Monthly Archives: November 2012

“Be Gujarat’s Brand Ambassador” – Impressive Facebook application on Narendra Modi’s page

We have often seen brands organize contests through applications and sometimes just for fun quotient or gaming aspect some cool apps are created. Narendra Modi, honorable chief minister of Gujarat has launched an impressive application on his Facebook page. This application is titled as “Be Gujarat’s Brand Ambassador” – a very self explanatory title. It is a well thought marketing strategy to crowdsource testimonials from the citizens who are residing in the state or have ever visited the state for any purpose. The citizens could share their stories of how they had a satisfactory experience with the state or could share an idea that the state government could implement. The application is very user-friendly:

The homepage of the application has an impressive dynamic header section.

The second half of the homepage has the excerpts of few stories and the details about the incentives that people can earn.

The success stories are collated in a section, where users could read other’s stories, which holds users for sufficient time on the application.

The user could add his/her story through a very user-friendly form. The category section has identified few areas like Gujarat Tourism, Agricultural Growth, Tribal Development, Quality Education, Power Sector, Women Empowerment, however one add a story from other categories too.

Alternatively, users could also suggest ideas that Gujarat government could work upon to improve the current condition in various sectors.

The highlight of the application which awed me a lot is “Build Your Story” section which helps users to express an elaborate story with the help of few interactive menus. I tried with Power sector and experienced a very user friendly way of feeding information, which the application uses to build an elaborate description in the end. The screenshot of the steps through which I went could be seen below.

My take:

Concept: It’s a superb way to crowdsource testimonials and suggestions from the citizens of the state. Instead of a political party doing all the talking, they are empowering citizens to be brand ambassadors. In a way I feel its a good strategy to empower people & make them feel good in sharing their experiences and ideas.

Incentive: He is a charismatic leader and given a chance there would be hardly any who wouldn’t want to meet him. The incentive that four people would get a chance to meet him in person would simply pull the crowd to participate in the application.

User friendliness: Its very simple and any layman could use it to its effectiveness. The “Build Your Story” simply impressed me a lot, which facilitates people to a great extent to participate in the story.

Stickiness: I feel its a good decision to showcase the stories and ideas of other users, which increases the stickiness of the application. Users could know what others have shared and could recall similar incidents from their life and in the mean process they are spending good amount of time on the application.

The Only Worry:

I didn’t submit any of my story / idea, but it seems that the submissions don’t go through a moderation process. If they aren’t really so, then there are chances that some political rivals might use this application to spread negative word of mouth. I hope this has been accounted for in the application (though not visible in a transparent manner).

Where they could have done better?

The application could have included Gujarati version too, to gain more participation and virality from the citizens erstwhile. 

If you have used this application and found few more points that I missed to share here, do add in the comment section.

A pathetic #BHTweetBid Twitter contest by BombayHigh!

It is quite usual for brands to organize campaigns on Twitter with a hashtag and ask people to tweet with it. I recently came across a similar campaign organized by BombayHigh. Well, the campaign was executed by SocialSeety, the agency behind this brand. One fine evening, a tweet landed on my timeline claiming “freaking addictive” campaign #BHTweetBid. I checked and found it similar to #TwitBid that @SheepStop runs every year on their anniversary. I checked with Shruti Nair, Co-founder and Director of SocialSeety and I was amazed to see her response. I wonder how could a person running an agency could have missed a widely successful campaign (#TwitBid) which has been conducted every year for the last three years, especially when she is organizing a one in the same product category!


 She went ahead to claim that it wasn’t a me-too one!


 Well, I have participated in #TwitBid and hence can compare the two campaigns in a better manner.

Here is my analysis:






Twitter login



Introduction to campaign



Automated tweets






Revenue scope



1)      Integration with Twitter API: This is no-brainer these days and many brands are doing it.

2)      Rules of Contest: When you reach the hompage of #BHTweetBid (see above screenshot), this is the only description you get about the contest. The only bait you are giving to your customers is “free” word at the end of introduction. It doesn’t describe the rules of contest as #TwitBid does it in a detailed manner (see below screenshot).

Once the user signs up with Twitter, then he/she is exposed to rules of contest under “How to Play” tab. Funny thing is the 2nd point, which a user is exposed to when he/she is already logged in! Seems the agency just copied the instructions from any other campaign and didn’t think where these should be shown.


3)      Automated tweets: Thankfully I didn’t participate in this contest on first day, but few who did noticed that the application tweeted on behalf of their Twitter account without asking for explicit permission. When this issue was highlighted by few bloggers in the Twitter, the representatives of SocialSeety started responding in a demeaning manner, which was captured by prolific blogger Tinu Cherian in his blogpost.

#TwitBid does send out automated tweets from contestants Twitter account, but this is clearly mentioned in the rules of the game (Pls refer point no. 6), even before the person has opted for the contest. Also, the important stages of the game like – 1) when a contestant outbids another, 2) timing of game, 3) winner announcement, were made by another Twitter account @TwBid instead of SheepStop’s main Twitter handle. This shows that they didn’t want to spam their regular followers with the contest related tweets.

4)      Stickiness: If brands and agencies think that their campaign would be sticky enough just by asking people to tweet “as much as they can” and the winner is based on just the “maximum number of tweets”, seems they are missing the basic marketing rules by miles! I did participate many times in the #TwitBid contest by SheepStop and it has loads of excitement and fun in it and forces a user check the page again and again to see is his/her bid has been shot down by a competitor.

5)      Revenue scope: It is well known that people like many things to be given “free”. But, brands are smart when they get something out of the campaign. If BombayHigh is thinking that they are creating an awareness by organizing such “tweet as much as you can” type of contest, probably they are hitting the wall. Interestingly the #TwitBid contest of SheepStop is based on auction and the bidding starts at Re.1 and sometimes has exceeded even the MRP of the product. This is the win-win situation for the brand. They are not only creating awareness, but they are ensuring a sale, no matter at what price. The real success is when people buy your product exceeding the MRP just because they had the competitiveness of auction and also they thought that the product was worth to be bought at that price (though higher than MRP).

Learning for brands:

  • Let the users know rules of contest well before the user has started interacting with the contest.
  • Do not violate the basic etiquettes of social media just because you have a myopic objective.
  • Social media contest is not just a one-night stand, think about some long term impact
  • The contest should have some association with the value proposition of brand.

How to convert negative sentiment blogpost into a positive one?

As a journalist waits for a sensation to happen, individual bloggers wait for an opportunity to grab eyeballs. As soon as they perceive a marginal error – on a brand’s social media channel, they go ahead and blog about it to gain attention in the blogosphere. I am not saying they are wrong every time, but sometimes bloggers don’t understand how a brand operates and if they have missed to do something, many a time it is done knowingly with some logical reason behind it. If they have outsourced the social media activities to an agency, the co-ordination between the brand and agency is in itself a matter of worry. But, blogging domain believes in the principle of “anyone can write anything about anyone!”

So, the dilemma for brands is how to react to such blogposts? There could be following situations: 1) if you are a much bigger brand and don’t bother about such street corner bloggers, just shrug them off and move ahead. 2) If you are new brand or a medium scale brand with many competitors around, you can’t do the above. You should be motivated and proactive to respond to that blogger in such cases. But how do you reply?

–          Do not try to engage with the blogger through email conversation. This would show your desperation and make the blogger feel proud. Sometimes, there is a risk that they act smart by utilizing your email content for a sequel blogpost and then the brand needs to take endless damage control steps.

–          The better strategy would be to accept your fault on the blogpost itself in the comment section of the blogpost. Let the blogger know that if he/she is trying to act smart, brands have much higher stake in place and as a brand you are ready to take the conversation in the open. So, login through the brand’s Twitter / Facebook (do the smart choice!) account in the comment action and do three things:

  • Accept for the faults that you have genuinely missed and blogger has identified the same.
  • Appreciate the blogger for bringing this to the notice of the brand.
  • Share with them the corrective measures that you have implemented and it is always advisable to share the links. So, when a reader goes through this blog, and reads the comments section, he/she would find that brand has a good listening mechanism in place and they are responsible enough to react quickly.

In this way brands can utilize the negative sentiment and convert it into a positive sentiment, “with due respect to the blogger”.

If you have handled such scenario in a different manner, share your experience below.