Are you asking the right questions??

OK, this has happened with me many a times. I’d spend so much energy and time scheduling meetings with clients, preparing the presentation, confirmation emails to and fro and of course navigating to the office location. But all of this is a prep work for the final few minutes (depending how much you have been granted) that you get with the client. Once you are through the usual greetings, one liner puns to ease the tempers (for being late in my case :-/) and exchange of business cards….the time starts ticking for you to make some sense before its time to wrap up. Now you know how important this topic is??…and realize how easily you can turn a crucial meeting into a futile exercise if you DO NOT ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS!

I am going to write about some of my meetings with clients and how to I prepared to ace it. As a marketing professional I meet clients who are looking for marketing and branding solutions, and that’s what I am going to talk about here. Believe me…its the worst feeling coming back from a meeting and saying this↓↓↓ to yourself 😀

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Scenario I:   Introduction Meeting

There are times when the agenda of the meeting says “get to know”. do not fall for the trap and take it as a typical networking meeting where you exchange cards and check out the other person’s clothing (#judgemenot). If the client wants to “get to know ” you there is always some scope of work which s/he does not want to disclose straight away. And so it becomes your onus to get that scope of work out of them during the meeting. Think of it as an interrogation only set up in a corporate environment and no gansta talk 😛

So here are 5 questions that you MUST ask when meeting your client/prospects for the first time.

#1 About the organization

well i know the name says abc motors or xyz construction…so its pretty obvious. But do not shy away from asking the client about their company because then you know what and how they describe their business. believe me they always gives away a lot of additional information that you will not find in their ‘about us’ section of the website…like what are their business priorities, expansion plans, subsidiaries and so on.

Also, read between the lines when they say we are planning to set up a team, acquire some business or maybe shut some part of the business. That is where either you are required or you can pitch for your services.

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#2 How did you come to know about our company?

The benefits of asking this question is twofold…here’s how. My company’s marketing investment is focused on Google SEO and Adwords. So if we get to know that companies are reaching out to us after they see our ads or spot us in the top rankings of Google search, we know its money well spent. If companies are hearing about you from other industry players…then you must be doing your job right!

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#3 How can we help you?

Its simple and straight forward. Up until this time in the meeting the two parties have “known” each other quite well so let’s stop the dilly dally and talk business. Of course before you ask this question introduce your company and all the services that you provide. So that the client/prospect is not wondering if you are the right person to ask for help. It is always better to have a company presentation, brochure or profile so that the client gets to see your work.

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#4  Do you want to know more?

It is like breadcrumbs you leave behind to let the conversation flowing. Yes the client needs something that you can provide as a one time job. But if you see more scope of business where you can definitely impress the client, here is you chance. Talk about how you can send them some more information via email of schedule another round of meeting to discuss in detail. The client’s response will also tell you about his interest level in doing business with you. So think of it as a litmus test of your performance so far.

Also if the client is interested and wants to see what you have in store, take a note of all that you gotta share and please do not forget to share the same!

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#5  What next?

This very question prompted me to write this post. Only that I asked this question to myself  on my way back from the meeting…What am I supposed to do next? You know the meeting went well, there is scope and it would be great if you could do business with them…but what do i do immediately after this meeting so that all of the possibilities become come true!

It is no good asking yourself this question…it is rather too late. Confirm the next set of actions before you sign off. Be on the same page and make a note of what key information/communication has to be exchanged between the two parties. You will be surprised as to how much a even a short meeting can lead to.  It is also a good practice to share minutes of the meeting (MOM) to have a record of the points discussed and it can accompany the ‘thank you/pleasure to meet you’ email.

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I hope this helps your next meeting 🙂 and don’t fall asleep during one 😉

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What Brand is Your Color? Color Psychology & Brand Personality

Brand is an articulation of any business for the consumers to understand and relate. In the back stage, companies are complex business strategies, functional processes, evaluated inputs and measured outputs, which if presented on stage as is, might be too much for consumers to grasp. Branding is a casket of prepping exercises like direction, content, props, presentation and emotion that makes the back stage chaos meaningful and enjoyable for the audience (read consumers). This analogy also fits well in explaining the importance of the visual appeal of a brand that one is putting out there for the consumers. Since color is among the fundamental visual stimuli for humans, its involvement in formulating a successful brand image remains imperative.
Color psychology is the study of different hues as a determinant of human behavior (source: Wikipedia). Based on studies and research, it is quite evident that different colors evoke different emotions in human beings. In 2015, internet was stirred by the picture of a dress which had the online world divided over whether it was blue/black or white/gold, remember? While the argument was put to rest when it was revealed that the dress was in fact blue/black in color, it opened a new realm of discussions on how colors, like brands, can be perceived differently by individuals. But it was long before this online phenomenon that companies focused on color psychology while creating their brand image for the consumers.
One of the most exciting brand exercises for marketers is to define a brand’s personality. As per a study by Stanford professor Jenifer Aaker, there are five different core personality dimensions that we can associate with a brand, these are: Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophisticated and Ruggedness. Each of these personality traits are a character sketch comprising of traits and emotions. For example, a brand with a sincere brand personality must evoke a feeling of honesty, expertise and clarity in their consumers using all or most of its brand entities. This being one piece of the puzzle, every color in turn is related to a representation of some of these traits and emotions in the human mind. Thus, connecting the two pieces of brand personality and color psychology one can bridge their way to the consumers’ psyche and mold a
brand identity.
Ever wondered what MC Donald’s, KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Wendy’s and Domino’s Pizza have in common apart from being the top fast food brands across the world? It’s the color RED in their logos.

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Studies show that color red is associated with feelings like excitement and energy in humans. Red color can increase your heart rate causing fast combustion and thereby stimulating hunger. Now, one may argue the actual impact of the color red in these logos in making one hungry but it surely doesn’t seem like a coincidence either. The color green for example is most soothing to the human eyes as our eyes are most sensitive to that color spectrum. Naturally it triggers the sense of freshness, cure, health and natural in our minds. So, if you are the best landscaping company in the town, OR the retailer of freshest produce, an obvious choice of logo color for you is green. Whatever the approach, color is a defining element of your brand and that is because there is a brand in every color!

This post was featured as an article by Jaipuria Institute of Management in the 8th Edition of the annual advertorial Jaipuria Times:

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MARKETING STRATEGY 101: UNDERSTANDING THE BUYING PROCESS. — Elle voyage

Marketing is the cornerstone of every single business. For any business to prosper, business owners and marketers need to find a way to outwit their competitors. Having said that, half of the process involves understanding the psychology behind the buying process.

via MARKETING STRATEGY 101: UNDERSTANDING THE BUYING PROCESS. — Elle voyage

Types of Influencer Marketing Campaigns — Greenroom Buzz

Why Influencer Marketing? The boom of influencer marketing has been a constant for the past couple of years. It has been forecast that the industry will reach a $5 billion mark by 2020. The concept itself has been peeking through holes over decades in form of celebrity endorsements. The invent and the ascent of social […]

via Types of Influencer Marketing Campaigns — Greenroom Buzz

FOMO is for real! #5 Ways To Use FOMO in Marketing

You want to know my FOMO moment?

When i first heard it!

That’s right…sometime last year this funny sounding acronym was dropped in between a conversation  by a friend along with a facial expression that read “i’m judging you if you don’t know it already”. Under the desk my fingers quickly tippy-typed what i think i had heard…fommo, f.o.m.o, fomo? and there it was…

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Oh! you mean the brief anxiety that i just experienced for missing out a trending word that made me feel like a dinosaur…a species long extinct from the face of earth?! True.

P.S : with all this running in my mind, i barely heard another word my friend said after that. so i’ll tag this one as a #confession 😉

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FOMO is for real! For most of us this fear is triggered by social media posts, tags and notifications that don’t include us. The thought of missing out on the plenitude that is happening out there, the fun, entertainment, experience, selfies and gossips that is now second hand information on someone else’s timeline…is atrocious. But good news, FOMO can actually act as a bait for marketing your brand or product especially if your target group is the millennials. There’s no doubting the fact that psychology plays a big role in making successful campaigns and FOMO is one such psychological strategies that companies adapt in their social media campaigns to make their products/offerings irresistible.

Here are 5 ways to use FOMO in Marketing:

#1 Promote Experience NOT Product 

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This time of the year Halloween is everywhere right from coffee flavor to home decor. Riding the experience of this scary night to promote discounts on costume is marketing done right. This ad by Shein is promoting the scariness of the costumes along with the savings that you will make shopping with them. People fear missing the experience that comes along with buying the product or service and therefore luring them through a promising experience is the key to receiving their positive response.

#2 Sense of Urgency 

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Creating a sense of urgency, as shown in the examples above, is not new is marketing. in fact it is a hackneyed tactic because it works! enticing the consumers by highlighting that a product they like might be running out soon, or is available at a special price just this day or even hour kindles their FOMO for obvious reasons. Attaching a limited period timeline makes the consumers give in to this fear and act faster in making the purchase.

#3 Play the Exclusivity Card 

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Exclusive offerings are a concoction of gestures solely meant to make your selective customers feel special. And if you’ve got it you certainly do not want to miss it! making exclusive offerings that draws a line between mundane and privileged evokes the same fear of missing out (FOMO) the bounty in store that only selected few can have access to.  It adds an aspirational edge to it and makes your target audience act instantly. companies use this tactic to create loyalty groups, memberships cards and clubs for consumers to engage into more than just buying.

#4 Plant the Thought of FOMO

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Not all brands are relevant to consumers’ FOMO in an obvious manner. Tuborg in their ad above are associating their product to an outcome of socializing (an experience) that has the missing out factor to it. Well a beer bottle can be very well enjoyed indoor in solitude while eating take out food and does not necessarily need a pub environment to get the desired outcome. But you see consumers will not fear missing staying home alone with your product and they might not know it as well. Hence, associating your brand to an experience and planting the FOMO in the consumers’ mind is another way to do it right.

#5 Notification Knocking

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 Unless you are Apple, you’ll need more than one announcement to create the FOMO you are looking for. Email marketing and push notifications are the best way to constantly remind the consumers on what is happening. Making other consumers share their experience on social media also acts as the stimulus for the remaining to join the bandwagon. A well articulated sales report, page visits, shares along with a timer not only shows the impact generated but fiddles with the psychology of the consumers who have yet not participated.

While playing with someone’s fear is a mean thing to do, my justification is that the word “fear” is an exaggeration here! so we are good 🙂 So next time do not shy away from incorporating these psychological baits in making your marketing campaign a success and bringing new customer on board. 

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Chatbot Content Strategy: #5 tips to nail your chatbot content

Brands need to speak to their customers…I mean literally. And chatbots have made this requirement a necessity for  brands to be a human-like part of their customer’s social circle. I have read it more that often – chatbots are the new marketing trend! agree (to some extent) but the complete statement would be something like this – chatbot is the new channel to continue the trend of personalized/customized marketing . I feel its very important to differentiate the channel and source to be sure of the cause and effect. 

I am uber excited as we (read our company) are joining the bandwagon and it is my part to develop kick ass content for the chatbot. And as I am in the process of doing that, this blog could not have come at a better time than this. So, here’s my take on the #5 essentials to create great chatbot content.

#1 What a chatbot is NOT?

Are you still stuck with the following definition of a chatbot?

“A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.”

Come out of it already! Step 1 of awesome chatbot content is to forget the mechanism behind it. Because if we are trying to humanize a machine language here, it will be almost like a human but not it. It is rather important for the chatbot content creator to take time and absorb the fact that he/she is not just providing mannered one liners to please the customer but is actually driving the conversation! when you realize that it changes the whole game. One very good example of this is Adidas Women UK – https://www.messenger.com/t/adidasWomenUK

This chatbot leads the conversation by giving you all possible options and does not really wait for you to punch in the request. As a result the conversations are not redundant, the experience is not a typical service desk one and you look forward to keep in touch.

#2 Show your Personality 

Not yours, your manager’s or the CEO’s personality….But your brand’s personality. If you are or were a marketing student, you’d remember the exercise of giving human attributes to brands like Coca Cola (happy/friendly), J&J (caring), BMW (perfectionist) and so on. Like me if you asked yourself why on earth are we doing this?!…behold, we finally have an answer (eeehhhaaaaaa). For noobs, read here about Brand Personality – https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/brand-personality.asp 

It is very important to take into consideration your brand personality when developing the chatbot content. Break out of the hackneyed tones of being overly friendly and pleasing (does not mean you be displeasing) but try out other befitting personality types like funny, witty, well informed, playful and spunky to name a few. JWOWW or Jenni from the reality show series Jersey Shores has infused her vivacious personality in the bot – https://www.messenger.com/t/JWoww  and its a superb way to connect.

#3 Don’t drag, put your best foot forward

People in services industry will relate to this. There are multiple services, for multiple requests, at multiple locations, during multiple times…you get the picture? It can be very tedious to frame all possible conversation scenarios and then make fitting content for each of them. For such cases, be sure not to overload the bot with content and make the conversation a long series of clicks for the customer. It is a must to streamline your offerings and areas of expertise for chatbot as a channel like you do it for other digital or traditional channels.

Also, try to add value to your customer’s life by focusing on what they are really looking for. Case in point, if you are a retailer with 50 branches in a city don’t make your bot a location finder for obvious reasons!

#4 Complete the circle

Don’t just market, also sell.

Scenario 1

customer – tell me about the current offer

bot – Our current offer is 30% direct discount on all beauty brands. you can avail the offer at all our branches and online, valid till end of the month. 

Hope I have answered your question, would you like to go back to the main menu?

Scenario 2

customer – tell me about the current offer

bot – Our current offer is 30% direct discount on all beauty brands. you can avail the offer at all our branches and online, valid till end of the month. 

Follow us/ Subscribe to never miss an offer update

Make the most of this offer now and get shopping online on www…

See the subtle but huge difference in the possible outcome of the two conversations?! Make sure the content is not just an information center but a resource that will benefit both the customer and the company.

Also, here are some amazing statistics to support the business profitability aspects:

Learn how chatbots can help your business be more profitable

  • 47% of consumers would buy items from a chatbot. (HubSpot, 2017)
  • 26-36 year olds are willing to spend up to £481.15 with a business via a chatbot interaction. (ubisend, 2017)
  • 37% of consumers would rather buy items via a company’s Facebook page than their website. (HubSpot, 2017)
  • Chatbots are expected to save banks between $0.50 and $0.70 per interaction. (Foye, 2017)
  • 45.8% of consumers would rather communicate with a business through a messaging app than email. (ubisend, 2016)
  • Chatbots could save businesses up to £6 billion per year cross industries. (Juniper Research, 2017)
  • 34% of executives say the time they freed up using chatbots allows them to focus on deep thinking and creating. (PwC, 2017)

source: https://blog.ubisend.com/optimise-chatbots/chatbot-statistics 

#5 Visuals before words

A debate on Human Vs Bots, bots will get a point for having visual content which (in today’s times) speaks louder than words…much louder. Here are some eye opening stats that prove visual content is the way to go;

  • An estimated 84 percent of communications will be visual by 2018.
  • An estimated 79 percent of internet traffic will be video content by 2018.
  • Posts that include images produce 650 percent higher engagement than text-only posts.
  • People are 85 percent more likely to buy a product after viewing a product video.
  • Posts with videos attract 3X more links than text-only posts.
  • Tumblr’s active user base has grown by 120 percent.
  • Pinterest’s active user base has grown by 111 percent.
  • Instagram’s active user base has grown by 64 percent.

source: https://medium.com/marketing-and-entrepreneurship/16-visual-content-marketing-statistics-that-will-wake-you-up-59c4c0b80465

This blog and my chatbot content exercise took a lot of dedicated effort and research. I am keen to know if this is helpful and you thoughts for further discussion.

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Station Ads – An Eye Opening Experience

This summer I finally realized my dream vacation to France and the UK and traveled from Paris to London in a Eurostar that goes from under the English Channel. Yes!! I was super charged to soak in every bit of this experience that I had been planning since I can remember, and most importantly take a much deserved break from work (or so what I thought). But I guess, as a marketer you cannot stop appreciating the different and most creative ways in which companies are reaching out to their customers.

This is where I want to share my overwhelming experience both as a marketer and a consumer while taking the metro (in Paris), train and tubes (in London).

gare du nord              Gare Du Nord Station (Paris)

station-london_st_pancras-_c_eurostar_30=4-b1c88                    St. Pancras station (London)

euston           Euston station (London)

Notes from my travel diary:

  1. Taking a metro or a tube is an inescapable part of everyone’s life here…be it a resident or a tourist
  2. It is much more than a journey; it is an experience!
  3. Interestingly, each station and train journey leaves you with a different experience
  4. You are certainly not alone…there is so much to observe
  5. Between the hackneyed sequence of thing, you have time and some attention (beyond your phone and laptop) to spare

BAM!!! That for me sums up as: A pool of audience, under one roof, literally waiting to be entertained.

In Paris, I started talking to a fellow passenger named Clara who was generous enough to share her views me with. Very honest, she said “glad it’s Sunday today…or else I would have been wearing my earphones and reading a book”. I asked her if that’s how she prefers to be while commuting and does that allow her time to look at the company/product ads. She said, ” I look at them all the time, you can’t not look if you know what I mean. For someone like me who travels every day, I wish they would change these ads more often”.

This interaction which did not even last for more than 6 minutes because I had to get down, left me with statement that was deep – You cannot NOT see them! That is so true…it is everywhere, it is bold, it is funny, it is asking questions and it is provoking you to act. It is solving your problems, it is giving you a better price, it is sharing your concern and it is all true!

In London, I bugged another co-passenger named Sashi (yes, I am like that stranger who talks…a lot J) but he was also quite generous in sharing his views. “taking the tube is like a ritual for me”, he said. “when you spend so much time commuting, you get attached even without realizing. Be it the people, the newspapers, the hoardings…the whole atmosphere actually. I once booked a holiday trip after looking at an ad, you can say it was a compelling ad”.

Compelling indeed!

So here are my thoughts…

  1. Outdoor branding in stations has evolved from being ‘stuck in a place’ to being ‘travel companions’. The language, visuals and overall feel of the ads have embraced the different components of a commuter’s life.
  2. It is much more than awareness and visibility now! Station ads can easily become a dinner table conversation topic for a family which for me is important engagement.
  3. There is space for everyone here. Your brand can shine beside another because you relate as you are. Surely brands are becoming more creative in indulging with the commuters but everyone has their space that fills a void for someone if not all.
  4. It’s upbeat and it’s digital. One is looking forward to the next thing that will be on the screen and enlighten them. For creative agencies it is like a blank canvas to make something that no one has ever seen before.
  5. As a brand you will disappoint and also be disappointed if you miss the gala. Maybe there is a pair of eyes staring in the blank and you could have been there.

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