Sunday, 28 April 2013

Dove: A viral campaign that urges women to have greater self-esteem about their appearance

Dove's new campaign about how women are more beautiful than they actually think they are

Women are their own worst beauty critics. Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. Dove wants to create a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. So, the brand decided to conduct a compelling social experiment that explores how women view their own beauty in contrast to what others see.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Overview of Soft Computing

Prof. Manjeet Kumar* writes about Soft computing. 

Prof. Kumar is a faculty in the area of IT at NIILM CMS. He can be contacted at 

Soft computing is the state-of-the-art approach to artificial intelligence, and it mainly comprises fuzzy logic, neural networks and probabilistic reasoning. It aims at mimic human reasoning particularly in computer milieu, and hence in practice, the Soft computing systems are adaptive and intelligent in nature.

Soft computing has also a user friendly Interface in the world of computing.

The main constituents of soft computing are-                            
·                     Fuzzy systems or Impression
·                     Neural Networks or Learning
·                     Probalostic Reasoning or uncertainty
·                     Evolutionary Computing or optimization

Fuzzy Systems

A fuzzy  system is a system based on fuzzy logic - a mathematical system that analyzes analog input values in terms of logical variables that take on continuous values between 0 and 1, in contrast to classical or digital logic, which operates on discrete values of either 0 and 1 (true and false).

The main Function of Fuzzy logic is to deal with Imprecision and Uncertainity.It also deals with imprecise entities in automotive environments. It is based on fuzzy sets and Fuzzy logic.

An Artificial Neural Network (ANN) is an information processing paradigm that is inspired by the way biological nervous systems, such as the brain, process information. The key element of this paradigm is the novel structure of the information processing system. An ANN is configured for a specific application, such as pattern recognition or data classification, through a learning process.

Probabilistic reasoning

In a probalistic neural network (Bayesian learning) probality is used to represent uncertainty about the relationship being learned. Before any data is seen the prior opinion about what the true relationship might be can be expressed in a probality distribution over the network weights that define this relationship.

Therefore proballistic reasoning is done to make a solution of an uncertainty using a Bayesian Network.

Evolutionary Computing
 Evolutionary computing is the field of study devoted to the design, development, and analysis of problem solvers based on natural selection. It is the field which is based on the study of techniques used for problem solving like its development, design and analysis.

Advantages of soft Computing

*    models based human reasoning
*    models can be
-                      linguistic
-                      simple
-                      comprehensive
-                      fast when computing
-                      good practices

Soft Computing Today

1.                  Computing with words(CW)
2.                  Theory of information granulation(TFIG)
3.                  Computation theory of perceptions(CTP)

Possible Soft computing data and operations

1.                  Numeric data: 5, about 5, 5 to 6, about 5 to 6
2.                  Linguist data: Cheap, very big, not high, medium or bad.
3.                  Functions and relations: F(x), about f(x), fairly similar, much greater.


We hereby conclude that the soft computing method is the only way to compute in better and accurate way as it is more suitable than hard computing.
To know more about the soft computing, visit

He is an M.Tech in IT and has a work experience of more than 8 years. He had worked in various fields like research, consultancy and academics.. He has several professional trainings in Information Technology. His research area includes Data Mining, Web Technology, ERP, Operating System, TQM. He Published 10 papers in National Conference/Seminar and 4 Papers in International Journal.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Surviving disruption in retail equilibrium

Prof. Mohit Maurya*, Professor of Marketing at NIILM CMS writes:

The author can be contacted at

E-commerce will soon become everything from something. We are witnessing how the line between e-commerce and store retailing is gradually fading, and by and by e-commerce and online retailing is just becoming a natural part of retailing. The consequences are huge as a USD 500 billion online world is transformed into a USD 8–10 trillion global retail market.

This generates a lot of questions about what form of retailing will evolve in the future. What role will bricks-and-mortar stores take up? What business models will be flourishing? Who will endure the technological onslaught and who might perish? But for sure; the world of retail will look very different a decade onwards.

Retail sales in the US and many European markets are still below the levels seen before the onset of the financial crisis in 2008. Moreover, labor costs in China are increasing rapidly while the price of oil and other raw materials has soared. This has created an environment in which retailers are competing within a shrinking space looking for answers to procurement options, geopolitical scenarios and scalable formats.

There is a slugfest amongst retailers with different formats to gain market shares and to push competitors out by attracting customers either with better value for money (substantial discounts) or convenience. And with the online commerce thriving, the idea is that you need not big to succeed. Ebay and Amazon have brought retailers like Target and Comet on their toes. The double-digit growth of online retail sales seen in U.S. and other places is part of this change. Online retail is evidently growing at the cost of traditional retail outlets. The reality that this is happening at a time when the industry is under pressure is likely to expedite the metamorphosis that is already happening. This is not just a simple question about e-commerce replacing traditional stores, but a complex process involving several interacting trends.

The drivers of change include a concoction of deleverage and prudence in the face of lower economic growth, demographic change and shifting consumer behavior and expectations, combined with new technology and social innovations. 

With an unprecedented level of entropy and dynamism retailers can look forward to these change drivers to plan their future strategies:

·         Aging and tech savvy.
·         JIT - Just In Time even for personal consumption.
·         Always online.
·         Mobile retailing.
·         Social commerce.
·         Multichannel or Omnichannel world.

But it is certain that in order to survive disruption, managers of legacy businesses need to know the game to be a part of the changing game. And probably knowing these drivers would equip them in a better way.

*Dr. Mohit Maurya
A PhD in Retail Management, Dr. Maurya has an experience of more than a decade in academics, corporate training and consulting. Some of his previous associations were with Indian Retail School, Siddaganga Institute of Technology, Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies and ICFAI University. He has also worked for Jubilant Organosys Ltd. He has trained over 200 executives of various companies like JSW Steel Limited, Trident Powercraft Private Limited, GMR Infrastructure, Adecco India, Seminis, Monsanto Agro, Kirloskar Brothers Limited, Kirloskar Oil Engines Limited, Kirloskar Pneumatic, Kirloskar Ebara Pumps Limited, etc. His consulting interests are in Negotiation Skills, Sales & Distribution Management and Services Marketing, while his research interests are in Organized Retailing and Virtual Marketing.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Segmentation strategies of Titan watches: Story of Fastrack

Profs. Arun Kumar and N. Meenakshi write...

Authors can be contacted at,

Market segmentation in the watch industry is gathering speed. India’s leading watchmaker, Titan is sprucing up the emotional connect it has with customers by giving aggressive brand identities to various products in its portfolio. Its advertisement campaign for FasTrack - ‘Are You On It?’ - carries the first vignettes of branding for this aspirational product range targeted at the youth. The storyboard centers around a Formula-1 racer who gets out of the party groove in time to join Narain Karthikeyan, India’s most celebrated figure on the racing tracks, for a training session in the evening. Karthikeyan’s presence in the commercial is incidental given the context. But, India’s top racing driver is the brand ambassador for the Tatas, who hold a majority stake in Titan Industries Ltd.

After 15 years of signature campaigns centering around Titan, which built a formidable house brand, the winds of change are blowing. The product labels within the Titan umbrella are slowly gaining distinct identities in an obvious attempt to accommodate the changed demographic compulsions and market dynamics. Titan has a set of product labels catering to different market segments, which can script their own brand stories. Currently, the Titan umbrella has well-established product categories such as Edge, Steel, Dash, Nebula, Classique, Royal, Regalia and, of course, FasTrack.

There is a reason why the brand story has been scripted for FasTrack. Titan, which is 15-years-old as a brand, has moved up the age spectrum. Many Titan customers have now become parents. Their children respect Titan, but they do not buy the brand. Titan is aware of the trap and is strategizing to attract new customers in the market. It is on a contemporarising  mission. So, FasTrack is being positioned to bring the new and young Indian customer into the company fold. This would provide an opportunity to convert them into “classic Titan customers” in the long run. FasTrack is the fashionable face of Titan. And it is now building an identity for itself unlike Classique or Royal. The company has identified the youth segment - youth by age and youth by attitude - aged between 18 and 30 years, as the core audience of FasTrack. These customers are bold, individualistic, non-conformist and fashionable. It marks FasTrack’s growth from being a product category to a sub-brand of Titan.

FasTrack first hit the market as ‘Cool Watches’ from Titan. It came with a frosted steel look and was targeted at customers in the age bracket of 22-30 years. In later years, FasTrack’s focus shifted further down the age spectrum, to those between 15 years and in their early 20s. This resulted in the Digital Collection (communicated as ‘Too Sexy For Your Wrist’) that included big, bold and techno-kind of watches. Later, it came out with the Fashion Collection, mainly aimed at wooing more female customers. The latest ‘Are You On It?’ campaign is an effort to showcase the subtle changes in FasTrack.

Fashion, which is contemporary, and couched in ‘the desire to live life to the hilt’, is touted as the main thrust of FasTrack’s branding initiative. The company looked  at the different attributes of fashion - sexy, individualistic, irreverent - but finally decided to build on the ‘work hard, play hard’ platform. It reflects the balanced attitude of the youth today.

The company has backed the campaign by creating a range of aspirational products targeted at this group. To the company, new fashion centers around shapes such as  rounds, ovals and squares; colors in terms of leather straps, dials and textures; and material such as metal, leather, hybrids, silicon or synthetic. For instance, FasTrack’s latest offering has quite a few square models in an array of colors, and the materials used include new age supplies such as silicon and synthetics. If FasTrack is on a customer, it must form an impression and make others ask about it. In terms of product attributes, FasTrack is identified as bold, bright, elegant and as something that stands out. In its new avatar, FasTrack will reach out to the customers differently from the way Titan does it.
Its media plan covers television music channels, select magazines and a significant online presence. On the retailing front, it hopes to be present in youth hangouts, which include the leading music shops, and also in some Internet cafes. This is apart from leveraging Titan’s extensive retail network covering about 92 cities and urban centers in the country.

The company says it has spotted a distinct opportunity as most products in the fashion segment carry a price tag between Rs 3,500 and Rs 7,500. This is not within the first-time reach of many. Titan is expected to pitch hard in the price bracket ranging between Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,500. It also enables the target - young customers, mostly in the SEC A and SEC B segments, to mull new purchases to keep pace with changing fashion. The ownership levels are higher among young Indians, especially in SEC A & A1 segments, and many already own more than one watch at any point in time.

Sales have picked up and FasTrack is growing on the branded curve. Meanwhile, Titan may allow more product categories under its umbrella brand to acquire a more decisive role as sub-brands. Nebula, a gold watch in the luxury segment, may follow suit. FasTrack is a pointer that Titan is ready to correct its branding strategies and follow market dynamics.