Google+ Consumer Psyche: December 2009


Thursday, December 31, 2009


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

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

Monday, December 28, 2009

Towards better blogging

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

Friday, December 25, 2009

Have a blast

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

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

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

Let it be Christmas

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A time for everything

A Time for Everything

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Ecclesiastes, The Holy Bible

Organised retail in recession

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pepsi's refreshing ad strategy 2010

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

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

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

Pic: WSJ

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday blues: Monday and Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fitness trends

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The way you look tonight

One of my all time favorite songs :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jingle bombs

Achmed sings the Jingle bombs for us tonight :)

Secret to success

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

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

Moulding or misshaping?

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

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

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

Friday, December 18, 2009

Indian sleeping pattern

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

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2009, in pictures

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Top 10 of 2009

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


(Click on the image to enlarge)

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

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bruce Lee as a lifestyle

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

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

Read the full article here.

You cannot do

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

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Salesman of the year

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

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

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

Friday, December 11, 2009

Norway UFO

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

Friday, December 4, 2009

Oye Amritsar!

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

Here is MJ's review.


Quoted from Arti's site...

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

Incredible India!

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

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

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

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

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

Read on.

Leave Tiger Alone!

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

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

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

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

What if being stupid is all Tiger Woods did?

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

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

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mastering marketing

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

--- Kotler(?)

Mobile Marketing ahead

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'll kill you!

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

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

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

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

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