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Why Delivery Through Drones Will Not Work in India

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For past few days, I was busy tying up with a logistics fulfilment partner for my Ecom company www.celebstall.com. I was also reading articles about how the drone technology will be used for commercial purposes. Google, Amazon, and many other players are working towards the last mile dash through drone delivery. In future, literarily, things will fall from the sky :) This made me wonder, can such a model exist in India?
India is never far behind, when it comes to replicating success of any such initiatives, especially those undertaken by Ecommerce / technology companies. But replicating the delivery through drones will be tricky. Here are few random reasons why I think it will not work in India
The drone might never reach its destination - wires, wrong address, stolen in mid air, bird attack, getting tangled in a kite threadNo place to land…especially in the metros .. There are no open spaces (most houses open to the main road) & access to the apartment rooftops are restricted or no…

People & Brand - The ‘Heard’ Mentality

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Here I want to talk about, why people use social media & what brands can learn from that
A brand is nothing but individual thoughts of a collective set of people. And, people are,well, people :) Which means, in real world,  brands in many ways behave the way people do. Same is behaviour when it comes to social media too
People get on to social media platforms, especially networking platforms, to connect and converse with people. They love to share stories, occasions, and have a general good time catching up. Isn’t this the purpose, why we all landed up on Facebook and Twitter initially? 
But somewhere down the road, as we tend to become more (social) media savvy, our focus shifts from engagement with people we know to acquisition. Our inherent desire on social media, becomes that of acquiring more followers, fans, or increasing the connections (as in LinkedIn). 

Call it ‘heard’ mentality. It is more important that how many hears you rather than what is heard. Even in the jungles, it …

Why Brands Should Follow on Social Media

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Every Brand out there on social media wants huge number of people or fans following them. Even then analytics talking about brand page popularity in social media - decides it on their reach and followers. A quick look on their Facebook page or Twitter profile shows how many Million followers/fans they have (source: www.socialbakers.com)
Image 1 Facebook Best Brands (global)

Image 2 Twitter Best Brands (global)




One obvious column that most miss are how few people the brands are actually following (in Image 2)
Traditionally, brands have been built like the way great Empires were built in the past. It is the length, breadth, and the populace they cover that matter. Similarly, one important aspect of any marketing campaign is “REACH”. And, Hey! did it ever occur that we call the marketing activities as ‘campaigns’ - as in Military operations, and its etymology is rooted in the Latin word - Campus/Campia, meaning wide open fields 

Since, Military/Warfare is a far-related ancestor of management …

.....And Mahatma Gandhi followed me on Twitter

Wish I could follow him

Er... shouldn't it be the other way round :) pic.twitter.com/Lyu4Q6bpac
— Zentosh (@zentosh) July 31, 2014

Need for Speed

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Few days back, the newly elected Prime Minister of India, Narender Modi, was talking about 3S’s to face competition from China - Skill, Scale, and Speed. What caught my attention was “Speed”.

Everything around us is surrounded by Speed. We are living in a world, where the transactional currency is the swiftness at which something can be achieved. TV channels, talk about ‘Breaking News’ where the focus is on how fast you can bring out the news and lesser focus is given on the quality (authenticity) of the news. Businesses like, courier & fast food is built on speed. In advertising, there was an era when cars and bikes were sold on basis of their power and speed.

An important value proposition of technology, especially digital, is speed (another being convenience).  And as the use of Internet and Ecom is increasing, we are shifting more from convenience to speed. Data download, 24 hr delivery, 3 hr delivery, 4G, etc all are today's keyword that these industries communicate.

But…

What Marketers can learn from this General Elections - India

Here are some of my random observations and thoughts based on what I've seen and heard during run-up to the election campaigning and the election canvassing.
- Branding/Icon: India, culturally have been an idolatry country. Most of our activities are personality driven. This is evident in our advertising too, where use of celebrities (film stars and sportsperson) is rampant. The campaign of branding Narender Modi as their ambassador/Mascot was very effective  - India is still a mass media country: Considering that the effective cost per reach is lower through traditional channels - TV, Print, Radio has played an important role in communicating BJP's message across. - Social Media/Digital - Small but significant. The numbers are not much, but the hyper-active mode at which the parties used digital media speaks volume of the potential. In the current form it was only BJP's performance that proved effective. Parties like AAP and few Congress candidates who used digital media …

10 commandments for creating wearable smart devices

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These are not written in stone, just made of digits.. Engineer for common human needsStart from the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy needsGive solutions (not alternatives or reminders)Wearable should also be adaptable - Place (Geographies, climate) & People (Culture, behaviour)Things should be in-built, not attachmentsData is important, but not critical (Don’t overload)Remember the purpose is to make the user’s life simple, not complexDon’t try to change behaviours - go with the flowEach activity should be independent of the previous activityRegular upgrades should be of the software, not the products
Image courtesy: in picture

Social Media Users Are Migratory

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Long time back, during the early days of Internet, I read a futuristic book called ‘The Cluetrain Manifesto’ which started out with a radical thought (at that time) - Markets are conversations. If you look closely at most of our online activities, we can see that almost all the activities are some sort of conversations - from searching to shopping. Also, whole new businesses and platforms are built on daily basis in the digital space based on conversations - Social Media


My take is that digital technology has impacted a lot in terms of ease and reach of our conversations. However, its impact on the increased volume of conversations would be marginal. What I mean is that the amount of an individuals conversation has not grown drastically from what it was before the penetration of technology. Just because there is something better tomorrow does not mean that I will increase my individual capacity or change my inherent behaviour to speak more.
What has been driving the growth of Social Medi…

Brand Imperfection

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Until few years back, brands and branding was all about pursuit for perfection. Marketers and advertisers spent huge amount of time and monies trying to build the perfect brand - its attributes, personality, attitude, etc. Communication was all directed to achieve this perfection - flawless copy, flawless models, flawless product shots, etc
However, technology and people’s use of technology, especially Internet and social media, changed all that. Today’s brands are spending efforts trying to be human. One important criteria of being human is ‘nobody is perfect’. It is the small imperfections that makes each human being acceptable, lovable, and sometimes more desirable. Just imagine, would the recent Dove commercials (using ordinary women) be as successful, if models were used? I guess not. In fact, a study done using neuro-scientific tool based on EEG’s, by a major European cosmetic brand, for shortening their long ads, showed that the more human-like the ad scenes were, the more the c…

Why we love a good story?

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Being in advertising, one thing I keep hearing about daily is, the art of story-telling. All that we plan and do in terms of insights, culture, data analysis, personality sketch, mood boards, etc... all lead to the output of telling a good story.
But, why do people love stories? Me thinks, it is much more than effective technique of communicating the content & the context; it is a question of fulfilling what we (or at least most of us) lack.
The lives we live are mostly predictable - school till 17, then college, then higher studies, job, marriage, etc, etc.. as the days goes by, it becomes more predictable and monotonous. Thus our lives starts to become a staid repetition, consisting of same characters and same situations. Our lives are bereft of a good story.
To satisfy this inherent want or need of good stories, is when we become receptive to good stories. Most stories that are successful (in popular terms) are those that do not reflect our lives, but those which reflects our dre…

On Being Happy

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A conversation yesterday night on Being Happy

Son: Dad, what is Buddha thinking about?

Me: He is thinking about how to make everyone happy.......... What makes you happy, Ishaan?

Son: Toys!

Me: How will you make everyone happy?

Son: I'll share my toys with everyone..

Me: **Nirvana**

Happiness is in sharing 


Image: wallpaperbit.com

The Marketing Strategy Cycle

This is a long form of what I had tweeted some days back.

The strategy cycle: for marketing, it is digital; for digital, it is ecom; for ecom, it is going offline; when offline, it is marketing
— Santosh (@santosheg) February 6, 2014


Each and every meeting, with various clients, has been about "time we moved to next stage" and depending on which stage the client was - the story changed.

Stage 1: When the client is offline, enter the marketing strategy - the digital is the future (nay, present) and get him onto the bandwagon. There are various sub stages within this, POWS (Plain Old Website Stage), to Search Marketing, to Advertising, to Social, to Mobile

Stage 2: When the client is doing Digital Marketing, it is strategy time to create business models in the space.. Enter Ecommerce, M-Commerce

Stage 3: When the client is doing Ecommerce, then it is time to strategize and plan expansion through offline initiatives.

It works meeting after meeting....each time, every time.


Facebook Gender Options - What it means for us

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In the simpler times, gender was just about Male, Female, and in case you were not sure where you fit between these 2 options - there was ‘Others’ or ‘Prefer not to disclose” option. The list of 56 gender options that Facebook has given means a lot to both, the individual and to the marketers.
For some, this profiling options by Facebook means a lot. For them it is more about assertion of their self-identity. Till now, most of them have been living with their personality preference hidden in their closets. With social acceptance and legal recognition increasing, they are more willing to come out in the open and feel comfortable and true to themselves. It also allows them to connect with like minded people and form communities and support groups, as still ‘they’ are not considered  like ‘us’, and would need peer support & like minded people to protect (for want of another word) them. 
For marketers, target audience segmentation (based on demography) all along, has been about Male/Fem…

Death of Appointment

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Of late (no pun), I have been observing that appointments never happens on time. Either it gets delayed by minutes, or sometimes postponed at the last minute to a different day! 
By virtue of what the reason is, appointments can be broadly divided into, appointment for
Meetingactivityviewing
Meeting Appointment: In India, other than the fact, respect for others time is not on anyone’s watch-list; When it comes to internal meetings, people have a common excuse for late coming - my previous meeting got extended, I’ve an important mail to send across, something urgent has come up (official/personal).  Eternal meetings are more messy - Got stuck in traffic, The printer is not working (classic advertising agency servicing folks speak), 
Activity appointment:
The most irritating thing during an activity is, It is an important call, I need to attend to this; SMSing, Checking your mails on BB or smartphones, and to the more audacious one - mailing/chatting using their laptops!! Even during a visit …

The nation wants to know, have you seen Arnab's Qtiyapa?

The observations - foreign travel

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Some things will never change. While I’ve tried to generalize most of it, some are specific to my recent travel (to Hong Kong) & to the country I belong (India)
Most flights going abroad departs at unearthly hoursAll immigration officers grim and grumpyYou are always seated closest to the one who snores loudest“Made in China” is cheaper in your home country than in China (HK)Duty Free is cheaper in your home countryYou find more reasons to love your home country when visiting abroadYou find more reasons to love the country you visited, once you are backIf shopping is on your list, winter is a bad time to travelIf touristy places are on your agenda (museums, entertainment parks, etc) then weekends are a bad time to be thereYour boarding gate is always the farthestThe sum of all your luggage weight is always less than what you anticipatedThe cheaper the wifi connection, more the network problem to connectA smile is an universal conversation starter
I’m sure there are many more... Let …

User experience for Ecommerce sites - Behvaiour & Experiential

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An ecommerce site design is the ultimate test for UX, because, unlike corporate websites or portals, the entire business model hinges on the ability of the website to sell the products it hosts.
Most website designs are built on the basic principles of - categorization, searchability, findability, relevance, cross-sell up-sell opportunities, product information, easy check-out etc. While these principles do hold good for successful design of any ecommerce website and are necessary, I think adding on 2 more components to your UX strategy would make the website design far more effective.
One is based on the basic human behaviour and the Second based on experiences in real life
Other than the fulfillment of a want or a need, we also shop to possess. Act of possession (for food, security) etc has been one of the earliest occupation of human societies. Some where down the lane, the division of labour happened, where men were predominantly working as Hunters & women as Gatherers. This prim…

P&G Thank You, Mom | Pick Them Back Up | Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

Looking through the Looking Glass - Digital Marketing

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When most us read or write about marketing predictions, it generally revolves around the penetration, usage, or suggested innovation and adaptation to existing model/behaviour. But, here, I wanted to focus more on the tec(h)tonic shift in terms of usage and patterns in Digital Marketing. Why I call it tec(h)tonic shift is because there is going to be a large-scale impact as we go along, these shifts are continuous, and these shifts are not overtly visible.


The 4 major shifts are:
From Information to EmotionFrom E-commerce to ExperienceFrom Email to MobileFrom Perennial to the Ephemeral 
From Information to Emotion:
The Internet has always been about sharing & searching for information. In fact, till about few years ago, Internet was know as Information Superhighway & in most organizations website and other digital properties were in the purview of IT (Information Technology) department. Social media, nay, Facebook has changed the usage of the Internet from just a medium of informa…