Tag Archives: Strategy

Dial-a-Book gets covered in Todays Mint Lounge

My new startup ‘Dial-a-Book’ has got its first mention in print media today. It’s been almost a year since I started working on Dial-a-Book along with my younger brother and it’s been an absolute fun ride.

Here’s an excerpt from the article

Past life

Dial-a-Book is a Delhi-based start-up founded by brothers Mayank and Tarang Dhingra. Tarang, 25, is a final-year student at the University of Delhi. Mayank, 27, is a software engineer who left a corporate job at Fidelity International in 2005 to work for a string of tech start-ups—from SlideShare, an online presentation hosting service, to MPower Mobile, which works with mobile payments. In 2008, before the Twitter bandwagon bulldozed its way across the country’s Internet landscape, he experimented with creating a Twitter-like service for India called Kwippy—which Mayank called a “conversational platform”. The site folded in mid-2009, and subsequent dabbling in ideas on what to do next led to Dial-a-Book

and you can read the complete article here

I know some of you *might* find this surprising and *might* have some questions for me, so feel free to ping me anytime 🙂

Lessons in Business from Bala Balachandran

About a couple weeks back I happened to come to know about Mr Bala Balachandran from a friend of mine who also shared with me the printouts of an article titled “I firmly believe that all customers are not equal” that  appeared in Business Standard on 24th December 2002(couldn’t manage to find a link). It’s not often that one comes across this much business wisdom in a 4 page printout.

After giving that article a re-read yesterday, I searched a bit on Mr Bala Balachandran and amongst other things I stumbled upon this series of fantastic videos on everything from Cost Management to Customer Astonishment. This would by far be the best material on business I’ve come across in 2010 and the fact that these gems are hidden from the world is reflected in the fact that these videos had been viewed 2-5 times at max. It’s only now after repeated views from me that these numbers have jumped up :). Also, Balachandran not only shares his business wisdom, he does so in a nice and funny manner. At 72, he has contagious energy and passion.

Only if someone could stitch these  small 2-3 minute videos together would they make into an amazing video.

Marketing Case Study: Ghajini


Aamir Khan as most of us as Bollywood Fans know is not only a brilliant actor but also an intelligent marketer. In times like these when the success of a film hugely depends on the business it does in the first two weeks the marketing genius leaves no stone unturned to spread the word for his films and create a sense of rush among his fans to watch the film asap. Ghajini is the latest offering from Aamir’s stable and needless to say he’s all over the place promoting it and pulling off acts that’ll put most marketers to shame.
Also what’s noteworthy is the fact that Internet Marketing for Ghajini has been a very significant chunk of the overall marketing strategy. Hungama is the brain behind the Internet Marketing for Ghajini.
In this post lets try to find out various tactics that went into marketing Ghajini and how they were executed.

1) The Look(Online & Offline):
Think Ghajini, Think Aamir khan’s new and conspicuous hair cut and all those tattoos. That hair cut is the latest rage in country. Huge and never thought of before efforts have been made to imprint his hairdo into audience’s mind.

Online Tactics:
a) Aamir’s blog carries a full screen sized picture as on the film posters.
b) Two of the three websites related to the film also have a big bare chested picture of his on their homepage to reaffirm the associations ( http://www.wallofsuspects.com/ and http://www.rememberghajini.com/ )

Offline Tactics:
1) First and Foremost Aamir Khan still has the same haircut.

2) Aamir and his producers tied up with leading multiplexes(PVR, BIG, Cinemax) across the country to give all the ushers, ticket-sellers the distinctive “Buzz-cut” that Aamir sports in the film.
3)Aamir personally gave the ‘buzz cut’ — the hairstyle the actor sports in Ghajini to his fans in Delhi

2) Getting fans Involved(Online):
Aamir & co have got another important bit right i.e “Interactive promotion”. Rather than doing one way communication/broadcast through the film site or simply sharing content they’ve involved his fans in the film’s promotion.

wallofsuspects: A supporting viral website for the film aims to replicate a similar concept from the film. To checkout the wallofsuspects one needs to have a code which can be obtained by uploading your or your friends images. One can also provide their mobile number which can be used to intimate if they win some prize.

findghajini : Another viral website built around the film. It’s a viral gaming application where the users can play the role of Aamir’s character in the film and try to find Ghajini through the clues provided.

3D PC Games: 25th Dec will see the release of the film and also India’s first 3D PC Game built around a movie. This is the first time there will be a complete game built around a movie. Lots of people are looking forward to it, lets see how this one goes. Here’s the video for the making of this game.

3) Getting Media Involved(Online):
Now that he’s got his fans involved what’s left ? Yes, The Media.  Aamir & co have tried to engage media persons and add a level of personal touch to the whole affair. http://www.rememberghajini.com/media/
is the place where media people can upload their pictures to which Aamir can add notes based on their previous interaction(s) with him. This repository will help him in remembering those media people more vividely and the those who register will in turn get information kit on Ghajini along with Aamir’s personal note about them.

As reported in one of the comments here Ghajini’s marketing team shared movie stills with their site so that they could be used for promotion.

4) Maintain Suspense and Throw Hooks(Online):
Unlike other film sites the sites for Ghajini are not focusing much on the synopsis of the film or the main plot(Which is out in open) they are instead focused on certain events of the film(finding the killers etc) and are leveraging them. In addition to this there are some hooks which are meant to form certain associations and build mind maps. Extending the theme from film after every 15 minutes the user gets redirected(forget everything) to the home page no matter what page they were at. Remembering the date(Remember Dec 25) on which the film will be released is another one, quite prominent and common through the sites.

5) Associations/Collaborations:
The idea for this post started when while starting my Tata Sky  I saw a Tata Sky ad featuring Aamir n Gul Panag. I mistook Gul Panag for the new actress and thought that its a great way to promote the film. Every time Tata Sky starts the viewers get to see the new ad, awesome. While Gul Panag maybe not be related to Ghajini’s Asin but as per the developments here starting tomorrow all the Tata Sky viewers should be seeing this new ad with Asin opposite Aamir khan.

Tata Sky also has a contest specifically for the film and has chosen Asin as their new brand ambassador. Not only this there’s a splurge of videos about making of Aamir’s body for the film. First time I saw the footage taken though out the course of his body building on Tata Sky and later it was all over the news channels. Giving people more and more reasons to talk about the film I say.

Van Heusen has launched a similarly-named collection for today’s uber-confident young men that is inspired by the movie. Van Heusen to promote the new range also organized a fashion show in which models sported Khan’s clothing style from the film, but also his hairstyle.

Then there’s “Tata Indicom‘s outbound dialer service with Khan’s pre-recorded voice. In this a Tata Indicom service user will get a call in Khan’s voice, asking the caller whether he is Ghajini and will tell the caller that the film is releasing on 25 December. Tata Indicom plans to reach out to 10 million customers with these outbound dialer calls. Tata Indicom is also advertising on TV for mobile downloads of Ghajini songs.” – businessofcinema.com

Samsung will be launching special Ghajini edition of models L700 and M200 of its mobile phones of L700 and M200 models. These handsets will be pre-loaded with ringtones, pictures and songs from Ghajini. Ghajini is the first Indian film to release a handset as part of the film’s content.

Aamir has also tied-up with some leading sculptors who are creating replicas of Khan’s Ghajini look. These sculptures would be installed at various multiplexes in the country.

The first phase of Ghajini’s marketing life cycle has been quite active and promising lets see how the second phase of Ghajini’s marketing life cycle fares. Made with a budget of around 50 Crore and with marketing expenses of about 14 Crore Ghajini doesn’t really need a long run to pull things off monetarily.

Irrespective of how the film fares it sure has some important lessons for all of us.

You can also download the case study in pdf format here

Twitter breakdown is bad or is it ?

In times when is twitter down & “is twitter fully functional ?” is all we get to
hear not many think of this as an opportunity. Yes “Opportunity”.
This Opportunity is for pretty much who is in some way or other connected to
twitter. Not only its an opportunity for some addicted twitterers to realize that
there is life beyond twitter but also for developers, entrepreneurs and more.

The way things stand at the time of writing this post twitter’s “IM and
pagination are not working” other than some apps like “TwitterSync”.
This has been the case for the last few days and it might last for next days
or worse re-occur. What this means is

1) Incoming channels blocked:
A cursory look at the twitter home page will tell you that most of the
tweets show their source as web which clearly wasn’t the case before twitter’s
db crash. Also, twitter’s IM client is down which I think was the biggest
incoming channel as a result of which people have either stopped tweeting
or tweet very less.

2) Ability to surf/receive Tweets handicapped:
Since they’ve disabled pagination for all pages and the IM is down along
with it went people’s ability to surf tweets(either missed or otherwise)
and receive tweets as they are being sent.

3) Some twitter apps are down:
Send tweets via your facebook status aka TwitterSync is one that’s not
working.

So this makes perfect sense for people to either replicate the
things/functionalities/apps that are not working or come up with an
innovative way to solve the problem in a different or better way.

What do you guys think ?

The Remarkables: Meow 104.8 FM

Delhi’s Radio space has become quite hot these days with more than 10 FM channels vying for a bigger chunk of the pie. Leaving aside a couple most of these channels are alike(at least to me) and unless you are an avid listener chances are you too won’t be able to tell X from Y.

What really comes out as being Remarkable in this chaos is 104.8 FM or better known as “Meow FM“. Talking about being remarkable, Meow(India’s first just for women radio station) that came to life in June 07 is easily the most unique one. I listen to it every once in a while and what follows are a few things that make “Meow” Remarkable.

Niche Target Audience:
Instead of targeting everyone(which actually means targeting “no one”) they have focussed on Women folk, which is their biggest and probably best differentiator. This is a big plus as now they can mostly focus on airing programs that strike a chord with women without worrying much about the other gender. So now they can host a show like “Mama Meow” and even ask audience to tell “five innovative ways to break news about their pregnancy to their families” without thinking twice.

Different Ball Game:
While other FM channels are busy being better DJ’s(playing music) Meow has ventured into a different league all together. Rather than being just another music station they’ve come out as a talk based radio station which instead of RJ’s has what they call “On Air Hosts“. “Empathetic Interactivity” being one of their core value propositions this makes a lot of sense(even more for a women focussed channel) as
1) Talking/Sharing is one of the basic human necessities/traits.
2) It’s informative(knowledge sharing, listening and learning from other’s experiences and so on).
3) It has a HUGE audience(how else can you explain, people calling even before the host has finished telling the topic of conversation or people trying to call for days till they get to talk ?).

Client Relationship:
Another thing that impressed me about Meow was the way almost all their hosts talk to their callers and build relationships with them. Be it addressing some callers by adjectives like “Darling” or “Sweetheart” or asking someone who called after a hiatus “Why are you calling us after a long time ? Don’t you love us ?”.The way they handle and treat their callers is simply amazing, it works great(especially with women) and am sure they must have made some real(off the phone) relationships with some callers.To summarize in one line “try to make each customer feel special”.
I guess that’s what they are doing and doing it quite well.

Some other things that click are:
1) Good content with a variety to target various sections of women folk.
2) Great marketing(by making a noteworthy statement with the usage/symbolism of word “Meow” and other things).
3) Roping in different people with public appeal like Dr Kiran Bedi and regularly having guest hosts.
4) Anil Srivatsa(those who’ve listened to his show know what I mean).

These are some of things that I think make “Meow 104.8 FM” click, not sure about the RAM stats.They might make things a bit more cheesy from here and attract more earlobes by adding more girlie features on say shopping(discuss things like what you shop, where you shop or reviewing some shops etc) or better a gossip section(share the latest gossip in your office,college etc or in bollywood).

“Women carry the reputation of being talkative, hence Meow. Through Meow FM, we are letting women do what they do best – talk ” – Anil Srivatsa, COO, Radio Today                     🙂