Google+ Consumer Psyche: September 2010


Monday, September 27, 2010

The smell of desperation

Don't throw away that hard earned trust by sounding desperate. It won't do any good for you or your brand. Desperation makes you feel down, makes me, the consumer, re-evaluate your brand value, your worth and question your intentions, may be even loathe you! Let me explain.

Watching India's got talent Khoj 2, I almost fell off my couch laughing at Tata Docomo's effort. After Diwakar and Sonia performed their act (they were good enough to win the competition), they were given a chance to make a call which was sponsored by Docomo. The whole effort looked forced and the name of the sponsors was mentioned on the call. I have had a really good opinion about Tata Docomo till now due to their innovative plans ranging from the one paisa per sms to the ISD calls at the same price. I also loved the way their ads were. In fact Docomo ads appeal to me more than Vodafone's Zoo Zoo's do. But this particular effort was pointless. It defies the cardinal logic of marketing in many ways. Let's see what went wrong.
  1. It interrupted the whole proceeding: the act and my train of thought.
  2. It was unsolicited, disturbing. Your loyal customers don't need you reminding their brand name. Your critics don't just care. So if you are looking at doing the new choose your target when you do it.
  3. Sounded out of place. Could have been orchestrated in a better way. Sonia (the caller) was too excited about making it to the final. Sonia's mother, who was on the other end of the call, didn't seem to have a clue about Docomo facilitating the call. The whole message was lost on both the players and the audience.
  4. It was completely unnecessary, so I not only chose to ignore but got -ve feeling about the brand.
  5. Nothing new or usage point (which would've made more sense). I don't need to be reminded of the brand name. My utility in the game, yes.
Guess what, this act by Docomo put a dent in my idea and perception on what I feel. I smell desperation.When a customer smells desperation, that isn't good for your brand. Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?

Monday Blues: Create your own world

Wayne Thiebaud said... An artist creates his own world. Be your own artist and create your own world. Guess what, make it beautiful. No, make it awesome.

Wayne transformed the way food is looked at. His painting is displayed as Google Doodle on its 12'th birthday.

PS. Wayne's pic is from here.

Monday Blues: Yes, You Can

Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working. Keep working at what you are and try to improve. Every day.

How do you improve? Read a book/article on your area of expertise. Update yourself on the changes in the field, best practices, read a blog on the topic, start a Google alert on the topic to have the latest updates delivered to your mail, change from good to great.

Once you start transforming, share it with others. Post it on your blog, send a mail to the people you think will care. If it is too good and worth it, make a concise article and pin it to your department notice board. Does it sound too much? Na... I don't think so.

This Monday, remember... Yes, you can.

Ps. The photo is by Julyssa Schenk. She has an amazing talent. Check out her blog here.

A healthy heart

On the occasion of World Heart Day, here are 10 ways to keep your heart healthy listed @ TOI.
  1. Avoid smoking
  2. Cut down on salt
  3. Watch your diet
  4. Monitor your alcohol
  5. Get active
  6. Monitor your BP, blood sugar and cholesterol levels
  7. Manage your waist
  8. Manage your stress level
  9. Check your family history
  10. Laughter is the best therapy
Tips courtesy: Dr Kushagra Katariya

Friday, September 24, 2010

Why MasterChef Australia is a good product offering

MasterChef Australia is one of the few excellent product offerings in the recent times. Let me tell you why.

I don't like programs that expect me to park my brains outside and try to sell me sub-standard stuff. A combination of reality show, game, talent quest and cuisine, it has all the elements of at least three programs put together. It teaches things that I would otherwise not learn. It has the excitement, challenge and suspense that make the viewer think, sympathize and decide. Moreover, it includes the viewer in the whole chain, learn something while having fun. Passive, learning.

It takes the grueling, usually unthankful, ruthless work of a Chef to a level where his/her skill is put to test and has a chance of being evaluated by the one that matters most - the customer! It changes your attitude and approach not just towards food but towards work on the whole. The viewer can relate the show to their daily work which makes it more identifiable.

Some takeaways are...
  • Any one can cook a marvel dish given three hours, the recipe and all the ingredients, but can one cook the same thing in a stipulated time frame, limited options in terms of the no.of ingredients and in a pressure situation? Which job in the present world has the leisure to take three hours?
  • Can work be fun? Guess it is. MC makes it look like fun while working;
  • Appreciation or rejection is straight forward and instant feedback is awesome. The fact that the contestants are under constant scrutiny makes it more edgy and practical;
  • Creativity is encouraged while teams and individuals are egged to work on different dishes and churn out dazzlers to surprise the judges;
  • Working in a team while contributing individually makes it a sight to watch;
  • Accentuates physical + psychological effort;
  • Scent of failure at every step;
  • Need to improvise;
  • Keeps non-critical things simple. Like the teams are named red and blue;
  • Demonstrates the need for leadership, mentoring and high performance.
I can go on and add more to the list above. I am sure you can too. What I like about the program is that it is well structured, has all the elements I need in a show and best of all, I don't need to park my brains outside. In all it is an offering that is simple yet diverse, enthusiastic, entertaining, accepting, well-packed, practical, emotional, direct and pretty smart. There is your near perfect product offering.

Pic is from Kusut-blogs.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Another Waka Waka?

There is a lot of hullaballo about Rahman's theme song for CWG. I understand it is not as peppy as what he churned out for Slumdog Millionnaire or Taal. Obviously, we would expect more from the man who turned out tunes like Jai Ho. Looking at the theme song it is no where near to what was expected. Can it be pepped up? Yes. A lot of things to be made to make it better. Like all other things that are going wrong with the CWG, theme song seems to follow.

Comparing it to Shakira's Waka Waka is ridiculous. You can't make any song or product have a cult following just like that. You cannot repeat the same again. Rahman might turn out something better but not another Waka Waka. But cult following cannot be orchestrated so easily. Cult following is based on several factors that garner special attention at different levels in different spaces at the same time. In Shakira's song, for example, it had a mass appeal addressing a sport that has worldwide acceptance and most importantly hit the chord right away.

Rahman seems to have a different idea altogether in what a theme song should sound like. Check BSF theme song he composed recently. His music needs to be marinated to get to your nerves. Unfortunately, no one at the CWG have the time or patience to do so. Nor does the audience.

Asking Rahman to reconsider and pep up the song is a right decision as it makes me a consumer, someone who is paying for the song and then if I am not satisfied, I have the right to send your product back if I am not satisfied. Knowing that there cannot be another Waka Waka, I expect the tune to be catchy and hep. AR... do your magic.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We are the Blackberry Boys

Just after staging a stand out with the Government about the messenger, Blackberry manages to be on the positive side when it tries to gather huge support from the untapped prepaid segment. I think this is a brilliant move for two reasons.

One, there is a huge potential in the prepaid segment that is usually out of reach. This should get enough people to move in to the otherwise office stable. This also means that the superior product aimed at a niche audience will move to the masses. Would that change my attitude and make me look at the product as anything lesser? I don't think so. I am more interested in what my mobile would give me more to make things easier. Translated retaining the existing crowd while tapping the masses.

Two would be the huge profits from the masses you capture plus better applications and more involvement and lots of excitement. When you have a huge following, with more vibrant crowd that demands more from you, you tend to make more to your team. This is also the reason why you got to challenge yourself. This is what makes life better. A bold step by Blackberry.

On the con side, the perception associated with the brand might change. The exclusivity and niche you want to project might wear off. I would look for something else to move on.

Interesting move, but is it smart enough? I doubt. Good PR move? I say, yes.

Pure? Think again

TOI reports: Despite loud promises that these gadgets suck out disease-causing bugs from drinking water, most purifiers sold across India do not completely eliminate water-borne viruses like Hepatitis E, says Pune-based National Institute of Virology.

A study by the government-funded body that conducts research on communicable diseases and viruses evaluated eight domestic water purifier brands. It found only two - one equipped with a hollow fibre membrane and the other with a gravity-fed filter - could completely remove the viruses.

The study also found no standards existed for virological evaluation of water purification devices in India and called for well-defined parameters.

The NIV relied on the United States Environment Protection Agency's (USEPA) guide, standard and protocol benchmark for testing microbial purifiers.

The study was conducted by senior deputy director and head of the NIV's hepatitis division, Vidya Arankalle, and scientist Vikram Verma. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), ministry of health and family welfare, government of India, extended financial support to the study conducted by the NIV scientists.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sensory branding

Prof. Ramesh Kumar writes about sensory branding: When a consumer bites into a Bournville dark chocolate, does he think about the Rs 75 spent on the product? Do the expensive and exquisitely-crafted Mont Blanc pen make the buyer think of the premium price?

Youngsters at Coffee Day are busy with fun and frolic completely immersed in the experiential plane of their relationships. Millions of songs are downloaded at itunes to gratify music lovers. Marketers in the recent times have become aware of the need to market to the sensory organs that gets translated into sensual pleasure. Given the price of a brand within the plausible price range associated with the target segment, sensual quotient could work in a manner that even makes the consumer raise over the price sensitivity threshold very much associated with the Indian consumer.

Sensory branding

Primarily sensory branding starts with the appreciation of sensual pleasure orientation. Krackjack the biscuit with the dual taste of sweet and salt in one is probably one of the earliest examples of sensory branding in the Indian context (which was followed by 50:50 from Britannia). While significant stimuli a consumer faces (stimuli means sensory information directed to any aspect of the senses) is visual in nature, marketers can tap other senses towards creative branding .

Certain brands of TVs have introduced high output devises . Liril ‘s advertising campaign during the recent times highlights the sensual aspect of touch. Tropicana ‘s pure fruit juice proposition at a premium though generally associated with the health platform also moves the consumer towards the sensory appreciation of taste.

The visual aspect of sensory perception has been translated into a stereotype (projecting an image or a picture that is widely held by the consumer in general) by a number of brands in the cosmetic and personal care fields. Fair&Lovely and Parachute are examples.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Blues: Never be sorry

How easy it is to sit and think you have been wronged and how you could have been better. How easy it is to blame all your misfortune on something else.

D H Lawrence, one of my favorite poets, writes...

I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.

This Monday make a promise to yourself. Don't let any opportunity pass to show your love and being good. Don't let any opportunity pass to be better, to improve, to learn, to teach, to guide, to change from good to great.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Love you Dad

Though I have been driving over a decade, each time my dad sees me drive away, I see the anxiety in his eyes. Especially if it is a car. I know he waits for my call, to know I reached safe. He never calls unless my call doesn't come in the stipulated time, lest he disturbs me while driving. I try and tell him that I would be fine but the message doesn't hit the spot.

'You will know one day, when you get to be a dad' is his quip. May be, I will. Look at this video I found at Anxiety Index and you would know why your parents behave the way they do. Loved the ad. Love you Dad.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Harp the negatives

Harp the negative and you might end up attracting quite a few. The trick here is not just being different and standing out of the crowd, but to be able to let your customers speak about what happened and be frank is a brave thing to do. Most companies and marketing managers would think twice before doing that. The need to be direct and allowing your consumers to hear bad things, negatives is a good marketing strategy.

Indiblogger is organizing a meet up on 3rd October this year at IIM B. Are you coming?

Using a Blackberry?

I am using Blackberry for almost an year now and am super happy with it. Have you ever heard the cut about RIM's baby? Once you go Black, you never go back. True it is...

Here are some interesting facts about the usage and consumer trends about how Blackberry users check email:
  • 83% on vacation
  • 59% the second it arrives
  • 53% in the bathroom
  • 59% in bed
  • 37% while driving
  • 12% while in Church
Courtesy: Shiv's blog

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lessons from Komaram Puli

Komaram Puli is Pawan Kalyan's recent release after a lot of gap and his fans were waiting with bated breath. Backed with the team that made Kushi, which was a superhit, Komaram Puli had huge expectations. One of the die hard fans of Pawan, tells me that it is a dud. Reasons? Several. You would find some here.

I have few takeaways for you.
  • Any brand or communication fails when it tries to build your expectations to insane level
  • Too much delay in arriving at the threshold(3 years in this case), too much hype(I happened to watch the promos) might cause your audience, read customers, to expect a lot and nothing that is offered is acceptable
  • The solution can be to hold back on the expectations and maintain a minimum level of curiosity and pitch when your customer expects it
  • Holding back too much in your hand, in haze, makes me lose interest and when the actual thing happens, it hardly matters to me anymore

Shubh Aarambh

In an otherwise stale environment lacking fresh ideas, Cadbury manages to hit the chord by bringing the theme: Shubh Aarambh.

One of the ads shows a guy pick up a girl with 'Maa kehti hai' line and in another the same line is used to chide a jeans clad lady to step out of the house. Simple message conveyed brilliantly to the audience across all ages. I have to agree that the brand manages to stand out in its communication. Not that it needs to. Dairy Milk wins the race by a mile when it comes to the key factors like brand recognition and beckoning. The platter is wide enough for different people to choose for different occasions and still the way these ads have come online, it is amazing. Well, would I remember the brand when I pick up a chocolate next? I am sure I would. How about you?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Here, use my debit card

'Let me use my debit card. Why do you wan to swipe it? I would anyways pay it before the due date. I have cash.'

This is the usual response whenever I take my credit card out. Incidentally I have noticed that people carry debit cards and shop more often using that rather than use their credit cards. RBI has come up with an interesting study on this.

Numbers released by the Reserve Bank of India have belied any such projections far from growing at a blistering pace, credit card usage amongst India's consumers is actually falling. Use of plastic money, instead of cash, is seen by economists as a sign of confidence of the ordinary consumer in the economy.

Read it here: Debit's in.

Monday Blues: Skip the door

This Monday, uncomplicate and know things that are unknown. Unlock the doors that hinder learning and learn something new, something that you didn't know.

Monday Blues: Extinguish the resistance

Everyone starts with good ideas and intentions. But there is a resistance in your head that holds you back. Holds you back from asking questions, making changes, improving. Resistance makes you agree to everything, makes you agree with your boss, agree with your team mates, makes you fear force and makes you comply to a process when you are sure you can change and make it better than the way it is being done.

Resistance makes you second rate, makes you sloppy, makes you an idiot. Extinguish the resistance today, this Monday. Not blow it, hide it, wait for it to simmer out but EXTINGUISH it. Move on to the best possible way of doing it. Raise your hand and get things done in your way. Volunteer for extra work if the need be. Kick those blues away and get moving. Let's change the way things are done around here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Vanity Waist Sizing

Next time you go to buy a pair of jeans or skirt, don't feel happy that you have reduced your waist size if you fit into something less than your actual size. Disguised as a perfect fit, brands are trying to lure your buy based on your appeal to lose weight and slim down.

According to Esquire Magazine, many retailers are lying to consumers about waist sizes in order to make them feel thinner and more likely to buy their clothes. The worst offenders? A pair of Old Navy pants labeled as size 36 were in fact 41 inches, a pair of size 36 Dockers were actually 39.5 inches, and Haggar and Gap were both selling 39 inch pants as size 36. CBS Sunday Morning featured a story today about the trend towards "vanity waist sizing."

Courtesy: Carpe Diem.


Heard about the controversy about the theme song for Common Wealth Games? Here is the song video. You can download it from here.

Will it build up on you like his other compositions? Would it be a forgettable experience? Can it beat Shakira's Waka Waka?

I personally feel the controversy is just a stunt while the song seems a bit slow. I would have preferred something like Jai Ho to carry the CWG theme. Knowing Rahman and his magic, this should do too. Waiting to see the result. Fingers crossed.

Kannadadalli Maataadi

Lovely idea isn't it? The picture speaks for itself. A little extra discount always helps. Here is how you get it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The problem with choice

Ever found a kid staring at the many flavors of ice creams trying to pick up one? Ever wondered why he takes so long to make up his mind? I guess the problem is that you have a choice. Do kids alone do this? Or are we prone to this too? Let me explain.

Walking through Bangalore Central trying to pick up few dresses for a friend who is carrying, we found it really difficult to select one dress. Walking past long aisles of dresses neatly arranged in different colors, sizes and prices, we found none that matched our need and expectation. This purchase was a specially long one as it wasn't for my friend. The fact that there could be a better choice and the constant doubt that if you have already made one and later realize that it could've been better is what makes you think twice before you made that decision. you don't want to pick the wrong dress. You want to get the choice right. You don't want to regret the decision later as you know that you could have chosen better. The satisfaction you get out of making the right choice is always lesser when you have a lot of choice to choose from. The choice at central was too overwhelming and none matched our expectations. May be there was one but we could wheel it from our hook.

At Total today, we managed to pick up several things that we wanted including the kurtas. There were very few brands that we could choose from. The fabric was good, price was a bit high but we didn't have much choice. So we just picked up. Coming back we actually found it worth for my money and time. One of the reasons for picking up the kurta at Total is that the choice was lesser and the thinking process we had to spend was smaller too. The other reason, or the obvious reason is that the offering was better but I would rate my first reason higher.

Next time try this. When you go to an ice cream shop with a kid, ask him which flavor he could like. Look at the time he takes to decide and the number of times he changes his decision. Once he finalizes the order, you pick something he hasn't and see if he would trade it with yours. Most probably he would.

Try this too... Offer the kid just two choices, Vanilla or Chocolate. See how fast the choice is.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday Blues: Wear your attitude

One of the best pics I have ever seen. Love the attitude. Don't let anyone, I repeat, anyone ruin your day. Wear your attitude and make your day. Make sure you make someone's day different too. Spread cheers all around and it will go a long way.

More about the pic above(Dunno where I got it from). Some people are like the guy with the paint brush. They cherish in making your life miserable. Some like like all the guys in the line. they just let others ruin your happiness. These are the majority. But you can choose to be the fourth guy from the right and not let someone else dictate your happiness. What do you want to be? What can you be?

Happy Monday!