Happy Birthday Levi’s

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post

Sagar Gautam, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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In our consumer culture of shiny-new-object syndrome, it is increasingly unlikely that a brand will survive—much less thrive—for more than a few seasons. But for 162 years, Levi Strauss & Co. has done just that. The staying power of the Levi’s brand stands out boldly in this era of pop-up stores.

When Levi Strauss emigrated in 1853 from Buttenheim, Bavaria, to the U.S. and founded his company, there were only 31 American states. Another 32 years would pass before the automobile was developed. Among iconic U.S. brands, only Anheuser-Busch (founded in 1852) has been around longer than Levi’s. (Coca-Cola came about in 1892; Ford in 1903.)

And yet Levi’s remains a formidable brand today. Fiscal 2014 revenue increased 2 per cent over the previous year to $4.68 billion, and the company commands the highest share of the global jeans market. Retailers credit Levi’s for having unique brand assets they can’t get from other lines. As Gary Oneil, former creative director for J.C. Penney said in The Indian Express on 10th April 2015, “Levi’s has become a brand titan that scales across lifestyle, gender … this allows retailers to cast a broad net that captures a diverse customer base.”

The secret to the longevity of Levi’s actually isn’t a secret at all. The company uses classic brand-building principles to maintain and grow its brand equity. These are fundamental ideals that remain the keys to building a brand with staying power.

Levi’s recognizes that trend-following may be the simplest way to attract attention and raise short-term revenue, but following someone else’s lead usually causes a company to stray from its own brand identity

A look at Levi’s offers insight into the commitment, courage and consistency that goes into making a great brand. One of the nation’s longest-standing companies, it thrives on its identity as an original American brand in an increasingly global marketplace. It represents individuality and rebelliousness while appealing broadly, and it offers accessibility in an industry that thrives on exclusivity.

The culture of Levi’s has withstood the ups and downs of the economy, fashion trends and the business itself. Even more than its products, the Levi’s brand was built to last.

 

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My Choice

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post

Sagar Gautam, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Deepika Padukone’s much talked-about video My Choice, directed by Homi Adajania has gone viral on YouTube. With more than one million views in less than 24 hours, the video has been watched, praised and also bashed by people on social networking websites. These sites have been abuzz with discussions about the video that speaks about a woman’s freedom of choice.

With everyone presenting their opinion on this ad, how could the Amul girl not present her take on the same.Our favorite cartoon has gone the Deepika way by copying her wayward tresses.Looking cute with the tagline, ‘It’s My Choice – To use a butter knife or use my fingers!’ the Amul girl has certainly won our hearts again.

Interestingly, in response to Deepika’s video, a male version of My Choice has also come up and is being shared just as much. While Deepika has talked about the freedom of women having sex before marriage or out of marriage or not having sex at all, the male version has a man talking on the same issues but from his point-of-view.

And while many a celebrity have expressed their opinions on the video, it was actually Sonakshi Sinha’s statement that made me sit up and take notice. When asked about her take on the MyChoice video by a journalist at a press event, Sonakshi said that she believes that the video comes from a right place, but the issue of women empowerment is not at all about the clothes that a woman wants to wear, or who she wants to have sex with. She thinks that “empowerment should be given to women who actually need it and who are far away from where we’re right now.” This time she has hit the nail right on the head!

While some have branded the video to be rather elitist and a ‘weak attempt’ to sell feminism, others think the video to be quite empowering. Whether brave or banal, the fact is that the video has received an unprecedented attention in the span of 48 hours, so much so that it has literally broken the internet in the truest of sense.

 

 

The great Swiss gamble

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post

Sagar Gautam, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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On March 11, 2015 the Swiss National Bank (SNB) shocked the world. It decided to remove the cap on its currency. Minutes after the announcement Euro instantaneously fell from 1.2 Swiss franc to 0.85 frank. Almost 30% depreciations, no less than a horror for currency brokers.

Switzerland is not part of the European Union and its economy is considered very stable in the whole world. Given its strong economy and tax haven status Swiss franc (national currency of Switzerland) is perceived as a safe investment and is the 5th most traded currency in the world. Switzerland is an export driven economy (heard about Swiss watches) so too much fluctuation in currency exchange rate is bad for its businesses.

World’s most powerful currencies US Dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen & Pound Sterling were all in a major distress following the 2008 financial crisis and the quantitative easing programs of their central banks, so investors had all but one choice, Swiss franc. Let’s take on the second question now. SNB had put a cap of 1.2 Euro on Swiss franc. In plain English it means one Swiss franc can buy a maximum of 1.2 Euro and not more.

To enforce this cap SNB began printing Swiss francs and buying Govt. bonds, thus flooded the market with fresh liquidity and kept the exchange rate within range. This made Swiss products competitive in the international market. Over the years SNB announced repeatedly that it will continue to support this policy on Swiss franc exchange rate. But it did not foresee European crisis to last this long.

Fast forward 2015 and we have debt ridden Greece and deflating Italian and France economies. To increase the aggregate demand European Central Bank (ECB) has no choice but to buy these distressed debts and provide fresh liquidity in European markets. If ECB prints more money Euro would become cheaper against Swiss franc and SNB would be forced to print Swiss francs too.

Crack in the glass ceiling

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post

Sagar Gautam, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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On 7th March 2015 Germany became the latest country to oblige to improving the representation of women on corporate boards, passing a law that requires some of Europe’s biggest companies to give 30 per cent of supervisory seats to women beginning next year. Less than 20 per cent of the seats on corporate boards in Germany are held by women.Ironically some of the biggest multinational companies in the world are based here, including Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler.

This step on Germany’s part has the potential to significantly change the proceedings of corporate governance here and will have repercussions far beyond Germany’s borders. In passing the law, Germany joined a trend in Europe to accomplish what has not happened naturally.

Europe is no stranger to reforms like this. In fact Norway was the first in Europe to legislate boardroom quotas, joined by Spain, France and Iceland. They implemented a minimum of 40% reservation for women in their corporates. Italy has a quota of 33 per cent, Belgium of 30 per cent and the Netherlands a 30 per cent .On the northern front Britain has not legislated boardroom quotas, but a voluntary effort, known as the 30% Club, has substantially increased women’s representation. The United States has also seen women’s representation grow slightly, up to 17 per cent of board seats, without legislative mandates, though its growth has been extremely slow.

On this women’s day it is heartening to see such dreams materialize in reality. In order to break the so called “glass ceiling” many such efforts are required. Now the ball is in women’s court. They have to show that with increased presence in the boardrooms they can bring significant changes to their organizations. This will pave way for further reforms and will silence the critiques.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brain to Brain

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Sagar Gautam, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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On 5th February 2015 news was published to report a major scientific breakthrough. Researchers at the University of Washington led by Indian-origin Prof. Rajesh Rao established a brain to brain communication link by using properties of the internet.

The experiment was declared a success when two subjects sitting in different buildings of the University were able to communicate via this mechanism. A signal from the sender’s brain was recorded using electroencephalography. It was then interpreted using a computer and transmitted over the internet. After demodulation the signal was received by the other subject. The success of the first phase paves the way for further development in this technology. Earlier, this used to seen as a far-fetched dream but now the goal seems within reach.

One can only imagine the implications of this technology. In future it may prove useful in disorders such as autism and attention deficit disorders. Not only this, it can also be used for military purposes and for general communication. This idea is very well depicted in the movie Inception. It will unravel some of the great mysteries of the brain such as the conscious and the sub-conscious brain. Einstein once said that humans only use about 30% of their maximum brain capacity. If this brain mapping technology continues to grow, we may one day be able to validate his theory.

However, it is still at a very early stage and faces several challenges ahead. It may take a couple of decades for its full application.

We love you with all our heart

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Sagar Gautam, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.

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On 5th February 2015 the budget carrier spice jet which was recently in news due to the sudden cancellation of a dozen of its flights, announced a sale offer for its passenger especially targeting Valentine’s Day. The offer was called “we love you with all our heart”.

The announcement was covered by all the major national dailies and it received very good response from the customers. What intrigues me though is that how can a company go from being on the verge of bankruptcy to this state so quickly? The answer to that lies in the asterisk representing “conditions apply”. As it turns out the offer is available only on select routes such as New Delhi- Jaipur and is for bookings done in 90 days advance. Now that’s a long window.

Nevertheless this step by spice jet has started the price war once again. Just two days later the rival budget airline Indigo came up with its own “valentine’s day special” offer. These companies work on the model that generates profit due to stability and accuracy in forecasting. The ability to fill seats on time is the key here. Moreover these companies target routes that are not performing well anyway. For the untrained eye it looks like a much awaited bargain.

The offer is then gift wrapped and presented to the general public. Though the mechanics behind such offers are very different from the ones shown upfront, I’d say no harm is done. After all with so many competitors present in the market a customer shouldn’t worry too much about being taken for a ride.

It’s raining runs

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Sagar Gautam, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.

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Couple of days ago I was watching a video compilation of best bowlers and their wickets and I asked myself “Are such bowling performances possible today?”.
On November 13, 2014 Rohit Sharma scored an astounding 264 runs in a one day match. The Sri Lankan team must have felt that they have been hit by a train. Having grown up watching the likes of Wasim Akram and Shane Warne I feel sad that bowlers are no longer able to contain the batsmen when required. Are the batsmen getting better or is the quality of bowling deteriorating. I consoled myself by thinking that may be the pitch had nothing for the bowlers. That consolation didn’t last long.

Incomes AB de Villiers. Hundred off 31 balls. Felt like a recap of Rohit’s innings. Bowlers were hammered ruthlessly all over the park. Having seen this performance I can now say that the bowling standards of the game of cricket have certainly gone down. Batsmen have adapted themselves to various versions of the game. They have created new shots and adjusted their temperament but there is no evolution in the styles of bowling. In fact the bowlers have lost the art of special deliveries such as an in swinging Yorker.

Munaf Patel, once the rising star of Indian fast bowling scene is now residing peacefully in a small cottage in his village far away from any innovation. Formats like T-20 have only helped popularize and encourage the batsmen. The bowlers are just not able to live up to the expectations.

With the world cup coming up, I sincerely hope to see some bowler make the batsmen have a run for their money. It’s been a while since we saw some magic with the kookaburra.

The girl with the dragon tattoo

“The following article is my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.”

Sagar Gautam, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.

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  “Can I get a pack of Marlboro red…and a lighter!” Daniel Craig pulls up a smoke and unlike James Bond lights one only to throw the rest of the packet in the bin. As I write this article the movie plays in the background.

Very often one hopes to see a thriller that keeps you at the edge of your seats till the end. This adaptation of a Swedish novel authored by Stieg Larsson will fulfil that expectation. Whether it is the screenplay, cinematography or the background music, this movie in one word is unique. The characters: A defamed journalist (Daniel Craig), a rebel (Rooney Mara) and a Swedish business legend looking for the person who is trying to drive him crazy (Christopher Plummer) are depicted in an amazing way. The accent, the dressing, the dialogue delivery have all been paid ample attention to leave an imprint on your mind.

The movie moves smoothly and takes you in the story. A murder that took place 40 years ago still presents clues that seem untouched by time. Using just a laptop and powers of deduction Daniel Craig puts together the pieces of the puzzle one by one. As he does so the audience gets a glimpse of the Swedish countryside at its best……the winters.

For me the unique selling point of this movie would have to be its background score and audio work. The music is not too loud but is as if someone recorded the emotions and presented it as notes. It really brings the story to life.

Released in 2011, this movie is still far ahead of the movies released in recent times and is a must watch for people who really want to experience authentic film making. My only advice, use a good pair of headphones to enjoy the sounds.