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A truly 360 research approach

Dual Perspectives for better performance

When business specialists and designers conduct research together, they gain extraordinary insights into organisations. With experience in some of the most challenging industries, we look at business models, organisational culture, customer relationships and brand experience, leaving no stone unturned.

Collaborative organisational culture

Bring out the best in your people

Most company cultures are poorly designed to bring about collaboration and creativity. With the purpose model as a reference point we train internal teams, help redesign policies and corporate practices to establish a unique organisational culture.

Unique purpose model

Identify a creative purpose to shape the world

Combining a statistical approach with creative thinking allow us to help a variety of companies identify a sustainable purpose model. This purpose acts as a strategic reference point and helps to guide the business model, company culture, succession plan and brand experience.

Unique design experience

Change the rules of the game

We see design as a means to an end. It should not be decorative but must help frame the narrative of the brand. Guided by the purpose model, we design unique visual identities, languages and environments to help brands stand out and connect with stakeholders.

Social networking

How has social media affected the way that people do business? Business is always evolving, and therefore business is always going to be affected by new trends and ways of thinking. The latest trend to really hit businesses lately is social media. Sites like Twitter and Facebook have taken off as business platforms that have really enabled businesses to reach out.

hy have social media sites become such a benefit for businesses? Social media has been such a benefit for businesses because it is inexpensive to use. Some sites might charge to turbocharge your social media experience, but it is mostly free. For example, SocialOomph will charge you 30 dollars a month to automate your Tweets, but Twitter itself is free to use. Facebook is also free to use. Not only are most social platforms free to use, but they reach out to millions of people. There are an estimated 500 million people using Facebook according to Facebook. This means that a business has access to a potential client base of 500 million people. Granted, there are a lot of people out there just playing Farmville, but there are others out there who want to know more about your business. It is very simple to use. A company can even assign an individual to be in charge of social media and not have to worry too much about training. There are some basic concepts like SEO and ways to be a polite online user, but those can be taught in a simple class in an hour or two. After that, the social networking strategy is as complicated as the company makes it out to be. An easy to use and free platform reaching out to millions of people means a huge return on investment. If a company makes even one sale because they have used social media, it is a win for the company. Social media can be used a cheap form of advertising instead of having to spend huge chunks of money for a Super Bowl ad that might be used once. Social media is going to completely revolutionize how business is done in the next decade. Once businesses harness it to its full potential, and the last remaining holdouts come on board, it will level the business playing field. The smaller company can use the same tools as the bigger companies to compete while making the consumer the overall winner.

Delhi, March 8: Nearly half of the Indian plastic money users are extremely concerned about frauds in case, payments are done through credit or debit cards, while 73 per cent are left shaken by media reports of such incidents, says a survey. With 46 per cent respondents extremely concerned about frauds related to payments through cards, consumers consider them as their biggest financial security concern, according to the Visa Payment Card Security Study. Besides, a majority of respondents (73 per cent) said that reading about media reports of such frauds bothers them more than that of their personal experience, the report added. The study found that consumers in India take a highly proactive approach to enhance security, while making electronic payments both in person and online.

As per the study, 37 per cent respondents use different passwords for different purposes. 51 per cent change their password regularly as a prevention measure than anything else and 41 per cent change passwords once a month or more. Meanwhile, 67 per cent consumers said that they would register to receive alerts over their mobile phone in order to prevent such frauds in future, it added. Research gives us key data about attitudes towards risk and security as we take forward innovative solutions to enhance and increase security and trust all aspects of card payment transactions, Visa International Head of Risk Mr Michael E Smith said. The study was conducted, among over 500 consumers between August-October, across Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad.

ear before economic reforms kicked off in 1991, Citibank stole a march ahead of its competitors and became the first bank to launch a credit card in India. Fifteen years later, the pioneer has been upstaged by a homegrown bank, ICICI Bank , which has raced to the top position in less than four years with more than 3 million cards. Thats a frenetic market for you.

The New York based major has been beaten but not disgraced. With about 2.5 million card holders, Citibank is at second place. Standard Chartered Bank, at third spot, has issued about 1.78 million cards, and plans to extend its reach to 25 cities by the end of 2005.

Close on its heels is domestic behemoth State Bank of India (SBI) which has crossed 1.5 million cards within two years of launching the card. HDFC Bank is at fifth place with a million cards on its books. HSBC is fighting hard to be in the reckoning with over 900,000 cards.

Economy driving spends

A thriving economy, substantial increase in disposable incomes and consequent rise in consumer expenditure, growing affluence levels and consumer sophistication have all led to a robust growth in credit cards, and each of the players mentioned above have posted an enviable annual growth rate of more than 100% over the last two years.

There is no doubt that more and more middle class Indians are letting plastic rule their day to day lives. Five years ago, there were 4.3 million credit cards being used in the country. That zoomed to 6.5 million in 2002. A year later that shot up once again to around 9 million credit cards. Today, even if debit cards are overtaking credit cards in popularity, the scorching pace of growth continues unabated.

Venture Infotek, a consumer payment processing company, estimates that the total spends in the credit card payment industry in 2003-04 was close to US $ 5 billion at merchant establishments. This reflected a growth of 28% over the previous year.Projections for 2005 range from 10-14 million cards according to Electronic Payments International. According to another forecast put out by the Lafferty Group, Indias credit card spending is estimated to grow at 34 per cent in 2005.

Standout features

An explosive growth in volumes has not dented quality nor profitability, and the Indian card market is at par with the best in the world. Here are some indicators.

Profitable usage: Credit cards can be used online with a separate security number to prevent misuse. This has increased profitability. An estimate by Business Standard in early 2004 reckoned that Citibank's profits on the card business were over US $ 34 million and StanChart's was around US $ 23-34 million. Among the Indian banks, SBI Cards was estimated to be the most profitable with over US $ 11.6 million as operating profit.

Growing reach: Indian Raiways which runs one of the largest travel booking sites in Asia and offers door-delivery of train tickets if booked online using credit or debit cards. Credit cards are now increasingly being used to pay for even school fees and hospitalization expenses.

Safe and sound: Safety standards followed by players to prevent misuse match the best in the world. For example, any transaction above a

particular sum is automatically referred to the issuing bank which calls up the cardholder in a matter of seconds on the mobile phone to confirm the purchase.

Feature-driven: Product features too match the best anywhere in the world. Almost all credit cards come with standard frills such as free accident insurance, medical insurance at a heavy discount and much more. The cardholder is offered the option of converting a big purchase made on credit card into a loan at a lower rate of interest spread over a long period. Banks now offer details of expenses incurred on credit cards under different heads such as food, clothes and jewellery to enable easier tracking by the customer. E-mail alerts and mobile alerts on credit card details are commonplace.

Aggressive marketing

Banks have not only raised the bar in quality and services but they have also devised aggressive growth strategies to notch up higher spends on cards. ICICI Bank, for example, launched three no-holds-barred campaigns simultaneously during the high festival season in the last three months of 2004 a 5% cash back on all purchases over Rs 2,000 (US $ 46)a lucky draw for a couple to the seven wonders of the world; and a chance to win a Mercedes E 240. Result: the bank saw spends shoot up by 36% during the last three months of 2004.

Over the last four years, the bank has also built up the most extensive network of sales, service infrastructure and collection mechanism for credit cards across 107 cities including smaller towns like Vapi, Valsad and Bhuj in Gujarat and Siliguri in West Bengal.

Not that competition has been staying quiet. As soon as ICICI Bank came out with the cash back scheme, Citibank decided to introduce a new cash back card on the lines of its popular Citibank dividend card in the US. Other players too have already announced their plans to take on the top two.

Growing beyond metros

The growth in spending has so far been spearheaded by the burgeoning middle class in major cities, where consumer spending is concentrated on lifestyle and luxury goods.Spending in rural areas has been mainly in cash.

This has begun to change. By issuing credit cards at 107 cities, ICICI Bank has established the largest reach. SBI, the largest bank in the country with over 9,000 branches, has fanned out its credit card business in 45 cities. Citibank, which operates in 40 cities, is planning to scale it up to the 94 cities in which group company Citifinancial operates.

When the plastic revolution spreads, many farmers could be using credit cards to buy seeds and fertilisers. That would, in fact, put an end to the reign of unscrupulous money lenders in rural hinterland.

Huge market remains untapped

The most heartening part of the growth is that so much still remains to be covered. Consider this: only 2.4% of the working population in India owned a credit card in 2004. McKinsey predicts that 35 million credit cards will be issued by 2010 with an outstanding balance of over $7 billion.

Compared to other Asian markets, Indian credit card market is still at a nascent stage. Credit cards per bankable population in India is 0.03 per person against 3 in South Korea, 2.66 in Taiwan, 2 in Hong Kong, 1.1 in Singapore and 0.4 in Malaysia. According to Mr. V Vaidyanathan, senior general manager and head retail products, ICICI Bank, an average Indian credit cardholder spends less than $500 on his card annually, compared to around $800 in Sri Lanka and over $3,000 in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Outstanding dues on credit card (which are the money spinner for any card issuing bank), are the lowest in the region. The outstanding balance in India is at $1.5 billion, compared to $90 billion in Korea, $10 billion in Hong Kong and US $2.5 billion in Malaysia.

In other words, the credit card market in India could continue to register the current blistering growth in the medium to long term. That should be music to the ears of banks looking for a slice of an increasingly affluent Indian consumer.