Can IKEA Succeed in India?

IKEA is one of those iconic global brands that people either love or hate. Customers in Europe, where it has been operating for the longest time, love the cheap prices and the clean Scandinavian design sensibility. On the other hand, those who hate IKEA deride its cheap furniture and impossible to understand instructions for assembling…

Zara: Fast Fashion and RFID

Last month I had the opportunity to visit Zara headquarters in La Coruna, Spain for a second time. A decade since my last visit, this company has continued to blaze a trail in the apparel industry, inventing what is now dubbed as “fast fashion.” Sales in 2017 for Inditex, the holding company (Zara accounts for…

Do We Need Chief Strategy Officers?

The Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) is a curious position. Some companies have them, while in other companies, such a position does not exist. In the latter, when you enquire why there is no Chief Strategy Officer in the organization, the CEO will dismiss the idea that such a position would add any value.  As one…

What is Strategy?

My first teaching assignment at SMU (Singapore Management University) was teaching the core strategy course in the DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) program. This was an interesting assignment.  Despite a thirty-year teaching career, I had previously never taught a strategy course. Of course, over the years, there had been many comments by students of my…

How Should Business Engage with Sustainability?

Given the weekend read of last week, it is not surprising that some of the largest companies in the world are now producing annual sustainability reports. As an example, the GE sustainability report states: At GE, sustainability means aligning our business strategy to meet societal needs while minimizing environmental impact and advancing social development… Business…

Is Sustainability a Business Challenge?

The Challenge to the Planet The world population is expected to grow from the 7.5 billion currently (5 billion in 1987) to 10 billion by 2050. This increase is driven by a combination of enhanced life expectancy and high birth rates. While the former has been a global phenomenon, the latter is restricted to the…

Brand Mission, Vision or Illusion?

A great brand needs direction. The brand’s mission statement, which in the case of the corporate brand is the company’s mission statement, helps articulate “why the brand exists?” Unfortunately, too many mission statements are too superficial, diffused, or bland to help answer the fundamental question of “why we exist” for its owners, management, and employees….

Do Global Brands Create Value?

My co-author and friend of many years, Professor Jan-Benedict Steenkamp, mailed me a complimentary copy of his latest book, Global Brand Strategy. A month later, I finally got around to reading it this week.

Can B2B Companies Evolve into B2C Companies?

The Financial Times recently featured the Chinese giant Huawei and its success in becoming the world’s third largest smartphone company. This is truly a remarkable achievement for Huawei. As articulated in the Brand Breakout book (co-authored with J-B Steenkamp), evolving from a B2B company into a consumer company is not easy, especially for a company…

Does Increasing Power Portend War?

For some reason, inexplicable to me, my two favourite research papers, are also my two least successful in terms of citations. Perhaps they were published in the wrong journals. This week I would like to report on one of them. While the empirical analysis was done in a distribution channels context, it has fascinating implications…

Is Apple Doomed?

Over the past 15 months, the Apple stock has fallen by 20-25 percent and now trades at a price earnings multiple of around 12, which is not particularly high for a technology company that makes products so beloved by consumers. Followers of my posts know that I do not subscribe to stock picking and, as…

Incremental or Radical innovation?

Innovation and leadership are two topics in management which have received so much attention from “gurus” that it is hard to say anything new on these subjects. I rarely read articles on these subjects as they tend to suffer from the “old wine in new bottles” curse. Yet, both topics remain vitally important for building…