Google+ Consumer Psyche: March 2009


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Baby mop

Babies keep crawling all over the place so why not use this energy for something! Check this out!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Kochi, first blood

Cochin/Kochi is a wonderful place in Kerala. Here I was for presenting a research paper on what is happening in Indian Banking Technology and why Internet Banking is not catching up. School of Management Studies, Kochi University organized a National Seminar on 'Creating and Delivering Value to Customers' on 27th and 28th. Atheeva technologies webcasted this event live. Guest speakers were Dr. Abraham Koshy, IIM A and Dr. Anandakuttan B Unnithan, IIM K along with other distinguished professors, delegates and paper presenters. The support staff comprised of students (who were taking initiative tirelessly with a smile handling over 400 guests!), Dr. Molly Koshy and Dr. Manoj Edward who were working till 11 PM in the night to make it a success. The discussions, discourses, question-answer sessions, guest house and climate were simply superb.

It takes a lot of people working for many man-hours working in tandem to make an event a success.
Drops maketh the rain! Each one counts.


The battle for the small car is getting hotter. Soon after the Tatas stunned the world with a Rs 1 lakh car, Nano, Hyundai stated its intention to come out with a car that could cost less than Rs 2 lakh and hit the road by 2011. And now, auto biggie Maruti-Suzuki too is ready with Its small car. The little car could hit the road, they say, as early as the end of this year or early 2009. The Suzuki car will come closest to rival Nano. It will sport a Suzuki 660cc engine - as against Nano's 623cc - and wear a tag of around Rs 1.5 lakh on road (that is, excluding insurance) - a little higher than Nano, which is expected to be Rs 1.25 lakh on road. The car might be called 'Suzuki Cervo'. Have a look at picture of the Japanese Suzuki Cervo.

Outsourced prayer

Sarah sent this...

Too busy to offer prayers? Well, don't fear the Lord, for He has come up with a unique idea to make you stay connected with him:!

A website that charges you a monthly fee to say prayers for you has been launched.A typical charge is 4.95 dollars per month to say three prayers specified by you each day. All you need to do is select your religion and the prayers you want, reports The New York Daily News.The site's premise: "We think our service should be used like a prayer supplement, to extend and strengthen a subscriber's connection with God."

The site does caution that, "as with all prayer, the final results are up to God as everything follows His will. We make no claims regarding the efficacy of the service."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Red rain

I am standing up at the waters edge in my dream
I cannot make a single sound as you scream
It cant be that cold, the ground is still warm to touch
This place is so quiet, sensing that storm
--- Peter Gabriel

Friday, March 27, 2009

Do your own chores

People are taking on chores that only a year ago were hired out to someone else. They're dyeing their own hair, shoveling their own snow, washing their own cars and taking up paint brushes to brighten their living room walls. The do-it-yourself trend has hurt some businesses and created opportunities for others. While every shirt ironed by you is one fewer for the local cleaners, it also means your family will be buying more detergent and fabric softener. Multiply the chores the people are doing by the millions of people like them who are changing their habits and the future looks bright for the do-it-yourself market.

The research firm Mintel International, which follows a narrow segment of the market from tool rentals to building and decorating supplies, predicts the sector will make steady gains over the next two years, ultimately growing to a $15.1 billion market in 2013, or about 50 percent over a decade. It is a wonderful outcome. The mechanics of the purchasing and utility are changing.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Faltering is costly

When you are in a responsible position, especially when people listen to what you speak, you need to watch out. For what you speak is going to be judged and all the message is going to be viewed through that lens. Better stay silent than give out wrong or negative cues which will tarnish your reputation. This is where the preparation comes in handy. Principally this is like marketing communication of a brand. You mess up with the communique, your brand value zooms south.

Next top blog

How long will it take to be a top blog? Well Obama's blog is 69'th at present on Technorati. The idea of the world's most powerful man talking to you is amazing. But will he be ale to sustain this popularity? The prediction is that the blog will become the most popular blog and reach the top 10 spot in the next 45 days! Here is a video from this blog.

Reasons for the success:
  • Interactive nature
  • Economic crisis and message of hope
  • Quick escalation of issues
  • Recency effect
  • Huge expectations
Having a blog isn't going to make Obama loved for ever. It is time to deliver.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Innovation in Cyber crime

The Cybercrime Intelligence Report covers the following:

  • Cybercriminals are professionally organized and operate affiliate networks to boost their malware and rogueware distribution
  • To promote their rogueware, they compromise legitimate websites by injecting SEO targeted pages which include repetitive popular search keywords with minor typos
  • Search engines indexed these injected pages and display them as top search results
  • This SEO targeted technique has proven to be very effective and yielded almost half a million Google searches to compromised sites, according to statistics found on the criminal’s server during the research
  • 1.8M unique users were redirected to the rogue Anti-Virus software during 16 consecutive days
  • Members of the affiliate network were rewarded for each successful redirection with 9.6 cents “a piece”, which totals $ 172,800 or $ 10,800 per day

Read more here.

What stays in your mind!

Ever wondered why bad jokes are easier to remember than the good ones? Well, scientists claim to have finally unraveled the reason. A new study has revealed that the best jokes are the hardest to remember as they work by subverting usual thought patterns, making them less memorable but funnier—moreover, a final twist and surprise in the joke makes people remember the punchline, but forget the run-up to the gag. But, on the contrary, the structure and punchlines of cliched gags are so predictable that they make the jokes easy to recall, the study found. According to the study’s author, Prof Robert Provine of Maryland University, “What makes a joke successful is also what makes it difficult to remember. The punch line involves an unexpected turn.

If someone tells you a list of flowers, like roses, daffodils, petunias and brick. That was unexpected and funny. You remember ‘brick’, but not probably the correct list of flowers. Good jokes 'work in the opposite way to a poem or piece of music'. "It's easier to follow a song because it has rhyme and rhythm. I hear a good joke but usually I can’t remember all of it.” Daniel Schacter of Harvard University said that good jokes often rely on subtle nuances and timings and these are things which we find difficult to accurately recall. You appreciate a comment on your blog, reply it people forget. You delete the comment they will remember it! You appreciate the article people forget, you say they are wrong they get excited. Try it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Facebook and resentment to change

Facebook has redesigned its layout (second time in under a year), in order to better compete with upcoming popular real-time microblogging services like Twitter. But with the transition to the new interface complete, Facebook has fallen under heavy criticism this weekend for not listening to the wishes of its users, who vehemently protested against the change to the new layout. Just as Facebook finishes rolling out its redesigned home page users are growing increasingly furious and frustrated that the "Old Facebook" layout is likely gone for good. To date 1.7 5million(as of today) Facebook users have joined the social networks user created group called "Petition Against the New Facebook." The group is pleading with the social network to "make small changes and make the transition easier to deal with."

The "Petition Against the New Facebook" group now peaks at 1.7 million members, or one percent of the social network's 175 million users. Approaching the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude, the group has a target of two million members, claiming this is necessary for the petition to be effective.

What do you think about this?
  • Is this just a resentment to change?
  • Just a marketing gimmick?
  • Will Facebook change?
  • What about the other 99% who don't seem to have a problem?

Towards a 'Green' blog

I was shocked to hear the claims that a typical web server, hosting anything from a website to your blog, produces about as much C02 as an car! Not only that but a typical data center which houses such servers consumes about as much energy as 30,000 households. But just how accurate are these claims? Are these merely scare tactics used to get would-be web managers to buy into “green” hosting companies?

Google has been receiving a lot of flak lately regarding their carbon footprint. Recently, there was an accusation that every two Google searches performed produce about 15g of C02, approximately the same amount produced by boiling a kettle of water. However, that data may have been a bit exaggerated, according to Google, who responded by saying that each search only emits about 0.2g of C02.

This is relieving. Most firms cash in on making everything 'green' for you. I think this is because they know many people want to use such services. Thankfully I believe that consumerism is a valid thing and the economy runs because people like me buy and pay. So if this blog emits some CO2, so be it. May be I should start planting a tree every month! How will that be?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lack of planning

Something applicable equally in Hyderabad or Bangalore or Chennai.

We all know how anything in Delhi can cause traffic jams : weddings, rallies , festival Jhankis , Republic Day parade rehearsals , Pragati Maidan Exhibitions . The latest addition to this long list is Board Exams . The young examinees , exhausted after a long spell of late night swotting , are expected to report at their Exam centres at ten am sharp . It is singularly bad timing that clashes routinely with office rush hour traffic . Since delay in reaching exam halls means barred entry , tempers run high and parental tension mounts as cars , two and three wheelers , school buses and ordinary buses all snake through office rush hour traffic , all trying to overtake the others and making it almost impossible for anyone to reach their destination on time . Things are complicated by the fact that the examination centres are housed during the Boards , at schools other than the ones where the kids study . This mostly prolongs the distance and creates more tension since parents must drive down unknown roads .

Read full article.

Why you need a marketing plan?

Marketing is the cornerstone of any business and is a needed part of any business growth and profit strategy. In putting together a marketing plan an organization needs to look at some of the same categories the organization would have reviewed including competitors, trends, statistics, new technologies to provide more efficiency to the organization and a marketing strategy. The same applies to indivudals. Look at your competitiors and peers and design a plan to market yourself. As the popular saying goes at any point in time we are selling something.

Future is online

The Internet has leveled the playing field and afforded open access to customers in the global marketplace. Internet provides a cost-effective delivery channel for firms. Consumers are embracing the many benefits of Internet. Access to firm's accounts at anytime and from any location via the World Wide Web is a convenience unknown a short time ago. Internet enables the customer to access information about his or her specific account relationship. The advantage of Internet includes:
  • Improve customer access, convenience
  • Facilitate the offering of more services
  • Increase customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Attract new customers easily
  • Provide services offered by competitors
  • Reduce customer attrition
  • Reduces the time, cost and effort in the interaction

So the faster your business goes online the better it is.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Top movies at hollywood this week

Top movies of the week

  1. Race to Witch Mountain
  2. Watchmen
  3. The Last House on the Left
  4. Taken
  5. Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail
  6. Slumdog Millionaire
  7. Paul Blart: Mall Cop
  8. He's Just Not That Into You
  9. Coraline
  10. Miss March

Its growing!

Here is the latest stat on how deep Indian Internet usage is and how it has changed over the last 10 years.




% penetration













































Table1. Internet Penetration in India

The growth in the last year is almost double which is a good sign. This means more people will go online, content will be rated better, searched better and hence the quality will be rewarded. Online presence is going to be a must.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Move towards Internet banking

Banking has been revolutionized by the use of technology. The service is swifter, better and cheaper. But how cheaper? Well here are the details...

Cost Per Transaction In The US: Money Transfer (units in US $)








Cost Per Transaction







The reduced cost makes it feasible for the bank to concentrate on the user experience and making it pleasant for the consumer. The difference between services of various banking firms being negligible the focus has shifted to the experience. Consumers are becoming more critical and demanding about the services from the bank as the switching costs are less and there are many players in the market. So any reduction in the cost is welcomed eagerly. Banks aim and strive to move the customer from the branch-banking to Internet-banking which is about 100 times cheaper and gain competitive advantage.

All the way

Though the ills of earth may wound me,

And the storms of life confound me-

With His loving arms around me,

I'll go with Him all the way!

(Fanny J. Crosby, 1823-1915)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Windows vs Mac

Microsoft got it right this time with its marketing efforts paying off. Its $300 million marketing campaign for Windows helped it reap huge rewards. U.S. retail Windows PC unit sales rose 22 percent year over year in February compared with a 16.7 percent Mac sales decline. By revenue, Windows PCs posted modest 1.4 percent growth, compared with a stunning 23.3 percent Mac revenue decline.

Many financial analysts point to pricing as the major reason for Mac declines. In February, the average selling price for Macs was $1,500, down from $1,628 a year earlier but up from $1,482 in November. Consumers and small businesses must pay more to join the Mac club than to continue using Windows PCs during a recession.

There's a spirit of entrepreneurship that many Americans associate with Windows and Microsoft. The recession is bringing it out.

For one more day

Chick provokes, "You want to know why I tried to kill myself?". From here the story starts in Chick's own voice and the reader listens to him as if he is sitting beside him. What happens when Chick tries to kill himself and how he gets a chance to 'live' with his mother who dies long ago and then corrects all his errors and makes peace with himself is the story.

The story moves back and forth between memories of Chick's childhood and adolescence, and the action taking place between Chick and his dead mother. Ultimately, it is a story of redemption and making peace with one's past. It is a story of love, family, mistakes and forgiveness.

If all this sounds familiar, that's probably because you have read Albom's The Five People You Meet in Heaven. In fact, For One More Day is very similar to Albom's previous novels. Same sort of characters, same sort of supernatural yet familiar setting, same "It's a Wonderful Life" type move from regret to peace with one's life. Albom does not break new ground here. That may be good or bad, depending on how much you like his previous work.

While it is very similar to Albom's Five People You Meet in Heaven--not much new ground covered here and tends to be extremely sentimental at times, it is a good read which has a lot of moral lessons, family value and like all other Albom's books talks about love. Overall a good read.

Rating: 6/10 (Good)

Where is the fresh milk?

Studying the retail strategy and implementing it in daily life is different. Selecting the milk packets in the store set me thinking. The packets were neatly stacked and there were many. The packets were lined up, one behind the another and habitually you will reach to the one in the front. So retailers keep the fresh ones at the back. Seems a good idea as usually the visibility encourages the purchase and especially the ones that can be reached and picked up easily are the ones to go first.

So next time you reach for picking up some product at any of the retail outlet pick the one in the back and check the manufactured date and see if this works.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Politics and branding

The political arena is getting hotter these days with elections just around the corner in India. Many brands have started to pick up this issue and mould their communique to correspond to the changing principles and beliefs. Some have realigned their traditional support to play safe lest they lose any patronage from the rival parties. In Andhra Pradesh where Chiranjeevi has launched his own party, Praja Rajyam, the few brands he endorses seem to be a hurry to stay clear of him and his affiliation.

Chiranjeevi is a popular movie star referred to as the Megastar of Tollywood. He had inspired people to resonate him with the Thumps Up brand. He rarely does any advertisements for brands and is very careful with his selection but he had to yield to Thumps Up(which has about 31% of all the soft drink market in India) and Navratna oil as the proceeds were going to fund a social cause. Now the scene is different as he has a political party and yearns to be the next chief minister, it is obvious that opposition parties and non sympathizers would stay hostile to the brands that he endorses. At the same time Chiru has a huge fan base and they may turn hostile to Thumps Up too if it dumps Chiru.

Now is a tough situation to the brand to stay clear of the problem. Thumps Up now chose a non controversial, neutral star and is airing more ads by Mahesh Babu who has made his own image in the industry. Seems people are buying the tactic. Mahesh seems to be replacing the image of Chiru when it comes to Thumps Up. Well Thumbs Up then.

Back to Books

For the first time in more than 25 years, the proportion of adults who said they've read at least one literary work in the previous 12 months increased, according to the National Endowment for the Arts. The reason is they are more realistic and constant. More people are turning to books to keep themselves occupied.

So this is the best time to read that book you always wanted to.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Max it!

If you have attended any interview recently you would have seen long queues to feel the heat. Well the situation is the same everywhere else. While many job seekers are looking for tips and plans to get a job and outwit competition, some clever marketer has created this.

Lets see what Pepsi did:
  • Picked up an existing underlying theme
  • Supported a cause which the consumers can identity with
  • Diced with humour
  • Easy and cheap to support the cause

What to buy

"Don't buy anything with more than five ingredients (too processed), with ingredients you can’t pronounce (too processed), with anything artificial (tastes bad), with a cartoon on it (direct marketing to children), or with a health claim (misleading)," says Nestle.

-- Reader's Digest

Not down

“ The more I heard that I couldn't make it, the more I was determined to do it. I never liked being told that I'm not good enough to do this or that. ”

— Archie Griffin

Don't let any one tell you what you cannot be. Believe what you can and do it. Never bow down.

Tip please

How often you order food home? How much is the price you pay for it and what percentage if the order cost is the tip you give to the delivery man? Do you think tipping properly is a good idea? Or is it a waste of money? Statistics and behavioural observations beg to differ.

Most of the delivery executives remember who tip them how much and how they behave with them once they reach the door. In most cases it was observed that the people at the house are rude, offensive and do not tip at all. Even if they tip the amount is very low. You may feel it is unnecessary as the company pays the person for the delivery. It is always nice to have a happy man delivering your food and leaving a decent tip is going to keep him happy and come back willingly the next time you order. The same applies to your milk delivery man, the newspaper boy and so on. After all he is helping you out.

The next time you get something done don't forget two things:
  • Tip(A decent tip is about 10% of the total bill as per the US standards. You may decide what is decent enough)
  • Say 'Thank you'
It is a person at the other end and it shows your character. What do you say?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It happens

While I was paying for my items in a local store, the man behind me laid his purchases on the counter. Among them was a large, flowery birthday card with "To my wonderful wife" printed on the front. The clerk said, "You've chosen our biggest and prettiest card."

The man nodded sadly and replied, "One day late."

Reader's Digest

The new less expensive ad-tool

Viral marketing includes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on marketing messages to others and with virtually the entire population owning at least one mobile phone, it's little wonder that mobile communication along with the web is a key viral marketing channel.

With people looking for bargains, text is proving more powerful than ever. Texts are the ideal viral marketing tool capable of reaching much further than initial recipients alone. Good offers and promotions are often shared amongst friends eager to spread the word of a good bargain. If businesses send out tempting offers and promotions then it's only human nature that people will want to share them and it couldn't be any easier or convenient to pass on a good tip to a friend than via a quick text. Also, people genuinely like receiving texts from friends, with a whopping 94% of texts being opened and read which offers great opportunities for marketers.

The reasons for this success are:
  • Simple
  • Easy
  • Trust is more as it comes from friends
  • Minimal Cost
  • Measurable
  • Trackable
  • Current
So texting is emerging to be the new less expensive ad-tool.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday blues: Knock Knock

Open doors do not mean absence of problems and oppositions. In fact they often go together! Some doors will appear closed. Closed doors do not mean locked doors. All you need to do is knock.

So this week don't think you do not have a chance take it up once again and try. May be this door is not locked.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Innocent Man

Borrowing a book from Harsha's collection yesterday made me read through it in one sitting. I completed “The Innocent Man" by John Grisham. It is the first work of non-fiction by Grisham and it really is a shocking book!

The book is about the false conviction of two guys on the charges of a murder. The cooked testimonies, the fabricated evidences, and some junk science led to two guys being falsely imprisoned for 11 years. One of them was just days away from being executed and the death row made him insane.

Trust me you need to read it to check how complicated and stranger real life is.

Rating: 6.5/10 (Good)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Behavioural ads

Google has worked hard to create technology that makes the advertising on our own sites, and those of our partners, as relevant as possible. To date, we have shown ads based mainly on what your interests are at a specific moment. So if you search for [digital camera] on Google, you'll get ads related to digital cameras. If you are visiting the website of one of our AdSense partners, you would see ads based on the content of the page. For example, if you're reading a sports page on a newspaper website, we might show ads for running shoes. Or we can show ads for home maintenance services alongside a YouTube video instructing you on how to perform a simple repair. There are some situations, however, where a keyword or the content of a web page simply doesn't give us enough information to serve highly relevant ads.

We think we can make online advertising even more relevant and useful by using additional information about the websites people visit. Today we are launching "interest-based" advertising as a beta test on our partner sites and on YouTube. These ads will associate categories of interest -- say sports, gardening, cars, pets -- with your browser, based on the types of sites you visit and the pages you view. We may then use those interest categories to show you more relevant text and display ads.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Attack on Lankan cricketers and implications

Harsha writes: For years, we in India, have shifted our eyes westward, only marginally westward, with awe and admiration at the kind of talent that came bursting through. Suddenly Wasim Akram appeared, suddenly Waqar and Inzamam and Saeed Anwar and many others who, though not quite destined for greatness, played lovely cameo roles. In recent times that production line has got clogged. There is hardly any incandescent talent that illuminates stadiums now. And in the years to come it could only get worse. Wasim Akram was in awe of Imran and Waqar wanted to be like him. Shoaib Akhtar wanted to bowl with Waqar and that is how it always is. One generation inspires another as Tendulkar did with Sehwag and Dhoni. If there is no cricket in Pakistan, there will be no inspiration. Expect lots of journeymen T20 players unsure of whether they are playing for Sussex or Northern Transvaal or South Australia.

This half-hour of madness in Lahore has far-reaching implications. Increasingly cricket grounds will be heavily guarded, cricketers will play in what look like garrisons; it will take longer to get into a T20 game than actually watch it. Little children will no longer eye the wax paper packet in which their mother has packed the best sandwiches in the world. People might stay in drawing rooms, not only because they are more comfortable, but because they are safer. Increasingly cricket will be limited to what the camera shows and what the commentator says. If they can fight their way through all the advertising! I fear cricket watching will become clinical rather than innocent.

Ultimately though, cricket is only a tiny part of the reality of our existence. Like the movies, if more strongly, it can allow us to escape into our little cocoon for a few hours. But thereafter we must emerge and place it in the context of our times. This is a time of extraordinary hatred and violence, of tearing apart rather than stitching together; of grown-up men fighting like neighbourhood kids but with weapons that can maim and kill. The sad reality in our part of the world is that we have far too many people to police and far too few that don’t need policing.

The ICC must act fast and not close their eyes to reality like they did with the Champions Trophy. A firm decision on the World Cup will have to be taken quickly and without emotion or appeasement. This is neither the time to cater to vote banks nor for the former gentry to get back at the nouveaux riche.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Seth's idea on attending meetings

Your choice: should you come to that meeting, read those articles or go to this event? Should you have those expensive medical tests, have surgery or hire that consultant?
Going to a brainstorming meeting with that attitude is a recipe for failure. Someone in the  meeting needs to shout, "Put down your spreadsheets and come out with your hands up!"
If you've already decided, if you have an incoming process that involves deflector shields, if you are too busy to do a reset, then the best path is not to take the meeting at all. Don't pay attention to test results and don't look for new learning.
Don't bother accepting new input if you have no interest in using it. (I happen to think that once you're committed to your path, this is in fact a brilliant approach. Halfway up Everest, it makes no sense to have a discussion about climbing K2 instead.)

Earth Hour

Earth Hour. In India its gonna be on 28th March.
930 cities and towns in 80 countries have already committed to VOTE EARTH for Earth Hour 2009, as part of the worlds first global election between Earth and global warming.

Holi @ Alliance

Like any other festival, Holi always rocks at Alliance. Blast is an understatement as you can see in the pics. All the festivals are welcomed with same enthu and preparation as we have the crowd from all religions, places and cultures.
May this festival of colors usher in happiness, unity and blessing in your life and family.
Happy Holi!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Good films


1. Delhi 6
2. Billu
3. Dev D
4. Slumdog Crorepati (dubbed)
5. Kisse Pyaar Karoon?


1. Madea Goes to Jail
2. Jonas Brothers: 3D Concert
3. Slumdog Millionaire
4. Taken
5. He’s Just Not That Into You

--- Outlook

Harping on the negative

Buyer Behaviour explains why dissenting brand information is helpful. It is always good to harp a bit on your shortcomings as areas of improvement which will enhance the credibility of the message. I think it is better to have a clear understanding of what is good and what is shortcoming and then let the consumer decide what he should be doing.

The comparative ads about the features of a car has one or two features missing but usually these are non-important ones when compared to the ones on which the brand in question scores over the others.

Wikipedia scrubbing clean, information on Barack Obama may keep negative publicity away from a web page, but it can't quell renewed interest about that very same information in the minds of the average citizenry.

Try and wipe a slate clean and you have more people curious about what was scribbled on, in the first place.

I think Obama is missing this point. There is too much of positive feel that was generated and now with wiki responding in this way its the hit at the credibility. Bush was better at this. He allowed the dissenters to speak up, even make movies like 911, that only told people he was no different but he was doing something to keep them safe. I think over a period of time people will start to realize how bold and progressive his policies were.

Nokia tunes make people feel physically sick

Global marketing guru Martin Lindstrom says: "What we learned was amazing. The most important senses when building brands were the sense of sound followed by smell then followed by sight. It's ironic that 83 per cent of all brand communication only appeals to the sense of sight," said Mr Lindstrom, the author of the best-selling book Buyology -- Truth and Lies About Why We Buy.

"We learned that the Nokia tune turns people off. It is so disliked in our brains that we almost feel physically sick when hearing it. The reason for this is that it reminds people about work, missed deadlines and their boss calling them."

Danish-born Mr Lindstrom, who advises companies including McDonald's, Microsoft and Walt Disney, said his book was based on the world's largest neuro-marketing study that scanned the brains of 2000 consumers across five countries.

The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan consumers' brains as they were exposed to Johnson & Johnson baby powder, the smell of Play-Doh, the smell of Coca-Cola, the sound of a Nokia phone ringing and the sound of a Microsoft tune.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Indu magic!

How would it be if your noodles were served in an earthern pot decorated with traditional designs? How about a wooden laptop? OK what if the wood is Sandalwood? How about the music of the next fighting movie comes out of a Veena? Sounds interesting? Well the combination is intriguing as well. Indu seemed to know this very well. She mixed the well known bollywood song, 'Ae kya bolti tu' with classical dance steps. Her steps, facial expressions, mannerisms kept changing from male to female as per the lyrics of the song.

The success belongs to the one who understands what the consumer expects or associates with and then delivering it. By tweaking a few rules of traditionally accepted norms and expecting to be praised is a risky business. But if you can achieve the right combination of both the patterns there is a high chance that the product is lapped up. What Indu did was similar. She picked up a hit song(Everyone of her audience knew the lyrics and the beat), combined that with classical dace that was simple looking but each of her audience knew it took years of practice to master them and performance was magical. Good work Indu.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Enslaved to Social Networking

Greenfield warns social networking sites are changing children's brains, resulting in selfish and attention deficient young people. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, are putting attention span in jeopardy, says Baroness Greenfield.

Social network sites risk infantilising the mid-21st century mind, leaving it characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity, according to a leading neuroscientist.

The startling warning from Lady Greenfield, professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln college, Oxford, and director of the Royal Institution, has led members of the government to admit their work on internet regulation has not extended to broader issues, such as the psychological impact on children. Greenfield believes ministers have not yet looked at the broad cultural and psychological effect of on-screen friendships via Facebook, Bebo and Twitter.

Arguing that social network sites are putting attention span in jeopardy, she said: "If the young brain is exposed from the outset to a world of fast action and reaction, of instant new screen images flashing up with the press of a key, such rapid interchange might accustom the brain to operate over such timescales. Perhaps when in the real world such responses are not immediately forthcoming, we will see such behaviours and call them attention-deficit disorder.

The freedom writers

What can a common citizen do to change any one else's life? Well, you should watch The Freedom Writers. This film discusses how Erin Gruwell used a normal classroom to transform the lives of many students. 

The film is based on a book by the same name, in which the real Erin Gruwell’s class wrote about their experiences as gangbangers and then their attachment to Gruwell’s class. So early on the movie approaches their lives from their skewed perspective. Her students believe themselves brave soldiers in some war, and fill their diaries with empty justification for the racial hatred and brutality they’ve idealized. Eventually Erin gets through to them, breaking through their wall of keeping it real to serve them a little bit of reality. Are her breakthroughs with them moving? Yes. But her methods are incredibly naïve and you will love watching it.

My rating: 7/10 (Must watch)
Got the pic here.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I have a dream

The world's seen me lookin' in the mirror,
Images of me, gettin' much clearer,
Dear Self, I wrote a letter just to better my soul,
If I don't express it then forever I'll hold, inside
I'm from a side where we out of control,
Rap music in the 'hood played a fatherly role,
My story's like yours, yo it gotta be told,
Tryna make it from a gangsta to a godlier role,
Read scrolls and stow slaves,
And Jewish people in cold cage,
Hate has no color or age, flip the page,
Now my rage became freedom,
Writin' dreams in the dark, they far but I can see 'em,
I believe in Heaven more than Hell,
Blessings more than jail,
In the ghetto let love prevail,
With a story to tell, my eyes see the glory and well,
The world waitin' for me to yell "I Have a Dream"

For full lyrics check here

Microsoft's store strategy

When Microsoft announced that it plans to open a small number of retail stores, analysts wondered whether Microsoft could really obtain the same amount of commercial success as Apple did with its Apple Stores back in 2001. I don't think so. Here are the reasons. 

A great part of Microsoft’s products are software and software-related, meaning that a retail store might not change much in this area. There is a change in focus on hardware products too. Letting users play for a minute with an Xbox 360 gaming console and highlighting a Windows 7-powered PC with a touchscreen might represent important opportunities for the company to increase its popularity. Microsoft stores might also end up selling a couple of Xbox consoles and a few mice won’t count too much. So I feel that the company is actually planning to improve its customer perception, rather than its sales figures. 

Ao these stores are aimed at improving the touch and feel of the products and increase the visibility and presence to the world. Microsoft is trying to revive its image of a visionary company, as the release of Windows 7 and the launch of a cloud-based sync service for Windows Mobile might make it popular once again.

Friday, March 6, 2009

13.2 fm

What happens 15 people wish to be in a team and the new rule says only 13 can? And the team has people from both marketing and finance? And if this is a scenario from a B-school? Well here they use some branding stuff and name it 13.2 fm!

13.2 fm! It suits most of 11 Immutable laws of Internet branding.

Good work guys.


Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character. 
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
--- Unknown

Niche is the key

Clark Little grew up on the north shore of the Hawaiian island Oahu, one of the focal points for the development of big wave surfing. He has dedicated his life to producing photographs of the inside of waves, images usually reserved for only the most intrepid surfers. Going niche is a strategic choice and will definitely bring in recognition and challenge. But you need to be the best in your chosen category and keep on innovating. Clark does exactly this.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Spend cuts hit advertising

Agencies are facing advertisers that are more far more careful with spend, taking a shorter term outlook and are questioning of the statuesque. Far more important is the need to provide advertisers with clear and measurable outcomes, have realistic expectations and use multiple channels for integrated campaigns. This is why it’s vitally important for agencies to change their outlook on account management and execution. Customers are responding to carefully made ads and the sales figures determine the success of the campaign and inturn the revenue. Fair cycle.

Go online

PC, mobile, airplane, taxi, fridge and now its the turn of the TV to go online. Read more to find out. So you need to be prepared to see your TV crash due to virus! On the other hand you will be paid for watching certain commercials in a break or just keep the TV on!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

@ meet 09

MJ and myself attended meet at Microsoft Embassy Golflinks office, Bangalore last week. The details of the meet and the report are here. About 100 bloggers from different areas of interest in Bangalore attended. Apart from munching pizzas and the unending supply of Coke and Coffee(sponsored by Microsoft along with the venue) there was a good discussion on what is happening on the Blogosphere
Some good points were:
  • Blogging rights 
  • How to earn money through your blog(I think the discussion veered too much in this direction) On a personal note Blogging should never be for money or at least it shouldn't be the primary motive
  • How to host your own domain, advantages and problems in doing so
  • One minute to fame(My pic above where I explain about Consumer Psyche)
  • Legal implications, content sharing, etc.
  • First look at Windows 7, why it is better than the previous versions and saves time and effort ...
It was fun and learning. Good luck

Consumer controlled communication

The Rio is testing an opt-in mobile marketing campaign that sends customers text message alerts for real-time promotions to their cell phone during their stay at the hotel-casino. Here is how it works: Visitors to the Rio text message the word "Rio" to a phone number posted throughout the property. The customer will then receive no more than 12 text messages during the next four days, the average length of a visitor's stay. The customer also can send "stop" to the same number to halt the flow of messages. The messages alert the customer to special deals, usually drink, food or show tickets at a discount.

Nearly 3,100 customers have signed up for the program since it was launched in December. Harrah's Entertainment is testing similar programs with different technology companies in different jurisdictions in which the casino owner operates. The Rio platform is run by interactive marketing firm Acxiom Corp. and Acuity Mobile, a mobile-marketing company based in Washington, D.C.

Others are using similar technology. The Las Vegas Review-Journal offers a service available on its Web site that offers casino discounts, specials at local bars and pubs, and sports promotions. Studio 54 at MGM Grand and the N9NE Group, which runs the Palms nightclubs, have been using mobile marketing in the competitive Las Vegas club scene.

This indicates a changing scene from the regular push messages which are deleted and considered intrusive. The do-not-call registry is filled by members who are irritated by these messages and donot want to be distrubed. Rio seems to opt for a solution benefiting both the consumer and the marketer behind the message. Permission marketing and promotion go hand in hand but here they are controlled by the consumer, who is relavant and willing.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Networking to eliminate middlemen

TOI reports that Chennaiites can look forward to buying all kinds of farm-fresh vegetables in their neighbourhood itself, directly from farmers, in the near future. With a view to eliminating the role of middlemen and commission agents, a cluster of farmers' associations in and around Dharmapuri are planning to reach out directly to customers, especially in cities like Chennai, Coimbatore and Kochi.

"When the retail price of vegetables in Chennai hover around Rs 30 per kg and the wholesale price ranges from Rs 15 to 18 per kg, we farmers get hardly Rs 6 to Rs 7 per kg at the farm. The commission agents make more money than us. They buy from us at Rs six per kg and sell at Rs 14 to 15. Hence, we had to evolve a formula to target the customers directly. Cities will consume whatever quantity we produce and hence there is no need to worry about unsold stock. Further, we can sell at Rs 5 to Rs 10 less per kg than the price at which other retailers sell and still make a lot more money."

He said the idea was to rope in as many farmers as possible into the fold and generate enough resources to establish the network. "We are looking at enrolling more than 1000 farmers. In Dharmapuri district alone, we have more than 1000 active farmers engaged in precision farming the latest technology adopted in vegetable farming - methods. But our network will cover several other districts as well and we will be able to supply all types of vegetables. We hope to hit the market by March-end."


Pros take on America's eight-stage, 780-mile answer to the Tour de France. But, for one week in January, the course belonged to a half-dozen speedy amateurs testing their limits. Cameras recorded the whole crazy ordeal, from the ride itself to the small towns and larger-than-life characters. As if on cue, cyclists whipped around the corner, a blur of yellow and black. You'd never know this was marketing, except for five cursive letters on the riders' clothing: R a p h a.

A small British company, Rapha makes expensive, high-performance cycling gear. The mother ship opened North American headquarters last year on Portland's North Mississippi Avenue and hired three thirtysomethings, who could've introduced Rapha to the United States with magazine spreads, say, or online banner ads.

Instead, they invested in a project called the Continental. A band of cyclists -- fast but not pro, thoughtful but not geeky, a touch wacky -- embarked on America's most epic rides. They pushed hard, but not so hard they missed wildflowers and cafes. They fixed their own flats. And their journeys were documented online, creating a real-life sports drama. Eventually, the stories might be published as a travelogue and guidebook.

The Continental is an extreme example of a national advertising trend. Consumers don't want to be manipulated; they want to be part of the adventure. So Adidas invites women to share training sagas. Red Bull stages contests for human-powered flying machines. 

The idea took root a couple of years ago, before Rapha had a Portland connection. Pasley, an avid rider who worked in sports marketing here, got hooked on the company. About one-third of Rapha's sales come from the United States, but Mottram hopes to boost that to one-half. 

Non-traditional advertising defined and implemented! Sometimes this pays off more than the regular methods.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Being Beckyied

Dublin Radio 98 came up with this idea when they saw Little Becky who is a 8 year old girl and could speak fluently in almost any situation like an adult. Little becky rings up various companies and famous celebrities and has a joke with them. They are then victims of "being Beckyied" Real Name: Rebecca Barry.

Prank calls such as:

  • Little Becky wants her school demolished
  • Little Becky wants to rent a crane
  • Little Becky wants to be a hairdresser
  • Little Becky wants to be a footballers wife
  • Little Becky calls Channel 4 about celebrity big brother
  • Little Becky calls Harvey Norman about their annoying ad
  • Little Becky tries to buy an elephant
  • Little Becky sells a spare tyre
  • Little Becky applies for a driving test
  • Little Becky Pretends to Be Mariah Carey
  • Little Becky Hires a Crane (and starts to crack up!)
Here is an exclusive video where she appears on TV to promote toys! 

While most of these calls sound funny, the Radio station's viewership went up during these slots as many people tuned in to listen to Little becky. And this was converted into a successful promotional campaign.