Google+ Consumer Psyche: June 2009


Monday, June 29, 2009

Don't cling to this budget

Everyone has their eyes on the Indian Finance Minister would rise to present the budget on 6th July. Many expectations have been built in the minds of people due to continuous propaganda by the media. The media has been spinning many ideas as to what, how, why should a budget be. This hyped it all. I am not expecting anything big from this budget though. The finance minister has to tackle recession, fiscal deficit and a lot of other problems. The budget is going to pull the stocks down, rise the prices of goods and common people are going to feel the burnt too. Coming to investing as of now, Keep your cash in the same form till then. I think you should think getting your vehicle refueled as the prices are going to hike. Same goes with your rice, cooking oil, vegetables, milk, etc.

The appointment of Nandan Nilekeni as National ID card project is welcome step in reducing the corruption more than changing the security. Private participation in public assignments not only makes things close faster but also refines the way work is done.

2900 takes!

Search for perfection and obsession with quality is found rarely across industries and people. I recently found that Jackie Chan holds the record for the highest number of takes for a scene in his self directed movie called Dragon Lord. Well here is a clipping of the badminton match. Only here the shuttle cock is kicked and played like a foot ball. One of the scenes in this game required over 2900 takes for a single shot which is allegedly a Guinness World Record! It also won him the Best Choreographer award and made him a star.

Pic is from here.

Plug the leak

Read this somewhere...

"If you have no joy there's a leak in your Christianity somewhere"

Now this is universal. So let me change this to.. If you have no joy there's a leak in your ....... somewhere.

You may fill this blank with work/life/relationship/family/love/career... etc. But the message is simple. Find that joy and everything will be alright. How do you find that joy? Well here are a few pointers...
  • Update your knowledgebase
  • Never stop learning
  • Stay happy
  • Communicate
  • Ideate
  • Innovate
  • Spend time with your loved ones
  • Dedicate
  • Talk to people around
  • Learn to grow
Wanna add some?

Resume writing services

From RD

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Grow again

Have you heard about the Great Barrier Reef, stretching some 1,800 miles from New Guinea to Australia. This is a popular tourist attraction. On one tour, a traveler asked the guide an interesting question."I noticed that the lagoon side of the reef looks pale and lifeless, while the ocean side is vibrant and colorful," the traveler observed. "Why is this?"

The guide gave an interesting answer: "The coral around the lagoon side is in still water with no challenge for its survival. It dies early. The coral on the ocean side is constantly being tested by wind, waves, and storms -- surges of power. It has to fight for survival every day of its life. As it is challenged and tested, it changes and adapts. It grows healthy. It grows strong and it reproduces."

"That's the way it is with every living organism."

That's how it is with people. Challenged and tested, we come alive! Like coral pounded by the sea, we grow. Physical demands can cause us to grow stronger. Mental and emotional stress can produce tough-mindedness and resiliency. Spiritual testing can produce strength of character and faithfulness . So, you have problems? No problem! Just tell yourself, "There I grow again!".

"A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner" - An English Proverb.

A Tribute to My Friend, Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson will be remembered, most likely, as a shattered icon, a pop genius who wound up a mutant of fame. That's not who I will remember, however. His mixture of mystery, isolation, indulgence, overwhelming global fame, and personal loneliness was intimately known to me. For twenty years I observed every aspect, and as easy as it was to love Michael -- and to want to protect him -- his sudden death yesterday seemed almost fated.

Two days previously he had called me in an upbeat, excited mood. The voice message said, "I've got some really good news to share with you." He was writing a song about the environment, and he wanted me to help informally with the lyrics, as we had done several times before. When I tried to return his call, however, the number was disconnected. (Terminally spooked by his treatment in the press, he changed his phone number often.) So I never got to talk to him, and the music demo he sent me lies on my bedside table as a poignant symbol of an unfinished life.

When we first met, around 1988, I was struck by the combination of charisma and woundedness that surrounded Michael. He would be swarmed by crowds at an airport, perform an exhausting show for three hours, and then sit backstage afterward, as we did one night in Bucharest, drinking bottled water, glancing over some Sufi poetry as I walked into the room, and wanting to meditate.

That person, whom I considered (at the risk of ridicule) very pure, still survived -- he was reading the poems of Rabindranath Tagore when we talked the last time, two weeks ago. Michael exemplified the paradox of many famous performers, being essentially shy, an introvert who would come to my house and spend most of the evening sitting by himself in a corner with his small children. I never saw less than a loving father when they were together (and wonder now, as anyone close to him would, what will happen to them in the aftermath).

Michael's reluctance to grow up was another part of the paradox. My children adored him, and in return he responded in a childlike way. He declared often, as former child stars do, that he was robbed of his childhood. Considering the monstrously exaggerated value our society places on celebrity, which was showered on Michael without stint, the public was callous to his very real personal pain. It became another tawdry piece of the tabloid Jacko, pictured as a weird changeling and as something far more sinister.

It's not my place to comment on the troubles Michael fell heir to from the past and then amplified by his misguided choices in life. He was surrounded by enablers, including a shameful plethora of M.D.s in Los Angeles and elsewhere who supplied him with prescription drugs. As many times as he would candidly confess that he had a problem, the conversation always ended with a deflection and denial. As I write this paragraph, the reports of drug abuse are spreading across the cable news channels. The instant I heard of his death this afternoon, I had a sinking feeling that prescription drugs would play a key part.

The closest we ever became, perhaps, was when Michael needed a book to sell primarily as a concert souvenir. It would contain pictures for his fans but there would also be a text consisting of short fables. I sat with him for hours while he dreamily wove Aesop-like tales about animals, mixed with words about music and his love of all things musical. This project became "Dancing the Dream" after I pulled the text together for him, acting strictly as a friend. It was this time together that convinced me of the modus vivendi Michael had devised for himself: to counter the tidal wave of stress that accompanies mega-stardom, he built a private retreat in a fantasy world where pink clouds veiled inner anguish and Peter Pan was a hero, not a pathology.

This compromise with reality gradually became unsustainable. He went to strange lengths to preserve it. Unbounded privilege became another toxic force in his undoing. What began as idiosyncrasy, shyness, and vulnerability was ravaged by obsessions over health, paranoia over security, and an isolation that grew more and more unhealthy. When Michael passed me the music for that last song, the one sitting by my bedside waiting for the right words, the procedure for getting the CD to me rivaled a CIA covert operation in its secrecy.

My memory of Michael Jackson will be as complex and confused as anyone's. His closest friends will close ranks and try to do everything in their power to insure that the good lives after him. Will we be successful in rescuing him after so many years of media distortion? No one can say. I only wanted to put some details on the record in his behalf. My son Gotham traveled with Michael as a roadie on his "Dangerous" tour when he was thirteen. Will it matter that Michael behaved with discipline and impeccable manners around my son? (It sends a shiver to recall something he told Gotham : "I don't want to go out like Marlon Brando. I want to go out like Elvis." Both icons were obsessions of this icon.)

His children's nanny and surrogate mother, Grace Rwamba, is like another daughter to me. I introduced her to Michael when she was eighteen, a beautiful, heartwarming girl from Rwanda who is now grown up. She kept an eye on him for me and would call me whenever he was down or running too close to the edge. How heartbreaking for Grace that no one's protective instincts and genuine love could avert this tragic day. An hour ago she was sobbing on the telephone from London . As a result, I couldn't help but write this brief remembrance in sadness. But when the shock subsides and a thousand public voices recount Michael's brilliant, joyous, embattled, enigmatic, bizarre trajectory, I hope the word "joyous" is the one that will rise from the ashes and shine as he once did.

-- Deepak Chopra

The ultimate presentation

Designing presentations has always been fun. Normally we write, add, delete, edit and finally arrive at what seems to be our best effort. This is after losing a night's sleep and sipping lots of coffee. What makes the presentation, which is a 10 minute affair in most cases, so important? What should it contain to attract attention and drive home your point? Lets see...
  • Make is as visually appealing as possible
  • Use fewer words(best presentations have 40 words in 10 slides)
  • Check each slide, header, point if it is absolutely necessary
  • Avoid repetitions
  • 'Create' the template yourself or check for an apt one
  • Deliver it yourself dynamically
  • High energy, movement, attitude, dress... everything matters
  • Lend your personality to the presentation (it always contributes. Why not shape it?)
  • Get a critical view before you actually present
  • Practice, rehearse
  • Smile
Have a lot of confidence in the topic and area of presentation. You are ready to rock!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Top 10 this week

As Jackson continues to dominate my posts this week, here is a my personal top songs. The numbers are missing because that is what they deserve... No 1.
  • Thriller
  • Bad
  • Billie Jean
  • Earth Song
  • Black or White
  • Ain't no sunshine
  • Beat it
  • They don't really care about us
  • Wanna be startin' somethin'
  • We are the world
  • Who is it
  • You are not alone
  • Will you be there
  • I'll be there
  • History
  • Cheater
Did I miss some? Why don't you add?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hiring dips in May, 2009

The Job Index for May, 2009 states that hiring in May has declined by 1.9 per cent as against April, 2009.

Overall highlights of the report:
  • 1.9% drop in hiring activity: The overall Job Index declined by 1.9% from 677 in Apr '09 to 664 in May '09
  • Telecom and Pharma down: 12% and 14% drop in hiring activity in telecom & pharma sectors respectively, in May '09 as compared to Apr '09
  • FMCG, Foods and Beverage move up: Job Index for this industry moved up by 9% in May '09 as compared to Apr '09, inching closer to July levels
  • City-wise hiring scenario: Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Chandigarh witness a fall, Kolkata saw an increase in hiring activity by 14%

Hitting the right note

I have been to crossword and have always felt that their music was apt and conducive to sit down relax and flip through pages of books and may be I will pick up one. Most of the times I do pick some up. Nidhi writes about her experience at the same store at Calcutta but had a different experience. The music is so disconnected with the ambiance that she starts to grow averse to it thus destroying the whole purpose.

When brands try to communicate to the consumer it is very important to hit the right note. Consumer acceptance is never granted outright. The need to connect and contain is very important. This makes seek and reach out to the brand. What makes brands acceptable or otherwise is all about connecting to the consumer at a subliminal level and binding him/her to the theme.

There should also be no disconnect between your communication media as that would confuse the consumer and ruin the mission. Stay focused and get your note right.

Lessons from Chanakya: Part I

Chanakya/kautilya/Vishnu Sharma/Vishnugupta has many pearls of wisdom relevant even after 2200 yrs. Some are given below...
  • A young man who graduated yesterday and stops learning today will become uneducated tomorrow
  • A man is great by deeds, not by birth
  • A person should not be too honest. Just as straight trees are chopped-down first, honest people are taken advantage of first
  • Variant: A person should not be too honest. Straight trees are cut first and honest people are screwed first
  • A rich man has many friends
  • Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions - Why am I doing it? What the results might be? And Will I be successful? Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead
  • Books are as useful to a stupid person as a mirror is useful to a blind person
  • Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education beats the beauty and the youth
  • Even if a snake is not poisonous, it should pretend to be venomous
  • God is not present in idols. Your feelings are your god. The soul is your temple
  • He who befriends a man whose conduct is vicious, whose vision impure, and who is notoriously crooked, is rapidly ruined
  • Treat your kid like a darling for the first five years. For the next five years, scold them. By the time they turn sixteen, treat them like a friend. Your grown up children are your best friends
  • Whores don't live in company of poor men, birds don't build nests on a tree that doesn't bear fruits and citizens never support a weak administration
  • Wise men should never go into a country where there are no means of earning one's livelihood, where the people have no dread of anybody, have no sense of shame, no intelligence, or a charitable disposition
  • If you get to learn something even from the worst of creatures, don't hesitate
Part II will follow in a week's time.

Will you be there?

One of Jackson's best songs...

In our darkest hour
In my deepest despair
Will you still care?
Will you be there?
In my trials
And my tripulations
Through our doubts
And frustrations
In my violence
In my turbulence
Through my fear
And my confessions
In my anguish and my pain
Through my joy and my sorrow
In the promise of another tomorrow
Ill never let you part
For youre always in my heart.

RIP Michael Jackson

I just can't come out of shock that Michael Jackson is dead. He is and will be the King Of POP forever. What is the best thing Michael Jackson can do? Break all the records every time. His death is doing the same.

As I write this post websites across the world are facing spiked up traffic and Internet Usage. Fans are pouring in with RIP messages and communities are being flooded with them. Twitter is experiencing over 7000 tweets per minute. Facebook saw a frenzy of activity, too. The number of status updates during the hour after the Jackson news emerged was triple the average. Bloggers are uploading Jackson related content which saw a 300% increase. Many people are changing their profile to 'RIP...'.

Traffic to the leading online news sites throughout North America was at least 20% above average, according to Akamai’s Net Usage Index, which monitors online news consumption around the world.

The intense interest among Web users was evident on sites that track which terms are most popular among users. Phrases such as “Rip MJ,” “King of Pop” and “Thriller” were among the most frequently used on Twitter, and on, “Michael Jackson died” became the most popular query. Consumer Psyche expects the King of Pop to break the all time high record of 8,572,042 hits with the occasion being Barack Obama's victorious historic presidential election. The stats are from Akamai.

Few lines from Thriller...

Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller

The King of pop is no more

Just got the news. I just can't believe Michael Jackson is dead. A true legend who kept people happy with his music, songs and numerous charity efforts, he will be remembered forever. Good bye Jacko... rest in peace. This world didn't deserve you anyways. Now entertain the celestial world.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Removing the bug

Harsha sent me this. I am sure you must have seen this many times.

Remove this bug from code................


< stdio.h >
#define LAST 10

int main()
int i, sum = 0;

for ( i = 1; i < = LAST; i++ ) { sum += i; } /*-for-*/ printf("sum = %d\n", sum); return 0; }

And the developer fixes it this way

#include stdio.h;
#define LAST 10

int main()
int i, sum = 0;


for ( i = 1; i < = LAST; i++ ) { sum += i; } /*-for-*/ printf("sum = %d\n", sum); return 0; }

Mere isolation of the problem doesn't help. It should be removed completely. Make sure that it never returns. If your business has a problem, find out what causes it and then rework on the whole thing to eradicate the root cause completely. Just solving the problem for the time being wouldn't help. Better management not about not making mistakes but about learning from them. Ensuring that the same mistake is never repeated. The worst part is people are happy with isolating the error and move on. That is lazy psyche working. NMJ or Not my job attitude. It is short term. Leaders work for long term and root out the problem. What are you doing then? Still finding those '/* */' handy?

You ARE blessed. Period.

Click to enlarge

Many a times we complain that there is a lot of pressure and work. I have all the problems in the world attitude crops up. That is when you forget all the blessing you have got and start blaming things around you. I suggest to take a look at the pic above (click to enlarge) and see if your situation is really that bad. I am sure you got your answer. Treat challenges and pressure as tests before you reach your desired position/profile/situation. You ARE BLESSED more than you realize.

Cuddapah special

I was at Cafe Cuddapah last week and was stunned to see it was as good as Bangalore stuff. I was not expecting such a neat environment and food there. So when Sarah asked me to visit this place was a bit skeptical and gave it a try. Cafe Cuddapah is an example of a great business idea well implemented. With about 30 seater space and almost 100 varieties of dishes available in a place like Cuddapah or Kadapa as it is now rechristened it suits well. The prices were normal and the stuff available is amazing. You could have Italian, French, Indian and Chinese dishes at affordable prices. The whole cafe was air conditioned and peple well trained and behaved. Here are a few clips of the ice cream which was their special called Cafe Cuddapah special! I was delighted to see my expectations (which were a bit low ;)) exceeded and turned to delight. If you are in Cuddapah this place is a must visit.

Click to enlarge
A few details...
  • Managed by Nammura Hotels, Bangalore
  • Records more than 300 walk ins on a regular day and about 600 on weekends
  • Well trained staff = Good customer service
  • Good ambiance
  • Average prices and great food

My rating: 3.5/5

Its green alright

Sashi was having a discussion with a colleague when I walked up to her counter at McDonalds at Total Mall to order. Being inquisitive I overheard what was being discussed and it is worth mentioning here as it teaches us a lesson or two. The case in point was about which color of cleaning cloth was to be used for cleaning the counter and which one for the trays in which food is served. Whether it was yellow or green was the bone of contention. I was amused at the accuracy with which the process was being taken and taught to the front line employees. I was also stunned by the level of attention to detail being given to trivial things like color of the cleaning cloth and so on.

McDonalds is what it is today because it has perfected the art of servicing great things at cheapest possible prices(read cheaper than competition). Attention to detail should necessarily handled at all levels and ensured to be followed strictest, letter level code. Once this is followed at all levels it becomes a practice and it shows in the kind of service being provided to the customers. So nothing is alright unless it is as per the code. This code should have been studied, prepared after a lot of research and perfected, fool-proof.

So what happens to all that I have always vouched for in my previous posts about breaking the mould and being creative in the way you do regular normal work? If it is helping you serve the customer better, go for it. Well then McDonalds isn't you cup of tea then. My friends in hospitality industry tell me that a lot of research goes into drawing plans for the kitchen floor and the service front end. This game is different. It is about fitting in a mould and working for perfection and meeting the requirements. In case you have a revolutionary idea that would help McDonalds or your firm, I don't think they would deny any audience.

Fatherlessness and elite

Lisa Carver writes in The Daily Beast on fatherlessness and how it shapes a man...

Rand O'Brien, a licensed social worker, says fatherlessness can lead to two personality types, both of which seem fairly well-suited for politics.

"When men lose a father early, two major things happen. First, they can be vaunted into the 'father' role early and looked to by the mother to make 'male' decisions and become parentified, thus taking on decision-making and 'cajoling' the leadership early on and therefore having a lot of practice in leadership. Becoming 'the man of the house.'

"Second, where there is not the model of maleness in the house, then the stereotypical images of being a man become the model,” he continues. “So the man becomes what is seen on the TV, movies, books: He becomes what the society wants as a man…When he gets ready to be the candidate, he is packaged ready to go as the 'man' society wants.

"Of course, today, this model applies to fatherless girls/women as well, in a different way,” O’Brien points out.


Bijay sent me this...

"I do not know where family doctors acquired illegibly perplexing
handwriting nevertheless, extraordinary pharmaceutical intellectuality
counterbalancing indecipherability, transcendentalizes intercommunications

This is a sentence where the nth word is N letters long i.e. 3rd word is 3 letters long, 8th word is 8 letters long and so on. English is surely a wonderful language. And do all the doctors have illegible handwriting? Why is it so?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why firms should take twitter seriously

It is simple, easy and so natural to do. This is one of the reasons why Twitter is better than many traditional marketing tools like direct marketing or mailer techniques. On an average 2% of direct mailers respond and about 1% close the sale in the time expected. The scenario is changed with Twitter. On any given tweet about an offer more people respond and this is a voluntary subscription or permission based interaction.

There are people who know what you are and cling to your 140 character thoughts. May be people don't care what you are doing but they DO care about what you can do for them. The possibilities are immeasurable and open. Firms should take this as a cue and spend more time and effort on Twitter or any other online communicating device that sends relevant need based short information that a consumer can use. Surely it would pay back much more than a bill board or leaflet campaign can do. Do I hear superbowl ads being replaced?

Unbelief and hell

Unbelief shuts the door of Heaven and opens the gates of hell!
--- Dr. Billy Graham (1918- )

Don't unbelieve!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Iran & Twitter

What can 140 characters do againist a Nation and world peace? If what is goig on Twitter can be believed and taken as a trend, it can stop a world war! Twitter has the younger generations of Iranians that are protesting in the streets, letting the USA know whats going on. Now this is good, as the older generations in charge of Iran, are being forced to deal with digital cyber warfare and updates. Twitter will bring the world closer.

Twitter on the other hand, is helping the USA and the rest of the world keep up, with updates of the protests in the streets of Iran. People do not understand how serious this is. Its like a game of cat and mouse with North Korea and Iran launching their missiles here and there. Public opinion is being voiced more easily and frequently across Twitter .

Why I don't care about IE8's marketing campaign

When Microsoft wants to compare its IE8 with competitive browsers it should have done something better than this. When the consumer sees the table with most of he ticks missing on the copetition's list then something goes wrong with his trust. The other bad side is that IE* has all the boxes ticked. I don't at all buy into this comparison. Markets are way more competitive than the story Microsoft wants us to believe with this comparison table.

I wonder who is the target of Microsoft's campaign. Most of IE's users have IE on their desktop and they'll continue to use it. This campaign doesn't change much to them so as a target they are ruled out. If it is targeted at users using Firefox, it has got to do much more than a mere table. To stop me from using Firefox, Microsoft has to bring out something great, wonderful and useful and wait for me to decide that IE8 is much better than Firefox. This I think needs a lot more than what IE8 has got. The other option was to show me a reasonable table like the car comparisons.

Coming back to the table we are discussing, this treats me, the consumer, like a moron, especially when you consider that I'm using Firefox and have pre-existing views on many items on the comparison table. So to break that belief Microsoft should have showed me videos that when IE8 crashes, it gets back with all my tabs back working. Unless you do that your marketing campaign is greens down the drain.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday blues: Contribute

A quick thought for this monday...
  • Try something new... a new dish, hair style, tie, hum a diff song...
  • Try being kind to unexpected people
  • Create
  • Enjoy work
  • Finish what you set out to do
  • Thank someone who actually helps

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Good night, friends...

It has been a long happy day spent on Twitter, Blogger, squeezed a volley ball match, went for my walk and with friends.

Found this beautiful poem in my old dairy I scribbled ages ago...

Time Clicks as I await
The hour ends before my take
Sitting, thinking, waiting; my mind escapes

The day grows old as night passes
Wolves crying, coyotes howling; anticipating
Watching, staring, seeing -- nothing

Silence begins the day
as morning comes without notice
Tears begin to fall, slowly

The day moves on without hope
Wishing to be what is not to be

The sun moves to its peak
without a whisper or retreat

Time moving, but still empty
Stomach aching, curling
Still waiting

Let me hit the bed with a nice thought I just read...

Walk in the light, so shalt thou know that fellowship of love
His Spirit only can bestow, who reigns in light above!
--- (Bernard Barton, 1784-1849)

Stu's song

On popular demand here are the complete lyrics of Stu's song in The Hangover... What do Tigers dreams of?

What do tigers dream of/when they take a little tiger snooze
Do they dream of mauling zebras?
Or Halle Berry in her Catwoman suit?

Don't you worry you pretty striped head
We are gonna get you back to Tyson and your cozy comfort bed...

Friday, June 19, 2009

How great God is...

What do you think?

The Australian incident

From Dil Chahta Hai to Chak De India! traveling south to Australia has been shown as a friendly country that Indians can co-exist peacefully. The 97,000-strong Indian student community comprises 18% of the total international student population and contributes to Australian economy, culture and workforce. More than 1400 attacks isn't an off incident. Racism raised its ugly head once again and is the cause of much pain and anguish for parents and families back home. Indian and Australian governments should work fast to resolve these issues and prevent further attacks on Indian students. We should together ensure that no divisive power should win. I spoke to some of my friends in Australia and they tell me that the situation is brightening. Many Australian citizens are offering shelter, help and support to their cause which is a good sign. The spirit of freedom should be allowed to win and not bow down for a few law breakers. At the same time they are scared of going to certain blocks and neighborhood.

I condemn the attacks on Indian students and the intent. And I want to point at the mirror. I think this is a time when we should let go of all our biases, racism, caste and religious differences in our home land, fight and stop all kinds of oppression. This should remind us disquietingly of the face we see in our own mirror. Care to wash it?

One thing is for sure. Whether this issue calms down peacefully or not it won't help persuade Indian parents that Australia is a safe place to send their children. And this is not good for Australia. So let the repair work begin and better be fast.

Pessimist mugs

Archies has these mugs quotes like 'you look dirty', 'your performance is below average', 'don't be a moron', 'you aren't paying me enough to keep smiling', etc. This is placed such a way that only the person in front of you can read. The idea is to catch attention and change the mood! This is the claim. They are available at Forum mall, Bangalore. This message is usually different from all the optimistic sounding comments on coffee mugs. By catering to a niche segment of people who would like to make a statement Archies has an edge. I just can't imagine the look on the reader's face while the one holding it keeps smiling. Interestingly all the mugs were right-handed. What happens if a leftie buys it?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Social values & purchases

Your purchases are determined by what you read, understand and get to hear. They echo your habits, ideas, principles and beliefs, in all... your psyche. So when you know that a certain cola is causing ground water problems for some women in Rajastan or Kerala you tend to become averse to that product and skip its purchase. Not everyone does this but some do. Unfortunately the brand can't cheat you anymore like they used to do in the 70s and 80s. This was a time when TV and newspaper were the only sources of information apart from what was printed on the product's label. Information here acts as a moulder of psyche and guides consumer to make better choices and developing his psyche. This provides a leveling field equalizing all options.

Consumer knowledge is no longer peripheral but intense, wide and deep. This is bad news for products aren't built on societal values. Things like employing child labour, dangerous conditions at workplace, exploitation of natural resources, global warming are now turning to be deterrents of brand value like never before. Consumer's contribution-to-society-ego is satisfied here and hence the preference. That's why you pick up brands that donate a part of what you pay them to charity. May be a small amount but it tilts consumer's choice and hence worth it.

Should brands use this to leverage themselves over competition? I think they should. What if all the brands start doing so? Will the percentage of contribution or quantity matter then? My choice would be to a brand that is genuine and clear in its conscience when it says it feels for my principles and choices. It should connect to me on an emotional platform. Does this money actually go to change anything in the society? While many think this is just another social marketing gimmick, I hope it does.

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Barack, The Swatter

Obama is more closer to normal people. And he is doing it day in and day out. Associated press mentions a latest incident when Barack Obama smacked a fly during a live interview with CNBC correspondent John Harwood, left, in the White House on Tuesday June 16, 2009 in Washington. The best part is he warns it saying, 'get out of here' and then decides to smack it.

No retakes, editing or assistance... just as he is expected to... handle everything alone and settle once and for all. The Economist reports that US President Obama's likeability factor amongst Americans is nearly 70%.

If only things were so simple and easy. Hope is still on Obama about what he can do - turnaround the economic crisis and bring everything on track once again. Time is ticking. All the rhetoric & promises aside, brand Obama's delivery time has come. Will he succeed or collapse? I am starting to question.

Here it is on youtube, the original one before other funny versions crop up.

Do you miss me?

My previous post on McNuggets raised so many questions and I had answer many queries about my expectations. While some agreed with what I wrote some said the nuggets were good enough and predicted their success. While I hope that happens. For now it isn't going that way.

Yesterday at a mall in Bangalore I was with MJ and saw this placard. For a change the picture had the actual size of the nugget in it now). Response so good? I was shocked so went to the counter to find out. After a small discussion the sales guys tell me that it isn't going too well(I think they are being honest). A lot of them are being left out and few customers are complaining too.

This brings me to my point. McNuggets is a failure(I have some consumers thinking on these lines and this tribe is growing). What should McDonalds do now?

They came up with this strategy to display this placard across all stores. The message tells the viewer few things...
  • McNuggets are good
  • The response was good and you weren't a part of it
  • You CAN'T taste them now because you are late
  • Keep missing and cursing yourself as you missed the chance
  • Next time you find McNuggets at the store... PICK THEM
Does it sound good to me? This would increase consumer inquiries about the product, create curiosity quotient, enhance saleability. make the customer wait, miss a purchase ensuring a definite sale next time. I think this is brilliant.

But is this sufficient? McDonalds should work on enhancing its offering too. Increase the quantity, tweak its size, shape and taste. Coming to the product itself I am told that the season was wrong, it was too early to launch, rains would have helped the sales unlike hot summer, adding chilli sauce and salt would have helped, so on... Let's see what McDonalds comes up with. If you don't do this I still wouldn't buy. I think they would do it. Or else with increased expectations than the last time the fall would be bigger.

Would I try it next time? Yes, to blog. You?

Winning recession

My blogger friend Nidhi Mangal posted a steal on life as a roller coaster. Hence stolen :)

Life isn’t a carousel going round and round. Ups and down are part of life. We should be strong during bad phase. Best way to do is let not the difficult elements like emotions, pain, excuse overtake your will power. My dad says bend your leg till it hurts.Don’t let the pain win your confidence in you. You are stronger and not the pain. Once you prove the pain that you don’t feel anything, pain itself will feel like a big looser and leave you. He was right. Today morning when I got up for morning walk I felt pain in my leg. I didn't think about the pain much and told myself-- I M STRONGER THAN YOU and managed my morning walk. I felt great. I felt positive.

If we take things positive, life will be much easier. If there is a way to make life easy why not do it from NOW?

Read the complete post here.

The follow up

(Click on the pic to enlarge)

Walking down Domlur Road, Bangalore yesterday I found this. There were several billboards above the road and all of them had mobile service provider ads. This one had BSNL ad and unfortunately all its lights but one weren't functioning. This billboard was strategically placed. It was the first one before you go up the flyover and first one when you come down and captures commuter's attention. The problem was with the lights. Well placed, designed but poorly maintained. All the BSNL billboards in the area had the same problem without any black light or blinking ones. What should BSNL do? Is it their mistake? I think so. Ensure that your marketing money is spent worthily and follow it up. The agency which handles BSNL outdoor ads doesn't seem interested at all. So BSNL, there goes your marketing bucks down the drain.

Follow up is very important in marketing and sales on both ends. A mere sale might give you a satisfied customer but this level of satisfaction is like thawing ice and need reinforcement and reinstatement of trust on the brand/product/team. Unless you follow up and ensure that your customer is a happy customer (s)he might not walk into your store again. And that is a serious miss.

Putarekulu & Problems

PV Krishna Rao in Indian Express: Atreyapuram- famous for `Putarekulu (paper sweet) and mango jelly is an example for development and women empowerment. But the DWCRA groups engaged in the preparation of Putarekulu and mango jelly lack sufficient support from the government, despite the latter boasting of extending loans to these groups at 25 paise interest.

Majority of landless poor, including DWCRA groups in the village are busy in preparing Putarekulu, mango jelly and pickles. They prepare and market their product without depending on either the government or middlemen.

Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu visited the village and praised the role of women self-help groups in achieving economic upliftment through these cottage industries.

But there is no organised marketing for the products, though they supply Putarekulu - to people of far off regions, including United States and Kuwait. A self-help group member S Satyavani of Jeevan Jyothi said that more than 150 self-help groups were working in the village and she had bagged a memento for best mango jelly at the Mango Show organised at Public Gardens in Hyderabad recently. She said that though the officials were claiming of distributing loans at 25 paise interest in reality it was working up to 50 paise. She urged the Government to extend more loans for DWCRA groups and provide better marketing facilities.

Danturi Chittibabu, who is into mango jelly preparation since his childhood, said that they prepare mango jelly and market the product on their own. He said that he was marketing his product in both the Godavari districts and some times he received orders from Chennai, Mumbai and Gujarat. While over 600 families eke out their livelihood by preparing Putarekulu, hundred families are engaged in preparation of mango jelly. Some women self-help groups were engaged in preparation and marketing of pickles. An old woman, Mantena Pallamma, said that she prepares 250 Putarekulu every day adding that she was paying Rs 250 every month for the Rs Rs 5,000 loan she has borrowed. Another villager M Suryanarayana Raju, who prepares mango jelly along with his family members said that as the banks provided him only Rs 25,000 loan at Rs 1 interest, he was forced to borrow Rs 70,000 from money lenders to set up the mango jelly unit.

He said that the banks should sanction required loans for the DWCRA groups. He is confident of clearing his loans when the mango season comes to an end. District Rural Development Agency officials said that the self-help groups should pay an interest of Rs 1 initially after six months prompt payment the excess payment would be reimbursed and 25 paise interest would be collected.

First Published : 05 Jun 2009.

ET - Brand Equity Most Trusted Brands 2009

This is going to be a particularly 'lengthy' post as it lists the most trusted brands in India as per Economic Times published Brand Equity Most Trusted Brands 2009 survey results. This independent nationwide survey conducted for Brand Equity by Nielsen is the benchmark for Trust, an ageless virtue and the ultimate pinnacle that every marketer and every brand wants to achieve. And this, the single-biggest study of its kind, has now become the gold standard for the entire marketing and advertising fraternity.

Few brands like Nokia, Lux, Dettol come as no surprise but some brands like Airtel, Vodafone,
Johnson & Johnson, Pepsi, Maggi, Zandu Balm, Big bazaar being so low on the list is surprising. Overall the list shouws what Indians trust and their psyche. This definitely guides their purchases and perception. Worth reading.

Do you think some other brand should have been up there?
Do mention in the comments section.

  1. Nokia, D Shivakumar, MD
  2. Colgate, Colgate-Palmolive (India)
  3. Lux, HUL, Nitin Paranjpe, MD & CEO, HUL
  4. Lifebuoy, HUL
  5. Dettol, Reckitt Benckiser
  6. Horlicks, GlaxoSmithKline
  7. Tata Salt, Tata Group
  8. Pepsodent, HUL
  9. Britannia, Britannia
  10. Reliance Mobile, ADAG
  11. Close-Up
  12. Airtel
  13. State Bank of India
  14. Glucon D
  15. Clinic Plus
  16. Pond's
  17. LIC
  18. Fair & Lovely
  19. BSNL
  20. LG
  21. Good Knight
  22. Parle Products
  23. Bisleri
  24. Tata Tea
  25. Vicks
  26. Pepsi
  27. Ariel
  28. Dabur
  29. Frooti
  30. Vodafone
  31. Mirinda
  32. Coca-Cola
  33. Hero Honda
  34. Bournvita
  35. Maggi
  36. Bata
  37. Tata Indicom
  38. Sony
  39. Thums Up
  40. Titan
  41. Surf
  42. Philips
  43. RIN
  44. Godrej
  45. Videocon
  46. Maaza
  47. Amul
  48. Samsung
  49. Johnson & Johnson
  50. Head & Shoulders
  51. Complan
  52. Sunsilk
  53. Samsung Mobile Phones
  54. Fevicol
  55. Iodex
  56. All Out
  57. LG Mobile Phones
  58. Limca
  59. Cadbury
  60. Fanta
  61. Rasna
  62. Zandu Balm
  63. Dabur Amla
  64. Onida
  65. Asian Paints
  66. Cinthol
  67. Moov
  68. Sony Ericssion
  69. 7 Up
  70. Hajmola
  71. Amrutanjan Balm
  72. Tide
  73. Pantene
  74. Vim
  75. Wheel
  76. Parachute
  77. Boroplus
  78. Boost
  79. Vaseline
  80. Mortein
  81. Motorola
  82. Maruti
  83. Rexona
  84. Dove
  85. Sonata Watches
  86. Sunfeast
  87. Nirma
  88. Crocin
  89. Medimix
  90. Ujala
  91. VIP Luggage
  92. Bank of India
  93. HMT
  94. Sprite
  95. Pears
  96. Boroline
  97. Big Bazaar
  98. ICICI Bank
  99. Nestle
  100. Bajaj Motorcycles
Do you agree with these ranks? Or would you rate them differently?


Try and fail, but don't fail to try

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Empty in me

Ads lure us into a small world of material illusions, once inside, we feel its the real world (its actually a reel world. We become like fish lying in a bowl near the ocean. The fish loves to believe that the bowl is the real ocean. We stray away from truth, and in turn, from the supreme soul. The search is unending. It's a musical film about two DJ's who jump into the fish bowl thinking that is the real world. Two fishes inside the fish bowl are the souls of two DJ's.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What is dangerous?

"A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again."

--- Alexander Pope

Positioning is all that matters

I got a curious comment on my post about Women's Reservation Bill. It goes on like this...

Do you want Women's Reservation everywhere? That is,

1) Women's Reservation for 50% of Judges positions in High Courts and Supreme Court.
2) Women's Reservation for 50% of positions in IAS, IPS, IFS?
3) Women's Reservation for 30% of Govt and Private Sector Company Jobs and Promotions every year without considering performance.
4) Women's Reservation for 50% of Senior Management positions in private sector?
5) Women's Reservation for 50% of seats in IITs, IIMs, Engineering and Medical Colleges?
6) Lay Offs only for men in Private sector and No Lay offs for women.
7) Law for sacking of Men from their jobs, if a woman accuses him of harassment at workplace and considering the accused man guilty till proven innocent.
8) Women's Reservation for 50% of positions in Panchayats.

The blog is titled Men's Rights and themed like this..

If you do not want special privileges for Women in all the above, the time to act is now. If women get reservation in parliament, then they will change laws to implement all of the above and you will just watch helplessly.

Jago India. Jago!!

Act Now. Send this message to as many people as possible. Say No to Special Privileges to Women. Say No to Women's Reservation. Well I think it is self explanatory. Frankly I would like to see 50% chances in all fields.

The blog is aimed at a niche segment which would subscribe to this crazy yet unique idea. I think it is brilliantly positioned. I am not linking it to deny any publicity from

Lessons from IPL!

Cricket has reached exciting levels with IPL. As expected some nice things are listed and should be introduced in academics, exams to be precise. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Reduce exam duration to 1 hr and marks to 50
  • Introduce strategic break after 30 minutes(you know what to do)
  • Give free hit, that is a chance for students to frame their own questions and write answers
  • 1st 15 minutes power play, that is no invigilator in the exam hall( How about students deciding timings of power play?)
  • Introduce fair play awards
  • If any wrong question is asked you can give your own answer for the next question(Free hit)
  • Cheer girls to cheer for every correct answer written!
Can you add some more?


One of my blogger friends met with an accident last year and still is sporting a limp from it. This is a temperary phase before she gains full strength. Recently when dropping off from an auto the driver asked her is she was so from her childhood. She felt really bad about it.About the taxi driver, I think he represents the resentful human psyche who judge too fast from the exterior apperance. Its tough to adjust but people don't think what would the person feel.

I remember when I had an accident and my tenant's kid saw my walking stick and used to hide it all the time. He was 10 yrs old and always used to play this prank. Here is the other side. His sister 4 years old used to hit him and get me back my stick. Every day after her school she would run to see me first, tell me all her day at school, finish her homework and her mom had to drag her for sleep. She never sympathized with me. She treated me just as normal. After the one month rest I started walking normal and you know whom would I care more for. She is in her +2 now in Hyderabad and I never miss her Bday. You need a lot of maturity to behave that way and very few have it. I think all of us should behave this way. The limp may vanish and not hurt but ensure your behaviour doesn't.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chicken a la Carte

Just think about it.
This film is about the hunger and poverty brought about by Globalization. There are 10,000 people dying everyday due to hunger and malnutrition. This short film shows a forgotten portion of the society. The people who live on the refuse of men to survive. What is inspiring is the hope and spirituality that never left this people.

Whats in store @ Science

Found this video from TED. Worth watching. Also has excellent subtle presentation skills while poking fun at the financial giants. When does the civilization reboot?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Check out SMEs

Now that most of the corporate customers are in your kitty it is strategically wise to move towards SMEs. Banks do it, logistics providers do it and now Vodafone is doing it. Vodafone launched its Are You One Business User Group(RU1 BUG) offer aiming at servicing entrepreneurial ventures and SMEs. Consider this 0.02% of total firms in US are entrepreneurial in nature but contribute to almost 17% of the total output! The figures are similar around the world. Moreover the financial crisis has pushed many hesitants and dreamers to go on entrepreneurial voyage. Now considering this is a huge potential Vodafone's move is a great marketing and market share capturing idea. Good move Vodafone.


I just coined the word Psynters by combining Psychic and Pointers. Everyone is lured by certain words, actions I would call Psynters as cues that guarantee the path of acceptance. These are specific cues that make a person respond, respect and accept. That is just what brands dream of. Psynters help in achieving what most researches want to do, gain trust and respect. Full and fast. These are individual traits which a person seeks out in the first phase when he/she studies your brand/product or may be just you. All this time (s)he is making a mental map about your traits and how do you score on his scale of acceptance. Psynters are the parameters on which you are being rated. This becomes extremely important as this map is going to be the primary criterion in deciding a purchase. Scoring high on your customer's psynters is thus very important.

A lot of research and observation goes into this. I think the best part is this can be done. The worst part is there are too many people with differences in pointers and it is too tiring to map all. But pick a common trait and you have your map or trap ready. Include this in your marketing communique and your sale is half done. The remaining half depends on how you live up to your promise, after sales service, performance of actual product and so on. External variables like competition, econometrics, etc. are considered much after the mental map is sketched.

So get your psynters right.

What do Tigers dream of?

You might say that I was attracted by the 'Tiger' in the title or being an easy sell. It is comedic and purely entertaining when Ed Helms took to the piano for "Stu's Song (What Do Tigers Dream Of?)" I knew this might be the next best musical moment. Now Ed was singing about the Tiger they kidnapped from Mike Tyson unknowingly and trying to lull it to sleep after they drug it in The Hangover. The lyrics go like this...

What do tigers dream of/when they take a little tiger snooze
Do they dream of mauling zebras?
Or Halle Berry in her Catwoman suit?

Don't you worry you pretty striped head
We are gonna get you back to Tyson and your cozy comfort bed

Watch the trailer here...

Everyone is lured by certain words, actions I would call Psynters that lead the path of acceptance. I just made up the word Psyinters by combining Psychic and Pointers. If these psynters can be captured and put in communicating your message its easily accepted. Marketing Communique tries to do just this. But it is not so easy to understand these psynters. But once done your customer will walk down the aisle smiling.

Wave's brand disruption

Many people think Google breaks the brand model with no advertising on its homepage, no advertising directly but both these measures are merely symbolic. Google may have inspired what many see as a form of brand disruption, is game changing and is somehow Schumpeterian, it is a behemoth brand utilising both the common architecture associated with a monolithic brand as well as exhibiting a traditional set of values not unlike Apple and Virgin.

Similarly, you could argue that Google has unlimited potential as a brand and its brand extensions merely reflect this. However, while Google is a highly successful company but with 97% of its revenues coming from web advertising and 68% of that from advertising on its own websites, it is still very much a single proposition company.

Look at the performance and what I see as the eventual fate of Yahoo. Like Google, nearly all of Yahoo’s revenue comes from search and display advertising. Since Google’s 2004 float Yahoo has been losing share in search and though Yahoo is still the second most popular search engine, its searches are inferior. While Yahoo’s content continues to attract users for the moment, its search traffic is secondary to choice of Yahoo as a portal. The problem is that while content from the portal generally helps generate search traffic, yet without either distinctive content (everyone accepts that content is no longer a competitive advantage) and superior search, Yahoo is going to decline. What is best described, as Yahoo’s kitchensink approach to both content and feature development, is not dissimilar to that of Google’s. In this market, 'innovation' is a very tired word. Yahoo has Flickr. Google Picasa. Yahoo has Finance. Google Finance. Yahoo has Mail. Google Gmail and now Wave. Yahoo has Groups. Google Groups. Now just think of Google’s failures with News, Lively, Orkut and Knol and then apply that to a similar Yahoo’s list of failures or better still AOL, its hard not to draw the conclusion that the direction for both brands is anywhere but down.

--- Marketing Mag

Advertising in social networking

35 per cent of Asian youth aged between eight and 24 used the Internet more than a year earlier and 25 per cent of them said 'they just couldn't live without the Internet'. A study, by OgilvyOne, found social networking and forums accounted for 10.2 per cent of all Internet visits by Singapore users.

Stanley Tay, GM of online marketing firm PurpleClick Media, says that there is an increase in enquiries by local firms about advertising via online media platforms, especially Facebook.

Typically, these companies were trying to reach out to younger consumers, who were likely to spend a significant amount of time on social media sites. Estimating that only one to 2 per cent of advertising spending is on digital platforms, Ken Mandel, vice-president and managing director of Yahoo! South-east Asia, "we do need to get those spends up to at least 10 per cent, which I'd say is the industry average."

The people who are currently using these social media will be our future leaders and future business decision makers, and it might be worthwhile to start investing in this audience base as early as possible.'

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dont eat the marshmallow

In this excellent video from TED U, Joachim de Posada shows how delayed gratification can be a great predictor of future success.

Guy #3

Guy #3, it was just a crazy dancing guy and then maybe one other crazy guy. But it's guy #3 who made it a movement. Initiators are rare indeed, but it's scary to be the leader. Guy #3 is rare too, but it's a lot less scary and just as important. Guy #49 is irrelevant. No bravery points for being part of the mob.

We need more guy #3s.

-- Seth Godin

The good earth

A wonderful speech from The Great Dictator. A barber is confused to be Hitler in this satirized version portrayed by Charlie. Charlie Chaplin speaks for the first time on camera. You judge for yourself.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Nokia N97 first blood

As I already mentioned about Nokia N97 launch event at Bangalore today and promised a review. Here it is... Consumer Psyche Review of Nokia N97 & lots of pics too.

I was one of the few who had a chance to touch and feel Nokia N97 mobile which is yet to launch in India in the next few days. The product is a new foal from the Nokia stable and carries high expectations. Nokia is leaving no stone unturned. Well let me stay with the product review and then talk about marketing aspects.

N97 Product Review
  • Looks were good and impressive. The back was completely neglected. White 4.5/5, Black 3.5/5
  • Keypad was good, accessible for thumbs 4/5
  • Screen, 3.5 inch TFT, wide, clean and quickly accessible for thumbs again 3.5/5
  • Slide option is awesome. The sound, 35 degree angle, frontal camera, style score high 5/5
  • Response speed is slow but for 32 GB its faster than most lappies! This is equal to 50 full length movies + 24k songs + 50k images... 5/5
  • 5 MP Camera 4/5, excellent video quality 4.5/5
  • Battery back up: Video 4 hrs, Audio 35 hrs, talk time 100 hrs 4/5
  • Price is high.. around 34K INR 3/5
Whats special?
  • Lot of research went into its design like what is the perfect angle for the screen for the thumbs to reach, what is the angle at which you look at your mobile when placed on a table, watching a video, blogging... so on
  • What is the best sound you would like to hear when you slide your mobile? Remember the customized options on several brands? Well N97 designer team found that the sound of a car door closing, opening smoothly, a clap, snapping of fingers, etc. were mixed to arrive at the present sound. Believe me its awesome
  • The ultimate device for bloggers, Face Book users, Orkutters, Twitters, etc. as it provides ease of connection, upload and customization for people who live online
  • Personalized computer in your pocket which is stylish and resourceful
  • Syncs digital media to physical requirements easing hurdles in transition
All said and done it may not be the ultimate mobile you would want to own but is definitely stylish, smart, resourceful and makes a statement. Goes well at meetings, parties and might be called a conversation starter.


Read an Apple user's view here:

Your move

There was a billboard war Audi vs.. BMW in US where Audi’s board said “your move BMW” and BMW replied in style.

Stole the pic and post from Denovos.

Click clap! Nokia N97 is here

Click Clap is the sound and is very sweet when you hear it on your mobile when you slide it open. I was at the Nokia N97 launch Event, Oberoi Hotels, MG Road, Bangalore today at exclusive blogger event of Nokia's latest N series update: N97!

Here is a video of the making of Nokia N97.

All my impression on black color as the best option for gadgets changed when I looked at the N97 white mobile. It was awesome. Will post a review and video soon. Just wanted to say saw it, touched it. The first feel its pretty good. Best features are the slide, comfort, style. The kind of research that went into this feature was huge. So keep waiting for the complete post in a short while.

This event was made available to a few (around 30) select bloggers around the country and is aimed to create a WOM. Well I think here I start.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Britney fails to connect

After a much awaited concert by Britney Spears hit London Town this week for the first time in four years. This is being reported as a disconnected performance as she seemed to be maiming, lost connection with the audience.

The hits flowed, including a remix of her cult track "I'm A Slave For You," and, of course, Brit favorites like "Toxic" and "Every Time." But something was missing - it was Britney, herself. She could have phoned in the performance. She looked bored, pudgy and totally disinterested. It only went to confirm that the star who shocked fans and the world with her meltdown a few years back is still a long way from getting her sparkle back. It could have been her bipolar medication, but nothing sizzled.

This tells us how a brand should stay connected with its audience, all the time. If you don't have the consumer's attention then it never leads to a purchase. And purchase is what matters in making you richer. Too much of success, momentum might make a brand and end up losing its focus but the point is to stay connected. Unless I am looking it doesn't matter how great your brand is. Especially don't mess it up when I am all attention. Is Britney listening?

Measurable difference

Providing great offers in a fun and easy way is done by most of the firms. But measuring the effectiveness of such programs is purely on sales figures or survey. This is usually tiresome and painfully long and several doubts are assigned to its accuracy. What if something does it automatically?

Tetherball’s approach helps clients "tether" their brand to target audiences by identifying what their customers want and delivering mobile campaigns that interact with permission-based mobile coupons, mobile rewards, mobile sweepstakes and mobile notifications. Integrating traditional marketing methods such as in-store advertising, customers are engaged to sign up for mobile loyalty rewards programs offering promotional discounts. Upon joining, customers are given a Tetherball Tag, a tiny RFID chip that is affixed to their mobile phones, which uniquely identifies them through Tetherball’s technology platform. Tetherball clients are then able to send offers to their customers via standard text messaging. Offers are redeemed electronically using existing in-store RFID point-of-sale terminals or stand-alone RFID kiosks provided by Tetherball.

But the Dairy Queen trial could prove to be much more successful as it's leveraging the only element that consistently has proven effective at changing consumer behavior: money. The knock against contactless payment (and, for that matter, self-checkout) has been that consumers are rarely if ever given a financial incentive to try it, as in "this bread will cost you 10 percent less if you pay for it using self-checkout (or contactless)." The Dairy Queen trial does precisely that, offering customized discounts only available through the RFID tag.

Concentrate on small segments too

Kmart unveiled a national radio campaign specifically targeting African-Americans and Hispanics as part of its multicultural marketing program who make up to 39% of its total customer base. Radio and television advertising are the initial stages of the campaign, which will feature original music by Chaka Khan, BeBe Winans and Jose Feliciano.

The commercials will be seen on network and cable outlets that directly reach the Hispanic and African-American consumer within the next several weeks.Currently, multicultural consumers make up nearly 12 million people who shop at Kmart each week. African-Americans and Hispanics alone account for 32 percent of the retailer's shoppers.So it is a good move to please them and woo them to walk in. Concentrating on smaller segments wasn't fashionable until now. Brands need to tap into every pocket to get over this bad spell. Kmart has taken a good step in this direction. Lets see if it pays out.

Steve vs 3Gs

When personalities overshadow brand its not good always. Like it was felt/seen/heard at the launch of iPhone 3Gs. Expectations had been high that the ailing Apple CEO would make a surprise reappearance at his company's World Wide Developers Conference, which kicked off Monday with an address by Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller in San Francisco. Schiller introduced a third-generation iPhone, which has faster, more capable software and more memory, as well as surprisingly deep price cuts for Apple hardware and software.

But it was Jobs, who hasn't been seen in public since making a shockingly gaunt appearance last September, who was eagerly awaited by the tech world and who failed to materialize. It is tough to think Apple would have the same following, leave alone the share prices, without Steve returning healthy. People want to him to win over his ailments come back stronger. Hope he does. Steve is a bigger brand than Apple now. Or should I call him its anchor? Get well soon Steve.

Stay out of the dog house

J.C. Penney Company Inc. is the recipient of this year's World Retail Award under the "Best Digital Retail Advertising" category for the mid-tier department store's "interactive viral marketing campaign" it calls Beware of the Doghouse, which targets younger shoppers.

The award was presented to JCPenney at the World Retail Congress in Barcelona in May for our innovative marketing efforts. Beware of the Doghouse has proven to be a fun and engaging campaign, building on our success of developing new and innovative strategies that connect with younger consumers on their terms.

Voted by industry experts from around the world, the Beware of the Doghouse campaign received high ratings for its creativity and multi-channel integration. Calling it “truly 360 degree" and one based on a “witty and intelligent” idea, the campaign was described by judges from the World Retail Congress as having “bubbled out into the media, creating great value for the money.Divided into four key media categories – traditional media, in-store advertising, direct marketing and new media – the retail advertising section of the World Retail Awards includes a diverse selection of campaigns. Across each of the categories, the awards annually go to companies that offer "the very best of retailing in all its key areas of operation, assisting retail businesses to secure a vital edge in winning business and gaining market share".

JCPenney, which operates 1,101 units in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, first launched Beware of the Doghouse – which centers on women who to comically reprimand their loved ones for bad gift choices – on November 21. Throughout last year's holiday season, the campaign logged more than 7 million visitors to and more than 14 million total video views.

Spamming away

(Click to view bigger image)

Off late I have been receiving many spam mails on my Yahoo account. I don't think this is pure coincidence. I have been continuously using it for the last 10 years(does it count as loyalty?) and spam content was very low when compared to my other mail accounts. Around six months back I was asked to start a paid option for better services, which I declined. Which capitalistic consumer would pay for a mail account? Wake up guys it is 2009. Suddenly spam has found me a perfect target. Is this pure coincidence or is someone playing foul? I am just thinking aloud.

I really don't understand spammers. If I get to win millions of dollars just by giving my account number and a few other details, do they want anyone to believe? What interests me is that they really think so! Find better ways to make money.

And as the spammers have improved their technology and found ways to penetrate firewalls, companies should upgrade and update too. Hope Yahoo comes out with something like that or else I might be packing my stuff and walk. Trust me, many are already packing.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Doubt & consumer psyche

The nature of doubt noting that, like faith, it can be a unifying force among people. Most people believe they are good in comparison to the world around them. Inside they might be really crooked but act really well. I have seen some really trusted ones fall over to the dark side(as Jedi master Yoda would say). Selling their soul to earthly temporary pleasures and gains they might not have lost much when compared to what they have gained now but who knows? I have seen friends, students, teachers!, mentors and what not change. This is a serious unifying force and like a pack of street dogs groups so easily. Put a doubt in one's mind and you have a following. Some famous success stories...
  • Saddam was hiding weapons of mass destruction
  • Did USA really go to the moon?
  • 911 conspiracy theory
  • Aliens!
  • Honest elections
  • Area 51 has aliens
  • Bermuda triangle
  • Mayan calender and 20.12.2012
  • A student can never know more than his teacher...
This list will go on. Can you add some more?

Back to where I started... Selling your soul/friendship/trust is a question of character. You decide what will be yours.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Out of many, one

The naysayers keep cussing but its a wonderful speech. As Obama says no single speech can change centuries of mistrust but it is a good beginning. Worth the time.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I dreamed a dream...

There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
And they turn your dream to shame

He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came

And still I dream he'll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.

--- Fantine

New advertising model

Latest reports by Nielson Mobile suggests that consumers are gradually turning towards mobile advertising. Nearly one-fourth of all U.S. mobile subscribers, 23% to be exact, say they have viewed mobile advertising in the last 30 days.

The Nielsen study also found the number of mobile data users who recalled seeing advertising jumped 38%--from 42 million to 58 million between the second and fourth quarters of 2007.
Furthermore, more than half of mobile data subscribers, 51%, who saw an ad responded to it by sending a text-message, clicking on it, or calling a specific number. Nielsen estimates 199 million Americans use some type of non-voice mobile service from text-messaging to video streaming.

There is growing receptivity by consumers to mobile advertising. While only 10% of data users said they find mobile advertising acceptable everyone understands now that mobile content will become more robust if driven by an advertising model.

In short, data subscribers are more willing to accept advertising in exchange for lower costs or better content.
  • 32% said they're open to mobile advertising if it lowers their overall bill
  • 13% will welcome it if it boosts the quality of their mobile media offerings
  • 23% expect to see more mobile advertising in the future--up from 15% at the start of 2007
You must have felt it in India too over last few months. The number of ads and msgs you receive on your mobile has almost tripled. Welcome to advertising on mobile. The bad part is that it is disturbing and intrusive. The good part is that the ads are personalized, relevant and practical.

What do you think? Is this good?

Sales & Marketing

Collaborating Sales & Marketing: Christine Crandell @ Forbes

  • Sales and marketing should be playing the same score, even if marketing plays the trumpet and sales plays the baritone saxophone
  • Collaboration between marketing and sales involves resolving conflicts on an ad hoc basis after the curtain has already closed
  • To win business, the marketing and sales teams need to do more than just communicate better using structured communication with clearly defined roles, rules of engagement and hand-off points for key revenue-driving tasks
  • Trust one another in order to find common ground and use their combined efforts to increase revenue and improve customer relationships
  • Jointly define marketing plans, participate in joint revenue-planning sessions and determine strategic adjustments to improve business performance
  • Work together
They need to acknowledge that they both have different charters, time frames, vocabularies and work styles. Companies that build a model rooted in shared goals and rewards for sales and marketing will make better decisions, drive more revenue, have more motivated employees and service happier consumers.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Not mine? Don't care

This year's Britain's Got Talent found something different. Hollie Steel's first attempt was interrupted when she broke down on stage. A kid, all of 10 years, performing in front of a huge audience has a lot of pressure. Though initially a second chance was denied Simon got her one. She performed brilliantly the second time. Any sane person would do the same, give her a second chance. Just think of the pressure, think like a parent, a sibling and see if you can this unfair. Think of what would have happened if she couldn't get a second chance. Resigned for life branded as a failure and what not. Don't you agree with me. Any one with a heart & soul would do.

Last Friday’s program attracted 331 complaints from viewers. But rather than being concerned about the emotional pressure being put on the 10-year-old, 281 people rang in to complain about her being allowed a second chance to sing after she broke down as she sang Edelweiss. That's more than half of total complaints received for the show. Only around 50 callers were worried about her welfare. And this comes from a civilized culture rich people! Would this be different in any other country. May be not. But I think this is pathetic and horrible. The consumer has become so mean, demanding, businessman who stops at nothing to get his share of money, value, importance and pleasure. I guess firms being mean is justified.

Back to Hollie, I don't really know if this was staged. It definitely didn't look like it. If it was staged then it is a marketing genius, without a heart. I don't see how different it is from exploitation. But seriously guys, behave.