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In the late 1980s, political scientist Joseph Nye Jr. coined the term soft power. He defined it as it as a country’s ability to influence others without resorting to coercive pressure. Over the years, the term has been used to connote a country brand’s ability to create a positive perception and make it attractive in many ways. According to Masterclass, soft power can influence in five areas: business & trade, culture, education, governance and global…

In my advertising career, I have not launched or grown an ad agency brand from scratch. So I am no expert in the domain of building an agency brand. But then, such details never stopped us observers (okay, armchair critics!) about commenting on any trend. In India, there have been ad agency brands which have positioned themselves as delivering growth for ‘home grown’ or Indian brands. The questions in my mind: are the needs of…

The business of marketing & advertising is about persuasion. Brands aim to persuade consumers to change perceptions, switch brands or change habits. The various teams which make it all happen, have to persuade colleagues, seniors and partners into buying their ideas and recommendations. Such persuasion can happen through the written word (an email or memo) or talking one’s way through at meetings, discussions or through a formal presentation. When I started off in advertising, formal…

Bournvita, is a malted health drink aimed at growing children. In India, mothers of such children have been its core target audience. ‘All round development’ has been the brand’s focus for decades. My earliest memory of the brand is its association with the popular ‘Bournvita Quiz Contest’ on the radio . In the recent past the brand has invested in the campaign idea ‘Tayyari Jeet Ki’ loosely translated as ‘preparation for success’ and created some…

Advertising funds much of the media business. Even back in the pre-digital era it was acknowledged that the cover price of news papers & magazines would be prohibitively expensive for the reader. In markets like India, major dailies and magazines have been incredibly affordable. When the television industry took off, both GEC and niche channels depended on advertiser monies for support. Since the rise of internet media brands, display ads have contributed to their sustenance.…

The CEO of Bombay Shaving Company got a lot of flak for his recent LinkedIn post where he advised youngsters to ‘give it their all’ during the early, formative years in work life. What triggered everybody was the use of the phrase ’18-hour work days’. While some came out in support, even his clarifications evoked a lot of negative feedback. There is no denying that hard work is a must at any stage of one’s…

It’s obvious that the internet, smart phone and the rise of social media have had a huge impact on news brands. Both print publications and television channels had to adapt to a new world and changing consumer preferences. The speed of news dissemination, ubiquity of the smartphone and some characteristics of social media platforms (two-way communication, making dishing out opinions easy and viral potential) have forced media brands to make changes to their service and…

A LinkedIn post triggered an interesting conversation on the role of social media for both legacy and (for lack of any other phrase), ‘new-age’ brands. As is obvious now, many brands – both in B2C and B2B, consider social media presence to be mandatory. The common reference in this context are brand activities on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. A brand maybe active in a few or all of the above platforms – depending on…

Recently I came across a post on LinkedIn which listed key ‘differences’ between branding and marketing. The post got a lot of comments (both positive and negative), was shared widely and debated. It’s another matter that there were several claimants to the authorship of that comparison (which was not pitting one against the other of course, just drawing a comparison. Anyway, I am digressing. Marketing terminology: leaving a lot to interpretation While there are many…

I recently came across a post on Twitter which shared a response from a digital agency to a comment (complaining about the agency’s ‘toxic’ work culture) posted by its ex-employee on Glassdoor. The official response from the agency justified late nights, working on weekends and even giving up on personal life as normal – almost an expected thing to do to survive and get ahead in the advertising business. I happened to go through a…