Brand lessons from 2009 Recession

JWT Anxiety Index,according to its website, helps brands navigate consumer anxiety.

JWT Intelligence’ report titled Brand Lessons from the Great Recession of 2009 uses the Anxiety Index  to showcase Brand lessons from 2009. A quick glance at these lessons:

  1. Find your value voice
  2. Remove the risk from price
  3. Don’t shy away from tackling anxiety
  4. Leverage public sentiment
  5. Give consumers more control
  6. Provide a real service for consumers
  7. Inspire rather than empathise with your consumers
  8. Return to the core value of hope
  9. Re-imagine how your products are sold
  10. Use the recession to achieve a higher goal

The JWT report does a good job of showcasing use cases from 2009 for each of the “lessons”. My quick take on these use cases:

  • To me, Find your value voice is a subset of Remove the risk from price. After all, consumers are ready to take a risk with price in uncertain times as 2009, if they see a strong value in the pricing.
  • The two communication examples from Don’t shy away are examples of great, honest communication with the worried consumer. I am sure these would have generated a lot of conversations online
  • The Pay what you want example from Give consumers more control is, to my mind, not a recession specific strategy. It will remain equally relevant and clutter breaking, even without the 2009 Recession backdrop. After, even in good times, why would a consumer give away the choice to control, especially when it comes to pricing?
  • Amex’ platform for SME to network during tough business conditions is great  execution of Provide a real service to consumers. ICICI Bank supports a similar platform for SMEs in India. Someone should take a look at them as well
  • Inspire rather than empathise with consumers, to my mind, is a tonality of communication and advertising that applies to all other lessons. It cannot be a separate lesson in itself. It has to be part of the basics. India’s The Economic Times is more relevant as an example for Providing real service, in my view.
  • India specific example of Levi’s  EMI based apparel purchase scheme is a spot-on example of Re-imagine how your products are sold. You  feel squeamish about buying clothes on EMI? Go talk to the young Bangalore call centre employee, for whom style and appearance is his identity. And he was facing the brunt of Recession 2009. What better way to continue feeling and looking good as a 20 year old, with uncertain future,than buying branded apparel for a pittance every month.

Collecting data is less valuable than connecting people

Metcalfe Law

Creative words that convey the following message “Why companies like Facebook,Twitter, Ebay and Apple (but not Google) will determine the future of the internet?”

Why indeed?

Sean Parker, a venture capitalist, adds a twist to web 2.0/web3.0 debate. He believes that there are information services like Google, and then there are the network services like FB,twitter etc. And the future lies with the latter. Due to the power of the network effect, the big will get bigger because the value of the product increases  by factor “n squared” as more and more people join in.

The network services core value is facilitating a relationship between people, unlike the information services whose core value is collecting and processing information.

Is that why Google incorporated twitter feeds in its real time search?

Take a look at Sean’s detailed argument here . Also check out the TechCrunch view on Sean’s thoughts here

What keeps people on one site while downloading music?

Interesting link. Orchard,a music wholeseller with itunes & amazon as its customers, executed a pilot with dynamic pricing of tracks,depending on demand. The topline takeaway is that consumers demand “not very popular” tracks, if they are priced low.My personal takeaway, and I quote “Eglen says that means people will stick with one online seller if it has a variety of prices and music.”

I agree with this as I believe stickiness to a music site is linked to the variety that you can offer.

For bringing sunshine into our lives…..Happy Birthday S.

Happy Birthday S

Light, my light, the world-filling light, the eye-kissing light, heart-sweetening light!

Ah, the light dances, my darling, at the centre of my life; the light strikes, my darling, the chords of my love; the sky opens, the wind runs wild, laughter passes over the earth.

The butterflies spread their sails on the sea of light. Lilies and jasmines surge up on the crest of the waves of light.

The light is shattered into gold on every cloud, my darling, and it scatters gems in profusion.

Mirth spreads from leaf to leaf, my darling, and gladness without measure. The heaven’s river has drowned its banks and the flood of joy is abroad.

Is mobile internet only about mobile phones?

Morgan Stanley recently released a (comprehensive) report on mobile internet. You can access the 104 slides summary(!) here.

The report starts with a relevant technology trend: Mobile internet is no longer about mobile phones alone. It is a far bigger ecosystem comprising of e-readers like Kindle, tablets, MP3 players like iPod touch, gaming consoles and all possible devices that have started talking to each other. Of course, access via mobile phones,especially in emerging markets, will remain mobile internet’s largest entry gate. This is also validated by another observation in the report that mobile internet is ramping up faster than desktop internet (see pic).

Some other interesting observations from the report:

  • iPhone+iTouch cumulative units shipment in the first ten quarters of launch is the fastest user growth ever  in consumer technology history (slide 42).
  • The scorching ramp-up of mobile internet is accelerated by 5 trends that are converging faster than ever before: 3G/Social networking/Video/VoIP/smartphones. All these are enabling consumer to connect to the internet in far more portable and mobile ways, than the desktop of late nineties.

India, I believe, is on the verge of a 3G revolution. The moment shackles of regulation are broken, India will perhaps have the highest number of 3G subscribers. I would say by 2012. And entertainment (on the move) will be biggest reason for adoption of 3G by Indians using smartphones.

Am ready to take a bet. 🙂

The 100 most social brands of 2009

Vitrue has released its list of  100 most social brands basis its Social Media Index.  The details of the list can be accessed here. Iphone has retained its No 1 spot, like it did in 2008. IPhone, Disney, CNN, MTV, NBA, iTunes, Wii, Apple, Xbox and Nike rounded out the top 10 in 2009, respectively.

The objective of this post is not the list itself. What i found more interesting was this writeup on Adweek, about the most social brands ranking. I picked the following:

  • Iphone is the No 1 social brand, without having presence on Facebook or Twitter. Its the conversations around iphone,rather than its social media strategy, that has made it No 1 social brand.
  • Conversely, itunes has moved from being a non lister in 2008 to No 6 in 2009, partly thanks to its presence on facebook, according to Vitrue honcho.
  • Interestingly, Vitrue’s ranking does not include digital brands like Facebook,Twitter & Youtube because “they make up the social infrastructure rather than use it to connect with consumers.” I do not subscribe to this logic though. These digital brands are as much brands as they are part of the social infrastructure.
  • Finally, important words from Adweek when it says “Being a social brand is not necessarily proportional to social media adoption.” Important because a lot of us see social marketing as a checklist. Twitter account check, count number of followers on twitter check, facebook app for the brand check.

Time for all of us to stop looking at social marketing as a checklist, and work beyond. The objective has to be “generate conversation” & “be interactive” rather than have “digital presence”.

Crossposting “The next decade in media in India”

When someone else (more qualified in the relevant space) holds the crystal ball, there is no need for me to reinvent the wheel. I am crossposting this from a Campaign India blog. The post talks about trends for the next decade in Print, TV & Digital…and focusses,Thank God for that, only on India. Click on the link for a detailed read. My take is as follows:

PRINT: You no longer need brains to predict that print will continue its loss to TV & digital. Agree with Anant when he says cover price of Rs 10 for certain newspapers will not be uncommon eg Times of India Crest. Crest is also early validation that newspapers will move away from reporting (24 hrs delay) and focus more on features. Special interest magazines will continue to grow at the cost of general magazines. Do I see myself not reading Outlook Traveller? Not likely. What about Outlook Weekly? I already read it online,there is nothing that I want to “retain”, unlike Outlook Traveller.

Television: Another (important)one that should not be difficult to predict “Cable operators will continue to shrink in number and in influence as DTH makes greater inroads.” Anant’s prediction on GEC trends are more interesting than News genre. And some of them are already manifesting. No clear leader in GEC space is one. 2009 saw Colors, Zee and Star fighting it out on a monthly basis. A single big show like Balika Vadhu on Colors and Dance India Dance on Zee can change the ranks for the month, at least. Speciality shows and channels will continue to test launch themselves. Wonder why no one is yet ready with Foodie focussed channel? I would subscribe to that immediately.

Digital: Could not spot a big one in this section from the Post. Anant should focus on digital separately. There’s far too much flux and trend sifting in this space for it to be captured in 500 words.

Will do my own,original take on India specific digital trends for the next decade, sometime soon.