Follow Your Heart. Lead Your Mind. You'll find a window everywhere.

Monday, December 26, 2011

To beat Australia at the MCG, India needs to wear brains.

So, the Boxing Day test between Australia and India has begun with all punches as expected from both sides!

If first day’s performance is to be evaluated, it will stand as Australia : India = 50 : 50.

However, the reality is Australia : India = 60 : 40.

Especially, the way the Aussies recovered from the score 214 for 6 to reach 277 for 6 at stumps.

No praise is adequate to acknowledge and appreciate the partnership – Haddin and Siddle put together, while chips were really down for Australia thanks to two dubious decisions by the umpires that undid Hussey first and then Cowan, almost back to back.

From then, when it was expected that India would wrap up the Australian tail soon, the real twist in the tale took place.

And, honestly, it happened more for the Indian’s lack of idea in bowling and field placement than the Aussies’ determined display of batting.

With the course of play it became evident that Siddle had a great defensive technique and he was quite ready to come on the front-foot to negotiate deliveries. Either to play at them or leave.

On the other hand, Haddin was just reluctant to take any risk whatsoever and happy to nudge the ball here and there for singles, twos or threes followed by occasional hits over the rope.

So the situation was, the Aussies were keen to play for the time and had no urgency to dash for runs, where India needed to push things up with more vision and vigour so as to bowl out their opponent, as soon as possible.

But, frankly it didn’t occur, as it should’ve been.

Nevertheless, the things could be sorted out still in order to change the game, if the following points are pondered… rather with an open mind

1. Asking Umesh Yadav to bowl at fierce pace targeting Siddle’s ribcage mostly, and time to time his toes, with five fielders on leg side. The fielders could ideally be placed at Fine Leg (somewhere in between short fine leg and deep fine leg); Backward short leg or Leg gully; Forward short leg (a bit square and pushed towards the leg umpire); Midwicket (somewhere in between original midwicket and deep midwicket) and Mid on (quite straight, much inside the ring to save quick singles). This ploy might not give Umesh Siddle’s wicket, but the batsman would definitely get softened up to fall pray to another Indian bowler, and this in the process could force Haddin to take some extra responsibilities to guard his partner by playing extra deliveries, bearing extra tension.

2. Keeping fielders for Haddin at Deep point or Deep cover, at Deep midwicket and at Deep mid on, while he played, in fact, not a single adventurous shot in his whole innings actually seemed pretty bizarre. When a team had two new batsmen at the crease and was tottering under some kind of pressure giving away such easy singles to them through wide spread field settings, made no sense to be precise. At that point of time, Haddin should’ve been made to struggle for every run and should’ve been compelled to go for big shots over the in-field.

3. Ishant should be asked to bowl only at good-length or just short of good-length but not away from off stump or short-pitch. Because given the pace, bounce and carry, as provided by the pitch, Ishant’s bouncers are likely to go over a batsman’s head, most of the time. But, Ishant’s in-coming deliveries which just hold their lines after pitching, or go away slightly outside towards off stump, are simply nightmares for any batsman. So, Ishant has to bowl those balls, continuously, as he turns into a wicket taking bowler only when he pitches the ball up.

4. In a vast ground like the MCG, run-choking is just a concept. In reality, there remain plenty of gaps on the filed, exploiting which a batsman can jolly well pile up runs just by taking singles. To prove that point, Australia made 277 from 89 overs with an average of 3.11 per over that can’t be said poor run rate in a test cricket despite Dhoni’s wide-spread field placement. And Dhoni needs not to forget one thing, in such a climate which is offering no such humidity, getting a batsman out by tiring him is not going to work as it does often in India. Therefore, as a captain he needs to think more and better than just going with the flow and hoping that something will happen soon.

To conclude, if Australia crosses 350, it’s likely that India will either lose the test or maximum salvage a draw at the MCG. Because, to win a test match overseas (or a series for that matter), a team needs to play magical cricket based on strategy, tactics and game plan beyond just skills, luck and miracle. And that's why; a captain on field needs to think sound and innovative, and that too, impromptu, applying nothing but sheer commonsense.

Monday, December 12, 2011

To go digital, a brand should trust god more than an agency in India.

I was exploring For some good news, assignments, or jobs… pertaining to advertising or media.

While I clicked on the link ‘jobswitch’, I saw an agency called Water is looking for professionals in several disciplines.

I’m not sure though whether it’s the same Water that operates as one of the SBUs of Mudra.

See the ad below, and also mark the red underline... (click on it to enlarge)

Since they are looking for Creative Director, for the reason obvious, I wanted to know more about it by visiting the link.

Then I landed on this ad… (click on it to enlarge)

And like I did, if you too see this ad properly, you’ll get to know that Water has talked about many things in the text – and creatively perhaps – save for providing you with any contact details where you can send your application and CV, or simply call up!

Even if you click on the ad for umpteen times or keep refreshing the page, you will know that it’s not hyperlinked to their website or any contact page either.

Now, what notion will you develop about such an agency that also used Ogilvy’s name to create interest in their appoint ad through quite a high-voltage gimmick?

However, I won’t be surprised at all, if I find that the agency is claiming to have done wonder for their clients in the domain of interactive ads or digital communications like many other agencies that don’t even have a proper or upgraded company website in place.

Actually, from the ad of Water, it’s evident once again what kind of agencies, SBUs, or creative hot-shops are functional of late across India and trying to leverage the digital communications and social media marketing on web and mobile!

To back my point then I have searched for Water on Google by the URL the agency has provided on And no wonder I have found the expected result only, as shown in the following pictures... (click on it to enlarge)

Anyway, before I conclude let me remind you, humbly, that the agency’s punch line is: The ROI Attitude and its value promise is: Water Your Brand.

Indeed. :) 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Don't let the fire of any AMRI Hospital gut your life again.

One of my classmates' Aunt is sinking at a Hospital now with multiple organ failure thanks to the choking at AMRI yesterday. Just asking, "Any candle march or Rs. 5 lac+, or the imprisonment of the Todis, Goenkas, etc., will help her live?"

No, right? I know.

That's why tried to suggest you what needs to be done, so as to save your aunt or mother, or wife, or anyone else, you love and really care for...

The fire at AMRI, Dhakuria in Kolkata helps Emami, Shrachi to be trending; no doubt.

Many things will be written and shown about Goenka, Todi, etc, at least for the coming two weeks.

A candle march, or may be a sandal march with Hawai Chappals in hand, is also a huge possibility to mark the aghast citizens' protest against such indifference and negligence of the hospital authority and management.

Rs. 5 lac compensation might be given away, or not, to each of the bereaved families. Plus, some unluckily lucky ones could get a few govt. jobs here and there.

But, what next? Is it going to stop those Todis, Goenkas, Agarwals from taking more human lives in the name of business or corporate culture across India? NO! NEVER.

Because this cluster of businessmen only understands how to make the balance sheet ringing. Therefore, it will hardly matter, even if they are hung till death.

Neither will their attitude change nor will their greed for money reduce.

If anything at all needs to be done to get them corrected and teach a lesson, that has to be full of purpose and resilience sans TRP / GRP jerking or Readership increasing media led gimmicks.

Those fellows need to be hit badly in their balance sheet only, but nowhere else. And to do so, all you need to do is stop buying any product whatsoever from the Brand stable of Emami and purchasing any flats / offices from Shrachi Group.

In case you can stick to this non-cooperation for a year at least; you will be able to help them experience, actually, how it feels when the balance sheet turns into 'balance shit'.

Once it's done, you can witness the change, hopefully, rather realistically in a positive way, because money matters to them more than it matters to you or anyone else.

HENCE, DO IT. Or do nothing, to silently wait for more such fire takes place, gradually, even in your bedroom.

So, happy burning, in advance! However, getting rid of such man made calamities is still in your hand, provided you wish to lead from within being high on motivation to act more and better than just reacting, instinctively, to forget the issue on the very next day or moment.

MiD DAY closed editions in Delhi and Bengaluru with CHEERS!

Why the face-u, hide-u, hide-u…
Why these Kolaveri Dis
Why the camera-u, click-u, click-u…
Why this Kolaveri Da

Well, if you are only singing this song… seeing the above picture, and thinking nothing great or big, you sure are not a visionary or management level employee, or CEO of a tabloid like MiD DAY!

“Janam Samjha Karo,” as Choli ke pichhe something exists, Burqa ke niche bhi something exists.

And if you could see what exists, you have the foresight and vision, the business acumen and, for sure, a template-MBA degree or diploma to capture Sunny Leone, Poonam Pandey, Rakhi Sawant, Mallika Sherawat and Liz Hurley in a single frame with just a click.

Probably Jagran Prakashan Limited (JPL) had possessed such a business vision under the stewardship of Mr. Manajit Ghoshal, MD & CEO, MiD DAY Infomedia, when the group acquired MiD DAY in May 2010… to bring Inquilab (revolution) through sensational news, raving up the tabloid culture across India.

However, with time, it became evident that MiD DAY could only incur loss thanks to its Delhi and Bengaluru editions despite the tabloid’s best of titillations for ‘producing’ news besides covering the same.

This, as usual, created a situation where finding scapegoats was mandatory to pass the buck on and make them sacrifice, eventually.

For the reason obvious, the management of MiD DAY under the canopy of JPL found the best possible solution, and that was to close the editions in Delhi and Bengaluru on and from December 06, 2011 and thereby compel all its journalists and other employees go jobless in those two cities.

And that too, notwithstanding the fact, as quoted by a MiD DAY insider, “Midday shut down for loss of Rs 2 lakhs by Jagran whose quarterly profit is Rs 30 cr. is this ridiculous or what?”

Funny, no? Yes, it IS!

Actually, the fun just began.

Now, please take a look at the CEO’s internal email, which Mr. Manajit Ghoshal sent to the employees in Delhi and Bengaluru in order to let them know that they were laid off.

Full Transcript of the great man’s great mail –

Dear colleagues,

It's with a heavy heart that I have to announce the closure of Mid-Day Delhi and Mid-Day Bangalore editions. Tomorrow's issue will be the last issue for both the editions. This has been necessitated by the prolonged losses we had to incur on these editions.

The idea behind starting these editions was to establish these brands in these cities and make a difference in the lives of the citizens there. We had begun well and were appreciated for the quality of product we put out. However, in a corporate scenario the books need to be balanced.

Due to the ever increasing competition in the print media space, the funds required for breakeven in these cities kept escalating. Finally, we had to take this call. We will however, continue to maintain a news bureau in Delhi and our sales offices in Bangalore and Delhi.

But, every dark cloud has a silver lining. The silver lining in this is that Mumbai Mid-Day now will have the strength to soar to greater heights. By cutting our losses in Delhi and Bangalore editions, we will be able to bolster our circulation in Mumbai.

Apart from the plan to channel these investments, Jagran group (our parent company) will invest a large sum in boosting Mid-Day's circulation in Mumbai. This will give our sales guys across the country to pitch Mumbai Mid-Day to clients and agencies in a new light.

We need to now concentrate on building brand Mid-Day in Mumbai and monetizing Mumbai Mid-Day's large increase in circulation and in this our sales colleagues in Delhi, Bangalore and Pune will have to play a significant part.

Gujrati Mid-Day and Inquilab continue to go from strength to strength. We are increasing the circulation of GMD at a brisk pace and will continue to do so. Inquilab has flourished in the north and we now have 14 editions in all and are far ahead of any competition in the Urdu space.

Mid-Day Pune is an extension of Mid-Day Mumbai just as the Pune city is an extension of Mumbai. Mid-DayPune will continue to run at an ever increasing pace and we will be monitoring the Pune media market keenly to spot opportunities to improve the circulation of Midday Pune.

We will continue to invest aggressively in our digital properties as we believe that this is a medium whose time has come.

5th December, 2011 is an important day in the history of Mid-Day. Today, we will have to halt and think. Think about many of our colleagues who will have to move on.

It's a testing time for them as it is for us. Right now it might look dark but I am sure both of us will come out of this with flying colours. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors. We also need to think about the added responsibilities for all of us who remain in this great organization and who have to carry its legacy forward. Let's begin this phase of our journey with renewed vigour and conviction.

In conclusion, I can only say that all dreams may not fructify but that will only encourage us to try harder and bring us closer, marching forward with a vision which only we can realise. We strive for continuity and absolutes but are reminded time and again that change is the only constant.

In this time of great pain and heavy responsibility, I am sure God will give us the tenacity to walk on-and then to break into a run-and once again soar to live our destiny.


Manajit Ghoshal

When a MD cum CEO of an organization starts a retrenchment email with a ‘heavy heart’ but ends with ‘cheers’, it speaks volumes for the person’s mental stability. And while such a person is at the helm of a business operation, no wonder MiD DAY turned MiD NIGHT in Delhi and Bengaluru where media war has been fierce, always, given the number of quality competitors.

Plus, from positioning and content point of views… trying to draw an analogy or a parallel between MiD DAY Delhi / Bengaluru and Inquilab / Gujrati MiD DAY has not only been weird but also made no branding or marketing sense to say the least.

It was like telling Harbhajan Singh that he was dropped from the team albeit Vidya Balan acted brilliantly in the Dirty Picture!

Keeping sales offices in Delhi, as well as in Bengaluru to bolster the media space selling for the Mumbai edition with an ambition to invest heavily in the digital space to proliferate the brand MiD DAY… so as to leverage the maximum, is yet another jive that only ridicules the concept of branding and marketing.

For a simple reason, to exploit the digital space, precisely the web and mobile, distance hardly matters. So why keep sales offices in Delhi and Bengaluru where you can’t keep the journalists and other staffs?!

Apart from that, it was also bizarre the way the management at MiD DAY literally enforced resignation on the employees in Delhi and Bengaluru, and used bouncers to drive the employees out of the office premise who were reluctant to leave.

See the termination – NOT RESIGNATION – letter below, as drafted by the management.  

There was no mention of any statutory compensations but a mere assertion of dues.

If some eyebrows were raised to inquire into ‘why compensation’, answering to that, because no prior intimation or notice was circulated to any of the employees in Delhi and Bengaluru before this sudden retrenchment.

Whereas, giving at least one month’s prior notice to lay off an employee is an absolute must, unless and until the employee has committed any criminal offense, or serving a probationary period. And, even if he has committed a crime, it needs to be proven first either by an internal committee and then at court.

In this context, the following facebook wall posts of Ms. Promita Mukherjee, Feature Editor, MiD DAY, Delhi should be sufficient for you to understand the malpractice, based on which, the management at MiD DAY offered pink slips and insulted its employees –

“Sachin Kalbag's msg to me: Note, he still hasn't addressed the team:

Promita, I am sending this message in private. We are trying our best get those Delhi colleagues who have not been retained for the Delhi bureau absorbed in Jagran Prakashan's publications such as City Plus, iNext, Jagran Digital and Jagran itself. I understand your anger, and I understand your pain. I would also request you to call me directly in case you need ANY clarification. You may have my number, but in any case it is +919820199551.



“For those who came in late, this is not against the shutting down of MiD DAY delhi shutting down or abt usz getting sacked. It is abt the way we were all dismissed thru an insensitive email. The editor Deep Halder, who is entitled to the highest compensation felt it is not abt money, it is abt our dignity. Neither the CEO, nor the executive editor Sachin Kalbag met us or addressed us over a video conference. We were okay with that also. But today, they were forcing us to sign an illegal document saying we are voluntarily resigning. The truth is, the edition is closing, we are not leaving on our own”

It’s also heard that the management at MiD DAY showed red eyes and tried to bully the employees in Delhi to accept the fabricated resignation, and prior to that the employees were duped to sign on an illegal agreement, which said that the employees were willing to not accept the Majithia Wage Board or Commission’s report / suggestions.

See this link and you will understand why no employee is a fool to refuse extra or more wages as per the Board or Commission's suggestion! That means MiD DAY has somewhat lost its way even on the legal front in line with Majithia.

Finally, if Promita’s tweet, “#MidDay, real intentions revealed. Shutdowns part of CEO's plan to devalue group so that he can buy it himself, sources confirm” is to be taken into serious consideration, it clears everything why MiD DAY needed to close down editions in Delhi and Bengaluru in such a manner, with ‘Cheers’, of course!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dev Anand and I.

When I came to know Dev Anand – ‘god of happiness’ – demised, I went literally numb for a while. The feeling was more of sadness than shock. Then experienced a nerve wrenching vacuum deep inside, as if I lost someone very close to my heart. Notwithstanding the fact we’ve hardly known each other.

So, the obvious question arises, “Why am I getting so sentimental?”

No, I’m not getting sentimental; I’m actually getting very emotional, reminiscing those songs on Dev Saab that have always been instrumental to help me grow up, shape up, and build up an image... to wear and carry for the world, outside.

It’s a different issue altogether though, whether the said image's been right or wrong, but it keeps on providing me with the spirit of life, till date, to LIVE… always with a hope that tomorrow is different and will be better.

I won’t cower to confess that it's from Dev Saab only, I've learnt many things like: ‘how to love’, ‘how to flirt’, ‘how to gamble’, ‘how to tease’, ‘how to booze’, ‘how to care’, ‘how to pain’, ‘how to motivate’, ‘how to mentor’, and ‘how to pack-up’… to ‘roll and act’ again and again... even without a gain, relentlessly.

And this process of learning has always been very enriching for me and my creative existence.

Just the reason, to celebrate his journey to a greater world, I'm trying to revisit my association with Dev Saab, muse-ically and musically, song by song, exactly the way I’ve consumed HIM since ages...

To love

To flirt

To gamble

To tease

To booze

To care

To pain

To motivate

To mentor

To pack-up, and roll again to act

And finally to say, with misty eyes, R.I.P. Dev Anand, my friend (if I may say so), philosopher and GUIDE!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Confusion in marriage starts with even a matrimonial ad

Ever thought, why you need to get married? Precisely, if you are an Indian and still delve into the concept of family first and arranged marriage.

If yes, great! If not, never mind. Let’s have a tête-à-tête on this.

You: “Because I want to settle down.”

I: “That means, unless you get married, you aren’t settled but unstable?”

You: “No, not like that. My parents are aging and they want me to settle down.”

I: “Cool, so you should get married for your parents and their age and wishes?”

You: “No, no, you’re getting me wrong. Actually you need a partner to share your life with.”

I: “Fair enough. Can you be a bit specific on the sharing part?”

You: “Well, sharing your happiness and grief; smiles and tears; joys and frustrations… you know.”

I: “Yes, I do. But you can do so even with a good friend, who understands you like anything. No?”

You: “I can, but you know, there are more things to it. I mean you can’t share everything with your friend na!”

I: “Everything means? You mean sex?”

You: “Ah, well, yes! Not only that but also many things… you know.”

I: “No, if I had known, then of course I wouldn’t have asked you, right? However, for sex you can have many other ways, and frankly I couldn’t understand your many things.”

You: “Many things like having your own child(ren), getting someone for your old age…”

I: “Okay, but to have a child, you can also adopt an orphan and for your old age care, there are so many good old-age homes of late, so…”

You: “Oh ho, you’re not getting me. Marriage is necessary, and you’ve to understand that.”

I: “I’ve never said marriage is not necessary. All I wanted to know is why it’s necessary.”

You: “I don’t know. You please stop. And don’t forget, if your parents hadn’t been married then you were not born either.”

I: “I own your words. So, broadly speaking, marriage is an affair from which you expect your child(ren) and old-age security in addition to many other inexplicable things, which might add more to your confusion, right?”

You: “May be.”

I: “Not may be, IT IS.”

You: “Get LOST!”

I: “Sure, as you say.”


Now, I may have got lost. Still, has it helped you in any way?

Have you got the answer, why do you need to get married?

Don’t worry; I’m just as confused as you are. Or perhaps, I’m more confused than you are.

And in India, where arranged marriage always raves, it’s likely that this confusion will start from the very beginning. As an advertisement itself, which clamours off a matrimonial site everyday, or newspapers on Sundays.

See such an ad in the following, (click on it and get it enlarged) mark the red underlines and realise what I meant –

In this ad, I’ve deliberately hidden a few fields with grey patches. Because my idea has never been to insult or assault anyone’s sentiments but just to show how funny, trivial and frivolous a marriage could be in India… given over-protective parents, family members and relatives, who actually force a bride / groom to be a joker in public eyes.

In short, you’ve ONLY two choices. Get married to remain confused in your entire life. Or get rid of your confusions first, and always, to have a happy life: Married or unmarried.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

The clueless run of Indian National Congress (INS) continues in Uttar Pradesh, even with the Assembly Election 2012 advertising campaign

Why you need to advertise?

1. To make people aware of your product / service / company offerings and get their attention

2. Win and hold their interest

3. Simulate and stimulate their desire

4. Ask for a concrete action

Be it condom or rocket; biscuit or bride, or anything else – the four basic premises of advertising have always remained unchanged.

Big, bigger, biggest pundits, with bald head to ponytail to horsetail; French cut to goatee; six-pack to potbelly; tattoo to tongue prick, might differ and produce infinite number of strategies, plans, puns… and many more things; however what needs to be remained same just remains the same: As.It.Is.

That’s all, that’s it, and that IS reality.

And this reality always sounds as: “What’s in the offer for me?” Period.

As a consumer / customer, you actually get exposed to many brands; many communications; many media, but when it comes to decision and consumption, your single-minded ‘want’, not just need, always IS: “How am I going to be benefited?”

This benefit doesn’t necessarily mean that you should always expect and gain only tangibly perceivable values from it, but it should realistically provide you with an emotional connect, without which you might feel you are lost.

Product, service, company, market-share, segment, category, and blah, blah, and blah… inconsequential, the value offering(s) got to be the key in every brand. Even if the brand is a political party… like Indian National Congress (INS).

In Uttar Pradesh (UP), to fight against and dislodge the Mayawati Govt. in the Assembly Election 2012, Congress has rolled out its first set of advertising campaigns.

The line of positioning of this campaign has been 'Utho, jago aur badlo' (rise, awaken and change), and the party conveys the message with an attempt to communicate that unless one wakes up and votes for development, one can never change his destiny.

In line with that, the communication collaterals have started to shout 'Jawab Hum Denge' (We will give a befitting reply) across Allahabad and other strategic locations in the said state.

Here, as a voter, you know that you need to give a Jawab (a befitting reply / answer) on the voting machine to welcome change for development. But, do you have any idea, what will be those developments; how will they look like; how will they benefit you?

And when Congress is shouting for a change, what is it actually meaning, since every other party calls for such changes for a wide range of developments pre-election, isn’t it?

In that case, how can you call it, a positioning at all, which is simply not offering any UVP (Unique Voting Proposition)??!!

Plus, when the creative rendition of this positioning is getting stemmed out as ‘Jawab hum denge’, what does it mean, actually?

As a voter, of course it’s you only, who’s entitled to give ‘a befitting reply’ in the ballot box. So what’s the big deal in the communications that tell you the same thing, which you know already!

Or, is it Congress trying to say that the party will give a Jawab, if so, then it actually needs to give replies, on many accounts such as: Corruption, Inflation, Employment, and the list goes on.

Given this, politically speaking, Congress should rather give no answer, unless it has a real game plan to counter attack the Anti-corruption craze; an issue, which the party has failed to negotiate with so far. And that too, despite having their young leader Rahul Gandhi in the squad, while Varun Gandhi simply stole the show in the Parliament during the Ramlila of Anna Hazare.

From strategy, as well as creative point of views, the present campaign done by Percept/H has all in it... except any direction or objective.

In fact, if you compare two respective quotes, as mentioned below, by the client i.e. a notable leader of Congress and the agency head, you can easily understand the disconnect and dissonance prevalent in the campaign. Here it goes –

"We wanted to come up with a campaign that questions the governance in the region and ask for change. It is more an emotional campaign, than an aggressive one," says Raj Babbar, Congress leader.

"Who does not want change?" questions Harindra Singh, Vice-chairperson and Managing Director, Percept/H and then adds, “the whole approach adopted for the campaign is aggressive and only a young person like Gandhi can do justice to the words used in the campaign.”

Howz that?

If this is the scene between client (INS) and its incumbent agency (Percept/H), the level of advertising and communications actually requires to ‘rise, awaken and change’ before anyone does so in Uttar Pradesh.

Otherwise, perhaps, only a miracle can save Congress by making people believe that the party really understands things pertaining to consumers / voters / people at large.

In addition, if you take a look at the following slides, you will understand the main icon or mnemonic around which the entire campaign is moving and will be… in the future, has been so loosely done.

To say the least, this hardly qualifies up to any standard, whatsoever, to be called as creative work worth so much of money.

Take a break, and know more about the logo of INS, please read this –

In late 1978, Indira Gandhi came to offer worship in Hemambika Temple along with K.Karunakaran, her then lieutenant in the state, the former Chief Minister of Kerala. Those days, her party or fraction was facing patent troubles on their existing election symbol - The farmer with Oxen - by several dissidents or break-away Congress fractions, after the great election debacle in 1976.

The unique deity - The Hand - of the small Hemambika Temple ignited her creative mind. And the rest is History. The Hand was Congress’ election symbol in the next election in 1980, which brought Indira Gandhi back to the helm of power.

Anyway, now coming back to the point, since the country is India, and moreover, since the state is Uttar Pradesh (UP), where things like Badla (Revenge); Khoon (Blood); Jawab (befitting reply / answer)… work like anything, even today, to some extent following Bollywood and the Salan Khans, and the Dabangg typos, this campaign might also work wonder in favour of Congress.

And if it does so, for advertising and communication business, it will be yet another decomposition of creativity, which’s already been quite palpable, save for a few jobs. Precisely, in the mainstream and conventional media, where ideas have gone down to minus… with executions constantly hitting zero to hundred and above… and in the process making unwanted noise in various award-shows, helping the finger-displays… to create different victory signs complementing incomprehensible yells.

Net-net, Congress’ tryst with a change of destiny that’s been eluding the party since 1989 in UP could only come true... if the magic happens on voting machines. And for that, the party would do better, if it starts creating a new set of communications and keeps its fingers crossed… instead of holding them together firmly to form the punch of any Inquilab or Jawab!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Yes! Social Media Marketing is all about your content to others’ contentment.

A long ago, a famous person from a very famous Brand had asserted, in great frustration of course, “50% of my advertising budget goes astray and I don’t know which half of it!”

What was once told about advertising, quite likely that the same would be told about Social Media Marketing i.e. SMM soon, as almost all Brands are going gung ho to leverage the market and consumers alike through Social Networking.

It’s actually very easy to be present on web, precisely on the various social networking sites such as facebook, linkedin, twitter, google+, YouTube and the likes.

In fact, it’s easier to create a profile page on each of those sites and then fill up the page with some content hoping that an interaction with audience will take place immediately and will continue to grow… exactly the way you wanted in favour of your Business or Brand.

No harm in hoping so, since hope has always been a positive thing to possess on your mind and in your heart.

However, the reality is, to stop and save your hope from turning into hope-against-hope, you need to think and do a bit more than just creating a profile page and adding some content onto it.

First and foremost, you got to understand the basic nature of a social networking site.

Despite the fact that all such sites one way or the other stand for social networking and thereby help a Business or Brand do some Social Media Marketing, but in reality, the nature of each site is unique, and thus impacts the SMM of your Business and Brand, accordingly.

For example, both twitter and facebook are heavily used for social networking, but as per operational modes, as well as in terms of user friendliness and content delivery and exchange facilities, these two sites are very much different. When twitter is still more of a message board kind, facebook is an open forum or platform. That means twitter is better, if one-sided communications are the need of the hour, whereas facebook is better, if two-sided communications i.e. interactions are sought after.

Besides that, the nature and characteristics of your target audience should also help you determine which social networking site(s) you should select and use more, and which you should avoid and use less.

Once that is fixed, comes the most crucial part of SMM and that is: Content.

First, consider the kind of content that you might use. That could be –

a) Text

b) Visual (in the form of photographs)

c) Web Link (Both text and visual types)

d) A/V clip (movie, TVC, song, lectures, etc.)

e) Game (web based, downloadable or non-downloadable)

Second, think of the nature of the content that you feel like using. It’s a very vital part of SMM. The nature of the content should be selected only on the basis of what you actually wish to derive or gain from your SMM practice.

The nature of your content will be perceived by one mostly in keeping with your tone of communications. And, not to mention, this tone (or tonality) of communications is very important for your SMM in order to engage and excite the target audience meeting your requirements vis-à-vis theirs.

Broadly, you might try out the following ways to provide different tones to your communications so as to involve your TG with your content –

1) Hilarious: This is so far experienced as the best tone to win over consumers / customers / prospects. Yet, you got to understand the nature of your content shouldn’t be diluted by your tone of communications. For instance, you cannot afford to share the news of an earthquake through hilarity

2) Direct: This is a good ploy to put forth your communications in case you are trying to pass on some product or service related info and know you are talking to whom rather categorically. In this case, you actually have known who might be your customer or already is. So here, instead of communicating in a generic manner, you can afford to be more direct and guiding

3) Nonchalant: This works perfectly when you just need to share something for others’ notice and knowledge, but not expecting too much of a talking or any productive results out of it

4) Curious: This manner of communications is pretty suitable when you wish to know things from others. It’s a nice strategy to do some market research spending almost zero money but only a few hours of time

5) Free-flowing: This is also pretty workable method to occupy people on your content where a free-flowing discussion takes place. Time to time this discussion might lose its original context and go haywire. But still, the functionality of this technique of communications remains quite productive, while you are willing to know many things about others without even letting them know that you are curious

Third, when you know it for sure the kind and nature of content you want to share and how, you got to take care of the following things –

A) Team building / Self-development and evolution, to execute the SMM

B) Time management, to do the SMM almost on a regular basis

c) Getting better off with the latest analytics, to make sure you are always up to the task being fully aware of what’s working and what’s not for your SMM

As a matter of fact, the size and volume of your business and brand notwithstanding, unless and until you are responsible to acknowledge and accept that in SMM the word ‘social’ is very crucial and therefore you’ve to contribute to ‘society’ and ‘humans’ at large through your marketing… exploiting the new media, your chances of succeeding in the arena of social networking is very remote.

Hence, be social, and try to content people with your content, and in the process earn everyone’s consent for your success in social media marketing through social networking.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

facebook and India : Two’s company might just be all’s benefits

The world’s changing. So is India. The impact of this change is very well felt across society… involving politics, economics, education and knowledge, communications, entertainment, media and marketing, lifestyle, and life, precisely a life on web.

This life, termed as ‘social networking’, is actually bringing a sea change to lives, mostly for the youth exposed to mobile, tablets, laptops, PC, and Internet.

Among many social networking sites, it’s facebook, which clearly tops the charts of mind of many Indians. Whereas a latest survey reveals social networking on rediff shows the maximum growth in terms of market share, while facebook has the third highest growth rate… albeit over a much larger user base, worldwide.

In fact the survey report also confirms India ranks 4th and has 14% market share for the social network and online forums, with facebook, YouTube and orkut continue to be the top three social networking websites here.

The study divulges it too that the country that has experienced the fastest growth in facebook usage over the past year is India, as social networking accounting for an increase in market share of 88% in August 2011, compared to August 2010.

Plus, India ranks 8th in terms of average session time spent on facebook. And in August 2011, the average session time spent on facebook was 20 minutes 21 seconds.

Here are some interesting data from the infographic on facebook usage in India –

A. Almost half of the small businesses being surveyed had a facebook page for their company

B. Of those companies that had a facebook page, 77.5 % of them set it up on their own and only 3.5% of them hired a professional or agency to get it done

C. 19.5% of the small businesses surveyed designed their facebook page even before their company website

D. Businesses use facebook for different reasons and see different benefits. Most businesses use facebook to share basic information about their business (85%) and over half of businesses that use facebook share content like pictures and videos (62.4%) and 47% of them use it have conversations with the customers

E. The major benefit of having a facebook page is increased web traffic. 47% of businesses say they see a significant amount of traffic coming from facebook and 43% say that their facebook page generates even more traffic than their website

F. Among the businesses that do not have a facebook page, the common reason for not having one was lack of time to create and manage

More to mention, top Indian cities with registered facebook users are Mumbai (5.28 million), Delhi/Gurgaon (5.26 million), Bangalore (3.03 million), Hyderabad (1.71 million), Chennai (1.69 miliion) and Kolkata (0.82 million), and these figures are counting up, continuously, everyday.

In this situation, and when google has launched google+ as well, for the reason obvious, facebook needed to be proactive and it has been.

With the revamp of its exiting APIs, as well as with the introduction of new APIs, especially Timeline, facebook gives a clear cut message to all that it’s not going to be idle or lag behind and is always up to it, when innovation is the need of the hour for social networking.

But, if this innovation keeps restricted only within the limits of technology, facebook might not strengthen its footholds, as strongly as it probably hopes, in India.

For a simple reason, because India is a different market, where hi-tech technologies are still seen as a threat to mental peace and user-friendliness by the larger base of users. And that too, irrespective of their socio-economic conditions.

In addition, a Brand is always prone to fall prey to a ‘consumer-assault’ through his action, reaction or word-of-mouth recommendation / propaganda, socially, which might not be as severe elsewhere, as it is in India.

To understand what it means, please see the following visuals –

Besides, technology can’t be a sole differentiator for a social networking platform, where people come mostly for enjoyment and entertainment, and ease and easiness of work, business or pastime… thereby to express self in his very own way.

So, finding a proper positioning, globally vis-à-vis country wise is essential for facebook in the present context.

For example: Xerox is to photocopying – where the action of photocopying itself has transformed into ‘doing Xerox’ to people in general. At least in India.

Exactly in the same vein, facebook needs to create a positioning plank for itself to make an average Indian believe ‘social networking’ means ‘facebooking’ only.

To do so, facebook might think of offering three major benefits like –

a. Easy applications for everyone just as simple as emails, chats, etc.

b. Can be done from anywhere, even beyond the urban land

c. An alternative to newspapers, magazines, books, etc. for knowledge and education, but at the same time saving trees from newsprints and all

Below are the two ads, to highlight how facebook can convey the said benefits to people in India, even at the grassroots level –

Last but not least, facebook should never afford to deny that social networking for people in India – hailing not only from urban areas but also from suburbs and hinterlands – does hold the ground for Brands and Businesses alike… to thrive on and benefit from ‘social media marketing’ (SMM). And these people really have the aspirations to go ahead and possess the purchasing power, which might even give complex to the urban lads more often.

PS: Here are two relevant links for all to understand how the market is changing and reacting to social networking –

Saturday, October 8, 2011

With Pidi, Avenue South Pallymangal Samity Durga Puja wins three awards in 2011

This year (2011), Avenue South Pallymangal Samity (Santoshpur), Kolkata celebrated its 45th year of Durga Puja.

The crux of this year’s Puja Theme was Pidi – the flat wooden seat pad, our ancestors, mostly the woman in Paschimbanga (erstwhile West Bengal) used to use to sit on.

This Pidi actually happened to be ‘an own world’ to those women, who hardly had the luxury, comfort and freedom to express and live unlike today’s divas. Sitting on those Pidis, those women would liberate themselves the way they want, in many ways, in line with their varied emotions and work… complementing their daily existence and life.

From having the first rice (annaprashan) to playing with dolls; celebrating womanhood after having the first periods to getting married; hailing pregnancy to breast feeding; cooking for the entire family to performing Pujas and religious rituals; embellishing and ornamenting herself (shringar) to lamenting on near and dear ones’ death… for anything, everything, this Pidi would personify the woman, who had been someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s wife, someone’s mother and someone’s grandmother.

In short, the Pidi not only was a hard reality to those women but also a winning streak… letting them turn into ‘Dashabhuja’ – a Maa Durga herself – to fight against all odds and negativity as inflicted upon them rather forcefully by the demons of man (read men) made society and its uncouth prejudices.

To highlight and illustrate this, the Pandal of Avenue South Pallymangal Samity (ASPS) was made with Pidis only.

The structure of the Pandal was built with Steel in keeping with the safety standard, eliminating Bamboos or anything inflammable. On this structure a number of Pidis were placed with different types of Alpana on them, where each Alpana tells a story of the then day to day life of a woman.

Inside the Pandal, the hue was kept as twilight-red in order to express the sun-setting stage of the Pidi in our life at present, as well as to represent the Furnace or Chula, which also suggests an END.

As a whole, the Theme, Pandal, and idols altogether was an effort to pay homage and tributes to ‘womanhood’, particularly remembering those women who are no more seen (on Pidis) just like the Pidi itself.

And this effort of ASPS in 2011 was finally rewarded with the three following awards:

a) Pratya – Bachhorer Sera Abishkar (Pratya – The greatest invention of the year)

b) Rotary International (Dist. 3291) – Special Jury Award

c) Thana Samanya Committee Shreshtho Puja – 3rd Prize

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sonal Kalra dissected at Brand Lab

Who’s Sonal Kalra? Editor – HT City, Delhi. Okay. Is she a celebrity? No. Has Paris Hilton gifted her a bag? Aare nahi re! Then why so much craze about her? Sorry, there’s no craze actually. Then? Only calmness. For? To make you ‘A Calmer You’. Kaise? Aise…

A brand and a human are quite similar in nature. Apparently we might feel that it’s humans who consume, compliment and complement a brand, but it’s just the other way round. A brand consumes, compliments and complements humans i.e. consumers in order to survive, live and excel… or extinct.

For example: If worldwide, on a given day, nobody buys and drinks Pepsi, nothing will happen to anyone. But, Pepsi will realize what has happened to the Brand’s bottom-line (i.e. Sales figure) thanks to that one single NO-Pepsi day!

The same applies for HT City as well. When readers read this supplement of Hindustan Times, it actually consumes, compliments and complements its readers.

Precisely, HT City does it mostly by riding on Sonal and her famous Sunday Column ‘A Calmer You’.

That means here the actual Brand is Sonal Kalra who is consumed, complimented and complemented by all of us and vice versa.

Given this, I’m trying to decode rather dissect Sonal, so as to present the real Brand value of hers, as well as to suggest how this value can be redefined.

I shall be doing this on 5W scale by: WHO, WHAT, (for) WHOM, WHY, and HOW.

Who Sonal is

A daughter. A lady. A wife. A mother. An editor. A columnist. A writer. An author. An achiever. A motivator. And a friend.

Here, the redefinition possibilities for her are present in the area of leadership, EQ and SQ based knowledge sharing and social change where she might take part more actively.

What Sonal offers

Out-of-the-box calmness tips to bust stress and strain occurred to us on a daily basis or occasionally in personal life, as well as professional. Plus, the Bollywood dose and dopes, involving high-voltage celebrities, in a refreshing way.

As an extension or redefinition, she might start to offer more on career-guidelines and guidance to students who are interested in media or media related profession. Running a different cell under HT City for celebrity communications, especially for their media relations and PR could also be a good option.

Sonal is for whom

For everyone, who reads HT City or is on the page of Fans of Sonal Kalra (FOSK) on facebook or does follow her on twitter. Plus, for a number of celebrities from Bollywood. Also, for the buyers who have already bought her book and recommended it to others.

But, she can actually extend her readers and followers’ base worldwide. Corporate people can also be benefited by her and her calmness tips more and more as aam janta (common people). Plus, the who’s who from other walks but Bollywood i.e. people who remain under more stress than an average person can also find succor from Sonal in her redefined role.

Why Sonal

That’s the most crucial value proposition. In fact this proposition defines what is Sonal’s uniqueness or edge over her peers and contemporaries or seniors.

Sonal has that pristine elegance, which immediately gives an impression that she’s not a showpiece beauty. Her sharp features provide a clear indication that this lady has a thinking head on her shoulders. If you look at her eyes closely and mark her words and reactions a little attentively, you will get that feeling promptly she’s quite naughty, mischievous to the core, enjoys good fun, very liberal, freedom lover, a very difficult person to those who are difficult to her, not overtly emotional i.e. balanced, loves her work, and easy-to-approach, amicable and, last but not least, will give you that comfort for sure, as if she knows you for years, so do you.

In addition, her timing of humour is very good, that’s a rare quality in today’s time among the zombies around in the media industry. Her repartee is outstanding. And her selection of words while she writes and talks is so comprehensible that you need not to be a dictionary or thesaurus lover, to fall in love with Sonal’s writing.

However, in this space she certainly needs to redefine herself by believing more in the fact that SHE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A WELL DESERVING CANDIDATE TO RECEIVE the love, respect, admiration, awards and accolades that she’s already achieved, still achieves and will achieve in the future.

How Sonal reaches

Through her column, book, tweets, facebook posts and emails, Sonal reaches her audience. And the process is so far so good.

Nevertheless, Sonal can still redefine her reach on twitter, and facebook – to be precise. Especially, in keeping with the new APIs available on FB. Also, a personal interactive website is a must thing for her. Besides, she should increase her public appearance a bit more, especially on channels and at relevant events.

Finally, Sonal Kalra sincerely and seriously needs to believe that she’s THE BRAND to change, lead and redefine India and the world of Indians, if not the world, with the YOUTH of Hindustan, successfully, in time!

Monday, August 29, 2011

6-points Anna

Post India’s unreal cum surreal independence on August 15, 1947, the nation claimed to have achieved its ‘real independence’ finally on August 27, 2011.

With the resolution passed in the house of parliament complementing the anticipation of making the Jan Lokpal Bill (JLP) into law, 'People’s Democracy' is established across the country… turning Mahatma Gandhi into Anna Hazare and vice versa!

Thanks to almost all news channels, and precisely on Times Now, we have come to know that ‘Anna took a sip from two girls’ and broke his fast to augur a new history of India… on and from August 28, 2011.

When the history will be manufactured in the workshop of time and task; toil and test, let’s look into the points that have already made Anna Hazare – the biggest Human Brand in India, after Gandhi.

And that too, when the historians on various TV channels have excavated ‘People’s Democracy’ by digging quite deep into the floor of the parliament and corruption!

Point 1: Issue

Nothing, absolutely nothing could’ve been a better issue than corruption to address, attend and act upon in the present context that Anna Hazare chose to dabble in.

One hand when the JLP’s been lying unattended in the parliament for over 40 years and on the other hand when the UPA government in centre has been all at sea, given the Big Ticket corruptions like Commonwealth Games; 2G scam, etc., THIS simply sent tsunami waves of ineptness from the epicenter of the govt. vis-à-vis the parliament to every Indian’s disgust and despair.

In this situation, though the imprisonment of Kalmadi and Raja took place but the efforts of the UPA were par below than average and considered by the majority of people… only as ‘too late for too little for too long’ affairs.

As a result, an anti-corruption stance perfectly suits everyone to raise a voice against the on-going corruption and then when someone like Anna came forward to lead from the front; it’s actually made a lot of sense to follow him rather blindly.

Point 2: Remedy

What we see is what we get.

Since most of us are neither blind nor visionary, which is quite natural in fact, it’s never necessary in life to try to see the roots of a tree while the tree is so distinctly visible with its stem, branches, leaves, etc. wide spread.

Also, it’s the sight, not the vision that is one of the five senses we have and are expected to put into use.

Therefore, when all of us have known that the tree is corrupted and there is an axe called JLP Bill at our disposal; it’s more than apt to bring it out and chop the tree, immediately, with the axe!

And, for that matter, it hardly matters whether the roots of that tree still remain into the ground or not.

Hence, it’s not surprising that who dared to get hold of that axe with great intent and purpose, we found him the messiah against corruption.

Thereby Anna: the first turned Mahatma Gandhi: the second to personify India in flesh and blood.

Point 3: Background

In India – not sure though, if the same applies in other countries as well – whoever works in army is a soldier. Even if the person works in a military canteen or drives a truck or does some paramedical work… is a military, and a probable martyr. So his sacrifice for the nation is not to be forgotten.

In case an army man kills his colleague over a silly exchange of words, or rapes a civilian woman in Kashmir, or sells off subsidized liquors from the canteen in the black market, or beats his little son to death with a belt, or does something else or similar when there is no war or terrorist attack or natural calamities, well, still his sacrifice for our lives and security cannot be ignored.

Irrespective of the fact neither you nor I have ever asked anyone to be a soldier and turn shahid for us in the process, if he dies at all in war, albeit both you and I should always be grateful and look up to him because he is a soldier and we are not.

Sometimes it really baffles me while I get compelled to think who actually makes more sacrifice in a day-to-day life! A common man who’s principally, morally, socially, nationally and humanly detained to acknowledge a soldier and his sacrifice for everyone at the drop of a hat or a soldier who’s destined to be great only, even if he loses a battle of life badly and dies from that defeat.

Plus, I’m not sure why it’s perceived all the time that a soldier always sacrifices his life for our families only, as if his family members don’t belong to the nation!

Not surprising then, if a huge number of fanatics and activists join Anna Hazare because that simple and honest man was a soldier too lest we hate to admit that he was actually a truck driver of a military convoy in Indian army.

Point 4: Age

At 3.00 am, is it possible to demand for a hot cup of tea from your newly married daughter-in-law in December? Possible! Is it possible to fart aloud sitting amid many people and then expecting everyone will appreciate this gesture of yours with a heartening smile? Possible! Is it possible to stage a rudali show all day long for a year and more, so that your daughter leaves her husband and gets divorced? Possible!

All those things are possible along with many others, if you are above 60. And you may jolly well call it ‘senior citizen privileges’ provided by an Indian society as part and parcel of your democratic rights.

And based on these rights, you can do anything at home or outside because you are more experienced than anyone else, so automatically entitled to blow off your ego out of proportion or play emotional tricks to any length, breadth, width and depth.

If it’s to put simply, others’ black (or coloured) hair should always be raised and accountable to do the tango with your grey hair or bald head in India.

This is respect! And owing to his 70+ age, Anna Hazare is also someone from that grey brigade, who’s automatically qualified to command (if not demand, apparently) the said respect from the Youth of India.

Point 5: Method

Gluttony is truly Indian! So the food for tummy does pave the way for the food for thought. Since childhood, an Indian knows if he doesn’t eat, he can certainly achieve an edge instantly… drawing everyone’s attention on himself.

Reason is simple. If someone doesn’t eat, he is bound to fall sick eventually. And when someone is sick others will become more than willing to take him and his cause seriously.

So fasting is a well-orchestrated and sure-success formula in India to get things done in one’s favour while a normal way of execution is unlikely to produce a yield. This can also be termed as a democratic and non-violent process of sheer blackmailing.

In a family, if we get to see that a person has not been eating for more than a day, we generally get perturbed. So, obviously, if we get to see that someone else – however, who's not a family member – has been on a fast in a public place where media cameras are monitoring his blood-pressure drop, weight loss, etc. on a minute-by-minute count then we, as responsible citizens of a democratic country like India, are liable to react and get concerned for this guy and his health.

Thus the magnitude of support Anna Hazare receives on account of his hunger strike is nothing but natural in line with humanity and, may be, sympathy to some extent.

Point 6: Target

If you can’t target your next generation, you are nowhere in your own generation. Any intelligent person with a little bit of commonsense understands that.

The future is the best gift you can promise to someone who’s following you at present. If you can take someone into the dreamland of the future, he won’t mind to forget his present.

Then the person is almost hypnotized by you and won’t want to come back to the ground reality.

This hypnotism or hallucination gives rise to a rebel mindset, which is often cunningly misinterpreted as revolution, exuding a new sense of freedom.

A freedom from corruption; a freedom from laws; a freedom from rules and regulations; a freedom from system; a freedom to argue and debate; a freedom from day-to-day affairs and a freedom from self… with BIGGER hopes to renew life, living and lifestyle, immediately!

The euphoria of this freedom for a Ramrajya seems to be very much in vogue to viability for the Youth who are more concerned about their future than the present. Because they know they are supposed to live more into that future they are dreaming of than their ancestors thanks to their younger age.

And when this future is easily available in India, precisely in the form of an anti-corruption avatar i.e. the JLP Bill; why not get it! And get it with Anna!

The Youth of India support Anna Hazare because Anna could pick up their minds, pump their hearts and pamper their souls and sell a ‘future-perfect’ India to them, which neither Congress led UPA nor BJP could do earlier or even now.

To sum up, what Anna has done is remarkable no doubt but still we need to wait and watch how far India can afford to move ahead on the tides of just the JLP Bill. For, Indian democracy is like Titanic sailing through the ocean of people’s power wherein the iceberg of corruption is very much present and prevalent from the time immemorial, showing only its tips to Anna Hazare and the civil society… at this point.