• How to Make Money by Licensing Your Brand: Ask Hello Kitty

    Growing the business by licensing their brands is tricky business for many firms. On the one hand, if the brand is not that well-known, there will be a few takers for the license. On the other hand, if the brand becomes too well-known and too many licensees want to be part of the game, quality control is difficult to accomplish. Compounding the dilemma is the stability of the target audience’s preferences and tastes.

    Take a brand like Hello Kitty. While people may have liked it when they were kids, do they still retain their preferences when they grow up? Typically not. Therefore, most marketers of kids’ products face the challenge of targeting a moving audience. Companies like Disney, MTV, and Mattel toys have constantly faced this challenge. One brand, Hello Kitty, seems to have retained many of its customers by marketing to them over different life stages. Is that the key to its profitable growth? There are interesting lessons from Sanrio, the Japanese parent company of Hello Kitty. It seems making money by licensing its brand is child’s play for Hello Kitty 

  • Global Trends & 2050 Projections

    Fascinating global trends and 2050 projections on aging, automation, food security, unions, market cap by Merrill Lynch  

    According to the report, in 1995, only 1% of global population had internet access; today, 40% has; aging and longevity issues of China and India will dominate those of the U.S. by 2050; in the past decade, industrial robots have grown by 72% when U.S. workforce has shrunk by 16%; water and food shortages could be key future issues; and the U.S. still tops the world in market capitalization with a 52% share ($20 trillion).

    While we all know that China and India will have more people and larger economies in the future, technology domination (e.g., internet based interventions, robot usage) and food security issues are key unknowns to watch out for. How will these all lead to the valuation of firms in 2050? Which type of firms will be the most valuable firms? Energy companies? Technology firms? Food management organizations? Which country is best positioned to host these firms? Will the U.S. continue to lead the world in this regard? These are exciting questions for which the answers will slowly unfold as we move forward.

  • Which Retail Mobile Apps Standout and Why?

    For successful retail shopping engagement, mobile app quality matters. Retailers lag behind in app quality, but Fanatics, Domino’s and Groupon stand out. Jimmy John’s, Michaels and McDonald’s fare the worst. The best performing retail apps meet customers’ high expectations, curate passionate fans, and offer the shopper value in mobility.

  • Will Google brand become generic like Xerox and Kleenex?

    Google’s brand is valued at $66 billion (source: Interbrands). Is Google in danger of being confined to the “brands that turned generic” roster–a  la Xerox, Kleenex, and Aspirin?

  • Are Millennials Any Different from Baby Boomers?

    Contrary to popular belief, millennials may be no different from or more competitive than baby boomers?

  • Future of IIT-KGP Gleaned through IIT Distinguished Alumnus Award

    I was humbled and exhilarated to receive the IIT-KGP Distinguished Alumnus Award during its superbly organized 61st annual convocation. It is a true honor to be recognized alongside the likes of outstanding achievers, such as Manoj Gandhi, Sundar Pichai, and Pradip Dutta. It was a privilege to address the students and faculty.

    Special thanks to Chairman, Dr. Srikumar Banerjee, Director Dr. Partha Pratim Chakrabarti, Dean Dr. Siddhartha Mukhopadyay and their team and wonderful student volunteers, such as Akash Tulsani, for making this event memorable.

    In the last several years, IIT-KGP has made tremendous strides, expanding the student body to about 10,000 (nearly five times the size when I was a student) and adding new departments and schools such as biotechnology, business, and law. The future of IIT-KGP is on the right path. It has ambitious plans of growing beyond being a top-notch engineering school to becoming an outstanding university, including a new medical school. The key to achieving this goal is to embrace and implement new ideas and diversity without compromising excellence. It would be my pleasure to be of assistance to IIT-KGP in its exciting journey forward. I also urge all IIT-KGP alumni to join me in helping their alma mater.  http://t.co/7Ld3eEud9q

  • Wage rise, Employee Morale and Competitive Advantage

    Unintended consequence of wage-rise at Walmart. Will this exacerbate Walmart’s competitive disadvantage with Amazon? 

  • CEO Pay

    A CEO’s paid 205 x the average worker. Will new SEC rule on CEO pay ratio raise equity, accountability, performance? 

  • Expedia-Orbitz Merger

    Will Expedia-Orbitz merger be anti-competitive for hospitality & travel industry? 

  • Producer Lifetime Value for 2-sided Market Firms

    Enhance producer life time value (PLV)–lesson from 2-sided shopping app/platform Instacart’s successful growth