Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Face Booking

I have been recently reading a lot about facebook- especially as an online marketing tool. Well to make a marketing campaign successful, it needs to be targeted in the right target groups. Now that’s simple on facebook right- you have all the information you want from profiles.

It was not until my friend Gaurav Batla and I that we discussed insights into profiles on facebooks to take it serious. What’s below is a combine of what two eccentrics can churn out. Of course, Batla is okay if anyone wants to tag people with the archetypes defined and get us a PhD.

Mush Maniacs: Girls (sometimes guys too) who would put keep putting those 101 love quotes from the Internet mostly depressing. Point to note, relationship status: Single

I am glad you are there. You are the best thing happened to me…

Typically they will tell the whole world who their boyfriend/girlfriend is through all those, Mmmmmuah mmmmmuah, Awwws, Love u babyyyyys floating all through the wall.(Please Notice the Extra Alphabets in almost every word).

I am so glad I got a girlfriend (somehow managed): Another variant of the Mush Maniacs but with the couple profile pics.

These people will have 20 albums posing with girlfriend in Malls, Cars, Markets, Amusement parks, eating candy floss. (LSD style has not yet caught up here)

The profile pic will typically be a close up self clicked shot with camera phone held high showing the biggest achievement of his life being held from behind: has to- what if she runs away???

Note worthy- I used to think the “our song” concept was only a gimmick on Sitcoms. Nay, these people live on that stuff….

“Kaise batayein kyun tujhko chahe…” …. “Wow I was singing the same….”… “I love Atif’s voice...”… “Oh I was humming Kailash Kher…”

Desperate Dickheads: This usually are Guys who have never been able to lay their hand (both literally and figuratively) on a Gal and will keep copying Double Meaning Quotes from Internet to attract some attention (in any form good or bad) so that at least somebody notices.

Note worthy: 'I Hate Love' updates. ‘Love is for losers. I am better off being single. No Time for Love.’
Typical Fan Pages : Proud to be Single types.

I, Me, Myself: Typically this type of people are the one’s who took facebook to be a cousin of picasa or flicker. They will have more than 1000 photographs in 20 + albums whose titles are generally on the lines of Random Stuff, Just another Day Shopping, Me and My Friends, Cafe Coffee Day.

Typical trait: More than 100 profile pictures and 90 of them will be self clicked with a camera phone; occasionally with another friend in the frame.

Everyone else is a loser: Slightly different from the 'I-Me-Myself' type. They are more like Rebels without a cause; Objection My lord; I know it all dude…

Typically they will never 'like' any update but always try to find flaws in whatever is written. Try this- next day you post a diametrically opposite update, and I bet that person will find some counter argument there too.

More often than not, they will never post something themselves but will just comment on every single update from others'.

Super Stalkers: This is one true wonder category. They will not have a single status update in the past 3 years. No games, No activity, Do Nothing at all and the best- They will not even have a profile picture.

Generally they are single and not go out on a weekend. Their pleasure tour….log on early morning and will only browse through your updates (or pictures if you are a girl).

These people will know exactly what is going on in your life. They might not know which company you are working for but they will surely know how many girlfriends you have had in the past 3 years or anything you bought in the last one month or even what you did last summer…

Application Specialists: NO... Absolutely NO updates- apart from games and other facebook applications. Farmville, Mafia Wars, Café World is their ecosystem. Fortune cookies, daily horoscopes, stupid quizzes on their friends, daily dates and crushes are their daily routine.

Very rare that they will comment on anybody's status or what’s happening around. They will have only two albums in the profile. One called Profile pictures; rest will be pictures coming through applications.

Typical Profile will have a stiff competition between Friends list and Application list. Most friends will also be the one’s who gift sheep, send a hit man, share secret recipe etc.

Sports Freaks: The Status Messages are filled with the latest score updates: from EPL to IPL. F1 to International Kabaddi World Cup. The word 'God' appears almost every fortnight.

These docile people will appear more aggressive than some Somali Warlord when on facebook. Frequently Used Words : Hail, Kick Ass, Woo Hooo, F*ck you , God, Dada Rocks

The 'TGIF' kinds: Typically they will only update two times a week. One on friday evening saying 'Yiiipppppie the weekend is here' and then sunday Evening saying 'Damn.. Why does the weekend run away so quickly'.

Considering most of them do nothing besides sleeping and watching TV over the weekend, they somehow are as excited as a child in a toy shop on Friday.

Oh yes…. Sometimes, there could be a Saturday update saying 'Bored to Death'

My life is an Open Facebook: Not every autobiography is worth a read- But this type is the kind which feels facebook status is a megaphone on which they need to shout about everything they are doing as others survive on that fodder. Prime objective is to grab attention

Occasionally, they like to broadcast personal messages to one person or look for community sympathy- basically do everything in their power to grab attention

Typical status: Having dinner, sleeping, bored, And you please don’t call me, I am upset, Nobody loves me 

Most often, you will find some nosey people do asking what was for dinner or who is upset for what…

This has become just too big for a blog I guess...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Cell Theory

I actually hate to start writing anything about consumer electronics, my opening lines sounds very much like some story going ‘In our times….’ It makes me feel like a Paleolithic specimen on his way to the museum of natural history.

But I guess the rate, at which electronic products and consumers for them are evolving; it does seem like too much has happened already. The telly had a belly like tube, which got flat, became a size zero with plasma and TFT and now works on LEDS. Radio forgot what Short Wave is. Letter Writing is now a literary art form as just about everything today is SMS Lingo (Save Money by Slang)

If there every is a Demand curve plotted for all consumer electronics, I am confident what will be the steepest category. Cell Phones!!! There will be no other product in India which has the level of desire, acceptability and affordability like a Cell Phone. As a vertical open to access for all, cell phones in India are only 15 years old. (Deregulated outside Government Agencies only in 1995) and till February 2010, there were 564 million cell phone connections in India- that’s almost half of our population.

If first impressions are anything to go with, it was a luxury item that cost Rs.17 even if I would have accepted an incoming call- today it has come down to 1 paise /second. But that is what we would say in management terms is the operational expense; what about the capital expenditure. I feel this is the place where the game has changed majorly.

Recently I came across an article in Business Standard which said the handset market is worth Rs 50,000 crore in India. Wow!!! 5 followed by eleven 0’s…. that’s sleek. What’s more, the number of handset providers has gone up from 5 in April 2008 to 30 till March 2010, one new manufacturer has come in to the market every single month. What’s more, The Union Budget 2010 has relaxed the burden on Indian manufacturers- so more could just be around the corner.

Now I can understand, there are going to be names we have not even seen or heard of much. Lava, Benq I have so far only seen on outdoor hoardings. Karboon, Maxx, INQ, Spice, Micromax have moved into the mind space only after their mega sponsorship stints. But that has been just the tip of the ice berg. I really am not sure if anyone has even heard of Oilve and Airfone.

We are seeing the entry of big shots like Videocon, Onida, Acer and Asus: all with strong backgrounds in other electronics come into cell phones. But how about Luminous - a power and energy storage company - into the mobile handset market; coz that’s what has happened as well. All these new home grown entrants are giving tough competition to well entrenched players - Nokia, Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson - in terms of price, features, models and services.

In fact the biggest loser has been Motorola; no new model since 2008. I can’t even recall its last ad- MotoRocker was it???

As I said earlier, it is desire, acceptability and affordability that are driving demand today. We always say that innovators have the advantage of being first. But there is a flip side- others can learn from you and your mistakes take advantage of them and make hay in the market which the innovator has spent years to build.

Desires have changed over the years. It is not limited to communication any more. My Dad’s first cell was a Nokia 2210. It was like a bulky and robust brick. My first handset a Sony Ericsson T100 doesn’t even excite my 3 year old nephew as a toy thanks to its’ mono-colour screen and ringers which sound like- well a cell phone ring…To be completely honest, no buyer from any part of India will be happy today with just a phone to talk.

Desires are driven by your level in the pyramid. Not even a first time user will like a phone which does not have a coloured screen, FM Radio/MP3 playback and funky ring tones. If you are not a first time user, a camera, GPRS capability, Bluetooth and expandable memory become basic. Collegians are now driven by the widgets and applications, young professionals want a QWERTY keypad and Managers want to have cell phones that can become an option to a computer.

Manufacturers have recognized this trend; one reason why these new entrants always talk of the pain points of previous users. Just run a check on how many high end models Videocon has on the platter as a new entrant.

Cell phones have today been accepted as a need and no longer a luxury- of course, I still believe a VIRTU at Rs. 5.5 lacs is one. In many ways, it has replaced the concept of a landline at home. As for affordability, you can get a decently loaded cell phone for Rs 999.

So after all this fact findings, the usual question I love to ask- where next??? Cell phones have affected sales of wrist watches, alarm clocks, calculators, calendars, flash lights, cameras, and portable music players. They have killed the digital diary and business organizer.

Considering we still finding new uses for this small screen each day I feel the next victim is either amongst the TV or the Computer, That’s my Cell Theory….