Monday, April 17, 2006

Religion as a Product

So, we were discussing world economy in World Economy class (offered by Corporate Strategy department). I simply love this class. We have a visiting professor from Univ of Washington, who juxtaposes the speed & humor of a stand-up comedian and the depth of a seasoned academician in his lectures. He made us think and laugh at the same time while slowly working his way into becoming one of my favorite professors. So we were talking as to how companies that are going global struggle against local competition and diverse behavior of consumers. As we were talking about different companies that struggled to globalize, he hit upon an example that simply made me sit up (from my web browsing) and notice.

He asked us to imagine religion as a corporate. What is the value proposition or the product solution each religion is trying to sell? - It is Salvation (Moksham). Each religion is essentially similar to a corporate entity in that it professes to offer its own solution that will help people acheive salvation. They have marketing strategies to position themselves in a niche corner of the salvation market. We then delved into how the Lutherian church clearly segments the market place and adopts different strategies to sell their salvation solution to people. They infact have cards green, yellow and red to essentially provide a snapshot/status of a particular country's inclination to adopt the solution. India is yellow and middle-east, obviously, red. We then went into aspects of the globalization of a particular salvation solution and the kind of challenges it faces from local competition and adapting its solution to local demands and needs.

I have to say, it was interesting. We were talking logic on what is essentially a its-beyond-logic-and-play-it-by-the-heart thing. I love people who dont bother to be politically correct. Ofcourse he gave us several disclaimers but none was needed. It was a harmless and productive discussion. We so much enjoyed the debate, discussion and conversation. I was frankly floored by the humor and the quality of discussion. Seriously, this is turning out to be a wonderful class. I am glad I took it with such a creative professor. This anecdote is just one of the many good ones I took away from this class. Class participation and debates was something I was looking forward to when I came to Michigan and this class delivered big time. This is what I call paisa vasool.


Ram said...

That is an interesting way to look at religion with an exception which was perhaps covered in the disclaimer ;-) You have to buy what your parents bought before buying anything else. This product sells millions easily. Customer retention could be a small issue for which several workarounds exist. How I wish business were that easy ;-)

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Wow! That sure is a very interesting way of looking at it. And most importantly, it is very very educative! Thanks for sharing the thought!