Saturday, March 29, 2008

Personality not included-The interview

As Rohit Bhargava, at the Influential Marketing Blog, prepared to launch his book "Personality not included", he sent across a couple of sneak peeks about his book to his online groups.As part of his facebook group, a look at the contents piqued my interest enough to send across a series of questions to him when he offered to respond to a 5 queries each, sent across to him by a set of bloggers, as part of his book promotion.This is part of the innovative Personality not included Interview Series. (Rohit is Senior Vice President, Digital Strategy & Marketing, Ogilvy Public Relations and is atop marketing blogger)

Read on.....You can read the rest of the series here

1.Can Social media help a great brand turn around the lost face value of a company?
I think it can, as long as it is used to give people a deeper look at a company and what it stands for. Dell is a good example of a brand that has managed to do exactly that.

2.You talk about new styles of marketing in your book.How relevant would social media be to 'Participation marketing' and 'Curiosity marketing'?
Social media is perfectly relevant when it comes to the idea of participation marketing. In fact, this is probably heavily about social media in the first place. As for curiosity marketing, that is really described as more of a viral marketing strategy, but could definitely relate to social media as well.

3.Can a corporate blog add to a company's personality?
Of course, in fact this can be a great way of bringing a company's personality to more visiblity.

4.How useful is personality in maintaining customer relationships?Personality is a key element in personal relationships with customers, particularly when it comes to longer relationship types of sales such as those that frequently happen in BtoB sales.

5.How big a role do you think social media can play in enlightening and empowering a consumer?
I believe it plays a very big role and it is a key element of the book to share some insights on how this may happen. For example, one brand that did this particularly well was the new aloft hotel chain from Starwood which allowed customers to collaborate and share feedback on the design of the hotel early in the process and is now in the midst of launching many properties worldwide.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Social media is here to stay

Responses from senior executives across companies in various countries profile an increasing understanding of the use of social media to harness market intelligence and understand consumer perception.(Source:Research done by media company Cymfony)

Monday, March 24, 2008

From Dell to Starbucks:From Ideastorm to My Starbucks Idea

A lot of discussion on organisations using social media as a tool to manage customer relationships has moved around companies using the same for brand visibilty and giving the customers a platform to interact and share, but failing to actually engage customers-as in closing the loop by actually showing the consumer what the company did with those ideas.

Looks like Starbucks was listening-
My Starbucks idea is the response.

As Jeff Jarvis had once rightly said that customers would have conversations about a company, products and services. It hence made more sense for the company to become part of these conversations. A series of branded online communities and corporate blogs followed suite.Starbucks apparently has gone a step forward.By providing a space for consumers to share their thoughts, let others vote on those thoughts and create a point system to rate ideas, it has actually made a concious effort to work on the consumer relationship.

Social media non-believers have screamed in the past about the inability of the medium to clearly showcase what the companies were doing with the consumer feedback or how the same was being leveraged.

This is a case in point!!!!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

CustomerThink Announces Global Awards Program To Recognize Customer-Centric Business Leaders

As per the Press Release dt. 20th March, 2008, California-

In today's connected world, it's more important than ever before for organizations of all sizes to build truly customer-centric business strategies. CustomerThink today is announcing a global awards program to recognize business leaders for initiatives that have delivered win-win results for customers and the organization.

With the opening of the awards nominations, CustomerThink is seeking case histories of companies that have succeeded in a wide range of initiatives, from broad strategic and customer loyalty projects to more tactical efforts aimed at improving customer-centric performance in marketing, sales, customer service, web-based marketing, voice of the consumer and the social web.

CustomerThink Global Awards 2008 is not just another recognition program for CRM technology projects, said CustomerThink founder Bob Thompson. Unfortunately, research has found that "CRM" has come to primarily mean managing customer information or automating processes. Successful customer-centric businesses, however, are the result of the right combination of strategy, metrics, people, processes and technology," Thompson said.

The judges for the awards have a mandate to base their selections for award winners on delivering better value for their customers and, in doing so, building more profitable growth for their organizations. Leadership, ROI and excellence in customer-centric practices will be key factors in selecting the winners.

Nominations may be submitted at
Customerthink Awards 2008

Award nominees (or their delegates) must submit a case study for review by a distinguished panel of industry thought leaders chaired by Thompson and drawn from CustomerThink's 2007-2008 Advisory Councils. The judges are (in alphabetical order):

Vandana Ahuja, Jaypee Institute of Information Technology University (India)
Elana Anderson, NxtERA Marketing (United States)
Olga Botero, Grupo Bancolombia (Colombia)
Silvana Buljan, Smartworxx (Spain)
Francis Buttle, Francis Buttle & Associates P/L (Austrailia)
Daryl Choy, WisdomBoom (Hong Kong)
Jay Curry, Jay Curry Associates (The Netherlands)
Naras Eechambadi, Quaero Corp. (United States)
Mei Lin Fung, Institute of Service Organization Excellence (United States)
Bob Furniss, Touchpoint Associates (United States)
Jack Fujieda, ReGIS Inc. (Japan)
Graham Hill, CACI Sophron (Germany)
John Holland, CustomerCentric Selling (United States)
Bob Kaden, The Kaden Company (United States)
Doug Leather, REAP Consulting (Pty) Ltd (South Africa)
Dick Lee, High-Yield Methods (United States)
Michael Lowenstein, Harris Interactive (United States)
Bill Price, Driva Solutions, LLC (United States)
David Rance, Round (United Kingdom)
Andy Rudin, Outside Technologies, Inc. (United States)
Alan See, Seapine Software (United States)
John Todor, Ph.D., The Whetstone Edge, LLC (United States)
Nominations will be open through May 31, 2008. Category finalists will be selected in June, with winners announced in July. Category finalists will be recognized at regional awards meetings in the September-October time frame. Other recognition will include a memento, mention in a press release and a featured case study on CustomerThink.

About CustomerThink-

CustomerThink, the global thought leader in customer-centric business strategy, was founded in 2000 (as by Bob Thompson, CEO of CustomerThink Corp. The site was renamed to CustomerThink in April 2007. CustomerThink's mission is to help business leaders develop and implement customer-centric business strategies. CustomerThink does this by publishing high-quality articles, blogs and discussion; conducting research on key issues and trends; and facilitating interactions with a global panel of experts.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Brands and Social Media

Gaurav Mishra of Gauravonomics has compiled a list of Marketing, Social Media and Public Relations Blogs in India. Thanx Gaurav, for including my blog in the list!!!

Gaurav's post on why brands should embrace social media is apt-As he says,
Very soon, social media will be the only cost effective way to reach consumers, courtesy the decreasing cost of consumer engagement through this medium.

My take on this-
Social media helps build brand equity like never before..building the most valuable assets of the firm by adding to consumer knowledge by granting the average consumer ease of access and the ability to engage via an interactive medium.
This creates meaningful brand encounters, thereby deepening consumer brand relationshps and influencing consumer perceptions.

A case in point has been Unilever.As Unilever makes it to the no.1 position as the digital marketer of the year 2008, it is interesting to note that the campaign under discussion is for the brand called Suave. Unilever takes advantage of social media by using a neat online community called in the motherhood.The webisodes based on the personal lives of the community members obviously touch a chord with the consumer base.

All the best Gaurav...for achieving your dream of becoming the next marketing guru.(Gaurav is an Assistant General Manager (Brand Head Indica) at Tata Motors.)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Marketers and Wikipedia

As Pete Blackshaw gears up to write about 10 uses of wikipedia for marketers, Some of my thoughts about wikipedia-
1.Positioned as an encyclopedia, it is ostensibly a collaborative directory.So listing a product or brand in this directory makes sense...
2.Since a prerequisite to uploading data on wikipedia is citing references independent of source, the uploaded material automatically gets linked to several other sites and material about the product/brand on the web. It's hence a one stop shop for substantial amount of credible data on your product for a wannabe consumer, and the very fact that it is moderated grants authentication to the same.....
3.Making a brand figure prominently in google searches is obviously a foregone conclusion to why marketers should use wikipedia.....

As he wrote to us on the CGM group, i found his references to Wikipedia as a "trust broker" very interesting. The way the grand masters at wikipedia handle discussions, the level of "transparency", as referred to by Pete is commendable. Further, as the grand masters insist that Wikipedia is not a promotional service, articles on a brand or product eventually are written in an academic fashion.In the process the credibility gained by the brand is unmistakable!!!!