Brands, Business, Life: Everything Needs Balance

Minal DRozarioPodium welcomes Minal D’Rozario, Co-Founder & Director, Ideosphere Consulting. Minal has diverse corporate experience with core skills in leadership development, strategic planning for new markets and divisions and/or turning around key client accounts. Today, she discusses the importance of balance for being a successful brand.

‘Everything needs balance, Neelkanth. The masculine needs the feminine. The energy requires the mass. So think!’

‘Yes a duality that is one of the many perspectives of the universe – the masculine and the feminine. The Asuras and the Suryavanshis represent the masculine. The Devas and the Chandravanshis speak for the feminine. The names change, but the life forces they embody remain the same. They will always exist, neither can ever be destroyed. Otherwise the universe will implode.’

These two pieces from Amish Tripathi’s Shiva trilogy got me thinking about its implications on our current day organization and dynamic structures, on brands and brand strategies. What can we learn from these pieces of history or mythology as we put it or how can the science behind them help us in our very complex, competent digitally connected world of today?

Venus vs. Mars
The masculine way of life is “Life by Laws”, it is very clear. Laws are unchangeable and they must be followed rigidly. There is no room for ambiguity. Life is predictable; because all have to do what has been ordained.

The feminine way of life, on the other hand, is “Life by Probabilities”. There is no absolute, no black or white. People don’t act as per some preordained law, but based on probabilities of different outcomes perceived at that point-of-time. The moment the probabilities change, their loyalties do as well. Change is the only constant.

What is the right way?
In the context of today’s digital world, the feminine way of life may be the obvious choice with technology, consumer realities, behaviors and preferences changing by the minute. The ability to anticipate changing gaps, and filling the right gap at the right time enables you to remain relevant, preferred, and profitable. This helps you create an ecosystem aligned with a specific vision.

But if it were so simple, then every business would be a success story. What is missed out, and also needs to be remembered here, is that to be able to cope with this rapid and often unstructured change, a disciplined and focused organization is required. You have to understand the grammar to be able to break it.

5-Secrets-of-Balance1The Perfect Mix
In the modern day organization structure, it is sincerely believed, that like in real life, a delicate balance between masculine and feminine needs to be maintained. And only those organizations that are able to move above the pull and push of these two ways will emerge as true winners in the long run. This is particularly also an insight for various startups. For example Ola Cabs and Urban Ladder, now established brands, may be a perceptually masculine brands (rigid in their approach) but have managed to create a connect with their audience in times of highs and lows.

Or Pantene and Fair & Lovely are feminine brands to the core, but that does not mean the organization behind them is feminine. The companies behind these brands – HUL and P&G are very masculine organizations run by processes and structures including innovation and CRM. They have been successful because of the balance in duality they were able to achieve.

In today’s fast paced life, a consumer has infinite choice but no time or energy to waste on deciphering things. Customers nowadays want very clear-cut and precise communication of what is on offer and what is in it for them. Thus, in this context the duality of the organization needs to be dropped out of the message communicated to the intended target audience. A clear image of either the masculine or feminine nature of the brand needs to be communicated, with the other one kept silent by intent.

Everything needs balance, no doubt about it, but the choice of tilting towards the left, right or center, based on needs, will determine your quantum of success.

PR Advocacy at Exhibitions – Connect & Engage with your Stakeholders

Anand-Close Up Pic copyPodium welcomes Anand Mahesh Talari, Co-Founder and Director of Mavcomm Consulting Pvt. Ltd. Anand has been a senior counsel for major Brands including Audi India, Maersk Line, DLF Ltd. and India Yamaha Motors; and has been a chief architect for handling and execution of the Auto Expos’ in 2008 & 2012.

Growing up in Delhi, exhibitions and trade fairs became part of my life.  I vividly remember visiting anything and everything from philatelics; the Delhi book fair and the annual pilgrimage to the India International Trade Fair (IITF), at the infamous Pragati Maidan, much to the consternation of my parents!

The true impact of exhibitions only dawned upon me in my professional capacity as a Brand advocate.  Exhibitions in India today are as critical for many Brands, as is community building in the social and digital space.  They may appear less sexy at first glance but exhibitions offer a very powerful medium for brands to reach out and engage with all stakeholders directly.

  • One location and many stakeholders: An exhibition brings together multiple stakeholders alongside multiple opportunities. The whos’ who of the industry are all in attendance top-down from government to end-consumers.
  • New product launches: There can be no better platform than an exhibition, especially so in a booming consumer market like India currently.  Naturally you want to integrate your online activity and with lakhs of customers on-site for a concentrated period, if you get offline mechanics and promotions to work, these will drive online Brand conversations and interest. Exhibitions like Auto Expo also manage media opportunities very effectively for Brands, providing forums for press conferences & media round-tables.
  • Stakeholder feedback: I have visibly seen my client organizations all indirectly benefit from investing in this annual marketing activity, leveraging customer and business feedback to affect outcomes in strategic planning, market research and product development.  A clearly mapped out strategy gives brands an opportunity to gain crucial feedback through questionnaires and verbal feedback.
  • Expanding your media community: Naturally, exhibitions attract a broad range of media.  This can be an excellent opportunity to connect names to faces, and extend your media networks with influencers across the industry.
  • Capturing Databases: Today’s buzz is about CRM, data building and managing customer relationships.  Exhibitions enable Brands to bring customers onboard via registered programmes that ensure that you are community building and continuing dialogues online.

All the above factors lay testimony to how exhibitions PR can be a most effective tool if done right and be an integral campaign part of the ongoing PR campaigns.

Brands, however, need to trade carefully.  Be mindful about the cost of participating in such events. Clear cut planning and strategizing is of foremost importance, keeping in mind the intended ROI from participation.  Is it a customer and prospect building exercise?  Are you focused on a product launch?  In both cases, establish metrics that you want to achieve. In reality,  you don’t need to be everywhere and therefore picking and choosing your local, national and global exhibitions is an exponentially beneficial exercise.  Critical to all of this, is the strength of your team to be able to deliver a successful event, manage costs and cross coordinate across a diverse team from media, event specialist and the client’s management team.  You are all under the spotlight.

Let me close on a lighter tone but nevertheless an important one.  Make sure you do enough to attract customers to the stand.   The stand’s ‘look and feel’ from lighting, music, contents and products play an important role in attracting the first crowd and that acts likes a snowball effect, continuing to generate the footfalls your Brand deserves!

India’s Most Hated

ChaiTime-Image05.01.16.jpgGoonj Labs, a mass media research startup, has tracked down the trends, popular mentions, Google searches and YouTube viewership to map the popularity of Brands in India. In a report called ‘The Goonj India Index 2015’ Facebook was the most wanted brand in India in 2015 with 24,505.93 GPM (1 GPM = Estimated reach of 1,00,000 on Digital Media). Airtel meanwhile saw itself at the bottom as the most hated brand with 137.03 GPM. Among other popular brands were Dainik Bhaskar and TOI with 808.30 GPM and 662.06 GPM. » Taking advantage of the ‘odd-even scheme’ in Delhi, Radio City 91.1 has launched a clever campaign themed ‘Odd ya Even, Gaadi Dega Radio City 91.1’, providing free cab service to the selected lucky listeners. With this initiative Radio City is not just offering convenience, but also facilitating carpooling and encouraging listeners to contribute their bit to ease pollution ridden Delhi. » As New Year resolutions go, we all have our own goals set for the year. Some decide to read more while others decide to build ‘artificial intelligence’, well at least Mark Zuckerberg does. The Facebook billionaire in a recent post revealed that his personal challenge for 2016 is to build a virtual assistant to help run his house and assist him at work, “kind of like Jarvis in Iron Man”. Zuckerberg is known to take such personal challenges every year, last year it was read two books a month and learn Mandarin before that.

Brand Hub For Advertisers

ChaiTimeTwitter has unveiled a new set of brand-centric analytics with ‘Brand Hub’. The new tool will help advertisers understand their brand’s share of conversation, key audiences, and trends about their brand’s conversation. The tool will showcase insights on a number of key areas like True Voice, Audience and Conversation Details. » Facebook announces its latest initiative ‘2G Tuesday’s’ for its developers. Intentionally reducing their internet speed to 2G, the optional feature will be available to the employees to simulate the conditions of users with 2G connections, helping develop technologies to enhance user experience on slow speeds. » Facebook messenger is also killing off its dysfunctional ‘Other Inbox’, replacing it with ‘Message Requests’ which are essentially friend requests for chat allowing non-friends to message you. Calling it a ‘fundamental development’, Facebook believes it will change the way people use Messenger.

Terms & Conditions Applied

ChaiTime-Image16.10Amazon India’s festive celebration went down South as a police complaint was filed in Coimbatore by a local political party accusing Amazon of fooling people through their advertisement about the ‘Gold Contest’. Buried deep in the fine print is a clause which renders TN residents ineligible for the content. Why this obviously important information is not explicitly clear in the print ads, is cause for complaint by the local party members. » Brands doing business in India better clean up their act on Social Media. According to a survey by American Express Global Customer Service Barometer (CSB), “71% Indians use social media to get a customer response”. The other key findings of CSB are that 56% Indians share information about service quality and praise a company for great service experience. » International News Media Association, South Asia Board has announced New Delhi as the venue for its 9th Annual INMA South Asia News Media Conference. The event (scheduled for November 18-19) themed as “Not Just An Ordinary Disruption”, will focus on learning from non-media sectors and will feature Keynotes from PepsiCo, BCG, E&Y, IIM among others.