Monthly Archives: February 2013

To be Green or not to be Green…

Green-marketing

Green marketing, also known as Environmental marketing or Ecological Marketing, has been a much discussed and debated topic over the years. Apart from the simple process of marketing commodities and ideas that are resumed to be environmentally safe, green marketing also constitutes a number of practices such as product modification, changes to the production process, packaging changes, as well as modifying advertising. In recent times, eco- friendly marketing practices have not only chosen to refocus and readjust marketing strategies but also offer a completely new perspective in the same.

Corporates have taken to reducing their carbon footprints as well as trying their best to enhance their image as a ‘green warrior’ within their communities. Even then, there is a marked difference between doing so for their own benefits and doing it out of corporate social responsibility. In implementing green marketing, consumers, corporate and the  government play a very important role. But there are few constraints in implementing it like lack of consumer awareness, financial constraints, limited scientific knowledge, lack of  stringent rules and competitive pressures. Green marketing mirrors the goals of traditional marketing, which is to “facilitate exchanges intended to satisfy human needs or wants.” According to Dr. Kamal k. Pandey and Dr. P. B. Singh of Integral University, the point of difference is that green marketing seeks to accomplish that with minimal detrimental  impact on the natural environment.

As companies face limited natural resources, they must  also develop new or alternative ways of satisfying their customers’ needs. So green marketing is also a way of looking at how marketing activities can make the best use of these limited resources while meeting corporate objectives.

The guidelines to sustainable marketing include embedding sustainable business practices into the business strategy, delivering marketing activities that create ongoing growth, promoting and supporting sustainable tasks within the business, influencing other businesses to adopt sustainable business practices as well as minimizing the usage of resources in day to day business operations.

(For further reading:

Green marketing: Policies and Practices for Sustainable Development:-

http://www.integraluniversity.ac.in/12052010/P.B_Kamal.pdf

Green Marketing in India: Emerging Opportunities and Challenges :-

http://14.139.58.2/ejournalver2/abstract/year2010/volume3/PavanMishraandMs.PayalSharma.pdf )

Turning tables in the Education Sector

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The hangover of a colonial past is probably what attracts Indians towards all things “phoren”. Or maybe it genuinely has something to do with the quality and rapid development in the field of education abroad. There is never a satisfactory answer to the conundrum of the student body mass migration to other lands when India boasts of Universities with world- class infrastructure all over the country. Whatever it may be,things have definitely started looking up for the Republic’s student body.

Countries such as the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many more have flooded the education market with ads and offers to somehow woo Indian students to experience the platter of degrees and diplomas their institutes have to offer. In recent times there has been a neat change of affairs that have turned the tables in India’s favour. The Times of India has reported that the SCMS Group of Educational Institutions, centred in Kochi would be opening a business school in London by the next month.The group is investing 10 crore to set up the SCMS London School of Business affiliated to the University of Salford, Manchester. Aimed at attracting an international student body, the School will be led by John Ryan, a former fellow of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

SCMS has brought on an innovative idea and is a definite harbinger and inspiration for many more such ventures in the near future. Sounds like brighter times assured for aspiring Indian scholars!

“Bang in the Middle” of Kerala…

A large number of independent ad agencies are popping up every other day, all over the nation. So what’s so special when one of them decides to set up shop in Kerala??

Given the state’s age old love affair with aging celebrities and their endorsements (no matter how silly they be), advertisement campaigns tailor- made to the client’s whims and fancies (rather than promoting creativity), highly flammable and fragile ties between the land’s commerce and politics, and of course, the conspicuous absence of creativity- for- the – sake- of- creativity, ‘Bang in the Middle’ coming to Kerala is big news indeed.

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Despite the surprisingly high rate of literacy and growing acceptance of digital and social media, clients in the Kerala market tend to remain traditionalists when it comes to adopting innovations in their communication strategies. Precisely why Bang in the Middle expects its Kerala operations to robustly grow in the coming months. The agency will initially operate from Thiruvananthapuram, and will offer a full suite of services to clients across Kerala, according to a chat that The Times of India had with Prathap Suthan, Managing Partner and Chief Creative Officer of Bang in the Middle.

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After burgeoning branches in Gurgaon, Kolkata, Chicago and New York, BitM takes its first steps in Kerala with the help of Satyan Nair, an advertising veteran, formerly associated with Stark Communications and Young & Rubicam. Nair believes that homegrown brands have refused to leave their comfort zone, which is why they have failed to upscale themselves. Suthan asserts with passionate belief that Bang in the Middle can provide the remedy to this endemic by offering a fresher perspective to advertising and providing better marketing opportunities through the digital marketing domain, especially because Kerala has an online savvy audience just waiting to be impressed. More about Bang in the Middle and what they do can be found at http://banginthemiddle.com/

WYG is WYG!

ImageNow there came something my generation could relate with, the leaps and bounds of the great kingdom called “www”. I was going to learn social media organizing in detail. A brand image could be enhanced by deceptively simple devices such as a Facebook page or a Twitter handle.  The great audiences of the cyber world were going to be listening just as intently as a client’s various publics in the real world. As days passed by, I would slowly learn to build a strong online presence for clients and find out the vitality it had in getting the interest of those who had a gamut of possibilities at a click.

Earning such loyalties becomes a lucid task with Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest and other social networking sites, along with online blogs can be used to ensure maximum reach and commendably quick channels for feedback.

I was slowly learning that the only thing stronger than a good idea was a well enunciated one. If form and content have to reach the audience in the intended manner, then experience is a prerequisite. In the conversations called markets; Respublicans were progressive envoys who could script a client’s dialogs to perfection. Flawless content delivered with punch-be it writing releases, adapting content to suit the tastes of various publics or to create copy-helps the publics read your story in the way you had envisioned. Knowing the Kerala players, understanding them thoroughly and possessing a subliminal perception of what would reach out to various strata of audiences requires the strength of years of pioneer expertise.

The apprentice thus sat under the great tree of PR knowledge waiting for such flair to fall down and enlighten her. Any day now!

Reading around twenty-two newspapers a day, including national and regional dailies ought to account for something, I thought. Simply scanning and monitoring pages to scout out any mention of clients and their competitors was a pretty easy task. The truth is that it is fundamental to synergize two extremely different actions to produce proper public relations. If I was looking for clever feedback I was going to have to keep tabs on the various publics and gauge the dependability of my own means and maneuvers that I was using to reach out and communicate. (Mommy’s advice kept ringing out loud; What You Give is What You Get!).

ann@respublica.in

Social Media Marketing: Yes or No?

Some blog about their businesses. Some others update Facebook statuses on a regular basis to promote their coupons and deals. Yet some others Tweet every minute about what’s ticking behind the company’s curtains. Is it truly a big deal to adopt a social media marketing strategy and engage customers? Does all that drivel really matter? According to J. D Power & Associates, the answer is a resounding “yes”. Image

In the 2013 Social Media Benchmark Study based on  responses from more than 23,200 U.S. online consumers who have interacted with a company via the companies’ social media channel, it was found that both social media marketing tactics and social media servicing had a profound influence on the customer’s buying decision. The study was aimed to create an awareness among companies on how to effectively integrate social media in various aspects of marketing engagements such as connecting with consumers to build brand awareness and affinity, in addition to promoting coupons and deals.

The study reiterates mainly the point that companies need to revamp their social media marketing strategies based on how their existing patronage and potential clients use the various social media that they plan to utilize. There was also found to be a marked difference in the demands and buying behaviors of various age groups. Whereas the youth tend to engage actively in both social media marketing and social media servicing, persons of middle age as well as senior citizens had a tendency to be more involved in social media marketing than servicing. The likelihood of social media marketing translating to buying decisions was comparatively low for the latter group.

A detailed perspective on the correlation between consumer satisfaction, likelihood of purchase, social media marketing strategies and the consumers’ perception of the company can be found at http://www.marketwatch.com/story/jd-power-and-associates-reports-poor-social-media-practices-can-negatively-impact-a-businesses-bottom-line-and-brand-image-2013-02-14 

A versatile Wondergirl named Ammu…

Ammu

Ananthara S or “Ammu”, as she is affectionately known, is someone who can capture attention without trying hard. She has accomplished oodles more than her peers, is amazingly talented, and still believes there is a long way to go!

Ammu is a precocious third grader at the Vazhuthacaud Sisuvihar U. P School. Her art and literature have been featured many times on http://www.nalamidam.com. She is quite the poet and all her scribbles have the beauty of seasoned writing in them. Apart from painting her world with crayons and water colors, Ammu has begun experimenting with Photoshop too. She is  also a budding musician who passed the first grade piano exam from London Trinity School of Music. Quite recently, Ammu worked in a short film as well as a feature film to be released in April, “Ms. Lekha Tharoor Kaanunnathe” (“What Ms. Lekha Tharoor Sees”) along with Meera Jasmine, one of the most successful actors in Malayalam cinema. Ammu had also exhibited her paintings some time ago. She has also received an award for the best young artist from Kerala’s Home MInister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan. To view some of her best works visit http://www.nalamidam.com/archives/17476

With Meera Jasmine on the sets of "Ms. Lekha Tharoor Kannunnathe"

With Meera Jasmine on the sets of “Ms. Lekha Tharoor Kannunnathe”

Little Ammu’s success saga is also a matter of personal pride for our team. She is the daughter of Saju K, Senior Account Executive at ResPublica Consulting, Trivandrum. Some of Ammu’s best creations can be seen at:

http://www.nalamidam.com/archives/3498

http://www.nalamidam.com/archives/5045

http://www.nalamidam.com/archives/10576

http://www.nalamidam.com/archives/16418

David Cameron and the Great Kerala Fish Curry

david-cameron

“My wife makes fantastic Kerala fish curry. Sadly I’m not going to Kerala this time but maybe next time. That’s what I’d like to have it as it is made in Kerala and see if it compares with my wife’s…” – David Cameron, British PM

The apt reaction of any Keralite to that quote would be nothing short of punching the air and going “Woohoo!!

The mouth-watering aroma of red chilli powder and tempered mustard seeds, melt-in-the-mouth pieces of fish and the rich red gravy of a traditional Kerala fish curry is an experience parallel to none other. When UK’s premier citizen makes such a specific remark about the quintessential Malayali fish curry, it is surely time to bring out the confetti, celebrate and show off.

Mr. Cameron found it befitting to visit the country’s largest consumer products firm, the Indian unit of Anglo-Dutch company-Unilever on only his second visit to a land his predecessors ruled in the Republic’s colonial past. His speech was filled with diplomacy and shrewd dodging to avoid any favoritism that might slip through. And yet, the humble fish curry had a field day, basking in the glory of being a regular dish in the British PM’s household. Funnily enough, he wasn’t even close to Kerala territory!

International political/ business figures have been known to make such famous remarks about the varied culinary experiences that only Kerala can provide. A curry is more than a piece of fish in a dish or some fluffy white rice on a banana leaf. It is all about the holistic art of preparing it, right from the cook’s innate knowledge of the right number of pinches of salt and the right size of shredded curry leaves.

This article reminded me of another time, when I tasted a truly delicious “meen” (fish) curry at a household that is quite renowned for the experience of Kerala cuisine it seeks to provide foreign tourists with. With a lush green ambiance and a typical Malayali upbeat attitude to cooking fish and many more Kerala culinary classics, the Pepper Trails home is a one stop solution to embark on the adventure that is Kerala cuisine.

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On more than one occasion, a foodie traveler can’t stop with a single serving of the legendary “Meen Pollichathu“, a seafood dish ranked higher than Tangdi Kabab all over the world!

To know more about this culinary tourism venture and to explore a recipe or two, visit the Pepper Trails website at http://peppertrails.com/ or the Pepper Trails blog at http://peppertrails.blogspot.in/

A review of “Keys to Success in Life”

front cover only

One might assume “Keys To Success In Life” by Fr. Jose Panthaplamthottiyil is a self help book at first glance. As one begins to read, the age old adage of not judging a book by its cover comes to mind. “Joy- filled inspirational selections” is how the author aptly describes the book. Volume 1 brought out by Asian Trading Corporation and the Chavara Hope Foundation is a translated compilation of Fr. Panthaplamthottiyil’s musings on life and its little joys and sorrows over the course of many years. Divided into six parts, each for one month from January to June, the book consists of a thought for each day of the calendar.

Fr. Jose Panthaplamthottiyil CMI is currently serving as the Superior General of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate which has 3000 members including 1710 priests in 30 countries over the world. Fr. Jose served as the Chief Editor of Deepika, the oldest daily in Malayalam.

JOSE_ACHAN3While being the Vice- Principal of Christ College, Bengaluru, he headed its Department of Journalism and taught Political Science. During his Ph. D research in Mass Communication at Marquette University, USA, he was a part time faculty member in the Department of Journalism. He is a columnist and a best- selling author in  the field of inspirational literature.

ResPublica’s personal interest in showing off these inspiring writings comes from the fact that the General Editor is Geordy George, one of Kerala’s best new-gen editors.

He has served as a News Editor at Deepika Daily (Kochi) and Deepika International and currently with RTT News, a US news wire as Editor (Equity). He has been long associated with the ResPublican team, especially in editorial and content related projects. He has implemented ambitious content localisation assignments for Nokia Phones during Nokia’s prime at the Research Headquarters, Finland.

“Keys to Success in Life” is a translated version of Fr. Jose’s Malayalam writings. The English version is sure to reach out to a wider audience after its huge success in the regional language. The book’s success and evergreen appeal shows the average reader’s unusual consistency in devouring the editorial content that has become a prolonged characteristic of Malayalam dailies. There is a surprisingly large reader base for the same even today. The writings are suitable for a reader of any age, caste, creed and background and draws parallels between the short anecdotes and realities, emphasizing the importance of morality, ethics, intelligence and spirituality in human life.

INK!

ink stage

Considered the “ultimate brain spa” by many, the INK (Innovation and Knowledge) Conference aims to provide young thought leaders, a platform to share their ideas and also bring to the forefront, a new generation of role models who will inspire others into innovation and action. When listening to different ideas from people from different backgrounds the INK talks inspire innovative thinking and aim to showcase ideas that can can provide solutions to a wide cross- section of people.

In the past years, INK has boasted of various notable speakers with incredibly diverse talents to their names such as French perfumer Yann Vasnier, Indian actor-singer- composer Shruti Hassan, Jamaican poet- monodramatist- educator D’bi Young Anitafrika, New York based grapphic designer- typographer Stefan Sagmeister, Chief Engineer for Mars Science Laboratory Robert Manning, former Indian cricketer V. V. S. Laxman, American cartoonist- animator Matt Groening, Indian doctor- social activist- welfare worker and Magsaysay Award winner Dr. Prakash Amte, Autodesk thought leader Tom Wujec, technology entrepreneur Nam Do and many more.

INK is the brainchild of Lakshmi Pratury, co- founder of Ixoraa Media. She attended a TED conference and then worked with TED, organising conferences in the U.S. through her company which she co-founded in 2005 with Anu Sethuram. Seeing the potential of these events, she planned to host one such event in India. The conference is a for- profit venture that derives revenue from sponsorships, corporate events and conference fees. Pratury serves as the curator of the conference and oversees the content of the events. Finding the right venue that is neither too crowded nor inaccessible, getting audiences to pay the conference fees, stimulating the people involved and increasing the outreach of the program are some of the multifarious challenges Pratury, Sethuram and the Ixoraa team tackle throughout the year.

The INK Conference 2013 will be held at Kochi, October 25- 27. Be a part of the genius committee at http://www.inktalks.com/conferences/ink2013

Musings on Frugal Marketing…

jessie paul“The right time to engage in marketing is now. Preferably when your company is healthy. Not when you are fighting for survival. But it is never too late.
When I don’t have money, I can invest time instead, but I will never ever stop investing in marketing.”- Jessie Paul

If the marketer does not know what his/ her company is good at, then the whole purpose of marketing falls flat. Constructing a holistic marketing strategy for your company is something only you can do.  Unless there is a 360 inherent understanding of the environment, the company might not get the desired push into the public eye.

This is when certain mantras by Jessie Paul can be put into application. She is the founder and managing director of Paul Writer, a marketing advisory firm that works with clients in the B2B services and technology space. She has also worked as the chief marketing officer at Wipro’s IT business and as a global brand manager at Infosys. She highlights the golden rule that money is not necessarily the only element worth investing. Investing time along with some coordinated team effort can help even large companies market themselves much more effectively compared to a large cash flow and small impact. An impressive application of brains over brawn indeed.

Follow the link below to see why Jessie Paul believes frugal marketing can do wonders:

http://www.thesmartceo.in/special-features/frugal-marketing-its-not-just-for-startups.html

To reach Jessie Paul and her organization Paul Writer, visit: www.paulwriter.com