Wanted – created or alive ?

Author : Kausani Dey , MBA -I

For decades, famous personalities have attached themselves to big brands but in some cases brands have created personalities. These non- living personalities have not only marketed the brands admirably but they have become the brand ambassadors themselves. The charm of these ads lies not only in the content but also the creativity of the makers who have kept true to life.  The impressions they left on the viewers have made them larger than life. Here is some of the famous and most creative non-living personalities ever created…..

I’m a Barbie girl……..in the Barbie world !

Barbra Millicent Roberts a.k.a Barbie, the fashion doll is one of the most selling toys of the century. After getting inspired from a German doll called Bild Lilli; Ruth Handler (co-founder of Mattel,Inc) invented Barbie and launched in 1959.To date, over 70 fashion designers have made clothes for Mattel, using over 105 million yards of fabric.For 50 odd years the fashion diva has managed to keep her fan following intact.


Wild wild west – Smokin’ guns !! 

The most influential brand image of the century, the Marlboro Man stands worldwide as the ultimate macho man, helping establish Marlboro as the best-selling cigarette in the world. It transformed a feminine campaign, with the tagline “Mild as May”, into one that was masculine macho one “delivers goods on flavor”, in a very short span of time. The sales went up sky-rocketing.Even those who dislike the tobacco industry will agree that the Marlboro Man has had unparalleled success as a global marketing tool.

Tyre-ed !! 

 Bibendum – The Michelin Man, cuddly mummy-like creature is the mascot of Michelin tyres since 1898 . First created by imagination of Michelin brothers and paintbrush of talented poster artist O’gallopin alias MaruiusRossillion, it was an immediately great success.Today, Bibendum is one of the world’s most recognized trademarks, representing Michelin in over 150 countries.


It’s a bird……it’s an egg…..no it’s zoozoos ! 

During the Indian Premier League Season 2,somethingother than cricket also captured the attention of the audience. The cuddly white creature with ballooned bodies and egg heads called ZooZoos were a hit among the Indian audience. They were used to promote various value added services of Vodafone. The ads were created by RajivRao and PrakashVarma of Ogilvy & Mather, the agency handling Vodafone advertisements.There are more than 200 pages on Zoo Zoos having over 200000 fans, growing daily. Vodafone received the first People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) 2009 Glitterbox Award, for replacing the Pug with more humane alternatives in their ads.



Utterly, butterly delicious !!

Her wit,unique style of exploring current affairs and sense of humor has always been a subject of fascination. This chubby Amulbutter girl in polka dotted dress has won everybody’s heart.In 1966, Sylvester daCunha, then M.D of the advertising agency AS  designed an ad campaign as series of hoardings which later earned aGuiness world record for the longest running ad campaign in the world. They needed someone to touch the housewife’s heart and what better way than a cute little girl? And so the Amul moppet was born.

GCMMF became a billion-dollar entity in March 2007 when the naughty turned forty.


Licence to happiness !! 

Ronald was first introduced by McDonald’s Washington franchisee Oscar Goldstein and a local ad agency in 1963.Ronald McDonald is a clown character used as the primary mascot of the McDonald’s fast-food restaurant chain. He is a popular figure among children.He demonstrates one of the important qualities of a brand icon- He doesn’t sell for McDonald’s, he is McDonald’s.


“From ‘AAA to AA+”

In an unprecedented move on Friday Aug 5th, Standard & Poor’s popularly known as S&P downgraded the US government’s ‘AAA’ Sovereign credit rating; it lowered the long-term sovereign credit rating of the United States of America to ‘AA+’ from ‘AAA’. And also said that the outlook on the new U.S. credit rating is “negative,” indicating another downgrade  was possible in the next 12 to 18 months.

Before delving into the issue, let us make ourselves clear on certain terms, such as what is a bond, Sovereign Debt, Credit Rating and who is S&P.

Bonds are debt instruments issued by the government, banks, and companies to raise the money from public. This money will be used for meeting the future expenses, expansion plans for the companies, building infrastructure for the country, etc. In short, the bond holders are the lenders to the bond issuers.

Sovereign Debt:
Before knowing about the sovereign debt, you must know about the other two terms Sovereign Bond and Government Bond.
When government is in short of money, it will issue the bonds in its local currency or the international currency. If the bonds are in the local currency, it is called as the Government Bonds. In turn the Bond holders would receive the specified interest income on the specified periods. The principal amount will be returned at the time of maturity. People would be more interested in buying the government bonds because of its high security and returns are assured. The government bonds are categorized based on the tenure of the bonds. Government bonds are bonds with maturity period of more than ten years

Sovereign Bonds:
The main difference between government bonds and sovereign bonds are the issuing currency. Sovereign bonds are issued in the international currency and it can be sold to the other countries and foreign investors. It is very common that when a country needs huge capital to support the spending, it can borrow money from other countries by issuing the sovereign bonds.

What is Sovereign debt then? Sovereign debt is the bonds sold to other countries or money borrowed from outside (it is equivalent of borrowing money from other countries or public) to meet the country’s spending.
Why should a country go for Debt?

  • Whenever the country’s public expenditure is more than the public revenue, then it will be facing a budget deficit and when we say expenditure it includes the interest payment for the debt outstanding with other countries and public. In order to meet the spending, government will have to borrow money from outsiders and fill the gap on budget deficit. Budget deficit is always denominated in the percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Accumulated budget deficit will be converted as the sovereign debt when the country starts borrowing money from the other countries. That is the reason it is good to maintain the minimum level of budget deficit every year.

Source: Scotia Capital
Credit Rating:
Credit Rating is an assessment of the credit worthiness of the individuals and the corporations. It is based upon the history of borrowing and repayment, as well as the availability of assets and extent of liabilities. A credit rating measures credit worthiness, or the ability to pay back a loan. A higher credit rating implies low borrowing cost (Lower interest rates) for the nation, since the risk associated with that bond is lower and vice versa.

Who is Standard & Poor (S&P)?
Standard & Poor’s (S&P) is a United States-based financial services company. The company is one of the Big Three credit-rating agencies, which also include Moody’s Investor Service and Fitch Ratings. As a credit-rating agency (CRA), the company issues credit ratings for the debt of public and private corporations. It is one of several CRAs that have been designated a nationally recognized statistical rating organization by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. S&P split into two separate entities, a credit rater and McGraw-Hill Financial.

S&P uses the following codes for its credit rating:
‘AAA’—extremely strong capacity to meet financial commitments. Highest Rating.
‘AA’—Very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.
‘A’—Strong capacity to meet financial commitments, but somewhat susceptible to adverse economic conditions and changes in circumstances.
Like the above coding, it continues to AAA, AA, A, BBB, BB, B, CCC, CC, C, D. …

Note: Ratings from ‘AA’ to ‘CCC’ may be modified by the addition of a plus (+) or minus (-) sign to show relative standing within the major rating categories.

Now let us look into what happened on that day, Aug 5th Friday:
Standard & Poor’s removed the U.S. government from its list of risk-free borrowers for the first time; the move, downgrade in the credit rating from ‘AAA’ to ‘AA+’, reflected the deterioration in the global economic standing of the United States, which has had an AAA credit rating from S&P since 1941. Treasury bonds (US Bonds), once indisputably seen as the safest security in the world, are now rated lower than bonds issued by countries such as Britain, Germany, France or Canada.

As a rule, a lower credit rating means higher borrowing costs for debtor nations. The downgrade could lead investors to demand higher interest rates from the federal government and other borrowers, raising costs for governments, businesses and home buyers.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. estimated that a downgrade would rise the nation’s borrowing costs by $100 billion a year. The U.S. spent $414 billion on interest expense in fiscal 2010, or 2.7 percent of gross domestic product, according to Treasury Department data.

But many analysts say the impact could be modest, in part because the other ratings agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, have decided not to downgrade the government at this time.

The other two major credit rating agencies reaffirmed their versions of AAA ratings. But Fitch also said it was keeping its US rating under review until the end of August.

“S&P had notified the US Treasury on Friday afternoon Aug 5th that it was planning to lower the credit rating, according to government officials, and the company has sent a draft of its analysis to the White House.

The Obama administration reacted with indignation, noting that the company had made a significant mathematical mistake in a document that it provided to the Treasury Department, overstating the federal debt by about $2 trillion. And said,

“A judgment flawed by a $2 trillion error speaks for itself”

Defending itself against attack by the Treasury, S&P later issued a statement flatly rebutting the criticism, saying it “had no impact on the rating decision”.

The theme running throughout S&P’s analysis is the breakdown in the ability of the Democratic and Republican parties to govern effectively.

Justification used by S&P:

The fiscal consolidation plan which Congress and the administration recently agreed ** to “falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics.”

“More broadly, the downgrade  reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011,” the agency said.

S&P blamed both parties for the US fiscal mess – and had harsh words for the Republican Party for ruling out any taxes increases.           

Are Credit Ratings absolute measures of default probability?
Since there are future events and developments that cannot be foreseen, the assignment of credit ratings is not an exact science. For this reason, Standard & Poor’s ratings opinions are not intended as guarantees of credit quality or as exact measures of the probability that a particular issuer or particular debt issue will default.
Instead, ratings express relative opinions about the creditworthiness of an issuer or credit quality of an individual debt issue, from strongest to weakest. The likelihood of default is the single most important factor in the assessment of creditworthiness.
For example, a corporate bond that is rated ‘AA’ is viewed by Standard & Poor’s as having a higher credit quality than a corporate bond with a ‘BBB’ rating. But the ‘AA’ rating isn’t a guarantee that it will not default, only that, in our opinion, it is less likely to default than the ‘BBB’ bond.
Foreign Creditors:

S&P’s move is also likely to concern foreign creditors especially China, which holds more than $1 trillion of U.S. debt. Beijing has repeatedly urged Washington to protect its U.S. dollar investments by addressing its budget problems.
Impact on India:
Downgrading of the US sovereign rating by S&P would not really impact India – SBI.

The crisis emanating from downgrading of the US sovereign debt rating would have only limited impact on India – RBI.
“As India’s growth story is strong we could see foreign institutional investors seeing India as an attractive investment destination even if there is any temporary outflow,” said the finance minister.
Last Note:

“The Person who shook the world economy with an unprecedented downgrade of US credit rating earlier this month is Deven Sharma: The Jharkhand-born Indian-American analyst. And the thing to be noted here is, he is stepping down as President of Standard & Poor (S&P). They say he has stepped down to take up new challenges, But……………….”

Semantic Web in Knowledge Management

In our attempt to increase your participation in our blog. We are starting a new forum. This would be a place wherein students would discuss on anything of their interest. We have divided the forum into major specialisations. This would help the forum act as a place for discussion of  topics on Marketing, Systems, Analytics and Operations.

As an inaugural article we have an abstract from our Systems Professor Mrs. P.Sridevi.
Comments and discussions on each article is essential to make this forum healthy and productive.
So let us start….

The world today is more or less dependent on computers but they cannot accomplish tasks without human direction because web pages are designed to be read by people, not machines. So how do we tackle this? The answer: Semantic Web.The Semantic Web is an evolving development of the World Wide Web in which the meaning of information and services on the web is defined, making it possible for the web to “understand” and satisfy the requests of people and machines to use the web content. It derives from World Wide Web Consortium director Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the Web as a universal medium for data, information, and knowledge exchange.

Tim Berners-Lee has described the semantic web as a component of ‘Web 3.0’.

Thus, the semantic web is a vision of information that is understandable by computers, so that they can perform more of the tedious work involved in finding, combining, and acting upon information on the web.

Currently, the World Wide Web is based mainly on documents written in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), a markup convention that is used for coding a body of text interspersed with multimedia objects such as images and interactive forms.

semantic web

Semantic HTML refers to the traditional HTML practice of markup following intention, rather than specifying layout details directly. For example, the use of <em> denoting “emphasis” rather than <i> which specifies italics. Layout details are left up to the browser, in combination with Cascading Style Sheets. But this practice falls short of specifying the semantics of objects such as items for sale or prices.

Micro-formats represent unofficial attempts to extend HTML syntax to create machine-readable semantic markup about objects such as retail stores and items for sale.

Here is where, Semantic Web takes the solution further. It involves publishing in languages specifically designed for data: Resource Description Framework (RDF), Web Ontology Language (OWL), and Extensible Markup Language (XML). HTML describes documents and the links between them. RDF, OWL, and XML, by contrast, can describe arbitrary things such as people, meetings, or airplane parts.

With the Semantic Web, computers will scan and interpret information on Web pages using software agents. These software agents will be programs that crawl through the Web, searching for relevant information. They’ll be able to do that because the Semantic Web will have collections of information called ontologies. In terms of the Internet, an ontology is a file that defines the relationships among a group of terms.

Semantic Web ontology might define each familiar role like this:

ü  Grandparent: A direct ancestor two generations removed from the subject

ü  Parent: A direct ancestor one generation removed from the subject

ü  Brother or sister: Someone who shares the same parent as the subject

ü  Nephew or niece: Child of the brother or sister of the subject

ü  Aunt or uncle: Sister or brother to a parent of the subject

ü  Cousin: child of an aunt or uncle of the subject

For the Semantic Web to be effective, ontologies have to be detailed and comprehensive. In Berners-Lee’s concept, they would exist in the form of metadata. Metadata is information included in the code for Web pages that is invisible to humans, but readable by computers.

One very promising application area of the Semantic Web is Knowledge Management. The studies are classified into four areas: developing infrastructure and architecture, killer applications, business management issues and other social issues.

Knowledge Management

More recently with the advent of the Web 2.0, the concept of knowledge management has evolved towards a vision more based on people participation and emergence. This line of evolution is termed Enterprise 2.0. However, there is an ongoing debate and discussions as to whether Enterprise 2.0 is just a fad that does not bring anything new or useful or whether it is, indeed, the future of knowledge management.

Enterprise 3.0 is now at an infant stage due to the emerging of semantic web.


Early KM technologies included online corporate yellow pages as expertise locators and document management systems. Combined with the early development of collaborative technologies (in particular Lotus Notes), KM technologies expanded in the mid-1990s. Subsequent KM efforts leveraged semantic technologies for search and retrieval and the development of e-learning tools for communities of practice.

More recently, development of social computing tools (such as bookmarks, blogs, and wikis) have allowed more unstructured, self-governing or ecosystem approaches to the transfer, capture and creation of knowledge, including the development of new forms of communities, networks, or matrix organizations. However such tools for the most part are still based on text and code, and thus represent explicit knowledge transfer. These tools face challenges in distilling meaningful re-usable knowledge and ensuring that their content is transmissible through diverse channels.

Semantic Knowledge Management

Semantic Knowledge Management is a set of practices that seeks to classify content so that the knowledge it contains may be immediately accessed and transformed for delivery to the desired audience, in the required format. This classification of content is semantic in its nature – identifying content by its type or meaning within the content itself and via external, descriptive metadata – and is achieved by employing XML technologies.

One very promising application area of the Semantic Web is KM. The above figure shows research areas on the Semantic Web for KM. The studies are classified into four areas: developing infrastructure and architecture, killer applications, business management issues and other social issues.

Capabilities such as semantics and machine-processability, enabled by Semantic Web technologies, give the Semantic Web-driven KM system the potential for semantic integration and reducing information overload. Ultimately, the Semantic Web-driven KM system supports KM processes by overcoming the limitations of systems integration and knowledge search embedded in the existing KM system. The KM system, based on the Semantic Web, supports each KM process in innovative ways that the existing KM system is incapable of providing.

Outstanding B-School Award

DoMS-NIT Trichy’s commitment to managerial excellence was once again recognised with the Outstanding B-School award(South) by Star News for the year 2011.

Former HOD Dr. M.Punniyamoorthy received the award at the function held at Hotel Taj Lands End, Bandra, Mumbai on 12th February 2011.
The award is organised in partnership with Business World, a leading business magazine in India.

What is the hyped CFA all about?

When the world slips into recession, it is the financial sector which usually suffers early and for long. From the Wall Street to the Dalal Street, the highly paid professionals and the back office workers lose their jobs at a rapid pace. While economists’ debate whether U.S is in recession or not, the investment talent is sending a clear signal. As Wall Street sheds jobs, the CFA Program gets popular. Even the last two times when U.S. had a downturn in the economy in 1990-91 and 2001, the registration for CFA shot up.

CFA Exam is conducted by CFA institute based in U.S. CFA is an internationally renowned exam; perhaps becoming a Charted Financial Analyst is the most prestigious designation an investment professional can achieve. Through rigorous examination and a four year apprenticeship, CFA screens the brightest of the talents and those who pass all these hurdles acquire the CFA Charter Holder. Only about one-third pass the initial Level I Examination and even much lesser succeed in the all three levels of the examination. Despite this discouraging statistics candidates are still flocking this examination. They realise the value of the course because they have observed how the lack of a CFA charter has put them behind in the competition.

For those who are considering a career in investments it would be confusing whether to obtain MBA or CFA designation. Both have their advantages. In MBA, the career option is diverse and open whereas CFA is more specific. So a CFA along with a MBA helps get an instant recognition in the industry and to grab the desired career in finance.

So what makes the candidates apply for this program?

Apart from the traditional answers such as the strong skills and knowledge, the CFA provides a Global Recognition and is also the most widely and respected investment credential in the world.

It gives a career advantage; Employers recognize the CFA charter as the definitive standard to measure the competence, integrity, and dedication of serious investment professionals.

Earning the CFA charter places you in the company of an elite group of nearly 90,000 respected investment professionals. Access to their collective expertise, networks, and resources is an invaluable asset.

The Top 10 Employers of CFA Institute Members are Bank of America, Citi Group, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, RBC, UBS and Well Fargo. The CFA holders are working in various designations and various operations of these companies which are shown in the chart.

Percentage breakup of the positions hold by CFA Charter Holders

Source: CFA Institute

So the CFA charter provides you with a strong foundation for a variety of career choices in the investment profession. If you’re interested in portfolio management, investment research, advisory services, or investment banking, you will benefit from a CFA charter. Employers and media around the world recognize the CFA charter as the standard of professional excellence. With such widespread recognition, CFA Charter Holders earn a significant competitive advantage for international employment.