Masala Digital

Marketing Masala in the Digital Age

Awesome? Scary? or Simply Brilliant? :)

The weekend has been pretty interesting. I saw rebounds regarding Google and its shenanigans all across social networks and the Internet in general, and then woke up this morning to read more in print. Led to some light thinking on the matter, and I tried breaking these thoughts into three distinct and debatable trends that I have noticed about the BigO.

One champion for your business

On Saturday, Steve Rubel interviewed Jeff Jarvis’ about his new book, What Would Google Do? In the book, Jarvis breaks down Google’s practices into 12 distinct rules and then applies them to aging industries like media and advertising. Denuo/Publicis’s Rishad Tobaccowala points out how Google served an entirely new population of advertisers who didn’t have agencies and that enabled it to set new rules. Google sells performance instead of scarcity (a lesson the rest of media must learn in this post-scarcity economy). Because it rewards relevance, it encourages better, more effective advertising.

One number in your life

I picked up today’s newspaper and there’s Google again with its mega plans to unify the masses. Launched on March 5th, Google Voice is all set to revolutionize telephones.It unifies your phone numbers, transcribes your voice mail, blocks telemarketers and elevates text messages to first-class communication citizens. And that’s just the warm-up. Google Voice began life in 2005 as something called GrandCentral. It was, in its own way, revolutionary. More on it here.

One fellow to help you out on the web

If search wiki wasn’t enough, Google now has made available the “preferred site” option to all its users. The service allows users to overweight certain web sites in the search engine result pages. Once you sign up, Google recommends pages from your history that you tend to visit when searching. You have the option to make these sites (or any other) a preferred destination.

Without even getting into the whole business/ SEO/ SEM discussion, I can only hope that you can turn it off – Half the fun about search is the fact that you can find the “unexpected” and stuff you haven’t seen before. I mean what is “search”, if you know what you’re gonna get?

One person who knows you better than you yourself!

So you worried just about how your search data was painting a DNA of who you are? Google  released 11 software applications for mobile phones that spell a fundamental change in our lives. Among the applications were functions such as text messaging, web browsing, a diary, Orkut – the company’s social networking offering – and Latitude, a GPS-based service that tracks you wherever you go. Innocent enough, perhaps. But combined they would allow Google to know what you are doing all of the time. A truly Orwellian development that has been described by privacy campaigners as “a catastrophic corruption of consent”.

Far-fetched? Not at all. The mobile phone industry has for years seen the potential for a rich market to develop in location-based services if only it could get its customers to agree. Google, on the other hand, has decided to take advantage of that market and it has sought to do so by appearing to be helpful. The rationale is simple – offer a service for free and the customer will not notice that they have given a company the right to know where they are at any time.

So now – considering the above, what do you think?

  1. Google is well on its way to create the “Empire
  2. Google is doing what all enterprises should do – consistently better their offering
  3. Google is retrograding the whole “Internet” story it fed on by killing basics like “free spirit”, “openness”, “surprises”, “sense of wonder” et al

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  • Delhi can stop waiting for its buses now..

    Here’s the latest from our deal ol’ Delhi Transport Corporation, or more correctly, the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd.:

    After going the digital way with on-board GPS, the DIMTS fellows have now gone a step further by creating an Online Bus Information System that will help Delhi citizens plan their bus journeys, effectively cutting the wait-time at bus-stops to a minimal.

    Citizens can now track buses on Delhi roads in real time though DIMTS’ “Online Bus Information System”. Both AC and Non-AC buses plying on selected BRT routes and all the AC buses on different routes in Delhi can be tracked using this system. Rest assured, it won’t be long before the system is extended to ALL the routes & buses!

    ETA Display Click here to View the Estimated Time of Arrival of Buses on the Bus Stops

    virtualdisplaymap Click here to View Route-wise Expected Time of Arrival of Buses on Delhi Map (Google Map Integration!)

    OneView Click here to View the location of Buses on GIS Map of Delhi (Roll-over mouse on each stop. Green pointers are buses (incl registration numbers for ID)

    This is awesome stuff..and an example for others!

    More info can be found on the DIMTS website!

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  • Filed under: Web
  • Mumbai Terror and the role of new media

    Mumbai suffered one of its worst terror nightmares these last 3 days when armed terrorists took over strategic spots in Mumbai, leading to a bloodshed yet unparalleled in its gruesomeness.

    While the terror attacks received worldwide media coverage, it was no less covered extensively by citizen journalists and common people who used a host of digital mediums to add to the story. Internet, and new media tools, came on the forefront as reliable tools to track the terror drama.

    wiki_mumbaiA wikipedia page was constantly updated by vigilant users, providing a single point of reference.

    Many twitter feeds contributed to real-time reporting & status update, which were utilzed heavily by the administration, media as well as citizens to get regular updates as well as channelize real-time help.

    image

    Twitter feed for Mumbai

    Twitter-fed list of useful local numbers

    Post the attacks, these feeds have become the buzz-ground for discussions, opinions and to plan next steps to solve the problem at its roots.

    image A google maps page also became a ready reference guide, especially for people outside India to get a real-life perspective of where and how things were happening.

    image Vinu’s photostream was picked up by Fox News & CNN as well as multiple channels to provide real-time updates on all that was happening.

    image Over 2000 videos have flooded youtube post the attacks.

    image The MumbaiHelp blog has updated lists of all relevant helpline numbers as well.

    30% of Leisure time being spent Online: TNS

    via audiencematters

    A TNS global survey entitled Digital
    World, Digital Life, probing online behaviours and perspectives shows
    that, on average, people across the 16 countries surveyed are spending
    close to a third (30%) of their leisure time online.

    It appears we like our 30% digital time regardless of how much free
    time we have.

    Digital World, Digital Life found that respondents with
    up to 2 hours leisure time each week day, spent the same proportion of
    their leisure time online as respondents who had between 7 and 8 hours
    of leisure time on a week day.  This means there is no direct link
    between the amount of leisure time we have and how much of it we spend
    online.

    What are the top 5 activities that people undertake while online?
    TNS asked people to identify a range of activities in the month before
    they took the survey.

    A total of 81% had used a search engine to find
    information; 76% had looked up the news; 74% had used online banking;
    65% had looked up the weather; and 63% had researched a product or
    service before buying it. These activities are all inherently very
    practical.

    The highest ranking classic leisure activity – “watching a
    video clip” – only came in at number 8, with half (51%) saying they had
    done this in the past month. Another leisure activity – “listening to
    an audio clip” – came in at number 10 (44%).

    Arno Hummerston, Managing Director, TNS Global Interactive, said:
    “If our leisure time is so precious, then why do we on average spend
    almost a third of it using the internet? We believe it is because we
    are making more efficient use of our valuable time, specifically by
    using the internet – thereby allowing us to fit more into our lives.
    Being online helps people fulfil certain tasks and activities quickly
    and efficiently. By spending productive time online, we are actually
    making more time for leisure. With more social and entertainment
    activities available online, it is also easy to understand why our
    lives are becoming more digital.”

    Who and where are the most avid onliners in the world? Younger
    people under 25, as might be expected, are seriously engaged with
    online life. The under 25s surveyed in the report say they spend well
    over a third (36%) of their time online. On average, Chinese
    respondents under 25 spend half (50%) of their leisure time online.

    If the world is to take its lead from Japan and Korea – countries
    that are seen as being innovative and pioneering in the online world –
    then we can expect to spend even more time online. In those countries,
    respondents say they currently spend on average around two-fifths of
    their leisure time online.

    There are particular groups of people that are more avid users of
    the internet than others. For example, across the 16 countries
    surveyed:

    students spend 39% of their time online.

    US Housewives spend 38% of
    their leisure time online while in the UK, this was even more pronounced
    with almost half (47%) of housewives spending their leisure
    time online.This might be explained by the rapid expansion of online
    food shopping, particularly in the UK where online shopping expenditure
    in general now tops £1 billion per month (Source: Mintel 2008).

    The Digital World, Digital Life survey also underlined that mobile
    handsets are frequently used to connect to the internet.

    Worldwide, 1
    in 10 respondents surveyed say they connect to the internet once a day
    via mobile handsets. But Asia’s adoption trends imply significant
    growth prospects. Among the Japanese and Chinese respondents to the
    survey, for example, over a quarter of people access the internet over
    mobile connections at this once-a-day frequency.

    Launched: India’s own Laptop Community

    Through the years, Indian consumers have gotten used to the fact that if they want to find out more about laptops, they only have two options:

    1. Read international reviews & opinions, a lot of which may not be applicable to India

    2. Tread the dusty Nehru Place (New Delhi) or equivalent lanes in the city and dodge the dodgy hardware shops and hope to get a good deal

    Both are impractical and unfriendly options, and more often than not, the only savior is the IT department admin at your place of work or Word-of-Mouth via friends. The only problem is that these routes can only yield limited info and hence, limited results.

    Thankfully, India now has its own laptop review site – with Indian content, products that are available in India, best laptop deals and more.

    image

    http://laptopcommunity.com/ is a community review site designed purely for Indian audiences and their needs. Still in its infancy, and hence beta (!), the site already has 100s of laptop models reviewed including the latest hp laptop, Dell, Apple & Acers of the world..and a list of models rated prominently basis their popularity with users. There is also an integrated discussion board (PhPBB based forum), product videos, Q&A, latest India-specific news & new launch info and some well written & regularly updated articles relevant to the site’s content.

    Users who consider themselves laptop experts can join the community as experts to guide others. I am joining for sure…think I have had enough of providing gyaan to all & sundry, and it wont hurt to spread my wings a bit! Brands can look at the site as a niche opportunity to advertise their products to a bang-on TG…makes sense.

    Try it out..and do leave a comment here about how you find the experience!

    Digital or Die!

    Original article here: http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3630966

    Digital or Die

    By Rebecca Lieb, The ClickZ Network, Sep 26, 2008

    One of the most crammed, standing-room-only sessions at MIXX this week featured the media directors of top agencies, including Digitas, Mediaedge:cia, Neo@Ogilvy, and MindShare. As they talked targeting and how they were spending millions of media dollars for their respective rosters of blue-chip clients, online media trainer extraordinaire Leslie Laredo leaned over to whisper in my ear, “Not a single person on this panel is over 30.”

    Whether her observation is literally true is moot. The point is these senior agency executives are young, much younger than their typical counterparts on the traditional media side of the table.

    Why? Are old dogs so adverse to learning new tricks? Because certainly at MIXX, as well as at OMMA last week, bemoaning the digital talent gap was a cry that emerged early and often.

    It’s not just old-timers on the traditional agency side of the equation who are stubbornly resisting the shift to digital. It’s an issue across the media landscape. Their reluctance was perhaps somewhat understandable in the go-go ’90s and in the sober, austere, bleak era around 2002.

    But now?

    Still, I’m seeing traditional publishers cut back on digital endeavors (and digital staff) in a desperate and futile effort to sustain their flagging, dead-tree legacy brands. I’m seeing digital executives going to senior management with requests for back-end tools, such as content management systems and social media software, only to learn their corporate overlords have no idea what all that stuff is, much less what it’s actually used for or how it can benefit the business.

    And I’m seeing some of those print publications flatline. Friends who have been print journalists for decades are panicking in the face of cutbacks, early retirement, consolidation, and plain old extinction.

    But they’re not learning digital skills. A critic friend stays up nights over the fact his paper is due to shutter at month’s end. When I inquired about his online skills, he replied that even the most fundamental elements of a story, such as hyperlinks, were determined and executed by the online editor. He doesn’t know how to do any of that stuff.

    An entrepreneur behind an online publishing startup, meanwhile, recently posed a hypothetical question: “If you could hire a top journalist with 20 years’ traditional experience or someone fresh out of J-school who knew the Web cold, which person would you hire?”

    No contest. Hands down, I’d make the kid an offer.

    New media is becoming old hat. It’s a fact of life. OMMA and MIXX were packed, refreshingly, with new faces. I’m speaking next week at MIMA in Minneapolis, another sold-out interactive marketing event. Newfound interest in and support for digital advertising is heartening, yet there’s still an astonishing degree of pushback across the media industries.

    Across all industries and sectors, in fact. Veteran Web consultant and publisher Larry Chase related a story this week about rescuing a neighbor’s virus-infected hard drive (they’d let their virus protection software subscription expire). The relieved and chastised owner piped up that while they didn’t know much about virus protection, they had just learned how to create an e-mail attachment.

    Clinging to Luddism and deliberate blindness in the face of the digital revolution (no understatement there!) may have been cute 10 years ago. Today, it’s inexcusable.

    Those glib and somewhat arrogant aphorisms, such as “everything that can be digital will be,” have come to pass. In a climate buffeted by a tumultuous economy and tenuous job security, the advertising and media industries really have reached the point of go-digital-or-die.

    The question, of course, is how do you change attitudes? How can media professionals be made to understand and convinced to embrace digital media and Web literacy, e-mail accounts, and the occasional Amazon order? It’s disheartening to watch friends and colleagues lose jobs — as well as their future prospects — before they wake up to this no-longer-new reality.

    So what’s the answer? Some sort of digital Peace Corps? Community college courses? Should companies undertake in-house training initiatives?

    What are you doing? Because friends can no longer allow friends to remain digitally illiterate. Or is the media and advertising landscape going to have to undergo a Wall Street meltdown before people start to change?

    Smells like lunch!

    Check out this KFC Press Release about a really innovative marketing campaign!

    In a marketing first, KFC is highlighting the launch of its $2.99 Deals by placing the mouth-watering aroma of Kentucky Fried Chicken in the halls and offices of corporate America.

    Forget television integrations or corporate naming rights, Kentucky Fried Chicken’s first-ever “scent-focused” pilot program teamed KFC with corporate mail rooms nationwide. Along with carrying inter-office mail, overnight packages and bills, mail carts in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Dallas delivered the aroma of freshly prepared Kentucky Fried Chicken during pre-lunch mail drops.

    Through the pilot program, KFC worked with an online company, a business-to-business consulting firm and a non-profit, to include a $2.99 Deal – a plated meal including KFC’s world famous chicken, a side item and a biscuit – on the actual mail carts that pass the offices of hungry workers.

    “There is truly no better brand ambassador worldwide than the signature aroma of freshly prepared Kentucky Fried Chicken,” said James O’Reilly, chief marketing officer for KFC. “And we couldn’t think of a better way to showcase the value of our new $2.99 Deal than to inject the mouth-watering scent of Kentucky Fried Chicken into the corridors of corporate America.”

    To bring the sweet-smelling promotion to life, KFC collaborated with Chemistry.com in Dallas; the Trade Association & Society Consultants of Washington, D.C.; and the Chicago offices of the Salvation Army.

     

    More Smelladvertising:

     

    image

    VIA (the washing powder) ran a poster campaign in Stockholm and Malmö which..er..actually smells!

    Push the little spout at the bottom of the poster and you’ll sniff a sample on how the washing powder smells. Or how clean clothes smell after being washed with Via.

    HOT!

    So, smell some fried chicken, and if it gets too much, there is always the refreshing detergent smell to wash it off! Anyone for coffee beans?

    More examples? Look at how newspapers are using smelladvertising to regain lost commercial revenues…here

    Intel today launched its ambitious “Connected Indians” movement at The Taj Palace, New Delhi.

    connected indians

    Check out www.connectedindians.com!

    The Connected Indians movement aims to be the catalyst for delivering the power of the Internet into the hands of a billion Indians. Intel states that its success will hinge on spirited public and private participation.

    Over the next few months, Intel will mobilize people, resources & infrastructure to facilitate Internet adoption across India.

    Over time, this collaboration will help build partnerships between people, Industries and stakeholders via a complete and connected ecosystem to accelerate the growth of Internet and its benefits to the society.

    The Connected Indian web site is an innovation in itself wherein users can click on an interactive map to locate their co-ordinates, and then post their voice for an Internet-enabled India. Not only that, they can utilize the in-built feature to invite more of their friends and peers from their web contact lists to add in more numbers.

    There is also an India Speaks section that highlights different areas where Internet is making a huge difference in the way people, processes, industries & services in India are progressing with the power of the Internet.

    Intel is following up this movement on-ground with specially-designed “Net Yatras” wherein it will showcase Internet’s benefits to Indians using interactive tools & techniques.

    This is one movement that has been designed with a specific cause in mind and Intel promises that for every 10,000 Connected Indians who register, the movement will donate a PC to selected government schools in rural areas.

    Now that’s what we call a spirited initiative!

    Know more about the movement here.

    Join the movement here.

    Join the Connected Indians Orkut Community here.

    Intel’s partners in this venture include google, HCL, Zenith, Edurite, MAIT, BSNL, Reliance Communications, Tata Indicom, Acer, Intex, Novatium, Wipro, Asus, CII, e-zone, lenovo, NIIT, Tata Communications, Croma, NASSCOM etc.

    It will be interesting to see the kind of products & services Intel will introduce to take this step further & forward. Here’s wishing Intel all the best for the initiative & hoping that more & more brands take such steps towards better propagation and acceptance of technology!

    Knol by Google

    Knol, A Forum, A Blog or Wikipedia… Well, the mighty Google has come up with another marvel. I can see that Google creates stuff that can help people, and earn while the products are free to use.

    knol-logo

    This time, Google created something, that they call “a unit of knowledge”. In words of Google, a knol is an authoritative article about a specific topic. In first look, it might appear as a simple Blog. Here you create articles as you do in Blogs, but they are consolidated as in Wiki. There can be contributors, collaborators and community members. You can edit, or just suggest an update. Moreover, you can have revisions. You can review Knols, post comments and reply to comments. So this makes it more like forums.

    What’s in the box?

    Here you will find topics like Heart Attack, AIDS, Prostate Cancer, Name Verification, Installing UBUNTU and millions more. But that’s not all, you can add your own Knol and enhance the knowledge base.

    How Authentic is the content?

    Knols are pieces of knowledge, written by authentic people from respective fields. Moreover, Google verifies members, so anything they post is genuine. Besides, people can flag your content or update it as in Wikipedia.

    What else?

    If you think that this is a nice initiative, then wait for more surprise. Google has linked AdSense to it. Google allows you to link any existing AdSense account or create a new one on the spot. Then you are given option to display ads on your article. You can chose it for all Knols you publish or on selective Knols.

    But the part, that interests me most is License. Google Knols offer three license types.

      And did I mentioned Collaboration Model. They are giving three collaboration Models…

    • Open Collaboration model, where any signed in user may edit the Knol
    • Moderated Collaboration model, where any signed user may suggest edits to the knol, but these needs approval from an author before being published (Now here they take over Wikipedia)
    • Closed Collaboration model, where no outsider is allowed to play with your knowledge.

    Still More…

    You can import doc, xls, pdf, txt and other documents. You can have your profile page and there is still more to be explored…

    Check out…

    http://knol.google.com/

    About MD

    Masala Digital is not just about Digital Marketing - it's about marketing in the digital age. The defining lines of marketing that segregated ATL, BTL & Digital hardly hold any water in the age of integrated marketing that assimilates effective practices across all available mediums to create truly integrated ideas. Masala Digital is the platform for sharing, collaborating and participating to add wings to these thoughts. You too can contribute..check out the "Contact Us" page for more information.