This post walks you through with an overview of Texavi, what we do, who we are and where we serve. You will also get to see the core services and offerings, practices and focus areas of Texavi. With this presentation, you will know how we can help you and the benefits for you, working with us.
A few days ago, I was thinking about what separates the great organisations from the good ones. I tried to connect a few successful companies with the secrets behind their success. Here is a small question for you to get thinking on this..what is common to Google, Apple and simple? Of course the letters LE, but the prize goes to the correct answer, “their commitment to make people happy”. Google and Apple have positioned themselves as people-focused firms, creating innovative products and services that not only work for people but also delight them. They have established a clear differentiation based on delighting their customers, stakeholders and followers with simple and easy to use products and services. In this post, let us learn how any organisation which aims to become a social business, needs to focus on ‘the people’ to be successful.
Focus on people – Make them happy
Businesses traditionally have been focusing on people in one form or the other. Every organisation works hard to keep their customers happy as that would guarantee their existence. Some businesses focus on keeping their employees satisfied with good facilities, pay and perks.These companies think that happy employees lead to higher productivity and thereby better results. A few large organisations with deep pockets can afford to keep not only their customers and employees happy, but also extend their reach to the stakeholders like shareholders and suppliers. However, a social business needs to do all the above and a bit extra as well. Let us see in the next section what social businesses need to do to get it right.
Social business – Internal and external people
Social businesses have to optimise their business strategies, operations and resources towards the ‘people’. The people here means those who are both ‘internal’ as well as ‘external’ to the organisation. Internal people are the employees and other key stakeholders such as the management, sponsors and the shareholders. They are critical to the success of any initiative as everything starts with them, from the business vision to strategy, from planning to execution and delivery. External people refers to the customers and suppliers. However, in the context of social business, the list doesn’t end here. These external people include the followers, friends and fans on social and professional networks. Social businesses succeed by putting the people’s interests first beyond anything. Their business objectives and bottom lines are all dependent on their people-focus. Social businesses have to ensure that both the internal and external people are happy.Here is how they can achieve this. :
Involve, encourage and empower the right teams
Find, connect and follow the right people
Educate, influence and engage your followers
In the following sections, let us see how the organisations can become effective following the above rules.
Involve, encourage and empower the right teams
Teams make or break your organisations initiatives and attempts for successful campaigns. Great teams often are one of the biggest success factors behind great social businesses. You need to involve the team members from the very beginning so that they none of the team members feel left out. Also, this would help build ownership in them and increases their responsibility. Encourage and motivate the team members to start delivering towards the goals of social business. Empower them to take decisions on their own, try new things and implement their ideas. No matter if the ideas are bad or good, let the team work on those ideas and realise the efficacy of these ideas, on their own. Empowering the teams enables the team to own up the social business initiative and deliver activities and succeed, all by themselves.
For successful social business, empower the team and allow them to:
Estimate the efforts and timelines
Come up with the plan
Commit and agree upon the plans
Deliver on the plans
Bring out the problems, if any, during the execution
Find, Connect and follow the right people
Whereas the teams working on your social business are internal to your organisation, you also need to look outside of your business. These are customers, suppliers and others, speaking of traditional businesses. Often in the context of social business, this extends to those people in your social and professional networks. Follow these simple rules to follow the right people on your social and professional networks.
Define the profiles of the people who fit your business requirements
Create a persona with the demographics and psychographics
Search, browse and look out for the people fitting in the persona
Connect to these people and follow their activities on networks
Interact with them by liking and favouriting their content
Engage with the people by sharing their content across networks
Educate, engage and influence your followers
Following people on the social and professional networks, interacting with with them and sharing their content is one thing. It is quite another level to get people to follow you. Even harder is to engage people consistently with content that they are interested in. Of course, the most difficult step in the social engagement is to be able to influence your followers, friends and fans positively and increase their trust in you and your brand. The starting point for all of these accomplishments is to start sharing content which aligns with the interests of your followers. Make it worthy of their likes, and encourage them to comment upon and share it with others in their network. Influence your followers
Given below are some useful tips to help you with engaging your audience and influencing them.
Identify the target audience from amongst your followers, friends and fans on networks
Understand their interests and focus areas
Align your campaigns and content to be aligned with their interests
Interact with them, encourage people to like your content and share it
Reach out to friends of friends (FoF) and widen your network reach
Influence your followers to trust your brand and make them your ambassadors
Hope you find the above suggestions helpful in your social business efforts. As always, please let me know your views for improving this blog. Until next post, Ciao!
Are you still relying only on the static web site that was updated 5 years ago, a few printed marketing materials like flyers, and an external agency that handles your email marketing? These alone may not work anymore for the benefit of your business. No matter how large or small, old or new your organisation is, social business has proved to be the order of the day. The good old ways of marketing using the traditional media planning and advertising in conventional channels and the emerging newer ways of using social media are not the same. In the same way, optimising your content and applications for the customary search engines is not enough, as increasingly they need to be optimised for social media as well. However, being a social business does not refer to tweeting a few times per week and collecting Likes on your Facebook page, though these are good starting points. In this post, we will look at what it takes for a business to become a successful social business.
1. Go beyond a single web presence
Having a web presence with a web site, which rarely gets updated is not a great step towards becoming a social business. You must increase your channels and distribute the effort, time and cost. Large organisations today have dedicated departments catering to social media and managing the campaigns around these networks. Increasingly these companies have people with the titles such as ‘Community Manager’, and ‘Social Scientist’. However, it might be an overkill for some smaller organisations to spend their resources on the social media marketing, at the cost of their core business. Bear in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution that works the same way for all businesses in the same way. To decide what you should have in your arsenal, you need to think about the following:
What is your core business?
What is the size of your organisation?
Who are your target customers?
Where do you operate?
What resources do you have?
2. Conversations could be positive or negative
The focal point of the social and professional networks is enabling people to connect and indulge in conversations. Often these conversations could be negative as well, which is quite expected considering that people do have different experiences with brands. Although, the motive behind these interactions could be not just the brands, but also people’s encounters with products, services, solutions or most importantly other people representing any of these . Don’t expect people to always talk positively about you or your brand. Often they are influenced by their previous experiences with the which were not-so positive. Natural Language Programming and Sentiment analysis are a few of the tools that you can use to unravel the moods from among numerous conversations.
3. Conversion is the holy grail
Make no mistake, all that matters to a business in any industry of any size large or small, local or global, is conversion. Businesses since ages have been focusing on converting a prorspect to a customer and a customer to a loyal customer and then to a lifetime customer. The web came in and along with helping businesses achieve the above aspiration, also added another dimension. That of converting visitors to registered users and then to the customers. With the advent of Social media, the fundamentals and business models did not change. These social networks enabled visitors who follow your organisation or brand, to become friends and fans. The conversion from visitors to friends and then to customers has become an easier and quicker process, though the numbers are low.
4. Cut out your noise, care for people’s voice
Companies have been promoting their products and services vociferously as a ‘push mechanism’, using advertisements and branding campaigns. For these, they were using the traditional media such as Newspapers, Television, Radio and other print media. However, increasingly people are getting frustrated with the noise generated by these brands. The trust on these companies and brands and customers’ belief in what they say is dwindling. One of the key factors why social media have become popular is this decreasing trust in brands and increased confidence in what other people say and do. This is what I call the ‘Pull mechanism’. In order to make your social initiative a success, the pull has to be given an equal, if not more, importance than the push channels. Focus on listening to the voices of the customers and those people who matter to your business. Observe, respond and resolve the complaints, problems and service requests from the people on these social media. large organisations like British Gas, AT & T and Apple already are actively using social media like Twitter and Facebook to listen, respond and resolve customer complaints and issues.
5. Deliver congruent “experiences” consistently
The key to success for any business is to deliver delightful experiences to their customers. Whether you have products or services, instead of focusing too much on features and functionality, focus on the experience offered by them to your customers and users. These experiences too have to be consistent and unified across different channels, media, platforms and devices that you use to reach your customers. Inconsistent experiences lead to customers feeling dissonance and they are left confused with too may messages in too many forms. To offer this unified experience to your customers, you must balance the various channels such as traditional, digital,online, mobile and social media. Read this post on how you could achieve this integrated, congruent experience across multiple channels and platforms.
Hope you find this post helpful. As always, do drop in with your feedback, suggestions and critiques to help improve the quality of our blogposts. Until next post, Ciao!
A recent report on social media by ACSI, American Customer Satisfaction Index puts Facebook behind other social networks such as Google+ and Pinterest on user satisfaction. Yes, going social is not enough anymore, nor is creating a Facebook page for your business, tweeting on a regular basis or having a LinkedIn profile. Successful businesses are no longer just about being active on social media, and collecting analytics on engagement and influence. Time has come to move beyond the fads and integrate your brand and reputation management activities to deliver congruent and unified experiences to customers and users. In this post, we will have a look at the various channels available for businesses and how these can be leveraged to successfully manage reputation in an increasingly competitive market.
1. ORM is not just managing ‘Online’ reputation
There are many different ways in which you can reach out to your customers and users. The evolution of the various channels and media can be considered as a continuum over the past decades or even centuries. From the times businesses have been used to traditional channels like print and word of mouth to today’s social media, communication and reputation/brand management channels championed the cause of businesses. Texavi created a framework that traces the various channels and also maps how easy or hard it is to implement each of these channels. The infographic given below provide a perspective on various channels such as traditional, digital, web, mobile and social platforms that contribute to the organisation’s reputation.
2. All channels are not the same
All channels don’t have the same flavour and they don’t behave in the same way. They vary in the way they are created, maintained and delivered through. For instance the traditional channels such as the print media might require initial installation and setup. On the other hand, the social channels such as social media networks like Facebook, Twitter accounts etc., need to be created, connected and integrated. These media differ on various aspects, each having its own set of characteristics and behaving in its own way. However, the real trick lies in how well you identify the right channels for your business and use them smartly. The following sections will help you in selecting this so that you will succeed at managing your organisation’s reputation.
3. Mix and match the channels for balance
Relying only on one channel at the expense of the other will only give negative results. That is why businesses need to focus on choosing the right mix of the channels and resources to manage their brand and reputation in a holistic manner. The above infographic also charts the evolution of these various channels/media and the ease of their implementation. Success in managing reputation in today’s world lies in identifying and using all the possible channels, based on the organisation’s expectations and experience. Also, note from the above infographic that the ease or difficulty in implementation could vary depending on industry, product, market dynamics and the specific organisation which is implementing it.
4. Get to know the critical factors
While some channels say, the print media could take longer time to implement whereas its comparatively quicker to create some others like web sites. Besides, other factors such as cost, resources required etc., could vary from one channel to another. You need to compare and contrast these various factors across the channels. I give below a list of some key factors that must be considered before you take any decision:
Cost of implementation
Speed of implementation
Materials and physical resources
The following framework provides maps the various channels on the cost vs. speed of implementation. You can see that there is a tradeoff and it is wise to choose the right channel(s) suitable for your industry, products and customers.
5. Don’t go by fads and trends
Just because everyone has a Facebook page, you don’t have to create one, unless your business really need one. Following latest fads will only leads you into frustration and confusion, as you don’t see the expected results coming out of them. Before adopting and implementing a programme, it is important that you carefully consider the past experiences, resources available and the expectations of your organisation. Also, keep in mind the critical factors like cost and time for the implementation of the selected channels. For an integrated, well-oiled reputation management initiative, I suggest that you should aim for a perfect balance by choosing the best among the available channels and media and using them in a unified manner.
Hope these tips help you in getting it right with your ORM initiatives. Please drop in your feedback and inputs for making our blog better. Until the next post, ciao!
“Social media is not an option for businesses, any more!” and “Markets are conversations” – these phrases pretty much reverberated among the speakers, visitors and organisations participating in the Social Media World Forum-2012, London. Held over 2-days at Olympia, London from 27-28 March, the conference reiterated the importance and urgency of socialisation of business, marketing and media. Great ambience, pleasant crowds, nice talks on current topics, insightful panel discussions and 1000′s of tweets buzzing the twitterwall….the #SMWF ( as it is popularly referred to) was a great place to be for businesses and professionals alike! Texavi took an active part this year, exhibiting at the event, by setting up a booth and demonstrating our capabilities. During the 2 days, Texavi’s stand received good visitors and the feedback during and after the event had been very encouraging. For photos and more updates on the #SMWF, visit Texavi’s web site and our Facebook Page.
Active participation from businesses and individuals
SMWF 2012 was well attended by businesses and people from all around Europe and a few from parts of Asia as well. Focusing on the core theme of social media, the conference catered to five streams — Social business, social TV, social shopping, mobile marketing and of course, social media. Besides the well-decorated and themed booths spread across the entire hall, there were workshops, talks, and panel discussions on the five streams. The topics for these workshops and talks were carefully chosen, ranging from the ubiquitous Facebook-focused marketing to the semantic analysis, and the more strategic aspects of brand management and social business enablement. For more information on the event, you can visit the official site.
Texavi is proud and happy to have been associated with the SMWF this year. We set up a booth and exhibited our offerings to the visitors who showed keen interest. The visitors to Texavi’s stand no.10 were both excited and impressed by what we had got on the show. Participating in SMWF proved to be a good decision for Texavi as we got to meet some really nice people and had interesting inquiries. Texavi’s offerings stood out among the exhibiting lot, because of our unique, simple yet powerful frameworks. Out of the very few organisations focusing on the most important aspects for social business enablement, Texavi’s unified and convergent experience framework and behaviour change and persuasion framework struck the right chords among the enthusiastic participants. For the brochures that we gave away at the booth, you can visit Texavi’s Downloads page.
What’s special at SMWF2012
The main attraction of the event had been a specially built Twitterwall right in the centre of the venue, with a continual stream of the tweets about and around the topics of the event. This worked almost like a live heartbeat of the buzz going around in the event. Even though it was early Spring, the sunny weather outside did make people hang out at the bar lounge right in the centre which kept the conversations going. There was a special gaming zone where people could get their hands dirty with the latest and the most entertaining games. The workshops and talks were held at the specially set-up theatres in the corners to streamline the participants. Add to that the special attraction at SMWF was the messaging facility, for those tired after going around the stands and attending the workshops.
Key takeaways from #SMWF
As you would have guessed by now, SMWF helped participants with the right information, insights and networking opportunities. Though there are many a takeaway from the conference, I am attempting to do the impossible task of summarising the key points, below.
Social media and social marketing are not an option anymore for businesses
Social media is not just the responsibility of marketing /PR departments
Markets are conversations
Brands can reach out to their customers and leverage their reputation, thanks to social media
Gibson Guitars, Lego bricks are cases in point to show how big brands can be more effective when they get social
Hope you enjoyed reading this post. Please feel free to click through the links I provided all through, for more interesting photos, updates and information. Also, do drop in your feedback for making Texavi blog better. Until next post, ciao!
Last week, Cadbury UK launched its new product Bubbly through their Google+ brand pages. I think this is a brave new attempt that augurs well for the social networks and the businesses, in general. Social media are fast becoming the mainstay digital platform and are eagerly waiting to get alongside the traditional marketing channels. Not just the consumers and media, but technologies and businesses too are drifting towards the ‘social’ side, thanks to success and reach of Facebook, Twitter and Google. No wonder that we have social networks, social technologies, social business…everything has a ‘social’ touch today. But what are the effects of this socialification (I don’t want to use the word socialization, for obvious reasons) on your products and services? How can you leverage these social trends to your advantage and bring about the positive changes in the way you operate & deliver? In this post, I give you some tips addressing these questions and also touch upon some key aspects of our Social Experience Framework.
1.Get social – The emergence of ‘social’ everything
There is little doubt that the buzz word today is social and the whole world is now geared towards a ‘social revolution’ of sorts. From the revolution in Egypt to the ‘Occupy…’ movements, social platforms are aiding the way people connect, unite and demonstrate for a cause. The revolution is not just restricted to mass protests and demonstrations. It is expanding its reach and making inroads into our lives and work. Just a few days ago, Google began including the content from their social platform, Google+, when searching and showing the search results. This is yet another example of how ‘social’ content and interactions are getting into the mainstream content. There are more people now who, before buying a product, read the reviews of “other people”. Before saying anything good or bad about anything, some people “google it” or when in doubt, check it out on the “Wikipedia”. The growing emphasis on the relevance of big data and open source technologies and tools, is only adding more ammunition to this social revolution.
2. Focus on people and their social interactions
Yes, they are all people. You once used to call them customers, users, partners and vendors. Your sphere of influence was restricted only to these stakeholders and perhaps extended to prospective customers. But now with social media and technologies, the reach has increased and the scope is broadened to cover more number of people. This includes not only prospective customers and product reviewers but also potentially friends and family members as well. Now is the time to make your business, and technology, products and services more people-centric, for real and reap the rewards. Listen, observe and understand the various ways people interact online and offline too. Make these interactions more meaningful by providing context-sensitive information which they can use readily and easily. Simplify their interactions and enrich them by offering value-add through seamless channels and platforms.
3.Make it work on multiple platforms, devices & channels
4.Deliver social experience, not just user experience
As you have seen in the recent past, there has been a proliferation of computers, laptops, mobile phones and Tablets. Also, there has been a significant raise in the Internet usage for education, work and entertainment. All along you have been focusing on delivering great customer and user experiences through your products, services and solutions. With the advancement of social context, it is just not enough if you try and look only at your customers and users only. The experiences have to be broad based, reaching out to friends, prospects, family members and ‘people’. I call it the ‘social experience’, covering all these. Our SoX Framework is an integrated experience delivered via multiple channels, devices, platforms and media. SoX is a pervasive, personalized and persuasive experience, delivered in context-rich, yet simple way.
5. Not just quantitative, but qualitative
There is a plethora of online analytics services that measure the social media usage. From Klout to PeerIndex and recently PeekAnalytics, these have been serving up measures and metrics on the engagement, influence and network reach based on the activities you do online and especially on the social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. All of these provide the scores, ranks and numbers. While analytics are good, they can only be useful, if applied to the right cause. As business leaders and product owners, one needs to balance the quantitative measures with the qualitative aspects. How do you get to the qualitative information? Be open and actively participate in the social networks and reach out to the audiences. For instance, Dell appointed CLO (Chief Listening Officer) whose role is to follow and listen to the noise and voice of customers on the social networks. British Gas resolves customer issues on Twitter, using it as a platform for understanding, tracking and closing people’s complaints.
To summarize, social businesses, technologies are already in and we are left with no choice, but to embrace them and use them to our advantage. Delivering social experiences require today’s businesses to broadbase their focus to ‘people’, listen to them constantly and help them instantly. Let me know if you have a suggestion, question or comment. Until next post, ciao!
You might vaguely remember the 3R paradigm used back in our student days. Yes, you are right, the 3R approach emphasizes the three important modes of learning -Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. All through our schooling and college education, we had been taught how to read, write and calculate. Pretty much everything in this world can be understood and learned through a combination of these different modes. Okay, but why on earth, am I referring to the 3R model here? Well, most of the things that we were taught all along in our schools and college days changed with the advent of computers and then the Internet. Now, with the onslaught of smart phones, devices and tablets like iPhone, Blackberry, iPad and Android-based tablets, the user interaction and experience landscape has been undergoing a sea change!
In this post, I wish to walk you through the transition of the technologies as we learnt, and used in the context of how we interacted with and experienced them. Let us also examine what is ahead of us today, as technologies evolve and become more human-centered. Also, towards the end, as a bonus, you can get a sneak peek into my newest tech acquisition, HP TouchSmart Convertible PC!
First, there was the Word
Yes at first, we all learnt how to read and write words. We started our learning using slates (literally and no sly reference to the latest gadgets a.k.a tablets ) and slate pencils and chalks. We drew pictures with these and also with crayons, paint brushes and colors. Using these devices, we slowly graduated to writing letters and then words. As we grew up, and our ability improved, we moved on to papers and pens. We started writing sentences, stories, essays, mathematical equations, chemical compound notations and so on.
These are perhaps the first set of learning media which we started interacting with on a serious note, and they did offer a high sense of involvement. Slates, Pencils, Pens and papers gave us that first hand experience of ‘direct manipulation’ where we directly interact with the surface, without the support of other devices, quite unlike keyboard or mouse that followed much later.
Type, don’t write!
We slowly got adjusted to these devices, interacting with them and got ourselves immersed using them. By the time, we started enjoying their usage, came the Type Writer, a machine using which we can type in to create letters without having to write with pen. Strange why they still called it as Type Writer when you were not writing anything, but actually typing. This was perhaps the first commercially used machine on a large scale with a QWERTY keyboard.
I could remember the commercial institutes round the corner of many streets, where they used to train people on how to use the type writers. In fact, there used to be two examination papers based on the skill or rather speed of your typing – ‘Lower’ and ‘Higher’. People actually planned type writing as one of their professional interests. I remember a few relatives of mine who, in their summer vacation, went to commercial institutes to learn short-hand writing and type-writing. Type machines and type-writing became so ingrained in our daily usage that there used to be lot of opportunities for the job post of ‘Typists’, both in the government and private companies.
If you analyze the interaction behavior of the user with these type-writing machines, they pretty much lost the original concept of direct manipulation which was more prevalent with Slate and pencil, paper and pen. With the fingers operating the Keyboard and letters being imprinted on the papers, there is very less or should I say zero direct manipulation. Obviously, this would have led to some user dissonance in terms of connecting with the device, even though the efficiency factors of typing over writing weighed in more. Don’t forget that, still to a large extent, the writing habits of people stayed put, as type writers were considered more suitable for offices and not so much for homes.
Computer – Type Writer’s newer avatar
The Type writer machines were fading gradually and in their place, computers were introduced. This transition had been attempted under the guise that both have similar keyboard, that of QWERTY. The introduction of computers have been well planned, intentionally or otherwise, by preparing the people in a nicer way. Computers were made less intimidating and scary, by comparing them to type writing machines – while those had a slot for paper, computers don’t. Also, in the initial days, it was widely circulated that people who knew type-writing could only work on computers. So, computers were initially seen by some people, more as electronic type-writers than computing machines.
Computers began occupying key places in offices. They were given special treatment and I remember offices used to have special cabins where computer were placed. People entering these air-conditioned cabins were asked to leave their footwear outside, lest the computers should catch some virus. The popularity of computers started to raise and soon the training institutes which used to teach typing skills changed their boards and began teaching how to use the computer keyboard and type effectively.
Computers were slowly introduced in colleges and schools as part of the curricula. We used to have laboratory session twice a week. In the lab, there used to be about 20 computers and these were shared amongst all the students. Computer users were still interacting in a pretty indirect way using the keyboard. Of course, mouse which became a popular input device in a short time was a better alternative to most of users. Mouse soon became a favorite amongst most users as users do not have to know typing nor do they need to spend months mastering how to use it. Using a mouse was better for users, as they just need to point and click. Interaction with the computer became a bit more direct, than that with the keyboard. Mouse soon turned out to be man’s best friend
Tap, pinch and slide – The slate is back
Slowly but surely, the game changer in the interaction and user experience arrived on the scene. Some ATM (Automated Teller Machines) had been introduced which have touch capability. Users could touch the screen to choose their options and computers were never the same again. The market was abuzz with a few tablet pcs or convertibles which have both keyboard and touch options. However, due to various reasons, these just could not get the critical mass and failed to impress people. Then Apple brought out its first Touch based mobile phone, the iPhone and subsequently iPod Touch, music player with touch screen. Then came tablets such as iPad and Samsung Galaxy into the market, which offered larger displays than the phones and perhaps better features such as ebook readers etc.
With iPhone, the game really changed and users had an option of not keying in into their phone through the good-old QWERTY keypad. Tablets brought out a new way of interacting which is more direct than any other devices listed above. New modes of interacting with the device had emerged, thanks to the Touch paradigm. Users had to learn afresh some new interaction styles such as slide to unlock their phone,tap to select an item or file, double tap to open the item or file,pinch to zoom etc. Is there a learning curve to shift from the type paradigm to the touch paradigm?, no, not much because touch is the most direct manipulation possible and is quite natural to most of the people. So, no marks to guess which interaction mode won the accolades in the user community, quickly. Touch overtook Typing and writing, by eliminating the intermittent devices such as pencil, pen, keyboard and mouse.
Tablet PC – The best of all worlds
From the above, you might conclude that I am biased towards Touch and so have given it more marks than write and type. Not exactly true, because no matter how direct the manipulation can be and how rich the interaction can be, Touch has its own disadvantages. For instance, the sensitivity to touch might differ from device to device. Apple iPhone’s touch sensitivity is different from Blackberry Storm’s sensitivity which is different from Android-based HTC phones’ touch. Add to that, users don’t find keying in messages using the Touch keypad, as good as the QWERTY physical keypad. Some users might be plain lazy to unlearn their writing and typing habits to negotiate with the touch mode of interaction. I, for one, would prefer a keyboard to type in messages and text than a stylus based touch interaction.
Your and my prayers were rightly heard and answered. The Tablet PC was introduced. You no longer have to restrict to one type of input or interaction mechanism only. You have got the options of using the keyboard like a normal desktop or laptop computer. You can turn the monitor sideways and down to make it a tablet a.k.a slate. You might want to use your fingers tapping, sliding and pinching away on the tablet. When you want to do some finer selection, you can use the digitizer pen a.k.a stylus to write right on the tablet. I never thought that I would need a pen to write again, except for doing signatures. I was proved wrong with the proverbial history repeats itself.
With the tablet PC convertible laptop, the slate ( I was referring to the good old slates we used to write on, in our school days) is back into action. Along with that, the pen also made its presence felt in the form of digitizer, using which you can draw, paint, and write. It also doubles up as a mouse, because you can select, left click and right click. And to top it all, you have the normal keyboard using which you can type your way into the laptop. Tablet PC is here to stay, with all the interaction styles and experiences packed into one. The option is yours to type, touch or write!!!
Here is the bonus. These are the snap shots of my new HP TouchSmart Tm2 Tablet PC. I shall write more about it in the later posts. Have fun!
Another dose of ‘wholesome entertainment experience’ with loads of fun, fanfare, dance, music, celebrities and of course, Cricket comes to an end. The season 3 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) had its share of sporting action, larger-than-life celebrity supporters, franchises, owners, and add to these, the controversies to top them all. Along with all these, it also gave a lot of sleepless nights to the people who matter. I too had my share of late night sleeps, of course, for a different reason. I used to wake up till 11.45 pm all these days to watch the matches.
I will leave the analysis of the cricketing sport and spirit to the cricket pundits and sportsmen and the controversies et al to the media. That spares me enough material to focus on the ‘experience’ aspect of the IPL. In a nutshell, I think IPL experience = function of (business, fun, films, dance and music, politics, cricket), though need not be in that specific order.
It is not about cricket
I am sure this thought would have crossed your mind when you were watching the matches, reading news or watching the Television. Yes, it is true that IPL is about Cricket, it involves Cricket players who play Cricket on the cricket grounds and organised by Cricket authorities. The association of the tournament with Cricket ends there. Whoever named the tournament, IPL had made sure this argument is true. There is no mention of Cricket anywhere in the word IPL or the expansion of the term. It has caught on the lives of Indians and perhaps a lot of other cricket enthusiasts in the World. The fact that IPL 3 matches were broadcast ‘live’ on YouTube (well, not exactly ‘live’, there was a lag of about 10 minutes), mobile phones and in Cinema Theatres in India, proves that there had been a huge following and it virtually became a life-line for some people. So, let us look at what makes up IPL, if it is not just about cricket.
Though there could be many things that could have contributed to the huge success of IPL 3, I attribute the following as some of the major factors to make it a hit:
Emotional card – IPL is back in India after almost 2 years (season 2 was played out of home, in South Africa in 2009)
Complete and active participation of all Indian cricketers – including retired players (there is no ‘for’ or ‘against’ camps – all players took part in this tourney)
Strong industry support for the event – business houses and marketing agencies, large and small took part (include the franchises)
Optimal coverage and updates by electronic and print media – Television channels, Web sites and Newspapers & magazines
Good weather for playing cricket – No match was cancelled due to rain or poor visibility
Perfect timing of the match plays – 4 pm and 8 pm (after office/school hours, when it gets maximum viewership)
Marketers’ gold rush
I assume that the event would have been watched by 40% of the people in India, that still makes a good 40 million minds to occupy the space in, for the businesses. With so many eyeballs glued to the television and newspapers and ears keyed in on AM and FM Radios, I am sure no business would want to miss this bus. Rightly so, the huge opportunity was lapped up by companies big and small, old and new alike… companies selling mobile phones or motor cycles, liquor or lemon drinks, FMCG or white goods, all cashed in on the IPL wave to reach out to their target markets.
Forget the sponsors and partners, even businesses which had no direct relationship started riding on the IPL wave. I remember seeing the buzz created by a white goods selling store, offering a hefty discount on the goods purchased that day, if Mumbai Indians team won the match played on the following day.
What’s in it for us – the experience!
Americans love Basketball and American Football and they have NBA and NPL. Europeans love Soccer and Formula One and they have Euro Cup and F1 races. Indians love Cricket and IPL was born to satiate their passion! In the absence of any major regular sporting tournament in India, IPL turned out to be the ambrosia in the cricket-crazy nation. Besides this, the IPL offered a plethora of experiential factors that made it a hugely successful phenomenon in the sub-continent. All of the factors mentioned below are inter-connected and have a bearing on one another.
Bonding with family and friends. I have seen parents, couples and children all in front of the Tellies and cheering for their teams. This is not just restricted to personal lives, but IPL touched work lives too. I had seen Organisations holding contests and sending the winning teams to watch the games. Also, project teams and people working in the same department get together to plan and watch the match. All these help develop bonding amongst the people.
Diversity in Unity. Though there is a bit of cultural misfit with the non-local cheer-leaders, I think some of the matches had a good dose of display of Indian traditions and culture. You could watch some spectators wearing local traditional attire playing the local musical instruments or performing regional flavours of dance.
Belongingness. There had been a sense of belongingness which the people had towards the teams and this was sufficiently leveraged by the marketers. The merchandise of the teams such as jerseys, sporting gear, accessories et al were sold like hot cakes. Need a proof for this? I too bought a Mumbai Indians jersey on the day of the final match between Mumbai and Chennai. Of course, I don’t want to share with you how I felt at the end of the match, when Mumbai Indians lost to Chennai Super Kings.
Love for Regional / local flavours. Thanks to the formation of teams, based on the different regions or states, there has been a sense of rekindling of love for one’s region or state. Often, this added to the lighter side of India’s diversity. For instance, I was born in Vijayawada, studied in Hyderabad and Puttaparthi, worked in Bangalore and Chennai and settled in Mumbai. These are all from four different states, where different languages are spoken and differ on the traditions and cuisines as well. This only made me confused if I should support my settled home Mumbai or my original home, Hyderabad in a match, where they played each other. My case is rather simple, I had a friend who has links to 8 different states and he thoroughly enjoyed each match in the IPL tournament.
Not so good things
Timing of the tournament was not just right for students. Many of the secondary and junior college students have their annual final and board examinations around March and April, every year. By keeping the IPL during this time, students could not but face the pressure but more so parents of these students too faced the problems.
Marketing was a bit overdone in a few cases. Every six hit by batsman in the match is a ‘DLF Maximum’ six, every catch a ‘Karbonn kamaal catch’, as announced by the commentators. They had done it to the extent that sometimes, it started annoying the viewers. For instance, the continual beaming and talking of the MRF blimp on air, is a real irritant, no matter how much important MRF is to the IPL organisers.
Anything in excess is dangerous and so with cricket too. The teams had too many matches to play against one another and the 45-day long tournament could have left the players tired and perhaps bored with too much cricket!