Tag Archives: social media

Does your Brand have a Brand Song?

18 May

Very few companies have kick ass accessories (Manchester). Many Companies have great tag lines (Nike). Loads of companies have Jingles (AIRTEL). Almost all companies have a recognizable Brand Logos (Apple).  Now ask yourself this question:

How many companies do you know which has a Brand Song?

I got thinking about this during my Organizational Behaviour class last Saturday. Thinking about it for some time, I connected the thought process to the brand I was working with previously – BODYFUELZ. BODYFUELZ has great products & accessories, no tag line and no recognizable brand logo. The name in itself is the brand logo. And it definitely dint have a brand song. Come to think of it, I find very few companies have brand song.

In the lingo of tourism marketing, a nation has a brand song which is used to woo customers both from abroad and domestic. For India, the national anthem is a great brand song. It is one of most loved brand song ever made. The minute you hear the national anthem, a sense of pride swells into your heart. You connect yourself o India. And if you have heard it enough, as foreigner, you would know the Indian anthem anywhere. It’s a beautiful song.

Even, Vande Mataram , though not the national anthem, is a brand song in its own right in connecting it to Brand India ( thank you Lataji & ARR  for taking it to the world)

The big point is this: If a nation of billion people can be moved with a great national anthem, usher in patriotism and loyalty, why can’t an organization have a great brand song?

When are you going to get a brand song for your company and its brand portfolio?

A great brand song:

  • Immediately connects the customer, the employee, the stockholder to the brand and its attributes.
  • It is a great differentiator
  • Will make the customer feel part of an elite group whose products they use which has a kick ass brand song.
  • Builds brand loyalty
  • Gives the customer a sense of pride in owing the product
  • It also gives you a chance to go viral

Brand Song, Social Media, Word of Mouth:

Do you need a Bharth Bala or ARR or Black Eyed Peas to get you a great company Brand Song? Fo-fo… Not at all! You can get a great brand song from your customers. Better still; go ask the whole world to make you a great brand song. Go Open Culture.

All you need to do is to ask them. Nicely.  Politely. And you better be sincere about it.

Here is what you can do:

  1. Create a separate webpage in your website inviting people from all over India/world to contribute to a great brand song. You will have budding artists, visual communication and music students, potential bathroom singers, husbands, housewives, your own customers, someone from Somalia may upload a brand song for you if you give them the opportunity.  This is crowd-sourcing
  2. Ask them to upload their brand song in YouTube and pull it to your website and invite people to vote for the brand song.
  3. Use public relations not advertising to spread the word about this campaign.
  4. Invite famous people (see if you can get ARR or Chitra) to judge the brand song.
  5. Invite comments from other people about the brand song.
  6. Recognize and honour the brand song maker by putting up their name in your website, press releases.
  7. Not many people want money, they want to be respected for they do. Acknowledge them for their effort. You may pay them but see if you can give them a platform to showcase their talents.
  8. Next, short list and give exclusive access to your customers and ask them to choose what the song they like. This is interactivity. No point in having a brand song which your customers hate.

Done? Then, produce the song yourself. Again, you don’t need celebrity artists to make it for you. Go to colleges which run visual communication and media courses and invite students there to make that brand song for you. I know of many engineers working in big software companies who are weekend music makers with their own band dying to get a chance to be part of something like this, so find them and ask them to make it for you. You are not going to pay them a bomb here; instead they will thank you for the opportunity.

Finally, unleash the Idea Virus (as Seth Godin so eloquently puts. Thank You Seth!) :

  • Release your company brand song in your website.
  • Go ape in Youtube/vimeo/metacafe
  • Create ring tones and pass it on to your company employees and customers and request (not ask, mind you) to spread to others. They will. You know why? Because they built that song. You made them part of the process. You recognized their value and contribute. Heck! You even made them feel great!  So, why won’t they spread the song?

Spread the song and the brand name spreads.

Journalists love the juicy stuff and will start writing about your company and what the company has done in newspapers and websites. Treat these journalists with respect. Give them the info what they need.

You are not done yet though.

Go to the bloggers. Ask the bloggers to review the brand song in their posts.

Go for barter system here. Exchange your product or service for their review. And if you tell me that you don’t have anything to give them, stop reading this post, get to your R&D and make a kick ass product and then follow the thoughts above.

Finally, use social media, facebook fanpage, twitter, social bookmarks and take it to greater heights. But like Jeremiah( my mentor cos of who I fell in love with social media ) says – Always have a social media strategy when using these tools.

So, who says you can’t have a Brand Song?

[If you like my thoughts here, i would greatly appreciate it if you spread it around with your twitter/facebook/orkut /linkedin account. Thank You, Very much]

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

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.

Speaking at the Indiblogger.in meet on Social Media

21 Mar

Speaking at the Chennai Indiblogger.in meet at the GRT Convention center on 20th March 2010 . Meet to connect bloggers in Chennai and  to discuss on Traditional Media Vs New Media.

Great discussions and debates

Cisco’s Social Media Journey

11 Mar

loved this presentation from CISCO .. Great stuff.. Great ppt and great info on Social media

what i know about social media

1 May

Let me tell you what I dont know first .

I dont know how to code. I hate that !

I know what social media technologies can do . I also  know what are the tools needed to give you great social media campaigns.

For example : I don’t know how to add the Digg code to my word press blog so that i can get that “digg it” tab by editing HTML.But then I know a lot more about how to use digg to get publicity to  content up and running.I don’t know how to create a widget . Google calls them gadgets. But i do know what widgets a brand would need.

You get the picture , dont you ?

I basically focus on how to build relationships between brands and users and then connect users with other users. consumers and customers .

Please remember : your customer is not necessarily your consumer. figure out how . If not , then ask me here . or get in touch. we can collaborate on the thought.

What i would basically do is find out how to build relationships and use the right tools to execute it .

So, if you are brand manager or a marketeer or webmaster, think about what you are doing. are you building relationships or widget applications.

Nothing wrong about building widgets and applications. It is important . But then figure out where you stand before you get into social media.

Radically changing my blog

1 May

This blog is almost getting  to 9000 hits .

That is 9000 hits in 5 months. I am being approx here. But still the number is big considering the fact that i dont blog great . My grammar is always wrong ( those who know me will know that i hate typing and love writing) and the sentence flow will always go for a toss.

This ought to change.

From now I am going radically change the way I  blog .

Also, I will only blog about econmics , social media and e business, public relations and word of mouth marketing.

I will also share my thoughts on japanese culture, language , literature and anime . I love anything and everything to do with Japan.

But then I may break the rules once in a while.

Thanks to everyone who dropped by to read my blog posts. I know you dint take away much but i am going to do my best to give you knowl-takeaways when you read my blogs from now.

aaah! clarity finally.. In my journey

15 Apr

You know .. I just figured how i am gonna drive business in my company. Havent even informed Ryan yet. You know .. Ryan , Business Head for BODYFUELZ – my boss.. So he had asked me this question the other day – Vikas , how are you gonna drive business in this company ?

Been mashing up my thoughts for a quiet a while now . Actually a month . Close to a month …

Well , when i did figure out I kinda had this englightment inside me . Like this – “Boom! thats It ! This is what i want to do . this is what i should be doing. this what i am good at . Or i could be good at but not yet there.”

So ahem .. here is what  I would be doing with my future . At least the discipline I gonna dedicate my career.

I will put it in points just in case i read this blog couple of months from now when i need direction.

– Economics + Digital Media : I am trained economist. Rather : trained to understand economics. So no matter what others think ,  I tell ya folks,  Economics is so KOOOOl! Seriously it is .. It makes you compare and understand and figure out how a consumer spends or how he/she is likely to spend, with the money earned. It is fasicnating. It is human drama and it is has all the ingredients to make it a pot-boiler.

Now if I marry economics to digital media , you have a Blue Market Career. Fancy words, fancy titles .. you know the drill!

–  Social Media Communitions : You have heard of social media marketing but this is new. Social Media Communications is the package of social media technologies , corp comm and public relations. I haven tried it yet but something tells me ( it is the guts i say , MIND IT!) that this concept is gonna rock.

–  E Business : Get the word right . It is not e- commerce. It is E- Business. Watch this space to know more on what is the difference between the two.

– Connected Marketing : Word of Mouth, Viral  and Network hubs. String them together and you have a great campaign. Figure out a way to convert that to sales. Man, you will rock the boat!  You know,  I actually wanna rock my life, my relationships and my company once in a while .. Shake out the toxins and bring in fresh air. It will do good.

Word of Mouth : This is repetative. But I love this concept so much  that it needs to be revisted in my list.  If i can crowd source, buzz market, social network, tech process, thought lead, create hubs and start a wom plague then connect with a sale. I get done more with less.

heads up : Digital Branding is here to stay . What it lacks is a  Jermiah kind of a guy who will walk the talk and talk the walk. I mean , who is will  talk about it ( become a thought leader… ) and walk the talk ( …and show how it is done) . I am gonna be that guy or die trying . I am no technologist . I dont code. I observe  ( i am a buddhist by practise you see..) and i will be the “watcher” and then make my move from behind the scenes .

What will happen in future with these ideas ? Dont know.  Dont care.. but this is me now ..

Crowdsourcing – A disappointment

12 Apr

Oops! Its been a long time since i lasted posted an entry here. Busy with work, getting back home late and being tired and my laptop got screwed up cos of my networking guy.

Anyway, just completed the book Crowdsourcing by Jeff Howe, which was a big disappoitment. I thought it would be a worthy successor to Wikinomics or maybe even a good book on understanding the new media and social networks.

Sadly that was not the case. while the scope of the book was huge and examples/case studies great, the book has too much of unnecessary explanation on stuff unrelated to wom, buzz and social media.

I am giving the book a 1 out of 5 stars .

I am now reading :

Direct from Dell

Killer Differentiators: 13 strategies to grow your brand

Connected Marketing,

and a book on Ecommerce

I plan to read :

The Wisdom of the Crowds

Anatomy of Buzz : Revisited

and, Gurillea PR 2.0

Yesterday I got my hands on :

What I talk about when i talk about running by Haruki Murakami . He is one of my most fav authors .. cant wait to start reading the book … 🙂

Will be back with a proper post soon..