All brands vie for attention of consumers. One of the simplest and engaging ways to get attention is by forging connections to events that consumers are following avidly, which can be sports events like world cup or elections or festivals.

I liked the way in which Idea Cellular has connected itself with 26/11 using this advertisment of Abhishek Bachan.

26/11 is a very sensitive brand touch point. If a brand is being preceived as "milking 26/11 tragedy", may be it is the end of that brand life cycle.Idea has done it well. Why?

# They are going to donate a part of their revenue to Mumbai Police which seems to be a nice patriotic action

# They have integrated in some mice brand touch points in social media from a website, facebook group to Rediff Message boards

Idea is not the only brand that is trying to be associated with 26/11. However Idea seems to be the most effective one.

Pringoo - A popular website for ordering personalised T Shirt also had an innovative way to connect with customers using 26/11 as a touch point.

How it helped IKEA in Sweden ? Check it out

Good Products are all about creating Great Customer experiences while solving a consumer need.Good product organizations understand that their responsibility is to provide the consumers with something that is worth usable. It can be done at any point where a consumer interact with a product. Any successful product influence people through engaging, authentic experiences that render value. A ‘customer experience’ is then every unique point of interaction that a product makes with its customers, through every transaction, dialogue and visit. In Old Doordarshan days the only customer experience that I remember was a screen which said "Rukhavat Ke Liye Khed Hein" or "Sorry for the Interruption".

Consumers are not looking for any product that will satisfy their need in any possible manner, they are looking for a product that will satisfy their need in the best possible manner . A product manager should ensure that the product offers the best possible solution at least to one set of customers for their pain point . Especially in industries where product differentiation is low, a great customer experience can make all the difference in a sale situation.Good Customer experience will reflect directly on customer satisfaction, and ultimately, create a loyal group of customers who love your product.

How can you offer a good experience for a product that is in the coding factory instead of displaying a plan vanila under construction page?. There may be some customers who are visiting your site after getting to know about it through some source and you can always try to catch them and engage with the like how foostor has done it on their under construction homepage.

  • Bluedart - Tells a customer that the delivery will be reliable and prompt
  • Visa - Tell a customer that the payment is trusted and secure
  • Careers - Click on the career page , gives an overview of a friendly team which looks inviting
  • Customer Service - Promises that it will be friendly and if this website is the way to go by then the customer service may be rally friendly

and my favorite "Bole To, Apun ko Tumne Mamoo banaya" - Makes an instant connection with Indians.

Sometimes when I sit in discussions with people who have championed marketing in other industries I have found that it is difficult to make them understand the marketing strategy and tactics in new media. In most cases the marketing goal will be accurate, appropriate strategy will be defined but the execution and the tactics used goes horribly wrong since so many of them does not understand that new media is about interactive individualised marketing like this to create customer engagement and not about mass marketing that existed in the times of lalitaji and Vicco Vajdradanti.Marketing has become two-way, where you communicate something and then listen to customers and marketers these days interact with, and not interrupt, their customers.I found this diagramme at alterian website and I can't help but agree with most of the differences between the old and new marketerer.

Here is your Typical Entrepreneur

* He is from a middle-class or upper lower-class background, and very few come from backgrounds of extreme wealth or extreme poverty.

* He is usually well educated, with only 5 percent or less having a bachelor’s degree.

* He likely to be better educated than their parents were, with half his fathers and a third of their mothers having at least bachelors’ degrees.

* He performed well in high school and in college, with the vast majority ranking average or above in their respective institutions.

* He necessarily does not come from families of entrepreneurs; slightly more than half are the first in their families to launch businesses.

* On average, he tends to be the middle child in a three-child household.

* He is significantly more likely to be married and have children when they launch their first businesses.

* He is far more likely to have worked for an employer for more than six years than to have quickly launched their own businesses.

* His primary motivation for launching a business are to build wealth, to own his own company, and to capitalize on a business idea that he has.

If you qualify on few of these parameters and always wanted to be an entrepreneur then you need to have a look at the report below.

These are the findings of a report authored by Vivek Wadhwa, Raj Aggarwal, Kristina Holly and Alex Salkever for Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

17772299 Anatomy of an Entrepreneur

#1: Be Narrow
#2: Be Different
#3: Be Casual
#4: Be Picky
#5: Be User-Centric
#6: Be Self-Centered - Great products almost always come from someone scratching their own itch.
#7: Be Greedy
#8: Be Tiny
#9: Be Agile
#10: Be Balanced
#11 (bonus!): Be Wary

For details, click here

I started using Justdial three years back in Mumbai and one thing that has impressed me about them in all my interactions was the way in which they have personalised the services both in Mumbai and Bangalore.

The first time you call them they login all your details and each time I have called them I was impressed with few things

1.The person at the other end picks up the call maximum on the second ring. I just call them once in a while to check whether they go till the third ring, but it has never happened( I am impressed)

2.He/ She greets me (Good Afternoon, Good Morning, Good Evening) and says my name. Good Afternoon, Mr: Lijo ( I smile and nod(only if it is a she before my wedding) when someone greets me by name)

3.He/ She asks me what I want and helps me in finding the same. (I have asked things from movie timings in Inox to Malayalam Mass timings in an Indiranagar, Bangalore church)

5.They send an SMS at the end of the call and in some cases connects me to the service owner

Justdial is like an offline Google and no wonder they have been quite successful.

Compare this with Subway. The company in which I works give free lunches but I am a big fan of Subwaying my lunch. Each time I call them, the same girl picks up but never greets me by name and I have to recite to her my address and contact number each time. I am tired of doing it every time but since I love subway sandwiches I don't mind that much but sometimes I just don't call subway due to the frustration of doing it again and again.

Compare this with Citibank/ ICICI Bank or any of the six banks I deal with. Each time I call them for my bank account or credit card related issues, I have to hear the music and advertisement on why citibank/icici bank is great. ( Not a good Point to interact with a customer who does not have patience) and I go to some stupid IVR menu which is not personalised even after they have all possible information points about me. The only personalised service ever I get from banks with my name in it is a Birthday mail once in a year and the credit card and account statements.

In Internet, may be the scope for personalising the product is maximum. How often we get invitation mails from addresses like or Hi, emails even after collecting all the information points. Some of the sites and web services just goes on collecting information points one after the another with out any road map on how it will be used(ever).

Personalisation is one of the cornerstone features of any successful consumer Internet product, and the focus of a product manager should be in creating a simple but a personalised experience for users. It not only impressed and wows the users but also helps us in creating a number of visitor segments, and tailor the information that is presented for each segment.

Image Courtsey:

Many marketers dont understand channels where you have to talk and listen at the same time. May ne they should have a look at this presentation.

Well, If anyone is thanking the god for the Mumbai floods that happened last week, it should be Aircel.A cool example on how best to use the outdoor media for brand engagement.

Seriously, I know you clicked on the link after seeing the "pr*****" word -and that is how you can market a product by sending the appropriate cues in which people like you and me will be interested in.

Can't agree more with this quote from one of my ex-bosses.

If the product is good and popular then everyone wants to have a piece of the pie. All functions in an organisation like sales, marketing, design, engineering, QA and anyone and everyone will need a share of the credit for being a part of the product.

The Product manager can either be a like a pimp who let his product to be "*****" around or can fight and try to win a battle for the users and community which loves his product.

When you use and admire any product on the internet, rest be assured that there is someone at the back who thought a lot about users like you and struggled hard to make it in a usable format. But these people who can coordinate seamlessly between the various stakeholders are really few . The proof lies in all those prostitute products that come across as old, failed ways of creating products, and life is too short for bad products..

One of those things that is dreded by any product manager is Service Outage and Maintenance Scedules. The moment when some users may access your product and goes back with a groan or even may send you a brickbat through the feedback system. One of the ways to tackle this is to tell each user in advance about the maintenance and down time or if it is a service outage then show them a message that will convert the dreaded groan to a smile.The maintenance pages shows the creativity of the product team and the manager.

My personal favorite has always been bloglines.

Here is a list of some good maintenance page implementations from Smashing Magazine.

Design patterns have found their place in many areas of our lives, and can be found in the design and development of user interfaces as well

10 useful UI design patterns worth reading and practicing.

I like Maruti ads. Not All ads but all those ads which are focused on the service network of Maruti. Maruti is an established brand in India and car is a high invlovement category where people make purchases after umpteen comparisons on a zillion parameters.Ask any prospective car buyer from India and one of the reasons for selecting a Maruti car over competitors is always their strong service network .All these days they were claiming about the reach of Maruti Service stations in India. There was one advertisment in which people could not get food in Ladakh but still could find a Maruti service station and there were funny ads like the one below.

I like this latest ad. It just communicates that taking your car to any service station wont do and it has to be taken to the Maruti station just like a child has to be taken to its own mother for comfort.

A unique but effective way of an emotional appeal.

Simple Yet Effective Branding from GE -

After going through some of the live video streams from Japan, Brasil, USA and Germany I do wonder what they will do tomorrow.

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:- A long but useful presentation on Simplicity.

I like this advertisement.

If you have worked in any organisation, just assume that the child is sales team.

First you give him a target - Daddy . He achieves it and everyone is happy

Then the second target - Mamma - He achieves it again and every one is so happy

The Third Target - Banana - He achieves it and everyone is exhilarated

The Final target - Czechoslovakia - and you see what happens.

It is about how you set expectations in sales and in life - right ?

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