Archive for Idea

Any Ideas?

Posted in Advertising, Brand, India with tags , , , , on July 23, 2008 by manuscrypts

Reading this post today, on how Tata Sky and Dish TV have both partnered with matrimony portals -Bharat Matrimony and respectively, in the space of a single day, I realised how fickle competitive advantages really are. It also reminded me of a much debated post on Scobleizer yesterday on tech blogging, and where it’s at. While the initial premise of that post was how focus was now more on the biz part of it than the mutual discovery of stuff, it then moved on to fleeting attention spans and the quest for the latest shiny object on the www. And how every tech blog out there is trying to beat each other in reaching the latest news first.

Which essentially makes news the commodity and ways to reach the audience first the competitive advantage. Pretty much the same game as what our TV channels are upto these days. When I look around, i see commodities happening all around, to all sorts of product categories, and brands ending up aping each other so that they don’t miss the bus. So whether its reality shows or strange four letter acronyms for shampoos or features in mobile phones, remove the brand name and you won’t notice the difference. And to me, thats a problem, because in a commodity led culture, quantity led factors like volume, reach etc take precedence, mediocrity tends to become the norm, and no one thinks that they should figure out a better way to reach the consumer than the bus.

And that led me to think of ways and means of how brands can fight it. While I’ve been thinking of clear positioning as an obvious starter, I also realised there were some brands that not only created the big idea and ended up making a verb out of it – xerox, google, to name a couple, they were so radical either in thought or execution that they never actually positioned themselves. And before I go further, I apologise for taking you on this stream of consciousness trip. Now, not all brands can be lucky enough to get a not-easily-copiable idea or a drastic new way of executing it.

And that brought me to the potential of a brand which has taken a great first step in leveraging its brand name very well in the absolutely commoditised market of telecom- Idea. I’m sure you must’ve seen the TVC by now. While the campaign is indeed good, what I’m more impressed with is that now that they can actually focus on the innovative uses of utilising a mobile for the betterment of the individual and the society he lives in, and do a lifetime’s supply of campaigns, built around different ‘Idea’s. It offers a way to create a positioning that’s beyond communication. I think that this approach has the potential to build a superbrand. From a new media perspective, and considering that the mobile is almost ubiquitous now, think of the conversations that this could create, obviously around ideas.

That said, any ideas on how brands can beat commoditisation?

until next time, an idea and change

Social Evolution

Posted in Brand, Internet with tags , , , on July 3, 2008 by manuscrypts

The issue has been doing the rounds in my head for sometime now, it started with a question on LinkedIn about companies using CSR only for PR purposes, and I thought now was a good time to share my thoughts, at the risk of it sounding like an attempt at gyan. ­čśë

There was a very interesting topic tossed up last week here, on the role of social media, not in general, but in addressing the world’s problems. Whether all the coding gurus sitting down and making cool apps that generate thrills from a devouring audience are just doing it for its own sake rather than making a difference. While that question can be posed to just about anyone, and would elicit ‘no’ for an answer unless you were talking to an NGO or someone who works on CSR projects, it seems pertinent because well, its er, social media, and at its core, its about connecting people (sorry Nokia!). And it only seems fair that when the medium obviously has so much potential to change the world by the sheer amount of information it has, and the conversations it spawns, the humans that are so connected and the ones who are making the different levels and types of connections possible should also help out in bailing out those who are not privileged as themselves.

No, its not intended to be a moral debating session on career choices, although that’s welcome too. On the day i saw the (linked) post, by sheer coincidence I also came upon a few links which provided a start to answering the question. One was a presentation (via Chris Brogan) another, a site that holds immense potential. And yes, corporates can play roles that fit into their overall strategic objective and fulfill their business needs, check this by Motorola. (I’m beginning to have a healthy respect for this brand). Back home, this is worth a look, and I would like to see this Idea develop a bit more before I comment on it.

But while all these are definite concrete efforts towards making the world a better place, my belief is that the underlying philosophy of social media – sharing, collaborating, and most importantly transparency, is more fundamental and will itself cause quite a few groundbreaking things to happen in the way we develop as a society. With one single service like twitter, the flow of information is such that I am exposed to a multitude of new people, new websites, new thoughts, some of which make a profound impact on me, and on the way i think. As more and more people get hooked on to social media, think of the number of change agents it would create.

And it is vital for the change agents to absorb the inherent goodness that social media possesses. In an age when shortcuts to anything from file sharing to making money are eagerly lapped up, without a thought on its impact on others’ lives, and tech provides the means to do it and distribute it easily, it is important to ingrain a philosophy that would make developers and users think a little about common good when they engage themselves in social media, a thought that would at least discourage them from doing harm.

until next time, evolve


Posted in Brand, India, Internet with tags , , , on March 25, 2008 by manuscrypts

..for everyone concerned, is what the new ‘Idea Rocks India’ campaign looked like to me. Idea is taking Shaan to some 20 towns across India, and the contest is giving you the chance to be part of the tour – there is a Voice of Idea contest that allows the┬áwinner to sing with Shaan, there’s also a regular IRI┬ácontest that alllows winners to get passes for the event.

Idea is trying to evangelise the online media through at least two efforts here. Firstly,┬áVOI is supposedly India’s first online singing contest. Participants have to enter their recordings online in normal formats. Then the normal process of voting. Secondly, guys who recharge online get a chance to win passes. Meanwhile, there’s also an on ground regular IRI contest which is driven through the mobile platform. While Idea builds brand salience through ground concerts and ets revenues out of the SMS based contest, what is interesting is that except for Delhi, all the others are non metros and tier 2 towns, using the net as a primary medium in such places is quite a good experiment.

Meanwhile, the entire stuff seems to be hosted on msn (while i saw the ad on yahoo :D). For MSN it is building new traffic as well as content. And what’s more, to listen to the songs one has to download Microsoft Silverlight. That, i thought, deserves a ‘Sirji, what an idea sirji’ ­čÖé

And lastly, for Mirchi and Zee, there’s the content.┬á Additionally, for Zee, Shaan is a good draw and ‘Voice of Idea’ in particular┬áis a good property to be part of, considering Star has ‘Voice of India’ which Shaan himself comperes. Whatte fun.

Interesting┬áconnection – Idea owns a property called Idea Star Singer on Asianet, which is now owned by Rajeev Chandrashekhar, who used to own BPL Mobile, whose only competitor in kerala initially used to be Escotel, which was picked up by Idea. ­čÖé

until next time, some ideologies do work