Google+ Consumer Psyche: 2009


Thursday, December 31, 2009


2009 has been an amazing year with lots of blessings and changes towards the better. God was good to me, my family and blessed us. Personally this year was special as I completed my MBA, started working in a profile I love with a great team and trying to get fit. As you can see from this pic, I think I am on the right track :) Planned a lot more things for this year and want to achieve all of them with His grace.

I hope the new year brings in all the joy, happiness and prosperity you want and God be good to you and your family. Cheers and let's take on 2010!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Towards better blogging

I have been blogging for quite sometime and here is what I have learnt to keep the audience engaged and coming back for more. You should always think about who is reading and why. Just like in marketing, it is the visitor/reader who is important and not you. So to summarize, ask yourself these questions about your blog.
  1. Who will read your blog? (What readers is it addressed to?)
  2. What is the reader’s main concern? (Time, delivery, reliability, quality, efficiency)
  3. What is the character of the reader?
  4. What motivates the reader?
  5. What is their one greatest fear? … or greatest fears
  6. How many different influences must the blog appeal to?
Then fill up those loose ends and you have a strong product to sell. Add some glitter and good marketing you should be blazing. Good luck.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Have a blast

Christmas is in town and celebrations are all around. Am in Calicut, Kerala and the only thing that is on my mind is Vinay's wedding tomorrow :) Santosh is flying today on an office trip to the US trip [working with Nike]. I am gonna sleep now and have a blast in the eve and tomorrow. Am leaving for Bangalore for the next 10 days from morrow.

All you guys have a wonderful time ahead. With 4 holidays this weekend, most of us are home. So enjoy with your family and friends.

Let me end it with a thought. Christmas is a time of forgiveness, of love, peace and promise. As Abraham Lincoln said, Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? Call that one person you have hated and make peace.

Let it be Christmas

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A time for everything

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

A time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

A time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

A time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

A time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

A time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

A time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

From Ecclesiastes, The Holy Bible

Organised retail in recession

India's retail industry boom gave way to despair in 2009 as consumers held back big spending, forcing some companies to restructure finances, while recession-battered western retail chains would have felt glad they were not allowed to set shop.

Although the UPA government returned to power, minus the push and pulls of Left parties, it decided to keep western multi-brand retail chains off from the country's USD 450-billion retail market. But nobody was complaining, as the recession-battered global majors were busy securing existing operations elsewhere.

One estimate suggests that nearly 5,700 retail stores would close down this year in the US alone. That slowdown had got to the domestic retail trade became evident when one of the earliest players, budget-retail chain Subhiksha, went bust. Not long after, north Indian chain Vishal Retail went for corporate debt restructuring. Others such as Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Retail and Kishore Biyani-led Pantaloon went slow on expansion or even downsized operations.

Though the last quarter saw a bit of marketplace confidence returning, overall, the year remained challenging. There were no estimates, however, of how mom & pop stores fared through the year.

While Indian companies tread cautiously, the world's largest furniture maker Ikea scrapped plans to enter the country, citing government's restrictions on FDI. The Swedish retailer was planning to enter the single-brand retail segment, where 51 per cent FDI is allowed but it wanted further relaxation of the rules.

The last quarter, around the festive season, saw a bit of consumer confidence returning, with some retailers player announcing expansion plans for the coming year. The year started with Chennai-based retailer Subhiksha Trading Services Ltd going bankrupt and downing the shutters of all its 1,600 odd stores across the country due to severe liquidity crunch.

With its lenders running for the company's skin and over 5,000 employees on the street, Subhiksha sought a corporate debt restructuring (CDR) exercise. But, that remains inconclusive and the firm now faces a slew of cases by its suppliers in the Madras High Court on winding up petitions. Reeling under Rs 730-crore debt, Delhi-based supermarket chain Vishal Retail also went in for a CDR in November. Earlier in the year, it had already halted all expansion. Even the country's largest retailer, Kishore Biyani-promoted Future Group, faced crunch and went in for restructuring of its operations and merging them under six verticals.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pepsi's refreshing ad strategy 2010

In a bold strategic move, Pepsi has dropped its entire Super Bowl advertising budget to focus on the new Pepsi Refresh Project. Under the Refresh Everything campaign, Pepsi will award grants for community-based projects proposed and selected by consumers. Pepsi has earmarked $20 million of its ad dollars for the grant initiative next year.

The move is an about-face for Pepsi, which was the biggest advertiser on last year's broadcast of the big game and has long made the National Football League championship the centerpiece of its marketing strategy. Pepsi has used the event, TV's priciest showcase for ads, to launch splashy spots starring celebrities such as Britney Spears, Cindy Crawford and Ozzy Osbourne.

The brand was the biggest advertiser during the Super Bowl last year. In the past, Pepsi’s advertising strategy used the major televised football event as a way to roll out some of its most memorable spots with celebrities like Britney Spears and Cindy Crawford. The shift aims to focus less on a singular event and more on cause-related marketing. Pepsi has also increased their online advertising budget by 60% for 2010.

Pic: WSJ

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday blues: Monday and Time

Continuing with the Monday series, Robin Sharma speaks to us today.

Time is a beautiful commodity. It is part of the hardware of life. What you do with it shapes, in so many ways, what your life looks like. And yet, while almost every one of us wishes for more time, we misuse the time we have on hand.

I am no guru, you know that. But I have become pretty good at using my time well. Time wasted is time lost and the big idea on time is that once it is lost, it can never be regained.

I recently read that John Templeton, the celebrated financier, never went anywhere without a book in his briefcase. This way, if he found himself in a long line, he could use the downtime to read, learn and grow. I also read in the Rolling Stone magazine that Madonna hates wasting time. She used to bring a book with her when she would go out to a nightclub to use the time when she wasn't dancing, efficiently.

My coaching clients are like that. And they lead big lives as a result of that giant devotion to time management. I want to be clear: I am in no way suggesting that every minute of your days, weeks, months need to be scheduled. Be spontaneous. Be playful. Be free. I am a free spirit at heart. I just find that the people who have the most time for fun are those who know how to plan and use their time well.

In my experience, the people who feel stress the most and lead their lives like a five-alarm fire are those who leave life to chance and make no time to set schedules, articulate goals and follow well-thought-out plans.

"Anxiety is caused by a lack of control, organisation, preparation and action," observed thinker David Kekich. That's a powerful thought, isn't it?

--Robin Sharma is the author of The Greatness Guide (Jaico) [via DNA]

Fitness trends

Most of my friends are hitting the gym to get back in shape while some, including yours truly, hardly get time to do so. The reason is they don't want to look the way they are on the D-day. Now this may seem normal but DNA reports something different.

As they prepare to tie the knot, they are even ready to go under the knife in search of that 'perfect look' for their wedding day.An increasing number of would be brides and bridegrooms are queuing up before cosmetic surgeons ahead of their 'D-Day', with some asking for a perfect nose while others seeking fat reduction. While people seeking liposuction, nose jobs or breast implants are a regular feature at cosmetic clinics, their number often goes up ahead of the wedding season, surgeons say.

This gets funnier... Another interesting trend we have observed lately is that besides the would-be brides and bridegrooms, their close relatives also come seeking treatments.

Whether or not going under the knife healthy is doubtful but I think you should look at yoga, walking, dieting and other ways of regular stuff to get back in shape. Thanks to Divya, Tulasi who are experts in dieting and fitness and in pushing me, I am getting back in shape too. Since Divya turned a fitness freak, she lost like 12 kgs in five months and is into salsa, kick boxing, yoga, painting and what not! Tulasi is on Dinaz's team that broke the Asian record conducting aerobics classes for 20 hours continuously and is attempting to break the world record by doing it for 26 hours in Hyderabad on January 9 and 10.

Whether it is for the D-day or not, you need to be fit to do well at work and be healthy. So go for that walk, play whatever sport you want to, skip the lift, eat a tad smaller less oily diet, sleep well and start getting back in shape today.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The way you look tonight

One of my all time favorite songs :)

There are several versions but the original which won the Academy award in 1936 is here. Isn't the melody awesome?

The lyrics...
Some day, when I'm awfully low,
When the world is cold,
I will feel a glow just thinking of you...
And the way you look tonight.

Yes you're lovely, with your smile so warm
And your cheeks so soft,
There is nothing for me but to love you,
And the way you look tonight.

With each word your tenderness grows,
Tearing my fear apart...
And that laugh that wrinkles your nose,
It touches my foolish heart.

Lovely ... Never, ever change.
Keep that breathless charm.
Won't you please arrange it ?
'Cause I love you ... Just the way you look tonight.

Mm, Mm, Mm, Mm,
Just the way you look to-night.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jingle bombs

Achmed sings the Jingle bombs for us tonight :)

Secret to success

Found the original quote in Latin for my previous post and here it is...

Pedes in Terra ad Sidera Visus
(Feet on the ground and sight to the universe)

Moulding or misshaping?

I was just talking to an old friend and our discussion drifted to his 2 yr old niece. After mentioning how cute she was, he went on to mention that she turned irritating and annoying after her mom got pregnant again. It only increased when her baby brother came home. She would throw tantrums and get upset about everything, throw things and create a nuisance. This they found happening when they ignore her for sometime. This discussion went on till he started telling me how they found a way to stop these fits of anger. They used to lock the child in the bathroom and let her out only when she stopped crying. Most of the times it didn't work but repeated trips to the bathroom worked. The highest duration was 85 mts! Now if the child is annoying they just mention locking up in the bathroom and she turns nice. This is the point when I lost it. Moreover, he started to tell me all the MBA crap and how he implemented the classical conditioning theory to get a desired behaviour from the child.

85 mts in a bathroom for a kid of 2 yrs is like 2 years in solitary confinement for an adult. Either you are sick or something is seriously wrong. Don't you think you put a fear psychosis in the kid which would taunt her all through her life? Cmon. Why don't you try staying in the bath room for 2 days, crying? This discussion made me sick and what followed ensured that we are not on speaking terms anymore. It scares me to even think there are people like this in the educated lot.

This brings to my point. Whatever you study doesn't actually need to be applied to everything. Sure things seem fit but just don't apply everything everywhere just because you find a similarity in the situation.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Indian sleeping pattern

I am missing something very dearly these days and it seems to evade all my friends and peers. I guess we am not alone as Phillips' study reveals the same details. Some points from the report:
  • 93% Indians are sleep deprived and get less than the eight hours of mandatory sleep required for good health while 11% actually fall asleep at work
  • 11% Indians took leave from work because of lack of sleep
  • 58% of the respondents felt that their work was impacted due to lack of adequate sleep
  • 74% woke up anywhere between one to three times during their sleep. Reasons for waking up were need to answer call of nature (90 percent), stress at work (15 percent) and noise outside the home (10 percent)
  • 62% of those surveyed displayed high risk of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a condition characterised by repeated cessation of breathing during sleep and which can potentially lead to heart disease and worsen heart failure
Sounds scary but every bit is true. Staying fit and sleeping well should be the first priority. Try checking these stats with your own sleeping schedule and check if you are in the risky zone too. If you are, then sleep :)

About me missing sleep, am dozing off now. Good nite.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2009, in pictures

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Check this amazing collection of photographs from 2009. They take time to load but the wait is worthwhile. Here are the three parts: One, two and three.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Top 10 of 2009

AFI's top 10 movies of 2009 are...
  1. Coraline
  2. The Hangover
  3. Up
  4. Up in the Air
  5. Precious
  6. The Hurt Locker
  7. The Messenger
  8. A Serious Man
  9. A Single Man
  10. Sugar
Here is a glimpse. You know what to do :)


(Click on the image to enlarge)

Got this as a forward. Don't know if this is true or made up but makes superb sense. What do you think?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bruce Lee as a lifestyle

Albert Einstein, dead since 1955, is earning $10 million a year. John Lennon, $15 million. Elvis, $55 million. Marilyn Monroe, $8 million, about the same as Andy Warhol. Deceased artists, celebrities and rumpled physicists can generate substantial revenue for their heirs through merchandising and endorsement deals. Marilyn curtain rings, Warhol flip-flops, Elvis candy dishes — the possibilities are as endless as they are tacky.

“We look at Bruce Lee as a lifestyle,” Ms. Lee said.

Read the full article here.

You cannot do

The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do, especially when you love doing it. Setting up goals that are difficult to achieve and striving to get there is always motivating and stimulating. This week go and do just that. Take up that thing you have been putting away because you didn't have time, some one said you cannot do but you always wanted to do. Might be a small thing but give it a shot.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Salesman of the year

Did you see the initial promos of Rocket Singh - Salesman of the Year? It had a desk and Ranbir sitting on it and talking to you. "Hi, Harpreet Singh Bedi, salesman," he smiled at you. He then said that he would sell the movie to you - the audience - in 60 seconds flat and went on to tell you how the movie would give you complete value for money. He finished it with the statement - a salesman's job never ends.

You may have liked the promo, or thought of it as nothing great. But you have to give it to it for being so honest in its approach. Most movie promos aim to attract maximum viewers with shine and sparkle, or shock.

If they manage to hook you, you watch the film and then find out if the film lives up to your expectations or not. Here was a simple ad campaign asking you to give the movie a chance and then to make up your mind about it. The film, itself, is as simple as the ad campaign. But it's brilliant too.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Norway UFO

This video shot in Norway showing an abnormal activity is turning as the most watched on You Tube. Alien? Misfired missile? 2012?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Oye Amritsar!

Well... wanted to post about it since Dhiru took us there. Oye Amritsar is a wonderful restaurant to get away from the regular closed environs of a restaurant to chat, eat and catch up with your friends. I loved the place, their taste & variety of food. Ambiance is awesome too. Ever wanted to get out of the buzz in the city and enjoy a good meal on a road side dhaba, travel in a truck with careless abandon but couldn't? Decked up in mass estyle, for some 300 bucks you can get that here. Worth a try.

Here is MJ's review.


Quoted from Arti's site...

An achiever is like a tree, his dreams are like branches; which, spread seemingly to touch the sky, his values are like roots that keep him firmly standing on the ground.

Incredible India!

India's growth rate over the next couple of years will be 8-9 percent, World Bank president Robert Zoellick said here Friday.

'India's growth rates could over the next one to two years see a return to the 8-9 percent envisaged in the country's 11th (Five-Year) Plan,' Zoellick told reporters at the end of a four-day visit to India.

The government has been pegging the economy's growth rate for this fiscal around 6.5-7 percent.

'India has emerged from the economic crisis with a clear vision of what it will take to accelerate back to earlier growth rate and beyond,' said Zoellick, who also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee during the visit.

'Its strong fiscal and monetary policies had helped counter the decline in exports and withstand some of the external shocks brought on by the multiple food, fuel and financial crisis.'

Read on.

Leave Tiger Alone!

To satisfy the public’s insatiable curiosity for dirt? To pull one of our greats down into the gutter? On what grounds exactly? Because The National Enquirer and Us Weekly have sniffed out possible affairs? Because CNBC's Larry Kudlow is telling Tiger to “fess up” because of the lesson learned from Governor Sanford’s stonewalling?

Well, Tiger Woods isn’t a politician who might have used the people’s money in the course of having an affair, getting into an argument with his wife and crashing into a fire hydrant.

And, you know what, maybe he’s showing that the almighty dollar isn’t the only thing that counts for the most highly compensated athlete in the world? Once you give away your privacy, you can’t buy it back for any price. Maybe he’s willing to lose a few sponsors over this.

Ronald Reagan once said that freedom means the freedom to be stupid sometimes.

What if being stupid is all Tiger Woods did?

What if instead of the worst guesses and rumors of marital infidelity and a spousal golf-club beating, Tiger was simply stupid in a very innocent -- and dare I say it -- normal married way. He got into a spat with his wife, tore out of the driveway at a crazy time of night, hit a hydrant, hurt himself and felt like an idiot when his wife -- now both of them very sorry for their spat -- had to pull him out of the car?

Read what John Tantillo, The Marketing Doc has to say.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mastering marketing

Marketing takes a day to learn. Unfortunately, it takes a lifetime to master.

--- Kotler(?)

Mobile Marketing ahead

Numerical data is finally starting to corroborate claims of mobile marketing’s potential for massive growth in the future of advertising. According to a new report from industry analyst Berg Insight, mobile marketing could account for as much as 11.7% of all digital advertising by 2014.

In conjunction with these projections, it is estimated that the total value of the mobile marketing sector could similarly increase ten-fold. Berg Insight has based its projections on the evolution of mobile marketing as a more commonplace component of traditional ad campaigns, as well as other digital marketing endeavors like online newsletters and email marketing.

“Advertisers are increasingly aware of the opportunities and seek new ways to exploit them,” says Marcus Persson, telecom analyst at Berg Insight. “Just the simple fact that people are able to make a phone call or send a text message anywhere at any time has changed the conditions for marketing in general.”

To read the full report from Berg Insight, click here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'll kill you!

US Open video showing Serena lose her cool is worth a watch. Whether she said 'I will kill you' or not is still debated but there is a lot of gesturing and threatening. It is not normal that players at that level vent out their feelings, especially in public. Looking irritated from the beginning of the match, Serena broke her racquet and towards the end launched a volley of words at an official and lost the match, was fined a hefty sum and left with a bad taste. There have been several opinions about this event and how Serena should have held herself and behaved like it is expected of the players at her level. All kinds of racist remarks from black vs white, African vs Asian, American vs Asian, feminist, African American, etc. have been hogging the blogosphere. How unfair could this be? A little emotion is good or should I say, necessary. What Serena did was that she was carried away. But I am sure she would come back soon in a serene avatar. There have been players in the past who were idolized for being what they were and yet won matches and loads of fans. The response was very different then. Ever heard of John McEnroe and the famous racquet throwing and yelling incident?

Back home, Sreesanth is in the best of his moods and seems to concentrate all his energy on his game and pitching the ball in the right spot and getting some wickets. The well known antics and body language is no more to be seen. What made him a star on the field and giving it back to the Aussies in their own mode and hitting the wickets seems to be a thing of the past. Is it not true that his antics were one of the reasons that helped build a momentum which made us believe we can take on any team in the world and win? Did it not contribute a bit? When such antics are sure to attract a disciplinary action from the match officials, could it be possible that the captain or the management ignore this? Don't you think all of them agreed to have him in this mode and either encouraged or silently supported him? Cricket is a team game and it is essential to have different elements effect the individual at the pitch and get the best out of your team. Well Sree, go back to your elements and we don't mind. But as of now stay calm and win those few matches and admiration of people who find amusement in holding on to the leashes of their puppies. Once you get a few hundred wickets you can be back.

Emotions are a part of any communication. In fact, they are vital. Different people use them differently to get things done. Anger is the most misused. On a retail floor or servicescape, customers try and wrestle favors for small operational mistakes and get things done. Usually floor supervisors, managers let them have what they crib for and wash their hands off. But let me tell you this... when you do that you lose all respect the staff has for you. Want to be a big loser who has all the toys but no one to play with? It is right to show your emotions when you are right and are on the wrong side but using your anger over everything is stupid.

Marketers and salesmen should have emotions built into their selling pitch. When you believe in what you sell and the cause, then it is easy to convince the other person to buy. If you don't believe in the product or service yourself, it would be a stale sale. Not that I have seen people selling things they don't believe in, but the enthusiasm is much more when you believe in it. Emotion is the best thing to have and when used well can turnout as a powerful tool in your arsenal. Brands use emotional appeal as a carrier of the message.

Have you ever used your emotions to get something done? Or seen someone who did? What do you think about that? Given a chance would you do the same?

Monday, November 30, 2009


“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.”

Sunday, November 29, 2009

With thee... to thee

To walk with God! O fellowship divine!
Man's highest state on earth-Lord, be it mine;
With Thee may I a close communion hold,
To Thee the deep recesses of my heart unfold!

--- H. Smith

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Would you

“Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength.”

Pic: FFO

Jump in

You can never learn to swim if you sit on the bank of the river and read a book about swimming. You might gather all the knowledge you want in the world about swimming but never would that theoretical knowledge help you in assessing what is out there and how it feels to kick for life. How easy it is to stay out of the water and keep preaching? Trust me there is nothing like learning it on the go.

Over the last few days I am working on a project as a part of my doctoral research and I see that my view about many things is quite different from what it was before when I was a fresh grad. I would try and share some of these learnings or musings as you might call them with you all here. While the material I am reading as a part of my literature review is similar and from the same time, the interpretation is varied, with a zillion possibilities. This just makes it more interesting.

Heraclitus is famous for his doctrine of change being central to the universe, as stated in his famous saying, "You can not step twice into the same river."

Plato(?) takes it to another level. You never enter the same river, even once!

Because by the time you decide to enter and you actually enter, the river has already changed. So if you want to learn and change from what you are to better, jump in.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Why me?

Arthur Ashe, the legendary Wimbledon player was dying of AIDS which he got due to infected blood he received during a heart surgery in 1983.

From world over, he received letters from his fans, one of which conveyed: "Why does GOD have to select you for such a bad disease"?

To this Arthur Ashe replied: " The world over -- 50 million children start playing tennis, 5 million learn to play tennis, 500,000 learn professional tennis, 50,000 come to the circuit, 5000 reach the grand slam, 50 reach Wimbledon , 4 to semi final, 2 to the finals, when I was holding a cup I never asked GOD 'Why me?'.

And today in pain I should not be asking GOD 'Why me?' "

Happiness keeps you Sweet,

Trials keep you Strong,

Sorrow keeps you Human,

Failure keeps you humble and Success keeps you glowing,

but only Faith & Attitude Keeps you going...

A good forward & pic

Sunday, November 22, 2009

For everyone

New song!

Far away beyond the shadows,

There a bright and joyful throng

Wave their palms of holy triumph,

While they sing the glad New Song!

(Julia Sterling)

Visit StanleyonBible for motivational articles on christian life :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Self author

Shakespeare, the genius English playwright, once noted: "To Thine own self be true." Such powerful words. To lead remarkably. And to live richly.

More than ever before, the clients we do leadership development work with are embracing the imperative of authenticity as a means to build fast teams and grow real results. "Authentic" simply means to "self-author". To show authenticity at work is simply to be yourself. To stand comfortably in your own skin. To be real versus plastic. And to express your absolute best. In so doing, you will become the passionate author of an excellent career. And the wise scriptwriter of a life well lived.

--- Robin's blog

Private brands, Jai Ho!

According to the latest report from IRI Times & Trends, private label unit share has grown 12 points to 22.8 percent over the past 12 months, while dollar share has grown 0.7 points to 17.6 percent. Growth was highest in the grocery sector, driven by at-home food rituals and continued consumer focus on low-cost products.

Sainsbury's said sales of its 15,000 own-brand products were growing on average 6% on the year, while sales of branded goods were up 3%. The supermarket's own-label ranges now make up more than half of total sales. Some 163 of its own brands are 20% cheaper than their branded equivalents - which would translate into an average customer saving of £452 in a year, according to the market research group TNS.

Do I see a thousand middlemen scream?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Painless quick success

There are only two ways to win in the market.

You can create a breakthrough. A promotion so powerful that people can't help but engage. An innovation so remarkable, people can't help but talk about it. A pricing strategy or ad campaign that breaks the mold and is worthy of attention. This takes huge guts and substantial investment.

Or you can win with consistent benefits, delivered over time. You win by incrementally earning share, attention and trust. This might take years.

Almost all marketing attempts to do neither of these, and of course, fail. Painless and quick are rarely associated with 'successful.'

--- Seth's blog

Marketers and measuring social media

Marketers don't think they're very good at measuring social media. When my colleague Emily Riley asked marketers to rate their ability to measure the impact of their social media initiatives, the average grade they gave themselves was 4.5 out of 10. Not a great score -- especially given that accountability is one of the key selling points of interactive marketing. So I've spent a lot of time this year trying to understand why marketers aren't good at measuring social media -- and how they can do better.

The fact is, social media marketers are drowning in a sea of metrics. Every social platform and vendor offers its own metrics, and there are literally hundreds of ways to measure the success of social initiatives. With so many numbers to choose from, and so little insight into which metrics are important, it's not surprising that marketers feel overwhelmed.

Most marketers fixate on easily-available measures like followers or fans -- regardless of whether those metrics are important. Many others fail to measure obviously useful numbers just because they're not on the first page of a report. A marketer focused on talking [video] should have a radically different definition of success than one focused on embracing [video]. But marketers are much more likely to tailor their social media measurement to the tools they're using than to the objectives they're trying to achieve. Have a look -- most marketers measure pretty much the same metrics, no matter what their objective:


It's obvious that marketers need more clarity into which social media metrics they should be tracking. So we've developed a simple three-step process to help marketers better tailor their measurement strategies to the objectives they're pursuing. Walking through these three steps will help you cut through the clutter on your marketing reports and measure your social media initiatives more effectively:

  • Step 1: Think back to your marketing objective. Go back and find your notes from when you were first planning your social marketing effort -- and remind yourself of the objective you were pursuing. If you don't know what your goal was, you'll never know what you should be measuring, or if you succeeded.
  • Step 2: Consider what types of metrics signal success. Don't think about specific lines on a report yet -- instead, think about what types of consumer behaviors and sentiments match your objectives, and focus your measurement on those categories of metrics. If your goal was energizing, success is defined as lots of people saying positive things about your brand; if your goal was supporting, you want to know if users were providing good advice to each other -- and whether it kept users from having to ask you for support directly. Again, this isn't about specific metrics, it's about how you hoped your social initiative would change your relationship with consumers.
  • Step 3: Look for that category of metric in the social technology you're using. Once you've identified the type of metric that will signal success, then you can look for ways to track those metrics within the social platform you're using. This is when you should get into the specifics of which lines on the report Facebook or Jive gives you are most important -- and which other vendors you need to use to find the exact numbers you're looking for.

Via Forrester Research

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday blues: A very happy monday!

It pays to wake up to good music and greenery, always. Trust me it would help setting your mood and a good start for the day. This is the view outside my guest house window in Calicut, Kerala. Wonderful isn't it? You should see when it is raining and birds and butterflies flock under the leaves!

Today is Monday, which happens to be my favorite day of the week. I set some personal goals to achieve this week like diet, reading, posting blogs and catching up on things I have been neglecting the whole week. On the work front too I have certain goals lined up and targets I personally want to achieve. This helps in knowing where I am, what needs to be done by when. I recently picked up a Blackberry curve 8520 using which I took the above pic which helps me to be in touch and in control about what needs to be done when. Among the various reviews that are pending here are my new mobile, Blackberry and a wonderful book titled My Story by Arti Honrao which would be done this week.

This works for me and should work for you too. Try setting your goals, time lines, prioritize and achieve them. 2009 is zooming towards the finish line, what have you achieved this year? Think...

Happy successful Monday and have a great week ahead.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Where are my slippers?

Change is so unexpected but happens in Cricket. Read an interesting observation by Mike Browning on the missing relevance of slip position in Cricket over the years.

The popular saying goes, “Bowlers win matches.” In the longest form of the game they can’t without help. First-class and Test matches are also won by guys who are usually the least athletic members of the team. They are the fieldsmen who don’t run much and stand with their hands on their knees; sticking out their backsides at the spectators. For these are the “slippers”, the unsung heroes of Test cricket.

As a quality pairing though Australia were never in better shape than when Mark Taylor stood at first and Mark Waugh at second slip. They were equally brilliant catching spin or pace and added pressure to opposing batsmen who must have believed any mistake would be their last. Taylor like Colin Cowdrey and Greg Chappell at one time topped the tree for Test catches. In one of the greatest fielding feats of all time he won the Man-of-the-Match award in a one-day international against West Indies at the SCG in 1992 for taking four slips catches.

Mark Waugh, who has now be pushed to second spot in the Test catches list by Rahul Dravid, has said, “Slip is a position where you have to be a natural at it. Really, you’ve either got it or you haven’t. You have to have reflexes and the ability to concentrate every ball. You might be in there all day and the ball comes to you once and you have to be ready for it. It’s a tough spot.” Waugh’s spectacular ability was best demonstrated with the low right-handed horizontal dive when he caught Alec Stewart at Leeds in 1993. It is available on recorded vision and one of Waugh’s own personal favourites. The anticipation, speed and flexibility will leave any viewer gob smacked.

Criticized? Handle it this way

Listen, learn and keep moving forward!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Know Magic?

We are back in November, I like to call Know-ember! So start exploring, learning, understanding things around you. Personally I have learnt so much from this blog as I had to read a lot and then post thing that you would love to read and take home some. While I keep doing that you can help me by reading, commenting, referring to your friends, colleagues about this blog.

Here is a video of some amazing tricks with football. The search for perfection is a never ending one. You never stop getting better. Just keep at it and when you have surpassed all your competitors, you compete yourself. Good luck and happy Know-ember.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sweet hour

Sweet hour of prayer that calls me from a world of care,

And bids me at my Father's Throne, make all my wants and wishes known!

(William Walford, 1772-1850)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

This is not it

While audiences across the whole world are awestruck by the This is it performance and disbelief that Michael Jackson is no more, many fans are finding it hard to believe that he was so overused to bring in extra bucks for the companies behind the come back tour. Though the propaganda may be questionable, this video from This Is Not It speaks a lot.

The controversies would never die down as long as they get the kick out of it. Who cares? MJ lives on.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Great Communication

From Robin's blog:

Six of the most common things that uncommonly good communicators do:

1. They tell stories and paint pictures through the words they use
2. They are interesting and entertaining
3. They are sincere and authentic
4. They are able to distill complexity into simplicity
5. They radiate passion
6. They listen spectacularly well

Slowdown! Where?

Slowdown or no slowdown, parents never seem to ease up on indulging their kids. I see long queues in Calicut everytime I go to Focus mall. It is echoed in all the other metros too. With spends on kidswear showing no signs of letting up, even major players in the premium kidswear segment like Gini and Jony and United Colors of Benetton are eyeing growth of 10-40%, while at the same time, going in for significant expansion. There are many new varieties and options for kids clothing that have come up recently. Though the prices are on the higher end people just seem to pick up stuff.

Checking with few of my friends and colleagues about the changing buying pattern after having kids, if there is any, after they had kids revealed interesting facts. The better dressed the kid is, the lesser attention the parents get! So concentrate on the kid and you have passed the test. For all I know the most precious one gets the most attention. So for the marketers and sales force out there, the message is clear. Concentrate on the kid and you get the parents emptying their pockets. The target is the parent here more than the kid.

Monday, October 26, 2009


True contentment is found, not in having everything you want, but in not wanting to have everything. Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor. C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), a great Christian thinker, has penned these words: "Nobody who gets enough food and clothing in a world, where most are hungry and cold, has any business to talk about misery!"

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay,
For the favour He shows and the joy He bestows
Are for them who will trust and obey!

(John H. Sammis, 1846-1919)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Good times... Ahoy!

It seems good times are back on the horizon. Here is why... the Job Index climbed up by 4.1% in September '09 as compared to August '09.

Overall highlights of the report :
  • 4.1% increase in hiring activity: The Naukri JobSpeak at 729, indicates an uptrend in hiring activity by 4.1% in Sept '09 as compared to Aug '09
  • Hiring up in metros: Hiring activity in Mumbai and Chennai was up by 9% and 8.4% respectively
  • Uptrend witnessed for ITES: The ITES/BPO and Real Estate industry saw an increase by 18.3% and 36.8% respectively
  • More good news for ITES professionals: Hiring for ITES/BPO, HR and Admin professionals is gaining momentum with an increase by 21.4% and 10.4% respectively in Sept '09 as compared to Aug '09
  • Demand for freshers rises: Freshers and Trainees showed an increase of 39 % in hiring in Sept '09 as compared to Aug '09

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rising costs and saving mantra

Consumers cope with soaring inflation by making significant lifestyle changes. Statistics are like bikinis. They reveal less than what they hide. Never has this been truer of India's inflation. Months of exorbitantly priced vegetables, fruits and pulses, and weeks of crippling supply constraints are wiping the smiles off the faces of the Indian consumer. What's more, they now have to make adjustments in lifestyles to cope with the monetary measures taken by the government and the Reserve Bank to curb the 'recalcitrant' inflation. Spiraling loan interest rates have sent the equated monthly installments for housing and consumer durables sky-high. The hardest hit are those with existing loans.

Even while the cash crunch continues, the future outlook is not bright. According to Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the demand for refrigerators, television and two-wheelers, largely supported by personal loans, has shown stagnation. This could lead to a mismatch in supply and demand of transportation, which could lead to increase in transportation costs.

Chandigarh-based Rohini Trehan, a senior software development manager in an MNC, illustrates the effect of inflation in her household. "Our leftover food used to go to the dustbin. When things got costlier, I gave it to the maid. Then, when the dals became really costly, I started keeping the leftovers in the fridge for the next meal. Now there are no leftovers, because I'm conscious about the quantity I cook," she says. Her costs have gone up by more than 20 per cent. "A half kg of dal used to cost Rs 20, now it is Rs 50," she says. Factor in a 25 per cent hike in her son's school fees and the family's performance-related compensations, and they are still counting money. "There are so many hidden costs," says Rohini. The Trehans are in the process of renovating the driveway of their home. "If I had done this last year, I would have paid only Rs 180 for a bag of cement, now it is Rs 226. And labour cost has gone up by 25 per cent," she says.

"A salaried person has already divided his pay between the EMIs and other household expenses. How will he manage an additional 50 per cent increase in expenses on account of the hiked interest rates?" asks Alka Chawla, a lecturer at Delhi University. Alka had plans to sell her house for a new one. "We have shelved our plans," she says. "I have cut down on non-vegetarian food. Then there are expenses of education and health. You can't compromise on those," says Alka. Her daughter's school has just raised the tuition fee and things seem to be spinning out of control for Chawlas. Their new investment mantra is short-term savings.

---Nivedita Mukherjee

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Daily grace

I would not ask for earthly store - Thou wilt my need supply;

But I would covet, more and more, the clear and single eye,

To see my duty face to face, and trust Thee, Lord, for daily grace!

(J.J. Maxfield)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Incomplete form

I am but an incomplete form that seeks perfection, knowing well enough that that is like flying kites in Mars.

Incomplete, insecure, and deeply inadequate ..

I shall remain -

Amitabh Bachchan

Fun = better behaviour

If stairs played musical notes when you walked on them, would you be more likely to take them?

The video of people skipping the escalator in favor of composing music on the piano stairs of Odenplan subway station in Stockholm, Sweden, has been viewed more than 2.5 million times on YouTube.

The video is part of a new viral marketing campaign called “The Fun Theory.” The concept, created by Volkswagen Sweden and ad agency DDB Stockholm, is based on the idea that “fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better.”

Friday, October 16, 2009

Let there be a Dīpāvali

Welcome to the beginning of the biggest phase of consumer spending in India! Among all your purchases try and send some happiness to someone who really needs it. Light up a heart that hasn't felt love in a long time. Trust me that would give you more solace than the biggest present you have ever received.

Wish you and your family a happy Dīpāvali!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Most visited on Wiki

For the Top 100 Most Visited Articles on Wikipedia in 2009 click here. Here are the top ten.

1. Wiki (131,383 page hits per day)

2. The Beatles (111,896)

3. Michael Jackson (79,734)

4. Favicon.ico (78,077)

5. YouTube (72,318)

6. Wikipedia (52,542)

7. Barack Obama (49,401)

8. Deaths in 2009 (48,758)

9. United States (46,545)

10. Facebook (42,679)

Be employed, always

You will never be out of work if you can demonstrably offer one of the following:
  • Sales
  • Additive effort
  • Initiation
Sales speaks for itself. If you can sell enough to cover what you cost and then some, there will always be someone waiting to hire you.

Additive effort is distinguished from bureaucracy or feel-good showing up. Additive effort generates productivity far greater than the overhead you add to the organization. If your skills make the assembly line go twice as fast, or the sales force becomes more effective, or the travel office cuts its costs, then you've produced genuine value. That surly receptionist at the doctor's office--she's just filling a chair.

The third skill is the most difficult to value, but is ultimately the most valuable. If you're the person who can initiate useful action, if you're the one who makes something productive or transformative happen, then smart organizations will treasure you.

--- Seth's Blog

Monday, October 12, 2009


Covetousness kills revival. There is no point in blaming that the world is unfair with you, your job, family and life. This is a world that applauds the winner and forgets who came second. No one actually cares if you have put in equal or some times more effort and still haven't succeeded. Not every one can be a P T Usha who came back time and again. To covet is not going to help as it never happens for real. And it is not fun. You need to be focussed on updating your self, training, working hard and ensure that you get it the next time you have a chance. Revival is needed to ensure that you are on your track.

Many times brands try to wrench a leading brands market share but fail miserably. Instead work out a niche and cater to that niche. The chances of success are pretty high and are the satisfaction is too good. To develop a niche you need to go back to your drawing room, check for market opportunities, gaps and build it up.

Much better than complaining that you deserve better. Ain't it?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Landmark & 2 States

"Do you have '2 states' by Chetan Bhagat?"
"No sir! The book is going to be available only by this month end!"
"But it got released yesterday?!!! Why the delay?"
"Stock has not come to Bangalore yet!"
"I don't think so. Any ways here is my card. Call me once you get it. Also reserve me a copy please."

The call never came!

Well that's what happened at 10 AM today at Landmark, Forum Mall, Bangalore. And when I waked in with few friends at 9 PM there they were. A complete stack of '2 States' staring at me right at the entrance. When I checked why they hadn't called, the excuse is that the stock had come just now. I checked with other staff and the stock had come around 12 noon. I asked them to check for my order and cancel it. They didn't have it! If only I had trusted in them. This is what usually goes on Twitter for such cases: Landmark #fail

I got my copy and here is a pic of the display. The red color made them stand out from the rest but I didn't find any frenzy around. Hopefully should pick up tomorrow!

If you are looking for a well spent weekend reading a good book you know where to go and what to buy. What are you waiting for?

Obama Nobled!

The Norwegian Nobel joke continues. Its Obama for Peace.

The liberal winner cup overflows.

We have seen the likes of Jimmy Carter, a gutless appeaser, Yasser Arafat, a terrorist thug and Al Gore, a lying Green win the same prize in the past. Therefore should we be surprised at the Obama choice?

(Plagiarized from BBB)

Just a crazy idea...

What can Obama do to top all this adulation and attention he is in right now? Decline the peace prize and say this is just a beginning and he would like to wait to deserve it! There goes all the hate.

What ya think?

Teach me

Oh, teach me, Lord, that I may teach,

Thy precious things Thou dost impart;

And wing my words, that they may reach

The hidden depths of many a heart!

(Frances R. Havergal, 1836-1879)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Redefining Vogue

Irving Penn (June 16, 1917 – October 7, 2009) was an American photographer known for his portraiture and fashion photography well known for redefining Vogue!

RIP Penn.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Austerity ! Desi style!

Via BBC: This is an austerity drive, Indian style.

Sales of gold jewellery are traditionally at their peak this time a year. In recent years, people would crowd around the stalls, hoping to get the best deals, but this time the sale has been less popular. Traditionally, more than 95% of gold bought in India is in the form of jewellery. But at this year's sale, it seems many were instead looking to buy gold in the form of coins and bars or biscuits.

According to one estimate, Indian family vaults have almost 15,000 tonnes of gold locked away, a volume comparable to the stockpile held by the US Federal Reserve.

The fact that there are still plenty of people with plenty of money out there is clear for anyone operating in India's often lucrative wedding industry.

So wedding budgets remain large, yet fashion has changed to reflect the nation's new mood. Bridal wear designer Ritu Kumar says people have cut back on bright colours and bling.

"Most of my clients want simpler-looking outfits over something which is bright and has a lot of shiny stones in it," she says.

"The cost may actually be the same, but the look is definitely more subtle and not in-your-face expensive.

"The community in general is fairly conservative when it comes to weddings. Over the last couple of years, the conspicuousness in society had pushed bridal fashion to something flashy and over the top , but we are now going back to classics."

Despite the rising commodity costs, the sweets are one thing that have not been scaled down. This time many seem to have switched from conspicuous consumption to conspicuous cutbacks.

Beyond the facade, it is increasingly clear that among the wealthy, the restraint is skin deep.

Go shop! Plzzz

Journal Record: With the 2009 holiday shopping season just around the corner, there is growing concern about what the national and local retail markets can expect this year. The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) offered a small ray of hope this week as they released a report stating that they believe U.S. holiday sales will rise 1 percent over 2008. Their prediction is one of the more hopeful forecasts considering Retail Forward recently announced it was predicting flat activity for the upcoming shopping season.

Mike Niemira, chief economist for ICSC, said the following about the upcoming holiday shopping season:

“This year’s holiday-spending season will be a lot better than last year. The wear and tear of the recession and financial crisis on the consumer psyche is slowly giving way to renewed hope, optimism and most likely gift buying.”

Hopefully, ICSC’s prediction will come true because if the national market endures another tough holiday shopping season, it will most likely result in more national retail downsizing and bankruptcies and create a much longer timetable for true recovery to occur.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Eternal love and life!

Grant them the joy which brightens earthly sorrow;
Grant them the peace which calms all earthly strife,
And to life's day the glorious unknown morrow
That dawns upon eternal love and life!

(The only hymn of Dorothy B. Gurney, 1858-1932)

Monday, October 5, 2009

+ve Mental Attitude

"A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug."

Patricia Neal

Monday blues: Mundane monday

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier."

Mother Teresa

What a gem of a weapon! This is easily as cool as the lightsaber! Applies to HR, sales and just to every relationship you can define.

As a HR your job is to keep your employees focused and happy. Solve problems, mend egos and as my HR friends tell me sell smiles. As a manager you should ensure your team is in its full emotional capability. Confidence, trust and support works wonders to boost an individual's performance. This is more than what a good package, high sounding profile can do. Build trust, confidence in your team.

As a sales person your job is more clearer. You are not there to sell the products or provide services but to help the customer solve his/her problems. This goes a long way in building a relationship and repeat walk-ins if not repeat sales. So what if you were not able to sell a product that the customer wanted?

"Sorry! We don't have the natural insect repellent patches. Want to try a vaporizer?" is a shut-the-door statement.

"I am afraid we have run out of stock on Don't Bite Me! patches, I guess you can find them at the store a couple of blocks away. Let me guide you reaching there!" is an excellent way of ensuring the customer would walk in next time.

As a member of a team, be proactive, help, problem solve, educate, learn and be the best. Once you add value to people who interact with you on a daily basis, you are the SPOC.

So ready to be armed with a lightsaber? Go add value!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Top movies this week

Top movies this week:
  1. Zombieland
  2. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
  3. The Invention of Lying
  4. Surrogates
  5. Whip It
  6. Capitalism: A Love Story
  7. Fame
  8. The Informant!
  9. Love Happens
  10. Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself
  11. Pandorum

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The 'giving' generation!

TOI: They've often been called the "me-first" generation and stereotyped as the lot that doesn't give a damn about the rest of the world so long as their lives are one long picnic. But, is that how young urban Indians see themselves? Not in the least, it turns out.

In an eight-city survey of youth's attitude to charity we found that 80% of those aged between 18 and 35 thought of themselves as charitable. Women were more likely to regard themselves as charitable (84%) than men (76%).

But the constantly pillorying by older people about being too self-centred by far does seem to have affected young people's perception of themselves. More than 60% of those surveyed felt they were less charitable than their parents or grandparents.

But there were some interesting variations in the answer to that question across the eight cities polled. In Hyderabad and Chennai, the majority saw themselves as more charitable than previous generations. More than 40% said so as well in yet another southern city, Bangalore.

The survey, done exclusively for TOI by Synovate, a leading market research agency, was conducted in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Jaipur. It covered respondents from socio-economic categories (SEC) A and B1.

About half the respondents were aged between 18 and 25 years and the other half were in the 26-35 year age group. The ratio of males to females was 60:40 and the total number of respondents 1,000. It asked questions about the kind of charity work that young Indians find most acceptable, how much of their own time and energy they devote to charitable work and how far they trust charitable institutions.

I'm on the top of the world

Such a feelin's comin' over me
There is wonder in most everything I see
Not a cloud in the sky
Got the sun in my eyes
And I won't be surprised if it's a dream
Everything I want the world to be

Is now coming true especially for me
And the reason is clear
It's because you are here
You're the nearest thing to heaven that I've seen

(*) I'm on the top of the world lookin' down on creation
And the only explanation I can find
Is the love that I've found ever since you've been around
Your love's put me at the top of the world

Something in the wind has learned my name
And it's tellin' me that things are not the same
In the leaves on the trees and the touch of the breeze
There's a pleasin' sense of happiness for me

There is only one wish on my mind
When this day is through I hope that I will find
That tomorrow will be just the same for you and me
All I need will be mine if you are here

Repeat (*) twice

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Great Marketer

More than a holiday, Oct 2nd should be remembered as a day that gave us one of the best gifts of mankind, the father of our Nation: Gandhi. The individual who changed the thoughts on how you work against pressure, oppression and gave you an option. He was able to convert a dream, an idea to reality and most important of all could get the masses follow him. I should say one of the greatest marketers of all time.

Happy B'day Bapu!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Count your blessings

Too many times in life you look at things and feel you were left out when God was blessing. This is depressing, disappointing and lures you to start cursing luck and how it could have been. Then you should look at how winners are made. This kid seems to be having the best time of his life. But look closely and you would find a hard truth. His smile and confidence would defeat you. Isn't it amazing?

Adversities come and go on life. No one's life is filled only with them. May be your share is more tilted towards them.. now. It is going to change. YOU can change it. Just keep smiling and don't let your confidence wither away. The greatest winners and heros are not the ones who won when everything was helping them. Don't lose confidence in yourself. October is a month of challenges turned to awesome wins. Go and make yourself one. The title asks you to count your blessings. But in reality you can not. Keep smiling and winning. Happy October!

Pix from

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quantum leap

From Robin Sharma's blog...

What makes the best performers better?

He met a European karate champion who trains more than most athletes in his field. And his commitment to preparation drives his spectacular results. But what was most interesting was that he said sometimes he'd be practicing consistently for 3 years straight with no apparent improvement. He just stays focused. Puts in the work. And stays on course.

Then one day, seemingly out of nowhere, his whole game transforms. It just leaps to a new level.

It's so easy to think that just because we're not seeing any immediate results, we're not improving. Not true. Personal change and leadership transformation happens INVISIBLY AND INCREMENTALLY. So just because you can't see your little daily shifts doesn't mean you're not progressing. And those small tiny improvements, when done with care and dedication, will lead to a remarkable shift in time. Your quantum leap.

Angels ahoy!

A ransomed earth breaks forth in song,

Her sin-stained ages over-past;

Her yearning, Lord, how long, how long?

Exchanged for joy at last-at last.

Angels, carry the royal commands;

Peace beams forth throughout all the lands:

The trees of the field shall clap their hands-

What will it be when the King comes!

(Emily E.S. Elliot, 1836-1897)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ink vs memory

The weakest ink is stronger than the greatest memory. So write down what you want to do today, this week, this month. This would push you to reach there and achieve it.

Good luck.

Img credit

Monday, September 28, 2009

Branding online

You’ve probably heard it a thousand times. “Don’t judge a book by its cover!” Tell me when you bought a book that had a cover you didn't like? Yes... we all do it. Judging someone else using non-verbal cues to determine another person’s confidence, professionalism, honesty, attitude and success is part of human nature. And like people, similar cues are used by customers visiting your people, office, website to determine the quality of your products and services and professionalism of your business.

Customers use non-verbal, less-tangible, emotional symbols to asses your business, your brand image. So online branding and Web site branding is important to build the image of your business you want customers to have. Whether you want to be viewed as high quality or low cost or ultra luxurious, visually “dress” your business to reach that goal.

A good looking web site builds trust in your business and helps in starting a relationship with potential customers. Considering the average visitor to your Web site will judge you on your professionalism, honesty, and the success of your business in just three to four seconds ensuring that you score on the first look is important.

Much to be done

K. Seetha Prabhu examines Financial Inclusion as a path to rural recovery in WSJ... read on...

To be sure, the global financial crisis and related emerging issues such as the large scale return of migrants who have lost their jobs in towns, prospects of a drought in many parts of the country due to insufficient and irregular rainfall, and the continuing rise in the prices of commodities for daily consumption have cast a shadow on prospects of rapid growth that is difficult to ignore.

In these times of distress, what could have offered succor is a well-established and functioning financial sector that offers a range of products suited for the rural clientele and enables and supports those with meager incomes to tide them over tough times and secure their livelihood. The crisis may offer just the incentive needed to forge a much more active financial sector that will lead a resurgence of the rural sector and, in turn, the entire economy.

There is much to be done. While India aggressively pursued bank nationalization way back in 1969 to widen the reach of banks leading to a network of around 70,000 bank branches, the country continues to flounder on all the indicators of financial inclusion - ease of access, availability and usage of the formal financial system. The overall reach of the banking system has been unsatisfactory. The latest report of the Reserve Bank of India, released last month, indicates that only 59% of the adult population has bank accounts. For the insurance sector the picture is dismal. The insurance density ratio -- defined as the volume of premiums to population -- was only 33.2 in India in 2006. In Europe, it is over 30 times higher.

In rural India, the picture is even grimmer. The RBI study shows that among the 89.3 million farmer households in the country, more that half do not access credit either from institutional or non-institutional sources. Only 27% of farm households borrow from formal sources of credit. Despite several measures to expand banking services to rural areas, rural branches of banks continue to be avenues for deposit collection rather than the active deployment of credit for productive use. The cooperative banking system is also in a state of disarray which limits its reach. In 2006, around half of the Primary Agricultural Credit System, which comprises grass-root-level institutions catering to the credit needs of farmers, was loss-making and the situation has only deteriorated further since. The situation in the poorer states with larger rural populations is even worse.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy B'day Avril Lavigne

You're not alone
Together we stand
I'll be by your side, you know I'll take your hand
When it gets cold
And it feels like the end
There's no place to go
You know I won't give in
No I won't give in

Keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through
Just stay strong
'Cause you know I'm here for you, I'm here for you
There's nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through

--- Keep holding on

Lifelong love affair

A life without adventure isn't a life worth living. Up's definition of adventure is not limited to attaching hundreds of helium-filled balloons to one's house and riding it like a Zeppelin to remote South American waterfalls. A masterpiece that depicts near-silent as Carl was when he was smitten as a child by Ellie after the screening celebrating Muntz's travels and banishment from the world.

Up's opening montage is a sentimental recounting of a lifelong love affair, a poetic view on the manner in which dreams are shared, and a bittersweet acknowledgment of how such desires can sour over time or are deferred by the demands of modern living. Old and alone, Carl has hardened by regret, but after the twin intrusions of a noisy construction site surrounding the perimeter of his house and an adorably chunky Asian boy, Russel, hankering to fulfill a merit badge requirement, the old man takes to the skies, his first step in understanding life as something more than a short period of time in which we are alive, but as a short period of time worth living to its fullest and to its absolute grandest.

Up is not just an animated movie. It challenges you to think about what you are, your dreams, priorities in life and gives you chance to fly away... in a fairy tale way to romance the skies, fulfill your dreams. Loved the song sequence and how Carl & Ellie meet, their courtship and marriage, and—in a startlingly somber turn—her illness and off-screen death. In fact it moved me to tears. Up works out adult ideas about our notions of self, our sense of disappointment and complacency, and the hopes—like the people and animals that surround Carl—we're always choosing to either look up or down to. You got to watch this.

Rating: 8/10.

Pics are from here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Living on the edge

Aerosmith croons from my lappie...

There's somethin' wrong with the world today
The light bulb's gettin' dim
There's meltdown in the sky

If you can judge a wise man
By the color of his skin
Then mister you're a better man that I

We're livin' on the edge
You can't help yourself from fallin'
Livin' on the edge
You can't help yourself at all
Livin' on the edge
You can't stop yourself from fallin'
Livin' on the edge

Tell me what you think about your sit-u-a-tion
Complication - aggravation
Is getting to you

If chicken little tells you that the sky is fallin'
Even if it wasn't would you still come crawlin'
Back again?
I bet you would my friend
Again & again & again & again & again

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Women save!

From Business Standard: The campaign is an attempt by Kotak Mahindra Bank to break the clutter by invoking the housewife’s natural instinct to save and curb the profligate ways of the husband. In all their campaigns so far, state-owned as well as private banks have either talked of technology (and hence convenience), branch networks or special offers for target groups. Some have even roped in celebrities in the past. This is the first time a campaign has targeted the good sense of the housewife. It also acknowledges the wife’s important role in planning the finances of the household.

With this in mind, the brief given to the bank’s agency of one year, McCann Erickson, included two things. One was to increase the bank’s top-of-the-mind recall. The second but equally important part stemmed from the research findings, which indicated that while people had begun to take stock of their situation, they weren’t prepared to regress. “Between 2000 and 2007, consumers had extended themselves and now they are taking stock and seeking help,” says Kotak Mahindra Group head of retail liabilities K V S Manian.

The result was the “Let’s make money simple” campaign. Kotak has on its crosshairs the big category called “mass affluent” with an annual household income of above Rs 450,000. The focus, of course, is on urban and semi-urban markets. The television advertisements will be followed by a 360-degree campaign with on-ground, outdoor, radio and internet activities.