Aug 16

Social Media Marketing Lessons From The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

If you are even slightly active on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram – then you would have definitely come across videos of celebrities dunking themselves with an ice water bucket in a bid to support the National ALS Organization. This campaign by ALS has not only become a viral hit but the ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) for this is unbelievable – the ALS Organization in a matter of few weeks has received donations worth $7.6 million compared to $1.4 million last year. Now that would make any CMO proud.

While every viral campaign does need that bit of luck to hit the tipping point and accelerate into virality, here are a few key social media marketing lessons which one can take away from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

1. Keep It Simple But Unique- the message as well as the action point of the ALS campaign were pretty simple – Dunk yourself with a bucket of icy cold water, challenge 3 of your friends to do the same, and share the video on social channels. So you just needed a bucket of icy cold water, a camera for recording and an internet connection to post the video online. The simplicity of the challenge led to maximum participation as the barriers for entering this challenge were low. The challenge being simple also ensured that the videos shared were not longer than 100 seconds, considering the short attention span of the YouTube Gen,this ensured maximum views and a high viewer engagement. The Ice Bucket Challenge though simple was also remarkably unique, it was not another “me-too” campaign. It had this sense of uniqueness and a stamp of originality on it. Even the ALS campaign hash tags were short, simple and unique  - #StrikeOutALS and #IceBucketChallenge.

2. Keep the Element of Fun and Craziness - Simple should not necessarily mean boring, that is what the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge showed. Seeing common people and celebs dunking themselves in ice water was a fun sight. There was also ample scope of creativity as shown by Bill Gates and Paul Bissonnette (Paul did take the challenge to an all different level) to do the challenge in your own creative way. As celebs starting challenging one another to do the challenge, there was also an element of surprise – as to who the celebs would challenge, making it all the more interesting

Bill Gates Taking The Ice Bucket Challenge

Pic : Bill Gates Taking The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 08

Why Samsung Galaxy Gear Will Not Work

Just a few weeks back I happened to revisit the amazing Sixth Sense video (it was infact my introduction to the TED series) by Pranav Mistry, the occasion being a talk on creativity and innovation.I remember when I first watched it, I could not help but get amazed by the gadget developed and the thought process that must have gone behind it. This was simply perfect and straight out of a sci-fi movie. I remember sharing this video across with all my friends and each one of them was equally amazed. Below is the Sixth Sense video for you, if you have not already seen it before -

Pranav Mistry – Sixth Sense Video

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

But when I watched the video a few weeks back, there were two questions that came to my mind- “Why Haven’t We Seen A Working Prototype of the Sixth Sense Device Yet?” and “What Happened To This Brilliant Guy – Pranav Mistry?”

While I Googled a bit for the first question and found that Sixth Sense was easier said then done, my second question was answered when a friend posted on Facebook that Pranav is the mind behind Samsung Galaxy Gear. Wow, so the man was all set to make his mark onto the consumer market, I could not wait to see another amazing concept and this time around a working prototype of it. But alas, I was disappointed.

Samsung Galaxy Gear

Here is the video of the Samsung Galaxy Gear Launch By Pranav Mistry

 embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

Here are three reasons why I believe the Galaxy Gear will not work  -

 1. It Replaces Your Watch But Without the Essential Features Of One – Pranav himself mentions this, the watch is “an object we have loved and relied over centuries” and that a watch speaks about our individuality and our personality. The Gear basically destroys this core aspect of a watch. Just by changing the wristband color of a watch, you cannot create differentiation. I would definitely not like to have a watch that is seen on every other wrist and which is so rigid in its design. Also the fact that we wrap only one watch around our wrist means that it is a binary situation here.  So if I had to choose between a Kenneth Cole and a Gear, the Kenneth Cole wins hands down for me.

Although I do not have any market research to back this, but I am sure the target audience of Gear ( corporate, business professionals), prefer the analog variant of watches than the digital one. Digital is something that is more of a kids watch.

Is the device water resistant? We take it for granted that most of our watches are. Pranav does not say anything about this, but considering the electronic devices involved I assume it not to be water resistant. So on a rainy day perhaps the Gear will not adorn your wrist and lie wrapped up in your backpack.

Also who the hell charges watches? Do we not already have enough devices to charge, than to add another one to the list. Considering that the Gear lasts for only one day, you might well have to be prepared to charge your watch everyday before going to bed. Is the consumer really prepared for such a behavior change?

2. It Is Not Ubiquitous – Currently it is integrated only with Note 3 and while in the future it maybe integrated with other Galaxy products, this makes the Gear device completely useless if you do not have a Galaxy tablet. So as such, Gear is nothing but a fancy add on to the Galaxy tablets.

3. User Behavior Not Considered While Designing - I believe either no great deal of research was done on user behavior before defining key features of the Gear or the user behavior took a backseat while technology was driving decisions. For example – While Pranav marvels about the camera, I do not find that working, unless you are targeting investigative journalists here. By our very action, we need to see through the lens what picture we are capturing and not jsut point and shoot.

Would like to hear from you guys on what you feel about the Galaxy Gear? Will the device change the watch market just like cameras in phones redefined the camera market? Or will this be another fad that will die a quick death? What changes in the device do you think can turn around the tables for G

Sep 02

Ten Things I Learnt From B School Competitions

If there was one thing I would never forget about B School life, it would be participating (and winning :) ) in B School competitions. The time spent in researching, brainstorming and finally arriving at a solution to the business cases has been one of the greatest learning experience in my 2 years at XIMB.

Here is a presentation I had given to my junior batch on my learning’s from B School competitions. Thought of sharing this on my blog as well, if at all it might help anyone else – I will only be glad!

Let me also take this opportunity to thank my seniors – Ashutosh, Sudip and Shreejit – for not only providing inspiration but also providing valuable guidance when I needed it.

Also thanks to all my team members in competitions – Kumar Gaurav, Paramdeep, Sidharth, Mansi, Suman, Sachet, Debasish. I had a great time working with you all :)

So do I miss B School competitions now? How can one, in the corporate world – every day seems like a Competition – with new challenges waiting to be embraced.

Jul 26

YouTube’s Cheer For Team India At London Olympics Marketing Program

Olympics kicks off at London tomorrow with a grand opening ceremony. While the opening ceremony would definitely have a high viewer-ship, I can not say the same thing about the Indian matches that would be played. The cricket crazy nation (or as Pepsi now feels Football crazy) that we are, there is great ignorance of Olympic sports in our country. Ok, lets take a short quiz – Who is representing India for boxing in the woman category? What about shooting? Name any 4 members of our hockey team? Pass ya fail?

Ok, let me not behave like the know it all guru. I too would have failed in the test. While we may be at fault at not showing interest and supporting other sports, I believe its more a failure of the marketing engine that needs to propel these sports forward. Apart from selling the sport, we also need to market and sell our sporting stars – something that cricket has managed to do very well in India.

YouTube, which would be broadcasting the London Olympics, has hence started a great marketing initiative - It’s Time You Cheer. The aim of this program is to make Indians aware about who their sporting stars would be, who would representing them for the Olympics and show a glimpse into their life through short videos uploaded on the It’s Time You Cheer YouTube Channel.  Following the AIDA model – creating Awareness about the Indian Olympic players to generate the desired Action – getting more people to watch, support and cheer the Indian team, the marketing team at YouTube has done a great job.

YouTube has also started an Onground Activation program with a YouTube Cheer For Team India bus moving across various Indian cities, that will showcase the Olympics matches. A beautiful song (Aap Agar Saath Hain) has also been created by Shantanu Moitra and Swanand Kirkire as a plea to the nation to follow the sport and cheer for their stars at the London Olympics.

Something that ideally the Indian Government should have done, has been done by YouTube and while there may be commercial reasons behind it, hats off to the team for getting it right with their marketing strategy.

Cheer For Team India - Youtube Bus

There are however a few things that could have been done better – Read the rest of this entry »

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