Category Archives: Marketing

The Great Indian (Before) Marriage Tamasha – Part 2

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

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So how did my search for Mr Right go?

With everyone relying upon technology (to throw you solutions), my parents, just like millions of other Indian parents, put my profile on every matrimonial site available. My parents and I sat down (with a notepad and a pen) to list out our expectations and to draw up a profile for me that could be posted on these sites. After sessions of brain storming and cluttering our house with crushed balls of paper, we finally zeroed in on what had to be put up on the web!!

Oh, these also involved consultations with astrologers to prepare a list of birth stars that would match with mine. Phew, it was one hell of a task before my profile finally came up in the various marriage portals.

I should also mention the confusion we had over the kind of photographs that had to be uploaded on my profile. Should we choose a photo with a desi look or could the photo show the modern moi?!? For those who still don’t understand the reason behind this confusion, here’s a brief explanation. Guys (waiting to get married) want girls to have a modern outlook towards life (this is one statement that’s so common and visible in all the guys profiles) and would not want to see a photo of a girl in a sari; they call such girls “pazhams” (Tamil slang). And parents do not wish to see the girl in sleeveless dresses or in jeans and they term such girls “liberated”. To put an end to all this bokwaas (made popular with the release of Chennai Express), we put up 6 photos in all, in different costumes, catering to all “their” needs. Now that’s a lot of choice we have given the parents! And with the advent of social networks, the changes to your Facebook profile photos to suit the needs of the groom and his parents – one helluva job!

This blog would make no sense if I do not talk about the tamashaa involving horoscope matching!! If astrology is all about maths and physics, why do astrologers differ?!?

And then the calls started flowing, multitudes of them. Details, telephone numbers, email ids and horoscopes were exchanged. The homepage on our PC and laptops changed to the matrimonial portal. From our end, numerous profiles were scanned, a handful shortlisted from them and horoscopes downloaded. My mother then ran to our family astrologer for matching purposes, and always used to return crestfallen, with just two to three horoscopes matching. This had become a routine, and our astrologer’s number had been assigned as “the priority” on the speed dial list on our mobile phones!

It is a known fact that no two astrologers have the same opinion. And that results in total chaos!! If the horoscopes match at the girl’s end, it doesn’t on the guy’s end and vice versa. When only a handful of horoscopes match from a billion others, my mother reached a state where she stopped believing in astrology. She didn’t want to involve a third person (the astrologer, that is) to decide the future of her child (that’s me!!), rather she decided to believe in destiny!

So is there more fun to this?!? Wait and watch!!!

Why Don’t Indian Companies Take Their Web Presence Seriously?

By Ankit Chandra

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My friend Gaurav Sharma (name changed for privacy) asked this question. He is the CEO of a leading Indian web solutions company, so his question has got to have a good mix of bewilderment, frustration, anxiety and most worryingly, facts behind it…

This is an interesting question, and when I began exploring it, it unravelled into a many folds of Indian society, and economics which I think we all see, but maybe overlook. I come from a unique (remember everyone is unique? 🙂 ) background of Anthropologist father, Zoologist mother, Bachelors in Engineering and MsBA in Technology Management.  So I tend to have diff perspectives (which more often than not, confuse me more than anyone else) on issues close to my heart. This one sure is: after all, it is things like these that make India look technologically inferior, and not up with the rest of the world etc etc.

So back to the question. I will try and put out my reasons for the question in separate posts: to save you from information (read opinion) overload, but I hope it makes an interesting read.

Perspective 1:

Lets begin with an example.

Any person who grew up in South Delhi would know of Lodhi Sports. This is a shop we respected as one of the few ‘up market’ sports showrooms in Delhi. In the early 90’s it was rare to see exercise equipment in many shuttered shops. This one was all glass and had a wide range of exercise equipment. 20 years later, Lodhi Sports has expanded to many shops around Delhi, in big shopping malls etc. Now look at their current site: http://www.lodhisports.in . It doesn’t even open currently.

Now, its target market very much overlaps the active internet users category in Delhi, so I think it does make sense to at least have a functioning site! That leaves us with two options, either the provider is off the track of the consumer doesn’t want it. As in most cases, I think its the chicken and egg problem.

Reason 1: Coming of age of Indian consumer.. A little more distance to go…


Generally this is what I think other people call as maturing of a market, and I agree. Indian consumers have only recently begun taking a computer for granted in their living rooms, and fewer of them, between 3-8 crores have begun accessing the net actively. The definition of active here is using the internet at least once a month. It is pointless to say that if a person is only ‘accessing’ the net once in a month, he/she is definitely not comfortable looking at it as a utility. It seems more like a picnic; once a month, to try out something ‘new’.  Hence, it seems, that an average Indian internet user is still not getting on to the net to use it for transactions, and information gathering for purchases. That, will take time. Maybe something similar to plastic money and time taken for its traction in India.

Perspective 2:

But then I think internet and cell phones came up almost at the same time in India. And there is no points guessing who won the race. So whats the deal there? The utility of cell phones, and initial investment for cell phones is much clearer to people. And hence, the reception to cell phones is like a raging forest fire. And people indeed are benefiting from it! Whether Internet provides the same amount of value to Indian people is something I cannot comment on. I think it does, given the kind of stuff people in other parts of the world have done from it, but then one can disagree very well on this.

So then why nature chose cell phones over Internet? I think first because every thing about cell phone was very well modularized and tangibly managed. prepaid cards made it easy, compact, hassle free, and decoupled from any kind of red tape, for people to start making calls cheap. Internet revenues on the other hand still depend on credit card swiping. The infrastructure needed for cell phone companies to work on was revolutionized into the ‘Indian model’ now so widely studied across the globe. Internet however, could not come up with its own India strategy. Maybe all the smart brains were still busy making money from the cell phone market. Then the content delivered on cell phones was inherently local, unless of course you call an international ‘talk to me’ lines. Here too, Internet lagged much farther behind, because of its ‘broadcasting’ model vs. the peer to peer nature of phone calls.

Reason 2: Lack of macro-environment support and luck?

2 technologies, equally promising, but ultimately having very different paths…

Ultimately, while cell phones transformed themselves into the Indian context very well by providing cheap calls to lower costs, lightening speed information on prices for farmers, cheap way of keeping in touch for long distance relationship lovers, for moms to check up on their ‘in school and not bunking’ kids, and free sms etc etc, Internet couldn’t really strike the same chord in the daily lives of Indians. It could not go much beyond educated, and computer literate people to the non english speaking housewives, moms, lalajis, and Gangu Bai for the betterment of their daily lives.

Does it mean Internet is irrelevant to India? Absolutely not; it just needs to wear colors of India over it, and ultimately go beyond rediff and naukri. The sites like Saleraja.com, mouthshut.com are getting into different spheres of our lives, beyond the traditional demographic which was being served…

Hashtags On Facebook: Implications For You And Your Brand

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With Facebook finally having forced to follow Twitter and Instagram and having had to onboard hashtags, there has to be implications. Here are 4 most important ones for you and your brand 

1. What’s Trending: What is most important for a marketer on a social media platform. It is to know what’s making the most noise and is being followed frantically. Twitter and Google+ are two platforms which clearly show what’s trending because these are easily captured via Hashtags. With FB now bringing Hash, it would soon make people know what’s trending on FB which is nowhere in sight currently. Imagine with the number of folks on FB how crucial this will be for brands and for common folks.

2. Increase in Exposure: Till now what you posted on facebook was limited to the number of fans you had and constantly added. Now everything that you post on the platform with a relevant and appropriate hashtag is visible to everyone who is looking for something close to that. Imagine you are a photographer and with each photo with a relevant hashtag you will be connected to folks who would be looking for services in the domain you cater to. With the kind of numbers and engagement that Facebook see’s you are in with a business once you work with good relevance.

3. Customizing your Hashtags: So you thought this will increase spam, not really. Facebook will allow you to filter and search for hashtagged comments within your social circle as well. So if you want to know what your network is saying about a get-together that you have planned, you can just filter it down to your network, thus avoiding spam that is unwanted information. Extrapolate this and imagine the same for a brand, how relevant isn’t it?

4. Massive Advertising Reach: The reach of advertising will increase massively through hashes. Imagine Tata Nano launching a new car with some feature that is worth talking. They push the ad on Facebook with a #Nanonew. Now anyone who comments on the video and uses the hash becomes a part of the thread irrespective of him/her commenting on the video post. The best part is Tata can take stock of everything that has been happening on it. Works great, isn’t it?

We all know Hash tags have been very successful for both Twitter and Instagram. It enables users from all over the globe to come over and discuss on things they want to, breaks global divide completely. By bringing Hash on Facebook, it has increased competition, especially for Twitter which had launched its advertising space very recently. How will it impact both the platform we will know in a while, for now though the brands stand to gain a lot from all the efforts.

How A Restauranteur Would Have Responded To The Lemp Incident

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Ankush Kumar, our fellow writer and also the owner of Patna’s biggest theme restaurant In-Flight Kitchen, created on a theme of an airplane, in this first ever Q&A on Mission Sharing Knowledge talks of how he sees the Lemp incident, how much impact can the social media make and how would he have tackled the incident.

1. Are online reviews equally powerful as others? Should they be given so much importance? How much attention would you give to viral promotion vis-a-vis traditional ones which these days have a perception of being “bought”?

AK: In an age where the ‘taar’ is going out of fashion because of the internet, today when we have rural India selling cows and buffaloes on OLX, it would be foolish to ignore the power of the web. The guests who visits restaurants in urban India today and are ready to pay for their service are the ones who are constantly updating their lives through their smartphones. These online user reviews are definitely a huge plus for any business. It is an added indicator to improve on our shortcomings. Having said that it is not the only parameter to judge one’s performance. In todays age we cannot keep a single parameter in isolation. Its the total package that counts.

2. Do you bother about online reviews on portals and do you answer back negative ones and try resolve consumers who go bonkers?

AK:  I don’t know about the established set ups, sometimes they do ignore complaints. But since I am just seven months old in the business of hospitality, and food has been a passion that drives me, I pay heed to each response and try to improve on that. There are regional hazards one faces for example since my restaurant is in Patna my stewards are not comfortable with english language, but I have trained them to understand that being polite and courteous needs no language. It is universal. Reviews online are updated only when the guest is appalled, we ensure it doesnt reach to that level. Hence all our online reviews so far have been positive.

3. If something similar to Lemp happens to your restaurant, how would you deal with the situation?

AK: I have never been to Lemp. Though I know a few people who have suffered similar heartburns with their service and attitude. See very few people today run a restaurant to generate profits, most of them do it to manage their capital. People like me always dreamt of having restaurants. If you have a team that shares the same passion such issues will never arise. If such an incident happens at InFlight Kitchen in my absence first I will go through the cctv footage to ensure that the guests complaints are genuine. And after that will compensate my guests the way they want it. And finally heads will roll.

4. What learning lesson you think can be learnt from this incident?

AK: If you as a boss are brash by nature go open a petrol pump, not a restaurant. Every hotel management institute teaches you to treat your guests well. If you cannot inculcate that aspect in your team you might as well not run the restaurant. Handling irate customers is your job so is to respect their sensibilities.

5. Have you as a consumer faced something like this when you went to eat out?

AK: I have faced similar situations many a times, but unlike the people who took the pains to write a documented proof of their harrasment I chose to ignore it. Also the dissatisfaction i faced did not go this far.

Are Women More Brand Loyal Than Men?

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By Parul Gupta

It is always said that, “women are more loyal than men”. This is not universally accepted in the personal lives but trusted by the companies. As stated by Nadia Chauhan, CMO, Parle Agro, “Women customers are more loyal than men customers. For woman, a brand is a commitment and she hates to break the commitment while man flirts with the brand”.

The reason that explains the difference in the behavior of men and women towards any brand lies in their different attitude, feelings and emotional patterns. Woman makes relationship with a brand in the same way as she does with the other human beings. She values the relationship and hates to break off with her brand as there is an uncertainty associated with a new relationship with a new brand. Whereas, man loves to try a new brand and likes to fickle around.

Gaining customer loyalty is a Herculean task for any company. Hence, the aim of all promotional activities of companies is summed up to one little word called Brand Loyalty. Brands quite often associate Brand Loyalty with female buyers and run exclusive campaigns and programs to maintain it. The recent success of the P&G’s campaign ‘Thank you, Mom’ solely focused on females, is the best example of the loyalty concept.

Maintaining a Brand Loyalty in today’s economy is extremely challenging for any business. Loyalty now is more like a two-way relationship- businesses can also demonstrate their loyalty to customers by listening to their needs and concerns, actively engaging and responding to client issues, and using that information to anticipate market trends. In this way, the new version of customer loyalty is more of a mutually beneficial relationship, rather than a one-way flow of products and information.

Women have been found to be more loyal to brands than men in a recent survey carried out in the UK by The Logic Group and Ipsos MORI. In the survey of more than 2,000 consumers, 67pc of women said they are members of at least one loyalty scheme, compared with 57pc of men. “When it comes to brand loyalty men and women clearly have very different drivers and motivations,” said Anamaria Chiuzan, customer insight and loyalty specialist for The Logic Group. “The challenge for brands is to capture these differences in their loyalty messages and programmes, ensuring that they offer the right deals and messages at an individuallevel.

Loyalty is about the customer experience underpinning engagement with a brand. A series of factors determine how that experience should be defined: age, sex, lifestyle etc. Loyalty succeeds when the brand messages are tailored to build an experience that resonates with different customer types. Hence, the businesses should be more focused on conveying the right message to their customers in order to build Brand Loyalty.

The author is a Management Professional. She has also been working as a freelance writer. Her articles get published in newspapers, magazines and websites. She writes on various technical & non-technical topics such as education, career and self motivation.

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Do You Have a Mobile Strategy to Hire Candidates?

Rahul Krishna, Manager Talent Acquisition Group at Espire Infolabs talks about a mobile strategy to hire candidates to empower employees by a cloud referral system! Also talks about opening a new source to get candidates other than the job boards.

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A Mobile phone can be a potential source to recruit top talent in your organizations. We have all the major job boards & application on our phones and this improves the candidate’s user experience to apply as you see.

There can be application acting as a referral system which empower the recruiters and open a new gate to get those referred resumes which are not present on a job board. It’s quite important to realize that the referred candidate has higher chances to qualify and join the organization as we have an employee who has referred that candidate. We are connecting to the web and corporate recruiters must understand and learn the uptrends of the market. We need to integrate a mobile application with the career website which will open a window to refer candidates

As you read further in the article we will explore the techniques for hiring talent globally & also participating in the Mobile uprising for convenience, with a click of a button which is handy enough for you.

Make this application available on the cloud, get this application to your employees; this will enable them to refer when they are not at work. Your employees will make a difference and the employees who do not refer they will also start using it as this is available on the smartphone. They have an independence to make a request and share the contact number, name and email address, a resume can be given at a later point of time. In this manner your employees have all the job opportunities of in their handheld, so it is easy for them to check with their old colleagues/friends and enable them and giving a chance to work with them. Also in this referral system we can prioritize the urgency of the position to get filled as we are hiring all billable resources and it involves a lot of money.

We may not be in front of our computer however we are always available on phone. Let’s try to be on the mobile to hire best talent globally through a referral system, giving confidence and opening a gate to your employees to participate in their company growth.

4 Reasons Your Brand Should Be On Google+

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In 2011 when Google first launched Google+, a lot of brands offloaded their content and themselves on it. Only to find that the level of interaction was nowhere close to other social networks especially Facebook. Some went immediately off it, saying, that there is enough traction for them on FB so they would not WASTE bandwidth here. A few brands though made very innovative and useful usage of google+ and that made others stand up and notice as to what all can happen on this another innovative platform from the stable of Google. Here are four reasons your brand will only lose if it’s not on G+

1. The omnipresence of google is well known. From search to mail to maps to earth to docs to chat, you name it and they have it in their stable. So basically, google+ is nothing but a tremendous social extension of all those listed above. To add to this m sure, all of us have sometime or other used some of the product of google, thereby making us more closer to G+. Plus if you thought google+ is ghost town like many like to believe, here is some data for thought. There are 500 million people currently on G+ and approximately 343 million are pretty active. The social network has already been named the second largest active network in the world, bigger than twitter and youtube. Decide for yourself the value after seeing the numbers.

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2. Better Discoverability: That little +1 button that you see on google+ will soon be as omnipresent as google is. You will find it in display campaigns, ads, on your site and on search results too. Google tracks these +1’s and measures who all are recommending and interacting with your brand. Before you even realize, all the +1’s around your brand will be connected directly to your G+ page. What these numbers and +1’s will indicate is what will help google put your company in places that actually matter. Thus brand engagement extension. Don’t miss out.

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3. More Extensive Engagement: Communities are the next big thing in online and social and Google+ definitely is playing big on it. It is places like these where real people come out and have conversations around what they want, what they desire, what they liked from what they bought and what is their next most important need. They discuss interests which directly impacts their buying behavior, thereby exciting brands. Brands thus could create communities, be part of some, and discuss, listen and monitor conversations for their benefits.

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4. Let’s Hangout: What better than brands having customer conversations from their social profiles. Google+ makes this possible and there are examples which show how brands have actually made live launches, done live samplings, live testings of products very successfully. There is nothing like making the consumer a part of the brand building process and hangouts are perfectly designed to suit that purpose. Brands have also done giveaways which has excited consumers and have made them come back again to the social to see action and hope future giveaways.

These are just four of Google+ great functions that could help your brand engage more with your consumers. Go in and check out other such exciting features as the product continues to evolve like all other Google products.