Google+ Consumer Psyche: February 2009

Leader

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Live your life

So keep on getting your paper and keep on climbing
Look in the mirror and keep on shining
'Till the game ends, 'till the clock stops
We gon' post up on the top spot

Living the life, the life
In a brand new city got my whole team with me
The life, my life
I do what I wanna do

I'm living my life, my life
I will never lose,
I'm living my life, my life
And I'm not stopping

From Live your life

All I learnt...



After all these years of reading, learning and enthusiasm some thing has not changed. The more you know the more you know that you don't know

All one could do is keep adding to his kitty and hope to swim the ocean of knowledge. Same applies to marketing and research. At the end of the best researches professors and practitioners agree unanimously that what they have learnt is just the tip of the ice berg.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Blog and you may be fined 5 billion or get hit!

Manorama reportsLess than a month after an anti-mining web blogger in Goa was slapped with a Rs.5 billion defamation suit, another blogger was assaulted in the coastal town of Benaulim, allegedly for highlighting civic issues.

Colva Police Inspector Edwin Colaco said Maximo Rodrigues, a civil society activist, was beaten up by four people Tuesday while he was taking photographs of an illegal construction in Benaulim to be posted on his blog.

"We have arrested Raymond and David Fernandes in connection with the complaint filed by Maximo Rodrigues. We are on the lookout for another person who was also involved in the assault," said Colaco.

Maximo, who is a part of the Benaulim Villagers Action Committee (BVAC), runs a community blog www.bvacbenaulim.blogspot.com that highlights issues of rampant unplanned development in Goa.

"The posts on our blog are mainly about haphazard development in the name of mega projects and illegal constructions in the coastal village of Benaulim," Maximo told IANS from his hospital bed.

The 42-year-old has been hospitalised for severe injuries to his head and a broken nose. He is expected to be discharged Thursday.

Maximo's blog, which has been cross-indexed with several blogs run by activists in Goa, reads "this blog is our cry, our call, our voice to you wherever you are located in the world to extend your support and solidarity with all the fighting Banaulekars. Come let's join our effort to defend Benaulim".

While the last two posts on the blog describe the assault on Maximo, other posts are accompanied by photographs of several instances of alleged illegal construction, destruction of water-bodies and police atrocities on the villagers of Benaulim.

"The blog helps us showcase the issues which affect Benaulim and are not covered effectively in the media," Maximo said.

"Development is fine, but constructions rabidly coming up is not. We have had an unprecedented number of cases of malaria in the last couple of years and there is simply no interest shown by the administration in handling the disease," he added.

Benaulim, a coastal village in South Goa, is one of the several coastal villages which have been resisting the construction of mega residential projects, which villagers allege have been permitted by flouting panchayat rules and regulations.

Like Maximo, Sebastian Rodrigues, who passionately blogs about excesses by iron ore mine operators in Goa's less glamourous hinterland was targeted for allegedly defaming the mining outfit and affecting its business. He was slapped with a criminal defamation suit of Rs.5 billion in the last week of January.

Consumer entitlement

Talking about the sense of entitlement, Prof Ray explains why and how brands should function. Relating the equation to student life the reason why most students pester faculty for better grades is also explained.

'Meet it or better it and you have a satisfied customer' is absolutely right. And the key is to keep on meeting and bettering it as expectations rise with each experience. About the marks I think the student and the professors have a completely different set of expectations. Many times the student thinks that the effort is the maximum possible from his end but the professor knows what the student can do. So before setting his own expectation the student must understand what he should do and then try to meet it. I think it needs a lot of neat commuication and passion to meet the expectation of the customer and have an open, receptive mind.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Indian Politics

Politics in India is still substantially driven by identities of caste, subcaste, subcommunity within that. Elections are like chess games, with each major party watching whom the others are nominating in each constituency like hawks and then working to break the numbers: getting relatives from the opposition candidate’s family to stand, incentivizing some independent candidates to step up, buying off others who could swing key blocks. With each move, the calculated aim is to splinter the electoral math and nudge the needle by the barest minimum margin for victory.

Cash and crime are increasing determinants of success. Aspiring candidates need to bring their own kitty; only the rare honest worker can expect to win with little money. Elections are times of massive cash transfers across the chain, with middlemen lopping off their share of the grease that is lubricating our democratic machinery. The same is happening with criminals—those who can use strong-arm means to sway the vote.

Seat by seat, block by block, this same process is repeated: a complex, multi-dimensional jigsaw puzzle that changes with every passing day as the nomination deadlines close in. Senior politicians’ homes and offices are besieged by potential candidates demanding “tickets”, supporters are rallied from constituencies, mobiles buzz continuously.

After the Mumbai attacks, we saw many states going to the polls. I have seen some of the post-poll interactions among senior politicians, both winners and losers. One was with a political scion. This young parliamentarian told me disparagingly, “Your columns with their elegant ideas, all the media talk about a new wave of development and governance—all romantic nonsense. We are still working the same political equations on the same age-old formulae. I can show you one district where I spent months bringing development to the areas and we won just one seat. And another district where we played the most cynical form of electoral politics and we won a majority of the seats.”

Is social networking aging?

What do you think the average age of a MySpace and Facebook user is? Perhaps 16 for MySpace and 22 for Facebook?

According to AdAge, new reports from comScore suggest that over 50% of American Facebook users, and 44% of MySpace users, are actually over 35 years old. It goes further to confirm the largest age demographic on both of these social media platforms is now between 35 and 44.

Facebook, which has close to 170 million users worldwide, is difficult to ignore as a marketing channel. Sure it’s full of noise and static and there are faster paying channels, but for sheer scale of opportunity it’s a tempting part of any digital marketing strategy. Add to this the fact that Facebook says its fastest-growing age group is 55+ and there’s a whole new range of products and services that could find traction where before they would have fallen on deaf ears. Not convinced yet? Pew Internet and American Life released a report stating that of all American adults aged between 18-24, approximately 75% of them have a social networking profile.

So what does this mean for marketers?

Marketing on social networking sites isn’t easy, especially if you plan on actively engaging your target demo as opposed to banners and PPC ads, but the wider idea that the older generation are flocking to online networking is increasingly important to consider when putting together your social media marketing strategy, especially if you’re in an industry where your competitors are still using traditional media.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An extra tissue plz

Cost cutting is every where. Most of the times the customer  understands as the pich is familiar to him too. But some times it just gets over done. The firm and its employees go over zealous and push it too far that it breaks the bond. Let me give you an example from the restaurant  industry. Serving good food and providing a good experience is what the bond is built on. This is a sacred bond. But most of the places I went to last weekend had the same policy. The waiters were bringing only 1 tissue, 1 sachet of tomato sauce, etc. This was at CCD, Barista, KFC and a few other restaurants.  I have read the case study that calculates the huge sums of money saved by ensuring that 1 tissue is saved per customer and how it could impact in reducing costs.

Lets take KFC. KFC has been highly rated in my books as all the previous experiences were good. But this time they lose. There was no water in KFC! On all my last visits to KFC outlets all around India had provided me chilled water and excellent service. But here there was no salt, no pepper, no tissues and no service. Only soft drink, salt was not being given(though he brought it after 15 minutes), pepper was out of stock and so on. This was at Forum. After paying a premium price for the meal I am expected to shell out some more and buy the drinks and KFC failed to give me the complete meal. The AC was turned off and there were no fans. When we asked the waiter why this so. The answer was, "Talk to the manager." 

Was this rude? For a moment we thought so. The instantaneous idea was to call his manager and teach him a lesson or two about CRM and how to handle customers and their requests, etc. The manager would apologize, scream at the waiter. Give us the salt or pepper or whatever we were asking for or just say sorry. Would that solve my problem? For the day, yes. But on second thought I felt the manager knew that there was no water being given. And this was a conscious decision, either taken by the manager or his boss or KFC itself. Too focussed on reducing costs or selling more Coke. In that case all the effort and the management lessons I intended to teach him or all the rules of customer service I learnt at the B-School which were being broken would be just ignored. 

Any brand should be consistent in its communique that emanates from it. Be it in the product or service or just communication. You mess it up once, the customer would notice. If he makes a noise and gets what he wants he is just straining the bond. The brand would be a sour one next time, not only to the noisy customer but to the entire crowd there. Chances are that this customer still would return for another purchase as he knows he can yell his way out. But the real danger is the customer who silently walks out deciding never to return. I tell you he is more precious than the one that yelled at you and certainly more than the tissue you are saving. It is interesting to see how the firms miss minute things.

So dear KFC, if you continue doing this most of us will be walking to the McDonalds at the other end and you can make planes of the tissues.

Mineral water or Plain?

That was what the waiter asked us when I went to dine with a friend at M G Road. Plain came the reply. Were we going to drink normal water unboiled filled with a lot of disease causing germs? Should we have opted for mineral water that is treated and all the germs are killed? Was I supposed to pay 28 rupees for the packaging and the brand or was the money being charged for the purity of the H2O inside? If you think mineral water or branded packaged water is 100% clean, then you are grossly mistaken. May be the water comes from Himalayas or the Ganges! I don't really know. How could I? Should I trust the label?

Labels can be misleading at best, deceptive at worst. In one notorious case, water coming from a well located near a hazardous waste site was sold to many bottlers. At least one of these companies labeled its product "spring water." In another case, H2O sold as "pure glacier water" came from a public water system in Alaska.  More than 25 percent of it comes from the local municipal supply. The water is treated, purified and sold to us, often at a thousandfold increase in price. Most people are surprised to learn that they're drinking glorified tap water, but bottlers aren't required to list the source on the label. 

The controversy isn't simply about tap vs. bottled water; most people drink both, knowing the importance of plenty of water. What they may not know is that some bottled water may not be as pure as they expect. In 1999 the NRDC tested more than 1,000 bottles of 103 brands of water. (This is the most recent major report on bottled water safety.) While noting that most bottled water is safe, the organization found that at least one sample of a third of the brands contained bacterial or chemical contaminants, including carcinogens, in levels exceeding state or industry standards. Since the report, no major regulatory changes have been made and bottlers haven't drastically altered their procedures, so the risk is likely still there.

So the risk can be around 60% less when compared to consuming clean plain water. So you decide. Plain water or Bottle? 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The problem with the name: Delhi 6

Did you watch about Delhi 6? Or even heard of it? Well the question is not about how the movie is. Its about how you read the first sentence of this post and the title. Delhi 6 speaks about an NRI kid coming to India to help fulfill his grandmother's wish of returning the soil to where it belongs (She wishes to die in India).  And the film is named Delhi-6, in english! What did u read it as? English?  What would have been a different approach is that ir should have named 'dilli рем (Cheh)'. It would have gone in sync with the spirit and theme of the movie. When you want to communicate 'desi feel' in the product, the brand should be consistently 'desi' too.

Rahman's magic has now crossed the barriers and the effect is expected to be visible on the current music he gave for Dilli 6. Many are going to watch the movie to celebrate the wave of the Oscars and Rahman in general. Let the numbers come in and you will know.

The Web is calling. Where are you?

According to Vint Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, by 2010 we will have run out of IP addresses if we don't do something about it. With the number of Internet-enabled devices particularly mobile phones soaring, very few IP addresses remain vacant, and with only about 20 per cent of the world connected to the Net, that's a problem. And consumers, if you think this doesn't affect you, think again. And if you think you need not have a presence here, in the web, you need to move fast.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Slowdown encourages blogging

Malik, Mullenwerg and Nirav Sanghvi feel that at a time when economic activity is slowing down, the blogging world is buzzing with action. It would seem that with more time at their disposal and the cost of creating and writing a blog minimal, people are turning to this new medium to express themselves. 

There are lots of new blogs in the whole community. But 30-40 percent die-off because an event inspired them to do something and once that something is gone.


Yeh India hai mere yaar

Livemint reports that Indians are reacting in a different way when it comes to the purchase of Gold. Gold is climbing strongly on world markets - in London the spot price last week soared as high as $999.10 an ounce, the highest since March 2008 as investors sought a safe haven amid escalating fears about the global economy. 

But in India, the local currency’s weakness against the dollar has driven the Indian gold price to all-time peaks in rupee terms. “We’re seeing old broken bangles, coins... People are clearing out the gold items they don’t want. It’s different from the rest of the world where people are buying -- here people want to sell their gold,” Chokshi said. 

Indians are still buying gold for marriages - they believe it is auspicious to give gold for weddings and other religious events. But consumers are getting less for their money because of the high cost. In general the volume of gold sold was down by 25 to 30%. And with the end of the marriage season in the next 20 days it is expected to come doen even more.

OSCAR 2009 Final List

So here is it. The final list of the nominations and the winners at Oscar Awards 2009.

Best Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
Milk
The Reader

Slumdog Millionaire
  (Winner)

Actor

Richard Jenkins in The Visitor
Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn in Milk   (Winner)
Brad Pitt, in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler

Actress

Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie in Changeling
Melissa Leo in Frozen River
Meryl Streep in Doubt
Kate Winslet in The Reader   (Winner)

Supporting Actor

Josh Brolin in Milk
Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt
Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight   (Winner)
Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road

Supporting Actress

Amy Adams in Doubt
Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona   (Winner)
Viola Davis in Doubt
Taraji P Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler

Director

David Fincher in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard in Frost/Nixon
Gus Van Sant in Milk
Stephen Daldry in The Reader
Danny Boyle in Slumdog Millionaire   (Winner)

Foreign Film

The Baader Meinhof Complex
Germany
The Class
France
Departures
Japan   (Winner)
Revanche
Austria
Waltz With Bashir
Israel

Adapted Screenplay

Eric Roth and Robin Swicord-The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
John Patrick Shanley-Doubt
Peter Morgan-Frost/Nixon
David Hare-The Reader
Simon Beaufoy-Slumdog Millionaire   (Winner)

Original Screenplay

Courtney Hunt-Frozen River
Mike Leigh-Happy-Go-Lucky
Martin McDonagh-In Bruges
Dustin Lance Black- Milk   (Winner)
Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter-WALL-E

Animated Feature Film

Bolt
Kung Fu Panda
WALL-E
  (Winner)

Art Direction

Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  (Winner)
The Dark Knight
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road


Cinematography

Changeling
The Dark Knight

The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire
  (Winner)

Sound Mixing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire   (Winner)
WALL-E
Wanted.

Sound Editing

The Dark Knight   (Winner)
Iron Man
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL-E
Wanted

Original Score

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button-Alexandre Desplat
Defiance - James Newton Howard
Milk - Danny Elfman
Slumdog Millionaire- AR Rahman   (Winner)
WALL-E Thomas Newman

Original Song

Down to Earth from WALL-E - Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman
Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire- AR Rahman and Gulzar   (Winner)
O Saya from Slumdog Millionaire- AR Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam

Costume

Australia
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Duchess   (Winner)
Milk
Revolutionary Road

Documentary Feature

The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Man on Wire   (Winner)
Trouble the Water

Documentary (short subject)

The Conscience of Nhem En
The Final Inch
Smile Pinki   (Winner)
The Witness — From the Balcony of Room 306

Film Editing

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Frost/Nixon
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire   (Winner)

Makeup

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button   (Winner)
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II
The Golden Army

Animated Short Film

La Maison en Petits Cubes   (Winner)
Lavatory — Lovestory
Oktapodi
Presto
This Way Up

Live Action Short Film

Auf der Strecke (On the Line)
Manon on the Asphalt
New Boy
The Pig
Spielzeugland (Toyland)    (Winner)

Visual Effects

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button    (Winner)
The Dark Knight
Iron Man

Wah Rahman

Its official now. Rahman wins 2 oscars for the best score with Jai Ho and sound mixing? from Slumdog Millionnaire. This would bring in a change in the way Indian music is looked at. So Rahman, we are not happy. This is just a beginning. We want more!

Monday blues: Happy Monday!

Good morning!

Today is the last Monday of the month!

People think Mondays suck, boring and dull as they have the week full of work ahead of them and it reflects in the way they talk, work and behave.

I think its the other way around. I think Mondays are fun and represent a week full of opportunities, to contribute, to work, to spread cheer, happiness and most of all to WIN!

So start today it were the last Saturday of the month! Pick your favorite dress, perfume, eat your favorite dish, listen to your favorite track and so on. Bring in more energy, more passion and spring to your life, both at work, home and in relationships and see how it works. Its not about Mondays, its about every day. Wake up expecting the day to be bad and it will be. Wake up determined and with belief to do something great. Actually try doing that and you will find the difference.

Happy Monday! What do you think?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Swing vote

Have you ever seen an election being stalled and decided by one vote? Well wouldn't it be good if your vote counted and you have a choice to make? Well Swing Vote is all about that. Apart from the cinematographic thrills and comedy it talks about many things more. Here they are:
  • Responsibility, democracy and the importance of voting
  • How in the run and mill of life and winning, we lose focus and miss out on life, choose illogical things, forget what we wanted to be and stand for
  • How important is a voice, a guiding voice, to bring us back to reality, to stand for something
There are simple ways to stay happy, even when you don't achieve what you set out for.

Change the way you think

The Skase teacup by Steve Watson set is based on the idea of symbiosis. A close, prolonged association between two or more different organisms of different species that may, but does not necessarily, benefit each member. The Skase is a cup and saucer for the post-modern world. The cup is made from white glazed creamware and is freed from the usual convention of requiring a flat base. It has a pleasingly tactile pointed shape and sits upon a cross base made from Manchurian walnut.

Every one tells you to think out of the box. Here is an excellent example. 

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Jai ho! in English

Check my attempt at translating Rahman's 'Jai Ho' to English at the end...

Jai ho! jai ho!
aaja aaja jind shamiyane ke tale
aaja jariwale nile aasman ke tale
jai ho! jai ho!

ratti ratti sachi maine jaan gavayi hai
nach nach koylo pe raat bitayi hai
akhiyon ki neend maine phoonko se uda di
neele tare se maine ungli jalayi hai

aaja aaja jind shamiyane ke tale
aaja jariwale nile aasman ke tale

chakh le ha chakh le ye raat shahad hai chakh le
rakh le ha dil hai dil aakhri had hai rakh le
kala kala kajal tera koi kala jadoo hai na

kala kala kajal tera koi kala jadoo hai na

aaja aaja jind shamiyane ke tale
aaja jariwale nile aasman ke tale

jai ho jai ho
jai ho jai ho

kab se ha kab se tu lab pe ruki hai kah de
kah de ha kah de ab aankh jhuki hai kah de
aisi aisi roshan aankhe roshan dono bhi hai hai kya

aaja aaja jind shamiyane ke tale
aaja jariwale nile aasman ke tale

jai ho... jai ho... jai ho... jai ho...

Here it goes (Do suggest if I got something wrong)...
Jai ho!
Come, come my Life, under the canopy
Come under the blue brocade sky!

Drop by drop I have lost my life in faith
I’ve passed this night dancing on fiery coals
I blew away the sleep that was in my eyes
I counted the stars till my finger burned

Come, come my Life, under the canopy
Come under the blue brocade sky!

Taste it, taste it, this night is honey
Taste it, and keep it,
It’s a heart; the heart is the final limit
You dark black kohl
It’s some black magic, isn’t it?

Come, come my Life, under the canopy
Come under the blue brocade sky!

For how long, how very long
It’s been on your lips
Say it, now say it
The eye is downcast
Such lit up eyes
Are they two lit-up dimaonds?
Come, come my Life, under the canopy
Come under the blue brocade sky
Jai Ho!!!

Good luck Rahman for the Oscars!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Who will win MTV Roadies 6.0?

As per rumors Sufi is the winner. Sufi will make a wild card entry to the show and the MTV Roadies 6 preview which showed Sufi boxing certainly confirms his re-entry to MTV Roadies 6. There could be another voted-out Roadie along with him. The winner last year for MTV Roadies 5 was well known to almost everyone since the finale was shot well in advance. Raghu's brain has worked this time and folks, the finale is yet to be shot. So that means two hungry MTV Roadies 6 hell mates are still out there. Why so? MTV is running a contest where you’ll get a chance to feature on the show’s finale. Duh!

So it’s obvious the winner is still undecided which is a pretty good thing. Who are the two finalists of MTV Roadies 6? One could be Sufi and the other could be anyone. So the game is still on!

Pay Back Time







Though I don't drink or watch roadies and I think Raghu is doing this for a publicity stunt, but he has a point. You decide!!!
Knowing what people want is one part and using it is another. Raghu seems to have both!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Be the ONE

Are you working hard?

To produce one tablespoon of honey, the little bee makes 4200 trips to flowers. It makes about 100 trips a day to the fields, each trip lasting 20 minutes average and 400 flowers! And we complain of hard work and no recognition! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Think +ve

Complaining has a positive side too. Finding positive out of every negative - which we don't always manage to do.

I am thankful...

1. For the husband who snores all night, because he is at home asleep with me and not with someone else
2. For my teenage daughter who is complaining about doing dishes, because that means she is at home & not on the streets
3. For the taxes that I pay because it means that I am employed
4. For the mess to clean after a party because it means that I have been surrounded by friends
5. For the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat
6. For my shadow that watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine
7. For a floor that needs mopping, and windows that need cleaning because it means I have a home
8. For all the complaining I hear about the government because it means that we have freedom of speech
9. For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking and that I have been blessed with transportation
10. For the noise I have to bear from my neighbours because it means that I can hear
11. For the pile of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear
12. For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been capable of working hard
13. For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I am still alive

Courtesy: FFO

Monday, February 16, 2009

Why is home 'sweet'?

There is no better place than home! And home food needs no explanation. Why is home sweet? I dont know!

 Taking a small break from blogging. 
Keep visiting. Thank you!

Xmz, Again.




“Why Study For Exams.... Are they not about what you know, not about how much you can cram into your head the night before?”

 - Unknown

The last set of exams begin today and will be there for the next 3 days. Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dis - placement?

THE WEEK-TMI First survey on MBA placements 2009:

The deep sense of caution and apprehension among students. Their priorities have changed, so, too, their expectations. As money is no longer the decider, some see it as an opportunity to listen to their heart.

If 'show me the money' was the motto until last year, B-school freshers are looking beyond the pay package this time. In fact, they are not in a position to bargain. Gone are the days of endless job offers, sky-scraping packages and 100 per cent placements on day zero. With the deepening recession, the whole economic environment has undergone a radical shift and B-schools are feeling the heat. Said Prof. Saral Mukherjee, chairperson, placement committee, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad: "B-schools are closely connected with the economy. Any change in the economy will have a direct bearing on them. The economic downturn has affected us but its magnitude is not known till now."

Confronted with a crisis that is expected to only get worse, employers are tightening their belts and treading cautiously. They are engaged in a comprehensive restructuring mode and are pulling out all the stops to survive in the current market conditions. Many companies are following a wait-and-watch policy and have not made any clear manpower assessment this year. This has left many B-schools in a tough situation. "Our students are in a very desperate position this year. They are uncertain about the companies that will come down to recruit," said Subir Verma, chairperson, placement committee, Management Development Institute, Gurgaon.

Not that nobody is recruiting. Many B-schools claim that their traditional recruiters have either come and recruited or promised to show up. With companies rationalising manpower, there is a drastic drop in the number of jobs on offer per company. As attrition levels have gone down considerably in the last few months, companies have limited openings. They are not hiring in bulk but picking the best.

Ghajini, the game!


It's not everyday that one comes across a game based on a Hindi movie, which in turn is based on a Tamil movie that was inspired from an English film. Ghajini the game is based on the Blockbuster Hindi film, Ghajini, starring Aamir Khan and is a worthy effort from FX Labs, the developers of the game. 

Throughout the game you have Aamir Khan's dull voice over directing you towards your next objective and giving you hints. The game developers in their quest to ape Max Payne's style and feel have made it very similar to Max Payne in terms of design and presentation, which isn't a bad decision, however, the execution lacks polish. 

The extra effort

What makes you stand apart? Ahead? Above? The extra degree, the extra step and effort that you put in to show you care. It works in relationships, life and should work in professional life too. Check this out.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Just in my imagination...



Rolling Stones' song. Double click to watch it in Youtube.

She confessed her love to me
Then she vanished on the breeze
Trying to hold on to that was just impossible
She was more than beautiful
Closer to etherial
With a kind of down to earth flavor
Close my eyes
Its three in the afternoon
Then I realize
That shes really gone for good
Anybody seen my baby
Anybody seen her around
Love has gone and made me blind
Ive looked but I just cant find
She has gotten lost in the crowd
I was flippin magazines
In that place on mercer street
When I thought I spotted her
Getting on a motor bike
Looking rather lady like
Didnt she just give me a wave? 
Salty tears
Its three in the afternoon
Has she disappeared
Is she really gone for good
Anybody seen my baby
Anybody seen her around
If I just close my eyes
I reach out and touch the prize
Anybody seen her around
Anybody seen my baby
Anybody seen her around
If I just close my eyes
I reach out and touch the prize
Anybody seen her around
Lost, lost and never found
I must have called her a thousand times
Sometimes I think she's just in my imagination
Lost in the crowd

Valentine purchases


What a time to capitalize on the psyche of the consumer! Especially people who make and sell products which can be packed and sold to customers, especially youngsters rake in the moolah big time. But for the Ram Sena's intervention this 14th would be a blast for the hotels, restaurants, CCDs, etc. On average, February 13th, the most popular day for shopping:
  • Over 1000% increase in sales versus other days! 
  • The expected purchase turnover for the occasion is about 5200 crores! 
  • More than 8 million roses are getting ready to come to Bangalore alone! 
BTW, where is the recession? Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mind games

The Wii makes great strides when it comes to game control, but how about being able to control video games with your mind? Don't think it's so far fetched as the technology will be available as early as next year. US and Australia based tech firm Emotiv has been working on man-machine interaction with the development of Project Epoc, a headset created by Australian neuroscientist Allan Snyder and Randy Breen, former head of development for LucasArts games.

With 16 sensors that attach to various points on the user’s head Project Epoc works like an electroencephalogram (EEG) by detecting electrical signals or thoughts, which it then translates into actions. Resembling Professor Xavier of X-men, the user can use the helmet for technological telekinesis, lifting in-game objects merely by thinking about it, or making their on-screen character smile or frown by doing the deed themselves. Although this headset has many possible applications in neuroscience, rehabilitation and for people with conditions such as paralysis, the reason Emotiv has chosen gaming as a way to develop this technology is because of the ubiquity of the gaming console and the flexibility and adaptability of young gamers.

No travelling this year

Hoteliers should brace for a tough year in 2009. The continued drop in U.S. consumer confidence has a profoundly negative effect on demand, which causes increases in layoffs and joblessness. Lack of demand causes a slump in manufacturing, which in turn creates a slowdown in global commerce. This has a massive trickledown effect on business travel. Among the hundreds of thousands of layoffs reported in the United States alone, there are thousands of business travelers now removed from business travel circulation. Results of new survey from the Association of Corporate Travel Executives Tampa Bay are as expected. Seventy-one percent of respondents to the ACTE poll will spend less on travel in 2009, 21 percent said they will spend the same and only 8 percent said they will spend more. 

The ACTE 2009 Business Travel Spend Survey illustrates that the hardest hit area of business travel is internal meetings, which can constitute up to 40 percent of a travel budget. The growing popularity of electronic business travel alternatives is enabling companies to reclaim as much as $10 million from their travel budgets, without compromising their travel objectives. 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Irrational logic

Would you walk away from the store if it does not have the cola you want? Or would you settle for the alternative? The price, fulfilled need, quantity, state and taste are same. 

Talking about taste, there is enough evidence from blind tests that it is difficult to make out the difference between Pepsi and Coke. The consumer behaves in a certain way exposed to certain cues directed by the brand/marketer which makes his taste feel. So marketing communication elicits consume behaviour to work in a certain way. It is purely irrational and does not depend on what is the product/service but on the irrational logic, the story, you believe in.

Going back to the question, not many would walk away from the store if it does not have a particular brand and switch. But the other day I was surprised to see Deepa paying 50% extra for a smaller bottle of a particular brand and wait for sometime to get it extra-cooled instead of going for a bigger bottle of the competitor which was readily available. So there are people who skip the drink if their choice is not available! Do you know the Sachin episode? This logic sounds irrational but for marketers it works fine.

Defying probability

Risk is a lovely thing to flirt with and dangerous too. What makes people take risk if it is dangerous? What all things you consider when you want to take a risk? Is it straight probability or some other calculation? 

I think probability is a major factor but not the only one. What are the chances of success? Of failure? What happens in case of failure? Most of the times the chances of failure are weighed and then the decision is taken. Still many brands flirt with the idea of the tempting the consumers with the risk factor. What is the success of such an attempt needs to be checked. Look at these examples:
  • Who is Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam? (A) Scientist  (B) Cricketer. Send A or B to 58***. Top 10 correct answers stand a chance to win Rs. 10,000/-. In case of multiple entries lucky draw would be held. Terms and conditions apply. SMS charge is Rs. 3/-.
  • Predict and Win contest. Predict who would win: A) Srilanka B) India || How many batsmen will score more than 50? A) 1   B) 2   C) 3   D) >3 and so on
  • You need to figure out who is the celebrity behind the blurred image and you can win
  • Fill in the crossword
You can easily add 100 more to this list. These are the campaigns which are run by big brands like Airtel, Times Online, Ten Sports, Pepsi, Coke and so on. But do customers buy into this logic and use them? I think here the probability of winning is very less, sometimes 1 in a billion. But what makes them take a chance is the amount lost when they do, some 3 to 6 bucks. The lure of winning some big amount keeps them going. 

What kind of customers fall into this trap and send the responses? Adventerous? Innovators? What kinds of products and services do they use? What kind of marketing communique do they respond to? Are you one of them? 

Who doesn't respond to these types of ads? Why do they not respond? What can a marketer do to reach out to this audience? 

Probably you can defy probability.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Focussed strategy

Cost leadership strategy works excellently at all times as there is a segment of population who are price conscious. Once this segment moves up the income ladder they shift to better services and products. But now in times of recession most luxury and high priced brands are in a dilema on what to do: 
  • Cut prices and erode in times of brand value or
  • Take a hit in terms of profits and retain the value as the sales, profits and shareholder value plumment
In this case McDonalds is seeing a surge in the usage and repetitive purchases. The nation's No. 1 hamburger chain has been posting strong sales as the economic downturn in the U.S. spreads overseas and people turn away from pricier restaurants to grocery stores and fast-food outlets. "McDonald's continues to appeal to customers as we offer high-quality, affordable meal options and unparalleled convenience," Chief Executive Jim Skinner said in a statement.Shares rose 56 cents to end at $59.02. 

The clown is actually making the customers smile. The smile has a ripple effect on the employees and the shareholders too.

The Pink Chaddi campaign

Welcome to the world run by Web 2.0. Its easy to create a revolution now than in the past with Web 2.0 which would catch up like wild fire. 

This means two things:
  1. There is a crowd which is seeking information online
  2. It is necessary to include them in your audience
The Pink Chaddi Campaign kicked off on 5 February 2009 to oppose the Sri Ram Sena. The campaign is growing exponentially (6,800 at this point in the life of our Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women) and that is not surprising. Most women in this country have enough curbs on their lives without a whole new franchise cashing in with their bully-boy tactics. Of course, a lot of men have joined the group as well.

Here is we want to do with the Pink Chaddi Campaign. Join in. Be imaginative, have fun and fight back! It does not matter that many of us have not thought about Valentine’s Day since we were 13. If ever. This year let us send the Sri Ram Sena some love. Let us send them some PINK CHADDIS. Look in your closet or buy them cheap. Dirt-cheap. Make sure they are PINK. Send them off to the Sena.

Will this cause a change of heart in the receivers? I doubt. But the way people are latching on to the idea is maddening. And then they say you can't create a buzz!

Check out list

It is not what you have achieved but how you have achieved and what you have learnt. What also matters is who are with you when you are up there and when you come down.

Where to spend your marketing greens

Most of the mobile connected tech-savvy population are online in some form or the other for almost 29.16% of their time. This is be the time you spend online wither on phone or on your comp. No this does not include official purpose. Most of this is just to stay connected. Nokia and TNS India, who conducted this joint survey across a sample of 3500 users from 15 cities across the country says mobile advertising will pick up in the country. The survey also revealed was the fact that more users are finding out about new product information via the mobile web (28 percent) than the traditional web (26 percent). Some even felt disconnected or lost when they couldn't access the net for some time. 

So it is much more relevant to spend your ad money on mobile advertising. As much as 25% to 30% of the $100 billion spent each year on brand advertising will find its way onto the mobile screen.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fairer Ho!

Nielsen India reports that the Indian men are increasingly investing more time and money to enhance their looks, with 78 percent of the respondents feeling that it is ok for men to spend time and money to improve their appearance. According to a study conducted by The Nielsen Company, 84 percent of the respondents felt that Indian men are more interested in grooming today than they used to be.

It is interesting to note here that 100 percent of the respondents under the age group of 20 agreed that men are more interested in personal grooming than they used to be, indicating where the change is actually sprouting from.

In a recently released Global Consumer Report on Personal Grooming Nielsen surveyed 25,408 internet users in 46 markets from Europe, Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East about their attitudes to personal grooming, what and how often they invested in beauty products and treatments, and what they would spend, and on what, if money were no object.

On the whole 30 percent of Indians agreed to be spending more on beauty products and treatments to enhance their appearance. Whereas 80 percent of the respondents surveyed felt that the pressures to look good are more today than they were in their parent’s generation.

Sush as Bhutto


Biopics are not new and unique when it comes to Bollywood filmmakers who have vividly churned them out. This time, it is gonna be a film based on life history of late Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto. Perhaps, it's Pakistani Filmmakers who would be rendering this biopic on their most respected woman leader assassinated on Dec 27, 2007 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. 

Sushmitha Sen seems to be constantly watching the clippings of Benazir Bhutto. Also, she is working out on vocalizing Urdu dictions perfectly. The film would be made bilingually in both English and Urdu.

The film will be produced by Pakistani producers Zaid Aziz and Henna Rai of Karachi production firm Vox Vision and Leicester-based Sum Films. Buzzes are that the film may be titled as 'Benazir Bhutto: The Movie' and it would be shot at various locations of Pakistan, US, Britain and Dubai, where Bhutto spent her days as a student and as an exiled politician.

As a consumer I think this will give more boost to Sush as an actress more than anything else. The role is powerful and needs a stature and attitude. I think Sush can deliver that.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Look Smell Feel

Where do you think this picture was taken? School? Park? PVR? At a hospital! Sarah shares her experience about her visit to Lotus hospital in Hyderabad. Read her post here.

Thats what the whole idea is about. Hospitals which dont look, smell, feel like hospitals, colleges which don't LSF like colleges, offices, homes, meetings, etc. Lotus seems to have figured it out well. 

Another quick thought: Do you sound like you know everything when you advise/teach? Do you behave as if you are the boss when you work as a team? This characteristic lasts long when its earned and not thrust upon. Also the credibility and acceptance is higher when earned. An elected leader is more powerful than the appointed one.

Do you break the clutter?

Why you need a tribe

Seth explains why you need a tribe to be successful.

Be the best & Improve

Ramli Ibrahim is one of the most accomplished Odissi dancer in Malaysia and internationally. He dances with absolute passion and grace, as if performing for God. He is one of the symbols of perfection in performance that should be a showcase to youngsters today. The thing about Ramli is that he likes experimenting with the original formats, beliefs. He changes the traditional dresses, steps, etc. which invite criticism from many. But he doesn't mind and named it 'Vision of Forever.' 

It doesn’t matter what you chose to be but most importantly you must put all your devotion and energy to be the best in your chosen field. Unless you are the best you need to work hard. Nobody likes the second best. Will you buy a 2nd best dress for the same price when you have the best available? 

And once you are the best you need to strive, change, experiment to stay ahead of the competition. 

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Thought

Never expect things to happen
Struggle and make them happen
Never expect yourself to be given a good value
Create a value of your own

Blog Interviewer

From Blog Interviewer:

January was the grand re-opening of Blog Interviewer and the race was tight. Here are the winners:
  • First Place: $50 for Lily Ruth: DogCents with 104 votes
  • Second Place: $25 for Erin McKean: A Dress A Day with 92 votes
  • Third Place: $25 for Vamshi Krishna Arumbaka at Consumer Psyche with 85 votes

Congratulations and thanks to all who participated.

Thanks to all of your time and effort I have got 85 votes. This gesture is heartfully appreciated :)

Garibh Radh

Vijay Mallya's loss is Lalu's gain. Aviation industry is witnessing a huge slump as the economic crisis hits Indian shores. The cost of travelling by plane is very high when compared to rail and hence rail is the new fashion. Lalu is ensuring that the ambience in first class matches to the taste of the elite executives who are habituated to the service on the plane. Clean linen, 24*7 water, AC, security, power sockets, quality food and Internet connection are in the offing. The passengers are not complaining. 


With the economic slowdown, people are becoming a lot more conscious about their travel budgets. Consumers cascade when certain changes effect the market. This is a strategic inflection point and the firm should be ready for the same. Are you ready for the inflection? 

Saturday, February 7, 2009

How good is your Support Team?


Any event to be successful needs many inputs from many people. Those on the stage and those off it. The ones on the stage are alwyas recognized but the latter are ignored. Most of the times they make it to a line in the 'vote of thanks' speech. But the contribution is much more than that.

I was at Manipal Institute of Management, Manipal to participate in the International Conference on "Harnessing Entrepreneurial Potential of Women for Economic Growth" organized by Manipal Institute of Management, Manipal held during January 22-24, 2009. I presented a paper co-authored with my Prof. Chowdari Prasad, Professor of Finance & Registrar, Alliance Business School, Bangalore on 'Women Entrepreneurs and Networking'.


There were 30 student volunteers from BBM and MBA batches of MIM and the way they conducted the event was amazing. All of them were very eager to help, always smiling and proactive. The work day was almost 16 hours, included running up and down 3 floors around 3 rooms, handling around 250 people from different locations, faculty, press, judges and guests. It was an event of perfection, thanks to them and wouldn't have been a success if they had not put in the extra effort and passion into what they were doing. This impressed me.

In a world full of escapists, it's rare to find such commitment and passion. If you have the support staff of this character, DON'T lose them. If you don't, you know what to do. A good support staff/team is the backbone to the success of any venture.

Abide with me...



- Words: Henry F. Lyte, 1847
- Music: William H. Monk, 1861

Lyte was inspired to write this hymn as he was dying of tuberculosis; he finished it the Sunday he gave his farewell sermon to the the parish he served so many years. The next day, he left for Italy to regain his health. He didn't make it though; he died in Nice, France, three weeks after writing these words.

For more than a century, the bells of his church at All Saints in Lower Brixham, Devonshire, have rung out "Abide With Me" daily. The hymn was sung at the wedding of King George VI of Britain, and at the wedding of his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II. The music used here, titled "Eventide," is by far the best known of four different tunes used over the years. Mrs. Monk described the setting for her husband's composition of the tune: "This tune was written at a time of great sorrow; when together we watched, as we did daily, the glories of the setting sun. As the last golden ray faded, he took some paper and penciled that tune which has gone all over the earth."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Delight @ Book paradise

We conducted a book review competition as a part of the HR Department's initiative at Alliance Business School last year. I was conducting the event with Lovely and we also took part and won the second prize. There were some coupons to be redeemed at Book Paradise. The glitch is that these coupons were delivered after 6 months and the last date for the redemption was in September 2008. So I was doubtful if they would accept them any more. The other day I went to the store and to my great surprise they accepted them. The owner was an 75 year old man and smiled and said it is OK and called a sales executive to help me hunt for the books. I picked up some on fiction.

What made me happy was that the shop owner made no fuss about it and the coupons were passed. Will I return, Definetely. Its at the resonance level now.

The blinking game

The game is very simple. Who would blink first? The customer or the firm is the question.  If the time is the deciding factor the firm has to bow to the market conditions. After all we live in almost free competition where the buyer has almost equal control over the brand as the firm itself. 

The retail sector saw a disheartening December quarter, with a sharp deceleration in sales growth and a contraction in profits. Sales growth for the quarter slid to 15 per cent, from 65 and 61 per cent respectively in the preceding September and June quarters. Though sales did expand, net profits fell by more than half, after declining 15 per cent in September and growing 8 per cent in June.

Even as footfalls declined and retailers scaled-back expansion plans, same-store sales (sales in the stores that existed last year) succumbed to the slowdown. Retailers had to extend discount periods to draw consumers. So the firm is blinking first. The consumer has an upper hand here. Either the firm reduces the prices or withers out. It depends on how deep the firm's resources are and what choice it would make.

Happy days...



Happy days are almost over...

Most of you must be knowing that I am pursing my Post Graduate Program in Management (Marketing) from Alliance Business School. Today was our last class based instructional day. What remains are exams, dissertation and placement. Some of my friends are placed and some, like me, are waiting. But suddenly it dawns on you that you would be missing the classes, exams, assignments, faculty, campus, etc. Na... I didnt forget friends. I think the best thing any institution gives you is experience, ambience and friends for life. I have got plenty of them here. We all have. Two more months to go before we embark on the glorious and hard journey called life. 

Wish me and my friends good luck :)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Price is not equal to Quality

Mahesh Dattani in Last Word mentions...

Most of us in the cities are used to processed foods and eating out at restaurants where food is invariably overcooked or rehashed. Sometimes we are under the false impression that the more expensive the restaurant, the better the quality. 

Once a friend running an NGO planned a food drive-to pick up leftover food from the backdoors of kitchens of five-star hotels. To her horror she discovered that waste food was highest after midnight or thereabouts. Which means leftovers from lunch make their way to the buffet table at night!

Most of the times we think that the price means quality. May be some of my hotel management friends will tell me if this is applicable to all the hotels. And I will think twice before going for dinner. I think you should too. What a cheap way of making money! The image of the hotels erode like a pack of cards. Think long term and save your image for once the consumer gets to know he is cheated he would never be back.

Godfather wants Pepsi



Coke and Pepsi rivalry is world famous. This is a commercial when a Godfather asks for Pepsi.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Life support

The WeekThe Emergency Medical and Research Institute (EMRI), a brainchild of disgraced Satyam Computer Services founder B. Ramalinga Raju, has decided to continue its operations in 11 states and is looking for donors and corporates to replace Raju and family. 

The nonprofit organisation, which was launched in 2005, operates 1,650 free ambulances in Andhra Pradesh and plans to increase the fleet to 4,000 by December. It has 12,000 employees.?Several board members and chairman emeritus A.P.J. Abdul Kalam  resigned in the wake of the Satyam disgrace, but CEO Venkat Changavalli said the project would go on.?Apparently, some corporates and philanthropists have come forward to sustain it. The state governments are bearing 95 per cent of the operational costs. The organisation has fixed assets of Rs 51 crore in the form of 1,20,000 sq.ft built-up area, an emergency response centre, ambulances, hardware and equipment. 

Adapt