The location was right, and strangely, so was the price. In fact, almost everything was right and she told the current owner so. To make it perfect, she decided to ask him anyway. After all, they had done it before with soups at restaurants. “Excuse me, can you make it a three bedroom from two?”
The area was perfect. They called the number mentioned at the site, to be told that the price was Rs.13000 per sq.ft! The plan was simple – get a friend everyday to call up and start laughing hysterically as soon as the builder quoted the price. Hopefully, sense would prevail and the price would come down!
until next time, remember Part 1?
They would’ve loved to live here. A relatively hidden area in the heart of Koramangala, such that the EMIs would karmically commit them to several rebirths. But they had a plan. A group deal involving like minded people – to dump garbage there everyday until the rates came down. This post is the first step.
<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
Yes. Quite liked the movie – Inception. Mostly because I found the concept (dream incubation, lucid dreaming) interesting and because it forced me to pay attention. Sometimes, movies like that can be refreshing. Of course, it helped that the visuals were very watchable too, and the last shot added to the charm.
For those who haven’t seen the movie, not to worry, the post only refers to it in terms of concept. At a very basic level, its about planting an idea (Inception) inside a person’s head. Only, he shouldn’t know it was planted by someone else, he should think it’s his idea. In a world where a lot of people anyway falsely claim an idea as their own, you might wonder why this is interesting, but ignore that for now. Meanwhile, since the person needs to think its his idea, a basic version of the idea is planted in a dream state, in the subconscious.
Like the movie maker has said about the end, its whatever you want it to be, so here goes. The other reason I liked the movie was because of the ‘life subtext” – the part that makes comparisons to The Matrix inevitable. I thought many acts of ‘Inception’ happen to us too, over a period of time – sometimes done by others, sometimes by ourselves – conditioning. And since we don’t really contemplate why we choose to do a certain thing/in a certain way, we end up thinking that what we’re doing is what we really want.
Half my life
Is in books’ written pages
Lived and learned from fools and
You know it’s true
All the things come back to you
And just like how in the movie, the ‘projections’ (things and people used by a dream-architect to populate the dream world) turn hostile when the person detects an external presence in their sub conscious, in life, the problem starts when we suddenly realise the existence of the conditioning, and realise that perhaps, much time has been spent on chasing an ‘inception’.
Every time that I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone
It went by, like dusk to dawn
And yet, some would say that their lives have been made better by pursuing that one idea. So how do we really know? In the movie, the people who carry out ‘inception’ and the lower forms of the art (extraction) have a totem that helps them distinguish dreams from reality. I wonder if we have something comparable, but then, I wonder, if life would be as interesting as it is if I did have a spinning top or a rolling dice to give me a better grip on reality.
until next time, deception
Lyrics: Dream On, Aerosmith.
While reading up on the original premise of this blog – brands, I came across a couple of interesting articles that spanned both my interest areas – brands and social media. The first was on Brand Accretion. Accretion is defined as “An increase by natural growth or addition”. Now, in this instant age, this would be considered a ridiculous thought. But to me, I’d prefer to take it as one more argument against the ‘only large campaigns’ approach that I see many brands take. You can read an earlier rant here. A couple of tangential by products of an accretion approach could be brands being able to tackle the long tail more effectively, and being able to espouse causes with a long term vision, like environment-conscious efforts for example; in essence, a flexibility to scale up based on a dynamic business environment, and one that would help brands deliver their promise better, which will be critical, as we go along.
The other interesting post I read was one that distinguished between new and social media. Now, quite honestly, they were very interchangeable terms to me, but I tend to agree with the post, and the way it distinguishes the two. The simple example would be this – a blog is new media, it becomes a social medium when there are comments and conversations that happen around a post.
Both new and social media bring out a lot of creativity, simply because of the innumerable sources it throws up. It acts as a perfect background to riff. Here are a few interesting ones I saw recently.
This one, by Idea is about a month old, and is here in case anyone missed it. Its called Rapchick Mumbaiyya test, and was a smart way to connect to the city, during the brand launch.
Warner Bros has been doing some interesting stuff too – their ad-supported video on demand online network site “features full episodes of defunct series that gained cult status over the last decade. The WB.com is a new digital destination built from the ground up for the same 16- to 34-year-old audience that embraced the WB when it was a television phenomenon”. It has Buffy, roswell etc, but the bad news is that its only available in the US. And i thought the web has no boundaries.
And if Medianama’s thread of thought is accurate, they might be doing some very cool stuff on Twitter, by creating The Joker there. But I’m not very sure of that one, since I also have the Riddler, Two Face and even Rachel Dawes following me now!!!
The last one is from NIIT (via Alootechie) , which has created a character called Preeti Technani, who has an Orkut profile, a wordpress blog, who is positioned as a mentor, but manages to plug NIIT in between Lastly, here’s a clue on how not to use social media.
until next time, be social
Reading this post today, on how Tata Sky and Dish TV have both partnered with matrimony portals -Bharat Matrimony and Shaadi.com respectively, in the space of a single day, I realised how fickle competitive advantages really are. It also reminded me of a much debated post on Scobleizer yesterday on tech blogging, and where it’s at. While the initial premise of that post was how focus was now more on the biz part of it than the mutual discovery of stuff, it then moved on to fleeting attention spans and the quest for the latest shiny object on the www. And how every tech blog out there is trying to beat each other in reaching the latest news first.
Which essentially makes news the commodity and ways to reach the audience first the competitive advantage. Pretty much the same game as what our TV channels are upto these days. When I look around, i see commodities happening all around, to all sorts of product categories, and brands ending up aping each other so that they don’t miss the bus. So whether its reality shows or strange four letter acronyms for shampoos or features in mobile phones, remove the brand name and you won’t notice the difference. And to me, thats a problem, because in a commodity led culture, quantity led factors like volume, reach etc take precedence, mediocrity tends to become the norm, and no one thinks that they should figure out a better way to reach the consumer than the bus.
And that led me to think of ways and means of how brands can fight it. While I’ve been thinking of clear positioning as an obvious starter, I also realised there were some brands that not only created the big idea and ended up making a verb out of it – xerox, google, to name a couple, they were so radical either in thought or execution that they never actually positioned themselves. And before I go further, I apologise for taking you on this stream of consciousness trip. Now, not all brands can be lucky enough to get a not-easily-copiable idea or a drastic new way of executing it.
And that brought me to the potential of a brand which has taken a great first step in leveraging its brand name very well in the absolutely commoditised market of telecom- Idea. I’m sure you must’ve seen the TVC by now. While the campaign is indeed good, what I’m more impressed with is that now that they can actually focus on the innovative uses of utilising a mobile for the betterment of the individual and the society he lives in, and do a lifetime’s supply of campaigns, built around different ‘Idea’s. It offers a way to create a positioning that’s beyond communication. I think that this approach has the potential to build a superbrand. From a new media perspective, and considering that the mobile is almost ubiquitous now, think of the conversations that this could create, obviously around ideas.
That said, any ideas on how brands can beat commoditisation?
until next time, an idea and change
The issue has been doing the rounds in my head for sometime now, it started with a question on LinkedIn about companies using CSR only for PR purposes, and I thought now was a good time to share my thoughts, at the risk of it sounding like an attempt at gyan.
There was a very interesting topic tossed up last week here, on the role of social media, not in general, but in addressing the world’s problems. Whether all the coding gurus sitting down and making cool apps that generate thrills from a devouring audience are just doing it for its own sake rather than making a difference. While that question can be posed to just about anyone, and would elicit ‘no’ for an answer unless you were talking to an NGO or someone who works on CSR projects, it seems pertinent because well, its er, social media, and at its core, its about connecting people (sorry Nokia!). And it only seems fair that when the medium obviously has so much potential to change the world by the sheer amount of information it has, and the conversations it spawns, the humans that are so connected and the ones who are making the different levels and types of connections possible should also help out in bailing out those who are not privileged as themselves.
No, its not intended to be a moral debating session on career choices, although that’s welcome too. On the day i saw the (linked) post, by sheer coincidence I also came upon a few links which provided a start to answering the question. One was a presentation (via Chris Brogan) another, a site that holds immense potential. And yes, corporates can play roles that fit into their overall strategic objective and fulfill their business needs, check this by Motorola. (I’m beginning to have a healthy respect for this brand). Back home, this is worth a look, and I would like to see this Idea develop a bit more before I comment on it.
But while all these are definite concrete efforts towards making the world a better place, my belief is that the underlying philosophy of social media – sharing, collaborating, and most importantly transparency, is more fundamental and will itself cause quite a few groundbreaking things to happen in the way we develop as a society. With one single service like twitter, the flow of information is such that I am exposed to a multitude of new people, new websites, new thoughts, some of which make a profound impact on me, and on the way i think. As more and more people get hooked on to social media, think of the number of change agents it would create.
And it is vital for the change agents to absorb the inherent goodness that social media possesses. In an age when shortcuts to anything from file sharing to making money are eagerly lapped up, without a thought on its impact on others’ lives, and tech provides the means to do it and distribute it easily, it is important to ingrain a philosophy that would make developers and users think a little about common good when they engage themselves in social media, a thought that would at least discourage them from doing harm.
until next time, evolve
..for everyone concerned, is what the new ‘Idea Rocks India’ campaign looked like to me. Idea is taking Shaan to some 20 towns across India, and the contest is giving you the chance to be part of the tour – there is a Voice of Idea contest that allows the winner to sing with Shaan, there’s also a regular IRI contest that alllows winners to get passes for the event.
Idea is trying to evangelise the online media through at least two efforts here. Firstly, VOI is supposedly India’s first online singing contest. Participants have to enter their recordings online in normal formats. Then the normal process of voting. Secondly, guys who recharge online get a chance to win passes. Meanwhile, there’s also an on ground regular IRI contest which is driven through the mobile platform. While Idea builds brand salience through ground concerts and ets revenues out of the SMS based contest, what is interesting is that except for Delhi, all the others are non metros and tier 2 towns, using the net as a primary medium in such places is quite a good experiment.
Meanwhile, the entire stuff seems to be hosted on msn (while i saw the ad on yahoo ). For MSN it is building new traffic as well as content. And what’s more, to listen to the songs one has to download Microsoft Silverlight. That, i thought, deserves a ‘Sirji, what an idea sirji’
And lastly, for Mirchi and Zee, there’s the content. Additionally, for Zee, Shaan is a good draw and ‘Voice of Idea’ in particular is a good property to be part of, considering Star has ‘Voice of India’ which Shaan himself comperes. Whatte fun.
Interesting connection – Idea owns a property called Idea Star Singer on Asianet, which is now owned by Rajeev Chandrashekhar, who used to own BPL Mobile, whose only competitor in kerala initially used to be Escotel, which was picked up by Idea.
until next time, some ideologies do work