Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together – Vincent Van Gogh

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Is your Content growing green?

If you are a marketer, I hardly need to give you the escalator pitch on the importance of content. You are probably already elbow deep developing all types of content – good old text, videos, images, infographs, 3D videos, VR videos – and for all types of channels. And while you may have mastered the art of generating content, something that may turn into a stumbling block is metrics. When one needs to peg down the numbers, it can sometimes get hard and dicey correlating your content to qualified leads, revenue pipeline and then actual business. Agreed content can be amorphous and swift to transform and in there lies the excitement of experimentation, learning and unlearning.

But to really begin dealing with this ever growing mass called content and making it work for you as a marketer, it is important to understand the types of content. And when I say ‘type’, I mean it with reference to the reaction you wish it to generate from the viewer, reader or consumer.

Types of content

Types of Content

Prescribing content is also descriptive, elaborate, detail and long. Some examples of prescriptive content is whitepapers, articles, demo videos, explanatory, educative videos, that explain in-depth about your offering, the benefits of adopting your offerings, sometimes doing comparisons between your offerings and other solutions in the market, talking about your differentiators. An unbiased piece of content may even help the reader adopt a parameter that enables them to compare and choose among a host of offerings in the market, and all the while, your content clearly makes a case for return on investment.

Connecting content is that which links industry trends to your offerings. It may also link what other organizations are already doing to your offerings. People who read your content, especially those who like to follow the leader will probably jump on the bandwagon and be compelled to act. From this content they get a glimpse into how others responded to this problem. Some examples of connecting content is blogs, case studies and webinars.

Motivating content is ideal when your recipients already know the benefit of your offering, but can’t seem to decide, they hesitate to put their dollar where their mouth is. You need to push them up the sales cycle, your motivating content makes a strong case for ROI, it addresses their objections and concerns and coaxes them to fill out that form and contact you. Great examples of such content is mailers, posters, standees, radio ads, newspaper ads, billboards and online banner ads. Readers are motivated to contact you because they can see real benefit now.

Disruptive content works super well for organizations in a do or die situation, or those who wish to take greater risks for huge rewards. Here the content relooks at the industry scenario and gives a surprising, innovative solution to capitalize on that scenario. Disruptive content works well for those who wish to be early entrants, who may have some unique strength they can capitalize on. Here your content strategy clearly shows how their product can go viral, how they can grab large chunks of mindshare at likely small investments, how they can harness crowdsourcing.

Connect the content to leads

As a marketing team, you would be developing all the types of content mentioned above- prescriptive, connecting, motivating and disruptive. Each type of content has the potential to move your potential consumers up the sales cycle and help convert them into real leads. As a marketer it is important to be aware of this process, smartly develop ones content in a planned manner, and release it to your audience with a structured plan.

Size of your organization determines the effectiveness of your content to convert to leads

I have seen content being used as an integral part of marketing in smaller organizers. They do not have large budgets and need cost-effective content to replace large advertising spend and large event participation. In large organizations, marketing is fragmented, unorganized and in such a situation, one cannot measure ROI. For them, content becomes just a method of thought-leadership and branding. There are too many loose ends here as the chain of command is long – creating a point of view, converting it into a mailer campaign, analyzing open rates and then cold calling can take months, and at the end of which the purpose has dimmed, the people have moved on to other projects and the PoV simply lies abandoned on the website.

So before you decide whether content can really deliver on leads or not, you need to ask yourself, what kind of an organization are you. The larger the organization, the lesser the effectiveness of content to measurably convert to leads. Knowing the size of your organization will help you focus on the right type of content and harness it for the right reason.

The promise

It has almost been a year and I have posted nothing on my blog. What a shame. One can write for a living but forget to write for fun. Undoubtedly, the last year has seen me write on week days and write on weekends. After all, time is money, and my blog is just a hobby.

I’ve had thoughts, and ideas, and promised myself to pen them down, but somehow, they just slipped by, in the rush of work, as I go on like a hamster on a wheel, and I continue to promise myself. Perhaps this lack of ‘me time’, ‘blog time’ has been the reason why I feel terribly stifled, almost chocked. Like my lungs are full of carbon dioxide, I so want to expel. So need to expel. Let it out, let it go, breath, let the fresh, the clean, the new, and the life giving energy come in. Let go of the past, that which is over, history. Stop looking over your shoulders and surrender to the unknown, open your mind to the winds of change, face the sun, let it fill me, rejuvenate me, germinate me. Yes, this time I shall keep my word. I will be writing on a thought or two. It shall be posted here.

Where is the rush to?

Sometimes in the midst of a crowd, as buses, cars and people rush by; I stop, albeit for a mere seconds and wonder, what am I doing here. Is this where I want to be? If I take a step out and get run over by one of these zooming vehicles, would this work that I am doing right now be the last thing I want to do? If I were lying in a hospital battling for life, would this work be of any importance to me. And the answer scares me, so I roughly push it away and jump back into the rush to get home, complete an article, reach a meeting.

ImageWhen I look around I see I am not alone. In these cities, we have perfected the art of staying busy. Time is money, and there is so much to be done. Not a minute to rest, go do things, lots of them, it helps you grow in your career, it helps you stay ahead of the Jones, and buy yourself all those wonderful things you desire. If you have one house, you need to start planning to buy the next. If you have one car, you need to think of the model you want next. If you had dinner at this restaurant, hey there is a new one on the other side of town, have you tried that yet? You went on a holiday close to home, have to tried an international one yet?

Yes, the goal posts keep moving, and they are very much external, things that you can take pictures of and post on Facebook and Pinterest. And then one day it all collapses, like a pack of cards. But didn’t you feel this pain before? Didn’t you find something wrong? Didn’t you hear the creak? Of course I did, we all do, only not loud enough. Only that we did not stop to take it in. Only that we did not believe its affects. We were rushing to that meeting, to that party, for that flight, for a dinner.

We are so busy we don’t have the time to listen to ourselves, we don’t have the time to talk to ourselves, to understand ourselves, to stop and say, “yes, complete that sentence”. “yes, lets talk now”. “yes, this is me time”. We are so used to relating to the external, the internal has become alien. We don’t know how to treat ourselves, what it means to be good to oneself, and by that I don’t mean, buying oneself jewelry or getting a pedicure.  If you really dwell on it, you will note, we are the most neglected person. We are the most lonely person. We are the most friendless person. We don’t know how to socialize with ourselves.

So what is it that this lonely, sad, neglected person takes out into the world? What is it that you share, but what you have. Without the mask please. Is it a wonder that society around us has shaped out the way it has? That we have shaped it the way it is?

How often do we go out for a long quite walk, how often do we sit down and meditate, how often do we just stay by ourselves for ourselves sake. Ah, don’t those things seem what older folks do? Perhaps they have gone full circle and after fighting themselves have now settled into a comfortable coexistence. Do we also have to advance in age before we get there? Before we learn about ourselves and accept ourselves the way we are. No fluff, no make-up, now external recognition’s and degrees, just us, just the skin, the flesh, staring back, the real me, without the fancy veneer that we have worked so hard to build about ourselves.

Forgive Yourself

Recently, I was in a stress management program where the speaker was teaching us a method of Yoga meditation. During the short practice session, he made us close our eyes and asked us to recite a few lines, and in the midst of his instructions he said “forgive yourself for all that you have done wrong”. Really, I thought, forgive myself? No one has ever said that to me before. I have never thought to say that to myself before!

If you happen to be Catholic like I am, you would have gone to numerous confessions, at the end of which the priest would have blessed you and asked god to forgive you. But never had I encountered this request to forgive myself. And yet it was the truest sentence I had heard in the longest time. I have confessed many times, I have done lots of penance, handed-out and beyond. But while I am sure the most merciful Lord has forgiven me, had I, have I really forgiven myself? I think not. For there are numerous deeds, and I am sure, each of us would have these, that none are aware of, and that are deep in the past, forgiven and gone into the eternity or maya of time, and yet somehow, they come alive, like ghosts of a wicked era, when the wretched in us ruled, and they fill us with guilt and shame. Yes, guilt for these deeds serve a good purpose, they make us human, and humble when the urge to sit in judgment is strong. And when we think we have forgotten our wicked pasts, they open up, like reflective animal eyes in the dark of a silent night, as eerie reminders.

ImageSometimes I feel it is this nagging guilt, which none know or care to remember, for each have their secret to carry, a burden getting heavier in time, to hold. Sometimes a tiny sleeping pill, a relaxing smoke, a tiny tipple can make the difference between sleep and a wakeful night. And guilt has just found a new path to let itself out.

Forgive yourself. How simple, yet so profound. Forgive yourself, so simple, yet, can you, will you, should you? How strong is your morality? Is it going to infest you, infect you, consume you like a parasitic plant or will you locate a deeper philosophy of spirituality that lets you send the ashes of your dead past down a holy river to the sea, for oneness with eternity, oneness in forgiveness, oneness in healing.

Often the guilt of our deeds, instigate us to torment ourselves. We deeply believe we are wretched, and should live and be treated as such. And so we treat ourselves shabbily, shoddily, hurting ourselves, and through this hurting others. If each of us could have it in us to forgive ourselves, I think there would be much less pain in this world. Forgive yourself.

If we forgive ourselves, the law that governs this universe will forgive us. If we forgive ourselves, the law that governs the universe will let us heal. If we forgive ourselves, we get an opportunity to make amends, to do things differently. If we forgive ourselves, we are in perspective to forgive others – the holiest image of ourselves. Forgive yourself.

2012 in Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 16,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals, isn’t that cool!!

Click here to see the complete report.

Grow Your Own Carrots

Grow your own carrots…. I love the lyrical ring of this topic, almost like I am preparing to launch out into a HR motivational blog post;)

The other day, I saw a mail in my inbox about a course the Agriculture Department of Goa was to conduct in my village, on how people could grow their own vegetable garden, and it really got me thinking.

Really, they are now teaching and encouraging people to grow their own vegetables! Wow, there was a time when everyone grew their own vegetables. In the monsoons, when the water was plentiful, what a delight to work in the garden, putting mud to hold up the little shoots of Lady Finger. Put sticks to lead the pumpkin creeper up on to the roof, build a little lean-to for the cucumber creeper, we looked forward to the bitter gourd, tomatoes and chilies. If the heavy rain washed the plants away, we would plant them all over again. We competed to see how big the soup plan leaves would grow, and we each had our pet plants.

Looking back, I think that time in the garden taught us a lot about nurturing, growing, loving nature, being self-reliant, dirtying our hands, experiencing joy in physical labour, enjoying the fruit of labour, respecting the activity of food creation and food itself. Our parents worked by us, wordlessly teaching us all this, filling pans with manure, gently feeding it to plants, watching out for caterpillars and ensuring they didn’t eat up the fledgling plants, learning that the earthworms where good and nitrated the soil. And when the vegetables grew in profusion, we plucked them all with great pride, ate hearty meals, shared the extra vegetables with our neighbors and brought about a sense of goodwill.

We may not acknowledge it, but plants have a lot to offer us, and if you have played Farmville, it has loads to offer you. I still remember, how some of my colleagues in the middle of their crazy work schedule, set alarms so they could go water plants, harvest their crops, sells them for money that would buy seed. After trying it for some time, I thought it was silly, this simulated, computer game. But Farmville probably became a huge hit because it fulfilled a need – a need to nurture, care and watch life take root and grow. You don’t have to be ‘virtual’ about your needs any more, make it real with a pot on your veranda.

In a time when the cost of food is spiraling, a small patch of vegetables or a few pots on your balcony is a fantastic idea. Vegetable gardens were key to urban sustainability in Cuba and it’s a concept worth replicating. Looking deeper, I think a few vegetable laden pots would be a good way to add green fauna in a city that is constantly getting denuded. If you are lonely, I suspect, plants would make super cool companions too.

In a time when children no longer have parks to play in and hardly have any contact with nature, here is your opportunity to bring a little bit of green, back in their life and yours. No matter how small a place you live in, there is always place for a pot or two. How about throwing in a few chilly seeds? We gift our kid’s puppies and birds, how about gifting them a pot and a few seeds of flowers and vegetables.

Are you ready to grow your own carrots, chillies, cucumbers, pumpkins…. ?

Of Mangoes and Goats

Who does not know palace grounds in Bangalore? For those who are not from here, this is a huge, sprawling ground that holds several exhibitions, of all kinds, hosts music events and people gatherings, sometimes, all simultaneously. From Soul Sante, to defense shows, marriages to education exhibitions, Bangalore’s Palace Grounds sees it all. But not many will know that adjoining Palace grounds, along Fun World, on that little patch of uneven ground between the busy road and the high wall there is a different kind of mundi or market that suddenly and organically sprouts.

Since I work in R T Nagar, I pass this area just at the JC Nagar junction every day, and one day in early May there was suddenly a large number of mango sellers, with baskets and truck loads of mangoes on either side of the road, mangoes of every shape, round and elongated, large luscious looking ones and tiny nondescript ones, green and yellow, some with blushes of red. The names of these mangoes can get even more interesting, and range from Raspuri, Bangalura/ Totapuri, Neelam, Benisha, Ladoo, Sakutrikai, Badami and Malguba to name a few.

The air is heavy with the wonderful fragrance of ripe mangoes, and people stop by to pick up bagfuls. Sellers cut of tiny slices of mango and let you sample them so you are assured that indeed the mangoes are sweet, not stringy and have the texture you desire. The mangoes are also incredably cheap. While a fancy supermarket chain could charge you as much as Rs 79 per kilo of mangoes that have been in cold store and probably ripened with chemicals, here you can pick and choose, weaving your way through a host of sellers, tasting along the way, and pick up the best tasting mangoes for a paltry Rs 35 a kilo. For Rs 100 I had a large bag of 3 kilos and not withstanding all that information about the calories gorged myself for a week.

The sellers come in from the neighboring villages and even from the neighboring areas of Srinivaspuram in Andhra Pradesh. If you ever go to Srinivaspuram you see a huge board which reads ‘Welcome to Srinivaspuram for the World’s Best Mangoes’, here are orchards and orchards of mangoes and for two months of the year, adults and children get together to first protect the ripening fruit from thieves and monkeys who can destroy large amount of fruit, and then head to cities where they can retail their fruit. For over a month these villages camp, just off the palace grounds, in the blistering sun, with little sanitation or housing facilities. It’s a hard life, and we folks who spend thousands of rupees at fairs and exhibitions on the other side of the high wall, think nothing of how these poor villagers sell some of the most awesome fruit at unbelievable low prices.

A week before Bakri Eid the place fills up again. Then, the monsoons in Bangalore are just over, these patches of land are knee high with weeds and suddenly, the Yadavs or goat herders of the surrounding villages of Bangalore descend upon the place. There are goats of all sizes and age, tied in groups to trees or posts dug into the round. The men with course leathery faces and their characteristic thick woolen blankets slung over the shoulders sit on their haunches waiting for buyers. The air is filled with the smell of goat and sheep. It’s an urban shed, about the only time the scent of animals is stronger than that of city life. You see groups of people arguing, haggling, circling the animals, who nonchalantly continue chewing on a few branches, waiting, for the slaughter.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: