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Q1. RedPly (name changed) is a leading Indian plywood manufacturer. Along with plywood it also manufactures and markets allied products for furniture making including laminates, veneer, doors etc. though Plywood remains its largest revenue contributor. RedPly prides itself w.r.t its product quality and remains committed to providing the highest quality to its consumers. Over the years it has installed latest machines and equipment for high-class manufacturing, though it leads to escalation in production cost. RedPly’s closest competitor is OrangePly (name changed), with unbranded players being the most significant competition. OrangePly competes through flexible retailer terms and smart marketing and communication strategy while unbranded players offer 30-40% lower price. Plywood retailers and carpenters are the key influencer to customer’s decision. While customers (Home-owners) show a preference for RedPly, retailers try to convert them to brands offering higher retailer margins. Carpenters demand higher price for using branded plywood and assure home-owner about the quality of the ISI-marked products or unbranded products. Due to above factors RedPly is consistently losing market share and is facing price- pressures. Plywood market is dominated by the unbranded segment (~60%) with branded players (RedPly, OrangePly, others) forming the remaining.
Critically analyze the RedPly’s market situation to identify its business challenges. What is/are the possible outcomes if RedPly does not respond to these challenges? Suggest the strategic options available to it. What are the pro and cons of each strategic option? (10 Marks)
Q2. Nitin bhai is feeling perturbed. His company Velvet Paints has recently acquired a Kerala based paints company Trichy Paints a year ago but he has been unable to merge the two brands till today.Velvet Paints’ primarily market is in the decorative paints segment. It is known for its quality and innovative products but has limited brand appeal specially in southern market. Trichy Paints has a broader product range across Decorative as well as Wood finish segments. Kerala is Trichy paints key market though it has limited presence in other Southern markets (Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Telengana etc.).
Nitin Bhai would like to do away with Trichy Paints as a brand and would only like to use the acquisition for expansion of production facility, personnel and distribution network. Multiple brands require separate marketing & advertising expenditure. Nitin Bhai has ambitious plans for Velvet Paints and plans to make substantial expenditure on the marketing & promotion to be able to take-on established large players. Being a mid-sized company, Velvel Paints has limited resources and multiple brands require separate marketing spend thus increasing the budget required. The key conflict here is regarding the Wood finish brand of Trichy Paints, Wood shine. Velvet Paints has no comparative product and Wood shine is a leader in its segment. Tampering with the brand may lead to market dilution.
To resolve the conflict, Nitin Bhai hires a Hyderabad based market research firm Marquee. The market research firm held discussions with the Trichy Paints management, trade partners (retailers, distributors, wood-painters) and consumers. Below were the key findings shared by the Marquee team.
Wooden furniture polish is a niche segment with Wood shine being the leading brand
Wood shine has a very strong brand recall and brand connect
Consumers are dependent on the wood-painters for the brand-selection and are often unaware of the product being used though customers want the best quality for their furniture with low sensitivity to price
Wood-painters have limited education and have strong association of Wood shine with existing name and logo
How would you explain the situation and brand challenges Velvet Paints is facing? What will be your advise to Nitin Bhai in regards to brand portfolio restructuring? What should he do with Wood shine? (10 Marks)
Q3. Happy SPA has recently undertaken significant advertisement spend to boost its membership. It published full-page and half-page ads in leading newspapers (Sample Ads in Appendix 1 and 2). It expected ~30-40% jump in its membership but the response to the campaign has been disastrous. There have been less than 100 query calls with some Ads resulting in no query calls. This has led to serious deliberations within the management.
Happy SPA had started with the philosophy of providing value-based-pricing and professional servicing. In the over a decade of its existence it grew to 25 branches across 5 cities in North and West India. In the last couple of years its membership had begun to stagnate. It had aimed to grow to 100+ branches in the next 3 years through franchisee model. For franchisee led growth it was important for Happy SPA to boost revenue, something it has struggled with. A new strategy was formulated to boost footfalls and it was decided to target stress-based issues through SPA therapies. Stress has popularly been identified as the primary source of health-issue in the modern day life. Management believed that by linking its therapies to stress-ailment it will be able to increase relevance of its packages. Along with standard SPA therapies Happy SPA came up with stress and stress- linked ailments (fatigue, poor-sleep, back-ache etc.) specific therapies.
As part II of the growth strategy, it made significant expenditure in advertisement and expected it to drive growth and its expansion plans. But the poor response to its campaign had put brakes onto its plans and brought it back to the thinking room.
a. Conduct a survey (sample size 5-8 people) exploring linkage between stress-ailments and SPA. Present the survey-questionnaire and the findings. (5 Marks)
b. What do you think of the Happy SPA’s new growth strategy and advertisements? What could be the reason for its lack of response? Analyse it according to the survey-findings. (5 Marks)
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