Leadership, Marketing, Strategy

What is the missing piece in personal branding?

People have realized that the most important brand they should work on is they themselves. Proliferation of forums,  blogs and social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are a testament to that. People have gone far enough creating sites about themselves or creating videos on YouTube.

So, everything looks complete, what is the missing piece one may ask.

One of my colleagues asked me the same question which prompted me to do some research on this topic. The results of this study might be expected by a few but may be surprising for others.

The first startling fact was that people do not believe on most of the claims people make unless

a) Someone known to them endorses the person
b) Person is endorsed in a media report or article
c) He/she has completed a degree or certification they believe in.

From above the learning is clear and the results depict what changes you need to make.

The next fact which was surprising was reluctance to share personal branding material with others, this was majorly true for people outside media, entertainment and HR fields.

a) People believe that they should not share it with colleagues as it would mean they are looking for a job, which is not necessarily the case
b) The circles are comparatively limited to their area of work.

So, they lose from both ends. These are the people who must realize the need for personal branding more than others.

For a start,  try using brand yourself for knowing how you are doing currently.

Have fun marketing yourself.

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Business, Marketing, Planning, Strategy, Web

Search Engine, Computational Knowledge Engine & Decision Engine!

I don’t know if the title is able to make is clear enough but this article is actually about Google (the search engine), Wolfram Alpha (the computational knowledge engine) and Bing (Microsoft’s decision engine).

After a decent period of time suddenly the search engine space is again getting hotter, the competition is increasing, new features are being launched and now the entire world has fallen in love with the word ‘engine‘. Although everyone still uses Google and is also quite satisfied with the performance but suddenly people are wanting more! People’s appetite for technology has increased and they are looking for more solutions.

Another #@$$@$#@% Engine! When Wolfram Alpha was launched a lot of people claimed it to be the ‘next google killer’! Wolfram Alpha conveyed itself differently as a computational knowledge engine, they claimed not to be competing with Google and in many ways are not! Now with the launch of Microsoft’s Bing approaching the limelight has shifted. Bing has branded itself as a decision engine! But at least they are not claiming to be not competing with Google (Thank God! Microsoft is atleast admiting the truth, why else would they launch Bing?) Ultimately you can call your new project ‘#$@#%$#@# Engine‘ but everyone knows that it is just a branding excersize and it is ultimately a ‘Search Engine‘.

What would be the perfect search engine? The perfect search engine will be the one without any search button and with just a “I’m feeling lucky” button, where one can be sure that once he types something the first result will be exactly the perfect result for his/her query. The day we achieve this, the day we know exactly what the user is asking and are able to deliver the perfect result without any error, that day the search engine will become perfect. ( I think I heard someone in Google say this but I was not able to find it over the net again. I guess search engines do need improvement afterall )

Microsoft’s Bing! (Every time I hear the word I get reminded of Chandler Bing from Friends) is awaited eagerly. Will renaming its search engine work? I really don’t know. Microsoft spent tons of money rebranding Msn Search to Live Search, and are now spending a lot of money rebranding Live Search to Bing! I really don’t get it sometimes. Windows XP to Windows Vista and now Windows Vista to Windows 7. Maybe the branding strategies is something I am not able to understand. Will the search engine work? Well the previews are encouraging. It seems a lot of common sense fed into a search engine can be good. Afterall a good number of words put into the search engine can be classified into products, services, nounds, information keywords and such categories. Having customized display of results for each can definitely help the user. However this categorization probably cannot be automated completely and here lies a small drawback of the excersize. A good attempt by Bing! and I am eagerly awaiting its release.

Interestingly enough probably the last time the search market became so intense was during another major recession near 2000 when Google was born! Will this time give birth to another billion dollar company? I guess we all have to find out!

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Marketing, Planning

Sony TV India Brand Relaunch

During the IPL, there is a striking advertisement campaign by Sony Entertainment Channel itself. The promo shows a small girl walking up to her grandma with rangoli in her hands. The theme coming through is ‘Badal rahe hai aap, badal rahe hai hum’ (translated to: You are changing, so are we) This article is strat.in ‘s analysis of the features and reasons behind this dynamic campaign.

The premise: Till Q2 2008, there were 3 dominant GECs (General entertainment Channels) in India with Sahara One and Star one being fringe players. However, with NDTV imagine and Colors coming through and carving a huge impact for themselves through extremely innovative and classy programming mix, the market fundamentals have changed. The Q1 2009 figures indicated that in the first week of March, Colors became number 1 GEC in India, within 6-8 months of its launch. With NDTV imagine overtaking Sony, SET was languishing at 5th spot in the lineup, which automatically meant lower ad revenues.

The immediate context: Every GEC knows that any new program launch during IPL is fruitless. SET network did a smart thing by having IPL on its own channel, SET MAX. What this meant was that IPL became a platform for the network. Even last year, a couple of shows were launched post IPL which garnered a huge response from viewers. Clearly, leveraging IPL was an opportunity the wise men of SET wouldn’t like to miss.

The attempt: The effort is clearly directed at branding the channel effectively, not only through Sony and SET MAX, but also through other partner channels in the network as well. The punchline shows that the channel is customer centric and cater’s to the consumer’s changing preferences effortlessly. To quote Danish Khan, the SET marketing head,

While the viewer has global aspirations reflecting in his lifestyle, he remains rooted in traditions. In these times, when there has been a proliferation of channels and with the emergence of the subscription model, the consumer is spoilt for choice. It becomes imperative to build and retain the brand in the consumers’ minds.

The buzz creation: For any media, ‘Buzz creation’ is THE keyword for any successful brand/programming relaunch. Sony is trying to create a buzz with this program where girlfriends of a character called Bhaskar vent out their frustrations over his behavior. The promo has certainly created curiosity among the target audience of Sony. What might be interesting though, is that the channel may not and should not depend on only one program. Perhaps we may see many more promos post say May 15, when the IPL reaches its climax.

Critique: Will this help? It will certainly create recall, but pure recall isn’t enough in today’s world. The incumbent TV shows would be difficult to dislodge from the consumer’s minds. Also, I hope for SET’s sake that its not too little too late. One strategic milestone here would be how Sony handles itself post IPL, which would be a tough passage for itself. Also, shows like Dus ka Dum, a part of SET’s programming mix last year as well, saw a huge initial draw, but TRPs(TV ratings) reduced in the latter half of the season.

Strat.in opinion – 4/5 on strategy, but implementation = ?/5

Until the next time, Keep ‘strat.in’g!

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