December 20, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Social Media Professional

This original article was written for Social Samosa here

You wake up, get ready and head off to what seems to be a really hectic day. You have designs to line up, content to create, ‘strategies’ to make, Powerpoint templates to select, presentations to make, conversations on Twitter, LinkedIn and forums to participate in, ‘contests’ to run, ‘trending activities’ to conduct, posts to schedule, communities to build, and most importantly, client calls/meetings to attend to.

Yes, sometimes that becomes one of the most important task on your checklist. We’ve seen far too many cliched infographics depicting the day in a life of a Social Media professional, memes depicting ‘What I do at work,’ ‘jokes’ made around advertising and social media profiles, the ‘eat, breathe, live social media’, type T-Shirts, and to top it all, we have to hear the gurus of advertising and the know-it-alls tell us how Social Media is just another fad.
But I guess all of that is history now, with the lines between social, digital, mainline etc being blurred. “Integrated Marketing/Advertising” has a nice ring to it and is here to stay. What’s more important today is that belief; Belief in what you’re doing, which makes a huge difference to your job and a lot more to what your brand is saying.

Being a Social Media Professional

Truth be told, being a social media professional isn’t easy, wouldn’t you say? That’s partially correct, but a lot would really depend on how you perceive it and how you build on that perception to drive what you really want to do at the end of the day.
Build real value for your client, and I don’t mean that in terms of ‘ROI’ or what kind of numbers you build for your client, how you impacted their overall marketing tactics or for that matter, what you really did to build brand awareness for your client.
Adding real value starts in understanding, and begins with you achieving a clairvoyance of sorts about what exactly it is that your brand needs. Not what you think will generate an ROI of sorts, or what you think will create ‘buzz’ on Social Media and ‘Digital platforms’ as many would like to say. But what is it that your ‘brand really needs.’ Figuring this out goes a long way in the future along with helping you meet the desired goals you set for yourself. Not as a Marketer, Advertiser, Brand Manager, but simply as an artist.

Creating Value

Visualise yourself as an artist who is out to create great art in every single things he does, like I listed above. When you’re thinking about all of those things and ask yourself what it is that you’re doing that creates value, you are doing a commendable job.
You know it’s really good to sometimes stop and think about what we’ve done and in retrospect you’ll plot a really amazing line of what’s worked for you and what hasn’t. But don’t just analyze the statistics, or the numbers, or for that matter the affinity you created amongst a community on the social web, but also the kind of art you created day in and day out. What matters is how you focus on it with this perspective in mind.
Well, you may say that’s a far fetched way of looking at things, but truth be told, after working for over four years in this field, there is a difference in the way I perceive things today. No, I’m not talking about just ‘thinking out of the box’ or ‘there is no box’ approaches towards the creative or not so creative work that we do.
I’m talking about the way we look at every single thing when we work on those amazing campaigns we build or choose not to, the way we really drive engagement for our brands or maybe not. Every success, every failure have a lesson in them. The right way, or let me call it a better way of looking at it is to just step outside, give yourself a bird’s eye view and see where you’re heading.
A lot of times, we end up doing things we may not be really confident about. We end up pushing that limit between a force fit creative or something that really won’t work for a brand. I don’t know about you, but I always cringe at the very idea of a ‘trending activity’ because that will add nothing but a few hours or days of brand awareness!

Needs of a Brand

Well that is really great, excellent if you may ask, in the current scheme of things. But what next? How many times do we actually capitalize on these activities and campaigns to try and decipher something impactful for the brand? That should matter more to you than anything else at the outset. Not those appreciation mails coming in from your client or commendations from your peers. But what next?
Well, there are always those times when you need to deliver a pitch presentation on a given day that would have probably been better off if it was a day earlier. Ideas are never scarce, and mostly not completely bad and unusable, but what sometimes affects us is how many of them are really going to add value to our brand.
Yet, we go ahead and tell ourselves that we’ll improvise later, we’ll try and console ourselves that this is one instance and it would probably not impact the brand as much. I’m sure all of us have been there at some point in time. If not, then truly awesome! You’ve already crossed that threshold and seen the different side of the horizon!
I guess creating a sense of awareness for yourself and your brand helps a lot. Realizing what you’re doing is impacting your brand in a certain manner helps seeking the right answers to the right questions that you would go ahead and ask yourself rather than just doing what you think might ‘work’ for the brand for the time being. So don’t lose this battle, because eventually you might end up doing it so often that you’d have been defeated long before you even knew there was a war coming.
Yes, there are a lot of us who have challenges, and we face them with the hope of learning something new, creating something great, build something fantastic for your brand. Something that it needs, if not every single day, probably once in a while–to know that there is someone like you out there, who connects with what it’s trying to say.
Yes, we do say the wrong things sometimes and make mistakes every once in a while. Sometimes, our mistakes are noticed by the entire world, and sometimes too insignificant to be spotted by anyone.. But in your heart, if you are self aware about the things your brand needs and what you can give to them, you’ve gone a long way ahead.

Social Media and Marketing

I’ve been trying to figure out what this beast called social media is for quite a while and I must say, I have really enjoyed dissecting the minuscule observations, learnings, insights, and trends that, often I’ve forgotten to think of how it really mattered to the brand and how and when we should start learning from our mistakes and probably from others as well. And hey, that’s quite a thing.
Marketing as such, has evolved a lot, and so has advertising, say from the ‘Mad Men’ era, especially with it being part of many cycles of evolution. Yes, there’s a lot to learn and we’ll see a lot of changes happening, being part of it at this stage and we’ll probably see a lot of changes in the way consumers consume content, products, services and for that matter your interaction with them as well.
Cultures shifting, patterns changing, trends being disrupted and for that matter, the medium of interaction divulging into each other and crossing lines that were originally set with a niche in mind. That will stop existing and we’ll have a unified way of looking at how we simply communicate with our consumers.


When that day comes, I’d like to ask you all to remind yourself where you started and traverse into your own journey to realize how much you’ve achieved. The things you thought were amazing, will now be of amusement to you, to the point that it stops being funny. You’ll achieve a sense of perspective in that you’ll get an understanding of how things were different and how they’ve changed. In fact, I’d say, don’t wait for that day to come. Be a futurist, today! Tell yourself to stop doing the things that really don’t make a difference to your brand but indulge yourself in asking yourself a simple question.
“What is it that my brand really needs?” “And where do I go from here?”
Just these simple questions haunting you when you wake up, get ready, and head off to what is seemingly a really hectic day with designs to be lined up…. (Fade out)

Just ask yourself…. “What is it that my brand really needs?”

Srinivas has been a communications professional for over 10 years, and has been blogging since 2005. He has worked with the likes of Social Wavelength, now Mirum India, (A JWT Group Company) for four years and now Heads Learning and Development & Analytics at Social Kinnect: A Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai. His passion for Advertising, Creativity, Social & Digital Marketing helps make a difference for the brands they work with. 

August 02, 2013

Curiosity in the Social and Digital Day and Age!

"At the end of everything, there lies an inherent element of curiosity within everyone. One that we as humans are willing to explore beyond our known capability..."

The original article was written for Business2Community

Today, every bit of advertising and marketing that is shoved down upon our throat has an element of curiosity that everyone tries to explore as marketers. What is more baffling than anything is the fact that they know, as humans, we are bound to go click on that link, go visit that Web site, go download that app, play that game, check out the new social network, go view that video that everyone else is talking about! 

Everything from a small engagement to a great idea always relies on exploring that element of curiosity among their audience, however very few realize that it's not always about the idea itself or the fact that 'curiosity' will keep it popular or gather the eyeballs that they aspire to gain! Forget about curiosity in day to day marketing or advertising, we have the element of curiosity in every aspect of life that keeps us pushing hard, hard at our job at our work and at every aspect of our life. Heck we even went to Mars, all because of this curiosity!

In digital advertising and social media, we've done and dusted the exploration for curiosity for the sake of curiosity, right from the uncovering of campaigns, to puzzles, to mysteries to treasure hunts and more importantly the 'Like This' to Find out 'That.'

But the true element of engagement is driven from something more than just titillating those consumer senses and driving more in providing quality communication and create something that adds more value, than just relying on the curiosity of your consumer. There has been a lot of time that has been spent in research, there certainly has been a lot of time spent in understanding your consumer and what drives them and most certainly their curiosity! But today we need more time to understand what keeps that curiosity going. It may not always boil down to a fluke that ended up becoming popular for a unique reason, but also depend on that method to madness on why it became successful in the first place. Be it Psy and his Gangnam Video, The Harlem Shake, a Kolaveri Di or greater campaigns of the likes of Blend It, Old Spice, Tippex or many more... 

Understanding what keeps your consumer driven when it comes to something beyond that curiosity! Yes everyone quotes Steve Jobs today, now that he's gone and they may be right, just as he was, 'Consumers don't know what they want.' 

But they certainly have an element of curiosity, which can be fed by us marketers, and the key lies in resonance and driving that curiosity further than just what the product messaging is or the core communication of the brand is. 

To me it is more about the philosophy behind what you are trying to sell, rather an idea and a belief that they are willing to buy! 

Image Courtesy:

Srinivas has been a communications professional for over 10 years, and has been blogging since 2005. He has worked with the likes of Social Wavelength, now Mirum India, (A JWT Group Company) for four years and now Heads Learning and Development & Analytics at Social Kinnect: A Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai. His passion for Advertising, Creativity, Social & Digital Marketing helps make a difference for the brands they work with. 

July 31, 2013

Social Archives and Digital Legacy - Data Miners' feast!

"We are not just viewers of incidents in our timeline... But witnesses to a past that shall be etched among the archives of our digital history." 

Some day we'll realize how those words make more sense than ever. Today we are certainly in an age where every piece of content that we view/share/read/write and create within our social and digital networks we tend to forget the overarching theme of how this will shape the future of Internet consumption and how constantly our lives are going to be driven by the legacy that we leave behind. 

Every day and every moment we thrive in this world that is as digital as it gets, we are striving hard to communicate and contact to a world that is built in this realm so open and so evidently 'out there' Privacy is a word beyond a realm without any real strings attached and most important element in today's consumption of information is the fact that curating has become a key component more than anything else. 

Digital footprints make more easy to find and track rather than actually trying to profile someone in a hypothetical analysis. While a very good thing for marketers who are keeping a close eye on their subjects and building their products and brands to touch the right pulse, it's all the more creepier for people who are subjected to targeted consumerism via digital media. 

We all have not just become a part of a timeline that we can view in retrospect, but also witnesses to a past that will always be with us and in the Internet archives so as to give leverage to not just ourselves but to a lot of data miners out there. 

The day isn't far away that every transaction carried across the web has critical importance and every transaction giving priceless information about target consumers and behavior profiles would transform into some sort of currency. Heck, even Bit-coin mining would probably provide opportunities to share,sell personal data which is no less than the golden eggs that this digital chicken (Read:Consumer) lays for marketers. What say?

Image Source: Social Business News

Srinivas has been a communications professional for over 10 years, and has been blogging since 2005. He has worked with the likes of Social Wavelength, now Mirum India, (A JWT Group Company) for four years and now Heads Learning and Development & Analytics at Social Kinnect: A Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai. His passion for Advertising, Creativity, Social & Digital Marketing helps make a difference for the brands they work with. 

July 19, 2013

How would you persuade anyone to use a 'Social Media Website?

This was an [A2A] I received on Quora for this question

The Web site he has is

[A2A] I've been part of promoting a few Social Networking sites and early adopter to enterprise social networks within my organization, so from my experience penning down a few things that would / would not work especially when you want to thrive among a competition of social networking sites as such. Personally I'm of the opinion that there's too much connectivity and too much networking happening. People should reverse the trend and offer products that are more niche and closed group and non-intrusive per se.

  1. Social Networking is out there. I don't need a new network to connect on to the same people or for the same purpose. (So after facebook, orkut, hifi,myspace etc. Why did twitter,foursquare, goodreads, Quora, whatsapp, (closed social networking), G+, Line, Kakaotalk, Sina Weibo etc become popular? For their individualistic reasons and problems they solved. What's different from others? Try to make that possible.
  2. As far as promotion goes, don't shove it down their throat. It should be intuitive and give me a reason to use the network than just using it because it's there.
  3. Again, points (I don't think that's a good idea, unless it's in real time value of some sorts, yet it could sometime feel overwhelming at times.)
  4. As Abhirup Dutta mentioned it's important to answer the "problem statement" that inspired you to create this site as the solution.
  5. I saw this: "Find People: Find people of your interest from anywhere in the world." at the very bottom. I think this is something you could really rely on and revolve your entire network per se around this fundamental aspect.
What it is is less important more than what it can offer and what it drives. Build your product, offer the problem and promotion becomes easier then. Rest is business as usual.

Srinivas has been a communications professional for over 10 years, and has been blogging since 2005. He has worked with the likes of Social Wavelength, now Mirum India, (A JWT Group Company) for four years and now Heads Learning and Development & Analytics at Social Kinnect: A Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai. His passion for Advertising, Creativity, Social & Digital Marketing helps make a difference for the brands they work with. 

July 18, 2013

Consumer Trend through Social

An interesting behavior that always was popular and will be popular is identifying or creating consumer trends through behaviors within the market in any industry. That is a popular process and there are billions of dollars spent on making sure that any particular brand actually goes ahead and gets its consumers and target market right. 

Today Social allows a very good opportunity to identify that trend. Certainly it's been a popular aspect with the likes of Big Data and social media monitoring / online reputation management existing in that space. But the more fascinating aspects of consumer trends is through deep rooted study via tracking and identifying consumer behavior through understanding what they want what they like, what they do what they share with others and most importantly what their tastes are. 

Certainly this process is of an interesting order and a lot of brands and a lot of research goes into identifying individual customers and understanding their behavior. Unlike generic results via social media monitoring this would involve deep and further study on specific customer behavior. This is a space that will certainly go to the next level and brands will start getting into it via social all the more. Social media ethnography as it would be popularly known is certainly looking interesting and general interest about it is picking up. 

Srinivas has been a communications professional for over 10 years, and has been blogging since 2005. He has worked with the likes of Social Wavelength, now Mirum India, (A JWT Group Company) for four years and now Heads Learning and Development & Analytics at Social Kinnect: A Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai. His passion for Advertising, Creativity, Social & Digital Marketing helps make a difference for the brands they work with. 

April 17, 2013

Consumerism and Advertising: Building Brands as Products, not Commodities

The original Article was written for Social Samosa 
Consumerism is increasing day by day especially when it comes to mass marketing and advertising being shoved down consumers’ throats. It isn’t any different on social media either. As a marketer, it is important to introspect if your consumers are really listening to what your communication is, or if they have become zombies brainwashed to buy your product. Do they rely solely on brand recall without having knowledge of or believing in what they are purchasing? Market trends keep shifting and a brand that has strong recall today can be history tomorrow.
So, the real question is how do social media marketers or advertisers communicate with and engage consumers without really having to generate the hype of consumerism around them?
I’ve always believed that communication is always about the consumer, whether in social media or in mainline communication. Making the product stand out in your communication is more relevant than just influencing the consumer or key influencers surrounding him. The communication should not only seek to break the clutter but should also make fundamental sense.
A very good example of this is L&T Insurance’s ‘Likh Ke Doge Kya?’ campaign. I had the opportunity to listen to Ms. Deepali Nair of L&T Insurance speak at the Computer Society of India IT 2020 Conference, about how they worked backwards on the entire campaign, tailored it to suit Facebook first and then ran it on television. It was an interesting campaign and very successful too.
It wasn’t about what consumers want, but what consumers aren’t really asking for. In hindsight, I am sure that, ‘Likh ke doge kya?’ is a question they always ask insurance providers. It also takes a look at how fallible the whole insurance business is, especially when it comes to claims, terms and conditions and queries. In this case, it wasn’t about shoving another insurance product that no one knows about down the consumer’s throat, but about making a firm commitment that queries would be responded to within X amount of time, and they would give it in writing. What stood out in the campaign was the promise of execution – exercising ownership and being accountable.
So, what should we, as marketers, be doing?
Research what consumers don’t know
Keep doing your research. Don’t stop doing that at all. But change the way you do it. It is about time we started looking beyond what the consumer is telling us and try to gauge insights by reading between the lines – what the consumer is thinking but not saying.

Of course there will be rants, cribbing and negative sentiments on social media. Invest time in resolving those. But don’t miss out on what the consumer isn’t telling you. And yes, by all means, classify your consumers based on demographics, but don’t obsess over the behaviour and decision-making of your target group. Yes, consumers may not know what they want, but you do. It is all about thinking backwards.

Don’t listen to what they’re saying. Listen to what they aren’t telling you.
When it comes to social media, ORM has always been the tool to listen to what the consumers have to say about brands and what consumers have an opinion about. But it doesn’t mean that ‘listening’ only involves market research, gauging sentiments, categories and keywords. Try to analyze what is lacking in the market. As advertisers, we may not have a control on the product, but we always have a control over the positioning.
Don’t give them a reason to talk! Talk to them!
The trick is to engage consumers by being proactive. Do whatever it takes to ensure that you are there as a product and brand to listen to what they are thinking and not saying. Before discussing the product or brand, ask them interesting questions. Use promoted posts to create a focus group testing within your communities. Yes, focus groups aren’t always accurate. But, be blatant about the questions that you ask – questions, the answers to which, you, as a consumer, would know but perhaps, hesitate to speak up. Consider crowdsourcingas an option but don’t feed your consumers, let them feed on the existing situation.
Don’t just shove a product down their throat! Ask them why? Why are they really using your product, as opposed to any other product? Do you really know what your differentiators are? Have you used the product yourself? Have you sat through the product brief and tried to identify if there is any difference between your product and any other product that the consumer would know about? No? Well then, do that. If there are no differences and you are just another competitor, it is more likely that the brand recall, advertising and how far your reach goes will be decisive factors for the consumer in making a purchase decision.
But if you talk to your existing communities, you will get the answer. Use that to your advantage. Create a campaign on any social media platform using any tool available to find out WHY does your consumer buy your product? Based on the responses, engage with the consumer accordingly and use it as a reference point for your next communication.
Trends change but buying behaviour has one element that will always remain constant – the ignorance that drives those trends. Use it to your advantage. What I am trying to say is perhaps futuristic but very simple. Every campaign, advertisement, billboard or hoarding that reaches out to the masses is reflecting the consumerist sense of behaviour, which is today, what is making the product or brand irrelevant. But social media has the power to change that – by genuinely engaging with the consumer. This change will not only benefit consumers but also, create a larger and more profitable market in the long run.
Interestingly, the other day Gautam Ghosh pointed me to this blog about ‘Collaborative Economy‘ by Jeremiah Owyang, suggesting how brands are already creating a shared market space amongst consumers and using it to their advantage. Rather than over-spending on products that they don’t need, consumers have let better economic sense prevail and have decided to share their needs. And that is what consumers would prefer in the future.
So what will make or break your brands is, ‘Is your brand truly unique and doesn’t need a recall to be purchased by your consumers.’
Do you know of any brands who are doing this well? Let me know.

Srinivas has been a communications professional for over 10 years, and has been blogging since 2005. He has worked with the likes of Social Wavelength, now Mirum India, (A JWT Group Company) for four years and now Heads Learning and Development & Analytics at Social Kinnect: A Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai. His passion for Advertising, Creativity, Social & Digital Marketing helps make a difference for the brands they work with. 

Consumerism and Advertising: Is Your Brand Only a Commodity?

The original Article was written for Social Samosa
Consumerism? What’s That?
Here’s what Wiki says:
Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the purchase of goods and services in ever-greater amounts.
It is certainly something that drives all of us to constantly keep buying and have the craving to buy time and again. With a bend to figure out, what to buy, when to buy, how much to buy and how often to buy, consumerism has certainly been part of our lives since kingdom come. Interesting to notice how it is primarily driven on the basis of what others are buying and on the sheer influence of a majority of factors in the market. Have you’ve watched this movie ‘The Joneses,’ You’ll know what I mean…
Some key factors that affect the purchasing decisions are:
  1. What purchases are happening and what the market trends are.
  2. How buying behaviors are affecting lives of people in your region.
  3. How advertisers both on Social Media and offline are influencing the consumers.
  4. Price point and offers / how much more do I get if I buy this today.
  5. Finally there is the ‘I need this because I ‘NEED’ this.
Yes, a minimal thought is given these days by consumers on ‘need to have’ as opposed to ‘want to have’ because of the ridiculous amount of money brands are spending on advertising, giving deals and discounts and a lot of other factors to increase consumption and consumerism. That is also rolling out on Social / Digital Media. But in the bargain, the true question to ask is… 
Are your consumers really listening to you? Or have they become zombies who are brainwashed to buy your product based on incessant levels of advertising? As an advertiser or marketer we certainly need to create the ‘want to have’ aspiration for our buyers. But as a product builder, it’ll always be the opposite of it unless, you are someone like an Apple Inc.
It is always a good thing to really reach out to your consumer and engage them within your community and target group. It’s also important to focus on the ‘Big or Small’ whatever data you analyze and engage with them one-one. Being there for your consumers, rather than shoving something down their throat through sometimes insignificant or even irrelevant forms of advertising, including Facebook andLinkedIn media buy. It is ironic that the same marketers and advertisers are consumers themselves at the end of the day be it on digital, social or mainline media.
Speaking of which, there’s an interesting story I have to tell. One that I observed in a grocery store while I was out to buy a couple of things to eat as a consumer. I usually get a lot of insights out there. Some things that you could really use as a marketer/advertiser especially if you want to understand your consumers better.
So here’s what happened:
I was waiting in the queue before checking out with my purchases. There was a father who was with his 2 year old son in front of me and there was a mother with his 9 year old son behind me in the queue. (Approximate ages of the kids)
Scenario 1
The father ( approximately 37 years old) had a fairly empty to medium filled trolley. He had picked up an ordinary packet of candies maybe worth Rs. 20 for his 2 year old kid. Then the kid saw a big Dairy Milk in the rack, which probably is worth Rs. 30/40 bucks. As soon as he decided he wanted it, the kid wouldn’t let go of his packet of candies either, suggesting that he wanted both. But the dad, persuaded his 2 year old to trade the packet of candies for the Dairy Milk!
Scenario 2
The mom (approximately 34 years old) was waiting behind me, her trolley was generally full of stuff that you’d buy to consume on a daily basis, the vegetables, the packet of cereals, milk, butter/cheese, eggs, a huge bottle of cold drinks, some fruits, and probably a few cosmetic items. Her 9 year old son walked in from behind and he had 2 bars of Snickers, the smaller ones which would probably cost Rs. 10/20. She just told him to drop it in the trolley with no questions asked. So, what does one intercept from this observation? Many things probably and different people would come up with different interpretations. But one good thing about both the scenarios playing out at the same time was that it probably gave me a pretty hands on perspective on this buying behaviour.
This is what I can speculate.
Father knows Dairy Milk and has a better brand recall about the product. Keeping in mind the Indian parent buying behavior especially when it comes to chocolates I’d like to say Dairy Milk is always viewed as a premium brand of chocolate, no matter what it costs. And hence the intuitive need to haggle with a 2 year old kid to get rid of the candies packet.
In this case, Snickers, it may not have had a bigger brand recall with the mother and she wouldn’t really mind his kid buying those two packets as they anyways looked small.
These were my first two thoughts on impulse to interpret the behavior that I witnessed.
But if you come to think of it, there could be a multiple amount of permutations and combinations that might have affected the purchasing and influencing decision.
For example, 
  1. What is the mindset of the father/mother?
  2. What is the spending power of the father/mother?
  3. What was his original intent of entering the grocery store and what he was willing to spend on extra purchases?
  4. How strong are their impulses, their gender and age and the kind of purchasing patterns they have etc.
  5. And of course, it would very well happen that the father and the mother both were just giving in to their kids demands, only difference in both of their behavior could have been the fact that the brand made a difference in their purchase.
So whether it is purchasing necessities, requirements or luxuries and indulgences, in our day to day lives, we all and I mean all of us consumers in the current economy and the conditions in India and worldwide are always affected by brands and brand recall certainly carries a lot of weight when making our purchases. I mean, that’s a given and I don’t even need to talk to this audience about it. We all know that.
Be it in mainline advertising or Social Media, our lives have dwelled within the breakup of our Target Demographic, the kind of things he/she buys, what age group he falls in and speculating what kind of things he/she likes, who are his primary/secondary influencers and what additional things are they interested in. That is our life 24×7, 365 and we all burn the midnight oil trying to decipher the consumer as if he/she was some code or a pattern sitting in front of our MacBooks, Desktops, iPads and laptops like the ‘operator’ from the Matrix.
Very few brands, let’s say Apple and mainly thanks to Steve Jobs, will take a call and say ‘Consumers don’t really know what they want.’ and if we were to do something that would appeal to them, then we aren’t really making a dent in the universe. We are mainly subverting our product to fit in and shove it down their throat for their consumption, actually consumption till the point where they actually puke until there’s no return.
So what am I trying to get to?
A few fundamental questions that I’d like to ask myself when it comes to Social Media or any form of marketing for that matter. I remember about a year and a half I wrote this blog post on brands getting their communication right.
I read that again now. Interesting to note that, this doesn’t change even today. But yes, I’d like to differ on one perspective.
Consumerism hasn’t yet reached its tipping point and most certainly all the things that we have been doing in the past will continue to stand. But what will make us and our brands more than just a commodity and as products to ‘stand out‘ is how we productize our services and servicize our products, something I learnt from The Purple Cow. Remember the irony I brought out in the beginning?
So the questions that will still linger in one’s mind are :
  1. Do consumers make decisions based on brand recall and communication?
  2. Or consumers have their own wandering mind which no matter how hard we try, we cannot decipher and the trends will keep shifting depending on the herd mentality of the consumers.
  3. Lastly, how do we really communicate to the consumer especially when we don’t have control most of the times over the product as marketers / advertisers
In a separate post, I have answered these questions in a different way, one that’ll help your brand be more than just a commodity, be it on social media or offline. I have written about how we need to build brands as products not commodities.  

Srinivas has been a communications professional for over 10 years, and has been blogging since 2005. He has worked with the likes of Social Wavelength, now Mirum India, (A JWT Group Company) for four years and now Heads Learning and Development & Analytics at Social Kinnect: A Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai. His passion for Advertising, Creativity, Social & Digital Marketing helps make a difference for the brands they work with. 

April 11, 2013

Facebook’s Open Graph: Making Droids Out of Humans

The original Article was written by me on Busines2Community

I’m sure this is something that has been spoken about many times before especially when Facebook’s Open Graph was launched and a lot of products enabled the embedding of open graph into their APIs, and specifically ensuring that a lot of verbification happens on the go. Every product that has been launched within the start-up ecosystem has ensured that their app or product has an element of verb and being hooked on to their users in terms of ensuring that every time they use the app, automatically the action is shared on Facebook.

Fast forward to last week. I was just generally going through my own timeline for Facebook. I’ve been very sporadic as far as my use on Facebook is concerned. Generally speaking, my overall consumption and sharing on Facebook has reduced over a period of time now. I’m sure there are plenty of reasons for that, and yes, day by day, Facebook is really becoming a repository of meaningless content mostly not so much worth curating even. 

Of course, the kind of information that is already managed via my lists and by blocking / hiding feeds from unnecessary feeds is already taken care of. Yet, there isn’t a lot of information that I share myself and a lot of times users are sharing what’s happening in their lives.

Which is where, something I noticed on my timeline made me go back and think about how this Facebook Open Graph has changed the ball game already with how people are sharing information on their timelines. Soon enough, this is probably something that will determine how people will go about interacting with their friends or rather interacting with friends through applications.

Take a look at some of my recent updates.

Facebook Updates of the Open Graph Culture:

  • I biked 10 kms via Runkeeper
  • I read Steve JObs on GoodRead
  • I checked in at McDonalds, Mumbai
  • I am watching The House of Cards on GetGlue
  • I pinned Paris to ‘Places I want to Travel to’
  • I viewed ‘How to Sell Better’ on Slideshare

It’s already happening and very few of us realize how that is affecting our content sharing and consumption behaviours, but soon enough the Social would actually move towards A-Social and very cyborg like connections that we are heading towards. In fact, moving forward, with the introduction of Google Glass, this would be something that would completely change the game.

Going by how human intelligence is striving towards making everything automated and we are all becoming bots or droids of various products sharing various updates through so many social apps, it’d be hard to find a manual update and most interaction on Social would be droid like and less social in its truest sense.

What do you think?

Srinivas has been a communications professional for over 10 years, and has been blogging since 2005. He has worked with the likes of Social Wavelength, now Mirum India, (A JWT Group Company) for four years and now Heads Learning and Development & Analytics at Social Kinnect: A Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai. His passion for Advertising, Creativity, Social & Digital Marketing helps make a difference for the brands they work with. 

April 08, 2013

Social Web on the Go – Is Social and Mobile the future?

The original Article was written by me on Social Samosa
A very interesting and certainly very intriguing concept is of course how the shift of consumption of media is on the go. A lot of consumer mindset is of course shifting towards mobile. Many folks have even completely shifted their marketing strategies to mobile. Mobile internet is slowly getting big.
I was down in Singapore a month or so ago and I noticed that trend already existing and was  very big there. With an internet penetration of 90% and above and Social / Digital media penetration of around 60% a lot of it there is via mobile.
I can see that will soon be the state of Internet in India too. Mobile and tablet devices reach consumers where PCs and Laptops don’t. Depending on the kind of brands that are very active on mobile campaigns it’s to be seen how that market shapes up.
But one thing is for sure, especially with more mobiles and tablets sold more than PCs and tablets and with the telecom industry booming in India, brands need to really give that importance to their consumers who are mobile and going to get mobile.
With premium services like Facebook mobile advertising, customized targeting via mobile or email as UID. Also with the new Facebook newsfeed coming into focus, mobile will play a key role in how brands will strike that first mover advantage or for that matter how many of them will start recognizing that sooner than later and transform their consumption patterns for users on mobile.
Something like customizable content for mobile would make amazing sense for your consumers.
For instance the recent announcement of Flipboard giving an option to users to create and curate their own content in form of magazines makes for an interesting use case of how mobile can be really used to drive customized content consumption.
Or using an app called MobileRoadie ( to create a Social media app for content consumption for niche audience of your content.
How much longer before Social and Mobile integration becomes stronger? Is social and Mobile the future? What are your thoughts on this?

Srinivas has been a communications professional for over 10 years, and has been blogging since 2005. He has worked with the likes of Social Wavelength, now Mirum India, (A JWT Group Company) for four years and now Heads Learning and Development & Analytics at Social Kinnect: A Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai. His passion for Advertising, Creativity, Social & Digital Marketing helps make a difference for the brands they work with.