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Review : cottonworld Print Ad, Website and Social Media

22 Apr

Love the new Cottonworld ad which features Ashish Hemrajani, the guy who runs Bookmyshow.com

Why I like th ad?

  • No celebrity.  Real success story. I never really like or believe celebrities are good for brand building unless it for a cause.
  • Check the ad. Look at the tag “comfort zone”. Check out the cop – “Comfort is about being yourself…” The tag line, the copy is in complete sync with a simple ad about the guy wearing a very stylish and yet simple dress.
  • Then you have couple of lines on his success story. You immediately associate the brand with being casual, entrepreneurship, and success and yet are simple and down to earth.
Big Iea : You can be simple and look great and be successful at that .

Simple ad. Great execution.

Big Thought : Makes me want to buy cottonworld dress

My next stop: www.cottonworld.net

Love the website. It is clean white, has great content and again syncs completely with the brand core message (or the latest campaign theme): Casual, celebrating entrepreneurship and success and yet simple and down to earth.

The website features some great success stories of people who follow their heart in did what they wanted to do.

Great ad shots as well!

Kick Ass thought: Someday I would love to be featured in their website

My criticism:

The “club cottonworld” page has very little info on what it is all about. 5% off on any purchase? Conditions apply (as always ) ? Dint really get the idea of it. I wish the website had more info on the loyalty program.

I then moved on to their Facebook fanpage.

As far as I can see, they have a good fanpage running. You have customer testimonials and some good interactivity. But I thought , more can be done to increase the interaction between the brand and the customers.  Maybe they just started the fanpage.

The twitter page is nothing much to write home about.  I see 5 tweets  as I type this post.

Conclusion:

  • Great Print Ad
  • Clean website but wish it had more info on the kind of clother available, price range etc .. ( suggest dell website which has a similar theme on entrepreneurs )
  • Nice fb fanpage
  • But I felt that there is no clear Social Media Strategy in place. It is good to have a fanpage but bad to have it just for the sake of having one without a clear strategy. In the long run things will get blurred. So , they need to have a vision for social media .

If you like the post or the brand, may I request the reader to share it with others? You can share it it twitter , facebook or delicious

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Co Creating Value with your customer. How a Saloon can use social media to build its brand reputation

21 Apr

I was waiting for my turn for a haircut at the regular saloon shop when I started talking to the guy in charge also who happened to be the brother of the owner. We were discussing latest mobile phones, laptops, fitness etc,When I asked him – “Is that computer connected to net?” He replied with an affirmative.  I asked him if his saloon had a website or a facebook fanpage or an orkut community group.  No, his saloon did not have any online presence.

So I ask him – “How many branches you have in this city”.

Reply: 12 branches in Chennai. 3 in Coimbatore.

“What kind of customers do you get here? Age group? “, I ask.

Reply:  Customers come in all age groups.Male and female.

I understand from the cost of basic haircut that the shop reaches out to middle and upper class.

I tell him – Guess what? I can help you expand your business. Grow your customer base, improve sales and more importantly build brand loyalty which will generate word of mouth.  And you don’t have to spend tons of money. Are you interested?

Reply: Absolutely…

I became a Social Media Consultant for him.

Here are the points I discussed with branch head. Maybe you can use it too…

Website:

Start with a simple website. Simple content should suffice. Don’t worry about SEO and SEM. You don’t need that here. First, cover the basics:

About the company, who owns the company, History of the company, what are the services you are offering, prices for each of your services, meet the barber

Let us focus on 2 features:  Services offered and Meet the Barber page

Services offered will have different hairstyles with pictures for the customer to identify each hairstyle. Also, why not a video testimonial of a satisfied customer? Host the video testimonials to a youtube page which will have other similar customers giving you 3 min testi of your services.

Meet Ur Barber Page: Will have the name and profile of the barbers you employ with ratings section. Your customers can rate the barber in an open transparent system. Every month the barber who gets the maximum ratings gets incentive. Thus, you also build morale and a healthy competition which in turn will improve productivity.

The website can also have a page dedicated to latest hairstyle in vogue. Your customers can chose the hairstyle, get the name and when they visit you next time, then can mention the name and get it done.

Let your website also have a space for your customers to submit ideas. This is your UGC (user generated content). This is important. UGC has power. Give your customers power and give them platform to share. That is why you need…

Facebook  Fanpage :

Your facebook fanpage should be integrated to your website so that your customers can connect and collaborate with each other online. Here are the things you can do:

–      Post pics of latest bollywood, Hollywood heros and heroines with their latest haircut. Ask questions and generate interactivity with fans.

Eg: Post in your fanpage wall – Check out Brad Pitt’s latest hairstyle ( post the pic). Kool huh? Who wants this hairstyle? The first 10 people, who wanna have this haircut, comment here and get 10% off.

Or,

Eg : kareena latest haircut ( post the pic) . You can get it done at any of our branches. Just drop a mail with your details to fix an appointment.

Or,

Eg : Our new facial for summer is out. It’s a blend of (this and that). The first 10 who post a comment here get 30% off on this new natural facial.

–      Post videos of your customers in youtube and pull it to fanpage

–      Offer tips on grooming

–      Offer sneak peak and special discounts exclusive to online customers

–      Ask your customers to directly post pics or videos of their fav good/bad hair moment

–      Invite your customers/fans to post ideas, seek advice on hairstyles, good hair maintainance tips etc…

All this will go in building a good brand name and generate word of mouth buzz.

Twitter:

Twitter should be next in agenda. Use the content which you have and post it to twitter. Today, loads of Indians have twitter handle, why not connect with them?

Twitter is important because Search Engines now give importance to social media feeds.

Use blogs: Start a corporate blog. Comment on other blogs which has content on grooming, facials, hairstyles etc…

Write to online local/citi portals to feature you.

There are huge load of things you can do with social media.

( if the reader of this post wants to discuss more ideas, get in touch)

The branch Head then had a big question for me:

“Vikas, how to bring fans or bring customers to facebook fanpage?”

Answer:

Simple! From now, every time you give a bill to a customer, ask him for his name and number, mail id, and ask if he has a facebook, twitter or a blog presence .

Then tell him, this – Sir, we have a facebook fanpage and we have plans to have a website, may I invite you there? Is it ok if I send you an email invitation? You can also give us your ideas on what and how the website should be

If the customer agrees, then later send him a mail. This is Permission Marketing. You are not blasting spam; you are asking the customer his permission.

This is social media at its best and the customer will appreciate it.

Crowd sourcing:

The saloon has all sorts of customers who use their services. Why not run a contest inviting web designs? The best web design will become the official web design and the guy/gal who wins get 3 haircuts free with the name featured in the website.

Some of you who read this may argue , why is that I am going to such lengths in discussing social media for a saloon.

You are obviously missing the point.

The point is – Social Media is not confined to big brands. Social Media is sometime best suited and most effective for small business owners who wanna build big brands.

I am always open to crtizism or better ideas.

You can tweet me @spartanvikas

If you like my post, may I request you to share it in twitter, facebook or Delicious?

Dedication :

I would like to dedicate this post to C.K Prahalad, the pioneer behind the idea of Co Creating Value with the customer. He inspires me to give the best I can give to my customers.

Convert your photos to sketches – trust me .. u will love this one!

9 Jan

Got this from Wikinomics blog. You will love this one…

How about converting you digital photographs into sketches for a change? And what if  you can do it for free?

Befunky, does that for you ..Befunky enables you to convert images into sketches, digital paintings and comics.

According to their website ,BeFunky helps people turn their offline personalities into powerful online visual expressions”.

Brought to you by engineers and artists , Befunky has 2 mouth watering applications you are gonna love .

  • Cartoonizer – Converts your online/desktop images and photographs into sketches  and other digital formats.
  • Uvatar (…and I love this application) – This application helps you to customize/creates your own digital avatars. What is new about this one is that you don’t have to improve among exiting avatars you find in Yahoo or Second Life but create  your own which you think suits your personality.

Other funky thing you can do is –

Ecards – Design your own E-card . Lets say you have a pic of you with your spouse/gf/bf and you just don’t seem to find a kool E-card anywhere online which you would like to send . No problemo .. Why not create your own ? It is more romantic,  fantastically creative and damn fun!

i know for a fact that if i go to distance and make a E-card and give to my gf, she would love it, appreciate and cherish it for a long , long time to come..

pic-1

Not just for romantic stuff but say , if you wanna apologize to your dad/mom/best friend, then instead of buying a card, design it here and give it to them.

Log in ( it is free of course) and try converting couple of your pics to sketches before you upload them to Orkut or Facebook.

Now all that is needed is to unleash your creativity ….

Right now reading : The New Rules of Marketing and PR

18 Dec

prjpg

Went to Landmark book store, Spencer Plaze, yesterday and picked up The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott.

With this , the total number of books in my library collection goes up to 1753. Quite an impressive number huh ? 🙂

Well 3 reasons why i had to lay my hands on this book :

  • I am Social Media Marketing evangelist. I got infected with  Social Media bug and quiet sure it aint gonna leave my system for a long , long time to come.
  • This book comes highly recommended . The gurus of PR, Marketing and Social Media swear by it . It stands next only to Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by by Charlene Li, Josh Bernoff ( Authors are from Forrester Research body).
  • I seem to have lost interest in Advertising for reasons i cant share it here . But after much reading and analysis of the trends in new age media and marketing , i believe Integrated PR and Corporate Communications coupled with social media tools helps in building brands and deals with image and crisis management in a much ethical and effective way. And no, this is not a crib out of bookish knowledge . I have seen my friends ( i will have to name them here : Anu, Shraddha, Nikhila …from a very reputed PR firm ) work so well with brands using PR as a very effective tool. I am not belittling advertising at all. I think advertising is great but not if it just about writing greats ads which at the end of the day dont sell the product.

I love the concept of building brands . There is something awe-inspiring in the process of brand building that cant be explained here  and it is something you have to experience it yourself. I just decided that advertising is not the way i would like to explore the concept of branding.  PR with effective marketing strategies will unleash the potential brand in a much better way.

If you are into social media or believe in the concept of digital branding – social media, Integrated PR, corporate blogging etc , then here are few recommendations you may want to read :

The Anatomy of buzz by Emanuel Rosen

Buzz Marketing by Mark Hughes

Connected Marketing by Justin Kirby

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Purpule Cow by Seth Godin

The Fall of Advertising and the rise of PR by Al Rise and Laura Rise

Corporate Blogging by Debbie Weil

Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anathony D Williams

(ps: this is not an all inclusive list .. i will update as and when i write more posts on social media, PR , Marketing and Branding)

You guys are most welcome to drop in with your book reading suggestions, criticism … anything ..


Zestadz now sell ads in facebook mobile platform.

4 Jan

It is now official. ZestADZ, India’s leading mobile advertising platform is now ready to sell ads in facebook mobile platform.

This means, that mobile site/content owner in facebook who offer services via SMS/WAP or other rich media format can now monetize it, from India traffic, by embedding ads from leading advertisers in India.

Mobile-worx, which conceived and created ZestADZ, is the first Indian company to offer such services.

Here are the advantages of ZestADZ:

For publishers:

  • Monetize WAP/SMS inventory via traffic from India.
  • ZestADZ shares revenues only with publishers. Earn better revenues!
  • Transparent and real- time reporting system.
  • ZestADZ can send ads anywhere in India. Pan-India access.
  • ZestADZ can deliver ads in all mobile platform- SMS/WAP/ Rich media content (videos, games, mobile TV episodes…etc).

For advertisers:

  • Send highly relevant and contextual ads anywhere in India.
  • Highly interactive and personalized communication.
  • Spread brand awareness.
  • Generate leads.
  • Under customer better.
  • Advertise in all forms mobile platform.
  • Get real time analytics info and fine tune campaign accordingly to have better ROI.

 

Press release links here :

Ndtv Profit reports

Exchange4media reports

 

 

 

Facebook Becon – privacy issue- Product Managers take note

1 Dec

Going by The Hindu’s op-ed report (a New York Times news extract), Facebook seems to have been caught in the wrong foot with its new hyper-targeting ad system called Facebook Beacon. A Beacon is nothing but a mini-feed which lets you see your friend’s online buying activities.

Let me give u an example: lets say you buy a book from a particular book shop owner, who happens to be an advertiser teamed up with facebook. Facebook watches your action and puts it up in your news feed section announcing to your friends that you have bought an “x” book from “abc” bookshop owner. It is like you are endorsing this advertiser when you are buying this “x” book from him and giving an assurance to your friends saying that you can trust the advertisers to buy books from him in the future. This is an extension of user generated advertisement and believe me, this is a quiet a powerful way to advertise and reach your customers.

This concept is called online tracking & advertising, a popular method wherein the service providers keeps track of where users are going, and send ads according to their interests , thereby making it more relevant and interactive . Companies like Microsoft, Myspace or Google do it all the time; the only thing is we don’t notice it at all.

What facebook is trying to do is, instead of tracking user’s actions and sending ads behind the scenes like the other companies do, they are being more transparent about it and sending it as mini-feeds.

But the problem brewed up, when around 50,000 registered members dint like it when facebook started telling their friends what they are buying and from whom they are buying it. This they considered as a breach of their privacy. So when Moveon.org took up this issue, these 50,000 users went ahead and singed up to show their dissent.

For Mark Zuckerberg (23), Beacon is going to be an interesting and important issue to deal with. Facebook was started, during his Harvard University days studying for his under graduation degree, to help students inside the campus (with a valid university mail id) to stay in touch with each other. Today, facebook has grown into a 35 million strong community and surely becoming a fierce rival for MySapce which has over 50 million users, not to mention Bebo.

Beacon will be used to turn this service into a profit making machine and testimonial to this is the fact that Microsoft recently took up a stake by paying 240 million dollar , which means Facebook is valued at 15 billion $ .But i personally think the whole release process and the way it was released was wrong from a “product release” point of view.

As a rookie product manager for mklix.com, I would be keeping an eye on what Mark is going to do next(or what he says) and how he is plans to execute the Beacon program. I will let you know some of the product management aspects on this issue in my next post.

See you soon…