Rajiv Lal

Stanley Roth, Sr. Professor of Retailing

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Unit: Marketing


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Rajiv Lal, is the Stanley Roth, Sr. Professor of Retailing at Harvard Business School. He is currently teaching an elective MBA course on the Business of Smart Connected products/IOT. He has been responsible for the retailing curriculum and has served as the course head for Marketing, required study in the first year of the MBA program. Professor Lal also teaches in several Executive Education programs, has previously served as the Faculty Chair for the General Management Program, and the program on Building and Leading a Customer Centric Organization.

Lal was a Professor at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University beginning in 1982. He was the Thomas Henry Carroll Ford Foundation Visiting Professor at Harvard Business School from 1997-98. He was the Visiting Professor of Marketing at INSEAD, France in 1986, 1988, 1992, and 1993. He did his undergraduate work in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur, India and received his Ph.D. in Industrial Administration from Carnegie-Mellon University.

Lal's current research concerns the opportunitties and challenges in building a Business around Smart Connected products/IOT. His book "Retail Revolution: Will Your Store Survive" is based on many years of extensive  research in the field of Retailing focusing on the viability of brick and mortar stores as they face the onslaught of on-line competition. In addition, he has studied how to build and sustain customer-centric retail organizations. His past work has explored successful retail strategies for global expansion. He has written extensively on the impact of using the Internet as a channel of distribution on a retailer's pricing, merchandising, and branding strategy. His earlier work in retailing studies the impact of competition between different retail formats, such as EDLP and Hi-Lo grocers. He has also studied the consequences of grocery retailers’ increasing use of store brands on store loyalty and its implications for packaged goods manufacturers.

Lal's earlier research focused on pricing, trade promotions, and salesforce compensation plans. The work on salesforce compensation plans originated with his dissertation research, which won the award for the best paper published in Marketing Science and Management Science in 1985. A subsequent article, also developed from his thesis, received an honorable mention for the same award in 1986. He has continued to work in this area and has recently completed a study of compensation plans used by German salesforces.

His work in the area of pricing and promotions has been equally well recognized. Two of his articles were among the finalists for the John D. C. Little award for the best paper published in Management Science and Marketing Science in 1990. One of these articles, co-authored with Jagmohan Raju and V. Srinivasan on the impact of brand loyalty on price promotions, has been awarded the Frank Bass award for the best dissertation paper.

Lal’s recent work includes Retail Revolution: Will Your Brick-and-Mortar Store Survive?, “Retail Doesn’t Cross Borders: Here’s Why and What to do About it” in Harvard Business Review, “Retailing Revolution: Category Killers on the Brink” in HBS Working Knowledge, and Marketing Management: Text and Cases. He has published more than twenty-five articles in academic journals and more than 80 cases and other teaching materials. He has applied his academic frameworks and industry knowledge in much of his research and many of his consulting projects.

Lal has worked on a variety of such projects with a wide range of companies, including Citigroup, Citizens Bank, American Family Insurance, Standard Life Plc, Omnitel Italia, Credit Suisse, Stop & Shop, Ito-Yokado, Best Buy, Stride Rite Corporation, Oliver Wyman and Company, Fleming Companies, Nordstrom, Microsoft, Kellogg, Sara Lee D/E, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Callaway Golf Company, Staples, and other well-known companies on strategy development and execution.

Lal  serves as a member of the Board for Leader Bank, Harvard Business Publishing and Global Cures. In addition to these board positions, Lal has served as an Area Editor for Marketing Science and is the Co-editor of Quantitative Marketing and Economics.


Featured Work



  1. Retail Revolution: Will Your Brick & Mortar Store Survive?

    Rajiv Lal, Jose B. Alvarez and Dan Greenberg

    In Retail Revolution, the authors go beyond the common belief of retail as a monolithic industry and provide a framework that any brick-and-mortar retailer can use to respond to the eCommerce threat. Through six examples, this book demonstrates how this framework works in practice.

    Keywords: Business Ventures; Online Technology; Marketing Strategy; Distribution Channels; Retail Industry;


    Lal, Rajiv, Jose B. Alvarez, and Dan Greenberg. Retail Revolution: Will Your Brick & Mortar Store Survive? Self-published, 2014. View Details

Journal Articles

  1. Retail Doesn't Cross Borders: Here's Why and What to Do about It

    Marcel Corstjens and Rajiv Lal

    Most companies assume that the easiest way to grow is by investing overseas and that the developing world offers the best opportunities for boosting revenues and profits today. However, success abroad varies widely, and research shows that it's often tough to increase profits by investing abroad. A new study of the grocery retail industry reveals that with a few exceptions globalization's benefits have not accrued to retailers. Local retailers dominate most countries, and international players are absent from the largest retail markets. Moreover, every retailer that has ventured overseas has failed as often as it has succeeded. On average, the extent of internationalization doesn't have a significant effect on either retailers' revenue growth rates or profit margins. Rather, it's the home market's growth that is the primary driver of profit margins and sales growth. A few retailers have succeeded in going global by developing strategies that apply four retail-specific rules for globalization. Rule 1: The home market is the linchpin. Retailers can generate the resources they need to go global by applying innovative growth strategies at home. Rule 2: Always bring something new to market. Without an element of novelty, it will be difficult for retailers to overtake entrenched rivals. Rule 3: Differentiation is more important than synergies. Leveraging synergies globally and allowing each country unit to adjust to local needs is a critical balancing act. Rule 4: Timing is critical. Retailers would do well to stop planting flags and focus instead on a limited set of opportunities where they can establish operations of scale.

    Keywords: Operations; Growth and Development Strategy; Globalization; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Local Range; Retail Industry;


    Corstjens, Marcel, and Rajiv Lal. "Retail Doesn't Cross Borders: Here's Why and What to Do about It." Harvard Business Review 90, no. 4 (April 2012). View Details
  2. Relative Explanatory Power of Agency Theory and Transaction Cost Analysis in German Salesforces

    Manfred Krafft, Sönke Albers and Rajiv Lal

    Keywords: Theory; Cost; Sales; Employees; Germany;


    Krafft, Manfred, Sönke Albers, and Rajiv Lal. "Relative Explanatory Power of Agency Theory and Transaction Cost Analysis in German Salesforces." International Journal of Research in Marketing 21, no. 3 (September 2004): 265–283. View Details
  3. When and How Is the Internet Likely to Decrease Price Competition

    R. Lal and M. Sarvary

    Keywords: Online Technology; Web; Price; Competition;


    Lal, R., and M. Sarvary. "When and How Is the Internet Likely to Decrease Price Competition." Marketing Science 18, no. 4 (1999): 485–503. (Nominated for John D. C. Little Award Given annually to the best marketing paper published in Marketing Science or Management Science presented by INFORMS Society for Marketing Science.) View Details
  4. The Effects of Brand Loyalty on Competitive Price Promotional Strategies

    R. Lal, J. S. Raju and V. Srinivasan

    Keywords: Brands and Branding; Competition; Strategy; Price;


    Lal, R., J. S. Raju, and V. Srinivasan. "The Effects of Brand Loyalty on Competitive Price Promotional Strategies." Management Science 36, no. 3 (March 1990). (Nominated for John D. C. Little Award Given annually to the best marketing paper published in Marketing Science or Management Science presented by INFORMS Society for Marketing Science.) View Details
  5. Salesforce Compensation Plans in Environments with Asymmetric Information

    R. Lal and Richard Staelin

    Keywords: Employees; Sales; Compensation and Benefits; Information;


    Lal, R., and Richard Staelin. "Salesforce Compensation Plans in Environments with Asymmetric Information." Marketing Science (summer 1986). (Runner-up of the TIMS College of Marketing Award for the Best Article in Management and Marketing Science in 1986.) View Details
  6. A Theory of Salesforce Compensation Plans

    R. Lal, A. K. Basu, V. Srinivasan and Richard Staelin

    Keywords: Theory; Sales; Employees; Competition;


    Lal, R., A. K. Basu, V. Srinivasan, and Richard Staelin. "A Theory of Salesforce Compensation Plans." Marketing Science (fall 1985). (Winner of TIMS College of Marketing. Award for Best Article in Marketing Science For the best marketing paper published in Marketing Science or Management Science presented by Institute of Management Sciences.) View Details

Book Chapters

  1. Globalization of Retailing

    Rajiv Lal, David E. Bell and Walter J. Salmon

    Keywords: Globalized Markets and Industries; Retail Industry;


    Lal, Rajiv, David E. Bell, and Walter J. Salmon. "Globalization of Retailing." In The Global Market: Developing a Strategy to Manage Across Borders, edited by John A. Quelch and Rohit Deshpandé. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2004. View Details

Working Papers

  1. Mobile Money Services—Design and Development for Financial Inclusion

    Rajiv Lal and Ishan Sachdev

    Mobile money services are being deployed rapidly across emerging markets as a key tool to further the goal of financial inclusion. Financial inclusion, the development of novel methods to enable individuals at the base of the pyramid to access formal financial services and become part of the formal financial system, is considered a key prerequisite for lifting these populations out of poverty and for driving economic growth.

    Keywords: Social Marketing; Poverty; Emerging Markets; Product Launch; Economic Growth; Financial Services Industry;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Ishan Sachdev. "Mobile Money Services—Design and Development for Financial Inclusion." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 15-083, April 2015. (Revised July 2015.) View Details

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. GE Digital

    Rajiv Lal and Scott Johnson

    Known for manufacturing industrial equipment, GE has decided to invest in software and analytics capabilities to become a digital industrial company. They have also created a software platform that they hope will power the Industrial Internet. GE executives forecasted that the company will generate $15 billion in digital revenues by 2020. What steps does GE need to take to reach their goal?

    Keywords: GE; General Electric; manufacturing; industrial internet; software; wind power; digital manufacturing; renewable energy; energy; Renewable Energy; Innovation and Management; Innovation Strategy; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Culture; Software; Green Technology Industry; Technology Industry; Manufacturing Industry; North America;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Scott Johnson. "GE Digital." Harvard Business School Case 517-063, February 2017. View Details
  2. NBA Biometric Data: Privacy vs. Performance

    Rajiv Lal and Scott F. Johnson

    The NBA and the player's union that represented NBA players signed a collective bargaining agreement. The agreement created the formation of a wearables committee to govern the use of wearables during NBA games. NBA franchise had been using wearables in practices to reduce player injury and improve performance. The wearables created biometric data on a player such as heart rate, speed, and acceleration. The wearables committee must decide a number of questions. Who will own the biometric game data? Who will have access to that data?

    Keywords: Internet of Things; basketball; NBA; privacy; union; wearables; data; biometric; Sports; Hardware; Software; Labor Unions; Working Conditions; Health Care and Treatment; Television Entertainment; Sports Industry; Technology Industry; Media and Broadcasting Industry; Health Industry; North America;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Scott F. Johnson. "NBA Biometric Data: Privacy vs. Performance." Harvard Business School Case 517-080, February 2017. View Details
  3. PTC: A Transformation to IoT

    Rajiv Lal and Sarah McAra

    In the 2010s, PTC, a leading provider of software for discrete manufacturers, faces maturing markets and changing customer needs as smart, connected products take hold—the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). PTC sees a first mover advantage in entering the IoT space early and, after a series of IoT acquisitions from 2013 to 2016, emerges as a leader in IoT platforms. But in 2016 the market is highly fragmented and customers are hesitant to adopt IoT strategies. PTC’s CEO Jim Hepplemann has to decide how to allocate resources and prioritize product development to grow its IoT platform without sacrificing the core businesses. He faces several questions in how to successfully lead his company through major transformations in its portfolio, business model, and sales process. Hepplemann has to decide on the strategy of the firm.

    Keywords: Internet of Things; IoT; smart; connected products; Business Organization; Transformation; Customer Relationship Management; Innovation Strategy; Technological Innovation; Leading Change; Marketing; Product Development; Service Operations; Strategy; Competition; Technology Industry;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Sarah McAra. "PTC: A Transformation to IoT." Harvard Business School Case 517-033, October 2016. View Details
  4. Spectio: A Digital Lighting Company

    Rajiv Lal and Sarah McAra

    Spectio Tech, founded in 2005, developed and implemented intelligent LED lighting solutions for the industrial market. Sensors and wireless connectivity embedded in its LED fixtures not only significantly reduced lighting-related energy use—by up to 90% in some cases—but also served as a tool for the Internet of Things (IoT) to expose powerful insights about facility use. Yet in 2016, few of Spectio’s customers were fully embracing the system as an IoT product. Both LED lighting and IoT were rapidly evolving markets, and Spectio had to decide if it should focus on driving down lighting hardware costs to expand its total addressable market or on improving the software controls to enhance the system’s IoT functionality.

    Keywords: Internet of Things; IoT; LED Lighting; technology adoption; technological innovation; start-up; energy efficiency; Technology;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Sarah McAra. "Spectio: A Digital Lighting Company." Harvard Business School Case 517-002, September 2016. (Revised September 2016.) View Details
  5. Hillside Beach Club: Delivering the Ultimate Family Vacation in the Mediterranean

    Rajiv Lal and Gamze Yucaoglu

    In 2015, having led Hillside Beach Club (HBC) for 21 successful years, Edip Ilkbahar, HBC’s founder and CEO, was looking over the plans for a new branch in Cyprus. For over two decades, Ilkbahar’s company had enjoyed high occupancy, high guest satisfaction, and high return-visitor rates, not to mention increasing profits from HBC’s single location in Fethiye, Turkey. Although branching out had been on the agenda for a couple of years, Ilkbahar was feeling the pressure to recreate HBC’s culture in a new location to live up to and even surpass its established success. In parallel, Ilkbahar also needed to make sure that employee motivation at HBC’s original Fethiye location did not drop and the employees continued to deliver wholehearted service to live up to HBC’s reputation. 2015 certainly looked like it would be a tough year. How could Ilkbahar both try to extend HBC’s special formula for success to Cyprus while maintaining high motivation at the Fethiye installation?
    The case describes the forces that shape the hotel industry's structure, raising the issue of how HBC established itself a sustainable niche for competitive advantage. The case provides the context for the students to identify the design elements underlying HBC’s success and helps them explore the link between guest satisfaction and employee training, empowerment, feedback culture, continuous product development as well as social media and marketing. The case challenges the students to ponder what it takes for a company to repeatedly increase customer satisfaction rates and profitability with the same product over the years.

    Keywords: customer satisfaction; customer experience; customer service; hotel industry; emerging market; customer focus; leading growth; feedback culture; organizational culture; Employee empowerment; employee engagement; employee training; staffing; operations management; Quality Management; service management; service quality; competitive advantage; continuous improvement; Hillside; HBC; Turkey; vacation; Customer Relationship Management; Quality; Employee Relationship Management; Service Operations; Organizational Culture; Customer Satisfaction; Selection and Staffing; Service Delivery; Competitive Advantage; Emerging Markets; Growth and Development; Accommodations Industry; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; Turkey;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Gamze Yucaoglu. "Hillside Beach Club: Delivering the Ultimate Family Vacation in the Mediterranean." Harvard Business School Case 516-110, May 2016. (Revised September 2016.) View Details
  6. OPET: Precision Marketing in Uncertain Times

    Rajiv Lal, Esel Çekin and Eren Kuzucu

    During Timucin Guler’s decade at OPET, a prominent fuel distributor in Turkey, he transformed the definition of marketing in the company. Under Guler’s lead, OPET, once a local player in the downstream distribution market, became the second largest fuel distributor in Turkey. As assistant general manager, Guler had paved the way for customer-oriented marketing, which helped OPET differentiate itself in the market and become fiercely competitive. However, starting from 2009, changing regulations in Turkey’s highly regulated oil and gas industry limited OPET’s marketing tools, forcing Guler to revisit his marketing strategy. He was concerned that more restrictions were on the way and that these could possibly affect OPET’s loyalty program, in which the company had invested heavily. How should Guler go about revising OPET’s marketing strategy so as to keep up with and possibly foresee further regulatory changes, while trying to stay ahead of the competition? What would be the best way for Guler to optimize the company’s investment in its customer loyalty program?

    Keywords: customer relationship management; customer satisfaction; customer service; emerging market; focusing on customers; competition; Turkey; Loyalty program; marketing strategy; downstream distribution; Customer Relationship Management; Energy Industry; Turkey;


    Lal, Rajiv, Esel Çekin, and Eren Kuzucu. "OPET: Precision Marketing in Uncertain Times." Harvard Business School Case 516-087, May 2016. View Details
  7. M-Pesa: Financial Inclusion in Kenya

    Rajiv Lal, Lisa Cox and Sarah McAra

    M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer service launched in 2007 in Kenya by telecommunications company Safaricom, allowed people to send money via mobile messaging to contacts, such as friends and family, or even to pay for goods and services, such as groceries or a taxi fare. Uptake for the service had soared, gaining 2 million users in one year of operations. By 2014, M-Pesa processed transactions amounting to almost 7% of the total national payments (NPS) throughput value and two-thirds of total NPS throughput volume. It reduced the dangerous burden of carrying cash for individuals and businesses and brought millions of financially excluded people into the formal financial system. But despite M-Pesa’s meteoric rise and the emergence of similar services, 90% of transactions in Kenya were still in cash. Competition was growing and product line extensions had disappointed, as had several international ventures. Company executives, such as Betty Mwangi, M-Pesa’s general manager, believed that there was still ample opportunity for growth. But after M-Pesa’s outstanding launch and overwhelming success, what would be the company’s encore?

    Keywords: Market Transactions; Emerging Markets; Developing Countries and Economies; Mobile Technology; Telecommunications Industry; Kenya;


    Lal, Rajiv, Lisa Cox, and Sarah McAra. "M-Pesa: Financial Inclusion in Kenya." Harvard Business School Case 516-011, March 2016. View Details
  8. BancoSol and Microfinance in Bolivia

    Rajiv Lal and Annelena Lobb

    BancoSol, a microfinance bank headquartered in La Paz, Bolivia, was forced to adjust its lending strategy and business model because of a regulatory change. 60% of the bank's lending portfolio would have to move to the productive sector of the Bolivian economy by 2018, and these loans would have a controlled interest rate of 11.5%. How would BancoSol meet these targets, fulfill its mission, and remain profitable?

    Keywords: Microfinance; Banks and Banking; South America;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Annelena Lobb. "BancoSol and Microfinance in Bolivia." Harvard Business School Case 516-005, February 2016. View Details
  9. Akbank: Options in Digital Banking

    Rajiv Lal and Esel Çekin

    This case discusses the digitalization strategies of a leading bank in Turkey, Akbank, and how to position its digital banking products going forward. The Turkish banking industry was undergoing a transformation prompted by the demands of the country's digitally savvy, young population, and by new regulations on consumer banking that threatened banks' profitability. Akbank had a legacy as the best financial services company in Turkey, but bank leadership knew it needed to innovate to maintain that reputation in the digital era. The bank's chairman, CEO, and EVP of digital banking unit were evaluating their options. Should they have a separate P&L for the digital banking unit? Should they create a separate brand for digital banking? How should they structure digital banking so Akbank would remain profitable while achieving the vision for innovation and growth laid out by the bank's chairman?

    Keywords: digital transformation; marketing; banking; emerging market; competition; regulations; channels; digitization; Technology; Competition; Brands and Branding; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Emerging Markets; Distribution Channels; Banks and Banking; Banking Industry; Financial Services Industry; Turkey;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Esel Çekin. "Akbank: Options in Digital Banking." Harvard Business School Case 515-115, June 2015. (Revised November 2015.) View Details
  10. Gentera: Beyond Microcredit

    Rajiv Lal and Lisa Mazzanti

    Gentera, whose largest subsidiary is Compartamos Banco, has been a fantastically successful endeavor since it started in the 1990s. But in 2014, Gentera faces challenges in expanding beyond group-lending and micro-credit into microfinance and beyond in order to fulfill its mission of financial inclusion.

    Keywords: Financial inclusion; Compartamos; Gentera; Microfinance; Micro-lending; Microfinance; Insurance; Banking Industry; Insurance Industry; Mexico City;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Lisa Mazzanti. "Gentera: Beyond Microcredit." Harvard Business School Case 515-017, October 2014. (Revised December 2014.) View Details
  11. Goldman Sachs: Anchoring Standards After the Financial Crisis

    Rajiv Lal and Lisa Mazzanti

    Goldman Sachs, a longtime venerable financial institution headquartered in New York City, had a partnership culture that was known to value its clients. But when the financial crisis hit in 2008 and Goldman Sachs emerged relatively unscathed, its public image took a large blow as people questioned the inner workings of the bank. To address the situation, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein called for the creation of the Business Standards Committee (BSC) to carry out a rigorous introspection of the firm. This case explores the reactions of the executives at the bank over the short- and medium-term to public accusations and scrutiny and whether the implemented solutions devised by the BSC are sustainable. It details the themes of individual and collective accountability, reputational awareness, and client care.

    Keywords: Standards; banking industry; brand management; public image; financial services industry; Corporate Accountability; Reputation; Standards; Financial Crisis; Brands and Branding; Banking Industry; Financial Services Industry;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Lisa Mazzanti. "Goldman Sachs: Anchoring Standards After the Financial Crisis." Harvard Business School Case 514-020, May 2014. View Details
  12. Pearle Vision: Clearly Different?

    Rajiv Lal and Natalie Kindred

    Ohio-based optical retailer Pearle Vision, part of the vertically integrated Italian eyewear group Luxottica, sold glasses and offered in-store eye exams. Once the largest U.S. optical retailer, Pearle Vision, with 266 corporate stores and 356 franchised stores in 2012, was struggling to compete with and differentiate itself from industry leader LensCrafters, also owned by Luxottica. Increasing competition from low-price competitors, such as Wal-Mart's optical stores, were adding further competitive pressure. The case takes place in early 2013, with Pearle Vision's new CEO announcing his plans for revitalizing the chain. Will his strategy work?

    Keywords: eye care; Competitive Advantage; Market Participation; Retail Industry; Health Industry; United States;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Natalie Kindred. "Pearle Vision: Clearly Different?" Harvard Business School Case 514-015, October 2013. View Details
  13. SANY: Going Global

    Rajiv Lal, Stefan Lippert, Nancy Hua Dai and Di Deng

    April 17, 2012, was a special day for SANY Group and for its founder Liang Wen'gen. Headquartered in Changsha, SANY Group had transformed itself in two decades from a small welding material factory in 1989 to a leading global construction equipment manufacturer with 5 industrial parks in China; 5 R&D and manufacturing bases in America, Germany, India, Brazil, and Indonesia; and 21 sales companies worldwide. SANY Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. (SANY), SANY Group's major subsidiary, engaged in the construction equipment business and was number six on International Construction's 2012 Yellow Table, a ranking of the world's largest construction equipment manufacturers.

    Keywords: globalization; China; Expansion; Business growth; heavy industry; strategy development; Globalization; Growth and Development; Emerging Markets; Strategy; Construction Industry; Manufacturing Industry; Industrial Products Industry; Asia; China; Europe; Germany; India; North and Central America; South America;


    Lal, Rajiv, Stefan Lippert, Nancy Hua Dai, and Di Deng. "SANY: Going Global." Harvard Business School Case 513-058, November 2012. (Revised January 2013.) View Details
  14. The Universalization of L'Oréal

    Rajiv Lal and Carin-Isabel Knoop

    In 2010, half of the world's cosmetics sales came from the so-called emerging markets for the first time; L'Oréal opened three new subsidiaries, in Egypt, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan; and the Paris, France-based cosmetics and personal care powerhouse declared its intention to double its consumer base to two billion and increase its share of sales from emerging markets. CEO Jean-Paul Agon made it his number one goal to "prepare the company to keep its global leadership in this new era."

    Keywords: retailing; globalization; marketing; cosmetics industry; L'Oreal; emerging markets; india; R&D; Globalization; Product Development; Research and Development; Emerging Markets; Retail Industry; Latin America; Asia; Middle East;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Carin-Isabel Knoop. "The Universalization of L'Oréal." Harvard Business School Case 513-001, November 2012. View Details
  15. PepsiCo Peru Foods: More than Small Potatoes

    Rosabeth M. Kanter, Rakesh Khurana, Rajiv Lal and Matthew Bird

    The regional head of supply chain for PepsiCo South America Foods and his team had worked for 10 years to realize their dream of creating an agricultural research center in Peru that could provide more productive and healthier varieties of potatoes for the Frito-Lay businesses not only in Peru but also throughout the tropical regions where much of its future growth would come. They were denied several times but kept the idea alive through other projects until conditions presented themselves, aligning their work with the company's "Performance with Purpose" growth strategy. But now that they had secured initial funding for the center, the hard work would begin. Was the project too long-term to succeed? How could they ensure success as the company faced shorter-term pressures?

    Keywords: Food; Supply Chain; Planning; Growth and Development Strategy; Leading Change; Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry; Peru;


    Kanter, Rosabeth M., Rakesh Khurana, Rajiv Lal, and Matthew Bird. "PepsiCo Peru Foods: More than Small Potatoes." Harvard Business School Case 311-083, February 2011. (Revised April 2012.) View Details
  16. PepsiCo, Performance with Purpose, Achieving the Right Global Balance

    Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Rakesh Khurana, Rajiv Lal and Eric Baldwin

    Keywords: Corporate Strategy; Globalized Firms and Management; Strategic Planning; Food and Beverage Industry;


    Kanter, Rosabeth Moss, Rakesh Khurana, Rajiv Lal, and Eric Baldwin. "PepsiCo, Performance with Purpose, Achieving the Right Global Balance." Harvard Business School Case 412-079, October 2011. (Revised January 2012.) View Details
  17. PepsiCo India: Performance with Purpose

    Rosabeth M. Kanter, Rakesh Khurana, Rajiv Lal and Natalie Kindred

    In 2010, PepsiCo India's management is working to translate PepsiCo's new mission, "Performance with Purpose," into practice in the India market. The mission calls for continued financial performance and market leadership, as well as greater emphasis on healthy products, natural resource management, and employee empowerment. PepsiCo India and other regional PepsiCo business units have significant discretion over how to implement Performance with Purpose in their local markets. PepsiCo India has made progress under the mission but continues to be challenged by the inherent tension between short-term financial performance and long-term investments in socially responsible initiatives.

    Keywords: Corporate Strategy; Mission and Purpose; Food and Beverage Industry; India;


    Kanter, Rosabeth M., Rakesh Khurana, Rajiv Lal, and Natalie Kindred. "PepsiCo India: Performance with Purpose." Harvard Business School Case 512-041, December 2011. View Details
  18. State Bank of India: Transforming a State Owned Giant

    Rajiv Lal and Rachna Tahilyani

    February 2011: O.P. Bhatt reflected contentedly on his five-year term as Chairman of State Bank of India (SBI), India's largest commercial bank. He had led SBI on a journey of transformation from an old, hierarchical, transaction oriented, government bank to a modern, customer focused, and technologically advanced universal bank. In 2006, when Bhatt assumed leadership, SBI had been losing market share for over two decades to private and foreign banks. Analysts and industry observers had predicted that at the prevailing growth rates ICICI Bank, a private bank launched in 1994, would overtake SBI in terms of deposits in four years. However, by 2010, SBI had more than doubled its profits, deposits and advances; regained market share and won the Asian Banker Achievement award for the strongest bank in the Asia Pacific region.

    Keywords: Transformation; Customer Relationship Management; Commercial Banking; Leading Change; Growth and Development Strategy; Marketing; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Banking Industry; India;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Rachna Tahilyani. "State Bank of India: Transforming a State Owned Giant." Harvard Business School Case 511-114, March 2011. (Revised April 2011.) View Details
  19. Insight Communications

    Rajiv Lal and Natalie Kindred

    After undertaking a multi-year, metrics-driven operational and cultural overhaul, in April 2010 Insight Communications was planning the next phase of its development. Insight was a New York-based provider of cable, landline phone, and high-speed Internet service to 775,000 customers in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Insight had struggled to adjust to the new competitive dynamics in the cable industry. In response, CEO Michael Willner recruited a new management team to introduce the systems and culture necessary to win in an increasingly difficult market. Led by Dinni Jain, the team implemented a system of upstream measurement—establishing best practices, measuring, and holding personnel accountable for the day-to-day activities that ultimately drove outcomes such as revenue, customer growth, and operating cash flow. This system of dissecting operating activities as a way to push accountability throughout the organization was disruptive, but yielded impressive results. This case describes the unique "Insight system" and allows students to consider the company's options going forward.

    Keywords: Organizational Culture; Competitive Strategy; Management Practices and Processes; Performance Improvement; Growth Management; Management Systems; Business Processes; Measurement and Metrics; Employees; Telecommunications Industry; New York (state, US);


    Lal, Rajiv, and Natalie Kindred. "Insight Communications." Harvard Business School Case 511-005, March 2011. View Details
  20. Tanpin Kanri: Retail Practice at Seven-Eleven Japan

    Rajiv Lal and Arar Han

    Toshifumi Suzuki, chairman and CEO of Seven and I Holding Co., was widely credited as the mastermind behind Seven-Eleven Japan's spectacular rise. Although Seven-Eleven Japan began as a small licensee of U.S. convenience store chain 7-Eleven, Inc. (then Southland Corp.) in 1974, it grew to become the highest grossing retailer in Japan, eclipsing its then-parent Ito-Yokado's sales. By 2005, it also owned a controlling stake in 7-Eleven, Inc. Over the years, Suzuki's emphasis on fresh merchandise, innovative inventory management techniques, and numerous technological improvements guided Seven-Eleven Japan's rapid growth. At the core of these lies Tanpin Kanri, Suzuki's signature management framework.

    Keywords: Framework; Growth and Development Strategy; Management Practices and Processes; Demand and Consumers; Distribution; Logistics; Technology; Retail Industry; Japan;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Arar Han. "Tanpin Kanri: Retail Practice at Seven-Eleven Japan." Harvard Business School Case 506-002, July 2005. (Revised February 2011.) View Details
  21. Dubai Duty Free

    Rajiv Lal and David Kiron

    In mid-February 2009, Dubai Duty Free Managing Director Colm McLoughlin received the January sales report. He left the report lying on his desk unopened and went to walk around the shops as he did every morning. When he returned, he sat down at his desk, looked at the cover of the report, then called his wife, Breeda, to confirm that they were hosting a dinner party that weekend for some friends from Ireland who were in town for a golf tournament Dubai Duty Free was supporting.

    Keywords: Customer Focus and Relationships; Marketing Strategy; Emerging Markets; Value Creation; Retail Industry; Dubai;


    Lal, Rajiv, and David Kiron. "Dubai Duty Free." Harvard Business School Case 511-034, October 2010. View Details
  22. Target: Responding to the Recession

    Ranjay Gulati, Rajiv Lal and Cathy Ross

    Within 10 months of Gregg Steinhafel's taking over as CEO at Target, the U.S. was mired in the most significant economic downturn in 50 years. Top competitor Wal-Mart had positioned itself well for the crisis, while Target's same store sales began to slide. While Steinhafel believed that Target's long-term strategy and positioning were right, he pondered a set of strategic and operational challenges. Did Target have the right mix of offensive and defensive tactics to weather the downturn and position itself for the economy's eventual recovery? How far could Target go in emphasizing low price-the "pay less" side of its slogan-without eroding the company's core promise of offering unique and upscale products that customers would not see at other low-priced retailers? Would the benefits of adding fresh food to Target's general merchandise stores outweigh the associated challenges?

    Keywords: Financial Crisis; Strategy; Operations; Brands and Branding; Product Launch; Product Positioning; Competition; Retail Industry; United States;


    Gulati, Ranjay, Rajiv Lal, and Cathy Ross. "Target: Responding to the Recession." Harvard Business School Case 510-016, March 2010. View Details
  23. Go Mobile: The Phirbol Franchise

    Rajiv Lal and Natalie Kindred

    To grow Phirbol, a telecom retail franchise chain in Delhi, India's underdeveloped markets, its founders were exploring ways to offer more value to the franchisees. In mid-2009, the Phirbol franchise was comprised of some 150 franchisees that had converted their small "mom-and-pop” shops into Phirbol-branded stores. Entrepreneurs Meghna Modi and Glenn Wong had launched the franchise in 2007, two years after they founded Go Mobile, a company-owned mobile retail chain. While Go Mobile stores were located in higher-income neighborhoods and focused primarily on selling phone handsets, Phirbol stores could be found in less-developed areas—most were not accessible by car—and focused on selling service connections (SIM cards) and recharges. Phirbol added value to the franchisees by streamlining some of their business processes, offering them a consistent product supply, sales support and incentives, and providing them with education on the constantly changing dynamics of India's mobile market. But as the founders looked towards expanding, they knew they would have to enhance their offering to franchisees in order to recruit some of the more established "mom-and-pop” stores they planned to target as franchisees. In addition, they would need to adjust their business model such that more responsibility was delegated to franchisees and staff. Looking forward, what should Modi and Wong do to ensure Phirbol's success?

    Keywords: Business Model; Business Startups; Innovation and Management; Brands and Branding; Service Operations; Franchise Ownership; Value Creation; Telecommunications Industry; Delhi;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Natalie Kindred. "Go Mobile: The Phirbol Franchise." Harvard Business School Case 510-020, February 2010. View Details
  24. Purolator Courier Ltd.

    Rajiv Lal and Catherine Ross

    On a fall day in September 2003, Robert Swanborough made his way down a thickly carpeted hallway in Purolator's headquarters in Toronto, Canada, toward a meeting with his two deputies. Several months earlier, Swanborough, then vice-president of Marketing, had been named vice-president for Sales Effectiveness atop a transformed sales division. The previous week, the team had presented to top management the results of the customer segmentation research that Swanborough had contracted while in marketing. The research identified customers that would be willing to pay more for the services that Purolator was or could potentially provide to them. The new Sales Effectiveness team planned ....

    Keywords: Conferences; Customer Focus and Relationships; Leading Change; Marketing Strategy; Performance Effectiveness; Strategic Planning; Research; Segmentation; Canada;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Catherine Ross. "Purolator Courier Ltd." Harvard Business School Case 508-054, March 2008. (Revised March 2009.) View Details
  25. Transforming AMFAM

    Rakesh Khurana, Rajiv Lal and Cathy Ross

    On a winter day in December 2007 at the American Family Mutual Insurance Company (AMFAM) headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin, Dave Anderson and Jack Salzwedel remained in the conference room after the senior management meeting had concluded. Anderson, CEO of AMFAM since January 2007, and Salzwedel, named President in August 2006, reflected together on how far the company had come over the past two years. Both recalled meetings in which top executives simply read out activity reports to help prepare a previous CEO for a largely ceremonial board meeting. These days, they sensed energy and movement at different levels—whether in a strategic planning meeting, or in Salzwedel's recent visit to a regional office to explain in person the content of and motivation for the company's new strategic plan. Anderson and Salzwedel were pleased that the just-ended meeting exhibited the kind of engaged discussion, "pushback," and argumentation they had been encouraging.

    Keywords: Customer Focus and Relationships; Governing and Advisory Boards; Marketing; Mission and Purpose; Strategic Planning; Insurance Industry; United States;


    Khurana, Rakesh, Rajiv Lal, and Cathy Ross. "Transforming AMFAM." Harvard Business School Case 508-081, March 2008. (Revised March 2009.) View Details
  26. HP: The Computer is Personal Again

    Rajiv Lal and Cathy Ross

    In September 2008, Todd Bradley, executive vice president of Hewlett-Packard Company's Personal Systems Group (PSG), gathered his thoughts before a meeting with his top executives and managers for product design and marketing. On the agenda was a discussion of strategic next steps for the group. Hewlett-Packard (HP), a technology company providing a wide range of products and services including computers, handheld devices, servers, and digital entertainment, employed 172,000 people and posted $104 billion in sales in 2007. PSG, one of HP's three major divisions, offered notebook and desktop personal computers, handheld mobile computing devices, monitors, workstations, and related support services. Bradley's PSG had played an important role in HP's financial success over the previous three years.

    Keywords: Revenue; Product Positioning; Corporate Strategy; Computer Industry; Retail Industry;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Cathy Ross. "HP: The Computer is Personal Again." Harvard Business School Case 509-010, February 2009. View Details
  27. Shoppers' Stop Group (SSG)

    Rajiv Lal and Virginia Fuller

    As B.S. Nagesh thumbed through the 2006-2007 Annual Report for Shoppers' Stop Group (SSG), action shots of healthy-looking people dressed in the latest fashions amid the words "Redefining Retail" brought a smile to his face. As managing director of SSG-a Rs 8.9 billion ($206 million) company in 2007 which included 23 department stores and a new hypermarket- Nagesh was proud of the way the company had taken retail from its roots in simple transactions to a complete "experience" defined by the luxurious ambiance, food, events and educated staff in SSG's retail outlets throughout India. The company's success led to an initial public offering in May 2005. SSG's parent company, the K. Raheja Corporation, and its affiliated companies held 66% of SSG's shares.

    Keywords: Developing Countries and Economies; Initial Public Offering; Growth and Development Strategy; Marketing Strategy; Emerging Markets; Retail Industry; India;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Virginia Fuller. "Shoppers' Stop Group (SSG)." Harvard Business School Case 508-017, February 2008. (Revised June 2008.) View Details
  28. Takashimaya in Transition

    Rajiv Lal, Masako Egawa and Chisato Toyama

    Takashimaya, the largest department store in Japan, was suffering from declining sales. CEO Koji Suzuki had succeeded in instituting changes to cut costs. However, Suzuki needed to come up with a strategy to increase sales, particularly in apparel, which comprised the largest segment. Describes in detail the company's endeavors to develop its private brand in apparel.

    Keywords: Growth and Development Strategy; Brands and Branding; Product Development; Sales; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Retail Industry; Japan;


    Lal, Rajiv, Masako Egawa, and Chisato Toyama. "Takashimaya in Transition." Harvard Business School Case 506-054, June 2006. (Revised October 2007.) View Details
  29. The Parisian Revival

    Rajiv Lal and Carin-Isabel Knoop

    In mid-2005, George Jones had two jobs: head of Saks Inc.'s 41-store Parisian department store chain as well as president and CEO of the Saks Department Store Group (SDSG), an umbrella for seven chains with a total of 182 stores across the United States. In 2003 Jones had taken over direct management of the faltering Birmingham, Alabama-based Parisian, which operated moderate to upscale department stores in the southeastern United States. By mid-2005, he had succeeded in turning the business around. According to Jones, "between Q2 2003 and Q2 2005, we have registered eight successive growth quarters all the while reducing expenses. We had a dramatic impact on almost all of our stores. While some are growing at a single-digit rate, we have registered 20% to 40% sales growth in many of our stores. Turns are up nearly 20% and profitability has improved over 90%.

    Keywords: Profit; Leadership; Growth and Development Strategy; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Performance Improvement; Sales; Retail Industry; United States;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Carin-Isabel Knoop. "The Parisian Revival." Harvard Business School Case 506-035, March 2006. (Revised October 2007.) View Details
  30. Wal-Mart Mexico: Managing Multiple Formats

    Rajiv Lal, Mark Rennella and David Lane

    "On February 1, 2007, Wal-Mart Mexico (Walmex) CEO Eduardo Solorzano was preparing for a well deserved, two-week vacation on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Things were going well. Wal-Mart Mexico, which consisted principally of six different retail formats, had been growing at a dizzying pace ..."

    Keywords: Business or Company Management; Growth and Development; Marketing Strategy; Retail Industry; Mexico;


    Lal, Rajiv, Mark Rennella, and David Lane. "Wal-Mart Mexico: Managing Multiple Formats." Harvard Business School Case 507-063, June 2007. View Details
  31. JCPenney: An Historical Shift toward Centralization

    Rajiv Lal and Laura Winig

    In September 2006, Michael Taxter knew that JCPenney Company, the nation's 3rd largest department store retailer, with $18 billion in sales and more than 1,000 department stores throughout the United States, had survived the greatest challenge of its 100-year history.

    Keywords: Transformation; Sales; Retail Industry; United States;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Laura Winig. "JCPenney: An Historical Shift toward Centralization." Harvard Business School Case 507-007, March 2007. View Details
  32. Freeport Studio

    Rajiv Lal and James Weber

    Describes the start-up and first-year difficulties of Freeport Studio, a unit of L.L. Bean, founded in 1998 to sell women's clothing by catalog. First-year sales were far below plan, and projected profits did not materialize. Fran Philip must identify the problems and plan what must be done to make the unit profitable by year two. Includes color exhibits.

    Keywords: Business Startups; Profit; Growth and Development Strategy; Marketing Strategy; Strategic Planning; Problems and Challenges; Creativity;


    Lal, Rajiv, and James Weber. "Freeport Studio." Harvard Business School Case 501-021, September 2000. (Revised February 2007.) View Details
  33. UBS: Towards the Integrated Firm

    Rajiv Lal, Nitin Nohria and Carin-Isabel Knoop

    In late June 2005, UBS Group CEO Peter Wuffli--anointed "Master of Zurich" by the financial press--was returning to Zurich from the firm's latest three-day Senior Leadership Conference (SLC). Tapping 600 top managers, this SLC featured an outdoor event at a former military site in the Swiss mountains. Under the banner of "Understanding, Commitment, and Trust," teams of 100 executives engaged in a simulation of six worlds--metaphors for the various regions and parts of UBS business. Initial skepticism about the exercise was replaced with enthusiasm for the "mind-boggling" camaraderie that it created. Held above Montreux, Switzerland, home of the International Jazz Festival, the program opened with a taped interview of jazz great Wynton Marsalis asking the audience to equate the dynamics of jazz with the collaboration required to maintain a complex professional services firm. Marsalis contrasted Duke Ellington, who composed for the specific talents of his band members, with John Coltrane, a master of improvisation. "Coltrane played the themes," Wuffli mused. "That's what we do. We've got the vision. We've got all of our different musicians and we're playing to these themes in an integrated way. It does make beautiful music."

    Keywords: Integration; Programs; Leadership; Talent and Talent Management; Trust;


    Lal, Rajiv, Nitin Nohria, and Carin-Isabel Knoop. "UBS: Towards the Integrated Firm." Harvard Business School Case 506-026, March 2006. (Revised February 2007.) View Details
  34. Best Buy Co., Inc.: Customer-Centricity

    Rajiv Lal, Carin-Isabel Knoop and Irina Tarsis

    With FY2005 sales of $27.3 billion, Richfield, Minn.-based Best Buy Co., Inc. was the leading retailer of consumer electronics, home-office products, and related services in North America. Its operations included the distinct store formats Best Buy, Future Shop in Canada, and Magnolia Audio Video as well as service provider Geek Squad. For the eight years leading up to 2004, Best Buy had reported double-digit revenue growth every year and rarely missed earnings. But on December 13, 2005, Best Buy missed its third-quarter earnings per share (coming in at $0.28, not $0.30). The company's stock price fell nearly 12% that day, a loss of $2 billion in market cap. The poor results were attributed to the aggressive rollout of 144 new "centricity" stores--revamped retail formats featuring a customer-centric operating model designed to offer targeted "value propositions" to one or two distinct customer segments. The new format was a departure from Best Buy's winning formula and required adjustments in interactions between various parts of the Best Buy organization, including a new set of segment leaders.

    Keywords: Customer Focus and Relationships; Service Operations; Business Earnings; Financial Crisis; Failure; Business Model; Leadership; Segmentation; Value Creation; Electronics Industry; United States; Canada; Mongolia;


    Lal, Rajiv, Carin-Isabel Knoop, and Irina Tarsis. "Best Buy Co., Inc.: Customer-Centricity." Harvard Business School Case 506-055, April 2006. (Revised October 2006.) View Details
  35. New Beetle, The

    Rajiv Lal and Nilanjana R. Pal

    Volkswagen of America introduced the New Beetle at the Detroit auto show in January 1998 to rave reviews from the automobile press and industry gurus. Elisabeth Vanzura, marketing director of Volkswagen American had the challenging task of converting this enthusiasm to sales. Her first set of decisions related to the target market selection and positioning of the New Beetle. Includes color exhibits.

    Keywords: Decisions; Leadership; Marketing; Marketing Communications; Product Positioning; Market Entry and Exit; Sales; Auto Industry; United States;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Nilanjana R. Pal. "New Beetle, The." Harvard Business School Case 501-023, September 2000. (Revised September 2005.) View Details
  36. Callaway Golf Company

    Rajiv Lal and Edie Prescott

    Describes a situation faced by Mr. Ely Callaway, the 80-year-old founder, chairman, and CEO of Callaway Golf Co., in the fall of 1999. After a decade of stunning success with the marketing concept, Callaway suffered a significant loss and witnessed a steep decline in sales in 1998. Mr. Callaway had built a $800 million business by making a truly more satisfying product for the average golfer, making it pleasingly different from the competition and communicating the benefits to the consumer. The results in 1998 forced Mr. Callaway to reconsider the marketing program that had successfully supported the product until now.

    Keywords: Marketing Strategy; Crisis Management; Communication Strategy; Product; Business Strategy; Change Management; Competitive Advantage;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Edie Prescott. "Callaway Golf Company." Harvard Business School Case 501-019, August 2000. (Revised September 2005.) View Details
  37. Omnitel Pronto Italia

    Rajiv Lal, Carin-Isabel Knoop and Suma Raju

    Describes the situation faced by Omnitel soon after launching its mobile telecommunication services in Italy in December 1995. Competing against the Italian monopoly, TIM, Omnitel had positioned its services to be better on the quality dimension. However, sales were significantly below expectations. In order to develop a new strategy, Omnitel conducted extensive marketing research. This research identified the varying needs of different customer segments. Omnitel now had to decide whether to attack a new segment with a new service plan, "LIBERO," to improve on past performance.

    Keywords: Customer Satisfaction; Marketing Channels; Marketing Strategy; Product Positioning; Market Entry and Exit; Product Development; Sales; Competition; Segmentation; Value Creation; Telecommunications Industry; Italy;


    Lal, Rajiv, Carin-Isabel Knoop, and Suma Raju. "Omnitel Pronto Italia." Harvard Business School Case 501-002, August 2000. (Revised September 2005.) View Details
  38. CarMax

    Rajiv Lal and David Kiron

    Carmax is the largest multi-market used car dealer in the U.S., and has no format-to-format competitor in the $375 billion used car market. CarMax is trying to do what some analysts believed to be impossible: sell used cars profitably on a national scale, and at the same time revamp the tarnished image of the used car salesman.

    Keywords: Profit; Brands and Branding; Market Platforms; Segmentation; Auto Industry;


    Lal, Rajiv, and David Kiron. "CarMax." Harvard Business School Case 505-080, June 2005. View Details
  39. Overview of the Japanese Apparel Market

    Rajiv Lal and Arar Han

    Provides an overview of the Japanese apparel market, which was a 13.1 trillion yen industry in 2003, reflecting 5.5% year-over-year shrinkage since 1997, when retailers logged 17.5 trillion yen in sales. Compared to their global counterparts, Japanese apparel shoppers in the 12 to 35 age bracket are considered to be extremely fashion sensitive. Because these consumers commit a disproportionately large amount of their disposable income to fashion goods, the Japanese apparel market has been very attractive to global players such as Inditex, parent of Zara. Moreover, it is considered a promising market for small niche retailers and boutiques featuring up-and-coming designers, many of which are flourishing in areas of Tokyo such as the renowned Harajuku district. By the turn of the 21st century, Japan's chic apparel shoppers have enabled Tokyo to become a fashion center, influencing styles in other Asian countries such as China and Korea and drawing the attention of trend watchers and fashion journalists from around the world.

    Keywords: Trends; Financial Crisis; Trade; Emerging Markets; Sales; Luxury; Competition; Segmentation; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Fashion Industry; Asia; China; Japan; Korean Peninsula;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Arar Han. "Overview of the Japanese Apparel Market." Harvard Business School Background Note 505-068, June 2005. View Details
  40. Nordstrom: The Turnaround

    Rajiv Lal and Arar Han

    After a period of turbulence, the fourth generation of Nordstroms are in control of the $7.1 billion apparel retailer. They have instituted a number of changes in buying and IT that have turned the business around. What can they do to ensure future growth?

    Keywords: Transformation; Crisis Management; Growth Management; Organizational Structure; Information Technology; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Retail Industry;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Arar Han. "Nordstrom: The Turnaround." Harvard Business School Case 505-051, February 2005. (Revised May 2005.) View Details
  41. Ito-Yokado: The Challenge of Apparel

    Rajiv Lal and Arar Han

    Ito-Yokado, the 16th largest retail conglomerate in the world, has struggled with the declining performance in the apparel division of its superstores for over a decade. Apparel sales are slipping, eating hard-won gains in the retailer's food division. CEO Toshifumi Suzuki has already instituted a number of revolutionary changes to sourcing and merchandising. What should he try next?

    Keywords: Business Conglomerates; Transformation; Performance; Problems and Challenges; Sales; Strategy; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Retail Industry; Japan;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Arar Han. "Ito-Yokado: The Challenge of Apparel." Harvard Business School Case 505-048, March 2005. (Revised May 2005.) View Details
  42. United States Army

    Rajiv Lal and Laura Coleman

    After three months of close collaboration, the Leo Burnett USA/Worldwide agency and partner Cartel and Images advertising/creative team were poised to unveil to senior Army officials at the Pentagon their replacement to the "Be All You Can Be" campaign to help increase lagging recruitment.

    Keywords: Advertising Campaigns; Decisions; Globalization; Recruitment; Management Teams; Marketing Strategy; United States;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Laura Coleman. "United States Army." Harvard Business School Case 504-038, May 2004. (Revised April 2005.) View Details
  43. Citizens Bank

    Rajiv Lal and Arar Han

    In November 2004, Larry Fish, chairman of Citizens Bank, is wondering about the challenges posed by the latest and largest acquisition in the history of the bank. Fish has always believed that the success of Citizens thus far was facilitated by the credo he introduced in 2002. With an ever-growing organization, and more acquisitions in the future, he needs to know what changes need to be made to continue the effectiveness of the credo and his commitment to customers, employees, and communities.

    Keywords: Acquisition; Change Management; Customer Focus and Relationships; Employees; Leading Change; Performance Effectiveness; Banking Industry;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Arar Han. "Citizens Bank." Harvard Business School Case 505-034, October 2004. (Revised March 2005.) View Details
  44. Parisian: productivity and selling cost

    Rajiv Lal and Arar Han

    Presents the dilemma facing George Jones with respect to the high selling cost at Parisian Department Stores. The challenges to be considered reflect issues at different levels of the organization, including individual salespeople, the store itself, and the merchandise policy for a set of rather diverse stores.

    Keywords: Cost; Executive Compensation; Production; Sales; Salesforce Management; Motivation and Incentives; Retail Industry;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Arar Han. "Parisian: productivity and selling cost." Harvard Business School Case 505-052, January 2005. (Revised March 2005.) View Details
  45. Mahindra & Mahindra: Creating Scorpio

    Tarun Khanna, Rajiv Lal and Merlina Manocaran

    Details the emergence of a private sector automobile manufacturer in India that has created globally competitive and cheap versions of an SUV commonly available worldwide. Asks us to think about the parent corporation's next steps in leveraging this success. In particular: To what extent does it make sense to expand overseas vs. entrenching itself within the home market--India?

    Keywords: Developing Countries and Economies; Global Range; Multinational Firms and Management; Emerging Markets; Commercialization; Expansion; Auto Industry; India;


    Khanna, Tarun, Rajiv Lal, and Merlina Manocaran. "Mahindra & Mahindra: Creating Scorpio." Harvard Business School Case 705-478, February 2005. View Details
  46. Harrah's Entertainment Inc.

    Rajiv Lal and Patricia Carrolo

    Describes a situation facing Philip Satre, chairman and CEO of Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. Satre was reading a May 2000 Wall Street Journal story that discussed the company's marketing success in targeting low rollers, the 100% growth in stock price and profits in the year to December 1999, and the revenue growth of 50%, which significantly outpaced the industry. The exciting articles aroused Satre's desire to know more about the activities of his then COO, Gary Loveman, and his team of "propeller heads" with respect to their database marketing efforts and the Total Reward Program. Satre was interested in two questions: He wanted to know how much these marketing efforts had contributed to Harrah's overall performance and whether these marketing results were a one-shot event or could be achieved year after year, especially as the competition introduced similar programs.

    Keywords: Budgets and Budgeting; Marketing; Marketing Reference Programs; Performance Evaluation; Motivation and Incentives; Competitive Strategy;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Patricia Carrolo. "Harrah's Entertainment Inc." Harvard Business School Case 502-011, October 2001. (Revised June 2004.) View Details
  47. L.L. Bean: A Search for Growth

    Rajiv Lal, Walter J. Salmon and James Weber

    In mid-2003, CEO Chris McCormick felt L.L. Bean was in a good position to begin to grow again. For nearly 90 years, the company sold clothing and gear for outdoor enthusiasts through its catalogs and a single retail store in Freeport, Maine. In the three decades prior to 1996, sales growth averaged nearly 20% per year. In 1995, sales hit $1 billion, but stagnated for the next six years—growing at less than 2% annually. The company responded with a structural reorganization and investment in its Internet sales channel. In 2002 and early 2003, McCormick led an effort to reduce overhead and improve its internal systems, including the elimination of 1,000 jobs—which reduced year-round headcount by nearly 15%. After these initiatives, the company remained profitable and enjoyed a strong balance sheet, but sales growth remained near zero. Most significantly, between 2000 and 2002, L.L. Bean opened three retail stores in shopping malls outside Maine. McCormick viewed these three stores as the first of a chain of stores that would form a new selling channel and enable L.L. Bean to grow. Early results from the three new stores were below expectations; L.L. Bean spent significant time examining its retail store activities in an attempt to learn where it could improve. As the company began to apply those lessons in the stores, performance picked up, fueling McCormick's optimism that L.L. Bean could grow with retail stores.

    Keywords: History; Leadership Development; Cost Management; Infrastructure; Performance Improvement; Sales; Product Positioning; Diversification; Distribution Channels; Resignation and Termination; Retail Industry; Web Services Industry;


    Lal, Rajiv, Walter J. Salmon, and James Weber. "L.L. Bean: A Search for Growth." Harvard Business School Case 504-080, March 2004. View Details
  48. Peabody Simpson at the Crossroads

    Rajiv Lal, Nitin Nohria and Leslie Freeman

    Three managing directors at Peabody Simpson had just returned from a firm-wide recruiting event at Columbia University, which they had covered together, as all were alumni. They were commiserating about having to submit revised forecasts to their division heads by the end of the week. Alec Hastings, head of Global Institutional Securities, wanted an update on year-to-date expense. They sat at their favorite watering hole and discussed the challenge of cutting $600 million out of the operating budget.

    Keywords: Forecasting and Prediction; Capital Budgeting; Recruitment; Reports; Organizational Design;


    Lal, Rajiv, Nitin Nohria, and Leslie Freeman. "Peabody Simpson at the Crossroads." Harvard Business School Case 503-112, June 2003. View Details
  49. Liz Claiborne, Inc.

    Rajiv Lal, Walter J. Salmon and Edie Prescott

    Discusses the business portfolio emphasis of a large multibrand manufacturer and the future of department stores as well as how relationships between manufacturers and key customers can be improved.

    Keywords: Forecasting and Prediction; Investment Portfolio; Brands and Branding; Production; Business and Stakeholder Relations; Apparel and Accessories Industry;


    Lal, Rajiv, Walter J. Salmon, and Edie Prescott. "Liz Claiborne, Inc." Harvard Business School Case 503-098, May 2003. View Details
  50. Charles Schwab Corp.: Introducing A New Brand

    Rajiv Lal and David Kiron

    As the financial services industry converges, how should Charles Schwab, widely known as a discount brokerage firm, position its brand? This case presents elements of the company's overall brand strategy--including brand assets, choice of target audience, and media message.

    Keywords: Growth and Development Strategy; Brands and Branding; Marketing Strategy; Financial Services Industry;


    Lal, Rajiv, and David Kiron. "Charles Schwab Corp.: Introducing A New Brand." Harvard Business School Case 502-020, November 2001. View Details
  51. Intuit QuickBooks

    Rajiv Lal and Punima P Kochikar

    Internet QuickBooks, a successful product with a strong brand and an 85% share of retail sales, was faced with the challenge of meeting market growth expectations in a mature, slowing market segment. Generating recurring revenues by providing value-added online services that complement the desktop software was viewed as an attractive solution by QuickBook's management. Intuit now had to decide the best way to provide these services--i.e. build them in house or acquire them through partnerships. In doing so, the company had to evaluate ways to capture value in the Intuit QuickBooks brand without damaging it. Teaching purpose: Taught in the first-year marketing course to bring out the issues related to capturing value.

    Keywords: Budgets and Budgeting; Decisions; Growth and Development; Brands and Branding; Market Participation; Problems and Challenges; Internet; Value; Web Services Industry;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Punima P Kochikar. "Intuit QuickBooks." Harvard Business School Case 501-054, November 2000. (Revised July 2001.) View Details
  52. Chapters.ca

    Michael J. Roberts, Rajiv Lal and Walter J. Salmon

    Describes the challenges facing the online site associated with Canada's largest bricks-and-mortar bookseller. Presents a variety of lenses for examining the economic model of the online versus traditional book-selling business, and asks students to identify the marketing levers that can drive the business model.

    Keywords: Marketing Strategy; Online Technology; Business Model; Entrepreneurship; Product Marketing; Business Strategy; Technological Innovation; Canada;


    Roberts, Michael J., Rajiv Lal, and Walter J. Salmon. "Chapters.ca." Harvard Business School Case 801-158, September 2000. (Revised July 2001.) View Details
  53. First USA and Internet Marketing

    Rajiv Lal and Amy H. Nelson

    Explores First USA's decision to use the Internet for acquiring customers. Tom Brenner needs to decide on the terms of the deals demanded by the portals and justify the recommendations to his boss.

    Keywords: Online Advertising; Decision Choices and Conditions; Resource Allocation; Marketing Strategy; Internet;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Amy H. Nelson. "First USA and Internet Marketing." Harvard Business School Case 500-043, March 2000. (Revised January 2001.) View Details
  54. GetConnected.com

    Rajiv Lal, Nilanjana R. Pal and Jodi L. Prins

    Describes the situation faced by GCI.com in April 2000, soon after raising $12 million for their new venture. After hiring an advertising agency, management needs to decide on the nature of the advertising campaign to target the right set of customers with the right message.

    Keywords: Advertising Campaigns; Business Startups; Business or Company Management; Marketing Strategy; Market Entry and Exit; Corporate Strategy; Web Services Industry;


    Lal, Rajiv, Nilanjana R. Pal, and Jodi L. Prins. "GetConnected.com." Harvard Business School Case 501-025, September 2000. (Revised November 2000.) View Details
  55. Guru.com

    Rajiv Lal and Ann Leamon

    An online resource for independent professionals must create a marketing plan to build brand awareness. Along with the tone and message of the ads, the executives must choose from several different treatments and media, keeping within their budget.

    Keywords: Budgets and Budgeting; Brands and Branding; Marketing Communications; Marketing Strategy;


    Lal, Rajiv, and Ann Leamon. "Guru.com." Harvard Business School Case 501-005, September 2000. View Details
  56. HP Consumer Products Business Organization: Distributing Printers via the Internet

    Rajiv Lal, Kirthi Kalyanam, Shelby Mc Intyre and Edie Prescott

    In spring 1998, Pradeep Jotwani, vice president and general manager of the Consumer Products Business Organization of the Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP), was contemplating the increasing success of e-commerce and its implications for his division. The consumer products group had started selling refurbished printers through an Internet outlet center in December 1997, but Jotwani was now considering a move to sell new printers directly to consumers via this new channel. If he were to make such a move, he wondered which products to sell online at what prices, and how to communicate this strategy to the channel partners without damaging the existing distribution structure.

    Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions; Marketing Channels; Business Processes; Problems and Challenges; Partners and Partnerships; Sales; Business Strategy; Technology; Information Technology; Consumer Products Industry;


    Lal, Rajiv, Kirthi Kalyanam, Shelby Mc Intyre, and Edie Prescott. "HP Consumer Products Business Organization: Distributing Printers via the Internet." Harvard Business School Case 500-021, October 1999. (Revised March 2000.) View Details
  57. net.Genesis, Inc.

    Robert J. Dolan, Rajiv Lal and Perry Fagan

    Net.Genesis is planning a strategy for the developing Internet market. In particular, it is creating the category of e-business intelligence and striving to be the brand leader in it.

    Keywords: Emerging Markets; Strategic Planning; Expansion; Brands and Branding; Knowledge Use and Leverage; Marketing Communications; Internet; Change Management;


    Dolan, Robert J., Rajiv Lal, and Perry Fagan. "net.Genesis, Inc." Harvard Business School Case 500-009, November 1999. View Details

    Research Summary

  1. Retail and the Internet

    by Rajiv Lal

    The emergence of new technology, increasing number of new retail formats and the emphasis on store brands are contributing factors to enormous changes taking place in retailing. Rajiv Lal's work on the use of the Internet by retailers calls into question the conventional wisdom about the effect of selling via the Internet on brand loyalty and brand equity. This research suggests that contrary to popular belief, the Internet offers the possibility for retailers to leverage their brand equity and argues for a dramatic change in the role of the retail store when used in conjunction with the Internet.
  2. Recent Strategies in the U.S. Grocery Industry

    by Rajiv Lal

    Rajiv Lal's work comparing the benefits of EDLP and Hi-Lo strategies in the grocery industry indicates that while EDLP grocery retailers may not be able to benefit from traditional costs savings associated with this strategy, these retailers still benefit from the use of promotions, lower basket prices, and sometimes lower in-store service levels by effectively differentiating themselves from Hi-Lo stores. In this way these stores avoid competing head-to-head with Hi-Lo stores, leading to higher profitability.

    Another recent trend has been the increasing reliance on store brands by retailers such as Shaw's supermarkets and Safeway. While for many years store brands were viewed as 'cheap and nasty,' catering to the needs of price sensitive consumers, Lal's research shows how they can be used to enhance store loyalty and profitability.


  1. Executive Education: Leading Growth through Customer Centricity — India

    by Rajiv Lal

    Establishing a strategic advantage in India's highly competitive marketplace requires a systemic shift in focus—away from selling products and toward meeting the needs of customers. But how many companies are prepared to carry out such fundamental change? By transforming your organization's marketing strategy, programs, and channels, your company can capitalize on new market conditions while delivering strong financial performance.

  1. Winner of the 1985 John D.C. Little Award for "A Theory of Salesforce Compensation Plans" (with A. K. Basu, V. Srinivasan, and Richard Staelin, Marketing Science, fall 1985).

  2. Winner of the TIMS College of Marketing Award for the Best Article in Management Science and Marketing Science in 1985 for "A Theory of Salesforce Compensation Plans" (with A. K. Basu, V. Srinivasan, and Richard Staelin, Marketing Science, fall 1985).

  3. Nominated in 1990 for the John D. C. Little Award for "Price Promotions: Limiting Competitive Encroachment" (Marketing Science, summer 1990).

  4. Nominated in 1990 for the John D.C. Little Award for "The Effects of Brand Loyalty on Competitive Price Promotional Strategies" (with J. S. Raju and V. Srinivasan, Management Science, March 1990).

  5. Nominated in 1999 for the John D.C. Little Award for "When and How Is the Internet Likely to Decrease Price Competition" (with M. Sarvary, Marketing Science, 1999).

06 Apr 2016
Financial Times
05 May 2014
American Public Media: Marketplace
27 Mar 2014
American Public Media: Marketplace
19 Nov 2013
American Public Media: Marketplace
09 Oct 2013
Bloomberg TV: In the Loop
20 Aug 2013
Harvard Business School
05 Mar 2012
HBS Working Knowledge
03 Feb 2012
28 Mar 2011
Virtuous Retail
01 Dec 2010