Saturday, November 05, 2011

Tribute to Nikita

A friend told me that time isn't the yard stick to measure the depth of the relationship that one shares with another. If it was, I guess our friendship would scale to nothing.

Thankfully, it is not so.

It was a shock, and then pain. Nothing else to describe how I felt when I came to know you were not around.

I curse myself for not calling you and keeping in touch often. I feel guilty that last time when we chatted I was all about myself and didn't ask you how you were? But I thought all was fine with you. Maybe you yourself didn't know what was coming for you. Or maybe you knew and decided not to speak.

It is not often that one connects with another like this. But you are, or should I say were, electric. Maybe that is why you shocked me, and I am sure you left many others without a light.

I hope you are fine where you are. Hope you are in good company and you are as electrifying as you were here. I know you will be.

I am not sure if there is another life. If there is, be around for more time. Light and lighten up as you did whenever we met.

I won't lie to you. I don't think about you daily but I do think about you often.

Miss you.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Power Of Nudge

The Economist is probably the most reputed magazine in the world. I have always wanted to subscribe it. But never did.

Then I started receiving the these emailers from The Economist. Just Rs. 500 for a quarter! Enticing, isn't it? Upon reading the mail, I came to understand that it was an invitation price and that the subscription rate for the following quarters is a substantially larger figure. The payment is automatically debited on the credit card one authorizes. And of course, if you do not want further subscription, just reach out to the publisher and it is done.

Easy, isn't it?

The Economists' marketing/circulation department have been brilliant in this campaign of theirs. They realized the important of Status Quo Bias which means that people have tendency to stick to their current situation.

I am no different. Now every quarter, my credit card is charged for the quarterly subscription of The Economist which I hardly find time to read. But then it is almost a year and I still haven't stopped the subscription.

If you are in a position where you have to influence the behavior of people, then Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein is just the book for you.

A fantastic read, the book offers tremendous insights on how people behave. So it is not necessary that you must be a professional to leverage the ideas in this book. You could be a parent trying to figure out how to make your kid eat good food. Or you could be a family man wondering how to secure the financial security of the family.

Even if you don't intend to influence or nudge others, you will certainly learn a thing or two about your own behavior.

Must read! Do visit their blog and follow them on Twitter

Monday, October 17, 2011

What is wrong with Nokia?

Nokia is still the world's largest mobile handset maker. That may change predicts a recent article in The Economist. Samsung is likely to take over as the new number one handset maker. Am not sure why Nokia is losing out so badly despite having a reputation for producing sturdy devices.

I don't care much about the lower end of the market, but Nokia's strategy in the higher end of the market is flawed. Simply flawed. Nokia has aligned itself with Windows for the smartphone segment. And I really don't understand the need for Nokia to be married to just one environment when it could have been in bed with Google, too. If I am not wrong, Windows phone has not made any cut, not even the Windows 7. In the technology market, it is more important to be aligned to the leader. Or be independent differentiated like Apple.

What stopped Nokia from following HTC strategy? The latter churns out phones both on Google and Windows platform.

What stops Nokia? If nothing does, what is wrong with Nokia?

Why Blackberry?

I have never understood why people may want to buy a Blackberry. People tell me it is the mail service, the others say messenger.

Does it really matter?

Now I have used a Blackberry in the past and use a handset even now. Blackberry service is more expensive than a normal GPRS service though it can be marginally be faster. Recently my employers provided me an HTC handset. I access my official and personal mails on that phone. Of course, both of them are Gmail service. It may be argued that the Blackberry service is the safest way to access emails using mobile service. But I am not sure if it sustainable advantage now. RIM started expanding its customer base and started targeting the youngsters and to me that segment may not be as worried as the corporate citizens about security. With iPhone and Android, RIM has also lost its the-email-phone status.

BBM is another app that is often cited for its success. But then with an app like Whatsapp, I am not sure if anyone needs a BBM like limited messenger.

Am I missing anything here? What is Blackberry's distinct competitive advantage? Someone please enlighten me.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Don't Take Social Media Seriously!

I do mean it. Companies should not take social media all that seriously!

Have I lost it? Just a couple of months back, I wrote that social media makes a great impact on the image of a company and consumers can make themselves heard quicker and be assured that they'll be responded to.

So, what has changed? Nothing. Social media continues to enjoy its status of the most powerful 'CRM' tool, today. Not only has it made companies listen to customers and respond to them faster, but it has impacted them on issues which could rather be classified as not in the 'public' domain. It has made GAP and Tropicana revert to their earlier brand avataars. Brands, really great ones, buckling under virtual pressure.

And I say nonsense!

First of all, despite being an MBA with specialization in Marketing and having worked in Communications industry for more than 10 years, I haven't quite figured out why does a logo need to be changed! Of course, many reasons are given, some meaningful while others shallow. More importantly, do companies imagine that they can change the market scenario just by changing their brand identity?

Abraham Chacko, my ex-colleague and friend, during our discussion on Airtel's new identity said that the company could have used the money more effectively by innovating and offering services to attract new customers and retain its existing base. Quite a valid point! Remember good packaging doesn't necessarily mean good product.

What it could have done is a different story. What it has done and how it will affect its position is to be seen. But what I do appreciate is that Airtel didn't buckle under the severe criticism that followed after it unveiled its new identity, unlike the others.

There's a story about the architect of the legendary Taj Mahal Hotel. Apparently, he threw himself overboard  because he found that though the hotel was built as per his design, the directions were changed! Not sure if the story is true, but am sure designers of GAP and Tropicana certainly would have felt more miserable.

Companies/Brands are taking social media far too seriously for their own good. You show disrespect not only to the consultant who (probably) has the right credential but also to your own self. Remember social media is just a part of the entire universe of customer audience for you. And most of the time, these social media netizens don't have the right credentials.

I am sure many of you would have heard the story about how Steve Jobs decided upon Apple as the brand name and how the logo came about. Can you imagine what the 'brand gurus' in social media would have said? 

Thank god, Steve Jobs didn't have to face 'experts' in social media.