Archive for June 6th, 2019

Israel Turns 70: Does it Need a Rebrand?

June 6, 2019

Israel turned 70 on May-2018.

HBSWK interviews Prof Elei Ofek who has written a case on Israel as a brand:

Brian Kenny: “Therefore, I believe that a wondrous generation of Jews will spring into existence. The Jews who wished for a state will have it. We shall live at last free freemen on our own soil and die peacefully in our own homes.”

This prescient view of the future was written by Austro-Hungarian journalist and activist Theodor Herzl in February of 1896. 52 years later, his vision became a reality when the state of Israel declared its independence on the South Eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea in the heart of the ancient holy lands. Their claim was immediately rejected by the Arab leaders, sparking decades of tension and conflict between Israel and its neighbors that continues even today, but if you look beyond the headlines, you can see a different side of Israel. You see a country rich in diversity, a place steeped in history, yet on the cutting edge of innovation and science and technology, a thriving hub of entrepreneurship, arts and culture. Simply put, you see the essence of what Theodor Herzl described so long ago.

Unfortunately, that’s not a version of Israel most people see. Today we’ll hear from Professor Elie Ofek about his case entitled, Israel at 70. Is it Possible to (re)brand a Country? I’m your host, Brian Kenny, and you’re listening to Cold Call, part of the HBR Presents network.

Elie Ofek’s research focuses on new-product strategies and technology driven business environments, as well as in consumer-oriented companies in general. He’s the coauthor of the book, Innovation Equity: Assessing and Managing the Monetary Value of New Products and Services. Elie thanks for joining me today.

Elie Ofek: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me

Brian Kenny: What led you to write the case?

Elie Ofek: You framed the birth of Israel from the vision of Theodor Herzl. Since that founding, the country was celebrating its 70th birthday in 2018. That was a big milestone. There was some buzz around that milestone that was reached the 70th birthday, and as I was talking to people or hearing from people reflect on that, I was hearing different views, different opinions, different perceptions of Israel, namely from Israelis versus non-Israelis … and it got me thinking, how do these perceptions form? And has there ever been a conscious effort to brand the country? I really dug into that and that’s what led me to work on this case… Getting into branding of Israel also opened up this door for me to understand the topic of place branding. By place you can think of either a city, a region or a country, and in fact, you see that there are multiple stakeholders always involved in the branding of a place and that became evident when I was working on Israel rebranding effort in particular.

Brian Kenny: If you think about the science of branding or the practice of branding, it’s always about the promise that you’re making to your stakeholders. That’s relatively easy to do with a product or a service. You can articulate what the promise is. What are we going to give you? What are we delivering to you? A little harder, I guess, when you’re talking about a country filled with people who are all independent thinkers and have their own perceptions of the place.

Elie Ofek: Very well put. When you have that level of pluralistic thinking and diverse thinking of the particular place from the actual people that are there, you will get a lot of opinions about what is the best promise to make or what are the best associations, meanings, thought provocations that we want people to have when they hear the name Israel or when they think about this country.

Branding regions/countries is all the more difficult….


What’s in a name? A lot, according to traders of Delhi’s iconic Khan Market

June 6, 2019

Shalini Umachandran in Mint:

In the two decades that Sanjiv Mehra has been president of the Khan Market Traders’ Association, he has faced a few struggles to retain the character of the tony market in south Delhi. Now, the association has prepared a letter and plans to meet home minister Amit Shah in case there’s an attempt to change its name.

“I don’t want to take any chances. Khan Market is known worldwide for its real estate value, our history links us to the freedom struggle and we are a symbol of people who worked hard to build something from scratch,” says Mehra, who runs Allied Stores in the market, which is listed among the world’s priciest commercial real estate locations. Mehra’s father, a refugee from Lahore, was allotted shop 10-B in 1950 and ran Elite Departmental Store, which the family turned into a toy and party needs store in 1975.

More than two weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made liberal use of the term “Khan Market gang” in an interview to describe a clique of entrenched power, influence and intellectual tradition, the hashtags and comments haven’t gone away. One Bharatiya Janata Party worker wrote to the home ministry suggesting that the upscale market’s name be changed to “Valmiki Market”.

“I’m sure wisdom will prevail, as it has whenever we’ve met the government,” Mehra says, detailing the association’s struggles with infrastructure management. A few years ago, they went up against Bollywood actor Salman Khan, who registered “Khan Market” as a web portal. “He was reasonable and didn’t pursue it after we spoke to him,” he says.

“Khan Market gang” as a descriptor for those with pedigree and privilege resonated even with those unfamiliar with the market that’s a few metres from the homes of some of Delhi’s most powerful, many of whom have inherited their influence. Within about 3km of the market are the colonial bungalows of ministers, judges and senior bureaucrats; the expansive buildings and lawns of Lutyens’ Delhi; and some of the most expensive private homes as well as cultural centres such as India Habitat Centre and India International Centre, and embassies and luxury hotels of Lodhi Estate, Amrita Shergil Marg, Pandara Road and Sujan Singh Park.


Five lessons from reading history

June 6, 2019

Morgan Housel of Collaborative Fund writes a nice blogpost (HT: good friend Rishi Nyati):


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