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Blogworks’ first brand video – helping create brands for the future.

Have gotten together our story, we’ve been working on our first brand video. Here is the final version.

Tell me what you think about this.

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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

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Facebook and India growth

Jeremy Wagstaff, Chief Technology Correspondent, Asia for Reuters, spoke with me briefly about Facebook’s India prospects (opportunities, obstacles and what they are doing in this market).

Here are some points that I shared with him:

People usage

  1. Facebook has seen aggressive growth and now stands at around 51 million users from India making it an important market from that perspective
  2. How Facebook moves forward to keep the users glued to the channel in terms of usage would be important. It will go on to become a utility as initial euphoria has/ will give way to day-to-day usage from connecting > sharing also giving way to buying (holidays, virtual goods and real goods) to paying taxes? and more
  3. I do not see Facebook go the Orkut way, for the simple reason that I have always maintained
    • Facebook is Facebook’s primary business, Orkut was not Google’s primary business
  4. How Facebook replicates the rich PC/ Tablet experience for the mobile user (without fancy handsets) would be important as mobile internet is seeing faster growth

Marketer and advertising

  1. Marketers who are spending more money on the channel are now also looking for ways to measure, and also what more can be done on Facebook
  2. Facebook’s own marketing team and efforts are fairly nascent in the India market, though they are reaching out their conferences and direct outreach to marketers
  3. Facebook might need to co-opt a larger network of partners, such as Blogworks and others, that have been working in the market to sell the medium, to expand it’s reach and value into the India market
  4. I believe that post IPO, the focus will shift to monetization and offerings like ‘Reach Generator’ will focus on large advertisers and organic reach for brand pages might come down. Hence a scenario might emerge where marketers at opposite ends of the spectrum might only be able to harvest the channel well – the very small businesses/ brands (lots of time, personal involvement, reach through engaging the personal networks); the large brands/ organisations (monetary spends on ads, apps, content and engagement). Medium sized businesses may not have the time, or the money, to really achieve massive success
  5. It would be interesting to see if this is the direction that Facebook eventually takes where organic reach will become more difficult and reliance on money spent will increase.

Here is  Reuter’s piece that has appeared in several publications today: Facebook can’t take Asia growth for granted

 

 

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Beautiful @blogworks handouts that we printed for #indiasocial12

I am a great fan of strategic design; design that is not just pleasing to look at, but serves a strategic purpose. We created these hand-outs for participants at IndiaSocial Summit 2012 and the response to these was fabulous. Sharing them here:

 

Social Business

 

Twitter trending

 

 

Blogworks Social Media Marketing Triads

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Blogworks in news for work with Ford Fiesta #FiestaHotWheels

Blogworks was in news in Afaqs for the recent #fiestahotwheels activity

Ford India brings real life experience on F1 track

The communication strategy, which revolves around the idea of ‘Real people, real experiences’, saw Ford India bringing the Fiesta experience on the Buddh International Circuit.

Based on the fundamental idea of ‘Real experiences’, the initiative provided first-hand experience of driving the Ford Fiesta Automatic and featured people who make an impact on society, including influential businessmen, photographers, bloggers, writers and fashion designers.

Speaking to afaqs! about the strategy, Nigel E Wark, executive director, sales and marketing, Ford India, says, “We realised that people in India prefer to drive a manual car rather than an automatic one, as they have a certain kind of understanding about an automatic vehicle. To prove that these beliefs are just myths, we decided to bring people and give them a first-hand experience at the F1 track, one of the best tracks to drive a car in the country.”

The campaign, conceptualised by Global Team Ford and Blogworks, was driven through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Till about 11 am on Saturday, March 3, the activity received approximately 1,600 tweets.

Read the story here.

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