Since times the immemorial price has been a key, if not the only brand differentiator in this beautiful sub-continent of India. With the rise of e-commerce, this has become even more evident if it wasn’t already. A shift in shopping trends towards buying online at lesser prices is a trend that has picked up by the Indians. Cash burn rates of players like Snapdeal, Jabong, Paytm and Flipkart have floored prices for products to levels that were previously unheard of.
But when the competition is between Big players with deep pockets, Price and even the Product sold is no longer a differentiator. The product you see on Flipkart will be the same as the one available on Snapdeal and Amazon at approximately similar prices.
With heavy discounts leading to faster cash burns, e-commerce giants are shifting to “Plan B” which stresses focus on the customer experience in using their service. You may have noticed the multiple advertisements by Flipkart and Amazon, reassuring their customers of Guaranteed returns, Original products, Seamless service. It is an awakening of sorts where these giants take a step back and realize that they could fight this out in one of the two ways, either get in to a price war with cash burn rates that are unfeasible, or enhance customer experience and try to create a certain brand loyalty which has been lacking in this industry.
Morgan Stanley’s new valuation of Flipkart is an eye-opener for these players that their “Plan A” is not a sustainable form of operations and a shift to a more customer experience-oriented approach as opposed to a price-oriented approach is the need of the hour and key to sustainability and success.
This inevitability has led to a shifting trend in brand differentiators in the eCommerce platform from price to customer experience. In an industry that was originally meant to ease the life of its customers and allow them to shop from the comfort of their homes, the prodigal sons seem to be finding their way back to this very core principle.
A brand is quite simply defined as Trust. Trust is built based on the experience received. The experience received will result in a certain Brand Loyalty. And finally, this Brand Loyalty will inturn strengthen the brand. This is a simple cycle that needs to be at the forefront of your operational strategy!
Most Project Managers in the gaming industry vex about the projects schedule and its management. Game Producers, on the other hand, have a key responsibility that transcends that of the Project Manager and that is to communicate & champion the vision of the game to the team, clients & outside stakeholders. The role of Game Producers may vary from company to company, from the role of note takers in some to Project Managers in others. What I personally believe is that the main role of Game Producers is to bring the best out of creative people as well as manage delivery by making vision oriented project plans, among other responsibilities. The Game Producer needs to know how to harness the creativity brewing inside his team members while also ensuring compliance with the project plan. If there ever was a mantra to ace the role of a Game producer, I believe the following list would form its foundation.
Communication: Communication is the basic need of any team/ organization. The process of communication is declared complete once the message has been received and understood by the recipient. Thus as a Game Producer, one must ensure that the message is simply understood by the recipient and clear doubts in case of a confusion or distortion. As a Game Manager one needs to drive home the vision of the project, no matter how many repetitions it takes.
Own- The Concept, Plan & Project Vision: Game Producer is the one team depends on for a structured plan of action. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Thus, as a Game Producer, one should always plan each and every detail and this plan must be known and communicated by the producer to his team.
Track & Verify: This can be quite simply summarized with the acronym ABCD- Always Be Collecting Data. Compare the actual progress to the planned progress to better manage expectations.
Know your Pipelines: The roadmap of the project and the workflow pipelines must be at back of the mind of a Producer.
Set the Rules: A team works best when they are clear about the vision. As a Game Producer, you must manage Daily Standups, inform the team about their Daily Tasks, review their progress on a day to day basis and have everyone update their task list daily before standups.
Commit, then Deliver: The Game Producer’s role is to commit to the organization about the delivery of the Project, then work with the team to deliver on those commitments.
Carry the Vision: As a Game Producer one must be completely aware about the vision of the product and should protect and promote that vision during the entire course of the production cycle.
Be a Lifelong Learner: This may sound a bit philosophical and vague but it is really important to understand the power of knowledge. Staying up to date with field related news is the crux of any successful career. Reading books, news, taking similar role interviews, taking inputs from team are few ways you can stay ahead of the game.
Be a servant to the team: For a Game Producer, his/her team is the most important thing. As their leader, the Game Producer must fulfill the needs of his/her team. A noble leader answers not to the trumpet calls of self promotion, but to the hushed whispers of necessity.
Listen: Sometimes the best suggestions come from the unlikeliest of sources. A Game Producer must understand this and value and review every opinion with equal fervor.