Thursday, October 3, 2013

Who is The New Young India?

It is very interesting to see that while the average age of India (read buyers) is just about 29 - all the marketers are well into their 50! Not only there is a huge generation gap, there is a complete lack of understanding about who these youths are and what do they exactly think.

Just pretending to be youthful won't help. Youth today are very different than what we have ever experienced, so no amount of extrapolation of old experience would work at all.

So what is the way forward?

Smart iDeAS has been continuously undertaking India Youth Study. At the moment 
5 Bschools in India are working with Smart iDeAS in understanding the Next Gen Indians. We have identified 23 parameters on which we are researching and we are looking at young Indians between the age of 15 to 20 years and 20 to 30 years. 

The research is also trying to understand how they differ from their parents and on which parameters they differ most.

Once completed this is would be one of the largest empirical studies on Young Indians done recently.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Brand Yourself

Have you ever thought of Branding Yourself?

Well, I don't really mean those tattoos / iron marks on your arm or shoulders - that's not branding!

What I mean is - Have you ever thought of you as a Brand?
Sounds strange? 

Trust Me - this is in existence since time immemorial; only that so far just a very few and smart ones understood its importance and used it effectively.

So what is Personal Branding that I am talking about?

The term personal brand is believed to have first appeared in the August 1997 issue of Fast Company Magazine, in an article by management guru and author Tom Peters, who wrote,

"We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You." 

Personal branding describes the process by which individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal. 

In this way, individuals can 
  • enhance their recognition as experts in their field, 
  • establish reputation and credibility, 
  • advance their careers, and
  •  build self-confidence.
Therefore, personal branding is something which not only affects you as an individual but also how it affects the organization that you represent. However, personal branding is not putting on a mask which you are not; but refining yourself in a way that brings only the best in you. 

As a senior executive of your organization you also have to keep in mind how you should present yourself to the outside world, your attitude and behaviour in a social & professional context and how others perceive you given your such self projections. 


A well-executed personal branding creates a strong, consistent, and specific association between the individual and the perceived value they offer. 

Personal Branding as a concept is new to India, albeit a very strong and important one. Please remember Personal Branding is not about being fashionable or looking trendy. 

Personal branding typically begins with establishing an inventory of professional & personal strengths, expertise, demonstrated abilities, and existing level of recognition, informed by market research or feedback. Questions to be answered revolve around who are you? Who is your audience? Why do you do what you do? and How do you do it? 

The ultimate aim of Personal Branding is to be the "go-to" person for something that you are capable of performing best than the rest in line. Or, to be the "Only" solution to someone's problem.

Are you up for the challenge?

write to us at to attend our workshops on Personal Branding.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Trailblazing Brands...1

There are plenty of good brands, smart business owners, and savvy marketers that are both risk-averse and successful. They follow trends, do their research, and identify good opportunities to capitalize on.

Then there are the trailblazers. The ones that identify trends before mainstream adoption, or heck, just create the trends themselves. The result? They're more than just successful. They redefine their industry -- sometimes even national or international discourse -- and of course, make a pretty penny from their foresight.


Believe it or not, diamonds were not always associated with love. In the late 30s expensive diamonds weren't popular in the United States -- not surprising, considering the economy. They were sold in Europe, but not as engagement rings. And when the United States did sell diamonds as engagement rings, they were smaller and of poor quality.

DeBeers decided to change all this. They launched an ad campaign designed to convince men that the size of a diamond in an engagement ring showed how much they loved their fiancé. They also showed movie stars wearing lavish, expensive diamonds in new movies, further convincing America that diamonds demonstrated love. Finally, in 1947, DeBeers coined the phrase, "A diamond is forever." The sale of diamonds in the United States increased by 55%.

To this date, the slogan "a diamond is forever" still lives on and is, at this point, just a part of popular culture. (Any James Bond fans out there?) DeBeers' campaign to convince America to associate diamonds with love and engagement also lives on, as we still see the emphasis on larger diamonds on engagement rings -- just the first step in an ever-burgeoning wedding industry. The campaign may have been decades ago, but DeBeers' impact is still seen in advertising for diamonds today, and the attitude toward diamonds today.

source : Hubspot blog

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Social Engagement - It's Relationship that Matters..

In Social Media Engagement isn’t hard, or so it is thought! – “anybody can engage… use cute cat videos”. However, the prerequisite for sustained engagement over a long time is a relationship.
Strong relationships need lots of time and attention, something that the modern customer is unlikely to have – particularly for brands. People have finite time and attention for relationships, and by their very nature, relationships with brands are always weaker than interpersonal relationships with people.
So how can brands build stronger relationships with customers?
  • Time – Time together with a person increases tie strength. But if the desire to spend time together isn’t mutual it can turn to hate! So the key is to know when the customer wants to spend time with you and then be there for them at those times.
  • Intensity – Customer intensity is always lower for brands than for friends. But you can appeal to greater causes that customers may have strong emotions about, such as the environment… But don’t try too hard in this area and don’t be fake about it because it will backfire.
  • Trust – Social media can really help brands develop trust. Trust is essentially how transparent you are. The more transparent you are, the more trust you can build. There are two types of transparency: brand-customer transparency (letting customers know what is happening at your organisation via blogs, etc) and customer-customer transparency (customers want to know what other customers think of the brand, i.e. through community discussion forums). While transparency is one way of building trust, there is another approach: co-creation. People trust themselves, so they tend to trust brands that co-create with them. There are two types of co-creation: passive co-creation (brands are listening and collecting information from customers and then quietly implementing the ideas) and active (actively going out to crowdsource ideation).
  • Reciprocity – Make it easy for customers to help each other and reward them properly and serve them right. Co-creation also builds reciprocity as it’s all about the customer telling the brand what they want and then the brand building it. The key is not to forget to let your customer help you, as it is good for both of you.
Ultimately, customer communities are ideal platforms for building relationships with customers. 
“They are opt-in, so they are there for the customer if they want it but they won’t bug you,” explained Wu. “It may have a greater cause. They are a transparent channel. They are platforms for co-creation. It also enables reciprocity. And that means that it helps your brand to build the four pillars of customer relationships.”
With the social customer, it is not enough to just monetise them. If you only focus on monetisation, you will miss engagement – and then you’ll only be able to monetise them once and that is it. You need to focus on the entire journey – the journey to the transaction point, and after that transaction point.

source: Going through the gears: How to ensure your social strategy is sustainable

Friday, May 31, 2013

People for People for Social Media Marketing

Remember Social media is Social!

Social media strategies are becoming automated, impersonal, and are actually contributing further to the exact problem they were put out there to solve for: streams of noise, shouting, and irrelevant messages.

Developing a people-centric social media strategy is a huge opportunity for companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors. A seemingly “faceless” brand making a personal connection over social media is such a rarity, that when it does happen, the resulting positive emotion from the recipient is remarkable in comparison to the avalanche of noise out there.

The Easiest Way to Scale Social Media Is Around People
You see, your company is a living, breathing entity, made up of many people and departments. Your most important relationships to manage are with your prospects, leads, and customers, and social media is a rich, nutritional resource for fostering these relationships. Social media is meant for messages from the real people in your company, to the real people out there on the internet.

Have Messages Come From the Right Person
This personal social media strategy not only becomes scalable, but becomes much more effective when you distribute the responsibilities of your entire social media marketing contribution across the various departments of your organization, to the most relevant people. At any given time, you have people in every part of your funnel. Marketing wants to hear from prospects. Sales wants to know what their high quality leads are saying. Customer Service needs to know what issues actual, paying customers are facing. Let them contribute. Let them be part of the Social Media Management team.

Every Department Needs a Social Media Strategy
Start by identifying the departments that will play a role in your social media strategy, what their goals in participation are, and help them customize their social media feeds to satisfy those goals.
Make social media marketing a daily responsibility for each of these team members. Only when you have an integrated approach towards social media marketing implementation, that you can truly connect with your customers on a personal basis.

Remember, if brands = relationships; then social media makes or breaks it for you.

Text Box: Smart iDeAS is a Market Research, Organizational & Personal Brand Advisory organization. Social Media Marketing Planning and Implementation is part of our Organizational Brand services portfolio.  +91 9986690081
Text Box: Smart iDeAS is a Market Research, Organizational & Personal Brand Advisory organization. Social Media Marketing Planning and Implementation is part of our Organizational Brand services portfolio.  +91 9986690081

(input from Hubspot)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Can Customer Be Bad? Part 3

Who is the customer actually? 

The company or the person sitting behind the desk and negotiating on behalf of the company? I have seen that in a very good company, there are some people who you would not like to deal with at all; and there are good people in a bad company whom you would never fail to say hi. 

However, these are rare incidents. The behavior of an employee in an organization reflects the overall philosophy of that organization. In fact, when a so called bad manager hires a deputy, he finds just the replica of himself (and vice versa).

Sad part though is that while most companies strive to make their customers almost God, all of them treat their vendors as slaves.

So, are we only considering the external value chain and ignoring the internal one?

Time to Rethink.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Can customers be bad? 2

Now this is funny! As soon as we become customers to someone, we completely forget all our complaints, woes and bad experiences. We immediately start behaving exactly like those customers of ours who we curse after every phone call or visit, with our "vendors" ! How weird is that?

Someone needs to change the motion of wheel here and break this cycle. 

The company where I started my career, I was taught to consider a supplier as a partner, because without him (whoever it is) we can't function.

A while back I walked out of meeting with a prospective client because he kept me waiting for 45 mins at a coffee shop. Later on, he sent me a mail saying "this kind of a behavior I don't accept from a VENDOR".

Would I work with such people ever? No. Simply because if he is like this Now, I am sure he is going to make my life miserable once we start our business.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Can customers be bad?

Yes, indeed they can be. The first lesson I learnt at the beginning of my career 17 years ago was to be able to walk out of a meeting with a customer if he fails to treat you respectfully. My mentor explained "your attitude towards yourself shall force your customers to take you seriously and respectfully. otherwise, they know you are just one of those "vendors" who can be replaced anytime they want. However, breaking a partnership is not that easy. and to be considered a partner in solving their problems, they would first have to respect you."

This philosophy has saved me a plenty of time. And this is the foundation of building long term relationships with the customers, which we term as Customer Friendship. Because at the end of the day friendship happens only among equals.

So, be ruthless in throwing away any rotten eggs in your kitty, they not only spoil others but also stink.