Weekly roundup (22-26 Feb 2010)

1. Google real-time search adds status updates from Facebook Pages

It’s the first time the search giant has indexed content from the world’s largest social network in its real-time results.

The key thing to remember, however, is that Google has much more limited access to Facebook’s real-time data than its competitor, Bing. Microsoft has deeper ties to the social network, as an investor in Facebook and as a search provider for the site.

Microsoft has the ability to index public status updates, while Google’s access is limited to updates from Pages, which are vehicles for marketing rather than personal content.

Source: http://digital.venturebeat.com/2010/02/24/google-real-time-search-facebook-pages/

2. Jivisha.com – Doctors Get Own Social Networking Space

My opinion: I don’t see this model to be successful soon in India. There are many “yellow” pages that have profile of doctors.

Few questions:

  1. Would I go to a doctor reading about him/her on social networking page?
  2. How feasible is it for doctors to continue answering to queries by patients – for free
  3. How much time would busy/well trained and popular doctors spend on this?
  4. In presence of sites like NDTVdoctor that have specialized advisory panel of doctors, how credible would this site sound.

 Having said that, I tried this new feature that I have not seen on other sites – Search by Symptom. It is basically a doctor(specialist) search depending on symptom that you choose from an interactive application. Something that could be a selling point!

 3. Government finally gives approval to the 3G auction

 It is widely being speculated that in most circles three slots would be on sale while a few areas may have enough air waves to accommodate four players. However, Delhi area can have only two slots – thanks to extreme spectrum saturation.

Source: http://mobile.engadget.com/2010/02/24/india-picks-april-9-for-long-overdue-3g-auction/

 4.  Sports fever goes online!

–          Comscore Media metrics has announced statistics for sports websites in India which has seen a huge jump in visitors and time spent in January 2010.


–          After scoring 200 runs in an ODI innings against South Africa, Sachin became a twitter master too owning 3 out of the top 10 trending spots on twitter.  Most trended keyword was #sachinisgod – for almost 4 hours all through South Africa’s second innings.

–          Another good news is that youtube has bagged a 2 year exclusive deal with the IPL for streaming matches live. They have also roped in a sponsor for online series.

Source:  http://www.watblog.com, Comscore

5. DOCOMO – did the new! 

By giving away completely free access to Major social Networks like – Facebook, Twitter, Orkut & LinkedIn through its Buddynet Plan. The plan will also offer free usage of Nimbuzz chatting app on its network by Buddynet subscribers.

Source:  http://www.watblog.com

6. Maharashtra Police Launches ePortal http://gms.maharashtra.gov.in/CMS/


Social Media for Business..?

Why not? What is it that drives business?


1.  Good Product?  Naah! All have it! In such competitive market, bad products don’t survive and die soon..

2.  Innovative solutions? Did you say you introduced something new? Wait for a day till I improvise on your innovations and go big bang with it!

3.  Good service? Though it can be a differentiator, but only after a deal has been closed.. maybe not a key driver to close the deal as all claim to provide best service.

So then what? It’s “Relationship” that drives decisions.

 What is it that you desire from your prospects? 

– To be transaction oriented?
– take impulsive decision and hence choose you?


– To be loyal to you
– To be passionate about your brand!

 The answer needs no guess work… hence, focus social media plan to develop relationships and not run one off campaign/viral for short term publicity.

 Some brands who have been successful at this : 

1. Sunsilk

a.       Social networking community: Sunsilk Gang Of Girls
      Channel on Youtube and wiki

2.  Absolut Vodka*

a. Online video:  ABSOLUTworld
b. Social networks:  Top Bartender page on Facebook.

3. Ford*:

a.       Blogging: Sponsored a test drive event for women bloggers
      Microblogging: Twitter account for North America.
       Social networks: Ford Drives U Facebook group for student buyers.
      Wiki:  Where are the Joneses?
       WOM campaign:  Hurra Torpedo campaign

4.  Motorola*.

a.   Wikis: MOTO Q Wiki with how-tos on using the phone.

5. Pfizer. 

a. Widgets:  Frame-Your-Horse widget on Yahoo.  

* source: http://www.beingpeterkim.com/2008/09/ive-been-thinki.html


Hence, Key rules

1.   Develop relationships

2.   pass on the power to users – don’t hold back and use social media as PR broadcasting channel

3.   learn to lissen and answer – without aggression and temper

4.   respect comments and criticism

5.   most important – start small. Dream big but take one step at a time and let the community/users own up the channel.

Be very clear of what your audience wants before working on social media strategy


Carving a return path for consumers

A marketer’s dream is to get the consumer interaction. And am sure all try hard and give it what it takes to get in touch with the Right Prospect. Still, even after one manages to get in touch once, how often do we really feel satisfied with that one contact?  

Many a times what we miss is to give them a return path. A way to not just get in touch with us, get read, heard and understood but even mapped. So that next time on, it’s not only an informed conversation, but a 2-way communication of benefit to both. This is not just the responsibility of those companies that are B2B, but even B2C. 

Many B2B and high-ticket B2C companies invest heavily in CRM and Customer loyalty programs, but smaller companies lack not just the infrastructure, but also at times the desire to do the same. 

As each contact point, each communication across various channels/mediums add to the customer experience, this can be enhanced, monitored and even monetized if attention is given to processes and details.

Leadership Brands

How is it that some brands arrive and others remain followers despite marketing and branding efforts? Is it because they have been early entrants or they really have something that differentiates them from others?

Interestingly, most brand that have strong ‘leadership” traits have mastered “outside – in approach”, which means apart from getting the Brand Image right, they have groomed company talent to internalize externally projected high expectations.Leadership brands have a reputation of possessing exceptional managers with skill set to fulfill customers and stakeholders’ expectations.

For instance Infosys Technologies Ltd. When one interacts with the company, they expect the managers to bring latest technologies to suits best business advantage to the client. Or when one interacts with Accenture, they expect the excellence at all levels.

Leadership gets embedded in the company culture and internally is seen as top-down and externally is seen as bottom-up!

Is Web2.0 an online phenomenon?

Reiterating what I said in one of my previous posts – web2.0 is a socially driven phenomenon, facilitated by technology

So is internet necessary for web2.0? Not Really! Web2.0 is not online-dependent.

An interesting parallel is that of mashups. The benefit they offered to users was an integrated experience of viewing things/contents from different sources on the same page – without having to go to multiple sites.

Extending the same idea to offline – read an interesting article on Bnet Yum Brands, the global fast-food restaurant operator. Interestingly they adopted the similar concept in 1995. Yum began with multibranded units — restaurants that offer two different fast food brands under the one roof.

Such Mashup restaurants/Co-located restaurants offer customers more food choices, which is especially convenient for families.

The core concepts of web2.0, namely, collaboration, syndication (distribution), mashup/aggregation (mix n match) and personalization can be adopted by offline business to give them a winning edge!

Community buzz: On a self-congratulatory path

Taking the thread from my previous post, though I liked what Toyota did, since it came across as a successful campaign and gave freedom of expression to bloggers.

Unlike Edelman Public Relations, who has been caught twice in unethical and fake Wal-Mart blog (flog) scandals and has been accused of bribing bloggers to write favorable reviews of Microsoft’s new Vista operating system.

Though such moves do give an initial push and glorified PR, this definitely does not help in paradigm shift to customer involvement. What is needed are not “self glorified” comments and posts, rather a way to reach-out to the consumers and “Listen”, “respond” and “improve” to ensure you give what they want.

A good example of responding to customers is of Dell Blog – direct2dell.com, though they too took a long time to respond to criticisms and Bloggers. “No comment” is no answer for corporations that have a responsibility to shareholders, clients and consumers.

Even when Jeff Jarvis started blogging about being in “Dell Hell” because of problems with a Dell laptop, the company did not take any action. Eventually, when mainstream media and Wall Street took note of Dell’s problems, which led to financial losses, Dell finally agreed to address customer service issues.

Decentralize Corporate Blog

With more and more corporate resorting to Official Blogs, its time to wear thinking hats and plan before taking a plunge in these Web2.0 technologies. Blogs, wikis, and other collaborative technologies need a robust launch and execution plan. These require Investment and commitment.

So do we need a Corporate Blog which is (a) completely moderated (b) promotional (c) monologue of thought leadership?

And the obvious answer is “No”!

We live in an age where Knowledge defines the company and the employees. Collective intelligence and content collaboration act as Decision Support Systems and thus, the control or console need to be decentralized.

According to a recent Harris Interactive poll of Fortune 1000 executives:

  • 77% say they should have corporate policies that address company-sanctioned blogs.
  • 40% say they should have corporate policies regarding blogs unrelated to the company or its activities.
  • 15% say someone in the company is currently writing a blog.
  • 12% say they have taken legal action in response to a blog.

Blogs can act as a tool to enhance the organization’s competitive advantage rather than a marcom device that is fully managed and controlled. Many companies have a policy of “internal” or “insider” blogs.

Most of these blogs are published by employees and are insightful and reflect the feelings of range of employees. Allow these to be Public Blogs.

Give the employees control to write and publish under company umbrella blog. These would help humanize the firm more efficiently and more effectively than public relations practitioners can do officially.

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