Archive for January, 2008

Impositioning

Posted in Advertising, Brand, India with tags , , on January 30, 2008 by manuscrypts

No, thats not an opposite, more a reminder of the days in school when we were made to write a spelling or a multiplication table multiple times in a bid to make us memorise it. Can’t remember if it worked, though the Bart Simpson version of imposition during the Simpsons titles works for me 🙂

But we aren’t a sitcom blog, so the blog title refers to the stance taken by a lot of brands as far as positioning goes. While i do not even contest the importance of positioning during the launch of a product, i definitely argue on hanging on to a positioning, especially if it is in the form of a tagline. This is an era in which brands are being forced to re-consider their existence strategy on the face of a changing media and user landscape, and to carry on a love affair with a tagline might be absolute harakiri.

My favourite examples of  brands which have reinvented itself consistenctly, and been succesful at it would be Pepsi and MTV. Pepsi was cool when they made iconic lines like ‘Yehi hain right choice baby’, ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ , ‘Nothing Official about it’, and they’re still cool when they make Shah Rukh an ‘uncle’, even though some people refer to it unfairly as an ad for SRK’s and John’s toilets. MTV was hot when Nonie (sigh) used to be around, and still is er, with Cyrus ;). The difference between the two youth brands is that while pepsi could not change the product, and has to resort to positioning and packaging and other innocations like say, gaming to keep being cool, MTV had the liberty to change content to suit a changing young generation, but both have done a commendable job without hanging on to lines for too long.

Look around, and you’ll see taglines which are redundant, and ones which cause more harm than good. This is a case in point. I wish the energy and time spent on evolving catchy taglines would also be spent on making better products and delivering better service. Rather than trying to impose a certain point of view on the audience’s mind by repeating catch phrases for years, wouldn’t it be much better to deliver a good product/service and communicate it effectively in the right context?

And yes, the reason Bart’s imposition works for me is because he changes it in every episode and still keeps it funny. He evolves.

Social Responsibility

Posted in India, Social networking with tags , , on January 21, 2008 by manuscrypts

And the mother of ’em all is finally here- My Space. I wonder if the promos happening on Channel V for its campus star is My Space’s idea of an Indian launch. I hope not, because i kinda liked Big Adda’s efforts, and hope to see a good brand campaign from My Space.Meanwhile, i read this article recently, which talked about social networking fatigue.

While it did make interesting reading, and gave what could be a popular perspective about the sites, i would tend to disagree on the fatigue factor.While I admit to being a more recent convert to all the sites, i’ve been on orkut and facebook long enough to have come across fatigue if it was lurking there. In fact, the case could be true of orkut where my involvement has perhaps seen a downturn after i joined facebook. But thats because Orkut doesnt have enough meat (IMHO) to keep me interested, and that’s precisely what differentiates Facebook. Its not just about messages and photo sharing, vampires/werewolves and forwards, its also about applications which cater to your interests in life – be it word games like scrabble, Tv shows like Heroes, or the philosophy of Ayn Rand, or a simply super group like ‘I love trashy Hindi movies’, the list just goes on.

I can’t see fatigue setting in when i’m playing scrabble with friends, while buying and selling in the fantasy stock exchange, and doing a likeness test with my friends and so on. In fact, the kind of fatigue i see is in the number of sites that keep cropping up. While (with the entry of My Space) we have three globally recognised networks, we also have the local clones like minglebox, yaari, Big Adda etc. And here’s were the fight will happen.Thats because there are users, and quite possibly the majority, who are into the social networking sites because its the in thing, and offers the (by now) plain vanilla benefit of connecting with friends. Once that connecting is done, their attention span becomes fleeting, and they’d hop, skip and jump to the newest site before you can say ‘Scrap’.

So every new site launched and every new campaign for them would create a ripple in that market.But then, there’s also the user who’ll try to derive value from a network which offers such avenues for him, and for him there’s no fatigue. If the site keeps adding stuff that will add to the user stickiness, then they would have to worry only if a better product comes into the market, not because of the wannabes that appear from time to time.

In essence, social networks, as every other commodity, will be solely responsible for how long they keep the user, depending on the value they create.So you see, the writing, as they say, is on the wall 🙂

and i bid adieu, wishing you all the best in your socialising efforts..