A celebration of cliches – Lifestyle News

By Shivaji Dasgupta

A celebration of cliches, Harit Nagpal’s book is trapped between genres of defensible writing. Conversational storytelling competes with strategic decrees, which may excite the ambitious amateur seeking the refuge of dramatised evidence.

In construction, the book’s effort is about reinforcing certain fundamentals of business and brands. Valuable most certainly are the tenets of organisational growth, rooted in deep experience. What the author says is certainly logical and verifiable, the reader must be suitably reassured; just that the technique of delivery is amply confusing. Also, the worldview is surely not news in any dimension.Introducing a man who once possessed floors in the iconic Burj Khalifa, luxury cars, and a private jet, only to sell his Rs 12,400 crore company for a mere Rs 74Inside the lavish Rs 4100 crore private jet of Saudi Prince Al Waleed; Know about his luxurious lifestyle, mansions, family, and moreMeet the billionaire who co-founded a company worth Rs 632030 crore, he owns over 700 apartments, and his net worth is…Vikram Salgaoncar: The lesser-known nephew of Mukesh Ambani and cousin of Akash, Anant, Isha Ambani; Know about his career and net worth

The book is a set of stories articulated across continents, from Bangladesh to Italy to Pakistan and even a fictional interspatial entity called Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter. Rather surprisingly, India is not a priority in the context setting, strange surely for a book delivered by a local publisher. Dhaka, Milan and Lahore may be attractive cinematic destinations but their relevance in a handbook as such can be queried. Unless, of course, the ambition is a global footprint, valid surely…

Most bewildering is the Malaysia story about the air-conditioning brand Breze (sic) and a stalwart called Nur, appointed as CEO by a seemingly demanding boss called Amir. The lady actually discovers that the brand of air-conditioner is ranked fourth and not the market leader in the first business meeting and not by a kindergarten Google search. For a professional and a family shifting continents, this is certainly astonishing due diligence. Having said that, this chapter is filled with impressive anecdotes on building a customer engagement network to build a differentiated value proposition.

The opening chapter set in Bangladesh represents the tale of a US-based immigrant, Sam, who has acquired a loss-making brand called Wallah. His conversations with Driver Kazi quite evocatively sets up the new-age milieu of optimism that the country is amply demonstrating. It also contains valuable truths about segmentation strategies, especially the need to keep them fluid and human. The larger point about resonating with user insights is certainly truthful, albeit painfully obvious.

In the Milanese tale of Punto Di Vista (PdV), the focus is squarely on setting up a culture of listening to customers and thereby constantly being on ‘adapt’ mode. The generational interplay between father and son (Marco and Stefano) will also sound familiar to professionals, as this is a continuing pattern globally. Resolved, here and everywhere, by ears being firmly planted to firm terrain and managing to bridge the gap between past and future, with the present being a dynamic and sustainable bridge.

‘eBamboo Dance’, the B2C bamboo range curated by Geeta, James and Coomar in Jamaica also reinforces certain unshakeable truths. The cross-cultural interplay is educative as is the organic transition from a B2B mindset to direct customer interface, based on the fundamental fuel of driving compelling propositions. Another important lesson was how the eco-friendly range of cups and filters did not perform brilliantly, as mass consumers do not pay a premium for environment virtues sans functionality. At large, it does put forth sensible scenarios for building portfolios.

The Europa story, science fiction in the soul, argues efficiently about the strategic role of distribution in every business, now as well as in 2081. In fact, the involvement of frontline sales staff in mainstream business decisions is well articulated, and a lesson to look beyond the boardroom for answers. The YGB (Your Ghana Bank) tale articulates effectively the role of powerful emotions in building genuine consumer connect. Interspersed in this narrative is young Ekow’s ambition to set up a grocery brand, with the core ingredients of identifying sweet spots and delivering successfully.

Kismat Constructions in Lahore is an episode of growing a category by breaking pre-set assumptions and conventions. The journey from unbranded to branded demand, the larger pie remaining more or less constant, is an important perspective for many emerging markets, with a clear line of sight in building differentiated value. Trinity, the New Zealand-based internet service provider, comes to the party in order to emphasise the merit of focused reviews, beyond the ritualistic rigmarole of powerpoint. A meaningful and sustainable ongoing evaluation mechanism, across the organisation, becomes a driver for growth.

Dinaz Khorsandi’s saga at WeSolve in London is a charming tale of how cultures driven by people are a necessary and often underrated aspect of successful entities. Kantee’s story of Dara stores in Thailand touches briefly on the timeless yet timely need to stay relevant and ensure that margins are at the forefront of continuing agendas.

Nagpal’s theme of constant adaptation to thrive and not just survive is certainly indisputable. Back to Basics appears as a compelling adhesive, in tandem with hands-on street smart innovation. Within the complex web of fiction-inspired storytelling, resides thinking that cannot be refuted. Just that, it may test the patience of readers seeking fresh learnings, considering the awesome credentials of the author.

The author is an autonomous brand consultant and writer.

Book name: Adapt: To Thrive, Not Just Survive

Author: Harit Nagpal

Publisher: Westland Books

Pp 224, Rs 599


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