Kingfisher Airlines gullibility banking on SBI

Coincidence: Joanna Newsom’s Kingfisher song so apt to our subject:

 Whose is the hand that I will hold?
Whose is the face I will see?
Whose is the name that I will call?

India’s Kingfisher Airlines’ bailout saga highlights the sorry state of Indian Businesses and its crony-centric policies. This shows the poor corporate administration, poor regularization, banking inexperience and absolute lack of accountability. Continue reading “Kingfisher Airlines gullibility banking on SBI”

IIPM worried about Google Suggest, why is it so?

Google’s most popular feature with searches is ‘suggestions’. The suggestions sometimes appear much before you have finished typing. Many wonder how Google knows what you are exactly looking for.

After a court in Italy held search engines responsible for suggesting offensive terms, Google had elucidated that “search suggestion service suggests words potentially connected to the words that users type on the Google search field”. Continue reading “IIPM worried about Google Suggest, why is it so?”

Anatomy of a modern-day political PR campaign in India

The Anna Hazare fast, now that’s its over, was a nifty PR campaign and a great political one at that. While the 74-year-old Anna with his 12-day fast resembling the many fasts that Gandhi made for the country before and after independence has become an icon; ‘Team Anna’ walked away with PR success.  Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and other popular people like actors Anupam Kher, Om Puri and Aamir Khan all made up the PR machine behind the scenes for Team Anna.  Continue reading “Anatomy of a modern-day political PR campaign in India”

Top 10 reputation crisis of 2010 – a recap!

Being Reputation Management Consultants,  Reputation Management, have come with our list of top 10 reputation crashes in the year that was! Being the festive season and all, we’re doing it as honors awarded to the great captains of Industries, firms, celebrities and brands that went through a reputation storm in 2010… Continue reading “Top 10 reputation crisis of 2010 – a recap!”

Commonwealth Game 2010 – Child Labour’s New Nightmare

Indian Government Respond to News from the Commonwealth Games

There are certain allegations and activities that lie at the heart of an organisation’s reputation. Manufacturers instituting processes to guard against low cost labour sourcing becoming cheap labour or child labour is a critical component of reputation management. Remember the impact the news that Nike sourced its footballs from factories employing child labour. The same applies for nations and especially those nations with a previous notoriety for child labour.

If there was one thing that India wanted to avoid being implicated in during the preparation for the games, it was the use of child labour. Let’s be clear: child labour is illegal and is condoned by nobody. Indians who are already deeply shamed by the fiasco of the Commonwealth Games are now even more profoundly shocked by what they are discovering about labour policies. Even worse is that this should be taking place in Delhi in the centre of India.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that there has been a major failure in understanding the relationship between the games and national reputation management. It seems that the politicians misunderstood what these games represent. For them they were a facade, an event in their own right whose value was the event and nothing more. In fact these major events are exemplars of a country’s capability displayed to the world. A chance to change paradigm thinking. In India’s case an opportunity to show that the old impoverished India has been replaced by a new, ambitious and efficient India. In this event, it is the old India that is on display and every last facet is still to be seen.

Internally this may represent a pivotal moment if young India can seize it: a chance to rid themselves of the corrupted incompetence of Chandrasekhar and Dikshit who seem blindly insouciant about the reputation armageddon that they are in.  The new India and the old are beginning to diverge as each shares a very different ambition for the country. The interesting question is what will happen now. Indian citizens are awaiting the response from the still silent Prime Minister.

Commonwealth Games 2010 countdown to save reputation down to 48 hours!

The Commonwealth Games 2010 that was in the midst of controversies right from the beginning have now been given 48 hours to save itself! With the team officials from different countries saying that they will be pulling out their athletes, in case issues are not addressed satisfactorily, the government is left with hardly any time to set things straight. Indian officials are feeling the heat more than ever before with CWF chief executive Mike Hooper saying there has been enough of the blame game and calling upon Indian officials to work together in order to avoid international embarrassment and save their reputation.

Being aware of the fact that it will be way too bad for the Games and the Commonwealth Movement in the future, as well as for India, if the games are called off at this moment, Indian officials at the helm of affairs are now doing all that they can to keep the games  afloat. There are lots of pictures emerging about the current situation and it is only the Indian Government that has an answer to the current state of affairs.

What can be called to mind is that the Commonwealth Games are being hosted in the same city and country which has created records in completing the Delhi metro project (an intricate project that was planned and accomplished meticulously) and the golden quadrilateral (a highway network connecting the major cities of India). And so the question now is will they be able to repeat success this time as well, especially when the project in question is not one of national importance but one that is (being analysed, criticised and scrutinised) at the global level.

With a few top-notch leaders like Sheila Dikshit, Delhi Chief Minister vouching for the games and who was heard quoting “Something may be dripping, some tile may collapse, doesn’t mean the entire Games are bad,”; the support of other politicians at the helm of affairs who still believe they can make the game happen and with the prayers and well-wishes of a large number of Indians (though not all), many feel that there is still a slight hope for things to get better!

Will India make use of the golden opportunity to make a statement to the rest of the world as it originally intended to or will they goof it up…you will have to wait and see!

Commonwealth Games 2010. India’s Reputation Fiasco

The 2010 Commonwealth Games was supposed to highlight how far India has come in the past 10 years, instead it seems to demonstrate that everything people thought about India is true.

The 2010 Commonwealth Games was supposed to highlight how far India has come in the past 10 years, instead it seems to demonstrate that everything people thought about India is true.

Anyone who visited India today after a ten year gap would be amazed by the changes so long as you did not scratch too far below the surface. This is a country with a burgeoning and confident middle class that is attracting back its diaspora of citizens. When business is driving change, there are remarkable changes taking place. India’s seething populace is a deep well of often remarkable talent: visit Silicon Valley in the USA to see the truth of it. Look at some of the traditional structures and far less is changing: most notably political structures and an underlying ooze of corruption that ensure that too many infrastructure projects in which the state has a guiding hand are awash with back handers and failed delivery.

India’s Commonwealth Games are growing more tainted by the day with falling bridge fatalities and an Athlete’s Village that provoked storms of protest from the visiting teams. The UK team is staying in a hotel and the New Zealand team has employed contract cleaners before moving out themselves. Some teams are considering not attending and others are horrified. This is supposed to show the New India of the 21st century. Instead it is showing the India of bygone years.

Indian nationals are not, sadly, surprised. They had hoped for better but have  now retreated back into a shocked and somewhat sullen silence. How horrifying to see the vast abyss between India and China and its Beijing Olympics. It is apparent that India’s great leap forward has not been accompanied by an infrastructure leap. For many Indians, the hope is that the augeon stable of national politics may get a much needed cleanup in the near future, but few are holding their breaths in anticipation.

In 2009 India’s National reputation scored  as 22/34 countries among G8 nationals. Interestingly, Indians expected to score in 8th position. Perhaps India wowed by the last ten years has lost sight of what it really is capable of. Their self image score was 82/100, but foreigners scored them at 50/100. The commonwealth games suggests that foreigners may well be right.

National reputations rise and fall each year but it takes time to develop infrastructure and political structures. India may have much further to go before it political institutions are a match for the innovative world beaters of their private sector!

Commonwealth Games and India Reputation

The  Commonwealth Games which was touted to be India’s show of new power and splendour is soon becoming another show of the deep corruption that the country is pickled in. From the bureaucracy that needs to be paid in the order of their status to nepotism, India is unable to come out of  these ‘tags’ while hosting international sporting events.

To the nouveau Indian wanting to see development and the doing away of corruption and introduction of transparency, the fact that eight RTI (Right To Information) activists were killed in seven months shows there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

While a large number of people question why the country made the bid to host the CWG in the first place, others hoped the capital city will be spruced up to international standards. Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International airport is probably the only saving grace in the corruption hit games now.

From exorbitant prices from treadmills to toilet paper, Suresh Kalmadi and honchos seem to have milked crores of rupees at every possible point. The money trails all lead to more sleaze and nepotism.

For sports-lovers the anguish is in how all this money could have actually given better protein rich food to the Rugby team or better facilities to sportsmen and women in the country.

For now The Commonwealth Games is fast turning into India’s shame and the 8% growth the country is showing seems to be all hollow. Sports in the country is really only about cricket and the highly successful IPL too had its share of sleaze.

Most people would tend to agree with former sports minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, when he shocked people a few weeks ago with this statement…

“I am very happy with the rains, firstly because it will ensure a good agriculture for the country and secondly because it will ensure that the Commonwealth Games are spoilt”

A day ago Indian football captain Baichung Bhutia came out with a more scathing remark…

“It’s not a good idea to host the Games. What are the parameters for hosting a good Games? Fancy roads, which we have (in Delhi). Fancy airport, which we have. But what we don’t have is proper infrastructure. The government is not aware of the real picture of our infrastructure”

India national reputation continues to be of corruption, sleaze and lack of transparency, but of late, a lot of it is being exposed through a watchful media and that is a huge change for the country.

Air India flying low

Battling with a damaged reputation and internal unrest!

The national carrier of India, “Air India” seems to be in a complete disarray after a series of recent incidents jolting the reputation of the nation’s oldest airlines. Even before Air India could resurrect its image from the tragic crash in Mangalore which killed 158 passengers, another blow came with a strike called by Air India employees unions.

The internal unrest among the employees and management is due to faliure of the management to follow through on its latest verbal agreement to pay the lowest paid employees by July 3. The lowest paid unionized employees make less than $100 a week. Employees were angered with their pay being delayed at a time when the airline continued to buy new planes. This sorry state highlights the distorted image of the national carrier being plagued by chronic indiscipline. They lost credibility and with the mounting pressure to stay ahead in the race, Air India seems to have lost its track. This series of crisis exposes Air India’s inability to deal with crisis management. Here is what Air India’s spokesperson had to say to CNN IBN :

“We will not tolerate any strike. Striking employees will be subject to loss of wages and productive incentives.”

Left with a cumulative loss of about Rs 8000 crore, a battered reputation, and unsatisfied employees and customers, the international carrier will have a hard time to regain its respect. Absence of a solid PR is something they need to bring in to salvage their reputation. With competition and competitors looming high, Reputation Management does not think Air India can afford to take this luxury to give PR a miss. High time they mend and sort the crisis before its too late to fasten their seat belts.

CAT out of the bag- uncertainty remains at IIM !

India’s premier business school, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and the glitches that happened on its first online CAT (Common Admission Test) has put a lot of aspirants in a state of limbo. While rumours are rife that there is going to be a written re-test in January nothing is clear yet. All seven IIMs had signed a 5-year contract with Prometric to conduct online CAT tests all over the country.

The first three days of the test had problems ranging from server crashing to hours lost in finger-printing and photographing, to a few getting more time for their test while others having PCs crashing mid-way. The fourth day had lesser problems but had its share of problems as well.

A recent update on the CAT website says, “The decision to conduct computerised CAT was taken unanimously by all IIMs. The contract for delivery of computerised CAT was awarded to Prometric, a world leader in computerised test delivery. IIMs were responsible for generating questions for the tests and Prometric was responsible for conducting the test…”

IIM Lucknow director Devi Singh said: “There is a certain level of output that is expected and everything will have to be reviewed. We will evaluate the entire experience of CAT 2009 after all this is over, and if problems pile up, everything concerning the 5-year contract with Prometric will need to come back to the table afresh. We will be professionals,” he said.

The IIMs are India’s pride and the focal point for multi-nationals looking to recruit the crème of the country. So there is a global reputation at stake now for the CAT but to be fair they have never had to deal with any  dent in reputation in the written tests that have been conducted all these years. So mighty is the IIM brand reputation and the national reputation it gives to India that this is an issue that need quick solving.

As for Prometric, after bagging this prestigious order itis now having to do some serious company crisis management of its own. This was the make or break deal, damage limitation should be the way ahead for them. Watch this space for updates on whether they will scrap the online tests all together or plough on with the decisions made.