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My Superbowl Moment.

Posted by Niroo Kamdar

For many of you who may follow football, John Mobley was an all-pro linebacker that played 8 seasons with the Denver Broncos. He was a key component of the Broncos teams that won Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998. In fact, his tipped pass of Brett Favre in the final minutes of Super Bowl XXXI, secured him his first ring.

Not only is John Mobley a decorated football legend who demonstrated a fierce tenacity on the field. He is also a soft-spoken gentleman who happens to be my neighbor.  

I have known him for the last 8 yrs. and we have played golf on many occasions. What struck me most about him when I first met him was his sincere generosity and humbleness that he displays at all times. He didn't come from a privileged background (same as myself) and went to a small school in Pennsylvania called Kutztown University. He had to compete against the top players from the big schools from all the major conferences: Big 12, SEC, Big Ten, Pac-10. Through his hard-work, dedication and perseverance, he managed to be a first-round pick of the Broncos and the rest was glorious history.

Similar to John, I went to the University of Missouri and not an Ivy-League or elite private institution. My father handed me 18 dollars, paid for one semester of college and gave me a one-way ticket to fly to Missouri from India in 1960. I ended up taking a full semester load while becoming a teaching assistant to earn extra dollars. During the summer breaks, I took a job waiting tables at the legendary Sahara Inn Hotel in Chicago and even served the great Roy Orbison, Sammy Davis Jr. and Chi-Chi Rodriguez.

When I graduated, I had to prove myself against folks who came from the finest institutions: Harvard, University of Chicago and Northwestern amongst many other elite schools when entering the workforce. When I was given my chance at General Foods, I seized the opportunity and never looked back. I like to call out from time to time that I come from the former Big 8 conference that has produced the likes of Warren Buffet (Nebraska) and T. Boone Pickens (Oklahoma State) which is good company to keep!

My Super Bowl ring came when I was nominated as a finalist in New York for the highly prestigious Ernst & Young "Entrepreneur of the Year" award  (past winners include: Hamid Ulukaya, Founder of Chobani Yogurt, Thomas Mackey, Founder of Whole Foods, and Wayne Huzienga, Founder of AutoNation and Blockbuster Video). Although I didn't win, it is the highest honor bestowed on entrepreneurs who have a vision, take the risk and are able to influence change amongst the status quo.

What John and I have in common is that we had the drive and motivation to succeed in our respective fields. And yet we never lost sight of our roots and where we can from. We did not have all the advantages when we started our professional careers and had to prove ourselves even more. But we demonstrated that by having inner conviction and self-confidence, you can achieve your ultimate dreams and hoist your own personal Lombardi trophy.


The Demise Of Burger Chef: What Mad Men Didn't Reveal

Posted by Niroo Kamdar

Have you ever heard of Burger Chef? If you are a fan of Mad Men, you may have seen the episode where Dom and Peggy use the "family-oriented" pitch in order to land the account If you are under the age of 40, then probably not. Burger Chef was considered to be one of the most innovative fast-food restaurant chains that challenged McDonald's back in the 1960's. The founding brothers, Dave and Frank Thomas while designing a custom broiler for Burger King, decided they could compete directly instead of supplying them. They began to franchise Burger Chef locations, beginning in Indianapolis in 1954. By 1968, Burger Chef had over 900 locations (#2 to McDonald's) and General Foods acquired them. In 1971, that number jumped to 2400 locations!

I had the privilege of creating the Burger Chef Forecasting Model that determined the marketing investments that would be needed to earn a significant ROI for General Foods.

It is important to note that innovation was the key ingredient to Burger Chef's success. Many people do not know they were the FIRST to:

  • Develop the Flame-Broiled Burger (not Burger King)
  • Create the "Value Combo"(not McDonald's) of a soda, fries and a hamburger for 45 cents
  • Create the "Self-Serve Works Bar" (not Fuddruckers)
  • Create the "Funmeal" (not McDonald's version called the Happy Meal)

With the financial resources of General Foods and cutting-edge innovation, it seemed Burger Chef was poised to take-over McDonald's foothold in the industry.

What happened? Many historians will cite that it was too much, too soon for General Foods to handle. Others will say that General Foods wanted to refocus its energy on it core competency of packaged foods.

While both contributed to its demise, do you want to know the real reason Burger Chef failed?

The royalties that General Foods negotiated with Burger Chef franchise owners was too low! While franchise owners were becoming millionaires, General Foods was seeing a fraction of those revenues. It become cost-prohibitive for General Foods and they eventually sold the business to a Canadian company that operated Hardees and took a $75 million write-off.

Lessons that still hold true and are relevant today. Just ask Mr. Wonderful from the Shark Tank about royalty negotiation!

2015 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Nominee

Posted by Niroo Kamdar

Each year, Ernst and Young recognizes entrepreneurs who have driven the financial growth of market-leading companies and demonstrated initiative, creativity and the ability to champion ideas that makes significant change. Past winners have included: Howard Schultz( Founder of Starbucks Coffee), Reid Hoffman (Founder of Linkedin), Sergey Brin and Larry Page (Founders of Google). 
This year, the judges selected Asim Kamdar, SVP of Strategy and Innovation, for leading the financial growth of Summitry Worldwide. He has been instrumental in increasing our Revenue/ EBITDA growth through his business development, new product/ service introductions and repositioning/ rebranding of Summitry. 
We want to congratulate Asim for his dedication, perseverance and tireless passion to rebuilding Summitry Worldwide into a market leader in Product Portfolio Optimization and Structured Innovation!


"My Bologna Has A First Name...It's O-S-C-A-R"

Posted by Asim Kamdar

If you look up Oscar Mayer's Lunchables in Wikipedia, it will say Bob Drane was responsible for designing the concept. See what Bob said about Summitry and the work we completed quadrupling the business to over $400M in less than 5 years.


Men Are From Mars. Women Prefer Venus.

Posted by Asim Kamdar


How to spend and when to spend? That is the timeless question that marketers face when launching new products into the marketplace. You only have one chance to be NEW - use it or lose it is what we say! If a new product is advertised at less than the critical introductory spending level, it will not reach full mature potential.








What is Product Portfolio Optimization?

Posted by Niroo Kamdar


Interestingly enough, I have been asked this many times over in my career. Some may think the terminology refers to methods to derive the optimal combination of financial products that provide a better return than the S & P 500. Others believe that is a variation on the famous GE-McKinsey Portfolio Analysis Model. To a degree, its concept is based on both - it is driven by high-powered analytics similar to what you find in the financial sector, yet we overlay the strategic thought-leadership of management consultants - at a significant lower cost mind you!

So what is it in a nutshell? It is a consumer research study that identifies the key drivers of each product and brand in your Product Portfolio: What, When, Where, Who and Why?

It is a strategic blueprint that is consumer-driven with practical applications and reflects marketplace realities. 

What Can It Do:

  • Go beyond traditional need states, segmentation research and perceptual mapping
  • Provide outputs that are highly actionable
  • Provide significant strategic and tactical value across entire portfolio
  • Identify incremental/ cannibalistic elements of the portfolio
  • Optimal management of your Product Portfolio to yield maximum revenue/ volume
  • Quantify the impact of Brand Synergy across the Portfolio - Measures "Halo" Effects



Product Portfolio Optimization provides the strategic and analytic platform to create well-defined brand/ sub-brand positioning that uses the following format:


Why is this critical? By creating clear and distinct positioning for each brand/ product, you ultimately can maximize the revenue and volume potential of the portfolio. It also serves as a springboard for Innovation, as it illuminates spaces that are not occupied in the marketplace.


Why Pay Significant $'s For Consumer Insights?

Posted by Asim Kamdar


Based on a recent Summitry study of MR/ Analytic professionals, we identified a high-demand for delivering rich and robust consumer insights that fall within budgetary constraints. The general consensus was that individuals wanted data on their respective brands/ category, while not having to break their budget.

To this end, we are launching a series of Custom, Multi-Client Research Reports in selected categories that will provide detailed brand/ category insights. Included will be: Usage Domains, Need States, Consumer Segmentation and Hierarchical Purchase Structures.

As a beta-launch, we are creating reports in 2 industries: Cold Beverages (Non-Alcoholic & Alcoholic Beverages) and Sauces/ Enhancers/ Seasonings that will be ready for purchase in Sept. 2014. Included will be full set of data tables.

You can read more about these reports at the following:

Please contact us at 407.804.1322 for further information.

Men Are From Mars. Women Prefer Venus.

Posted by Asim Kamdar

Our New Product Simulation Model forecasted Gillette's Venus Razor business as a $200MM proposition by Year 2 contingent upon the correct levels of investment - which later was validated. Our Simulation models are derived in advanced mathematics rooted in Brand Entropy/ Thermodynamics and directly tied to the Hierarchical Purchase Structure - not regression-based models that use history to predict the future and cannot accurately forecast products that form new categories.

CEO Jim Kilts cited Summitry as being a catalyst in turning around the Gillette business after years of decline - eventually selling the business to P & G for $57 Billion.


2013 Finalist for the Explor Award

Posted by Asim Kamdar


Every year within the Market Research community, they recognize those individuals who have developed unique approaches to their art form and have demonstrated the willingness to challenge the status-quo. The DNA needed to win this prestigious award must comprise of an unabashed curiosity to seek a new way of doing things. At the same token, it also has to be tried, tested and deliver profitable results.

The EXPLOR award recognizes breakthrough innovation in technology as applied to market research. This year the panel recognized our CEO for pioneering the concept of Product Portfolio Optimization over 30 years ago. Today, the approach is even more relevant for companies wanting to optimize the revenue/ volume potential of their product portfolio.

To read more about the award and other recipients who are Disruptor Innovators in their own right, please visit the following link.!