterfront apartments and villas.

While the global recession in 2009-’10 impacted all markets across the country, there was no decrease in Kochi residential real estate between 2012-13. Kochi is an investor market with many investments coming in from the Gulf via NRIs. In most cases, flats in new projects are sold out to the tune of 80% very quickly, but less than 20% would be actually occupied.

Luxury apartments on Marine Drive were quoted at Rs. 3800-4000/sq.ft in 2008-’09. Now, the rates for premium apartments in this area have almost doubled. Mid-range apartments by local developers are usually sold out by upto 90% of the inventory over a period of 1.5-2 years. The apartments in non-prime areas need to sell at price tags of upto Rs. 70 lakh….!!

“FIVE Revolutions”, That Will “Shape the Future of Your Company” | Chief Executive

Everyone knows change is coming….But underestimating the speed and impact of these changes will be the downfall of many businesses large and small in the coming years…!!

The press is full of trendy terms—Big Data, the Internet of Things, Digital Natives, Globalization, Social Media, etc.—that attempt to describe the complex technological and social changes that the world is currently experiencing. However, there is a danger in reducing complex social dynamics down to a few catchy buzzwords—trendy terms can act as intellectual shortcuts that fool people into thinking they understand these ideas when they really don’t..

In a world of constant disruption and uncertainty, however, CEOs who truly understand the key forces behind these changes will be in a better position to adapt and survive…Looking ahead, there are several horizon-level revolutions that business leaders should be aware of, because they are about to be felt with a force that is difficult to overstate..

Revolution #1: The End of the Information Age:

Many people think we are still in the Information Age, but the truth is that we are leaving the Information Age behind and entering a new stage of human development fueled by global inter-connectedness and rapidly improving technologies of all kinds. The exponential growth and convergence of so many new technologies—combined with a growing population of tech- and media-savvy consumers—will usher in a revolutionary era of social change, the likes of which humanity has never seen before. In the future, companies will need to find ways to protect themselves from the inevitable disruptions that such changes will bring, while simultaneously recognizing the advantages and opportunities..

Revolution #2: The Shift From Institutional to Individual:

One of the biggest power shifts of the 20th century was the shift from institutional power to individual power, and that isn’t going to stop. The Internet empowered individuals to communicate with anyone in the world, and now populations armed with nothing but cell phones are bringing down entire governments. Furthermore, institutions in all areas of life—education, health care, religion, media, business—are being forced to change simply because people now have more ability than ever to organize, mobilize, innovate, disrupt and demand..

Brands, too, have gone from being purely institutional inventions to personal expressions of almost any kind. For businesses, continuing empowerment of individual customers means that the dynamics of the business/customer relationship are evolving. Customers will continue to demand more transparency, integrity and responsiveness from those they choose to do business with—and businesses will have little choice but to comply. Smart businesses will initiate the inevitable rather than wait to be pushed..

Revolution #3: Artificial Intelligence Becomes Less Artificial:

Creativity and imagination are often thought of as the one realm that computers can never conquer, because the inner workings of the mind are what make humans unique. But it is already possible to control a computer with our thoughts alone, and commercials for IBM’s Watson computer are now touting its ability to generate ideas—helping chefs develop original recipes, for instance—using data to spark creative inspiration.

As artificial intelligence continues to evolve and improve—powered by the combination of Big Data, the Internet of Things, and always-connected devices tied to people’s location and activities (e.g., the Apple Watch)—it will begin to behave more and more like a giant alternative brain, one that rivals and surpasses humans in many ways. Machines already do most jobs that involve repetitive motion. When machines start replacing people who use their imagination for a living—writers, designers, architects, engineers, teachers, etc.—they won’t just be taking better jobs, they’ll be challenging what it means to be human.

This shift will create a great deal of psychological stress, generating a massive need for goods and services that will help them adjust to this strange new reality. Brands that can help people ride the wave of change to a brighter future, or help people cope and adapt, will be in high demand—as will brands that affirm human values and identity..

Revolution #4: Rise of the Digital Natives:

Much has been written about the impact of millennials (those born between 1981 and 1997) on the workforce, but the next wave of workers and consumers entering the workforce will be the digital natives (those born after 1997). Digital Natives are the first generation in human history to be born into the world of hyper-connected information overload…However, since they’ve been connected since birth, digital natives do not experience the flood of information hurling at them as anything more than just “the way things are,” and always have been—for them..

At the moment, millennials are assuming positions of power in all walks of life, and their impact on everything from viral memes, infotainment, social media, spheres of influence and cross-platform content has been profound. But when digital natives start adding their ideas and influence into the mix, the pace of change will accelerate even faster. This acceleration will feel to older generations like constant chaos and disruption, but to digital natives, it will simply be business as usual..

Revolution #5: From Selling to Sharing:

Since millennials and digital natives have been aggressively marketed to their entire lives, they are also extremely savvy about the media they consume. Direct, blatant pitches don’t work on them. They hate being sold to, and to them, commercials are just the things you fast-forward through to get back to the program. Also, since they are wary of institutions, they are much more likely to trust the opinion of a friend than anyone else, hence the rise of social media as a powerful marketing tool.

In the future, selling is going to be less about persuasion and more about participation…Brands that position themselves as a trusted “friend” have a much better chance of succeeding in this environment…

That’s not a new idea; the key is truly being worthy of the customer’s trust. For example, Whole Foods knows that its customers care about the ecological, political, and social impact of the food they consume…To help make that information more readily available to its customers, the company is investing in IT infrastructure to support its vision of total product transparency—a move it hopes will inspire the sort of trust and loyalty all companies are looking for in the 21st century…!!

“The Retail-Revival” : Succeeding with a “Store-Led Strategy” | BCG

A Store-Level Focus Can Transform Retail Chains Faster and Yield real results..!!

A bottom-up approach is entirely appropriate for retailers that find themselves struggling to make meaningful performance gains. Unlike what’s typical in many other industries, symptoms of sub-par performance in retail are readily detectible by both retail experts and customers, and those customers are able to provide immediate feedback..

Of course, #RetailTransformation is not simply a matter of “walking the store floor”…Although the physical demonstration of engagement is important, it is insufficient to effect lasting change…BCG has found that big performance gains are possible when executives are ready and willing to drive an integrated store-first change program that fits within the existing business model: that is, there are no additional capex requirements and no major changes to infrastructure…

Significant Results Within Months :

The results can be impressive. In BCG’s work with retailers worldwide, we have seen noticeable increases in store traffic that have, in just a few months, translated into a 5 percent lift in like-for-like sales and consistent profitability. Customers will almost certainly see cleaner and tidier stores with neat, well-stocked shelves, up-to-date price tags, fresher fruit and vegetables, and cheerier, more helpful employees..

Such results can be seen in a large Asian retail chain that successfully piloted and rolled out new operating practices. Guided by a store-led initiative, the chain boosted sales per square foot by more than 14 percent inside nine months, and it showed a profit for the first time in five years. We have observed comparable results in Europe and North America. One large European grocer gained a full percentage point in market share in its hotly contested market within six months..

The essence of such change initiatives lies in the deliberate, choreographed coordination of three concepts that previously had been used only selectively, in isolation, or outside the framework of a sustainable, system-wide change effort..

Anchoring the effort is the “Transformation SWAT team”—a carefully selected group whose job is to lead and embed sustainable change. Unlike typical change-management teams, these SWAT teams include high-potential middle managers who have a deep understanding of commercial and operational realities..

The second element is “stores of learning”—a small selection of representative stores that serve as centers of excellence. The goal is to rapidly pilot new operational and commercial practices, provide a visual look-and-feel trigger point to improve team culture, and to educate, inform, and excite senior store operators. The third element is fast rollout across the chain, spearheaded by the store operators themselves..

We’ll examine each of those transformation levers after a brief look at the context of retail challenges today…

Inverting the Business Pyramid :

Successful retail leaders are all “fluent in floor.” They can discuss, with authority, stockout rates in each store. They have a good sense of how customers are helped in stores. They’re likely to have ridden in a supplier’s truck, so they’ve seen how products are sorted, packed, and loaded at the distribution center—and how efficiently products are unloaded, unpacked and stocked at the stores..

That kind of store-led approach is needed to resuscitate grocery and mass-retail chains whose performance is sagging and that face tough online competition and upstart specialists. Yes, top-down approaches are entirely appropriate for macrostructure decisions—how many stores are needed in the region, say—but increasingly, executives need to be directly in touch with employees and shoppers. They need to see stockouts and untidy shelves for themselves and to understand the root causes of those problems. Put simply: it’s necessary to turn the traditional business pyramid on its end. (See Exhibit 1.) This inverted model isn’t simply about a change in operation; it involves a new cultural paradigm that motivates employees to deliver results because they want to—not because they’re told to…

exhibit

Why Store-Led Change Is the Way to Go:

Store-led change involves testing and fine-tuning a series of interventions in a selected group of trial stores with an eye toward immediate impact. Senior managers can see the potential of the interventions and be confident that they will work. After that test phase, the interventions with the most impact are rolled out rapidly, in disciplined, systematic ways, to the whole chain. Each performance gain supports the funding of the next stage in the roll-out, funding the transformation through its early stages and eliminating the need to “go back to the well” for financing.

Store-led change also means developing a cross-functional approach, improving and building capabilities for the long term. This approach enlists not only the executives from commercial and operational leadership but also the store managers, along with representatives from support functions such as finance, IT, and human resources..

The THREE Cornerstones of Store-Led Change: Let’s examine what makes this approach work well.

A transformation SWAT team must lead the necessary changes. This group’s primary responsibility is to align the business structurally with the interface to the shopper; the SWAT team’s charter makes it accountable for achieving that objective and for piloting the necessary commercial and operational processes. The team is the spark and the propulsive power behind the store-led transformation effort.

To explain what the SWAT team is and does, it helps to explain what it is not. It’s not a group of “the usual suspects” from the executive team—talented but extremely busy leaders who would have to find time to lead the change initiative as yet another in a long list of projects. Instead, the SWAT team comprises motivated, proactive managers hand-picked for the duration of the change effort. It is critical that they be drawn from many operations and functions. Unlike many conventional top-down change teams, which often splinter quickly into functional hammers seeking nails, the SWAT team assumes and retains a function-agnostic stance that better serves the stores’ needs..

The approach also means that the SWAT team members can bear down fully on the change tasks. It is the perfect crucible for learning and leadership development: top managers soon see which team members are set for stardom..

The team’s members—high-potential middle managers, together with senior managers who are, in most cases, three levels below the CEO and are proxies for each top-management role—are tasked with selecting the test stores and deciding on the duration of the tests. Then, with input from the stores, the team develops a series of operational and commercial interventions that are designed to stimulate and sustain growth in sales and profitability. The team also liaises with the retailer’s regional and central teams to make sure that they are on board and to seek specific technical input and support as required..

It’s the SWAT team’s job to validate and approve the interventions using a proven business case or strong recommendation, and to design, develop, and secure approval of a detailed rollout proposal. The team also oversees the chain-wide implications of the program and remains accountable for the successful implementation of the transformation and for its financial success..

Stores of learning allow for safe experimentation. The stores-of-learning idea is essentially an incubator model in which a select few stores are designated as centers for experimentation and learning. With this approach, the proposed change levers—or interventions—are less likely to be caught in organizational treacle. This type of activity creates short-term value and provides the required funding for the more significant structural changes that will be needed to win in the medium term..

The fundamental concept isn’t brand-new, but it is new for retailers to run individual interventions in specific stores, measure the results, and then aggregate those results back in the stores of learning. And it is novel to ask the store teams to determine the priorities for change and to involve high-potential managers in the effort. Their involvement almost always accelerates the change effort..

We have identified FOUR Main Categories of intervention that collectively make a difference:

A Winning Culture - This intervention involves listening and learning from the store teams, helping them by reducing unnecessary work, communicating clearly with recognition and rewards, clarifying accountability and expectations, and creating values that resonate with the store teams and can become part of their everyday jobs. Little things add up: the more that retailers make job duties and expectations crystal clear and consistent, the better. The more that pointless work is minimized, the better employees like it. And the more that they’re listened to—and their ideas acted upon—the more they’ll be vested in the life of “their” stores..

Customer Focussed Opeartions - This intervention focuses on sales rather than waste, improves visibility of daily and weekly performance, prioritizes product availability, emphasizes cleanliness and queue reduction, and addresses labor scheduling. There is enormous potential here: these are the factors that shoppers notice right away. For instance, one grocery chain reduced the numbers of SKUs in some categories by as much as 30 percent and saw a 20 percent lift in category sales in some cases..

The Right Range at the Right Price - Here, the emphasis is on opportunities to improve merchandising impact; upgrade the quality, freshness, and value of items in departments such as fruit and vegetables and bakery; make progress with price laddering or private-label initiatives; and strengthen and simplify promotions. Another retailer that followed a store-led approach cut its numbers of promotions by almost a third, boosting sales growth and store productivity..

A Differentiated Look and Feel - The goals are for the stores to have open and welcoming entrances, clear sightlines and obvious navigation inside the store, legible communications about value and quality, well-planned category adjacencies, and effective macrospace allocation. At one retailer, a floor-up focus enabled the transformation team to quickly improve sight lines by lowering shelf heights, using large signage to improve customer navigation, and placing categories in more logical sequences..

The stores-of-learning concept turns the whole organization—not just store operations but everything from merchandising, marketing, and supply chain to IT and HR—into a laboratory..

Rapid rollout has an immediate impact. To deliver top-line sales growth fast, the transformation project must transition rapidly from stores-of-learning pilot status to a scalable rollout across the whole chain. (See Exhibit 2.) Many of the interventions can be activated immediately, delivering quick impact on customer and team morale and yielding sales gains that range from 3 to 12 percent..

exhibit

The reason why rapid roll-out works so well is that it is led by the stores. It is common for retailers to feel that the process should be led by the organization’s center. However, we have consistently observed that a regionally dispersed model—in which stores of learning serve as “universities for change”—results in more accurate, consistent, and sustainable results precisely because it is operator led..

Some interventions are immediately scalable: with product availability, for example, simple interventions in store procedures and in accurate measurement give immediate results. In the case of one retailer, we saw a 1.5 percent improvement in shelf availability. Other interventions require more fundamental organization design changes: for instance, promotional execution and supply-chain delivery windows can yield strong returns but only after several central functions have rejiggered their operational procedures..

Roll-out has to be systematic, led by the stores’ operators and guided by a clearly communicated methodology…Two Roll-out techniques work well :

  1. Keeping the stores of learning close together so that results are seen and best practices can be shared and acted on quickly
  2. Enabling the first store of learning to support and train a carefully designated group of other stores—perhaps those served by the same distribution center or that are located in the same metropolitan area—so that the roll-out requires a very light touch from headquarters

In turn, the first groups of stores that take part in the roll-outs train the next groups of stores until the roll-out is complete. Done right, the momentum of the roll-out is palpable and energizing in itself..

Now is the time to get back to the basics of retail—one store at a time. By tapping the energy, courage, and commitment of a transformation SWAT team—first, in the selected stores of learning—and mapping and rapidly implementing rigorous roll-out strategies, retailers can look forward to the kinds of performance gains that their shareholders have been expecting all along..

If they truly understand the business from the Store-Level upward, #Retailers can more easily jump-start their transformations…

A choreographed approach, featuring the coordination of the THREE Store-led Concepts described in this article, is what is needed to deliver quick, positive impact, creating the breathing room—and generating the funding—needed to galvanize other crucial transformation initiatives….!!

“Go Guerrilla !!”; “5 Unorthodox Ways to Market Your Brand” | by: Mike Trigg | Entrepreneur

Before a million pails of cold water brought the disease to global attention, many people had never heard of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or #ALS…!!

But after a summer of ice bucket challenges, the devastating motor neuron disorder now has an astonishing level of awareness…Though the campaign didn’t originate as a deliberate marketing strategy, it’s a great case study of the power of guerrilla marketing in the social-media age.

Inexpensive, small scale and non-traditional marketing tactics can be extremely effective ways of promoting your brand if the idea catches the public imagination and goes viral. But so-called “Guerrilla Marketing” covers a huge variety of activities, from PR stunts to viral videos…

To determine if there’s a tactic that will work for your business, consider these five tips for crafting an effective Guerrilla-Marketing campaign that will resonate with your target audience…

 

1. Have a Hook:

If your product or service is something people don’t ordinarily care about, you need to give it an attention-grabbing hook, like the ALS ice bucket challenge.

Dollar Shave Club made the hardly earth-shattering idea of mail-order razor blades really engaging with a hilariously offbeat and low-budget YouTube video. Within two days of launch the commercial went viral, generating 12,000 new orders.

Or try connecting with people in unexpected ways, like this fitness company ad that appeared on German subway trains showing a man hanging out to a weight, rather than a subway railing…

2. Be Provocative:

Controversy sells so if you’re willing to break taboos and speak truths that people usually prefer to ignore, you can turn heads. This is a common tactic for charities and non-profits, like the visually arresting ketchup packs created by Campaign Against Landmines. The packets say, “In 89 countries walking on a mine is still routine” and on the flipside is a pair of legs…When someone opens up the ketchup packets, it depicts blood on the legs…

My company Hightail has indulged in the occasional provocative but fun stunt. We once handed out free cronuts to attendees at a competitor’s annual conference….The pastry packaging came with step-by-step instructions, including “Discard Box”. It was a playful and controversial (we were kicked out of the venue) way of targeting a very specific audience..

3. Sell an Idea, Not a Product:

As a startup, your passion for what you do and vision for changing the world is incredibly powerful. Stating that vision boldly and selling your product based on emotional appeal, not rational argument can give you an advantage.

Salesforce did this brilliantly with its “No Software” logo that evangelized the company’s underlying vision of simple, inexpensive, cloud-based services rather than focusing on what its product actually does. I still remember Marc Benioff’s ad in which a fighter jet shoots down a biplane. Though it was a little cheesy, the image represented a powerful idea that ultimately lived up to the analogy.

Also, you don’t have to be starting out to harness the power of ideas. IKEA celebrated the 30th anniversary of its popular Billy bookcase by filling 30 of them with books and placing them on Bondi Beach in Australia…Beach goers could swap a book for one of their own or donate to a literacy charity. By focusing on the popular beach pastime of reading, the furniture company got people’s attention while still promoting its product..

4. Make it Tangible:

Physical manifestations are great guerrilla marketing. Translating your idea into an object or event can help explain a product, especially digital services…

A Westfield shopping mall in California installed a real-life Pinterest board to act as an interactive store directory. Though Pinterest didn’t initiate the idea, by approving the use of its logo, the company got agreat real-life demonstration of its online service.

Even better, if you can capture your physical-world tactic and share it online, you can get a viral multiplier.  Adobe cleverly achieved this with a bus stop prank in which they Photo-shopped waiting passengers into a fake digital movie poster, as a way to advertise its Adobe Creative Day. The “candid camera” appeal of this stunt has garnered more than 22 million views on YouTube..

5. Take a Risk:

Some of the best ideas sound unbelievably dumb on paper (and may still, in fact, be dumb when you actually do them). They may flop, but you won’t know until you try. Many guerrilla campaigns get attention precisely because they are unusual, outrageous or unconventional. So don’t worry about people laughing at you.

For instance, ride-sharing service Uber has promoted its service by delivering ice cream or puppies to customers. In December 2013, Canadian airline WestJet asked passengers boarding a flight to Calgary what they wanted for Christmas then delivered these gifts when they landed.

Whichever style of #GuerrillaMarketingCampaign, you devise, remember to document and publish everything…Most #GuerrillaMarketing, is by its nature small in scale but it’s the shared links, laughs and likes that will make your campaign a big success…!!