May 18, 2007

Defining Virgin territory

Sometimes you don't need to be a marketing guru to predict brand moves. So when I was confidently talking to my friend some weeks back that the Virgin Group would somehow manage to enter into the Mobile & VAS space in India (which was just announced), I had very little doubt and more conviction.

The Virgin brand
It's simple. Virgin is one of the smartest, savviest and most agile brands around the world, cutting through insane number of businesses and owning more than 300 brands. They believe in the potential of a market and get there eventually. From whatever I've observed about them (brand Virgin, Sir Richard Branson and the whole group), I'd say they have a simple credo: Any space is virgin (and they capitalize on it, pardon the pun!) if you really listen to customer needs, pain poins and create a vibrant brand to market the solution and create value for the customer even in a fiercely competitive environment. (And create passionate evangelists like me who don't get paid jack shit for talking about them!)

In fact I'm a big fan of Virgin and Branson's way of doing business - so I'm only too happy to see them spread across sectors in India. In case you haven't caught the drift, here's a quick summary of their India presence (to the best of my knowledge).

  • Virgin Atlantic (airline) - connects Mumbai and Delhi to London
  • Virgin Comics (comics) - Branson + Shekhar Kapur + Gotham Chopra + Sharad Devarajan
  • Fever 104 FM (radio) - A joint venture between Virgin Radio and Hindustan Times
  • The Mobile Store (retail) - Joint venture with Essar Group
  • Virgin Mobile (mobile) - Proposed 50:50 venture with Tata Teleservices
  • Virgin Galactic (space travel!) - A collaboration with Deluxe Travel and GD Goenka World Travel [Updated as of 16 Oct, 2007]
... and the list will go on. What I'm willing to put my pennies on? Virgin Hot Air Balloons! Please, oh please get them to locales like Ladakh/Kerala/Munnar or something! More about Virgin here.

May 13, 2007

Coffee and Craft

Last week I checked out 2 new delightful shopping experiences. Now before you start thinking I sound like a girl let me tell you I had REASONS for going to these places - read on.

City Central Mall

5-10 minutes walk from Mumbai Central station, this new mall has all the usual mega brands and a Big Bazaar. The food court is also pretty good. But I specifically went there because the first Coffee World in Mumbai just opened up here! Coffee World what? My favorite coffee chain. Try it - a bit more premium priced than a Barista, as chilled out as CCD (without the ghastly pink and purple) and absolutely yumazing stuff. My favorites:

* Cookie Crush Frappe
* Veg/Chicken Salad (not yet available in this outlet - miss the Bangalore one for it!)
* The waffles - no words. Try them. They're evil almost.

Having raved about my 'fave coffee chain' and everything I was disappointed with this one - too small, didn't have the laid back loungy experience that the Bangalore ones offer (@ Mota Arcade/Eva Mall) - but then it's still the first one so I'll give them time and hope the next one is bigger, better and stocks my favorite salad!

Hobby Ideas

Remember the old Crossword store at Mahalaxmi? Well good, drop in there now - this place is now taken over by Pidilite, the guys who help fisherfolk catch fish with drops of - Fevicol! Cutting to the point - enter 'Hobby Ideas' - India's first hobby and craft store. It's got everything from paints to glass/wooden things you can decorate, paper craft, modeling clay, party goodies and what not. What was I doing there? (a) I love paper craft (b) Was shopping for my sis (c) was on a secret mission :) Stick around as a good Kronicles reader and you'll know details soon.

Tip: Hobby Ideas has some awesome craft/art workshops for kids regularly. No details on their website yet, but the calendar's up in the store. They also have another store at the InOrbit Mall, Malad.

May 07, 2007

My Bookshelf

My Bookshelf
Originally uploaded by Kaushal Karkhanis.

From left to right...

* Some work-related media
* Bruce Lee's Fighting Method (not read a single page)
* Profile of the Perfect Person (not read a single page)
* Fit For Life (not read a single page)
* A.N.Shanbagh - In The Wonderland of Investment (read about 20 pages)
* Kris Cole - Crystal Clear Communication (1/4th done)
* Do not dig a grave and bury your career (not read a single page)
* Pleasure Zone (not read a single page)
* The Skill of Self Management (read a few pages)
* The Art of Self Defence (not read a single page)
* Yogasanas (reference)
* London (just bought this today!)
* Kishore Biyani - It Happened in India (half way through. AWESOME read!).
* Maverick! (finished reading. Highly recommended)
* Maldives (reference, for going there!)
* Web Marketing in a week (not read a single page)
* Pooja Lulla - Angel and a Half (author is a friend. read a few chapters. fun!)
* Business Plans in a week (reference)
* The Present (not read a single page)
* Screw It, Let's Do It (screw this book. pick up the autobiography instead)
* Every Man (read a few pages. great guide for every man, really)
* The Big MOO (finished. interesting, inspiring)
* Japanese Phrases (konnichiwa! Eigo o hanashi masuka?)
* Balancing Life & Work (dont have time for it)
* APJ Abdul Kalam (President of India) - Ignited Minds (not read a single page)
* Learn Kannada (learning. swalpa swalpa)
* Learn Gujarati in a month (ee pan thodu thodu avdech)
* Learn Japanese (watashi wa Kaushal san!)
* M Scott Peck, MD - The Road Less Travelled (finished. great book for anyone)
* Richard Branson - Losing My Virginity (finished in Goa - LOVED the book)
* Rich Dad, Poor Dad (finished in Goa. fantastic read for learning about money)
* some movies in a box, Batman, memento from Microsoft
* Bottom - The 10 Day MBA, 101 Things to do before you Die (fun fun fun!), Freud for Beginners, Japanese for Dummies, B&W photos, razor, some movies).