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TOI Sleaze Journalism – Is this a way to build a brand?

17 Apr

Sleaze Journalism by TOI

Sleaze Journalism by Times of India :

TOI it is all about sensationalism and sleaze reporting and promoting to increase readership and TRP ratings. Why use the word SEX in this ad just because a glamorous lady is involved in the current IPL controversy? Why create such sleaze journalism? Why waste paper unnecessarily for printing this edition? Crest edition contains nothing by useless content and loads of advertisement to make money and mislead people .

The question I am asking : Is this how a national brand should behave ? Is this how you build brand reputation ?

Using the word SEX is to gain eyeballs to increase readership ratings is the most disgusting and unethical way to promote brand …

An open letter to HBR team

1 Jan

To,

India Today Group and the HBR team

Extremely sad and shocked at the increase of the price of HBR from Rs.500 to Rs.750! Not sure why this suddenly increase in price. Is it cos of the new design or because it is a double issue or it is New Year?

What is the point in making the new design more accessible to reading when you are making the magazine less accessible for people to buy?

As long as the price was at Rs.500 I used to eagerly wait for the magazine to come out. Cos Rs.500 for me was an opportunity cost in financial planning. Rs.500 was a sacrifice I made for a movie outing with my finance. I used to think – even if I missed a movie with her, that’s fine! I get to read HBR management stuff. She understood.

Now, I can’t give her that reason. I can’t tell her that I sacrificed my time with her for a book which cost Rs.750.

What about the rest of us? What about new managers climbing the corporate ladder who may not have big salary but have big dreams and want to learn management ideas and thoughts from icons of HBR but cant because of the increase in price. Others may get access to HBR cos their HR would be good enough to buy it for them in office. Student’s studying MBA may get access to it from the coll library.

So what happens to the rest of us? Are we to be denied the pleasure of reading HBR?

The Entrepreneur (India edition) is Rs.100. that makes sense. That makes big sense to buy. And the content is good. Not as classy as HBR but good nonetheless.

So here is my big question: Why on earth did you guys raise the price back to Rs. 750?

If you are charging HBR print edition so much, why not give free online access to your articles and archives?

You know what is even more sad? Me not buying HBR won’t make any difference to you. It won’t cause a dent in your brand, sales or the policy you follow.

But hopefully there ought to be more ppl like me out there who will read this blog, nod their head and voice out their concerns as well… That may probably be a wake up call for you guys to rethink your pricing strategy in India.

A Dejetced Big Fan!

Sri Vikas

Mathew Reilley new book

16 Nov

all set to buy and read Mathew Reilly new book http://ping.fm/NIoRd

Linkedin Hires India’s first Employee

16 Nov

Good News. Linkedin hires country manager for India http://ping.fm/Uh5as

The Dream team at 7 Race Course Road

20 May

If i could use one word to describe the results of this election : Beautiful !

It is so heart warming to see India giving a big thumbs to stability and reforms .

Now that Congress is all set to form the govt here is my take on what key cabinet positions should be like :

cm_images_Government

Prime Minister : Dr Manmohan Singh

Principal Economic Adviser to the PM :  Montek Singh Alluwallia

Finance Minister : C. Rangarajan

Commerce Minister : Mr. Kamal Nath

Home Minister : P. Chindambaram

External Affairs Minister : Shashi Taroor

HRD :  Sam Pitroda ( Surprise !.. Surprise !)

Railway Minister : Laloo Prasad Yadav ( Yes, despite the fact that he partially dumped Congress. For the greater common good )

Communications & Telecom Minister : Dayanidhi Maran

Defense Minister : Mani Shankar Aiyar

Panchayath Raj Minister :  Rahul Gandhi

Aviation Minister : Praful Patel

Science and Technology Minister : Kapil Sibal

Rural Development Minister : Sachin Pilot

Micro and Small medium Industry Minister :  Jaipal Reddy

Tourism Minister : Jyothiradithya Scindia

Power Minister : Pranab Mukerjee

Agriculture Minister : Suresh kalmadi

Petroleum Minister : Murali Deora

Law and Justice Minister : Bhradwaj

This is a list of young and experienced group of ministers which i believe can be part of the Cabinet Ministry for the next government .

the accidental Brand Manager

21 Mar

This part of my life was never planned . This part of life of becoming the Brand Manager for BODYFUELZ was as serendipitous as it can come. Becoming a Brand Manager was always part of the plan. Just then I became one a bit too early.

So here I am , Brand Manager of BODYFUELZ. What we do , you ask ? We help some of India’s top sports players, endurance athletes , serious bodybuilders and fitness freaks to reach their fitness goals via performance nutrition.

So we have someone like Sushil Kumar using our highly advanced , bio engineered Aminonutriton products to build lean muscle mass, strength and stamina to reach his peak performance for his game.

We have the Indian Hockey Team use our products like FASTCHARGE and PWRSPORTS to  in their game to build endurance and stamina and prevent fatigue while playing.

We have been helping people develop lean , ripped muscles using our product called MUSCLEMAX .

We enable people in the weight loss program in the most safest , effective manner possible.

And those who connect and buy from us directly either through mail (pmt@bodyfuelz.com), call ( 044-42014141/9884592632) or via facebook community , we give free diet/fitness and nutritional guidance.

Our in-house nutritionist will guide them all round the year.

My Role :

As the Brand Manager I connect with users to help them understand concept of next generation sports nutrition both Online and Offline.

Online –  You can find us here in facebook community –  BODYFUELZ Facebook Community

I believe in the future of social media marrying PR and Viral Marketing .  That is also one of the reasons why i exited from an advertising in industry.

Future  connect :

Starting from now my blog will mirror all that we do in the social media sphere . It would include very precise and practical ideas on building a brand using websites, blogs, rss, social networking, widgets and how to connect that with online PR.

Social Media Chennai Chapter :

I also aim to start a social media group based out of Chennai. A bar-camp – unconference style where i would like to invite brand manager, marketing managers, web designers , chief marketing officers, advertising and public relation executives and the likes.

The agenda would be simple . We will meet to connect and share ideas, best practises, discuss case studies, new trends in the social media sphere and how we can help our clients improve  their reach to their customers.

The only criteria would be that you should be passionate and believer of digital/social media marketing.

Drop in a mail – spartanvikas1983@gmail.com,

call me   – 9884592632

or drop in your comments here and spread the good word.

Look forward to some dynamic response from you guys ..

Disguised PR in Bangalore Aero show 2009 & on why we shoud not buy F-16’s!

15 Feb

Every time I change to CNN IBN news channel , I see this senior editor guy all gung-ho and ready to fly the F-16 plane. And the news reader would go like , “One of our senior editors took to the skies flying one of best fighter planes  around, a legend  and survived the ride to tell us about how thrilling the ride was and how to defend the skies” .. 

Bollocks ! absolute bollocks..

Why would the Americans want to fly a senior editor of a news channel on a old outdated fighter plane spending thousands of dollars on aviation fuel ? look! IBN has the CNN tag – so connections with the phirangis ( ahem .. did i get the spelling correct?)  help too ! 

Abhiva Bindra took a ride in one of the old-F-16 planes, didn’t he ?

It is a classic case of good PR and subtle marketing .. 

Shame on the reporter trying to convince Indians on the merits of F-16’s ! 

Let’s get certain things straight  here , shall we ? 

First , F-16 is a 2 decade old fighter plane. 2 decades .. 20 years old. Of course it is a legend ! But then , who needs a legend when our Indian Air Force ( IAF) should be flying the most sophisticated and modern fighter plane available today ? 

Our American friends are offering us the “upgraded” and “India specific” F-16 and F-18 Super Hornets. And the bonus : Technology Transfer !

 Guess what ? They are now phasing out their F-16 and F-18’s and replacing it with F-22 Raptor. The next generation fighter plane. Which means, they are trying to sell us an old technology and 126 planes for $10billion dollar contract.

Blasted Americans! They shouldn’t even be there in the contention for the contract ! 

Think about it! Why should we buy these planes when we are cash rich ( and no excuses on the security of the nation , please!) to  afford the raptors?

Why cant the Indian govt ask Americans to offer us the new F-22’s or the B-2 Bomber , also known as The BUFF ( Big Ugly Fat Fucker )!

Americans and their lingo.. man !!!!! 

And biggest pain-in-the-butt ( ass, if you will) reason is that F-16 and F-18 is part of almost  all the  third world countries air force. Outside USA and Isreal, Saudi  Arabia must be having the largest number of F ( Falcon) series planes. Why? Our very own Paki’s have it .. Every ally of USA has it ! 

So imagine one day we go to war with PAK ( god forbid it should never happen) , the Air Force general on the other side would chuckle and say ” Bloody Rascals! we know the avionics and weapons platform of F-16’s in and out . We can out guess and out perform the IAF piolts any time … Thank the Yankees for that ! ” .. And if the war gets more intense Saudi Arabia would chip in and say ” Yo… Muslim brothers .. we have some F-16’s to spare .. about an 100 of them .. we would gladly help you guys , just say the word”

Not a rosy scenario eh ? 

Here is the biggest catch : If someday we disappoint our Yankee friends by ,say, testing a thermo-nuclear bomb or signing a pact with IRAN for gas  or support Palestine or get too hunky-dory with Russia , then Americans would rap our knuckles and say , ” Dude! remember .. we can stop the supply of the spare parts for [should be read : our] the F-16’s.” That should do the trick, no ? 

Don’t Trust America :

Russia has always been our largest supply of weapons- Our MBT ( Main Battle Tank) is T-92 from Russia , our front line squadrons are MIGs followed by Sukhoi’s  , our nuclear submarines ( i think it is kilo class .. i need to update that info) are leased from the ruskies. Hey ! we even developed the Brahmos with them ( the best in the super sonic missile in its class anywhere on planet earth).

Better yet ! they have never stopped  the supply when we needed it the most ( remember the wars with PAK ?) .We ought to thank Indira Gandhi ji for cementing the ties with Mother Russia !

If you recall ,the Americans refused to supply us nuclear fuel for Kalpakkam nuclear power plan when we tested our first Pokran nuclear bomb. 

The point I am trying to make is we can never trust the Americans with our security.. NO Sir! 

Why the delay ?

It is been donkey years since we floated the tender to buy the 126 planes for the Indian Air Force. Every time a new defense minister comes to the helm , he puts the file on the back-burner , leaving it to the next minister to come in and take the decision . The NDA could have done something about it !

The UPA should have had the guts to take the decision . They didn’t either .That is 10 years gone !

Come on yaar! the plan to buy new fighter planes was hatched in 1980’s ! 

How can we call ourselves a super-power in the making when we cant even take a decision on the nation’s security issues ? How is that we have the audacity to claim air-superiority over Asia ,when our front lines are MIG-21’s and MIG -25 and worst is very spending loads of money upgrade and maintain  them .

Alternatives : 

It is time to take decisions… 

We can definitely go in for the recently out MIG – 29’s or 30 series  from Russia . The Russians make their planes big , brutal and they are definitely technologically advanced. We could also look into the new Su 40 series from them as well.

Since we have a long standing partnership with this country . We can bargain hard to get more number the fighter  planes at the same price with a technology transfer. This would help a lot in goodwill for Indo-Russia plan to jointly develop the fifth generation fighter aircraft. When we  have the LCA by 2010-2015 , we would be having a formidable line up and really claim air superiority.

The other option would be to go in for the Euro Typhoon which RAF ( Royal Air Force) and other European countries use . They are the latest and best in technology . The problem would be the cost and using their missiles as weapons platform. Which means we cant adapt , immediately that is , our exciting AA ( Air to Air ) and AS ( Air to Surface) missiles and hence while we buy the planes at a very high cost we will should also buy their missiles . Cost goes up.

India has long association with the French. They are trusty worth and their Mirage series are well tested. Instead of looking at 200o series we should be looking at 2005 series . Since Indian pilots are already familiar with the Mirage avionics system , our pilots can easily learn to fly the plane. 

Sadly , in the past we have :

  • Signed the nuclear pact under immense American pressure – therefore help America’s sagging nuclear industry 
  • Voted against Iran in United Nations assembly again under American pressure – puked our foreign policy
  • Still haven’t signed the Iran gas pipeline . No big surprise there . Iran comes under “axis of evil” list !

The least we can do is not compromise on our country’s security issue and make the right choice and take that decision soon! 

Should anyone who reads this post have difference of opinion or would like to share thoughts , please go ahead and shoot it out in the comments section

ps: I have nothing against the citizens of USA and the country. I am just angry at the divide and rule policy of the american law makers! 

 


Blog surfing at its best – love this site

30 Jan

I am sure most of you guys here are familiar about StumbleUpon. If not, check out their site.

StumbleUpon discovers web sites based on your interests. Whether it’s a web page, photo or video,the personalized recommendation engine learns what you like, and brings you more.

Today I literally stumbled upon a blog surfing site called Condron.us. Coldron is to blogs what StumbleUpon is for websites.  Here is what the makers of Coldron claim about their site

Condron.us is a blog surfing website.
(Basically like channel surfing but for blogs).

If a blog surfer finds a blog that interests them they can stop and read it or bookmark it for future reading.

How does it work:

Condron.us provides bloggers with free exposure to large groups of potential readers by pulling recently updated blogs at random from wordpress and blogspot.

If you are a blogger, journalist, PR executive then you must use condron to index your blogs . The forum in the site helps you connect with fellow bloggers from all around the globe as well!

Great social media tool !

Check out the site for yourself and let me know what you think.

I loved the site from the word go!

Business Development and Sales Management – Best Practices for sales pitch

30 Jan

Never underestimate the importance writing down your sales pitch even before you go about making that cold call which will bring in business.

Here are the essentials

First Rule: Watch and Learn:

Making a sales pitch is an art not rocket science. And to learn art you need to learn it from the guru. So, before you make the first sales call watch how your Senior (anda  successfulone at that) sales guy does it. Watch him, understand the pitch he is using and learn from him. I am not asking you to ape him. I want you to learn is modus operandi and tweak the sales pitch the way you see it fit.

Second Rule: Ink it down:

No point in watching the guy do the stuff, nod your head and walk away! That won’t do. You need to watch him do it form. If you have a VP of sales, in your company, and if he is the amicable kinda guy then watch him giving the sales pitch. I have always noticed that the best sales guys are always ready to impart knowledge. If he is the nice-types, then ask him to show you how it is done. And no, dont ape him. Learn from him. Do it 20 times for 20 days if you have it.
And write your own sales pitch. I mean it.. literally.. Write it down, mono ami. Write down your sales pitch word by word, syllable by syllable. I don’t care how long it will take you to do it. If you are smart enough – 1 day. If you are bright then – 2days. If you are the hard working type- 3 days. Anything more, then you are gonner!

LOL… Just Kidding. Take your time but get it done.

So, get the first draft ready, think about the pitch, the product you gonna sell and refine it.
Dont worry the pitch will get further refined as you go down the lane of selling.

Third Rule: Get the decision maker on the phone:

No use in dilly- dalling with the guys who cant make decisions. At best he can help you connect with the top guy. But when you make the call ask ” Can you please connect me to the head of Marketing” or ” Head of Business development” or do what i did when i made my 10th sales call,       ” Can you connect me to the Chairman of your company , please” .. Of course you wont be connected to him, but if you aim high you are bound to hit couple of inches down that, right? So someone will connect you to top dog in the company. Make sure he is the decision maker.
And go ahead and make your pitch, Sir!

Fourth Rule: Get Rejected:
That’s right! If you get the sale done in your first call then where is the fun, dude? You need to get rejected like zillion times to become the great sales guy you wanna be! So go ahead and fail and fail royally! But make sure you learn your lessons from it. If you dont know where you are going wrong, then ask your sales head to sit with you when you are making the call. That ought to do the trick. He will point out the mistakes to you. Now, he may not be the best judge but at least you will get a start, right?

And throw out your blasted ego and pride here… will ya?

Fifth Rule: follow… follow.. Follow-up:
This is really important. If you are gonna be the sales guy in your company, dont ever forget the cardinal rule.

After you make you sales pitch send in a follow up mail saying – “It was great talking you. I will connect with you (at time at Date) as agreed. Meanwhile, you can reach me at the following contact coordinates”. And then go ahead and give your contact details.
And if the sales call was a successful one then follow up it with a mail on the details of the product/service you are offering in the form of pdf format. send in your details in your pdf format only!
And hey, remember the rule, follow up.. Keep doing the follow up thingy. If he doesnt reply then mail him after couple of days (you will instinctively know when). If he still doesn reply, then call him . Remind him. Be nice. Be polite. Sound enthu (not over enthu).

Big Idea: Crying child gets the milk

Seventh Rule: Maintain a pipeline report:

Always maintain a proper pipeline . It should have the following fields:
Company name, Web address, Phone number, Mail id , point of contact name, and the decision maker, status of the sale, expected closure time.

I am not really a sucker for CRM. I rather put it in my excel sheet and share it with my team. And no, am not advocating that CRM is bad. But this is my personal choice. You take the call on this. Most companies insist on using CRM solutions. But my advice to those companies is that they need to get their sales people get familirize on how to use a CRM.

Most sales guys use Ms Excel anyway!

Eighth Rule: Keep in touch:
Your job is not over once you are done with the sale. You need to keep in touch with your client. Build relationships of trust. Do not disappear from your client’s radar.At least once a month shoot him a mail asking him what he thinks of your product find out profile of the  end users of the product are etc. If you give a analysis to your product manager it help me improvise on the product/services your company is offering.

Dont give him a chance to come to you when there is an issue. At the same time let him know where he can reach you and that he can reach you any time he wants.
This ensures that you have already a solid groundwork done before you go ask him for a sale again.

Ninth Rule: Build Trust:
This is paramount. People dont do business with products or company brand name. They do business with people. People who they can trust. So make the right moves for him to trust you.

Be fantastically good at giving him world class service even if you are not a world class company. You don’t have to be HP or WPP to give world class serice. Gain his trust with good service. Simple things will do – prompt reply to his mail, regular follow ups etc… Find your own ways to keep him happy.
These days almost everyone is Linkedin, facebook or Orkut.
Go ahead and connect with him there. It is ok to get a bit personal. Social Networking is ok these days !

The Tenth Rule: Love your customer’s, customer.

I dint say “love your customer”  … Read it again! I said – Customer’s customer. Your client’s end user.
The book by Ram Charan ” what the customer wants you to know” was not exactly the best sales book ever written but i did like what he said – Understand your customer’s end user. If your product can make that “customer” happy then rest assured your client will call you to give you the sale.

So what is it that you’re waiting for? Go ahead and do your research!

Here is an article from the business week which caught my attention and upon which i put up this post –

Sales Stuck?  Try Sticking to script

Other blog posts for you to read :

Successful Sales Starts with Listening

Tips To Being A Great Sales Person
Look forward to your comments on this…