I recently contributed a column in Pitch on the role of mass media in building ecommerce brands. You can catch it here.
<context> I missed the Twitter debate, but it was still interesting to see the two perspectives shared by Karthik and L.Bhat on Nike’s ‘Bleed Blue’ campaign. Bhat’s initial post was a good summing up of the campaign, and what made it work. Karthik’s contention was that Nike did not deserve credit primarily because it was “tightly associated with the team’s performance” – an external occurrence. There were other reasons too, but I gathered that this was the crux of it. The contrasting example was Pepsi’s Hoo Haa – Blue Billion effort during the 2006 Champions Trophy. In a second post, Bhat also acknowledged a correlation (between the campaign’s and India’s success) and rightly (IMO) stated that the campaign’s intent centred around ‘garnering support for Team India….’ and ‘portraying a positive, confident attitude about Team India…’ Also, as he points out, it stayed away from any ‘player superhero’ association or a ‘we will win the cup’ stance. </context>
This debate was also interesting from the perspective of what I wrote last week – brand identity and real time. But before we get there, my 2 cents on the debate. I would also credit Nike for the same reasons Bhat stated – strategy, product integration and ease of participation (execution). That is what separates it from say a ‘Pallu scoop’, which is fun and pure recall, or a ‘Get Idea’, which still hasn’t given me an idea of how it’s keeping cricket clean. [yes, they aren’t apples, but they were the other hugely visible campaigns]
Big ticket result-based events (including movies, which Karthik has mentioned) is a risk-reward game because there really isn’t any data that allows you to place sure-shot bets. But the way I see it, you can place a successful bet, and still not gain enough mileage (bad erm, ideas, bad execution etc). Nike got it right, and there was some hard work involved.
Come to think of it, I wonder if there’s any other approach Nike could’ve taken, especially since they were the official apparel sponsors. Look at the competition – Adidas had a Tendulkar ad and Reebok had nothing. It was a ‘once in 4 years’ opportunity and they seized it. India winning the cup was a key factor in the campaign’s success, but not the only one. Also, I don’t know if they had a back up plan – a “we’ll be back in 2015”, “thank you for giving it your best shot”, “bled to death”. Ok, not the last one, but you get the idea. Maybe they did and would’ve come out smelling like roses anyway. In any case, the efficacy of the campaign is probably best decided after it ends. In this case, it made Nike the buzz brand with other heavyweights in the fray, including the mighty Zoozoos. (Loved them though)
Meanwhile, by design or not, Nike’s approach was also quite a “Just Do it” one. (hindsight/retrofit) From the last post’s perspective, I wonder how much/whether that identity played a part in the design and success of the campaign. But on big events, celebrity endorsements etc, going forward, real time management of campaigns will increasingly become a requirement, thanks to the instant feedback tools that exist. Perhaps brands should formulate ‘what if scenarios’ and corresponding approaches when they plan large scale campaigns, especially when it’s linked to events that don’t offer much support in the form of data. The other way is to scale after the relevant data comes in, but that would involve quite an execution effort.
until next time, blue positive
PS: Nike, next time, stadium checkins and a Bleed Blue 4sq badge too please
Since I have been on streams and brands for a while, I thought I’ll take a break and plug you in on a couple of discoveries and connections. For those reading this in Google Reader or actually anywhere else other than this site itself, kindly step outside. No, the hands can still be on the keyboard/mouse but please drop in at the site since it’s contextually relevant that you be here.
One of the fringe benefits of writing this column for Bangalore Mirror is that I sometimes discover interesting startups that are useful to me as well. Now I am associated with two of them – one on each blog. And since we’re on discovery, and I don’t want to bore you more with semantics, allow me to introduce you to Dhiti, a content discovery engine driven by semantics. I first read about them at Pluggdin and then got a mail from Aditya (at Dhiti) to try it out. I have, many a time, expressed my frustration about WP’s native search, the plugins I have tried to augment that, as well as the not-as-accurate-as-I’d-like YARPP plugin that I have been using so long. Dhiti arrived just in time and, from the short experience so far, has solved this to a very large extent. To see it in action, scroll away to the bottom of this post (later, after reading the post completely!!)
The Dhiti plugin, which you can download from here, has versions for WP.com, (thanks Ranjani) Blogger or self hosted WP blogs like mine. It provides multiple ways for you to get to more, and contextually relevant content in this blog – a ‘search’ function, a ‘Topics’ section displays the topics the post covers, a ‘Concepts’ section which shows the related topics, and ‘Nuggets’ which show excerpts from posts. Words in both Topics and Concepts are clickable and when you click them, the Nuggets show the excerpts of posts in which they have appeared and highlight them, so you can quickly understand the context and navigate to the relevant post accordingly. It functions just like a browser with ‘back’ and ‘home’ functions. You can even make it a pop-out within the page if that works better for you. Do play with it and let me know your feedback. I have asked for better customisation options and am also supposed to get some analytics from them.
So, Dhiti gives food for thought, and my new friends at the other blog give actual food. Ok, they help you find food, specifically restaurants. Zomato, formerly known as Foodiebay is now taking snippets from the restaurant reviews on my blog, and adding them to the menu and photos they already have. More than the hits that will hopefully deliver ;), I was really kicked about their Android app. If you have an Android, download the app right now from the market. It automatically detects your location, and then allows you to discover a random restaurant nearby, recommends a restaurant near you or just plain search. Pretty much all the website functionality is built into the app. There’s even a button to call! The showoff feature is the ‘Shake’ and though it doesn’t do the ‘slot machine’ like Urbanspoon, it still rocks!
until next time, scroll below for discoveries
Though I don’t answer much on Quora, I am quite a gawker and vote up answers too. One feature of Quora that I found extremely interesting and useful (and tweeted about) is the way Quora gives contextual ‘reputation’ (while reading answers) using the person’s topic bio. The interesting coincidence (because he also RT ed this tweet) is that I noticed it thanks to Mahendra‘s answer to a ‘Google Reader’ based question, and right next to his name was “Daily, dedicated user. Subscribed to over 200 feeds, followed by over 700 people on Reader/Buzz”. I must admit, before I realised that it was a topic bio, my first thought was why Mahendra was ‘wasting’ his Quora bio on Reader when he had such a huge list of phenomenal things he could say about himself.
But yes, coming back to ‘contextual reputation’, I liked it because it gives a lot of relevance and credibility and adds a layer to an answer – you can better understand where this answerer and his response is coming from, for example. Another nuanced way of helping the reader weed out noise. I also thought this was a good way for brands/organisations to develop credibility in their domain, and involve their users, using function specific spokespersons, (brand, HR, operations etc) since “brands are currently not supported on Quora“.
And now we can go off on a tangent and check out a few brand experiences I had last week, all with oblique connections to contextual reputation, though lycra like they might seem
When Airtel changed its logo sometime back, though there were infinite debates on the need and quality of the new logo, their on ground management of the logo change was almost unequivocally appreciated. However,
To their credit, the ‘everything’ search, though has the old images, has the first link pointing to the new logo. But from an image perspective, ‘contextual reputation’ for logo change online gets a thumbs down.
Cleartrip, quite a favourite brand for their ‘no nonsense. clear talk and action’ way of managing their product and online presence, has a new campaign ‘Every trip has a purpose‘. But favouritism unfortunately doesn’t stop me from wordplay and I tweeted
Just as i was chided for provoking a brand, and was replying that I trusted Cleartrip to have a sense of humour, they replied with a ‘laughing hard’. Contextual reputation thumbs up. Hopefully they weren’t being sarcastic.
The last experience was from Tanishq, whose new Blush campaign I came across last week. Like I tweeted then, immediately after the Quora tweet, I found it quite interesting and worth an applause that a brand was experimenting with a Firefox/Chrome plugin. Instead of me explaining how it works, I will, in my new found enthusiasm for imagery, give you a screenshot.
As you can see, the plugin gives you, in addition to the ‘Like’, ‘Comment’ options you see after a Facebook status, a ‘Blush’ option, which when clicked, adds a comment with a link to the ‘Blush’ page. Hmm. I won’t get into a ‘app within FB vs outside website’ debate (there must be some reason, I assume). But unfortunately, boring that I am, I’ve never seen a jewelery that has made me blush. I can’t even see it in the Tanishq collection, assuming that I have the ‘where to wear it’ right. Maybe girls/women see it differently. So, why didn’t Tanishq just have a ‘Gold’ button, which would actually add to their ‘contextual reputation’ more than blush, and tie it to some sort of action that would actually get something tangible for all involved.
For example, I install the plugin and start using it just because of the ‘show off’ value. What if they tied in an offer linked to the number of “Golds” I gave/received on statuses, and then communicated that in the comment that appears after I have ‘Gold’ed a comment. Or how about virtual gifts, a way to showcase the gallery, and then an easy app to add the virtual gift to a profile pic? I have an inkling that women are likely to have a “nice earrings/pendant. where did you get it from” conversation. They could even make this Like based contest i.e. if you virtually gift someone and get them to add it to their profile pic, and they get maximum likes (make a leaderboard) we’ll let you actually gift them for free. Do that on Valentine’s day, and it just might work.
Meanwhile, I have a ‘reputation’ for longish posts, so I’ll just stop here.
until next time, add to the context?