Work From Home

work from home

I’m sure many of you may be working from home and although it may appear to reduce your travel time and hassle, it comes with its own setbacks. While a one-off ‘work from home’ may sound fun, an extended period may affect our schedules. Here are few tips – among the many that’s floating the web already.

1.      Start your day as normal: In some cases, it might be the half an hour to dress up and make it to office and for some it might be more than an hour to take care of family, cooking or driving/travelling. Whatever your routine, continue the same and replace the drive/travel time with maybe some exercise, reading or meditation. Freshen up and start at your desk feeling fresh.

2.      Design/Decor your workplace: I know its temporary, but each day is important. So, create the ambience you have at your desk back in office. Ensure the right posture for your seating arrangements, have enough water by your side, ensure the light and noise doesn’t disrupt work. For those similar to my case where the kitchen is nearby, ensure that your work-space aroma is not that of the food from the kitchen!

3.      Set alarms for break times: When we all work from home, we tend to take breaks at odd times – this however should not affect the person who must respond to multiple people aligning with their timings. Ensure that you step away from the screen during tea and lunch breaks, take time to prepare a coffee or lunch or have a brisk walk. Have stretch breaks every hour. Remember to hydrate

4.      Manage family time: It is very hard with children and pets around to set the expectation that you will be near and yet unavailable. While it is hard, children (and pets for that matter) are resilient and get more easily adapted to a new routine than they agree, or you can imagine. If they are old enough, set them up on their course work through the apps out there and give them enough intervals with least dependency on you. Key is to get them to understand that the routine is such that you are available only after the regular work hours. If your child is too young to manage, you can share the hours with your partner in managing the child.

5.      Eat healthy: It is very easy to hog on snacks as you try and manage your kid’s interruptions with treats. It is not only important for your health due to work from home but also to build your immunity to fight against any sort of flu. Eat only during the breaks/time you allow yourself. Avoid processed/sweet food. Cook a proper meal. Try and include some of the following in your food/snack daily – fresh fruit/fresh vegetables, pulses/legumes, almonds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek, coconut, rice flakes, ghee, pepper, ginger, jaggery.

6.      Communication: It is very important to continue that informal chitchat you have with your colleagues even while working remotely. There are many channels out there – from Microsoft teams to Gchat to watsapp groups. Check in with your friends, have video calls and voice calls – but keep the chatter and laughter going!

7.      End your day as normal: It is important to step up if there is an emergency or a last-minute task. It is also important that you log off as normal, go for a walk, freshen up before getting back to your family. Do not miss out on the sunshine on your skin (without getting anywhere near the crowd) 😊

Content Marketing – It is a service of the kings by the kings.

Content Marketing – It is a service of the kings by the kings.

Content has changed its form and shape over the years! Marketers across the world are in a constant tussle to create trends and be disruptive. ‘What’s next’ is always ‘the next’ question.

However, that question has led us to the answer that – it is not as much about the content anymore as much as it is about its promotion. Today, to be able to spread the word, we should be able to create content that connects. Content that would help you build a community.

The process had begun with broadcasting information, interactive communication and now it is the time of ‘influencer marketing’.

So, in today’s content world, if you want to stand out and be original, it is a combination of the rules we have always been hearing.

“Content is the king” “Consumer is the King”

Your task as a marketer is today is to get both of the kings to serve each other 😊

Took some time to digest that? Well it is the time of equal rights and roles in every relationship and so is it in the world of content. Your content should be engaging enough for your consumer to be taking it to other consumers in an engaging manner.

We have content in every format you can think of and we are in a time that gratefully allows the creation of world-class content at zero expense, if you have the eye for it. There is significant progress or evolution in each type of the content out there – be it a Design, Blog, Infographic, Video, Prezi or Podcast. And there is constant research on the very ‘types of content’ so, while that continues, our focus should be on the research on ‘promoting techniques’ of such content.

While the digital landscape has given the opportunity to innovate new and different forms of content by the day, the true benefits of having a social media possibility of connecting with the world can be attained only by knowing well to navigate through it.

In short, it is the time for Marketers to marry the old concepts with the new context.

1.     Context – Understand your audience. Study their presence, preference and platforms

2.     Content – Quality and Volume

3.     Community – Connect with your audience. Use stories that they can relate to, and get them to tell your story through their own narrative

The digital marketing maze is getting complicated by the day. Likes and shares are being called ‘vanity metrics’ Twitter is contemplating to do away with them to foster ‘unbiased’ conversations. What we are left with is the variety of content we create and the connections we are able to establish through it.

So, let’s enthrone those kings we were talking about and let’s get them serving each other! 

Nuances of Creating Marketing Dialogues – What/Where/Who to Serve

Nuances of Creating Marketing Dialogues - What/Where/Who to Serve

Nuances of Creating Marketing Dialogues

Marketing Communication or rather Marcom is the wing where you tend to place ‘Grammarly & Canva’ in one suit behind a desk. And true to their expectations, they deliver a ‘chutney’ of communications across all the most trending platforms in pots and plates of different sizes. The problem is, as customers, we probably need salsa for nachos, hummus for pita and chutney with a bit of spice for the Indian fluffy rice cake. No matter how fancy the crockery is, we are not going to consume the content of it unless it matches our taste.

Almost all marketers I know of, focus on platform-specific analytics. We show a lot of enthusiasm in catching up with the trends in the social platforms and manipulating the data of web visits, likes and interest. Talking of the leaps of technology is a cliché – nevertheless, even after GDPR, every single site seeks to understand the visitor’s data to deliver more in front of those eyes. How correctly are we using this analysis and how effective is it turning out to be?

Big brands, esp B2C, have made astounding records in adapting to the new platforms, and we have the stories still circulating in our social pages. What happens in a mid-size B2B company? I have observed one trend common in most of them – creating the same content and then distributing this to customers across all platforms in the required shapes and sizes! 😊 In other words, your Content Head is telling all your potential buyers that this is the only thing he/she has created and no matter where you come, you will be served the same. This is not the problem with your content head alone – your Digital Marketer has become the ‘Delivery Guy’ – merely delivering stuff to the audience and their feedback to the planners (if at all). 

What are the nuances that you could look into – to make your communication a real dialogue?

Multi-Faceted Interactive Agent – In the age of specialisation, you may have each of your customer interactive agents in different locations and time zones. This will only ensure that the engine of content creation and distribution keeps running with no proper direction. An analysis of 12 clicks on one page and delivery of the same page in 12 other platforms may get you ‘impressions’ but will not create any lasting impression. To master the art of piecing together of what works best where, you need your agents interacting with your customer at various touch points – to interact with each other! The one who creates the content must be well informed of what is trending and the one who posts the content must be creative enough to keep up with the trend. If one can’t be all – they should have the interaction that will empower the content with their combined skills.

Platform Specific Research – Taking care of Americanised spellings and British usages for the American and European markets have changed. Now, for your content, Digital Platforms are the world, and as you catered to geographies before, now you need to cater to the platforms. Be it in the US or in Europe, a member of the Twitterati would not want to read more than the 280 characters. He/she has migrated from wherever to Twitter for this convenience – so just because your website has a thousand words – unless it is what they are actively looking for, they are not going to engage. So instead of following the well-researched, strategic method of posting a headline, two hashtags and your web page link, interact with them in their language if you want to connect.

Haste Makes Waste – Leaping into what is trending without a proper study of the platform will dilute your strengths. Instagram has now caught the attention of marketers as a fresh platform. It is an excellent platform as it has these fantastic features of micro, visual and experimental content. But, unless you have the strategy in place to launch your visual story with an impression, it is better to wait. With all the perks it brings, it also comes with the problem that your images are forever there telling your story every time someone clicks on your ID. So if you do have potential customers in Instagram, mobile cam daily pics will fail to impress them where companies like Oracle or Adobe have crafted such beautiful visual journeys.

The website is not the haven of engagement – Don’t take me wrong. Having a site, driving traffic etc. are all important – but that is not the only way you can think of engaging your potential targets. This article is less than 1000 words, and you probably stopped to read because you could relate – and YET, you did not read through every word. We are talking about NDN replacing www, and you still think that your website is the one haven for all those who loiter around?

It all goes back to the same story in the beginning – if someone is walking up to you with a bag of nachos – you probably want to handover an appropriate dip. That is the trend we should adapt to – to be conscious, alert and empathetic of what the consumer truly wants. ( fact, we are in the age of creating the need…but that we will get into later)

Nuances of Creating Marketing Dialogues

Nuances of Creating Marketing Dialogues

My research involves ‘sentiment analysis’, and the more I read up on it, the more I realise that much of the communication and the analysis after that I had followed in the practical world was often a mechanical loop. Majority of the communication strategies go into how we craft our message and where we publish them. It is debatable, but our expenses also focus on these two aspects of communication. 

Everybody is excited about the platforms that are available to tell their brand story. Creativity is at its peak, technology is at its ever-evolving best, and digital platforms have opened immense possibilities to storytellers, and listeners like never.

We discuss the communication strategy, establish and adhere to standards we agree upon and publish. We publish the story we want to tell, in the standard language, leveraging the corporate colours and ethics we have chosen, in all possible platforms that are feasible for us. Then we measure the success of such broadcast by observing the ‘Digital Body Language’ (a term coined by Steve Woods, CTO at Nudge for digital actions like visiting a website, clicking a link, revisiting a page etc.)

How much of this process is ‘all about customers’? How much of it is an actual ‘dialogue’ with the customer?

Marketing has become throwing that wide net(work) in the only way we know and eagerly expecting a nice catch. It is indeed very much like fishing. The focus is continuously on for a big haul with minimal efforts. 

It is interesting to see the ideas evolve on two sides of the grass. As a marketing communication specialist, I invested all my energy in getting the message right, the language perfect and the aesthetics matching the established standards. As a consumer of that information from among the clutter of information spread out there, I can mostly tell which co they are from by the proportion of the colours and the usage of typefaces – allowing me a faster way to filter them off. 

I realised that in the name of ‘communication’ I was only ‘broadcasting’ information all this while. I would broadcast and count on the people who fell for it. I made an interesting analysis on ‘how many people viewed the ad’ almost daily at one point in time. I framed crisp, concise messages and succeeded in delivering it directly to people’s InMail’s. I built hopes on ‘thanks, will look into it’ messages. 

Now, when I type such lines as a response to a marketing message – it is my most friendly way of keeping that person from spamming my inbox at least for a few more days. 

In short, analysing my ‘Digital Body Language’ has not helped any Brand to get to me. I thought a person was owning an exciting business which he tried pitching to me – I politely declined twice – the third message from his business made me hit the DND button. Olivia O’Leary, in her speech at Trinity, said – ‘I once made the mistake of clicking on a purse I thought was lovely and purses of every kind have been haunting me ever since by following me everywhere I go on the internet.’ 

We all recite the slogan of communication – you need to understand and cater to your audience – ever so often. Unfortunately, we ‘understand’ our audience as ‘groups’ than ‘individuals who make the decisions’. Having worked in B2B marketing communication for almost a decade now, the thumb rule everywhere had been – your audience is ‘C-level’; your communication must be ‘top-notch’. 

But, just as a friend who reviewed the first version of this blog suggested – can we take it slow rather than jump the gun? If we are to have a checklist of what to look for in our communication – acknowledging the existence of customers as ‘humans’ – goes first. 

Before they are B2B or B2C, your communication goes B2H ‘Business to Humans’. When you are conscious of your message going to this one individual, it is going to take some backspaces and some new words. Rather than the mechanical outpour of good grammar and great picture, a line of personal touch is going to hit home. Did you know that “I’m loving it” is grammatically wrong? (technically, as it uses a static verb in a progressive tense 😊 I’m sure every single person in copywriting would have come across this) 

The consciousness of our customer’s – every customer’s sentiment goes first. While it is very cool to think out of the box and cater to youthful/trendy/catchy lines, you may want to watch out for the hidden hurt – This rule applies to any category of communicator you fall in. 

It may sound like – ‘Oh that – of course we will look into – are you kidding?’ sort of a message, but it is different and difficult when we sit and create ‘global’ message in one part of the world. I was in a fix when once for a campaign, our copy had #911 in it – it was our booth number, and this was to be put up in a hoarding in the U.S. You must think of the section of the society you will be talking to – whether they are, or they aren’t your direct customer.

Back in 2008, when Fastrack started their ‘controversial content’ marketing technique, I was shocked as to how an ad could drive me away! I just felt that while the ‘move on’ trend they portrayed maybe cool, the Indian market had not matured for it – just not yet (what I felt in 2008). It was targeted to people in the age group of 20-28, and I was one among their target audience and one who had 3-4 of their products in my wardrobe then. I said goodbye – they probably did not hear or even care. I saw them make it to the headlines with another ‘controversy’ ad which got banned in India in 2011 and just out of curiosity when I asked around in my circle – many of them had ‘moved on’ from Fastrack. 

When we hear ‘sentiment analysis’ almost everywhere and when we now have so many tools to do ‘social media sentiment analysis’ – the first step we need to take is to acknowledge. Acknowledge the people we are talking to, acknowledge that they are ‘people’ first – C-level, Executive level or just geographies or metrics, much later.