Thursday, September 18, 2008

Democratisation of Super Influence!

A new report from Universal McCann discusses the rise of "a new breed of super influencers" that has been created by "the tools of the social media revolution."

Entitled When did we start trusting strangers? How the internet turned us all into influencers, the premise is that influence was moved beyond "professional and top down" (mainstream media) and into Web-enabled peer to peer influence. But despite McCann calling this a "democratisation of influence", all influencers are not equal. There are "super influencers" who are "extremely heavy users of social media, particularly in terms of content creation." Are you one of these people?

Download the report here.

Got to the report through ReadWriteWeb.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Yahoo! Thinking Outside The Search Box, Helps You Find The Meal Box

As aptly out by Frank Watson at SearchEngineWatch, looks like Yahoo!, is now thinking outside the usual search box to come out of the current mess it is in. It has filed a patent for meal search. No comments on this one, I'm full! I need to digest this first.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ads on Wedding Cards and Selling Twitter Backgrounds

We're never short of newer advertising avenues, are we?

Staffing solutions company Teamlease comes up with an innovative idea of placing advertisements on wedding cards which they print for free! This Mint article has the details. Not only do you have your wedding cards being printed for free, but also have people find jobs along with your wedding. On top of that you're treating people with some delicious food during your wedding and the reception following it! What more social good can one do?!

While we're on things social, Ian Schafer, CEO of interactive marketing agency Deep Focus put his twitter background image and profile image on auction and the auction ended with Metacafe winning it with a bid of $1,082.01. Here's how his twitter page looks with the Metacafe branding

Earlier, there was the case of Rocketboom founder Andrew Baron auctioning his twitter account and then pulling out. Notable that the bid touched a price of $1,500 before he decided to pull out of the auction.

Conversation, did we say these are? These seem to come at a price though!

Courtesy: Ashish Tulsian for the TeamLease wedding card story and Valleywag(of all sources!) for the Ian Schafer piece.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

You Are Watching the Big Brother

Location: Raheja Arcade, Near Forum Mall, Koramangala, Bangalore

Perhaps just a co-incidence that the agency connected with the big screen in the picture above is named Apple Media. Otherwise, the picture looks eerily similar to scenes from Apple's 1984 Commercial. With OOH advertising growing at such a big rate, looks like no matter how much we run or hide, the advertisers are going to get us, our eyes or our eyeballs rather!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Orkuting In Cyber Cafes Of Varanasi


Above photo taken on the streets of Varanasi.

Perhaps they should add Orkuting to the OED, at least in the Indian edition.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Why Gas Price Hike Won't Increase Auto Fares

Following the recent hike in prices of petrol, diesel and LPG, it is natural to expect an increase in auto rickshaw fares to ensure that the interests of the auto-wallahs are maintained. But look like increasing the fares isn't quite in their interest, going by what one heard from the auto-wallah last night.

Here was his logic -

Nodi saar, cutting tea elli sigatto alli hogi naavu tea kuDitheevi. Ondu angadi avanu cutting tea kododu band maadidre bere angadi ge hogtheevi. Ade thara naavoonu rate jaasti maadidre saamaanya jana auto bittu bus alli hoghtaare. Adakke rate jaasti maadidre namage loss-u. Duddu iravareno taxi alli hogthaare, aadre naavu rate jaasti maadidre auto alli baro jana ella bus alli hogthaare.

Rough translation -

Those who are well-off will anyway use taxis. If I want to drink tea I will only go to a shop which serves me cutting tea ( half a cup of tea) and if it stops serving it I will go to another shop which serves me cutting tea. Likewise, if we increase auto fares, the commoner who'd come with us would start commuting in buses.

Quite an interesting observation, no?!

Photo courtesy: rviswana

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Truth About Youth - An MTV Study

Not yet. Turns out MTV is not going out of business because of every Tom, Mark and Steve and Chad turning into a content generator or building platforms for user generated content. A series of studies and research by MTV compiled into a book The State Of Cool, confirms mostly what is common knowledge and some insights into trends on youth culture, their usage of internet and mobile.

The State of Cool, a book published by MTV’s Insight Studio has a statistic that should set minds at ease only 1% of young visitors to user generated content sites actually upload anything fresh and original. 10% or less actively participate and leave comments, while 90% are passive spectators.
Ah, what about the Pareto Principle then? But 1% is way too less.

The importance of catching ‘em young is almost a clichĂ© , but MTV states the market is more lucrative than ever before: youth across India spend up to Rs 9 billion in pocket money every day. A good deal of it on mobile phones and related services. Two years is the utility expectancy of a cell phone for 63% of young Indians; 57% of youth across Asia state that they’d like to replace their MP3 players with a music enabled mobile. The eagerness to add ringtones, music and games is good news for promoters of value added services.
No wonder every youth brand is chasing the youth these days. And their pockets are only going to swell in the days to come.

Indian youth are obsessive about keeping in touch, of which social networking is a huge component . 59% visit sites like MySpace almost every time they are online (see I-Generation ). India lags behind only Brazil in this sphere. As many as 69% of young Indians use these sites to chat with existing friends. 57% consider it an avenue to meet new people. It’s a de facto art gallery for 49% who share pictures. In India , Brazil and China, exclusively online friends beat close friends by a huge margin.

What Indian youth add to their mobile phones?

What Indians use the internet most for?

What Indians use the mobile most for?

Source: This Economic Times article.

PS. Recommended reading - Chasing Cool.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

How Will Social Sites Make Money?

From the DNA article - Ads give local networking sites the pass

Since the past 18 months, many local social sites such as Yaari, Minglebox, Bharatstudent, Desimartini, Ibibo, Indyarocks, BigAdda and Campus18 were launched ....

... The biggest challenge is the revenue model, which online marketers say is not easy to work out. Social networking, with around 20 million users in the country, hasn’t really proved a goldmine for advertisers as many may have liked to believe.

Page views, impressions and click-throughs — three metrics which online marketers swear by — haven’t yet adapted to the social networking environment in a manner that does not encroach upon user experience.

Absolutely. Pageviews, impressions and click-throughs as a way to measure user engagement with one's brand or product and her perception wouldn't doesn't quite click. Considering the existence of Natural Born Clickers.

So what's the solution? Perhaps, devising better metrics and integrating experiential elements into one's online campaign planning. Robert McLuhan has more in this article in Brand Republic.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Natural Born Clickers - More Clicks Not Equal To Better Brand Building

Findings from a new study by Starcom, Tacoda and comScore’ suggest “the click is dead” as go-to measurement of effectiveness for brand-building display advertising campaigns .

..The study illustrates that heavy clickers represent just 6% of the online population yet account for 50% of all display ad clicks. While many online media companies use click-through rate as an ad negotiation currency, the study shows that heavy clickers are not representative of the general public.

Further preliminary Starcom data suggests no correlation between display ad clicks and brand metrics, and show no connection between measured attitude towards a brand and the number of times an ad for that brand was clicked. The research presentation suggests that when digital campaigns have a branding objective, optimizing for high click rates does not necessarily improve campaign performance.

The study only bring to light the problem faced by marketers(if they are aware of it, that is) and the agencies helping them. action being tracked and metrics clearly defined, using the medium for purposes of brand-building and brand loyalty is a problem waiting to be solved.

More on the study here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Teaser Campaign Using Websites..

...and offline promotion of the same.

It's perhaps a campaign for a mall to be launched soon. The stat counter on the site at this point reads 16137. Decent enough numbers one would say for a visit to such a website.

The previous such campaign which is still fresh in one's memory is the whatiteez campaign for Krackjack(?) featuring Cyrus Broacha. Interesting trend this, of using the internet to run teaser campaigns.

Monday, February 4, 2008

No Such Thing Like Early Influencers?

Turns out then that The Tipping Point theory doesn't quite tip a lot of things.

Duncan Watts at Yahoo! Research has this to say -

A rare bunch of cool people just don't have that power. And when you test the way marketers say the world works, it falls apart. There's no there there.

Oh what then about a lot of poor souls who bet heavily on things to succeed hoping things will go viral, or that they are through by winning over the influencers? Interesting, because most things which became hugely popular, at least over the internet, owe their success to the viral power. More in this FastCompany article.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A Lot Can Happen Over Coffee. A Lot, Really!

While we're at it, trying to understand if it's just coffee for which people hang out at coffee shops, YouthCurry has an interesting discussion on the same subject.

From Coffee to bahana hai -

I bumped into a friend who has just joined a mobile start up company at Barista in Phoenix Mills. "Aajkal yehi mera office hai," he grinned.

"Hmm.. investors ko bataana padega aap unke kitne paise roz coffee peene mein waste karte ho..."

He replied, only half in jest, "Rs 500 a day is a steal. When our office across the street gets ready we'll be shelling out Rs 1.75 lakhs a month on rent alone!"

Point to hai. Reminds me of the scene during the earlier dotcom boom when junta had made the Oberoi lobby and coffee shop their adda-cum-office. Paanch saal mein kuch progress hua hai: cheaper coffee and data modem cards to access internet anywhere. In the near future we'll see more of public wifi access.
For the start-up types!
Current hotspots for startup types include:
Just Around the Corner, Bandra
lobby of Marriott hotel
And in Bangalore, the Leela coffee shop
Interesting how each coffee shop serves as a convenient location for different people and different purposes.

Of course, coffee shops are not just the preserves of recently-quit-job-looking-for-VC types. There are many other species, and in fact each location has its own peculiar set of customers.

Barista Chembur: popular with MLM (multi-level marketing types). They make snazzy presentations which promise anyone can make 3 crores in 2 years if they work hard enough and get enough other idiots to join.

Barista & CCD Lokhandwala: The preferred hangout spot of filmi and TV wannabes. I suppose they actually hang out here waiting to catch the eye of some hotshot director, or at the very least Ekta Kapoor's casting crew.

Barista, Colaba (near Regal cinema): Always full of backpackers - has it got a mention in Lonely Planet yet? Possible description: 'A place where you can rest your dusty feet and use the free loo, for the price of one black coffee'.

This, is so very true. Having observed quite a few of such interviews.

At all Baristas, everywhere: Arranged marriage 'interviews': ladkas and ladkis who've located each other at Remember Konkona meeting Irfan Khan in Life in a Metro?

Of course usually there are parents and sometimes even extended family in tow. After a few pleasantries they move six tables away and give the boy and girl a chance to 'talk in private'.

Kuch nahin jama to you don't need to feel like a loser. It was just a casual meeting at a coffee shop!
Definitely, a lot can can happen over coffee. In fact, more than a lot. If nothing happens, it was just for coffee. True, no?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Coffee in CCD - yeah,right.

Trying to understand what makes Café Coffee Day the popular hang-out it is today among the youth.

Ayan says -

I personally dont like coffee at all, but would love to try out kopi luwak coffee simply for so-I-can-talk-about-it-and-gross-others-out benefits. Can't comment on how much people like the coffee there.

What to do at CCD?

But yes, its a nice relaxing place where all one should do is relax, tell the waiter (who'll come wearing a long red skirt) that you are waiting for n+1 friends (where n is the number of friends you are expecting) and you'll order after they come, chat with your friends after they come, then get up and leave. If you order coffee, then you didn't get the point of the last sentence. Of course, after a few such trips, the waiters will become wise to your ways. In that case, simply shift to the next CCD - which wont be more than a 5 minutes walk.

Oh, and in case you were feeling hungry and decided to go to CCD, try this - take out a hundred rupee note, throw it in the gutter, and then buy a dabeli at the nearest stall - the effect will be the same.
What do you think of CCD? Like it or don't like it? Tell us in the comments. An easier way out, just take this poll.

An Economy Builds Around Britney

And you thought Britney's days were over? Huh.

"Britney is the most bankable celebrity out there right now, and she has been for the past year," said Francois Navarre, founder of the paparazzi agency X17.

"An editor's dream is to have a real life soap opera unraveling in front of you, and Britney provides that every week," said Sarah Ivens, OK!'s US editor. The magazine has a 10-person team in Los Angeles devoted to Spears coverage. "We're on constant Britney alert." She wouldn't disclose the costs to the magazine, saying only that Spears has been "amazing" for OK!'s business.

More here.

Here's Britney driving the economy around her.

PS. A bonus. Britney's marriage licence here. Interesting that one of the fields is Number Of Marriage.

What Is Orange Glass?

Orange Glass is a blog to track and understand popular culture in India. Spotting trends and observing changes in fashion and consumer behaviour and preferences.

Things to track and understand

Are Google Talk and Facebook status messages the next blogs?
What kind of people put up quotes?
What kind of people post funny lines?
What kind of people display songs they're listening to?

Why is Pecos as famous as it is in Bangalore?
What's with the Facebook hairstyle of girls?
Hanging out at Cafe Coffee Day. Is it for coffee or for the place?
What makes things cool?