On the occasion of the recently concluded Porter Prize award ceremony in Mumbai, business leaders from across industry categories came together to discuss and deliberate on the choices they need to make to create a unique value proposition for the products or services they offer. The panel discussion was anchored by the strategy talk delivered by Prof. Michael Porter, regarded as the father of modern strategy. In his talk, Prof. Porter said that strategy is not what you choose to do—strategy is all about everything you choose not to do.
Mohit Malhotra, MD & CEO, Godrej Properties; Umesh Revankar, CEO & MD, Shriram Transport Company Ltd; Kavinder Singh, MD & CEO, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts; Rajesh Jejurikar, President & CEO, Member Group Executive Board, Mahindra & Mahindra; and Himanshu Jain, MD & VP Indian Subcontinent, Sealed Air came together to deliberate on the trade-offs that businesses need to make in order to stay unique in the market and attract a very well cut-out customer segment. Excerpts from the panel discussion moderated by Anurag Batra, Chairman, Businessworld.
Umesh Revankar: By sticking to our customers and not changing our business model, we have built customer loyalty. So, businesses that are highly consistent in what they provide to the customer as a value proposition gain an edge. A strong culture of consistency gives businesses the strength to deal with uncertainty.
Mohit Malhotra: We have differentiated from our competitors in our choice of business model. When most have been buying land and developing it, we have been clear from day one that we only want to enter joint ventures. This strategy has helped us during the downturn because we have a diversified portfolio and capital deployment has been much better from our end. Most have tried to diversify pan-India and have not seen much success, but we are following a differential model in our strategy for going pan-India. For now, we are focusing on the four metros and are running each of these businesses as a local business.
Rajesh Jejurikar: We have three choices: what type of customer, which markets to participate in, and which crop value chain to participate in. We have set a cut-off for the land size holding that we will address; we compete in the less than 100 horsepower segment right now and we managed to get to the no. 3 position in that segment. We have identified 10–15 geographies to participate in where we will have an on-ground presence, and invest like we do in India by building brand, and product development capabilities. To become globally strong in the rice value chain, we acquired Mitsubishi’s agri machinery business in Japan and that allows us to build a center of excellence in Japan. It is about choosing and not being everything to everyone.
Himanshu Jain: Our aim is to make public spaces more hygienic and we have made the clear choice to not play external areas; we are focusing on internal areas like hotels, hospitals, airports, etc. When technology is not the biggest differentiator, your differentiator will be the people who deliver the solution and customise it to meet the specific needs of the customer.
Kavinder Singh: We have taken the conscious call to base our business on a subscription-based model. So, we have made that trade-off early on in our business. Going forward, we have decided that with the entry of aggregators like AirBnB, we will be deepening the experience we deliver to our members—in essence, the resort becomes the destination.