“One Branding” : “Uniting the Employer, Corporate & Product Experience” | BCG

Every day, the Digital-World shines a spotlight on Brand inconsistencies…Employees & potential recruits might get one impression online, customers and partners might have another experience, while investors and influencers might see an altogether different picture…The result is brand confusion or worse : “Brand Conflict ” !!

Consumers today, led by the digitally native Millennial generation (ages 18 to 34), expect much more from brands. They increasingly require a holistic and authentic experience across all the online and offline ways they interact with a company. When we surveyed them, Millennials reported that the number one way that brands can engage them is to have an “authentic purpose.” Many consumers expect to engage more actively in a two-way dialogue with brands—and the Internet gives them a megaphone to express their positive and negative opinions loudly..

The global business environment also demands more from brands. The service sector now makes up approximately 70 percent of most developed economies, and that share is even higher when it includes the many products that have a service component. People have become a critical resource for service-based industries: labor costs are higher than capital costs in many service companies..

Likewise, people have also become an essential component of branding, a field that was once highly product oriented. Brand experiences are now largely shaped by the people on the front lines who interact daily with customers and must meet their rising expectations. Employees have become, in effect, brand ambassadors. Brand management of the future requires, therefore, even fuller and more consistent engagement among the people inside and outside the company—both those who experience the brand and those who represent it..

The problem is that companies too often focus on only one or two aspects of their brand image. Many ignore employees as brand advocates or else narrowly relegate marketing communications for employees and recruits to the human resources department. People often assume that a strong product or corporate brand alone will attract candidates and customers. To become part of its customers’ lives, however, a company’s product and brands will first have to be “lived” by its employees.

To succeed, companies today must elevate employer branding to its rightful place among the other major pillars of corporate, product, and service brand management. At the same time, they must create harmony among customer experiences with the product, the company, and employees. We call this new concept of integrated, employee-powered marketing One Branding...A tight linking of all the aspects of brand management ensures that brands leverage their most significant asset—employees—to create more powerful and relevant brands for today’s changing world. One branding also significantly boosts performance..

THE REWARDS OF ONE BRANDING:

Only the harmonization of corporate, product, and employer branding ensures that everyone involved “pays into” the one-brand account, together raising the brand’s value. We have found that, in many cases, behind this success lies strong employer branding..

Companies that have strong employer brands tend to outperform those that do not. To measure the strength of employer brands, we asked students in MBA programs to rate the attractiveness of prospective employers. A BCG analysis of 39 global companies over the ten-year period from 2003 through 2012 found a positive correlation between the strength of employer brands and the average growth in total shareholder return (TSR)..

We found that the correlation between an employer’s brand and TSR was stronger at companies with a strong employer brand than at those with average or poor ratings. Moving into the top leagues of employer branding is, therefore, worthwhile not only from an HR perspective but also for its medium- to long-term impact on company value..

Not every company must be a leader in all THREE Brand-management disciplines…But all companies must gain a basic command of each, as they discover how to differentiate themselves in the areas important to their business. Only then will they achieve more integrated and consistent brands..

The Power of Employer Branding:

Even though it has become central to how a brand is experienced, employer branding is frequently the missing ingredient in achieving the promise of one branding. Employer branding represents a company’s brand promise to the people who work there, the people who want to work there, and the people the company wants to recruit. HR leaders cite employer branding as a high priority, but not even 10 percent of prospective employees during job interviews know the key elements of an employer’s brand, according to one European survey.

To succeed in today’s complex business environment and deliver a unified experience across all the brand dimensions that are important to future success—especially through its people—every company needs to define its unique advantages for employer branding and then work hard to cultivate these differentiating factors more effectively. (See Exhibit 1.)

To discern how companies are giving employer branding an equal place inside a unified brand, we interviewed executives in the European operations of ten global companies with leading brands. In our work with companies around the world, we have found these leaders’ insights to be broadly applicable to many other regions.

Consider the success of the employer-branding campaign recently launched by the adidas Group, the world’s second-largest manufacturer of sporting goods, with €14.5 billion in sales; 50,700 employees worldwide; and a brand valued at $7.5 billion by Interbrand as of 2013.

In 1998, Matthias Malessa, chief HR officer of the adidas Group, established an HR marketing department that focused on its external presentation as an employer. “Today, employer branding is a perception index of people inside the company that projects to the outside and says, ‘Check this out. This is how it looks here. If you think it looks good, join us. If not, we’re not for you”..

For the first time, the features of the campaign were developed with employees on the basis of their experiences working for adidas. The company surveyed employees of all its brands worldwide. Five main branding messages resulted…Each country has the flexibility to highlight the message that has priority for the employees there..

“More and more young employees are demanding that their voices be heard,” says Malessa. “I ask my people, ‘How do you perceive this company?’ Then I build my employer-branding story based on what they say.” For instance, one message involves social and environmental responsibility. The motto “to make the world a better place” connects this message into a unified product-, corporate-, and employer-brand strategy..

The success factor is that employees are free to share their experiences with the adidas culture online. “In the digital age, it’s important to win over your employees as brand ambassadors, but for it to function, there also have to be rules,” says Simone Lendzian, corporate communications manager. Social-media guidelines orient employees to their rights and responsibilities when communicating as brand ambassadors during work hours..

The company had a lot of discussions about whether each brand in the adidas family—which includes Reebok and Rockport in addition to adidas—needed its own employer branding. “We believe it all has to flow into one employer brand that is all-inclusive and covers the entire company,” says Malessa..

Six Guiding Principles for One Branding:

To put one branding into practice, a company must keep in mind six overarching principles about how employer branding relates to its overall brand portfolio.

Credible positioning starts with a well-defined process. At the heart of employer branding lies a convincing employer value proposition (EVP): the promise of value that employers make to their current and future employees. The emphasis should be on the uniqueness of the company. Only with a differentiated strategy can a company achieve competitive advantage.

To ensure that the EVP is relevant and differentiating, it must be based on solid data and integrated into the overall HR strategy process. First, market research compares the internal understanding of the company’s current positioning with the motivations and needs of external target segments. This is translated into a credible brand position and concrete actions and then anchored in the company’s organization structures, roles, and responsibilities. (See Exhibit 2.)

Employee motivations guide Employer Branding – to attract and retain good people, a company must appeal to both logic and emotion. Effective employer branding uses a “double perspective” of internal and external views to discover the elements of the brand experience that drive engagement among existing and prospective employees…Qualitative and quantitative market research can identify motivations that fit the brand, whereas creative techniques can uncover even deeper insights. Rather than simply delegating market research to an outside organization, all internal and external stakeholders should be invited to speak their minds through an active dialogue with the marketing, HR, and strategy departments..

Only a brand that is lived every day can be experienced – Employer branding can be only as strong as the health of the company’s culture.A true standout is the culture of Google, the world’s largest Internet company by market capitalization, with $50.8 billion in revenues; 45,000 employees worldwide; and a brand valued at $93.3 billion by Interbrand as of 2013. “Our employer value proposition is the result of our company culture as we live and experience it,” says Frank Kohl­-Boas, Google’s head of HR in northern Europe. “As our motto says, ‘Do cool things that matter.’ I am convinced that you can recruit and retain knowledge workers only if you give them the room they need to think freely and you offer them interesting work. If you do this, candidates and employees will say, ‘I can earn money elsewhere, but where else can I be a part of things, be myself, and grow ? ’”

At Google, responsibility for employer branding resides in HR, because it is understood less as a marketing task than as the management of corporate culture. A core team, under the leadership of a chief culture officer, works with local culture ambassadors who support the topic voluntarily in addition to their core jobs. The goals are to find the right people to hire, to ensure the internal multiplication of knowledge, and to provide the freedom for product discovery and invention..

“We don’t do any big marketing campaigns—neither for recruiting nor for Google as a brand,” says Kohl­-Boas. “Instead, we invest in employees who develop the brand. We trust that a lot of people will come into contact with our products and associate the company with the quality of our products. If users like our products, the customers and shareholders will come.”

Employees are the best brand ambassadors – The most authentic sources of employer branding are employees who can communicate credibly about the company and make its culture tangible..

Consider eBay, well-known as a global leader in online retailing and payments, with $16 billion in revenues; 30,000 employees worldwide; and a brand valued at $13.2 billion by Interbrand as of 2013. At eBay, employee referrals are the most important recruiting component by far. “When you shape your employer branding out of the culture and put your people at the center of it, the advantage is that you can motivate them to channel their pride by recommending the company,” says Tobias Hübscher, eBay’s senior manager, European employee communications.

“Referral campaigns save headhunter fees and ad campaign costs and helped us get budget for employer branding and resources for talent acquisition,” he adds. “Basically, we see referrals as being a lot more effective and working better in the recruiting process.”

Social media is only one tool in the toolbox –  Despite all the hype about social-media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, every channel must be closely analyzed for its benefits and risks. If a company does not have confidence that it can present itself authentically and engage in open dialogue with consumers through certain mediums, it should not use them until the advantages outweigh any potential damage.

The social-media strategy is well defined at Heineken International, the world’s third-largest brewing company, with €19.2 billion in revenues; 85,000 employees worldwide; and a brand valued at $4.3 billion by Interbrand as of 2013. “When it comes to social media, you have to know exactly what you want,” says Dario Gargiulo, global social-media manager at Heineken International. “A lot of companies do social media only because they think it’s good to have a presence everywhere. Instead, you have to use every social channel differently and with a specific aim. You must take the time to find out which channel should be used for which message.”

Gargiulo recommends focusing on the brand message and consumer attitudes on social media rather than communicating all of the company’s activities. “In social media, you immediately get consumer reactions about what’s important and what’s not,” he says. “It’s about the connection with real life.”

To integrate brand management disciplines tightly, stay loose – The players in one branding are less like a conductor-led orchestra than a leaderless jazz band. In the latter, the optimal combination of players is more important than who leads at any point in time. Well-executed examples of one branding show that there is no universal solution: although HR is often in charge—for instance, at BMW and adidas—several companies we studied maintain an ongoing, constructive conversation among the different components of branding, including marketing, communications, strategy, and HR. The corporate brand often takes the lead when the path forward is not clear.

At eBay, employer branding is jointly managed by the HR, talent acquisition, communications, and marketing departments and covers all eBay brands. Both internal employer culture and external campaigns are steered by communications in the local country unit.

Regardless of the organization design, marketing and HR must work together as equals. Each of the functions has plenty to contribute: HR has the competencies needed for strategic personnel planning and the ongoing development of company culture. And marketing can bring its “detective skills” to the table—by feeling out and establishing a unique positioning for employees and job applicants..

The era of one branding is dawning. Employer, corporate, and product branding will only grow more closely integrated..

Although we see no one-size-fits-all strategy that can address all the challenges ahead, we have observed this about the leaders: one branding works only if executives in charge of HR and the brand disciplines make it their common goal and have the courage and flexibility to work together.

Companies that are willing to cross organization boundaries and experiment with this new approach now will discover the proven benefits of one branding. Those that do not move in this direction risk falling behind their more integrated and nimble competitors..!!

How “Indian QSRs are going social ? ” | by: Nusra | Restaurant India

Indian Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) segment has seen many New Brands making inroads into the market…Indian QSR market has remained largely unaffected by the economic slowdown and touched nearly around $50 billion from Rs $35 billion in 2013. The segment is growing at a very fast pace…!!

Brands on demand:

Indian fast food majors like Cafe Coffee Day, Yo! China, Haldiram’s, Nirulas, Sagar Ratna and Bikanervala have met all the global necessities to meet the demands of the local customers, who are becoming an adaptor of global QSR outlets. Not only this, the regional QSR chains like Shiv Sagar, Bangs and Ammi’s Biryani created a milestone in competing to their foreign counterparts, but have also adapted their strategies on how to target the over growing demands of their customers..

Meanwhile, we have seen that, global players have tweaked their menu keeping in mind the taste and preferences of Indian customers. We have seen that major global QSR chains, which are entering India, have to localise their offerings before establishing themselves here..

Indian chains have now realised that people here are rushing towards convenience and value that these QSR chains offer and there is a wide gap in the market in terms of authentic Indian Cuisine being served in a quick service format and thus, they ventured into Indian QSR segment to address the local customers with its Innovative concept.

“The Usp of Hello Curry is ‘Indian Food with western quick service efficiency’, many of the QSRs present nationwide today are catering a niche with western products. Hello Curry will be unique with its positioning as the first QSR with complete range of Indian cuisine,” says P Sandeep, Co-Founder, Hello Curry..

Placing it Right :

Quick service is one of the challenges Indian QSR players are facing with Indian food, as the main preparation itself takes 15 to 20 minutes for preparing a dish. The restaurants have to innovate on processes and technology to develop ways to serve a customer flat in 2 minutes across the counter or 30 minutes in case of a home delivery.

After years of learning from global players, Indian QSRs are now quick to adapt to social media. They are now trying their hands at cracking the social recipe to success by posting new recipes on Facebook and Twitter or promoting it through Instagram and they are becoming quite close to cracking the code of the social marketing strategy which entered India via global route.

“As we are all young entrepreneurs, we are from the tech world of today. Hence, social media is one of the biggest assets of marketing. We are available on Facebook, Instagram, Zomato and we are connecting our consumers through WhatsApp. We are also doing PR and media activities, but I am not in the mainline PR advertising because I believe that word-of mouth is the best tool for advertising, where food works as a marketing tool itself,” says Sachet Shah, Go Panda (one of the partner).

While many international chains have set its footprint across the country, the Indian home grown chains have fought bravely to catch up with them. Cafe Coffe Day, Yo! China and Haldiram’s have set the traditional scene in India and are also leveraging social media by rightly placing themselves in the social gathering.

“There are many reasons for the success of our restaurant. But the major reason is that we operate in the Chinese food segment, which is the most desired cuisine among youth as they are the main consumers today. When we talk about eating out trend, I think we are operating in a segment which is massively catering to the youth. We create fun at our restaurant, we are value for money restaurant, our restaurants are trendy, we offer innovation and are present at the right location. The strategies help us gain an edge over others. We are here for 11 years building brand because brand brings consistency and the ability to stay requires time,” shares Ashish, MD & Co-Founder, Yo! China.

Thus, we can say that the growing trend in the QSR segment is becoming more of a social engagement rather than restaurants coming up with new products and keeping it to their specific target group…!! 

The “State of Strategy Today” : Good strategy is worth doing well | A.T. Kearney

In a study performed, we found a strong correlation between a company’s total shareholder returns (TSR) and its planning horizon…Those with longer horizons saw stronger returns than those with shorter…!!

We were not surprised then when our latest strategy study found a similar correlation. Only this time, the comparisons are between successful and unsuccessful strategies. Of companies with longer strategy cycles—five years or more—85 percent see beneficial results. For companies whose strategy cycles are less than five years, 53 percent are successful. Interestingly, there is little difference between companies that take an ad-hoc approach to strategy (46 percent) and those with planned strategy cycles of less than five years (47 percent)…

This last point is reassuring, as it suggests that a properly executed strategy is worth pursuing. Just 6 percent of companies have strategy cycles of more than 5 years. It can be argued that strategy cycles are more important in today’s competitive environment or, as one study participant says, “To succeed today, we need to innovate, and innovation requires strategy and commitment. So it makes sense that committing to a strategy over time results in success over time”…

Strategy is more difficult now..When working on consulting engagements, our clients sometimes complain that it’s much harder now to craft powerful and easy-to-communicate strategies. “Strategy formulation and deployment is a complex, moving target,” explains one CEO. Another blames the difficulties on what she calls “an ever-changing business environment that requires spending more resources on strategy.” Our study findings reflect the same frustrations: 62 percent of business executives say strategy has become more complicated over the past decade, and 74 percent say complexity forces them to spend more time and effort on strategy formulation. Yet, despite these increased efforts, 46 percent of strategies fail to meet expectations..

Interestingly, C-suite executives are much more optimistic about the effectiveness of their companies’ strategies than those in management…Indeed, 81 percent of executives believe their strategies are meeting or exceeding expectations, while 48 percent of those at the management level are less optimistic (see figure 3). Further, this C-Suite misconception is even greater for companies that are lagging their peers as almost 100 percent of executives believe their strategies are working just fine, while management is much more skeptical..

Agility to the rescue – maybe It is commonly accepted that today’s business environments are fast changing and dynamic, and much more so than just a few decades ago. These tumultuous conditions have caused some executives to question whether strategy is even possible anymore. Isn’t a strategy outdated before it can be implemented? Aren’t we better off to focus on agility in order to capitalize on emerging trends faster than peers? These are some of the questions we heard. We put this thinking to the test with surprising results: More than 80 percent of global executives consider agility as important, or more important, than strategy when it comes to securing a company’s future success. And only a slim 19 percent believe a strategy-induced competitive advantage is still possible (see figure 4). In the minds of business leaders, it appears that strategy is failing…

figure4

However, a deeper dive into the survey data finds that “agility as a substitute for strategy” notion is flawed. We wonder if it isn’t simply a self-fulfilling prophesy :  Those who believe agility is the foundation for success have failing strategies, while those who believe strategy is a source of competitive advantage, have exceptionally successful strategies. The more interesting question, which begs further investigation, is in which direction the causality flows: Do companies have trouble formulating and deploying strategies and so turn to agility? Or, does a focus on agility as the answer to today’s challenges lead to the demise of strategy? Does a string of successful strategies mean strategy is the answer to all that ails an organization ??

What’s to blame for strategy failure?

Judging by the responses of our study participants, strategy failure is an emotional topic. One participant puts it this way : “In large organizations, strategy formulation is too complex and too top-down, leaving the rest of the organization to play catch up. And before they can do so, the next strategy is being rolled out.” Another says: “Strategic planning often takes place in an ivory tower by individuals who haven’t a clue what happens at the implementation level.” These and other comments suggest that the interface—the handover—between strategy formulation and deployment is to blame for failed strategies. Our findings confirm this. When asked to identify the trigger of a failed strategy, 7 percent of executives point to formulation, 6 percent point to deployment, and 86 percent say it is a mix of the two (see figure 5)..

figure5

Strategy formulation: What goes wrong?

If there is ever a need for knowledge, experience, and preparation, it is during strategy formulation. When asked about their strategy formulation failures, most executives complain that it is an insufficiently inspired, unrealistic, impractical, and detached process :

  • Lack of understanding of future trends (88%)
  • Little understanding of internal capabilities (87%)
  • Too much top-down approach (84%)
  • Not enough logical thinking (84%)

One interesting finding is the conflicting perspectives about the role data analysis plays in a failed strategy formulation process. Some blame “too much data analyses” while others say there is “not enough data analyses.” The reasons for the different views depends on the participants’ backgrounds. For example, many in the too-much-data group have firsthand experience in data analyses of the “boiling the ocean” type—in which substantial efforts yield few real insights. The other group is accustomed to formulating strategy using strategy statements that are not backed by sound financial justification or based on quantifiable competitive opportunities..

Several study participants consider secrecy an issue…“The C-suite is afraid competitors will learn our strategy and so do not involve middle-level managers as much as they should in developing the strategy,” explains a manager. “Clearly, keeping our organization as much in the dark as our competitors about our strategy is not a fast lane to success”..

Strategy deployment: What goes wrong?

Many of the reasons for failed strategy formulation are also attributed to failed deployments. For example, a strategy might be too ambitious and broad for the organization, too narrow to cope with the full breadth of changing market conditions, or deployed from an impractical top-down perspective. “Strategy deployment is now our greatest challenge,” explains a CEO. “Market conditions require a more aggressive strategy, but execution has not changed.”

Not surprisingly, reasons for failed deployments have more to do with the handover between strategy formulation and deployment:

  • Lack of internal understanding of the strategy (90%)
  • Lack of internal capabilities to execute the strategy (90%)
  • Lack of ownership (86%)

This makes for bewildered, disenfranchised, overwhelmed, and under-supported deployments. As one manager admits, “We underestimate the combined effects of overlapping initiatives on the same group of people”..

Gauging the future –

Study participants largely agree that a better understanding of future trends is a prerequisite for sound strategy formulation: “Our strategies fail at the development stage because we do not accurately determine where the market is heading in the next three to five years.”

Not surprisingly, over the last decade many companies have increased use of future-focused tools such as fore-sighting, trend analyses, and scenario planning (see figure 6)..

Organizational inclusiveness –

Involving the organization in strategy formulation resolves the handover issue between formulation and deployment. “Strategy that doesn’t make it out of the boardroom isn’t really strategy,” admits an executive. “Attempting to make it purely process-driven overlooks the importance of the ‘goodwill’ factor—the people who actually deploy the strategy because they buy into it, and not just because it is their job to deliver it.” Our findings break down this thinking into a number of distinct points. At the base, is the conviction that involving more people with firsthand experience in dealing with markets, customers, competitors, processes, and suppliers makes for better and more practical strategies.

“Bringing in a general workforce opinion helps management make more informed decisions,” says a manager. “All levels of the organization can contribute to strategy formulation and implementation. Middle management and the workforce provide practical input.” Organizational involvement is also essential for making strategies sufficiently ambitious. As one executive says, “The most important area for innovation in achieving goals and targets are the skills and knowledge of staff. Without these, the top-down approach is doomed to mediocrity.”

Our findings back up these observations : Two thirds of companies that pursue meaningful organizational inclusion in strategy formulation have successful strategies. Yet, involving the workforce doesn’t just make strategies better and more practical, it also lays the groundwork for engaging the right people in strategy deployment: “We involve our people at all levels in strategy development and find that innovation and diversity of ideas are pluses, both in adopting change and in people acting as change agents. An engaged individual is more resourceful than one who is simply employed.”

Organizational involvement is not a panacea. It provides innovation and practicality and, while it does not really affect speed, it does make things more complex (see figure 7). As one CEO says: “Consultation can be a bit of a pain and slow down a good planning operation, but the results following the consultation can make the extra time well worth it”..

figure7

Strategy needs to be led- 

not just decided on Despite the virtues of organizationally inclusive strategy formulation, the complexity that accompanies it can be an issue. For this reason, inclusive strategy requires top-down leadership, with top management establishing the ideas, ground rules, organizational teams, and direction that are critical for middle and lower management. Strategy, at its best, becomes less of a decision and more of a direction to inspire the organization to follow—not once, but on an ongoing basis.

As one CEO says : “Strategy & Leadership go hand-in-hand, you can’t have one without the other”…!!

The “Four Pillars” of “Blue Ocean Leadership” | INSEAD

To unleash employees’ untapped talent and energy, leaders need a strong repertoire of actions, not just better awareness and empathy…!!

Most leadership programmes are generally designed to hone the cognitive and behavioural skills of leaders with the implicit assumption that this would ultimately translate into high performance. Leaders are accordingly called on to develop traits like self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy, for example, all of which require deep self-reflection and introspection to assimilate into a person’s being.

While cultivating such values are important, when we asked people to look back on these programmes, most reported not seeing a marked change in leadership caliber..

As one executive put it, “Without years of dedicated efforts, how can you transform a person’s character or behavioural traits? And can you really measure and assess if leaders are embracing and internalising these personal traits and styles? In theory yes, but in reality it’s hard at best.” In the end, millions of dollars were often spent, excitement was initially generated, but real leadership change did not set in..

Pillar One: Focus on acts and activities.

Blue ocean leadership, in contrast, is action-based, just as strategy is. It focuses on what acts and activities leaders need to do to provide a leap in motivation and business results driven by people, not on who they need to be. It’s the difference between being asked to be motivating versus being asked to provide those you lead with real-time feedback and best practice lessons that internally motivate and guide those you lead to up their game while feeling valued. The summation of these acts and activities is the leadership equivalent of a company’s strategic profile only here the aim is the development of a compelling leadership profile grounded in actions that are easy to observe, measure, and are directly linked to performance. This difference in emphasis has an important consequence for the time and resources needed to bring about a change for high performance. It is markedly easier to change a person’s acts and activities, than their values, qualities, or behaviours.

Of course, changing a leader’s activities is not a complete solution, and having the right values, behaviours, and qualities is important. But changing acts and activities is something that any individual can do, given the right feedback and guidance..

Pillar Two: Connect leadership to market realities by engaging people who confront them.

We observed that the leadership approaches employed by organisations are often generic and detached from what firms stand for in the eyes of customers and the market results employees are expected to achieve. At one insurance company, for example, call center personnel were tasked with fulfilling customer claims rapidly, while their frontline leaders maintained a hands-off approach to getting the claims department to cut checks rapidly.  Call center personnel rightly felt set up to fail, hugely demotivated, and let down by their leaders.

Blue ocean leadership, in contrast, focuses on what makes effective leaders, not in a vacuum but in light of the market realities their organisations confront and their direct reports must deliver on. Blue ocean leadership does not subscribe to a generic approach of common leadership acts and activities much as strategy does not subscribe to the same strategic profile across organisations. Instead people who face market realities are asked for their direct input regarding what acts and activities their leaders do that hold them back and what they need from their leaders but aren’t currently receiving to be their best and effectively serve customers and key stakeholders. When people are asked to help define the leadership acts and activities that will make them thrive and are connected to the market realities against which they need to perform, people get the type of leadership they and their organisation need and are highly motivated to share their energy and perform to the best of their abilities. As one employee put it, “I am under constant pressure to produce market results. I need the decisions and actions of my boss to support me to succeed in achieving market results. Currently there is a disconnect here.”

Pillar Three: Distribute leadership across different management levels.

While the market realities that organisations face today demand that there should be leaders at every level, the majority of leadership programmes we observed still remained largely focused on the top. But the key to a successful organisation is having empowered leaders at every level. It’s an illusion to expect or rely on top management on its own to deliver high performance especially as outstanding service all too often comes down to the motivation and actions of frontline leaders who are often in closest contact with the market. Executives need to push responsibility down in the organisation so that people on the frontline can deliver world-class service. Organisations need to develop effective leaders deep in their organisation by distributing leadership across different management levels, but that was often not the case.

Blue ocean leadership addresses this need by focusing on distributed leadership, not top leadership. By distributed leadership we refer to leadership distributed at the senior, middle, and frontline levels. Blue ocean leadership sees leadership as needed at all three levels to unlock the ocean of unemployed talent and energy that stretches deep into organisations. It also understands that these three levels are different enough from one another. Each requires a different leadership profile to be effective since each has a different positional power, task environment as well as focus on and interaction with the external environment. The factors that define good leadership are derived by the acts and activities leaders need to take at each level to create a leap in value for both employees and customers. In this way, blue ocean leadership, like blue ocean strategy, is about creating a nonzero-sum, win-win outcome. As we’ve heard repeatedly, “Almost everyone leads someone, not just the top. But when it comes to leadership, we focus on the top. The truth is 90% of our people don’t even have contact with them so how is their greatness supposed to transform our organisation? We need effective leaders at every level.”

Pillar Four: Pursue high impact leadership acts and activities at low cost.

Leadership practices are all too often seen and treated as something added on to people’s regular work. But with secretaries and administrative staff in most organisations already cut back to the bare minimum and the market reality intense, most leaders’ plates are already full. Finding the time to do one’s regular job is tough enough, let alone attempting to up one’s game. So a step-change in leadership strength rarely occurs. Time is just not enough.

Blue ocean leadership recognises this. It breaks the trade-off between impact and cost by focusing as much on what acts and activities leaders need to eliminate and reduce in what they do as on what they need to raise and create to unlock the ocean of unemployed talent and energy to drive high performance. In the context of leadership, high impact refers to achieving high motivation and engagement of people to drive business results while low cost refers to a lower investment of time by leaders, which is their most expensive and limited resource.

Our research has found that many of the acts and activities that take up leaders’ time actually work against them being effective and can even be resented by those below them, not appreciated by those above them, and are an energy sapper for the leaders themselves. By expressly eliminating and reducing these acts and activities, leaders’ time is freed to focus on new acts and activities that make a real impact on leading and producing business results driven by people. Without freeing up leaders’ time in this way, it is often no more than wishful thinking that leaders will have the time to up their game..

Conventional Leadership Development Appoaches Blue Ocean Leadership
Focus on the values, qualities and behavioural styles that make for good leadership under the assumption that these ultimately translate into high performance. Focus on what acts and activities leaders need to undertake to boost their teams’ motivation and business results, not on who leaders need to be.
Tend to be quite generic and are often detached from what organizations stand for in the eyes of their customers and the market results their people are expected to achieve. Connect leaders actions closely to market realities by having the people who face market realities define what leadership practices hold them back and what leadership actions would enable them to thrive and best serve customers and other key stakeholders.
Focus mostly on the executive and senior levels of organizations. Distribute leadership across all three management levels because outstanding organizational performance often comes down to the motivation and actions of middle and frontline leaders who are in closer contact with the market.
Invest extra time for leadership practices added on to people’s regular work. Pursue high impact leadership acts and activities at low cost by focusing as much on what leaders need to eliminate and reduce in what they do as on what they need to raise and create.

To put blue ocean leadership in action, we adapt the analytic tools and frameworks of blue ocean strategy to the leadership context. The result is the Leadership Canvas, the Leadership Profile and the Blue Ocean Leadership Grid all of which are grounded in acts and activities, easy to understand and communicate and that engage more people in an organization…The tools and methodology point is very important…

Without that it is very hard for research to do more than inform but practically address the challenges of leadership development for high performance…!!

“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…!!

“Ripe for Grocers”; The Local Food Movement | Consumer Products & Retail | A.T Kearney

Grocery shoppers today want local food—and they are willing to pay a premium for it…Our second annual study of local food market examines this growing opportunity for Retailers..!!

Walk through the produce section of Whole Foods and you’ll see on the signs, as prominently placed as any other information, the state of origin for its fruits and vegetables. With its Local Loan Producer Program, which provides roughly $10 million in low-interest loans to independent growers, Whole Foods has made a bet that local foods are not just a passing fad in buying habits but indeed a new reality for grocery..

Our second study of shoppers’ local food buying habits bears out the optimism about the “locavore” movement. The study finds that local food is fast becoming a necessity for attracting and maintaining customers. A growing number of shoppers, seeking more sustainable foods and hoping to help the local economy, say that the availability of local food is an important factor in what they buy and where they buy it. And, importantly, more shoppers say that they think more highly of retailers that carry local food and have even considered switching retailers to find better local selections. For big-box retailers and other national chains, there is plenty of work to be done to incorporate local foods, as the market remains dominated by farmer’s markets and specialty retailers..

We recently surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. shoppers to examine the strengths and weaknesses of large grocery retailers compared to other formats when it comes to local food. This study builds on our first report on the local food market, which was released in 2013..

Local Food: A Necessity to Compete:

Unlike organic food, there is no universally accepted (or legally binding) definition of local food. Although Congress passed an act in 2008 that defined “regional” and “local” food as being transported either less than 400 miles from its origin or within the same state, most definitions are less precise. At a more basic level, local food typically involves smaller farms located close to where their produce is sold.

Local food is quickly transitioning from one small way grocers can stand out to a component of the shopping experience that buyers expect. Sales of local food have increased an estimated 13 percent per year since 2008, and are now worth at least $9 billion.

Our study highlights several major trends:

Local food remains important for shoppers..More than 40 percent of respondents say they purchase local food on a weekly basis, and another 28 percent buy local food at least once a month. Most say that local food helps the local economy (66 percent) and brings a broader and better assortment (60 percent). Another 45 percent say it offers healthy alternatives to customers. It is clear that retailers offering local food can positively influence customer perception..

Local food awareness and price perception have improved..Sixty-eight percent of respondents (up 3 percent from last year) say they are aware that their supermarket of choice offers local food. Seven percent (down from 11 percent) believe their supermarkets do not offer local food; of this group 34 percent are considering grocers because of this.

Similar to last year, shoppers indicate their primary reason for not buying more local groceries is lack of availability at their retailer of choice (see figure 1)…This year, however, only 47 percent of respondents say availability is the primary reason they do not buy local, down 10 percent from last year, which underlines growing awareness of local selections. Dividing our respondents by region, the western United States has the lowest availability concerns (43 percent), compared to 48 percent in the Northeast and South and 50 percent in the Midwest..

Availability is the main reason shoppers do not buy more local food

Price perception has improved as well. Only 31 percent of respondents say that local products are too expensive, down from 37 percent last year, with the West and South reporting the best prices. Only the Mountain region cites price as a more important deterrent than availability..

Leaders are differentiating on “fresh”..Our survey respondents said that when they buy groceries, freshness is far and away the most important purchasing criteria (60 percent), followed by price (30 percent). Local sourcing is a powerful way for retailers to demonstrate their products’ freshness, as 30 percent of respondents do not differentiate between fresh and local..

This is particularly evident in specific categories: Many consumers want both fresh and local in categories such as fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, meat, fish and seafood, dairy and eggs, and bread (see figure 2)…While convenience ranks highly for frozen and canned foods, this is less of a factor for fresh categories (aside from prepared foods). Other factors, such as health impact, organic, and taste are generally consistent across categories..

Freshness is an important decision factor for buyers in many food categories

Shoppers are willing to buy local food—and pay more for it..Seventy percent of consumers say they will pay a premium for local food, the same number as in last year’s survey. However more of those consumers say they are willing to pay a bigger premium—one-third (compared to less than one quarter last year) say they would pay 10 percent more. Our findings indicate that more people are willing to pay extra for local food than they are for organics. Still, buyers don’t have unlimited budgets for local food, which still makes up the minority of their shopping baskets. Thirty-seven percent say high prices are preventing them from choosing more local food options..

To gauge interest in local foods for specific products, in this year’s survey we asked respondents how much more they are willing to pay for locally sourced versions of some specific products. More than half would pay 15 percent more for local strawberries, baguettes, eggs, and chicken. On the other hand, the majority of respondents say they would not pay more for local frozen green beans or lasagne..

Locally sourced food has broad-based appeal, with spikes in key customer segments..

While local food has wide appeal for a host of reasons, some customer segments are more inclined to buy local food and pay more for it. As local food costs more and is often positioned as a premium product, it is not surprising that income level is a strong predictor for buying local. Seventy-five percent of high-income earners in our survey are willing to pay extra for it..Overall, the value of local food has increased in high-, medium-, and low-income segments compared to last year. Thirty percent of low- and medium-income workers will now pay up to 10 percent for local, while almost 20 percent of high-income earners are willing to pay more than 10 percent, twice the number as last year..

Respondents from rural and small communities, which are closest to where food is grown, tend to be willing to pay more for local food than those from larger cities. High-income earners in small towns are, on average, willing to pay 10 percent extra for local food, compared to about 5 percent for residents in large cities. There are some broad regional differences when it comes to buying local food across the country, from a 5 percent premium in the Southeast to a 7 percent premium in the West and in the Northeast. The share of local food purchased in the typical shopping basket is also highest in these regions (particularly on the west coast), compounding the regions’ attractiveness for local food retail. The Pacific Coast region leads the pack with 27 percent local food in a typical basket, followed by the Northeast at 22 percent. The Southeast has the lowest rate, with local food making up 16 percent of a typical basket.

Large supermarkets are still struggling to gain customer trust..Big-box stores and national supermarkets are the most common places our respondents shop for food, yet they (along with online grocers) rank well below farmers markets, specialty supermarkets, and local supermarkets when it comes to customer trust. The correlation between fresh and local is further explained by consumer response to which retailers were most trusted to provide fresh foods. Again, farmers markets and specialty supermarkets are considered most trustworthy, followed by locally owned supermarkets, national supermarkets, big-box and online grocers. As we noted in last year’s report, many customers believe that retailers tailor the term “local” to their advantage with little transparency into how they define it. Fruits and vegetables harvested hundreds of miles away are often still declared local, which has drawn criticism from small farmer organizations—and skepticism from buyers..

Recommendations for Food Retailers:

This year’s survey results reveal that big-box and national retailers still lag in customer perception when it comes to providing high-quality, affordable fresh and local foods. What can these retailers do in the short term to refresh their local food strategies ?

Tap into the market for “fresh”..Freshness is a primary factor in grocery shopping decisions—in fact, in last year’s survey respondents rated this higher than price. Large grocery retailers lag their smaller rivals and farmers markets relative to both price and quality perception when it comes to “local” and “fresh.” Given that our research has found a strong correlation between fresh and local, large retailers can build awareness of their fresh products simply by sourcing and marketing local more effectively—particularly in categories such as produce, meat, bread, and dairy..

Test local autonomy over merchandising and sourcing..The local food leaders we identified in our research have given local managers more autonomy to make local food buying decisions. For example, H-E-B in Texas and Wegmans on the East Coast allow local managers to build their own sourcing relationships with local farmers and merchandise these offerings as they see fit. The local autonomy model optimizes quality, freshness, and availability—three critical elements for success in local we have identified in our consumer research. These factors, combined with customers’ increasing willingness to pay for local offerings, can offset the potentially higher costs from the loss of efficiencies such as standardized processes and centralized buying..

Consider a direct supply chain model..There are three primary supply chain models grocers use to source local food, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Wholesale is perhaps the most difficult model to control for quality and freshness; however, it provides simplicity and access, which is likely why Amazon Fresh uses it. Many large retailers use brokers to source local food on a national level. C.H. Robinson, the largest such broker, continues to build numerous sourcing relationships with local farmers across the country.

A third model—establishing direct relationships with independent growers in the region—is generally the costliest but may prove the most effective. The direct supply chain model optimizes availability, quality, and freshness and provides maximum sourcing transparency to the consumer. As shown in the example of Good Eggs in the sidebar on page 3, some upstarts are using this model to upend the traditional grocery supply chain..

We recommend national retailers begin piloting the direct supply chain model on a region-by-region basis, initially as a complement to broker and wholesale market relationships. As quality and freshness emerge as differentiators in local food, direct supply models will be critical for long-term success..

Going Local:

The local food movement has shifted from talked-about trend to burgeoning opportunity for large grocery retailers. However, the window of opportunity is small—there is little time to waste convincing customers that you can provide high-quality, fresh local food, especially considering how much competition is emerging in this space..

It may take some outside-the-box thinking—in particular giving local stores more autonomy and using a more direct supply chain model—but those moves will help make an immediate impact and build longer-term growth advantage in this highly competitive market..!!

The Glittering “Power of Cities” for “Luxury Growth” | McKinsey

The global economy is experiencing an unprecedented shift toward emerging-market cities. Here’s a road map of where luxury-goods companies should compete in the next decade…!!

An Economic Re-Balancing of Great Scale & Speed is occurring from the West to the East and South…In fact, we are observing one of the most significant economic transformations the world has seen: 21st-century China is urbanizing on a scale 100 times that seen in 19th-century Britain and at TEN Times the speed…This means that the shift currently making Asia—once again—the world’s economic center of gravity is 1,000 times larger than was witnessed during the Industrial Revolution..

One of the most dramatic aspects of this emerging-market economic revolution is the growing power of cities and the extreme growth concentration in a limited number of megacities. The world’s top 600 cities (measured by absolute GDP) are expected to drive nearly two-thirds of global economic growth by 2025..

Massive urbanization will continue across emerging markets, which will envelope three-quarters of these large cities. It is projected that by 2025, there will be 60 megacities—more than double the current number of urban behemoths—where GDP will exceed $250 billion, accounting for a full one-quarter of global GDP…

Out of the 25 largest growth-contributing cities, 21 are located in emerging markets, with a significant number of them in China. This represents a great leap from today’s status quo, in which only 4 of the 25 wealthiest cities are found in the developing world. Yet economic growth does not automatically mean consumption development—or luxury-market growth…Market growth in these cities is indeed conditioned by specific factors that differ from city to city. Variables such as birth rate, wealth distribution, and share of working women correspondingly affect growth in categories such as baby food, beauty products, luxury goods, and women’s fashion. To prioritize their efforts, companies will need to identify the biggest and fastest-growing cities with regard to their particular products and services..

Where Luxury Growth will come from? :

Using the McKinsey Global Institute’s Cityscope—which draws upon broad sets of economic and socio-demographic data for more than 2,600 cities around the world and combines these with deep market understanding to forecast growth at the level of individual cities—we have developed a unique road map for how luxury companies should understand and approach global-growth opportunities. Our LuxuryScope “city guide” of luxury markets organizes granular data and statistical forecasting across luxury categories. For example, several critical, market-level insights emerged from our analysis:

  • Growth is increasingly shifting toward emerging markets across all Luxury Categories

  • Luxury growth is highly concentrated in cities. The world’s top 600 cities will account for 85 percent of growth in the luxury-apparel market in 2025 versus 66 percent for luxury beauty products and only around 40 percent for consumer packaged goods. In fact, the more upscale and less “basic” products that consumers desire, the more growth will be concentrated in cities.
  • Mature cities remain critical given their absolute size
  • Growth is granular and varies by category, price point, and style. Driven by cultural fit with a brand’s value proposition and underlying growth factors by category and price point, the attractiveness of particular cities can differ significantly among luxury players. For instance, luxury women’s apparel is dominated by the traditional fashion capitals, such as Milan, New York, and Paris; spirits are strong in the Americas, while skin-care growth is concentrated in Asia. Mexico City, for instance, ranks 18th in fashion, 8th in spirits, and does not even appear in the top 20 for beauty…But within each of these categories, the attractiveness of any single brand will also vary depending upon its fit with local taste..
  • Emerging countries will drive growth, with China taking the lead.

This extreme growth concentration is great news for #LuxuryBrands and #Retailers…It will allow companies to more easily and completely focus their efforts on higher-growth areas. Analyses conducted on growth concentration by city reveal that extensive growth opportunities still exist in Europe and the United States, even in cities as large as London, Los Angeles, and Paris…The city approach to growth can also serve as a compass for companies seeking to navigate the vast sea of emerging markets, helping players to prioritize cities and focus their resources on targeted market-entry plans, whether in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, or Wuhan, China..

What Companies must do? :

Taking the city-by-city approach can help luxury companies revamp their growth strategies and gain new insights that can be used to adjust their business-development models, resource allocations, and organizational structures. How can these new business insights into potential on the city level be used to accelerate companies’ growth ?

The Right Plan:

It is well understood that having the right strategic plan is the essential starting point for any growth journey. Building this plan requires clear answers about where to go and when. Luxury-goods companies must identify growth opportunities at the city level, generating insights on where to concentrate resources to achieve the greatest impact. In addition, this approach also encourages the development of forward-looking market intelligence, a key enabler for ensuring that strategic decisions will allow companies to stay one step ahead of the competition. The city “attack plan” might look quite different from the traditional market-expansion road map. For instance, rather than discussing Asia or Europe as alternative locations—or even Spain versus France—decision makers may ask, “In what ten key cities should we establish a stronger presence? ”

Outstanding Execution to Achieve Impact:

When companies begin looking at fast-growing emerging-market cities, five key issues need to be tackled to help ensure success:

    1. Identifying the right go-to-market model for each location.
    2. Determining if there is a need for local-offer customization.
    3. Ensuring global customer service.
    4. Gauging a need for organizational changes in the longer term.
    5. Choosing how to deploy or redeploy resources.

The global paradigm shift driven by emerging-market cities is posing similar questions for Western companies for many different industries. For luxury players, cities probably matter more than for any other product category, and as retailers, most have the “luxury” of choosing, at a very granular level, where and when to open or expand a store…

In this context, Luxury Players are uniquely positioned to pioneer this new approach to accelerate their growth…!!