Archive | Marketing RSS feed for this section

An open letter to Mark Zuckerberg

Dear Mark,

First of all, many congratulations to you and your colleagues at Facebook  for touching the milestone of 1 billion + members, which only few will ever get to, and yet is only the start of a new journey for all of you.

I saw the ‘Things that connect us’ video, which starts by comparing inanimate objects with Facebook (chairs, air planes and bridges that allow people to get together) and then proceeds to talk about basketball, a great nation, the universe. Carefully chosen imagery, meant to touch emotional cords. Well researched, I am sure – but it never seemed more legitimate.

Facebook has indeed brought the world together. It’s the only place where my family, friends, colleagues, people from my past, and from the present, all happily co-exist. It lets me touch them and lets them touch me.

I have seen it bridge relationships (I am sure the reverse is also true), helped many of us understand why people are who and what they are – and what makes them unique.

When I read Facebook’s mission ‘to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected’, I think sometimes we tend to misread ‘open’ and ‘sharing’ with ‘sharing everything with everyone’. When I read it, I think of how can Facebook make us (,and is making us) open up to new cultures,  make us more tolerant to opinion, and to dissent – when you know people and their motivations better, you might be more tuned to understanding their viewpoint.

I think this is happening because when it comes to people-to-people interactions, Facebook allows for an intimate understanding of each other.

However, as a marketer, and someone who has used Facebook as a channel for brand marketing, I think what Facebook is doing so well for people-to-people – enabling them to gain an intimate understanding of each other; Facebook could do more for enabling a more intimate relationship between brands and their customers and stakeholders.

While Facebook allows for scaling up the engagement, deepening that relationship with one person, or with a smaller group is not that well enabled in the current ‘Page’ structure – of course conversations can be taken into the inbox (or offline) or into a ‘Group’ (which is however not currently linked with the same group of fans, as it is for an individual allowing me to create groups for my ‘friends’, as well as others).

The promise of ‘ intimate conversations’ has somewhere taken a back-seat, with the focus on ‘scale’ by most marketers, and perhaps, by channels like Facebook. While scale is critical for most large brands, the danger is that the social medium, and Facebook, run the risk of becoming like mass-media – overwhelming amount of marketing messages in which some content is sandwiched- that the audience were running away from. ‘Fans’ have ended up being a ‘mass’ rather than an individual or a group of ‘individuals’ that a brand could understand, and connect with deeply.

Many of us marketers, mature brands managers and owners are looking at connecting and engaging with stakeholders in richer interactions.  Allow and enable rich conversations – not only paid ;) – that deliver a better understanding of ‘individual’ and ‘groups’ of customers, users. These insights will make us value Facebook differently from other mediums.

I am sure that the danger of marketers seeing Facebook as ‘another place that advertising can be delivered from’ is not lost on you and your colleagues, particularly after the recent news impact of General Motors announcement  stopping their use of Facebook ads.

Facebook has to stand for something else.

Have a good year.

Rajesh Lalwani

Twitter Facebook Email

Entering the 6th year today is @blogworks: scaling it up.

Blogworks completes 5 years today! :)

It has been an intense year – moving to the next orbit requires perseverance, will, and far greater energy. We have as a team shown that we have the will and the skills.

Year 5

This is the year that we became a ‘business and an organisation’.

We started the year with a clear focus on creating a strong business, focusing on clients with mature needs and a long-term commitment to conversations. Thankfully, we found that the the market is set for such an offering and we have been working with a wonderful bunch of clients – brands for the future. More seem to have heard of our work and have been approaching us with business.

We invested into building a strong Insights team this year; focused on building strengths on the technology side, clearly an integral need for scaled programmes.

While the core of our offering “Enabling brands and organisations to engage stakeholders in conversations” is untouched for 5 years, it is now a far more robust and detailed offering which helps our clients achieve scale, integration and measureme results – an offering that’s deep, as it is wide.

On one side we reinvented our visual identity highlighting a stronger brand, on the other we invested into with our document and content management system, ERM system, and going up soon, our CRM system.

A bigger, diverse, team; a larger client portfolio; a deeper offering has meant collaboration between  teams and practices within to deliver great results. People comment that we have built a strong culture and it shows both in the working and in client delivery.

It’s been a good year.

Year 6

Clearly the year ahead is about

  1. Scaling it up: in terms of revenues, people and locations (we already have clients in all 4 metros)
  2. Technology and design: integral to high value, high impact
  3. Learning and thought leadership: as always, skills have to stay ahead of the client needs and the market
  4. Alliances: we have been approached in the past, and those opportunities are to be evaluated
  5. Fun: ‘enjoy’ is our internal motto and we remain committed to that foremost :)

My colleague Swetha worked on this ‘perfect’ video capturing some thoughts from the team on what makes us Blogworks. Thank you team. Let’s make more magic in the 6th ;)

Thank you all out there for your blessings and support – without you, your support, and love, we wouldn’t be here. Grateful :)

Twitter Facebook Email

The making of a Movement! You will enjoy this TED video, and the learnings.

If making Movements is your kind of thing, then you might enjoy this TED talk which my colleague Mansi shared with me . The scale of a real Movement maybe much bigger; the effort, time, money required much larger, but the principles are valid. 1. Have the guts Stand out Be prepared to get ridiculed... Read more »
Twitter Facebook Email

My fun presentation at Pune

I was invited by ISB&M, a marketing and communication school, to speak with the incoming batch at their Pune campus. I decided to weave a story around some of my past tweets and use them as prompts for my talk. Sharing the presentation with you…enjoy, don’t take things too seriously; and if you do decide... Read more »
Twitter Facebook Email

Credibility is an outcome, of authenticity.

Earlier this week my peer Jessie Paul and I got into an interesting debate on our panel ‘Going Social: the new reputation management mantra’ that I was moderating, at the India PR & Corporate Communications Conference 2011. Making a point Jessie said something about  ‘People (online) who are high on credibility but low on authenticity’,... Read more »
Twitter Facebook Email