LinkedIn TECHconnect Bangalore 2015 – Focus on Relevance Marketing

Six months later it was yet again thought provoking event at Ritz Carlton, Bangalore on 22nd Sept’15. Earlier in Feb’15 I attended Paul Writer’s IT Marketing Summit and this time, the occasion was LinkedIn TECHconnect event where technology marketers gathered under one roof to discuss the various aspects about marketing in technology driven ecosystem. Even above the traditional objectives of attending event like networking, this event definitely left many of us ponder upon few thoughts and I am sure some of us would implement the learning in our respective roles and help our organizations succeed. Like always I will try to capture most of the learning here that I could grasp from yesterday’s event in the interest of the larger audience and I hope it will seed few thoughts in many others.

The major underlying takeaway for technology marketers in the house was to focus on ‘Relevance Marketing’, ‘Broaden You Horizon beyond ITDMs’, ‘Consider viewpoints of end-users’ and  few more. Let me take you through session-wise key points.

The evening began with a session by Russell Glass, who focused on Relevance Marketing and highlighted five trends that were driving technology marketing (in my view could be extended for non-technology marketing also!). He kept quoting Amazon, Flipkart, Airbnb, Uber for the seamless and satisfactory experience that these brands provide to their customers across geographies. He highlighted the complex buying behavior of B2B buyers and termed it as ‘random walk in a maze’, where B2B buyers source information from various touchpoints before arriving at a decision. His key urge to technology marketers was to think about the question – ‘How do I create “relevant experience” at scale?’ Its actually a great question that marketers need to answer if they wish to succeed. The key five trends that he highlighted were:

1. Relevance in mobile has become a reality

2. Data should be relevant with better content and experience

3. Focus on nurturing opportunities through technology

4. Technology is helping us predict better and hence unlock our valuable customers

5. Leverage the fusion of advertising and marketing technologies

Panel Discussion – 1

Russell’s session was followed up with a panel discussion on Disruption – Insights from the Cutting Edge of Marketing. The panel members consisted or four marketers who leveraged technology to disrupt the consumer behavior – Kashyap Dalal, Sanjiv Singhal, Vineet Sehgal and Adhil Shetty. The panelists had following suggestions for the audience:

1. Disruption should be embedded in the culture of an organization

2. Even in their successful times, an organization should continue to innovate

3. Organizations should look beyond their own business to derive inspiration for disruption

4. An effective combination of traditional marketing and technology pays well in the path of disruption

5. Disruption could be created with a contextual content that would result in long term business

6. At times even basic hygience marketing that improves customer experience (that has been ignored by your competitors) can result into a disruption

7. In this technology driven economy focus is more on product marketing

Panel Discussion – 2

The second panel of the day took a deep dive at today’s empowered technology buying process. The eminent panelists were – Kelly Kyer, Vasantha Kumar, Sudharsan R. and Srihari Gopinath. Kelly, set the stage for discussion of this panel by sharing findings from a survey that LinkedIn conducted amongst 3800+ technology decision makers. The key findings of the survey were:

1. 4+ functions were involved at each stage of the buying process. Some of the support functions like finance and accounting, support, sales, business development, marketing and purchase were also involved in the buying process

2. 2 to 4 pieces of content was consumed by decision makers at each stage

3. 51% decision makers consulted end-users

4. 25% respondents shortlisted a new vendor, which reflects that organizations should focus on retention

5. 78% buyers require education to sustain or make a change in the post-purchase engagement situation

The panelists later shared their inputs on how technology buying process was changing. The key takeaways were:

1. Marketers should go through a buying journey and help buyers in their process

2. Marketers should move from data analysis to predictive analytics and further on to one-to-one marketing.

3. Marketers should focus on non-ITDMs and end-users

4. Post purchase market is a huge opportunity and marketers should look forward to educate buyers in that stage

5. Sales process is no more like a funnel, it’s more like a ping-pong game

After two panel discussions, Ahmad Abdullah shared his insights on how marketers could leverage LinkedIn to build persona of their buyers. He educated audience with some basic steps (that are often ignored by marketers!) on knowing target audience, building relationships with them and engaging with them with relevant content.

The final session of the evening was on ‘Selling in a Social World’. Apurva Chamaria shared his personal experience, insights and advice for marketers on how to leverage social selling. The key insights shared by Apurva were,

1. Social Selling is a oxymoron. Selling always has been social

2. Listening is the new prospecting! Listen well using social channels and reach buyers at the right time

3. Sales professionals who use social media for selling are 3X more likely to crush their yearly sales quote

4. ABC of selling – Always be connecting!

5. Advice for marketeers: Start small. Define KPIs. Handle change management well

6. Sales Management Process – 3Vs Value, Volume, Velocity, 2Es Efficiency and Effectiveness

7. Gamification of Social Selling process can help sales leaders excite about this phenomenon

That summed up the truly thought provoking evening. Full credit to LinkedIn for selecting great panelists and speakers. Moreover, their team did a great job in managing time and ensuring audience had enough time for networking too!

Last, but not the least one would always cherish this beautiful gift from LinkedIn for all event attendees!

LinkedIn TECHconnect

#WorldPhotographyDay – Top 10 Posts on Instagram

19th August is celebrated as #WorldPhotographyDay across the World and the day has gained more awareness specially after the digital penetration. The craze and simplicity of photography has increased over the years thanks to the varied devices that people own. Even a simple mobile phone with a camera can be sufficient for a person interested in photography to show his/her skills. No wonder, the hashtag #WorldPhotographyDay kept trending on all social media channels and we could see many of our friends share their photographs from their collection too.

In the digital space, Instagram is the best channel to share photographs and no wonder as and when this blogpost was written the platform received about 36,312 posts on the hashtag #WorldPhotographyDay. Thanks to the Top Posts feature of the Instagram, we could easily notice the most engaged images on the platform around the hashtag. I have collated below the same.

Post No. 1 – Jen Selter, famous American fitness model – 185k likes, 3,520+ comments

Jen Selter - famous American fitness model

Jen Selter – famous American fitness model

Post No. 2 – London – An Instagram handle that shared London’s story through breathtaking images – 41k likes, 365 comments


St. Paul’s Cathedral, London

Post No. 3 – CARLiFESTYLE – World famous media outlet for automotive enthusiasts – 34.5k likes, 72 comments

CARLiFESTYLE - Media Outlet for Automotive Enthusiasts

CARLiFESTYLE – Media Outlet for Automotive Enthusiasts

Post No. 4 – Friendscaps – 30k likes, 1100+ comments



Post No. 5 – UFC – 25.4k likes, 260+ comments



Post No. 6 – ESPN – 23k likes, 164+ comments

Cricket being played at Pakistan’s Neelum Valley

Cricket being played at Pakistan’s Neelum Valley

Post No. 7 – International Space Station – 18k likes, 205+ comments

Night view from the International Space Station

Night view from the International Space Station

Post No. 8 – Coca-Cola – 16k likes, 135+ comments

Crowdsourced by Coca-cola from @mystapaki

Crowdsourced by Coca-cola from @mystapaki

Post No. 9 – Toronto MapleLeafs – 13.7k likes, 290+ comments

Mats Sundin

Mats Sundin

Post No. 10 – Classics Daily – 12.7k likes, 92+ comments

'59 Apache

’59 Apache

If you came across some other stunning images, share the url in the comments section.

PS: The engagement stats mentioned for each of the images above may keep changing as time progresses.

Are we living an app-filled life?

Clicking pictures, chatting and recording videos are passe activities on mobile. Are you wondering then what’s the new trend? It’s the world of mobile apps (or ‘mobile applications’). Have you realized how many apps did you download in the last one week or last one month? Either we or people in our surroundings could be found cursing mobile device manufacturers for battery discharging, storage issues and worse in case of some low-end mobile phones, the handset itself getting corrupted etc. Ever wondered what could be one of the potential reasons for such problems? More importantly have you noticed how these apps have become an integral part of our lives thanks to repeated TVCs and full-page advertisements in newspapers!

Image Credit: ArtofClick

Image Credit: ArtofClick

Let’s track the daily routine of our life and see how various apps have intruded / facilitated / entertained (you may choose the right adjective) our lives:

Fitness: Gone are days when exercise was a personal activity, now apps allow us to post on our social channels about our daily jog / walk / fitness regimes. Apps like RunKeeper, Endomondo, Nike+, Zombies help us calculate our jog distance, calorie burnt and more importantly allows us to flaunt on social media channels.

News: For some lazy people who skip morning fitness activities may wake up to push notifications of their favourite news channels. Let’s agree that each one of us have installed at least one app to remain updated about the world news.

Commutation to office / college / school: Luckier are those who don’t need to drive to office / college / school, they get additional time in their life to stare at those screens and occasionally smile at them too! While commuting by Delhi Metro I have often noticed people busy with CandyCrush, TempleRun, YouTube or with WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter etc. For those who drive need not worry, apart from the FM option, they could tune into music apps like Gaana or Saavn.

Reached Office / College / School: How could we avoid being updated from our favourite cricket match that’s being played at some part of the World. Ofcourse we have apps like Cricbuzz for our rescue!

How about homemakers? They need not worry at all! The could quickly order their groceries on BigBasket, PepperTap, Grofers etc., while check out delicious recipes on TarlaDalal, AllRecipes, SweetNSpicy etc. Soon they could switch windows and ‘screen-shop’ latest apparels on some shopping apps like Myntra, Flipkart, ShopperStop etc.

Leave apart all above these things we all have apps installed for weather updates, city information (specially those who have moved recently to a new city), local transport (metro / bus / train etc.), horoscope, banking purposes (if you have account in more than one bank…..) and the list goes on and on….

Recently, during a conversation we discussed after all how many apps should a mobile internet user download after all.

Are marketers realizing it?

What are your thoughts?



Did Snapdeal and Amazon troll themselves?

We humans are so delighted to see a live brawl happening in our streets / arguments happening between our colleagues in office / politicians spilling venom on each other / journalists dragging each other to the mess. Can you stop for a second and recollect how many such arguments / brawls etc do you remember as of now? You might have even favored a particular party in such instances, but rarely does it affect your course of life after few days.

Now, let’s fast forward to the much hyped news of e-commerce giants trolling each other. If you are a digital / social media marketer, I am sure you couldn’t have missed to watch those pictures on your social media channel feeds or countless times shared on WhatsApp. Thanks to the coverage of this troll by mainstream media channels, may be few other common people were also exposed to this gimmick by e-commerce players.

Some journalists / bloggers tagged this as ‘ambush marketing’ (I seriously doubt if they understood what the term really means!), some of them were busy rehashing photoshopped (pardon me for this commoditized term!) images and gimmicky titles to drive traffic to their blogs / some of us happily shared / retweeted and may be even made this the topic of conversation during our lunch / tea / smoking breaks.

So who won this ‘war’ / ‘ambush marketing’ / ‘troll’ ….?  Or may be the right question should be who benefited the most from this?

Snapdeal and Amazon? Really? Can each of them attribute the sales that were driven ‘only because of those troll centric billboards or tweets or Facebook posts? Oh yes, marketers would vouch they established ‘top of the mind recall’. Again, my argument would be was a pre-event and post-event research done to establish by how much basis points did awareness or recall (aided / un-aided) improve? Not to ignore the digital marketers who would have set up listening tracks for their campaign hashtags and prepared jazzy reports to convince their top management about XX millions of impressions attained on those hashtags. In worst case some of the evolved analytical digital marketers would have tracked sentiment analysis or incremental visits to the website during those particular days and so on. But, lets step back and reflect even if all above metrics were higher for those 2-3 days, is it in anyway feeding for future sustenance of the brand? How is it strengthening the brand image? Do Snapdeal and Amazon want to be known as brands that are ever ready to snap at their competitors? On one side Snapdeal is spending crores of rupees to rope in Aamir Khan and creating Snapdeal TVCs while on other end engages itself in such, what I call ‘cheap tactics’. On the other hand, I am surprised how did Amazon India get into this mess given their global stature.

How about investors? After multiple rounds of evaluation, investors agree to fund startups and ultimately this corpus is spent on taking a dig at competitors. I wonder isn’t there any governance for such spends where huge amount is spent on creative strategy, execution, media buying etc. just to play these gimmicks to garner eyeballs of few thousand people, rather than invest this sum for better product development or sensible brand building exercise. Are these spends by any means justifiable to investors?

Marketing teams? It definitely helps this breed as they get an opportunity to splash their Facebook walls and Twitter feeds pretending how proud they are of working at their organization who has ‘supposedly succeeded’ in trolling their nearest competitor. May be they will adorn their CVs with these campaigns, but I am sure there would be few of them who would have felt a pinch of salt while executing them.

Creative Agencies? Another set of people who would have partied hard after being applauded by their bosses, clients and their fellow colleagues in other agencies. What have they made? A comprehensive justification to raise retainer in the next year and a case study which they would bid at next year’s any award function for a coveted crown! All these e-commerce giants are backed by agencies with extremely good track record and still its surprising how agencies just keep ‘short term objectives’ in mind. Well, having worked at two agencies before, I can visualize that the only reason they would be doing is to milk some extra bucks from clients, without giving due consideration of brand’s long term image.

Media publishers? The last and the most profitable stakeholder in this entire drama. Well, they would have very well cleared off their unused inventories at a premium considering the golden opportunity. Obviously, they have the least say in the entire value chain to suggest if a brand should engage themselves in such exercises or not.

Let’s now consider the final scapegoat (customers): Even before I share my views, please read these views of two industry veterans on this episode.

Anand Halve

Ashok Lalla

Apart from the fact that whether the end customers really keep track of these events, it is extremely debatable that whether such events have an impact on customer’s purchase decision cycle. Even a positive impact on customer’s consideration set would play a huge role after such gimmicks, however that remains a debatable topic. Some of the articles suggested that we have witnessed such incidents in traditional media between Pepsi vs Coke or Rin vs Surf, well my argument to those bloggers is ‘whether the scale of Pepsi, Coke or Rin is same as investor-funded these miniature e-commerce players?’ It makes no sense, on part of these e-commerce players to spend exorbitantly to just satisfy egos of their CEOs or Marketing Heads, with no tangible proof of benefit for the business.

My view is that brands should better concentrate on building their brand image rather than investing (rather wasting crores) in such activities that neither have tangible short-term benefit nor does it add value to the brand image in the long term.

Top 5 learning from Millward Brown Digital Study – 2015

Recently Millward Brown Digital published its 2nd annual Getting Digital Right study, which incorporates inputs from over 400 marketers from brand, media and agency backgrounds. The top 5 takeaways from the study are as follows:

1) Big Data is at forefront – All three marketers (brand, agency and media) rated Big Data to be the most important opportunity. This continues to be the green pasture for both marketers and advertisers. The need of the hour is that marketers from both ends need to collaborate and tame this animal which would help in understanding customers and consumers in better manner.

2) Location-based Marketing least priority! – This came as a true surprise to me. Be it fashion, retail, food, travel brands most of them often talk about location-based marketing. Even B2B organizations often have this mindset to engage with their influencers during key offline events through location-based marketing. Given the fact of increased mobile penetration and increasing usage of internet through mobile devices, in my view this should be given much higher preferences than what has emerged from the study.

2015 opportunities

3) Multiscreen marketing is the 2nd most important opportunity for marketers in 2015 – The increasing focus of brands on Internet of Things is the key reason behind this trend. Moreover, brand marketers have successfully used combinations like TV + social media, TV + mobile etc. to provide a seamless customer engagement.

4) Traditional Advertising occupies substantial share in media mix – Irrespective of the domination of digital channels, traditional advertising constitutes a healthy 17% share of media mix, however incremental expenditures are decreasing as evident from the chart in point no. 5.

Source: Millward Brown's Getting Digital Right Study

Source: Millward Brown’s Getting Digital Right Study

5) Mobile Advertising and  Applications has garnered highest growth – This channel has garnered highest growth rate in terms of investments and very logical with the increased penetration of both mobile devices and internet on mobile devices across the globe.

Source: Millward Brown Getting Digital Right Study

Source: Millward Brown Getting Digital Right Study

Some of the best anonymous quotes that were featured in the study report are:

“Our top focus is to turn a wealth of client data into actionable insights and personalized experiences”

“A top pain point in our organization is having insufficient knowledge and training on how to use the available data to continually refine marketing programs”

“Organizational silos prohibit consumer journey planning”

“Measuring the impact of all aspects of digital is very hard and without being able to show impact / ROI, we are less likely to invest highly in it”


An eventful day at Paul Writer IT Marketing Summit & Awards

Conference, summit, unconference, meetup, any such event has primarily two objectives – networking amongst like minded people and few domain knowledge that one could learn from peers. Recently, I had this opportunity to attend Paul Writer Great Indian IT Marketing Summit & Awards. The summit attracted participation from top IT product and service oriented companies like Microsoft, Dell, Cisco, Cognizant, IM, Tech Mahindra, SAP, VMware, HCL Technologies, LinkedIn, Wipro, CSS Corp and Tally Solutions etc. The event had some interesting panel discussions focused various aspects of Internet Marketing. I have briefed below the learning I had from each of the session:

From You to Me to Us

  • The major attraction of this session was the quote by Nupur Sharma, “Your customer is not a dog anymore, but a cat!” The point to be noted here was that customers these days have very unique needs and they have resources to search and find the best offering that addresses their needs. Hence, the digital marketing needed to be customized to address individual needs
  • Another famous quote of the session was by Apurva Chamaria, “B2B is no more true, its more of i2i (individual to individual) marketing. Companies don’t business with companies”. He emphasized that in B2B context it was very essentials for every individual in the organization to leverage digital media effectively to find, build relationship and interact with their customers
  • In earlier days B2B marketing was considered to be logic driven, while B2C marketing was an emotional one, but in this information economy, the lines are blurring
  • Innovation in content marketing was the need of the hour and brands need to focus on generating small bits of content that are easy for users to consume and interpret given the reducing attention span for a particular media channel
  • Employee Advocacy is emerging as a crucial program within IT Marketing for brands to build a strong employer brand

Social Selling is Here

This session started with an interesting debate between Ashok Lalla and Jatin Modi. This was one of the most interesting sessions of the day for entire audience. Some of the key takeaways from the session were:

  • Building brand’s awareness, credibility and viability is a basic necessity of Social Selling
  • Social connectedness between people is there to stay, hence its more about how we leverage this ‘connectedness’ irrespective of the platform where brand creates its presence
  • In B2B context its more about internal expertise (who create/share content) & the expertise who amplify it. As the original content creation is a challenging activity and only very few manage to do, it becomes very essential for brands to have experts within organizations who could amplify the content and driving conversations at larger scale
  • The content shared by brand should leave some scope for people to add value to it and hence motivate people to engage with the brand
  • Social Selling is not tactical, it definitely is slow but strengthening relationships will have long term impact

Keynote speech by Ashutosh Gupta, Director Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn

Ashutosh highlighted how LinkedIn was fast emerging as a content consuming platform for passive candidates (who are not in search of jobs) and how marketers could leverage this platform. Some of the key insights he provided during the keynote address were:

  • 10 pieces of content are consumed by the decision-makers before arriving at a decision
  • LinkedIn users are 7 times more engaged with content vs. jobs’
  • If you ‘gate’ insightful content like whitepaper, infographics, video, you would lose the interest of top-funnel
  • Map your content to the right segment of the funnel to influence at best
  • Impact every stage of buyer process journey with relevant content

Friends with Benefits: Making Partnerships Work

This panel discussion was focused on how it has become a key strategy for organizations to build strong relationships with their partners for sustained growth. Frankly, I had no interest in this session, but some of the learning that came across in this session could be applied even in our lives:

  • Building trust between partners was of key importance even before agreeing upon the ROI metrics
  • Partnerships need to be nurtured well for long term growth of both organizations

Golden Cs: Content to Conversations to Conversions – Nurturing the Pipeline

Ever since digital marketing came to existence the relevance of content has been highlighted umpteen times. However, off late when brands have started leveraging content, the discussion and expectation of CMOs and CEOs has shifted towards the conversations that are driven through these content and the conversions (ROI) derived from various content marketing efforts. This panel touched upon various aspects of this phenomenon:

  • Focus should be to produce the content that drives deep conversations
  • Increasingly it is becoming difficult for marketers to defend the cost involved in producing content. Hence, its high time that marketers plan to map ROI for every piece of content that is produced
  • Especially in B2B context, given the long decision making process and multiple stakeholders, marketers need to produce small bits of content at regular intervals of time to ensure top of the mind recall.

The final session of the day was a chat between Jessie Paul and Ashok Soota, CEO of Happiest Minds. He shared his experience and some tips for youngsters to handle the professional pressure and excel in career.

Then came the much awaited moment of the day – Awards announcement. Guess what, HCL Technologies won two categories  – a) No Money Marketing (Unified Messaging of RBTC) and b) Best Lead Generation (Hiral Videos campaign). The Best Digital Agency of the Year award was won by Frogideas for #CoolestInterviewEver campaign.

Paul Writer


It was a great full day of knowledge seeking, networking (with tweeps like Ashok Lalla, Tinu Cherian, Malhar Barai, Pradeep Chopra) and the icing on cake was the moment when I stepped on stage to collect the award for Hiral videos campaign which was executed by my team.

LinkedIn MTV ‘Get A Job’ Campaign

As usual while browsing through my Twitter timeline, I came across a tweet by Intel India about some internship position. The hashtag, #GetAJob drew my attention and the curiosity within me went after researching what it was. It might be that I am the last person on the Earth to know about this campaign. In that case, just feel free to stop reading this blogpost and move on! Else, just keep reading and get to know what I experienced and think about this campaign.

I landed upon a campaign website and was spell-bound to know that LinkedIn and MTV have joined hands together to provide a ‘cool summer internship’. Now, that sounded unusual as how can a music / entertainment company join with a professional networking website to run such an intern-hunt. So, this further fuelled the curiosity. And, I finally got to know that both these diverse but leaders in their industry have come together and involved 10 other organizations for this campaign. The branding and other technical details which I will discuss below clearly indicated that the campaign was a brainchild of LinkedIn and their objectives were either all or some of these – 1) Increase penetration of LinkedIn in India, 2) Make youngsters realize the importance of LinkedIn as part of their career ladder, 3) Drive awareness about cool new jobs that are available and that are getting created day-in and day-out by top brands and 4) Set a sound case study on social recruitment in a country (India) where still resumes / CVs rule the hiring manager’s desk etc. I would be eager to know from LinkedIn / MTV team if I missed any of the objectives.

Campaign website

Campaign website

The campaign website is very attractive and clearly lists the 12 internship positions that are available in diverse organizations like Pepsi (Platform Marketing Intern), Reliance (Social Media Intern), Rolling Stone (Editorial Intern), Tata Consultancy Services (Enterprise Game Design Intern), Flipkart (Management Trainee), Mercedes-Benz (Security Analyst Intern), Intel (Circuit Design Intern), Loreal (Brand Marketing Intern), LinkedIn (Product Marketing Intern), Universal Music (Digital Media Intern), MTV (Show Production Intern) and Grey Group (Copywriting Intern). Virtually the campaign has touched upon all industries that would be of keen interest to youngsters of 2015! A very convincing campaign video was also made available on the website.


18 year old candidates with Indian citizenship (read: campaign was restricted only for Indian audience) were required to be enrolled for Bachelor’s and Master’s degree.

Application Procedure

How to Apply?

Here came the trick! Candidates were required to apply only through their LinkedIn profile. If the candidates didn’t have a LinkedIn profile, they were asked to create one and then apply. A user-friendly guidance video with to-do list for candidates to create their LinkedIn profile was made available.

LinkedIn MTV Get A Job selection procedure

What happens Next?

The shortlisted applicants would be asked to send a short video highlighting why they are best suited for the job. This would be followed by Group Discussion / Skill Test for top five applicants and finally interview by hiring manager for final 2. Eventually one applicant would manage to get the dream internship.

My views:

1) This campaign would help LinkedIn establish the fact that their platform is crucial for today’s employment scenario. I think this would also ease the efforts of LinkedIn to come closer to the Indian corporate fraternity. LinkedIn would use this campaign as a leverage to touch base with few other organizations who haven’t tried LinkedIn’s products so far.

2) This would be a one more stepping stone for social recruitment space in the country, hence forcing hiring managers to think seriously about this space for their hiring needs

3) I struggled to a large extent and yet didn’t manage to find the timelines for the campaign. There was no end date for the applications to be submitted or some tentative dates for the next rounds. However, it is clearly mentioned that the internship could be for four months and would be between April and July.

4) Though it would have an intentional strategy, I feel both LinkedIn and MTV should have made explicit for this courtship which to my mind looks confusing. On the first sight I felt as if the campaign is for MTV and LinkedIn is sponsoring it. But, once I browsed through the website it was clear that many other brands have joined for this cause. The association of MTV still remains a mystery to me at least!

5) Some element of gamification for each of the roles on this campaign website itself would have further increased engagement scope for the applicants and would have driven word of mouth (through social sharing) much faster and wider. Moreover, this gamification step in itself could have acted as an intermediary step for evaluation.

Overall, I felt this was a great initiative specially targeted towards the youth!

#OwnTheJersey campaign by @StarSportsIndia during India vs Australia match in Carlton Series

Leave apart the hype that was involved in the India vs Australia match in Carlton Series, the major attraction of the match for Indians was the new jersey for the team. Most of us already got to know about this new jersey that has been designed by Nike specially for Indian team’s foray in the upcoming World Cup’15. The key attraction of the jersey is that each jersey is made of 33 recyclable bottles. Craze amongst Indian fans for the World Cup’15  jersey is needless to mention, which Star Sports India capitalized upon.

Star Sports India came up with an interesting contest. You may wonder what was special about it. Right at the beginning of the cricket match it was announced that ten questions will be asked throughout the match and fans need to answer them on Twitter by replying to @StarSportsIndia with hashtag #OwnTheJersey. All these ten questions were spread across the match (five per innings) and announced by commentators at respective time. During the innings the five questions were spread across each major stage of the innings – 1) PowerPlay-1, 2) Middle Overs -1, 3) Middle Overs-2, 4) PowerPlay-2, 5) Slog Overs.

The key highlight was these questions were repeated on Star Sports India Twitter handle, so as a fan if you missed watching TV at the moment when question was being asked, you would lose the opportunity to know about it. This I think was a smart move by Star Sports India to make fans glued to the TV sets across the whole match. However, the excitement was built on Star Sports India Twitter handle.






During the innings break Star Sports India ensured the excitement was well maintained with the below tweet.


Unlike other brands who in the recent past were splurging money to get that first spot on Twitter trendlist, Star Sports India thought through a well-integrated contest which in no time ensured that the campaign hashtag started trending on Twitter within few hours of the match. As and when this blogpost was written, the hashtag had already gained over 750 tweets contributing about 1.97 million impressions (Source: Keyhole) since morning.



1) We have often discussed at length about integrating multiple devices during key events to get the word of mouth reach distance. Efforts like these should be a good learning opportunity of other brands.

2) No need to always depend on paid initiatives if you have strong attraction. Just leverage the occasion to the best

3) Integrate the key service offering with the campaign

Excerpts from my interview published with CareerBuilder

In the cut-throat competitive industry of job-boards in the country CareerBuilder is the new entrant. Each of the player in the industry Naukri (still enjoys the market leader position), Monster, Shine, Timesjobs etc. have come up with unique marketing campaigns. Specially the famous Hari Sadu TVC by Naukri has been talked at length and wide cited. In recent times, Shine has come up with few interesting TVCs. CareerBuilder is a very strong brand in the US, very similar to Monster. However, they have joined the party late in India. Recently, they came up with a content driven campaign – #KnowTheProfession. As part of this campaign they interviewed experts from various professions to highlight the details about the particular profession, recent trends, skill sets required for the profession etc. The various professional skills covered as of this blogpost was written were – Hospitality Consultant, Modeling, PR and Events, Data Analytics, Shooting, Singing, Journalism, Theatre, Photography, Entrepreneurship and Car Racing etc. CareerBuilder conducted my interview for Social Media as a Career section. A few excerpts of the interview is mentioned below, while the complete interview can be found here.

     How can a fresher kick off with your career option?

     Ok, I would here address 4 different avenues that would help every fresher to make a kick start. These are:

  • Understand the functionality of each platform
  • Understand how users interact with each platform
  • Have some empathy towards users be it any product category you deal with
  • Treat human beings as ‘human beings’ and not just as customers, who pay few bucks for your products/services.

      What advice would you like to give to the newbie who wants to make a mark in this domain?

      My advice would be:

  • Respect fellow human beings as ‘human being’ and not as my client’s customer or my end customer
  • Empathize with the end customer and you will be able to deliver the best
  • Invest your efforts to learn the functionality of the platforms to the best
  • Try to map the functionality of the platform with the human behavior
  • Tie the marketing objectives with the social media objectives

     Would you like to share some thoughts on the pros and cons of social media/digital media censorship?


  • It will help in avoiding certain crimes and will seed further confidence in people to participate in this medium
  • The ecosystem will have good quality content
  • Communication can happen in a seamless manner and with much better reliability


  • It might curtail the basic motivation (and Right!) that users have to share information
  • The digital divide might increase to a greater extent, hence harming the social ecosystem at large

      Any funny/memorable/fandom moment you encountered? Would you please like to share?

      Two of my last three jobs were due to my presence on Twitter. I can share both memorable moments –

      a) I am approached by the HR team of an organization for a vacancy at their place and I end up having unfavourable experience with them. I tweeted about it and was surprised to get a call from the co-founder of the organization. I am invited for a talk and I end up joining that organization.

       b) I participated in #CoolestInterviewEver Twitter recruitment exercise conducted by HCL Technologies. Over 88,000 candidates across the World participated in this two month long recruitment process which was held on Twitter and I managed to emerge as the only winner with a package of USD 75,000 and a year, long contract with HCL.

I hope youngsters who are aiming this profession as their career choice would find this interview useful. In case you have any further doubts or queries, feel free to interact with me here or on Twitter!

Flashback of 2014!

Generally people write this kind of blogpost either in the last week of December or in the first week of January. Though, I intended to wrap this one in the last week of December, my busy work schedule delayed this. It is always fun and moment of deep breath when we look back the 365 days that we traversed. Some moments would be cherished for lifetime, while we wish to forget some. Every day we learn, unlearn and relearn some or other aspects of life / profession / society etc. We easily incorporate some of them as part of life, while fail to even possess slightest of memory regarding some. Here is a sneak peek of how my 2014 went by. Its actually tough to list down each and every event / activity. I have just listed down the ones I remember and I think made an impact to me as a person or to my profession.

January: The year started with a bang on professional front. I was lucky to work on Teacher’s India social media project. We helped them launch their new TVC through social channels in a big way. It was my first exposure to media planning and truly this would go down my memory lanes for long time. Thanks to my then team member Praveen, who played a crucial role in ensuring this campaign went well.

February: This month made me realize value of life and the nature’s command over human life, on a real adventure trip to Rishikesh. It was an absolutely fun-filled trip with my entire ZenithOptimedia gang. Someone rightly said, ‘fortune favors the brave’; I was terrified of getting drowned as I have a severe water-phobia, but was pulled in by the other members. And guess what? Our raft toppled! Those 60 odd seconds under the raft would make any one realize the value of one’s life and how helpless are we against nature’s power!

Rishikesh trip

March – April: What to say about these months! Cracked the #CoolestInterviewEver campaign by HCL Technologies and was offered a one year assignment with the company. Never expected to win this campaign, in fact started off very casually. But, once I entered the top 100, I thought I had a chance and gave my best. The innovativeness of the campaign was the true motivator for me to participate in the campaign.


During my last few days at ZenithOptimedia had the opportunity to launch Viber in India. We ran some beautiful campaigns to launch the brand in India and I cannot forget those 48 hours when I was almost glued to laptop screens and single-handedly was running customer support for the brand through their Twitter handle. Just the love for Twitter platform kept me going on and on for those two days.

May: Finally the D-day arrived on 12th May when I stepped into HCL Technologies with heaps of mixed feelings. I was super excited to join such a huge company for the first time in my life.

HCL Technologies

June: At work I was through a grueling time busy preparing the annual plan for the forthcoming year. But personal life had something special to offer. It is a proud moment for every parent when their child is all set for school. Jeevan joined school and like other kids gave a tough time to Pheba. But, it was a sweet sense of achievement for both of us as he started going school.


July: A special month as I successfully roped (trapped!) Abhinav as my team member at HCL. We both worked together on a project at AdGlobal360 and he amazed me with his sense of commitment, presence of mind and restlessness! He is such a busy guy on floor that every manager would feel proud of having him in the team. I am sincerely thankful to him for joining me and initiating the Spartan army 😉


August: Always a special month as both I and Jeevan celebrate our birthdays in this month. Jeevan turned three and for the first time I was away on his birthday. But, my birthday was made special by my young, shy team member  – Arpita Das. I was shocked to see my desk decorated and almost for a second felt as if I reached some other floor. Never in past received this kind of treatment, thanks to all hard work that she put in.

Birthday Collage

September: My first campaign at HCL on its culture #ideapreneurship went live. No matter how experienced you are, its always a new day. Started off the campaign with my own tweetchat and gradually it picked up steam.

#ideapreneurship tweetchat

Thanks to HCL, we all went for an offsite to Goa. Though a short trip, it was a welcome break for everyone. The key event of this month was my shift to Noida. It was a tough decision to make after staying at Gurgaon for last five years. After months of debate finally had to take this decision, but it definitely helped me in focusing on next few month’s work.

October: It was a satisfactory month as our initial efforts on HCLTECH career page revamp saw the light of the day. Our hours of hard work in the previous three months was getting noticed and the preparations began for largest media plan I ever worked.

November: HCLTech launched an innovative recruitment campaign – #HiralVideos. This campaign would be close my heart and I am sure Abhinav would too feel so. We had put in everything we had for this campaign and ensured it resulted into resounding success. Those 30 days comprised of – hours of discussions, hard negotiations with media partners, endless follow-ups with various teams and sleepless nights all just for this campaign to be recognized. We not only over achieved our targets by over 100% but also earned heaps of recognition in the media.

December: In short a travel month! For last ten days I literally traveled across the length and breadth of the country – Delhi – Jamshedpur – Delhi – Ahmedabad – Delhi – Chennai – Delhi. The professional achievement that got encapsulated in this travel itinerary was 10th guest lecture of my career and I am thankful to XLRI, Jamshedpur for the same. The Chennai trip happened after two years and helped me connect with my young nephew, sister and grandmother.
South India trip

Overall it was a fantastic year on professional grounds. On academic front I had two opportunities to teach at XLRI Jamshedpur, once at Great Lakes, Gurgaon and once at IMI, Delhi. Moreover, I managed to submit the thesis, which was one step ahead towards the ultimate milestone of earning the degree. Hoping 2015 will be fruitful from academic perspective too and I get to complete my long pending FPM work!