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Vihaan’s Cincinnati Childrens Museum Trip December 20, 2006

Posted by Laxmi Goutham Vulpala in Uncategorized.
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Finally took Vihaan to the Childrens museum over the weekend. He had loads of fun at  the place

 some photos

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Migration of Labor from Mahaboobnagar (Palamoor) December 15, 2006

Posted by Laxmi Goutham Vulpala in Uncategorized.
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Here is an heart wrenching documentary on Mahaboobnagar. I was very disturbed after watching this Video,. Though I spent first 21 years of my life there I never knew it was so bad, I guess we were pretty much insulated from all the poverty around. The Statistics mentioned in the documentary are comparable the levels of HDI indices in Sub Saharan Africa and way lower than other parts of India and Andhra.Yet none of the politicians seem to care.

 This phenomenon of migration to cities  should have been good for the district as most rural to urban migration provides more oppurtunities to people and helps raises their standard of living , Why isnt this happening in Mahaboobnagar’s case?If this kind of migration has been going on for decades why hasnt there been a Cash Infow from the migrants who earn more in cities?

Brand Equity and why its important December 11, 2006

Posted by Laxmi Goutham Vulpala in Uncategorized.
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Brand equity is an intangible asset built up by company overtime by building awareness, having a well-known name or a clear identity, consistent communications, marketing to the consumer, acting socially responsible, and spending on advertising and promoting the brand.

  

It is important because the products associated with the brand command a premium price in the market and are perceived to be higher quality when compared to the similar generic unbranded products. Brand equity also offers competitive advantages by reducing the marketing costs (because of high brand awareness and loyalty) to firms that enjoy high   “Brand Equity” and thus enhances their earnings.

  Brand equity is created over a long period of time by using investing employing various tools like advertising, public relations (PR), sponsorships, events, social causes etc around the entity that’s marketed. Once the brand equity has been created it is also important to carefully manage and overtime grow the equity of the brand employing the same tools mentioned above.  If not dealt with carefully, there is a chance the brand equity is destroyed over time.

Vihaan’s 2nd Birthday November 14, 2006

Posted by Laxmi Goutham Vulpala in Uncategorized.
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Today is Vihaan’s second birthday, He was surprised and felt shy when he woke up and we sang “Happy Birth Day” to him in the morning. He looked at the banners and said, Vinnu Khush Khush

 Took off from work today so we could go to temple and get some shopping done for the party over the weekend.

Newell Rubbermaid Destroys a Growth Mode – Case Summary November 2, 2006

Posted by Laxmi Goutham Vulpala in case studies, Uncategorized.
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Background

Newell Rubbermaid was formed in 1999 when Newell acquired Rubbermaid, a competitor for $6.3 billion. Prior to the acquisition until the 1990’s Rubbermaid was growing very strongly with the stock routinely returning 25% annually, but it began faltering in mid 1990’s partly because of its inability to meet the service demands from Wal-Mart its major customer. Newell specialized in buying small marginal firms and improving their operations, it focused on buying firms that had a strong brand name but mediocre customer service.

Newell’s assessment was that Rubbermaid was a troubled company and by improving its operations and customer service up to Newell’s performance standards they could enhance the profitability and deliver value to the shareholders. Newell’s plans never materialized after the acquisition as it could not turn around quickly which led to the tanking of stock price leading to a loss of around 50% of the company’s value.
Mistakes

Newell underestimated the problems at Rubbermaid prior to the acquisition, though they used a similar strategy of acquisitions earlier, the size of these firms was small compared to the size of Rubbermaid. Rubbermaid’s on time delivery problems to their biggest customer Wal-Mart surfaced in 1995, in spite of spending around $62 million in technology they could not appreciable improve their delivery provides the most damning indictment of its operations. Newell’s eagerness to acquire a strong brand caused them to overlook the deficiencies at Rubbermaid and overestimating Rubbermaid’s value and synergies the merger would offer.
Lessons Learnt

Rubbermaid did not provide adequate service to its biggest customer Wal-Mart and took too long to correct the situation. When dealing with big retailers Brand Name only goes so far, meeting their service and delivery standards is absolutely essential for the success for a manufacturing company.

Big acquisitions should not be done in haste; enough research needs to be done about the state of the company being acquired and the potential savings and synergies that will result from the acquisition.

Once the firm retracts from growth mode it is difficult to get back on track as it is evident from Newell Rubbermaid, which even after the hiring a high-profile marketing CEO could not turn around the company.
Case Source (Marketing Mistakes and Sucesses Hartley)

Second car 1996-Dodge intrepid October 30, 2006

Posted by Laxmi Goutham Vulpala in Life in general, Uncategorized.
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Finally was able to finish up my used car purchase.  I think I got a good deal inspite of having to spend 400 bucks on the front bumper assembly.

 Lets see how this works out.

Merck’s Vioxx Catastrophe – Case Summary October 26, 2006

Posted by Laxmi Goutham Vulpala in case studies, Uncategorized.
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Background

Merck is one of the most reputable drug companies. It is very highly regarded for its   innovative drug discoveries to treat diseases such as AIDS, Osteoporosis, High cholesterol and Hypertension and have improved the human lives around the world.
Merck’s innovative ability, its reputation along with the meticulous submission of documents  allowed the company to secure FDA approvals much faster than its competitors.

When Merck released its drug Vioxx for the treatment of arthritis, the drug’s effectiveness combined with an effective direct to consumer marketing campaign made it a blockbuster drug with $2.5 billion in sales, but when it was revealed during a study that the drug increased risk of cardio vascular disease by at least three times, Merck quickly withdrew the drug from the market.

Mistakes

Merck can be faulted for several questionable decisions and judgments with the Vioxx launch. They either ignored or dismissed several early indications of increased risk of heart attacks both in its own studies and other published articles, in an attempt to get to the market faster. This proved to be deadly when further studies conformed the suspicions and lead to ultimately lead to another bad decision of recalling the drug from the market too soon. This was probably an attempt to avoid potential lawsuits, when the jury was still out on whether the benefits of vioxx outweighed its risks. Merck should instead of a recalling, should have continued to work with FDA and have them make the decision of what corrective action needs to be taken.

The decision to withdraw neither helped Merck with the pending lawsuits nor improved their image, as they would have hoped for, instead they lost the market of customers who would still have taken Vioxx in spite of the risks.

Lessons Learnt

As a result of this fiasco, implications for big pharmaceutical firms like Merck are clear, they have take more time to conduct more clinical studies and assess the health risks associated with the drugs even if it means a delay in the entry of the drug into the market.

They also need to be more open and communicate these risks more effectively to doctors and patients using these drugs, this will help prevent potentially devastating lawsuits. They will also need lobby for favorable legislations to limit damages awarded in case something goes bad unintentionally.

Merck  also need to emphasize and communicate more effectively about  the amount of money spend for social programs and how their research saved innumerable lives and counter the negative press they receive for their high prices.

Source (Marketing Mistakes and Sucesses Hartley)

Buying an Used Car October 24, 2006

Posted by Laxmi Goutham Vulpala in Uncategorized.
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Buying a used car can be quite stressful, I am shopping around for a cheap used car and I realise how cumbersome the whole process is and how it eats up lots of time.

There is an option to directly buy from a dealer and avoid all the hassles of buying from a private owner but then the cost difference is too big to ignore.

When buying from a private owner, Information Assymetry comes into play, Obviously the buyer cannot find out  everything about the car  in a small test drive and seller doesnt reveal everything he knows about the condition of the car.Taking it to a mechanic isnt an option in all cases.

Here is where I think most owners who maintain their car well and honest sellers  lose out. It is assumed by the buyer that car has more toubles than the seller is willing to reveal, and the buyer  will offer a discounted value based off the faulty assumption.

Looking up for values of the car in kbb.com and edmunds.com is another reason for my gripe. The spread of values of car on both sides is too huge  sometimes there is a 50 – 100% difference. So dont know whom to trust.  Also the “condition” of the car as an option is too arbitrary.How does the buyer evaluate between “good” and “fair” for a 10 year old car?

Looking up the VIN in CarFax does help to a certain extent to make sure that the car has a clear title and was not rebuilt

Vihaan’s attitude October 11, 2006

Posted by Laxmi Goutham Vulpala in Uncategorized.
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Yesterday night, Vihaan had a fit when I didnt give him something and started throwing tantrums,He was angry at me  and threw one of the books I was reading down.I  wanted him to say sorry for what he did.  I dont know what he had in mind but for some reason he just  didnt want to say the word sorry.He went crying to swapna and my mom and thought they would come to his rescue, but when they also insisted that he say sorry, he kept crying, we told him that everyone would stop talking to him and no one would ever play with him again, still didnt say sorry, this went on for 1:30 hr when we were finally planning to sleep, he finally came to to me and said sorry after a lot of crying.

Considering that he is just 22 months old I dont understand how he has such big ego (may be because he is a scorpio), It’s definitely bigger than mine and swapna’s for sure. 

Officially 31 today October 2, 2006

Posted by Laxmi Goutham Vulpala in Life in general, Uncategorized.
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Cant believe I am 31 already. Life goes on so fast, Lately I don’t enjoy my birth day’s any more, Its depressing that I am already in my 30’s.