Secrets to Brand Success - Book Review:Strategic Brand Communication Campaigns

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

 Title: Strategic Brand Communication Campaign Revised 5th edition
Language: English
Author: Beth E. Barnes, Don E. Schultz
Genre:  Education - Management
Publisher: The McGraw-Hill Companies(1999)
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 400 

What is the secret for a brand to be successful in the highly competitive market place of the 21st century? If you want to find an answer to this question and many more, Strategic Brand Communication Campaign by Don E. Schult and Beth E. Barnes, is the perfect book for you.

Today advertising alone cannot assure the success of a product or a service in the market. Today’s market place is very complex and hence a brand requires a highly developed mode of promotion to survive.

The authors have compared today’s market situation with the traditional system. They start with the very basic elements of marketing by describing four Ps: product, place (of distribution), price, and promotion. The transition, which took place in various economies between 1960 to 1990, is also dealt with very thoroughly. After 1990, the book mentions how the customer and the consumers have started exercising greater control over the market and the various strategies that dominate it.

There is a serious indication that information technology will play a key role for accessing market information. This gives rise to a need for a critical form of communication. This form of communication must be broader and perhaps deeper than present day marketing itself.

The authors say that this critical form of communication itself is a brand that communicates value to customers and prospects. The term “Integrated Brand Communication” (IBC) is used for this form.

According to them, IBC is the process of identifying and managing contacts with customers in the form of sales, promotion, advertising and public relation. For this they discuss the different aspects of consumer behaviour, consumer research, budgeting, massmedia, public relation, sales promotion, direct marketing and media planning.

There are different plans in the “IBC” strategy. The book analyses the way to determine or define brand share of the total category usage by a customer or group of customers. For determining relevant customer value, they mention Recency-Frequency Measurement (RFM) analysis and value analysis. RFM determines only the amount of income that the brand organization has generated from the customer or customer group. After knowing the customer value, a set of objectives has to be determined. That’s why they analyse customer pattern with reference to three categories of consumers, i.e. existing, competing, and emerging categories.

The authors analyse consumer behaviour from the point of supermarket purchasing pattern. By applying Elaboration Likelihood Model, they analyse persuasive communication, and motivation theory in relation to consumer.

For brand building, mass media advertising also plays a certain role. Thus vivid descriptions of how a campaign should be conducted, is found in the book.

One of the big important issues is which channels should be used for brand promotion. Trade sales promotion is one of them. The book analyses different strategies from slotting allowances, forward buying, and diversion.

They also give description about financial measurement on basis of return on investment policy.

Overall this book is really interesting. Anyone without knowledge of management can also understand it very easily. Today we are faced with a highly dynamic market situation, where the consumer is the trendsetter. This book will go a long way in helping him understand the ways of the market in which he plays such an important role.


Book Review: A Manifesto in Idealism

Tuesday, April 02, 2013 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

Title: Chankaya's New Manifesto
Language: English
Author: Pavan K Varma
Genre:  Non Fiction - Political Science
Publisher:  Aleph Book Company (2013)
ISBN - 10: 9382277099
ISBN-13: 9789382277095
Binding: Paperback
Price: Rs. 295 (Buy from Flipkart for Rs.201)
Pages: 248

Synopsis: A nation betrayed by its own leaders needs to find its feet again in a fast changing world. India is again at crossroads and in urgent need of a new direction that will take it back to its former glory. In Chanakya's New Manifesto, author Pavan Varma puts up a five stage plan to restore the dignity of a country stripped by successive governments that have filled their own coffers while ignoring the plight of its billions! He argues against dynastic rule, suggesting that the sacrifices made by the ancestors of an individual should in no way act as a reward for future generations.  In this wonderful book, Pavan Varma puts across an idealistic path towards a secure future for the country, which sounds logically correct, with sound reasoning.

Detailed Review

The book begins by tracing the origins of Chanakya and his association with Chandragupta, his formulation of the arthasastra and the subsequent inspiration this vast manuscript on everything involving governance had on the creation of Chanakya's New Manifesto.

Next Pavan Varma, highlights the crisis facing our vast country in the fields of
  1. Governance - where India is now lagging behind countries which were once looking towards India for direction and are now having growth rates, India is dreaming about.
  2. Democracy - the criminalization of  politics and the inadequate representation of the people. The need to reform the parliamentary system and the constitution! 
  3. Corruption - 2G, 3G, and what not and how the perpetrators are beyond the reach of the law and are being shielded by our representatives!
  4. Security - the MEA seems to be incapable of handling any threats to the country despite having some of the best intelligence resources at its disposal. The rise of naxalism and the absence of a unified response to the same!
  5. An Inclusive Society - A dream of the Mahatma which still remains elusive due to petty vote-bank politics.
 Of course the book talks about these things in much details providing us with an up to the minute information about the problems facing our nation. Chanakya’s New Manifesto, details the pressing charges that hinder the progress of our country towards being a self-sustained global superpower. 

In the next passage titled 1947 and After - the author speaks about the impact of the events during and after the partition/independence  on the direction taken by our country. Here he quotes eminent economists and columnists to highlight how the seeds for dynastic politics were sown quite early with the emergence of personality cults and how this was the anti-thesis of a democratic structure! 

To quote " If a democratic India is the legacy of 1947, the distortions in the functioning of democracy today are because nobody thought it necessary to question them."

From then on the author has decided to tackle the aforementioned problems providing a set of rules/guidelines which can be implemented in the near future to begin the nation's journey back towards a semblance of dignity and glory.

With a crisp narrative and a point-by-point description of the problems facing the nation and a similar approach towards the resolution of these "perceived" weaknesses, Pavan Varma gets us to think for a change. Ideally this book will take a long time for us to digest and as such, this review should have been written about 4 weeks ago. But the topic is such that a thorough understanding takes a long time. 

Chanakya's New Manifesto, takes on the tone of a college text-book (it may actually end up as one) and keeps the reader engrossed.

Book Blurb

Chanakya (c. 270-380 BCE) was classical India's greatest thinker and teacher. Through his unparalleled ability to devise result-oriented military, political, and administrative strategy, he overthrew one king, crowned another and paved the way for the establishment of India's first great empire. His seminal work, the Arthashashtra, arguably the world's first comprehensive treatise on statecraft and governance, was written approximately two thousand years before Machiavelli's The Prince.

What would Chanakya do if confronted with the various crises that beset contemporary India? Using this question as the starting point for his new book, celebrated writer and thinker Pavan K. Varma has drawn up a practical and detailed plan, modelled on the Arthashashtra, to bring about reform and change in five key areas that require urgent attention governance, democracy, corruption, security, and the building of an inclusive society. Whether it is laying the foundation for an independent and effective Lokpal, or decriminalizing politics and successfully weeding out the corrupt, the solutions he proposes are substantive, well within the constitutional framework, and can make all the difference between intent and action.

Chanakya's New Manifesto is both a call to action as well as a deeply insightful account of the challenges facing the country today. It is a book that should be attentively read by everybody with a stake in India's future.

  1. Matter of Fact approach
  2. Very good language that is not difficult to grasp despite being a difficult topic.
  3. A point by point summary of the problems facing the nation and a point by point rebuttal.
  4. A sound and logical reasoning without any jingoism or rhetoric.

  • To the educated, the problems are not something new, in that we have a nagging feeling that we've read the stuff before.
  • a five-point delimitation of the chapters could have been furthur structured with possible sub-points to present the problems in more detail (but then could have made the book more bulky)
  • At some point it appears too idealistic and utopian.
Who will like this?
People who like to keep abreast of the general politics and current affairs.

Buy or Don't Buy?

A definite buy if you are even minutely interested in nation building.(Buy from Flipkart for Rs.201)  

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Book review - Engrossing Thriller: Mukul Deva's RIP

Tuesday, February 05, 2013 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

Title: RIP
Language: English
Author: Mukul Deva
Genre:  Fiction - Mystery & Detective
Publisher: Westland (2012)
ISBN - 10: 9382618198
ISBN-13: 9789382618195
Binding: Paperback
Price: Rs. 200 (Buy from Flipkart for Rs.150)
Pages: 298


It is not often that we review books, but some simply call for attention. So this one by one of the best fiction writers in the country, Mukul Deva. I have heard about his other books before, but never managed to get a hand on them due to my busy schedule, however when BlogAdda offered the book for review, I was among the first to sign up. And boy, he doesn't let us down. This book is a take on the current fluid democratic system in the country and the maladies plaguing it. A page turner from the first page, this is one novel you must read!!

Detailed Review: 

The story begins on page one. No introductory backgrounds for this one. A daring assassination plot is in its final stages in not one, not two but three different cities across India.  The quarry are high profile politicos and their benefactors. The time is now, India as a democracy is faltering due to the corruption, nepotism and blatant rape of the motherland, and it is left to a select group of Individuals who call themselves The Resurgent Indian Patriots (RIP) to lead an awakening among the masses.

At the heart of the story is Colonel Krishna Athawale, now retired, of the 19th Para-troopers of the Indian army, who loses his wife to one of the rescuers own bullets, in a successful operation of getting back a hijacked airline. He along with his team (the K-Team) plot a daring set of plans to strike at the root of corruption in the political system.

The story progresses at a rapid pace and brings this the Colonel face to face with his bete-noire Captain Raghav (also retired) in a thrilling finale which will blow your mind away!

The narrative is crisp and free flowing. There is also a romantic side-story which I believe could have been done away with completely without taking anything away from the story. The language is very easy to follow without any technical jargon as some of the novels today have. The characters of the book are relatable as well easy to connect with. The use of contemporary names and political backgrounds of most of the characters does make it a very likeable read, especially since the mood of the nation is one where a cleansing of the political offices is something we look forward to.

One also gets the feeling that the author is a Vigilante at heart :D

StoryR.I.P. The Resurgent Indian Patriots. Self appointed guardians of a nation seething with anger at the endless scams and scandals rocking its very foundation. Vigilantes who vow to stop corrupt politicians and colluding civil servants. Even if it means killing them. Colonel Krishna Athawale and his team of Special Forces officers rally to protect the country from the enemy within. They call themselves the K-Team. And no one is safe from their deadly intent. Hellbent on stopping them is Raghav Bhagat, rogue para commando, gun for hire and Krishna’s bĂȘte noir. Caught in the crossfire is Vinod Bedi, Special Director CBI. Reena Bhagat, a glamorous news anchor, embittered by her husband’s betrayal. And two young boys, Sachin and Azaan, torn apart by the loss of a parent. It doesn’t get bigger.


  1. The biggest positive is the easy language which will keep the reader engrossed from start to finish.
  2. The story which has every twist and turn you can imagine and more!
  3. As many of his previous novels have won popular and critical acclaim, so is this one going to be an all time best seller!
  4. The story is a fictional one .Still ,the references are so direct that it leaves nothing to imagination.
  5. It doesn't confuse you, despite the insane amounts of intricacy this particular genre can involve. 
Negatives: A bollywood story line is the only thing that can put you away from this book. A previous novel of the author will be soon made into a bollywood movie. Perhaps inspired by that, the story of this one has made some detours, providing for romantic interludes amidst the fast paced action/mystery/thriller.
Who will enjoy this? - Everyone!!

Buy or Don’t Buy? –  Definite buy from me. Flipkart at the moment is even giving a Rs.50  discount on the cover price.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at  ... Participate now to get free books! 



Book Review: Winter Evenings - Nostalgic Reading for Everyone!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

Title:Winter Evenings
Language: English
Author: Navtej Sarna
Genre:  Fiction
Publisher: Rupa Publications (2012)
ISBN - 10: 812912047X
ISBN-13: 9788129120472
Binding: Hardcover
Price: Rs. 350 (Buy from Flipkart for Rs.301)
Pages: 148

A Collection of beautifully woven and intricate short stories that need not necessarily be fiction, "Winter Stories" by Navtej Sarna is a wonderful book to read by a warm fireplace on a cold winter evening! The narrative is crisp and uncomplicated and makes for easy reading without much jargon!t

Detailed Review:  A Collection of 19 short stories that are not interlinked and neither do all carry any message, this book is beautifully written to capture the angst and nostalgia that usually sets in during the winter! The author Navtej Sarna draws on his vast experience in bureaucratic circles and trips abroad to weave a collection of stories, some of which, have been published in various newspapers and magazines over the years.

The narrative is free flowing and keeps the reader engrossed from beginning to end. The language is simple, crisp and lucid and at no time does the reader feel the need to put down the book because he is unable to follow the narrative. The reader will be taken into the wintry landscapes in which the stories are set, such is the strength of the written word.

The stories remind me of the Doordarshan serial - Ek Kahani which had similarly poignant stories in serialised format and which took a significant time of my television viewing during my early childhood!

Story:  TTwo men stuck in a small mountain town develop an unlikely and unspoken friendship; a punctilious bureaucrat becomes briefly reckless at the end of his career; a high- class prostitute on vacation reads The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock to a man recovering from the end of a long affair; the ghosts of Partition return in 1984 to destroy the equilibrium of a tough Sikh matriarch; an ageing widow finds freedom and peace in poetry. In clean, understated prose Navtej Sarnas stories take us through the landscapes of Moscow, Geneva, Shimla, Paris, Delhi and Bombay, where everyday people find or lose their way in life quietly, almost by accident.


  1. The biggest positive is the easy language which will keep the reader engrossed from start to finish.
  2. The author seems has put in written word his experiences and thoughts during his service with the Indian Diplomatic Bureau.
  3. This book reminds me of the old Hindi serial Ek Kahani that used to be aired on Doordarshan during Sunday evenings and has many angst driven poignant stories that take the reader back to the golden days of life without technology!
Negatives: None that I can think of except may be the price of the book.
    Who will enjoy this? - Everyone!!

    Buy or Don’t Buy? –  Definite buy from me. Flipkart at the moment is even giving a Rs.50  discount on the cover price.

    This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at  ... Participate now to get free books!