Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What is Google doing now a days?

What's Google upto? See this long video and find out yourself.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What could be the Next Possible Innovation of Twitter?

Now that text form of Twitter is so popular, I thought I will put myself into the shoes of a product manager at Twitter and come up with at least 3 possible innovations that Twitter may be working on.

1. Photo Tweet

It's self explanatory. Just like the 160 character limit, the size and dimension of the photos can have a limit.

A possible Photo Tweet may look like this,

2. Video Tweet

Again self explanatory. But just a slight twist. The video file has to play then and there and within 60 seconds. Otherwise the Tweet will not fit into the overall brand of Twitter as a "quick read and move on" type of service

A possible Video tweet may look like this.

Infact this Video Tweet has the potential to change the very face of Advertising.

3. Who is Online

A quite often used feature in messengers and email systems. Can add sufficient value in terms of interaction.

A possible appearance may be like this,

Thinking about some more....will update soon.

Monday, November 09, 2009

An imaginary interview with Mahatma Gandhi on Strategy and Innovation!

The movement to free India from the clutches of the British raj is growing by the day. At the centre of this movement is Mr.Mohandas K Gandhi, fondly called Baapu and widely known as Mahatma. We have all seen how tight lipped and arrogant are the people who seem to enjoy so much of attention from people, media and the authorities. I met up this man, dressed in Khadi dhoti and sitting behind the rolling Charkha.

You recently closed the "Freedom through Violence" product line? What's the idea?
Answer: You see, there was no strategic fit for the unit in the Congress. It had started cannibalising into our existing market share.

Q. But Mr.Bose says his objectives are the same as yours and you are being lame to admit it
Answer: The point is not in the objectives. It's about the tools you use to achieve them. We use non-violence and so far our market share has only increased through it, thus bringing us closer to getting the deal ( read Independence). Let's admit it, Indians do not have it in their blood to be violent enough to get this deal.

Q. Why do you think the western media is paying so much attention to you?
Answer: They simply can't believe a man dressed so soberly can speak such good English and create a revolution.

Q. Talking about Mr.Nehru, how indisputable is your leadership?

Answer: Mr.Nehru is our PR guy and an urban face. He liasons with the British and also spreads a strong word of mouth among the fast growing segment - the "English speaking Indians". Being a Chairman, I need to support my CEO.

Q. The freedom struggle is revolving around the same messaging viz., the injustice of the authorities and calling for a ban on several of the laws and by-laws. Do you think the communication has turned cliched?
Answer: Yes, I agree. All these days, we had people extending issue-based suport. So we had many divisions protesting against by-laws and other injustices of the British Raj. But we are now working on a new nation-wide campaign. It's called "Quit India". It will be launched soon. We are tapping every segment of the society with this campaign. Since it has a universal theme to it, the message will cut across the entire target audience.

Q. It appears the freedom movement is in its final stage. How soon do you think India will be free?
Answer: India will never be free.

Q.What? But aren't you fighting for it yourself?
Answer: Yes, and we will be free from the British raj. But what about freedom from poverty, anarchy and social imbalance?

Q. One last question. Why such a frugal clothing?
Answer: Sometimes to be for the people, you have to be of the people.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Guy Kawasaki in Bangalore: Bang on in Entrepreneurship

A Guy who listens to thousands of creative ideas must be really going nuts! Guy Kawasaki was in Bangalore talking on Entrepreneurship and also his personal preferences on Tech platforms.

Don't know why, but listening to him is like pressing F5 all the time! Watch!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Web 2.0 Vs Web 1.0 - The media Vs message conflict

After being on the job of Web 2.0 for quite some time now, its pretty easy to go gung-ho about it and project it as "the" thing in marketing. Yet when I look at the menial amount of money that is being spent online and much less in the social media platforms, I was reminded of a classic observation by one of the marketers on the effectiveness of messaging. The observer pointed out that the marketing efforts were more successful if consumers spent more time interacting with the brand rather than the medium. Marketing efforts fetched more response if the consumer was not so busy interacting with the medium, which is when, he can actually look at the messaging and allow some kind of internalization.

However, medium is a powerful way of engaging the people and they spend a great deal of time talking about brands and products online. They tweet about it, complain on facebook, write on mouthshut, recommend on linkedin and so on. Putting this behaviour of the customer of ignoring the messaging on one hand and yet talking about brands, into a single cohesive framework, is pretty difficult. Yet I will give an attempt, by revisiting some of the marketing fundamentals. So let me call into action the concept of "buying decision process" to bring in clarity. For a quick recap, I am putting up the diagram that explains the three phases of buying process.

The diagram is self explanatory ( though not comprehensive and definitely not applicable to all market types). But what is unsaid in this diagram is the effect of Web 2 marketing intervention.

The first stage is the most critical in my opinion. As marketers we know that "needs" cannot be created per se. But latent needs can be made active and that's what successful marketing efforts are supposed to do. Here web 2 can play the role of information gathering, awareness building and initial branding. In "Information Search" phase, people are increasingly resorting to web 2.0 measures like mouthsut, compareindia etc to seek info and get second opinions from strangers and friends. So in a way web 2 is the most effective during this stage of buying.

"Evaluation of Alternatives" is a complicated phase. Much of it I assume happens as an internal process to the customer, but the information he has gathered can impact the evaluation. "Purchase", what and when, can be influenced through web 2, in as a direct recommendation from the friends community on Facebook, etc. Post purchase is of course a whole lot dependent on the quality of products or services consumed. But web 2 can definitely help reduce some dissatisfaction if there is any. Like for example, if most users are already comfortable with the performance of the product in the way it is and write about it, then the customer may get reconciled with his frustration.

Thus we can see that web 2 holds varying influence in all the stages. This again will vary depending on the levels of involvement for each product. It is needless to say that there is no definitive conclusion, except that "intelligent discretion" is the only way out.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is Rahul Gandhi a humble yet over rated Politician?

Anybody reading the newspapers regularly will tend to agree!!!

Almost every other day, the newspapers, the television and the scores of sites go gung-ho about this 39 year old politician. For a fact, Rahul Gandhi, has not even got half the experience of say Kapil Sibal, Kamal Nath, S.M.Krishna or any other politician. However, he seems to enjoy the most attention because of obvious reasons.

The entire Congress leadership places on him an aura of competence and integrity that is simply unbelievable. There can be no dispute that young leaders need to join politics and start taking the lead. But India being such a complicated country, needs to be led by a politician who has deep knowledge of history, economics, politics and has a proven track record in public service. Rahul Gandhi has none of them.

That brings me to the last point. Why is he so humble? Is he really such a good nature by person as he appears to be from the media reports. Or is it his ignorance of matters that makes him so? Is that also the reason why he keeps refusing the top post. Looked at from a marketing angle, he appears like a new product launch which is undergoing a learning curve. Shall we say 'All the Best'.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Media Departments: Time for Collaboration?

Media companies have begun to witness an increasingly thin functional borders from within. Lets look at the typical functions of a media company to understand their changing roles.

The Content or the Editorial: Everyone knows content is King. But the queen is content communication. A content writer’s role is now very akin to the marketing person as the story, language & recency should appeal to the audience and even the search engines in case of online companies. Also being closer to the market as they are through their work, the editorial team has a great potential to understand the customer behaviour. Now a days the readers are pretty aware and interactive and within minutes of publishing, the journalist can get feedbacks. The feedback is almost instant in online media companies unlike in their print cousins. The new tools of web 2.0 allow them to instantly distribute the content as well thus making it available for the whole world to see, read and participate.

The Marketing Department: The marketing department in an online media company can be no longer happy doing some flashy hoardings or banner ads. In a market which is getting fragmented with niche content magazines and newspapers, the pressure on marketing to retain the readership is huge. In an online environement, since SEO (and to some extent SEM) usually lays down the marketing infrastructure, marketing has to think beyond all these to make a credible difference. Analytics (and Google's is only a basic one), offers an opportunity to understand the users and to be able to make ongoing changes to the site design, content and the language towards greater traffic and conversions.

The Tech Department: Though referred to as an enabler, the tech guy can do a better justice to his job if he can empathise with the end user and help the marketing and the editorial to create an enriched media. This was always perceived as a traditional job of a marketing person. Competence-wise, tecnology team is always blessed with much better analytical skills than any other functional team. With newer ways of consuming content through mobile, feeds, social media, blogs, WAP sites etc. becoming popular, the technology team is not just supposed to be on top of the technology but also evaluate the potential of the content to reach across different masses.

The Designer: The web designer is not a person who just makes different layouts and toggles between adobe photoshop and Google Images. He has to now understand the navigation attitudes of users and make designs that are relevant for the times and in-tune with the industry. That not only makes him a partial marketer but also a researcher in a way.

The Sales Department: Gone are the days of running wild in the market making calls. To survive and prosper sales team needs to understand the market and eventually create a bridge between marketing and content to roll out products that he can sell without making a fuss. This again is a deviation as earlier the product was a “given”. Just like the editorial team, the sales is very close to the customer, making them the most potential in the organisation to influence new media properties.

The clich├ęd concept of “team work” will however never go away. Its just that all the stakeholders will have to understand their changing roles and then collaborate to achieve the end objectives.