Friday, December 31, 2010

Seasons Greetings

Relationship Management


When I got back this evening from office, tired from the quarter end pressure, all I could think of was to party on the long New Year weekend.  As I was trudging up the stairs, the elderly lady who stays next door shot me a look of utter disgust that caught me by surprise. Her daughter-in-law who was with her said in hushed tones, “Beta I think you need to really look to change your job. Have you read the Times of India today?” I was befuddled for a second and then it struck me what she was talking about ... 

This morning, the TOI had really got my goat. This is with reference to the article titled “Beware of the charm of the bank relationship staff” that appeared in today’s Mumbai Edition of the TOI. I work as a Relationship Manager with a private bank in Corporate Banking, and this article’s title is the most generalized and derogatory statement that I have read in a long time. 

I have major issues with such a sensationalist article. The title itself of the article is near slanderous and the text is a personal rant against my profession – the jist of the article is that all Relationship Managers work with the intent of duping their customers. Think about it – isn’t it like saying beware of doctors because there has been one bad egg who has caused a death of a patient due to medical negligence. What next? Beware of the Army because of Adarsh Society scam. And what about Journalists and the media– are all of them for sale? Well there is culpable proof against certain “respected” journalists in the recent Radia tapes, you know.

Sample  this: “The names that figure in the so far un-published extracts of these conversations (accessed from audio tapes put out by Outlook magazine on its website), are from respected media Houses like Economic Times, Hindustan Times, NDTV among others. It is amazing how Radia uses them. These conversations, with audio links at the end of every extract, tells a sad story of how some of the biggest names in the business of media, stands exposed, if not for corruption per se (as no quid pro quo is still established), at least for being handmaidens of the corporate houses and their power brokers.” Source:http://indiasreport.com/magazine/data/radia-tapes-how-top-journalists-have-turned-handmaidens-of-ambani-brothers/

The TOI article has made some serious allegations on my profession based on comments by unnamed sources such as:

1. “There is too much of muck in the way business is done. It has become a practice.”: Is there any proof to back a serious allegation like this? So what TOI means is that RBI regulations are useless and auditors are sleeping – well, they should be a fly on the wall in the Compliance department of any bank when an RBI audit is on to check the facts!

2. “…the basic qualification to get a relationship manager's job is how good you look and it depends on your communication skill”: Is that so? That means that all RMs are basically airheads who get the job because they look good and can speak well. So we are modern day geishas of the corporate world, aren’t we? It is another matter that all my RM colleagues are qualified professionals with either a post graduate management degree from a top notch B-School or are Chartered Accountants. However, if the writers of this libel are to be believed, then we got our jobs basis our good looks and charms. Well, I’m flattered!

3. “Also, banks lax often don't comply with basic norms.”: I would like to what are these norms are? This is quite a loose open-ended statement to make. All banks and financial institutions are governed by RBI. This allegation is a direct attack on the RBI in my opinion. As a banker, I think RBI is an excellent regulator - their norms and guidelines are followed universally. Having been in Banking for over four years now, I can say with some degree of confidence. In fact, in this very article, two paras above, the consequences of not following guidelines have been mentioned - “There have been instances of the relationship managers in these banks getting sacked for not following the prescribed norms.”

In its rant against RMs, TOI forgot that the genesis of the Shiv Puri scam was one of the seven deadly sins: Greed. Both parties (the Wealth Manager and the customers) were equally culpable to the events as their own article on page 10 of the same edition proves – here’s what the article said: “His wealthy clients saw in Puri a short cut to even more riches. According to the police, over 20 high net worth investors allowed themselves to be lured into his trap. A major problem with greed is that it prevents people from using their intelligence fully.

We all know the old joke: “What is the collective noun for a group of bankers? A Wunch of Bankers” – this article seems to take this joke forward with its extremely amateurish, immature and senseless barbs. It seems to be written with the motive of settling personal scores. I wonder how it got past the editors? I mean look at solutions the article has given to potential gullible HNI customers: “Ensure that you run an identity check of the RM.” – How very original! Well done. Stone Cold Steve Austin said this about a decade back – “DTA” – don’t trust anybody! At the end of the day, would you and can you trust anyone with your savings with your eyes shut? D-uh?!

My humble request to the Editorial team is that do not print such a scathing attack on a profession without substantial evidence. Admittedly there are bad eggs in every basket (allegedly such as Shiv Puri), and the media does its job by enlightening the public about their misdeeds. The media is the watchdog of society - however, in this case is clearly barking up the wrong tree!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What a Year!

"So what do I wish for my hero in the future – well if wishes were horses then I would want him to score atleast 15,000 runs in test cricket (well that’s only 2227 runs away), complete a century of international centuries (only 14 more to get!), to break Lara’s record of the highest test score of 400* (it’s sad that Sachin hasn’t got a triple ton till date…) and break Saeed Anwar’s record of the highest ODI score of 194 (well Sachin came close in Hyderabad scoring 186* (150b) on 8th Nov 1999 – a game I was priviledged to have watched at the Lal Bahadur Stadium)… but above all else, he must win India the World Cup (his stature demands it!)."

I wrote the down this fantastic wishlist on 20th September 2009 when Sachin completed his two decades in International Cricket - at the time, I did not imagine that in just over a year down the line, playing his 21st season for India, at 37, my hero would achieve almost all of the above.

To say that 2010 has been an incredible year is the understatement of the year!  

In Oct 2010, Sachin who made history  by becoming the first batsman to score 14,000 runs in Test cricket, says his desire to improve remains as intense as it has ever been. Currently he has 14500+ runs closing in on my first wish of 15000 test runs! Here's the Master getting past 14000:





Instead of struggling for form with advancing age, SRT has had the most prolific year of his Test career in 2010  - He has made 1,532 runs in thirteen Tests this year (with one more match of the three-Test series in South Africa scheduled for this year, Tendulkar has opportunity to surpass Mohammad Yousuf's record of 1,768 runs in a calendar year set in 2006 - hey he needs just 257 runs) at an amazing average of over 85 runs per innings with 7 centuries including the 50th of his Test career last Sunday (19th December 2010 - Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar became the first batsman to score a monumental 50 centuries in the 133-year history of Test cricket. No other batsman has scored more than 39 Test centuries) - and he insists rather than considering retirement he has many more goals to fulfill...that's good news for me then because with 46 ODI tons and 50 Test tons, he is now just 4 away from my second wish of 100 International Tons (even Curtley Ambrose thinks so!)




Sachin's 50th Test Century

Now on to my 4th wish - in February 2010, a few days before his 37th Birthday (and one day after my 29th!), Sachin scored the first double century in ODIs thus eclipsing Saeed Anwar's record! What a birthday gift!



Tendulkar's record-breaking ODI double century has found a place in the Time magazine's top 10 sports moments of the year. "Certain sports milestones seem simply unreachable: In cricket, it's the one-day double-hundred: no man had ever produced 200 runs for his team during a one-day international match," 'The Time' said. "In February, however, India's Sachin Tendulkar, the greatest run scorer of all-time, hit the magic milestone against a powerful South African squad.

Sachin's ODI 200



"Tendulkar smacked three 'sixes' - the cricket equivalent of a home run - during his epic performance, and the build up to 200 was exhilarating.When he reached 199, the home crowd in Gwalior waved Indian flags, and roared, knowing they were about to witness history. The diminutive Tendulkar, dubbed "The Little Master," slapped a single past the South African fielders. The world's 1.5 billion cricket fans had a moment they'd never forget," it said.

So with 50 Test tons, 46 ODI tons and over 32,000 runs in the bag, here's what his record currently looks like:

(Also, check out this link for his CV!)

With all this and more, is it any surprise that Sachin won the ICC Cricketer of the year?!

Sachin @ the ICC Cricket Awards

And in February 2011, the entire country (including his coach, Achrekar Sir) will be willing him to lead India to World Cup victory.

Well at least Lara's 400 is safe for now - I'll settle for a triple ton or two. If wishes were horses...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Brandpotion.com || My Interview

Brandpotion.com just published my interview today - click here to read it.


Brandpotion.com || Chill maar, horn mat maar! - Part 2

Here are some more of my ad concepts for the brand new competition on Brandpotion.com called  “Chill maar, horn mat maar!” - (Click here to see the earlier concepts for this competition.)  - as always, I would love your feedback and please do vote for the ads...

"Chill"

"Love your ears"
"Caution"
 

"Life is a journey"

"Love your ears" - Mini Series 



 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Brandpotion.com || Chill maar, horn mat maar! - Part 1

Here are my ad concepts for the brand new competition on Brandpotion.com called  “Chill maar, horn mat maar!” - as always, I would love your feedback and please do vote for the ads...

Introduction: It doesn’t matter where you’re living, India is a noisy country. With an increasing number of vehicles, the traffic situation’s going from bad to worse. Stricter anti-pollution rules mean that at least the vehicles aren’t polluting the air as much. However, there’s no way to moderate noise pollution. Honking while stuck in traffic is as useless as it is common. Most drivers seem to forget, rather conveniently, that the traffic isn’t going to move faster simply by their honking. BrandPotion’s calling for some really creative ideas to get people to stop honking when they’re stuck in traffic.

The Brief: Fight noise pollution. Get people to stop honking when in traffic.



"Horns of a dilemma"
 
"Think about it"
"Don't blow your own trumpet"

 "Don't be a devil on the Road"

"Make Noise when it Matters"




"Horns only look good"


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Brandpotion.com || My Winning Entries

Here are the various ad concepts of mine that won prizes at Brandpotion.com

(Click on the contest names to see the briefs - click on the ad title to see the ads)

1. Consolation Prize | "Mirror of Success" | Ad title: "Reflections of the Maximum City"



2. Best Print Ad | "Times Green Ganesha" | Ad Title: "Rejoice, Revive, Rejuvenate"



3. 2nd Prize - Community | "Times Green Ganesha" | Ad Title: "Ganesha says Think Green"



4. Best Print Ad | "Biggest Creative Team in India" | Ad Title: "Food for Thought"



Well the booty includes a Nokia X2 phone, a Samsung Corby phone, Gift Vouchers from Bookzone and Shoppers Stop



The Bookzone vouchers came in really handy - picked up a couple of books for myself and one for my sister...

(click on the covers below to see more)


But what I am proudest of is the 3 certificates that adorns my workstation :)

And they just published my interview on the site - click here to read it.
Thanks Team Brandpotion!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cocktails and Dreams



Ok, so the name is plagarised. Ok, so it was a corny movie with a cheesy tag line: "When he pours, he reigns." and excruciating bromance. But hey, when Brian Flanagan stood up on the bar and recited the Last Barman poem, I knew I wanted to mix some great cocktails one day...

 "I am the last barman poet / I see America drinking the fabulous cocktails I make / Americans getting stinky on something I stir or shake / The sex on the beach / The schnapps made from peach / The velvet hammer / The Alabama slammer. / I make things with juice and froth / The pink squirrel / The three-toed sloth. / I make drinks so sweet and snazzy / The iced tea / The kamakazi / The orgasm / The death spasm / The Singapore sling / The dingaling. / America you've just been devoted to every flavor I got / But if you want to got loaded / Why don't you just order a shot? / Bar is open..."



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A couple of weekends back, a friend was kind enough to ask me to bar-tend for her party. The drinks I concocted were quite well received (yes I say so myself!) and I have been meaning to write down the "recepies" lest I forget them... reading yesterday's Mint Lounge prodded me into action. So here's what I mixed - Cheers!
 
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Dirty Lemonade
Alcohol: Vodka (preferably Sminorff Citrus) 30 ml
Lemon juice, mint leaves, jal jeera, a few seeds of green chilly, a pinch of sugar, black salt / rock salt (kala namak) and soda
Glass: Tall Glass

Rim the glass with jal jeera

Pop in the mint leaves in the glass
Squeeze in the lemon juice
Add a hint of sugar and black salt / rock salt
Swirl in the glass
Fill with ice
Pour the Vodka in
Top up the glass with Soda
Drop a few (max 5) seeds of green chilly

You’re ready to take a swig!


Nimbooz:
Alcohol: Vodka (unflavoured) 30 ml
Nimbooz, soda and tobacco sauce
Glass: Tall Glass

Pour the Vodka in the Shaker
Add about 5 cubes of ice (fill about 2/3rd of glass with Ice)
Pour in about 90 ml of Nimbooz
Add a couple of drops of Tobasco Sauce
Top with a bit of soda for the fizz and shake well
Pour in the tall glass and serve

½ LIT
Alcohol: Vodka 30 ml, Bacardi 30 ml
Pepsi, Lemon
Glass: Tall Glass

Pour in the vodka and Bacardi in the shaker – and swirl
Add a squeeze of lemon and the pepsi – shake well
Fill a Tall Glass with Ice and pour in the drink

Spanner (my twist on the classic Screwdriver)
Alcohol: Vodka 30 ml
Guava Juice, chaat masala and one green chilly (split in the middle)
Glass: Round Glass

Pour the vodka and Guava Juice in the shaker – shake well
Pop in about 4 cubes of ice in the glass
Pour the mix into the glass
Drop in the split green chilly and serve

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These are some more, that I am saving for the next party!

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Cobra Coffee:
Alcohol: Whiskey 30 ml
One pouch of Nescafe, a pinch of cinnamon powder and chocolate sauce
Glass: Coffee Mug

Brew a strong half mug of coffee
Pour in the whiskey
Add a hint of chinnamon powder and a couple of drops of chocolate sauce
Shake well and serve hot in a coffee mug!





Kal Boishakhi (stolen from the menu of Oh! Calcutta)
Alcohol: Vodka 30 ml
Aam Panna / Aam Pora, lemon juice, soda, chaat masala and one green chilly (split in the middle)
Glass: Round Glass

Rim the glass with chaat masala

Pour the vodka, squeeze in the lemon juice and and swirl in the glass
Fill with ice
Pour the Aam Pora
Top up the glass with Soda
Drop in the split green chilly and serve



Hara Kiri (aka Herbie)
Alcohol: Vodka 20 ml, Bacardi 20 ml and Gin 20 ml
Sprite / 7Up, mint leaves, tulsi leaves, khus syrup
Glass: Tall Glass

Drop the herbs in the shaker and crush’em
Add a few ice cube
Pour in the alcohol in the shaker – and shake well
Fill a Tall Glass with Ice - Strain and pour in the drink
Top up with sprite and garnish with a leaf of mint and tulsi
Add a drop of thick khus syrup in just before serving




Vellam
Alcohol: Vodka 30 ml
Coconut Water and tobacco sauce
Glass: Tender Coconut Shell

Pour in the alcohol and coconut water in a shaker
Add a couple of drops of tobacco sauce, some ice and shake well
Strain and pour into the coconut shell to serve





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This post would not have been possible without having seen the master himself at work - a huge thank you to my Mama ... and to the "Cocktail Kings" on TLC. 

Here's what I mean by Tall Glass and Round Glass - and if you happen to like these recepies and/or want to share some of your recepies with me, do drop me a line:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The 60 Second Puja Parikrama - Mumbai 2010


Well, you can take the Bong out of Calcutta but come Pujos, you will never be able to take Calcutta out of the Bong.

In true Bong spirit and tradition, despite office and no chuti, I dragged some friends out Pandal hopping and we managed to visit 20 of a total of (reported) 91 Pujos held across the Maximum City - most of them by googling them up - I would love it if someone could help me with directions of some more Pujos. So please share the directions / locations of some of the ones I missed. Also, in case you want directions to any of these Pujos / hook up with me for going Pandal hopping next year, do drop me a line...

Here are my ratings:
# Best Pandal: 1. Powai 2. Chembur
# Best Protima: 1. Powai 2. Chembur
# Best Ambience: Vashi Sector 1, Vashi Sector 16 (hey I heard KK sing) and Ramkrishna Mission
# Best Lighting: Nerul
# Best Food: Mukherjee Caterers Bandra
# Best Glam: Tie between Rani Mukerjee's and Abhijeet's Puja
# Best Crowd: Tejpal Hall / Lokhandwala / DN Nagar
# Best Pujo program on the Telly: Pujo Parikrama and Dadagiri on Zee Bangla!
# Best Recommendation: From my boss to visit the Powai Puja!
# Best Company: All of my friends who made up for not having family around this Pujos - thanks guys!

Till next year then, bolo bolo Durga Ma ki... JAI!
Pujo 2010
View more presentations from arka.sircar.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Creative Passion

After a hectic Pujo weekend, today I was down with fever and cold. Terrible thing really on a Monday morning, just when I was looking forward to going to work (honest!). Anyway, this afforded me the chance to log on to FB during the day and I say this post by Brandpotion.com:



It got me thinking. Here's what I came up with:

The one "Creative" thing that I am passionate about is "Designing" - it could be just about anything... from sending out customized birthday wishes on email to office powerpoint presentations, from doodling font faces to making ads for Brandpotion, from making photo collages for friends and family to designing a book cover or cutting a CD for a friend with a customized CD cover - designing stuff gives me my kicks. For me God is in the detail. Designing need not always be cutting edge - for instance, one of the things I am proudest of designing, is a table lamp I made from an old plastic bottle... 

I simply love all things creative - photography, writing (short stories, poetry), blogging, painting... just the sheer pleasure of creating something from scratch is something that I am most passionate about! They say necessity is the mother of invention... I would rather say creativity is the mother of invention and source of pure joy and satisfaction!

Shubho Bijoya

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just Did It in India?

At the turn of the millennium, an obscure small budget film, Hyderabad Blues, that was more home video than motion picture took India by storm and announced the arrival of its talented director Nagesh Kukunoor. Coming from a stable middle class Telugu family, he took the obvious route and became an engineer. Then Nagesh went to realize the Hyderabadi dream of working the ‘States’ in an IT firm. However, by his own admission, it was a mundane existence and he eventually took a leap of faith to return to India to make films. In his own words, it was a huge decision given that “film making is not exactly revered in the educated Indian society, occupying one secure notch above prostitution.” So, what kept him going? Here’s what he says: “Half the battles you fight are in your head. I told myself this repeatedly. I had other mantras of course. One I stole - Just do it!

A tag line (albeit, arguably the most famous tag line in the world) became a mantra for a man in need. Now that’s what I call powerful branding. Forbes magazine agrees. According to the Forbes magazine, with a value of $10.7 billion, the Nike brand is the most valuable among sports businesses. The growth and profitability generated by Nike's intangible assets, like its globally recognizable swoosh logo and "Just do it" slogan are reflected in its price-to-book ratio of 3.4, which is 50% better than the overall market. Of the company's $18.4 billion in revenues last year, 90% was attributable to merchandise emblazoned with either the Nike or Nike Golf logos. The company also has the distinction of being the only sports apparel maker whose worldwide market share has increased since the start of 2008, according to industry tracker Sporting Goods Intelligence.


Back in the day: Nike was founded in 1964 with an investment of $500 by Phil Night and Bill Bowerman and was originally christened Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS). Brand Nike was launched in 1972 and the company officially changed its name to Nike, Inc in 1978. The company took its name from the Greek goddess of victory, Nike and victory has been sweet for the company. The Nike "Swoosh" is a design created in 1971 by Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University. She met Phil Knight while he was teaching accounting classes and she started doing some freelance work for BRS. BRS needed a new brand for a new line of athletic footwear it was preparing to introduce in 1972. Knight approached Davidson for design ideas, and she agreed to provide them, charging a rate of $2 per hour. In June 1971, Davidson presented a number of design options to Knight and other BRS executives, and they ultimately selected the mark now known globally as the Swoosh. Davidson submitted a bill for $35 for her work. (In 1983, Knight gave Davidson a gold Swoosh ring and an envelope filled with Nike stock to express his gratitude!)






Lady Logo: The logo represents the wing of the Greek Goddess. The Nike logo is a classic case of a company gradually simplifying its corporate identity as its frame increases. The company's first logo appeared in 1971, when the word "Nike," the Greek goddess of victory, was printed in orange over the outline of a checkmark, the sign of a positive mark. Used as a motif on sports shoes since the 1970s, this checkmark is now so recognizable that the company name itself has became superfluous. The solid corporate logo design check was registered as a trademark in 1995. The Nike logo design is an abstract wing, designed by Carolyn Davidson, was an appropriate and meaningful symbol for a company that marketed running shoes. The "Just Do It" slogan and logo design campaign communicated such a strong point of view to their target market that the meaning for the logo design symbol evolved into a battle cry and the way of life for an entire generation.



Surely there cannot be more than a handful of people across the world who do not recognize the Nike Swoosh logo given its colossal arsenal of sports superstars such as LeBron James, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Tiger Woods and Wayne Rooney to name a few. The list is pretty long and exhaustive. Until recently cricket had remained outside the Nike sphere of influence, especially in India (though in the early part of the millennium, Australian legend Shane Warne had started a fashion fad by sporting a swoosh earring.)

Indi-yeah! Nike corrected that about four years ago. In November 2006, for the first time, Nike's logo appeared in connection with an "Indian" sport: cricket. (While the English claim to have invented it, us Indians have turned it into a religion and a conglomerate!) Nike wrested the rights to become the official kit sponsor for the Indian cricket team for the next five years, beating arch-rivals Reebok and Adidas; it paid Rs 196 crore to the Board of Control for Cricket in India for the privilege. The ‘swoosh’ has finally swung, and how.


The American sports footwear and apparel giant has had a presence in India for close to a decade, but it's consciously held on to its "international" image. Where Sachin Tendulkar and Dhanraj Pillai were endorsing rivals' products, Nike's ads stuck to Maria Sharapova and Ronaldinho. India didn't really figure in the company’s marketing and promotion activities. That changed in 2006 and thus changed the rules of the game of the Rs 1,100-crore Indian sports footwear and apparel market. All these years, market leadership has eluded Nike in India. This is the only market where Reebok is No. 1 (40% marketshare), followed by Adidas (20%). Nike's 15% share is a distant third (source: Technopak Advisors). The company finally figured that it is critical to connect emotionally with customers. And in a cricket-crazy nation like India, you don't need to think too hard about how to do that!


Incidentally, Nike had signed with All India Football Federation in 2005, a year earlier than the BCCI deal. Globally, football is the biggest category for Nike and the company had seen a very high growth rate of this category in India also. That was the basic reason they tried finding a person like me who could grow the brand’s visibility in the football domain. Effectively, Nike’s objective was to create growth for football while cricket was an opportunity to be leveraged.


MS = E & S: Today the company has a host of Cricketers on its roll including Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik, Murali Vijay and Sreesanth along with top Footballers including Bhaichung Bhutia, Sunil Chetri) and Renedy Singh. This is in line with its traditional Marketing Strategy – globally Nike depends heavily on its Endorsements and Sponsorships to promote itself. According to Reuters, Adidas has the second largest budget for sponsorships among sports gear companies, but spends about 25% less on it than Nike does. A Reuters report estimated Nike spent $260 million on sponsorships in 2008.

Celebrity Endorsement: By tying its products to successful athletes in many sports, Nike has succeeded in boosting its image and creating the impression that the shoes or the clothes play a role in the success of the athlete. Nike went quickly to the lead in basketball shoes following its connection to Michael Jordan and the 1984 Air Jordan shoe line. The company vaulted itself into the top ranks of golf equipment manufacturers when it built its complete product line around Tiger Woods.

The MO was identical when Nike's first cricket shoes were introduced. The Air Zoom Yorker was launched in September 2006 by pace bowlers S Sreesanth and New Zealand's Shane Bond, who were also been signed on brand ambassadors for the product. A shoe for batsmen, the Air Zoom Opener, followed.

Besides, the BCCI deal allows Nike to launch official cricket merchandise such as replica team T-shirts and jerseys, kit bags and backpacks. That's not just a huge branding opportunity, it's a potential money-spinner: retail consultants estimate the licensed merchandise business could bring in more than $20 million in the first year itself.

Sponsorships: Nike takes its sponsorships to a personal level through the sponsorship of clinics and camps. The company sponsors youth golf schools, basketball camps and track and field events as a way of making its name synonymous with sports success in the eyes of the young participants. These grass roots events are the company's way of taking its products out to the consumer.

In India too, since December 2005, it tied up with coaching schools like the BCCI's National Cricket Academy. The academies will work with Nike to understand the product requirements of the players. It's a win-win situation for both the company and the academies. While Nike creates brand awareness and has a shot at creating loyalists at a young, impressionable age, the academies' need for equipment such as shoes and training gear is looked after by the company.

Strategy Risks: However, there is a risk when companies like Nike attach themselves to celebrities. When one of its athletes makes a mistake either on the field or off, the company's reputation can take a hit too. The issue came up in 2009 when Woods was involved in a major personal scandal. Other sponsors dropped the golfer but Nike chose to continue to sponsor him. In India too while Sreesanth’s controversies may have damaged the brand appeal somewhat.

Target audience: Catch 'em young! In India, players like Reebok and Puma are looking at extending the sports product line as a lifestyle brand for the 17-35 years age group. Also, Reebok is looking at increasing its exclusive women's stores (it also has Bollywood star Bipasha Basu as its brand ambassador – it’s got its cricket covered too in the form of Captain Courageous Dhoni), 70% of the merchandise in Puma stores is lifestyle and not sport-related and Adidas too has a lifestyle variant store format.

But when Nike talks of young customers, it means young. Across the world, its core audience is between 12 and17 years, and it sees no reason why India should be any different. It continues to target this age group teeming with sports acolytes of cricket and football with its sports offerings – in fact, it has also introduced the Tiger Woods and Roger Federer exclusive lines in India too – Sporty Spice, eh? Also, it has taken its brand to the audience on social media sites such as Facebook with exclusive aps such as the Jersey creator.

My take: How big is the brand in India? Well instead of boring you with more numbers, consider this. Aamir Khan’s branding acumen is legendary in Bollywood and his “autorickshaw branding” concept for his movie 3 Idiots was widely hailed as innovative. The film cleverly used the auto rickshaws in Mumbai to display the slogan "Only for 3 Idiots" denoting the capacity of the carriage – truly ingenious? Well, the power of the Nike brand ensures that the company achieves the same without spending a paisa and moving a muscle. In Mumbai, where nearly 90,000 taxis roam the streets and the drivers often go to great artistic lengths to make their cabs stand out. Brightly colored graphics, hand-cut from reflective adhesive material, liven up taxis’ exteriors throughout the city, reports the hip graphic-design magazine Creative Review, in the form of favorite gods, elaborate geometric patterns and the logos of aspirational brands such as Nike.



Still not convinced? Well remember the old saying ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’? Take a walk down Linking Road or Fashion Street in Mumbai (and their equivalent locales in other cities) – the abundance of fake Nike shirts and shoes and ‘replica’ Team India and EPL/Football Jerseys would be an apt metric of the brand’s popularity – else the pirates would not waste their time on making’em!

With shoe flinging now in vogue (just ask Omar!), all I can say is, if you chuck one at me (perhaps after reading this post), just make sure it is Nike!