Google+ Consumer Psyche: October 2009


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sweet hour

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

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

(William Walford, 1772-1850)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

This is not it

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

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Great Communication

From Robin's blog:

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

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

Slowdown! Where?

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

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

Monday, October 26, 2009


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

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

(John H. Sammis, 1846-1919)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Good times... Ahoy!

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

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rising costs and saving mantra

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

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

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

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

---Nivedita Mukherjee

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Daily grace

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

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

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

(J.J. Maxfield)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Incomplete form

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

Incomplete, insecure, and deeply inadequate ..

I shall remain -

Amitabh Bachchan

Fun = better behaviour

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

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

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

Friday, October 16, 2009

Let there be a Dīpāvali

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

Wish you and your family a happy Dīpāvali!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Most visited on Wiki

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

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

2. The Beatles (111,896)

3. Michael Jackson (79,734)

4. Favicon.ico (78,077)

5. YouTube (72,318)

6. Wikipedia (52,542)

7. Barack Obama (49,401)

8. Deaths in 2009 (48,758)

9. United States (46,545)

10. Facebook (42,679)

Be employed, always

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

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

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

--- Seth's Blog

Monday, October 12, 2009


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

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

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

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Landmark & 2 States

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

The call never came!

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

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

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

Obama Nobled!

The Norwegian Nobel joke continues. Its Obama for Peace.

The liberal winner cup overflows.

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

(Plagiarized from BBB)

Just a crazy idea...

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

What ya think?

Teach me

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

Thy precious things Thou dost impart;

And wing my words, that they may reach

The hidden depths of many a heart!

(Frances R. Havergal, 1836-1879)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Redefining Vogue

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

RIP Penn.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Austerity ! Desi style!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go shop! Plzzz

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Eternal love and life!

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

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

Monday, October 5, 2009

+ve Mental Attitude

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

Patricia Neal

Monday blues: Mundane monday

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

Mother Teresa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Top movies this week

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

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The 'giving' generation!

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm on the top of the world

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

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

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

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

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

Repeat (*) twice

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Great Marketer

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

Happy B'day Bapu!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Count your blessings

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

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

Pix from