16 December 2007

Why agencies should employ more fish: Guy Murphy

Excerpts from Guy Murphy’s talk at Provoke 2.0, the JWT India Planners Meet 2007

A Planners job is to help create great brands. In so doing, a Planner should help create opportunities for great creative work, and help inspire the creation of that work. Or at least increase the chances of those things happening.
Networked Creativity
The most successful global entertainment properties on TV started life as successful local entertainment properties that were exported from country to country. Sex and City, Survivor, Big Brother are global successes that started life being right for the US, Sweden and Holland respectively. It is hard to imagine what ‘Sex and the City’ would have been like if it was originally conceived as a global entertainment property. Certainly the name would have changed. Global focus groups would have re-titled it ‘Sex, but not before marriage, and never unprotected, in the city, and in rural areas’.
But when a TV production company sets out to create a global success formula from the start then the result is creatively weak. Miss World, the Eurovision Song Contest and It’s a Knockout are global TV formats that tend to be creatively weak.
Great global ideas start life as great local ideas. The trick is to encourage local ideas, spot the great ones and export them to other places. We call this ‘Networked Creativity’.

Vision rather than Insights
The second area in which I sense we are narrowing our inspiration is to do with a thing called consumer insight. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone says this phrase.
Consumer insight is becoming some kind of Holy Grail for marketers and Agency people. The current belief is that you can’t have a great strategy or a great creative brief or a great piece of advertising if it doesn’t contain some insightful thought about the target audience at the centre.
We have gone insight mad. I sensed that things had gone too far when last year I was asked by someone, who’s job title was ‘Head of Consumer Insight’, to speak at their conference, which was entitled, ‘Consumer Insight’, and her brief to me was, ‘Could I speak about, ‘my insights about consumer insights’.
We seem to have forgotten that consumer insight and insight generally is a means to an end and not an end in itself. The quality of consumer insight is entirely dependent upon the quality of the creative work it can inspire.
But there is a bigger point here. Great creativity does not require consumer insight. Consumer insight can sometimes help but it can be completely absent from the creation of something wonderful. There are many, many other things that can help great creative work than consumer insight.
But I am trying to make a bigger point than simply cast doubt on consumer insight. I don’t dislike consumer insight at all. Like many others these days, I am concerned that the role of agencies is increasingly seen as a narrow one. The more we are reduced to ‘insight spotters’ the more it negates the bigger role we can actually play.
Our creativity must be used to help businesses and brands take huge leaps forward. We should be creating big, new, delicious futures that provide creative opportunities in abundance. If on the way we unearth a consumer insight or two then marvellous but let’s not get dragged down into the level of insights at the beginning. The question should always be, ‘what vision do we have for this brand?’ not ‘how can we get the right consumer insight?’
Stephen King spoke about the importance of Planners being ‘Grand Strategists’. Men and women who could look to the long term, create a view for how a brand could be, and map out what solutions would be needed - communications, product, distribution. Be ‘Brand Designers’, he said. From this wide perspective creative people can graze on the finest opportunities that are just not afforded by an insight or two.

Long term brand ideas vs short term execution
In times of great change we all have to spend time learning all the new things. And right now those things are very executional. How should we best use interactivity in communication? What’s the right way to advertise on mobile phones? How should brands communicate on social networking sites? How should we integrate our use of different media channels? What is the right balance of budget for on and off-line communication?
These are all very important questions to ask, and difficult questions to answer. But we must keep asking and keep trying to answer these questions.
However, there is a danger that we are getting trapped in execution. We try to solve the problems of all the bits and pieces of communication but never look to see what it all adds to. Adding a great new on-line game to a campaign can often be a source of pride but what is it doing to the make the overall effect greater? We can often get excited about a great execution for YouTube that secures millions of views but what does it add up to when viewed alongside the rest of the communication for a brand?
We should not just be creating executional greatness for the bits of a campaign we should understand what the sum of the bits could be.
Stephen King wrote back in the 1970s that brands were becoming diced up into separate parts as different agencies were getting their hands on different aspects of the brand’s marketing. He pointed out that a brand is a holistic entity that must be planned as such. I think his fears are ever more true today.
The most consistently brilliant creativity that I see these days comes from brands that seem to have a very clear sense of what they are and what they want to become. It is no surprise that we see great work from clearly defined brands like Dove, Apple, Playstation, Axe… They have brand ideas. Long-standing, creatively fertile brand ideas.
Having these ideas makes it so much easier to know how to navigate all those difficult questions I mentioned. The question becomes not ‘how to advertise on mobile devices? but – in the case of Nike – ‘how to use mobile devices to encourage a sense of Just do it?” A different and much better question to be addressing
Better creativity will come from getting brand ideas first before diving into the executional bits. They will provide a clearer guide for using all the new media channels, allow for more creative opportunities in the long term, and hold the creative work together to build a coherent and exciting brand.

I would urge us all to find greater creativity in looking more broadly and searching more widely. We need to have fish-eyes, seeing the whole picture.
Let’s push ourselves to take a proper look around the world for inspiration and not get stuck thinking that great ideas must come from certain cities.
Let’s push for Grand Strategies that open up big new creative opportunities and not just fiddle with consumer insight stuff.
And let’s use the power of brand ideas to drive us to bigger creative campaigns rather than getting stuck in one-off execution.

13 December 2007

Murphy's Laws: Interview with Brand Equity

Murphy's Laws, The Economic Times, by Ravi Balakrishnan, December 12, 2007

Guy Murphy is bit of an anachronism in the world of planners - where the mere mention of 'consumer insight' makes many of his contemporaries all misty-eyed, his take on this most-beloved trope of account planning is decidedly contrarian. The planner who swears by JWT's Stephen King (regarded as the originator of account planning) finds himself in the agency his icon helped build, charged with the task of driving its creative agenda. Murphy aims at building the industry's most networked team of planners, and has them pinging each other with suggestions and information on pitches via a dedicated group on Facebook. Taking time out from a day spent inspiring and evaluating JWT India's clutch of planners, Murphy, JWT's global planning director, speaks his mind on research, creativity and lots more.

For an agency that was grounded in strategy, how was the creative resurgence received by account planners at JWT?
I think the creative resurgence has been received very well by everybody, especially planners; it's the reason we joined the business. The bit that was less clear was what the role was for planners in the new agenda. It's not a complicated answer - planners are fundamental to a move for a more creative agency. The options for how a brand can communicate are so many that you need someone to make sense of it all. That's the preserve of the planning department - to guide us through a complicated world and do things with a proper sense of 'why' rather than just to be trendy and new.

Do you believe part of the reason you were brought in from BBH (where he was deputy chairman) was to reassert the importance of planning at JWT?
It's not that they needed me or any head of planning to apply to a certain recent initiative or issue. But you are not a complete management line-up without a head of planning. One of the reasons why I was an acceptable candidate is I'm a firm believer in the quality of creative work, and the role of planning to help deliver that.

In a lot of agencies, with planning taking the centrestage and arrogating for itself the thinking part of the business, what is the future of account management?
The future of account management… that's a $64,000 question! My belief is we are seeing equality of relationships. What I see in the emphasis of creativity is a re-balancing to ensure the creative voice is heard. I don't think anybody knows what the role of account management is in the future. Something I'd point to is that nowadays there are many, many agencies involved in a campaign. And one of the skills is to help know how to handle multiple agencies and lead them in a kind of collaborative force to create a great answer. Account management could be the specialist in becoming the lead agency pointing others in the right direction and helping them work together.

There are several definitions of planning in vogue - from Stephen King's conception of the planner being a combination of a marketing person and a media person to the idea of a planner being the voice of the consumer within an agency. How would you define the role?
Planners help build great brands and in so doing provide exciting creative opportunities for the agency. King spent no time really trying to define what planning was. One of the dangers of the discipline is that it becomes too obsessed with itself. There will always be many definitions, but that doesn't mean people are unclear on what it is. It's just that we do things in so many different ways.

There was a feeling even among the Account Planning Group a few years ago that planning was becoming a bit too esoteric and self indulgent…
As an industry, planners have to stop worrying about what they do and whether it's helping. In some way, it's a reflection of our intellectual honesty and integrity - being constantly concerned about adding value. We don't have an obvious metric. Creatives have awards and account management has client satisfaction surveys and budgets. Those are false metrics anyway, but people rest on them. I really don't have much time for the question - the answer is clear and we should just go on and do it. Besides, I don't think we are arcane…

In many advertising case studies, planners switch between debunking research entirely and using it to ratify their strategies - there are enough examples of both approaches having succeeded. How do you decide when to go with research and when to disregard it?
You should never see research as an arbiter of a decision. It's just one of the tools and inputs. There are many other factors to be considered - what you believe internally, what the sales force considers appropriate… But for many, it has become the yes/no gate, which shouldn't be the case. If you have a strong enough vision of how the world should be and have a well-founded belief in that vision, then it's fine. Most of the time, when we've done a good job, we change the world a little. Research is never going to come back easy on those answers.

How did your current mistrust of consumer insights as they are popularly used in the advertising context develop?
I've always believed there are many things that can get you to a good answer - not just understanding consumers. I'm not against insights; they are useful. And I'm not saying don't talk to or try and understand the consumer. I used insights a little, but never particularly stuck to it. My personal style of planning (and that of agencies I've been with before) always prided itself on originality and uniqueness. But over the past two or three years, we've been bombarded with 'what's the insight?' It's becoming a frenzy now, eclipsing other things. Ideas are being rejected because they are perhaps not 'insightful' enough. People seem happier with consumer insights more than the work; they think the creative product is great because it stems from an insight. It becomes a big magnet that everything is drawn towards to the exclusion of other things. Processes are being designed primarily to get a consumer insight.

JWT has a team of trendspotters on board - how does the planning department work with them, considering in many other agencies planners themselves are expected to play this role? Do you commission your studies to them?
There are people in New York, Italy… some in Argentina. Those are the three places I know for sure, where they quite formally do trendspotting work. In South America, 'cool hunting', as they call it, has become a real fashion right now. Trendspotting is just one of our inputs. Their work gets published into the network and sometimes externally too - that's how people have heard of Marian Salzman.
They are involved in two types of assignments - Marian and her team will have an eye out for what future trends might be. They commission work, explore it and maybe publish it. By the end of every year, they'll come up with what's going to happen next year. We have access to that information. The second aspect is when we have a particular point on an account and want to try to understand; for instance, notions of beauty and femininity in the case of Estee Lauder. We used the trendspotters to find what it means at the moment, and how it was going to be in the future… and that becomes one of our inputs.

12 December 2007

All about the King of Planning

"Advertising has many gurus, many professors, many geniuses, and many mavericks. But only one King.” So said the Delhi ad club invitation to hear Stephen King speak in 1992!

Who was he?

Stephen King was a genuinely original thinker. He began his career in JWT (J. Walter Thompson) in London in 1959, retired from the agency in 1988 and spent the next 4 yeas at WPP. In addition, he spent 7 years as a director of the Henley Centre and was a Visiting Professor of Marketing at the Cranfield School of Management. During his career, he pioneered an entirely new organizational structure to support his ideas and philosophy – the importance of a function called account planning and the role of the account planner in creating advertising. It was a structure that was copied by agencies around the world. Stephen died in February 2006, leaving a legacy of articles and books about marketing, advertising, research and brand communications written over a thirty year period, which have influenced advertising people around the world. He is remembered as a leading intellectual figure in the world of communications strategy.

What he did

Stephen King was the originator of the discipline of Account Planning – gave the advertising industry the thinking and the theory it needed, and the organizational structure that exists even today.
He saw account planners on a scale of grand strategists – intellectual, aim to see the big picture, are a little above the fray, and almost economists, to advert tweakers - who peer myopically at advertisements, justify creative work to skeptical clients and are almost qualitative researchers.
He created the Account Planners toolkit: “this manual contains J Walter Thompson’s views on how to plan the most effective advertising. This is what account planning is for; to get the most effective advertising.”
He gave JWT the underpinning of its reputation in being strong in strategy, doing the right thing for brands and building long term brand value.

Some of the tenets which defined JWT Planning and became part of its DNA

"Great planning is grounded creativity".
“Creative imagination subjected to critical control.”
“Planning is about learning and improvement, not proof and magic solutions.”
“Proof/data in not just about the fact that the advertising worked, but how and why it worked.”
“Work out the right problem to solve.”
“Be precise in the role of advertising.”

The principles that Stephen King set out are all the operating principles even today.

*Advertisements vs advertising
*Stimulus vs response: it’s not what advertising does to people but how people respond to advertising
*The role of advertising, and the scale of immediacy that he devised and the theory that advertisements can work at several points in the scale:
- direct (response)
- seek information(tell me more)
- relate to own needs, wants, desires ( what a good idea)
- recall satisfaction, reinforce, reorder (that reminds me)
- modify attitudes (really?)
- reinforce attitudes(i always knew I was right)
*What sort of research to do depends on which is the most important role for advertising
*Toolkit that spanned the planning cycle, consumer buying system, brand objective, unique brand personality, target group, target responses, role of advertising, choice of medi, creative brief as stimulus and the advertising idea
*Advertising must not only get the right response but also stimulate the maximum intensity of response.
*Long term effects can be harder to evaluate but maybe more valuable to the advertiser than short term effects and so must not be overlooked when setting the advertising budget. It can help to have a unique hold over the hearts and mind of consumers.
*Measuring added value and long term effect.
*Advertising budget setting and market modeling.
*Constant search for what is measurable and what is not, and the need to balance good data with judgement.

What Stephen King means to JWT Planning: Guy Murphy, Worldwide Planning Director, JWT

“Stephen King’s thinking forms a big part of the JWT brand of Planning that I want to pursue. Please read his work and enjoy his prescience and clarity.”
“I first read his work when I was a Trainee Account Planner at BMP, I quoted his thinking on brands to clients throughout my time at BBH, and now I find myself at JWT, where of course, the culture is steeped in his planning heritage, and my files are full of his writing.”

10 December 2007

JWT launches "A Master Class in Brand Planning: The Timeless Works of Stephen King"

JWT planners converged at their annual meet Provoke 2.0 last week to welcome Guy Murphy, their Worldwide Planning Director and discuss account planning visionary Stephen King’s stunning relevance.

The meet saw the launch of the book "A Master Class in Brand Planning: The Timeless Works of Stephen King". Prophecies of the King, an evening with the media was a celebration of the life of a man regarded as the father of account planning. In the picture you see Shweta and Vishal, two of the youngest planners, receiving the first copies of the book form Guy Murphy, and Rohit Ohri, managing Partnet, JWT Delhi.

Published by Wiley, the book contains 20 of King’s most important articles. Each one is introduced by a respected practitioner who describes the relevance of the article to the communications environment today. The contributors include professionals from Ogilvy, WPP, Marketing Society, Market Leader, Interbrand, Mindshare, BBDO andJWT among others.

For those who may not know, King was the originator of the discipline of Account Planning – he gave the advertising industry the thinking and the theory it needed, and the organisational structure that exists even today. In fact, when he was in Delhi in 1992, an invitation to hear him speak at the Ad Club said," … advertising has many gurus, many professors, many geniuses, and many mavericks. But only one King”!

What he said about advertising

“Don’t measure what advertising does to people, start at the other end and ask what people do with ads.”

“If advertising is to succeed, it has to involve the receiver and entice him into participating actively in whatever is being communicated about the brand. It has to stretch his imagination and make him an accomplice.”

“ Advertisements compete not only with other advertisements but also with editorial, programmes, people, events and life itself… all of us spend our lives subconsciously zapping what we have decided almost instantaneoulsly , not to be interested in”.

What he said about consumers

“Consumers nowadays are extremely expert in advertising; they see a great deal of it and they have quite precise – and usually accurate – ideas about what it’s for. Again and again research has shown them analyzing advertisements much as agency people or brand managers do, often using the same jargon. They show skills in decoding visual imagery, working out the strategy, picking up clues, seeing the company behind the brand, accepting quick cuts, recognizing the actors in voice-overs, and so on.
What has changed most in recent years is that today they are more inclined to believe that not just the brand but advertising itself should give them some sort of reward – aesthetic, emotional or intellectual. They see advertisements not only as a medium through which company talks to them but also as part of the style, skills and personality of the company itself. To them, the style of the advertising is as much a part of a brand as the pack is.”

All this he said in the 70s!

Glimpses form the book flap

“The book tells the modern young planner in these pressed times who they are and what they should be.”
- Malcolm White, Planning Partner, Krowe

"What is a Brand?’ by Stephen King was one of the most influential pieces of work ever and has had a lasting influence on the way in which I think about brands. A few years ago I had the extraordinary experience of re-visiting the video of it made by Stephen and Jeremy Bullmore and the stunning thing was how prescient they had been some thirty years previously.
- Hamish Pringle, Director General, IPA

"King’s relentless thirst to understand, rigour of questioning and breadth of learning remain an inspiration. A profoundly rewarding, and rather humbling read.
- Adam Morgan, author of Eat the Big Fish, and The Pirate Inside

Media coverage on the book launch

21 November 2007

Employee Engagement and the New Age KarmaYogi

(A version of this piece appeared in The Economic Times, Nov 16, 07)
Beauty packages for diwali, karva chauth on office terraces, weaving in sports and games into work lives and presence on Second Life… increasingly, employee is consumer and employee delight is part of talent recruitment, training and retention. But is it making any real difference? Are organisations missing the woods for the trees in the search for employee engagement?

A Towers Perrin study in 18 countries (including India), among 90,000 workers reports that only one in five employees were engaged. The study defines engagement as the degree to which workers connect to the company emotionally, are aware of what they need to do to add value, and are willing to take that action. Higher engagement led not only to retention but also increased profits. And, most importantly it was senior managers that drove employee engagement, (not just feel-good HR activities). India, incidentally, emerged the third most engaged country, next to Mexico and Brazil!

So what exactly do leading edge employees in India want? The Power and the Glory, a recent JWT Brand Chakras study on the global Indian, revealed the complete centrality of work is worship. But these new age karma yogis are clear: work is worship, but only at the altar of power, fame and money. Four very clear desires and demands emerged.

One: Work is an avenue of creativity and innovation, therefore organisational backing of ideas is imperative. This needs to be seen in the light of: a) growing unwillingness to work for others and need to get credit for one’s own work and not give it to the company; and b) a disdain for large organizations even though they work in them, and a belief that individuals and the wisdom of the crowds is faster on the innovation curve.

Two: Work must help to “build my name larger than the organisation”. Careers should provide adequate scope for personal evolution and growth, even while offering monetary rewards. And must, sooner rather than later, bestow a larger-than-life status, leading to social and professional influence and clout.

Three: Work must lead to opportunities to be part of the Indian badge on the world stage. Work is part of their celebration of living, and a keen desire for enriching experiences. So they expect continuous broadening of horizons, skill enhancement, early positions of power and responsibility, and opportunities to ride the crest of technological advances – so that they can evolve a larger world view. Through work, they “want a name for boosting the country’s economy” and satisfy the thirst to play a role in the global impact India is going to have; create jobs, wealth and technology.

Four: Eventually, enriching spiritual and emotional experiences – so that they can “give back”, positively influence others’ destinies and be put on a pedestal. They feel a certain responsibility to make India a better place. Twenty eight year olds are already talking of “going back to my village and doing sericulture”. Or “I’m earning two lakhs a month as a surgeon, so I give free medicines on Sundays at home. My patients say I’m God. I tell them no, but they can put me next to him.”
On his part, his personal strategies are in three large areas.

One: invest intellect and energy in work, seize the initiative in any situation, be open minded and adventurous with respect to exploring career opportunities - not letting geographical boundaries or cultural differences come in the way.
Two: get spouse and family to buy into his vision of his career; spell out the rewards at stake for them – compensation for not making them the fulcrum of his life. “My wife must actively help and support the search for glory. She is second to career, and she knows it and it is to her advantage, because my success will brings her also greater social respect’. Equally, working women want husbands to “be a source of inspiration” in their own similar quest.
Three: cultivate the power of networking by shrewd choice of friends and contacts because “ you never know when they’ll come in handy”.

Underlying all this, are two fundamental shifts in corporate life.

The first is a reduction of distance to the leadership. Psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar, in his book The Indians, cites the GLOBE (Global Leadership and Organisational Behaviour Effectiveness) study as confirming that “what younger managers in India most dearly wish for is a reduction in the power distance between the leader and the led”. He goes on to draw a curious parallel in the transition of father-son relationships in middle class family life – from the formality and restraint of the authoritative joint family patriarch who struggles to express his love for his children to the more involved playmate of today, available to both sons and daughters.

The second is a greater demand on the leadership for inspiration, collaboration, communication, and nurturing. Again, Sudhir Kakar points out the basic Indian tendency to idealize the leader, avoid realistic evaluations and ignore his weaknesses. But not any more. Young global Indians too are revising their expectations of their leaders.The JWT Brand Chakras study showed that younger people like to use their talent to have a hold on their leaders, while older managers say dealing with younger people is one of their key challenges.
Will Indian senior management move quickly to harness the power of the new age karma yogi? Or absorbed in their own worship, expect mehendi, kickboxing and film screenings to do the trick?

Here are a couple of ads that reflect different aspects of work is worship.

25 October 2007

Brand Chakras Study: Mother India


The Indian Mother-and-Child is now a team with a shared vision, with mothers actively believing they can shape their children’s destiny for mutual benefit, says the latest JWT Brand Chakras™ study.
Close on the heels of The Power and the Glory, which studied the Global Indian, JWT now looks at payoffs that mothers want from their children and vice versa, through Brand Chakras™.

The insight mining exercise was done in eight centers - Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkatta, Kanpur, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Trichur, and covered SEC A, B mothers with children between 8 and 16, through group discussions, and depth interviews with pairs of mothers and their children.

Enabling and empowering, coach and companion, event manager and project manager, motherhood has moved beyond protection, nurturance, compassion and selflessness. The child is now a project and a mission, and industriousness, determination, passion and planning are the dominant traits. The children too are taking the roti- kapada-makaan for granted and are looking to the mother to give them the headstart they need in life and ensure that they remain focused.

Other shifts include: from living for the moment to constantly shaping the future; from child’s success to shared glory; and a clear staking of claims on the eligibility for the fruits of success.

Emotional elasticity, reasonable adult-like conversations, retaining locus of control while appearing to be democratic, love that includes toughness and a steeling of the heart, are some of the mother’s strategies.

Children in return are conscious of the contribution that their mothers make in their current lives by donning the roles of organizer, guide, enforcer, and friend. While there may be the usual squabbles over food, outings and social activities, children do indeed look to their mothers to give them courage, inspiration, help them set and achieve their goals and fill them with a will to win. Mother is both cushion and launch pad… giving new meaning to the famous line “mere paas maa hai”! They seem to be defining success in terms of living up to the mother’s expectations. Though, “itna tenson nahin lene ka” is also something they’d like to say to the mothers!

All mothers showed a strong inclination to Power chakra qualities, but three types of mothers emerged:
The Lifeline Seeker: she has given up hopes of the husband improving their lives and is totally dependant on the child to rise to glorious levels and rescue her; looking for insurance and security, she will do everything she can to help them in this journey, but is clearly establishing her rights to the fruits of this labour.
The Coronation Seekers: she is hoping her child’s achievements will bring her out of a life of oblivion and bestow on her a halo for greater social conquest… the child is an opportunity to make an overwhelming statement about herself.
The Independence Seeker: her striving to excel in the mother role is geared to fostering independence and self-reliance in her child, so that she will have the freedom and space for her own pursuits; motherhood enhances her efficiency and gives her exposure that helps her discover unexplored facets of herself.

The implication for brands is that:
*brands need not necessarily choose between mother or child as target but could talk to the duo; *must reflect the new sets of motherhood values and attitudes;
*need to find a role in the shared vision and future that they are chasing;
*salute the mother, Maa thujhe salaam for a new set of reasons;
*connect with the philosophy of effort and determination that she is trying to instill;
*focus on the 15 Chakra payoffs that children chose from the battery of 60 fundamental payoffs; *draw from the mothers’ behaviour codes across the seven chakras that the study has identified.

While the study focused on mothers, it has revealed three types of fathers too – according to the mothers!

The Genuine Partner: who tries to play a synergistic role willingly taking up activities which are beyond the mother’s competence;
The Conveniently Detached: who is taking it easy, capitalizing on the mother’s high involvement and taking up the provider stance to negate criticism of his lack of involvement; and
The Cynically Detached: who disagrees with the approach, perceives the mother as crossing the line and fostering too much dependance, and feels children need a more hands-off approach.

Brand Chakras™ is the first Indian strategic planning tool that applies the 2000 year old chakra system as laid out by Patanjali, to consumers and brands. This original system of understanding human behaviour based on the seven major nerve/energy centers in the human body has never been used in marketing, and is an initiative of Strategic Planning at JWT India. http://www.brandchakras.com/

For further information, write to Mythili.Chandrasekar@jwt.com

15 October 2007

When was the last time you Ego Surfed?

Have you ever wondered what might come up when you Google your name, your blog or website? Or, how many times your blog has been searched for or looked up ?

EgoSurf.org loves egos and believes they need nurturing! “Egosurf helps massage the web publishers ego, and there by maintain the cool equilibrium of the net itself”, they say!
The ego ranking, they say, is arrived at by using “A highly secretive and complex algorithm developed over months of work, utilizing the best mathematics brains in Weston-super-Mare, to calculate the cubic volume (in cm3) of ego contained in your search engine experience.”

Take a look and enjoy this ego soothing, boosting or crushing experience as the case maybe!


The Prepared Mind

Monica’s super clean obsession hilariously brings out the hidden “control freak” side of the other wise normal individual. A refreshing idea for a cleaning product waiting to be taken?

And the effect our “ super-cleaner “ has on people living with her!

The Dove Onslaught

For the past couple of years, the Dove campaigns on “Real beauty” have been attempting to alter popular perceptions of women and beauty.

In continuation with this theme, Dove’s latest communication, centered on young girls, urges parents to “protect” their little girls from the harmful and self-deprecating messages of the “beauty industry”.

The global debate on the Dove commercial has been on these lines:
Critics state that, as a product, Dove isn’t herbal, organic or even seaweed-based so why is Dove supposed to be pure, safe and most importantly- not a part of the beauty industry? Added to this, Dove urges women to feel comfortable with their natural body contours, while selling anti-cellulite gels. It is still trying to sell beauty products at the end of the day, they say.
Supporters argue that, even if it is to sell beauty products, the attempt to boost the self-esteem of women and urging them to accept themselves “as they are” deserves praise. Their commercials do not feed on the “media-generated” inadequacies of the female form and thereby do not sell on the basis of insecurity or fear.

So is it genuine concern or just clever advertising?

04 October 2007

Any Male In Sight ?

We start a new stream of thought here, looking at men from all angles! Over the next few months we will look at Men and the Seven Deadly Sins, What Men Chase, Male Bonding, Conflicts in Men, and more.

To start with, we bring you the latest wave maker in JWT: from JWT Paris, the feelings of a man looking at the woman welcoming the new member in their family, a portrayal of age-old father-son rivalry for... guess which category?

03 October 2007

Where have all the men gone?

Where have all the men gone? Suresh Mohankumar, JWT Planning, Chennai

Simple, they have turned into cars; if we were to believe Maruti that is!!
But men have been missing from advertising and sitcoms for a very, very long time now. With the lenses being focused elsewhere, the media has been full of stories of the ‘new woman’. It has been so for quite some time now. Some call her the ‘post modern woman’. She is highly qualified and her economic independence has set in motion social tremors that are bound to have far reaching implications.

She is the new super hero or should we say the super heroine. Most heroes through out the history of popular fiction have had sidekicks. Batman has Robin, Sherlock Holmes has Dr. Watson, Bugs Bunny has the hunter, and even Anil Kapoor has Jackie Shroff. So it should come as no surprise that she too has a sidekick. Thirty minutes of TV gazing will tell you exactly who this sidekick is. But unlike the sidekicks mentioned earlier this one is an absolute no-hoper.

Meet Mr. Buddhu. He is out there putting on his act to help sell cornflakes, cars, financial services products, cooking oil, credit cards, tea and pretty much everything else. More often than not, he also happens to be the significant “other” in our super heroine’s life.

There are certain traits that clearly mark him out

- He displays symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. He simply cannot remember anything especially when it comes to dates. Wedding anniversaries, birthdays, or even the date for paying the LIC premium; in fact you can safely depend on him to forget any significant date
- He cannot take a decision. Not to save his life. He needs to be pushed and prodded into it. He can’t even decide when and how to propose to his girl
- It is beyond him to resist temptations of any kind. Even when they come in the form of samosas and jalebis.
- He is absolutely and completely insensitive. He would much rather hear cricket commentary than listen to his wife talk during their anniversary dinner
- He is such a complete dud that he can’t even make out that his house is being cleaned out by goons even when he walks right past them as they carry the loot down the stairs.
- He is so way gone that he completely misses it when some really awesome looking women hit on him
- Taking his mind off something is child’s play. Just get him to drive around a little bit and he will even forget that ten out of hundred is really bad even if its in maths
- His interest in cricket does not mean that he knows how to get scores on his mobile; he needs his son’s help for this.
- It is not just advertising that has been running down men so meticulously. A quick check of the major sitcoms is ample proof that this breed is alive and kicking there. Two and a half men, Everybody loves Raymond, Fraser, The Office, Becker, According to Jim- the list is endless and the attributes quite clear
- Men have an exaggerated opinion of their self worth
- They can’t think of anything other than sex
- They are sloppy
- They chase trouble or rather trouble chases them and gets them all the time
- They cannot express themselves emotionally
- They cannot take a complement or give one well enough
- They are pathetic role models to their kids

The less said on the state of male characters in Hindi Television serials the better.
They are either, puppets moved along by the heroine/ the vamp or completely devoid of morals.

The classic time tested method of story telling, that has been practiced by authors since the time of Ramayana, follows a simple logic the goodness of one’s character gets amplified when it is juxtaposed against the evil of the other. The absolute smartness of the woman therefore has to be juxtaposed with the dudness of the man.

Or should it be? Do agencies and marketers need the help of a caricature ‘him’ to appeal to the woman? Do women really feel more perfect and fulfilled when they are communicated to in such a manner? Isn’t it time to break this stereotype? Isn’t it time that the real men stood up?

Why don't you tell us why you think this is happening in Indian advertising?

12 September 2007

The Waiting Game

The Waiting Game: Rasika Fernandes, JWT Planning, Delhi

Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Dr. Seuss, Oh The Place’s You’ll Go

Waiting. It’s something we hate to do but can’t evade.

But, from a marketer’s perspective, those precious seconds of doing nothing, of staring into oblivion, offers us a priceless opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with the reason for our being - Our Consumer.

That’s where the concept of Wait Marketing, propagated by Professor Diana Derval comes in.
Wait Marketing is about avoiding the need to be intrusive and bothering people when they are busy or enjoying themselves and communicating with them only and only when they are available and open to having a conversation with you.

It’s about finding a good place and time to communicate with people who might be receptive to what you have to say, because they have nothing better to do! That place and time is the moment of ‘waiting’. Waiting in a queue, waiting for your movie to begin, waiting in the doctor’s room, waiting for your bus, waiting when you’re downloading from the Internet…

Wait Marketing is people friendly and more effective because instead of being an intrusion in people’s lives, we try and find ways to enhance the dull moment of waiting by connecting with people in interesting, un-expected ways about things that interest them.

Studies published by independent advertising organisations, in Europe and in the US, confirm that consumers are at least 2 times more receptive while they are waiting. This is linked to the fact that advertising is in that particular context welcome. A TV ad, for instance, will be memorised by 17% of the consumers if they watch it on their TV screen at home. The same ad will be remembered by 27% of consumers if they see it while they are in the doctor’s waiting room.

A great example of Wait Marketing is that of MSNBC.com who launched a movie theater version of their web based game, called NewsBreaker where MSNBC.com headlines float to the bottom of the theatre screen and when players hit 25 of the headlines with their paddle, they gain another life.

In the theater version, instead of a single player moving a paddle left and right with a keyboard, the entire audience controlled the paddle together, moving it around by waving their arms.
A motion-sensitive camera in the front of the theater measured how the audience was moving its arms. The camera then translated that collective motion to an onscreen paddle that players used to bounce a ball back up to the top of the screen to knock out blocks. In effect, the audience became the joystick!

The game was being run in place of the advertisements that usually play before film previews and was received with much enthusiasm because it meaningfully engaged an otherwise waiting audience.
Your audience is waiting to be wooed! What are you waiting for?

For more information and examples on wait marketing visit

P.S. On the flip side,surely there is a brand promise in this itself: “you don’t have to wait”.Here’s Seinfeld again, frustrated at a restaurant, waiting for a table.

Purchase Pathways

It’s the treasure trail that every marketer is obsessed with.The purchasing behavior/pathway of consumers – known as the Buying System at JWT - is as unique as it is common.

Each category has it’s own path. From the display window to the shopping bag, there are as many paths as there are consumers.

In an attempt to put these paths into perspective, some directions have come out of a recent study conducted by Yahoo & OMD, titled “Long and Winding Road: The Route to the Cash Register”. Different purchase pathways of different categories as well as different kinds of people: http://www.scottweisbrod.com/index.php/?p=301

Different kinds of purchase pathways
· QUICK: This path involves little consideration. Consumer packaged goods are often quick paths.
· WINDING: Comparison-shopping between different channels, including online and offline retailers, typifies this path. Retail goods are often winding paths.
· LONG: This path involves researching various options over an extended period of time. Technology purchases are often long paths, particularly if the price tag is high.
· LONG AND WINDING: This path requires investing a considerable amount of time researching across several channels. Many big-ticket items — including automobiles and financial services — follow a long and winding path. These paths offer marketers the most opportunity to impact and possibly sway a purchase decision in their favor, because consumers of these products are the hungriest for information.

You can see the full report, The Long and Winding Road: the route to the cash register research here.http://www.scottweisbrod.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/Long_Winding_Road_v10.pdf

A related comment: the traditional marketing funnel is dead, measuring reach and frequency vs measuring engagement. http://www.scottweisbrod.com/index.php/?p=293

The Prepared Mind

In continuation of our series, The Prepared Mind.

Two wonderful insights and two readymade ads. This time from FRIENDS.

1) Girls fantasize about their wedding dress long before they actually get married!

2) There are times in our lives when we bolt the door on a relationship, locking away our emotions– and sometimes we let them back in! What a wonderful way to look at locks.

If there are any FRIENDS fanatics out there, do write about your favourite scenes... anything that made you think "Hey, I must put that in an ad one day!".

22 August 2007

The Prepared Mind: Insights are everywhere, are we looking?

INSIGHTS! Easily the most used, misused, abused word in advertising! Perhaps the one question most often asked is, "achcha, you have any insights on...?"! But where on earth do you find them? The question really is, Are you looking? All the time?

"In the Field of Observation, Chance Favours the Prepared Mind" said Loius Pasteur. It really is no different in the field of advertising!

We start a series here, The Prepared Mind, jotting down stuff we see today, for use some day.

To start off, a couple of scenes from Seinfeld: a delightful moment while buying something expensive, and some post-purchase satisfaction.

Why is a good insight like a refrigerator?/ An all time favourite piece by JWT creative legend Jeremy Bullmore

Here is an Insight: "Product satisfaction arises less from inherent construction and performance than from consumers' internalised perceptions of personal utility."

You may have found it faintly familiar; and - when you finally worked out what it meant - more than faintly obvious. What you won't have found it to be is exhilarating, inspiring, memorable, actionable, evocative. You will not have been tempted to repeat it to colleagues or include it in your next internal newsletter. Certainly, it contains a truth - and an important truth at that; but it just sits there.

Between 40 and 50 years ago, Professor Theodore Levitt famously told his Harvard Business School students: "People don't want quarter-inch drills. They want quarterinch holes." It's been quoted a million times ever since and enlightened generations of marketing people. But what if Professor Levitt had chosen to say this: "Product satisfaction arises less from inherent construction and performance than from consumers' internalised perceptions of personal utility." (Doesn't improve with repetition, does it?)

Whether from their research companies or their communications agencies, marketing companies today are unanimous in demanding insights. There seems to be no universal agreement on what an insight is but a reasonable definition would seem to be something like this: "A new understanding, probably of human behaviour or attitude, as a result of which action may be taken and an enterprise more efficiently conducted."

The call for insights is natural. To return to Levitt's dictum, marketing companies don't want research; they want enlightenment. Conventional market research, professionally conducted, can paint an invaluable picture of the immediate past; but companies also need help in forging their futures. That's what lies behind the demand for insights - but not all insights are equal. They come in two very different styles and with very different values. There are low-potency insights and there are high-potency insights. "Product satisfaction arises less from inherent construction and performance than from consumers' internalised perceptions of personal utility" is a low-potency insight. "People don't want quarter-inch drills. They want quarter-inch holes" is a high-potency insight.

Read the full article here, and find out why an insight is like a refrigerator, http://www.wpp.com/WPP/Marketing/Articles/whyisagoodinsightlikearefrigerator.htm

Planning For Good: Putting social networking to good use

Planning for Good is a brand new group on Facebook formed with the intent of picking up causes, and using collective intelligence to offer solutions to non profit organisations.

With over 300 members already and growing every day, the first brief is out: The Idea Village, a non-profit venture that supports innovative businesses, must now encourage, motivate and retain young talent to elevate the next generation of leaders to reinvent New Orleans.

If you are on Facebook, check this out. If you are not on Facebook, then this is a terrific reason to get on to it.

Planners as Idea Thieves: A new model for network creativity

Another recent Atticus winner, William Charnock, JWT Planning, New York writes about global and local creativity. "What’s wrong with global creativity is that we create a culture of can’t.The output of our process is invariably a list of reasons why creative ideas cannot work (a list of global considerations only the global team is aware of and can solve for). The victims of this process are the central creative teams who are fed a list of impossible demands. “No humor, it will not be understood in Germany”; “No use of language”; “It will not translate”; “No use of sports”; “No reference to numbers, as they have religious meaning”; “Colors too have secret meanings”; “Hand signals are out, as are animals”; “No sex, it will never be allowed on the US networks.” Anything people feel passionate about is deemed out of bounds for global creativity. But the internet and global communications have eroded the boundaries between local and global to the point where everything we create exists on a global stage. Whether we like it or not, advertising agencies are no longer in charge of what gets distributed to where—the consumer is. Global ideas are no longer the ones designated global by a global team; they are the ideas that have broad appeal and touch a nerve withconsumers in many parts of the world. Global ideas are simply the best ideas in the world that rise to the top and get circulated and distributed by the people who consume them. Global ideas are local ideas with world class potential."

He advocates a new model where planners should be ideas thief and idea modifier. 'Such a model changes how global teams work... their global role should be one of “idea thief” and “modifier.” As “idea thief,” the planner takes the best, most successful ideas and tries to identify why the idea worked so well locally and what it would take to replicate that successfully in different markets/cultures. As ”modifier,” the global planner takes local ideas and adds their own interpretation/execution of it, often merging or combining ideas from different markets that touch on a similar territory.'

Read the full article here, http://networkcreativity.com/

Unlocking Naturals: Shaziya's Recent Atticus Win

JWT Planning, Mumbai, Shaziya Khan’s paper on Unlocking Naturals - a point of view on the under-exploited potential of “natural” products - won an Atticus Certificate of Merit this year. She argues that natural products may have been discovered in the past, but natural brands can be new age, bright and potentially iconic if taken out of the dark. Deeply embedded meanings and associations of naturals could be an incredibly appealing new age choice that encompasses life choices, design philosophies and spirited individualism, giving a powerful resonance to what ‘being natural’ really is.

Read the article which first appeared in BusinessWorld here,

Or the Admap version here,

12 August 2007

Welcome to Coffee and Donuts on the Net!

To kick off Coffee and Donuts on the Net, we bring you Guy Murphy, JWT Worldwide Planning Director's post, "Objectives are for wimps" from the IPA Strategy Group blog.

And we marvel at the Atticus award winning paper written by Shaziya Khan, JWT Planning Mumbai, many years ago - see how what she said has come so true!

Objectives are for wimps/ Guy Murphy, JWT Worldwide Planning Director

Objectives are for wimps

Guy Murphy JWT Worldwide Planning Director makes a case for spending more time defining objectives before getting into strategy discussions.

“ Why do we spend so little time thinking about the objective for communication? And why, instead, do we plunge so quickly into strategy?” he asks. “Having an objective tells us how to evaluate strategy. It also tells us how to judge levels of success. But most fundamentally, having the right objective means you have properly defined the problem and are therefore more likely to be successful.

I will always remember the tale of the tomato farmer whose tomato farming machinery was too big to pick the tomatoes. But instead of defining the problem as having the wrong machinery (and having to spend millions to upgrade), he defined the problem as not growing big enough tomatoes (needing only minor investment). A problem well defined is an objective well understood.So, if it is so important, why do we not talk much about objectives?”

Read his article “Objectives are for wimps” here http://ipastrategygroup.blogspot.com/2007/03/objectives-are-for-wimps.html

The impact of media on identity/Shaziya Khan, JWT Planning, Mumbai

Way back in 2000, Shaziya Khan, JWT Planning, Mumbai, won an Atticus award for her paper The Impact of Media on Identity, in which she wrote about Imagined Communities and argued that the task of media practitioners should be to build communities around a brand. Something that has become the order of the day today.
This is what her paper said back then…

The Impact of Media on Identity

The media shape identity. Those working in the media business understand its impact in familiar but somewhat superficial measures like reach and recall. However, from a deeper socio-cultural perspective the media are seen to have a more fundamental impact - shaping collective identity. When we understand that, we become better media practitioners.

The evidence proves that the media impact collective identity in two ways:
1) The media create 'imagined communities': the media shape a collective identity that enables people to imagine a connectedness on a broader than local scale, linking people who may never physically meet. This is because the media afford a sense of participation, a celebration of the instantaneous 'this-is-going-on' culture.
2) Due to the media, our imagining is bifocal i.e. global and local: Global media events ignore geographical and cultural boundaries. This has led to this age being called the age of hyper space in which media events create new geographies of the world and its inhabitants. While I would not go so far as McKenzie Wark, who argues 'we no longer have roots, we have aerials', I would conclude that due to the media our imagining is increasingly bifocal - global and local.What does the impact of media on collective identity imply for media practitioners? Given that media technology is shifting rapidly and media habits of people are changing rapidly, there is a call for a more holistic approach toward the hugely expanded choices available to media practitioners. To add value from the centre and synergise the impact of diverse activities used for brand building, I believe that understanding the impact of media on identity provides useful applications. And these apply to all media businesses, helping us to become wiser media practitioners.

Creating Imagined Communities

If we accept that the real power of the media is to create imagined communities - then there is a paradigm shift in how we work in the media business. Let’s take a hypothetical scenario from a ‘brand communication company’ working on Pond’s talcum powder for modern Indian women.

Paradigm shift # 1: redefining our jobs
The task of media businesses is not merely to 'reach' or target a selected community but in fact to create this imagined community. In political and cultural spheres, the media have been effectively harnessed to create imagined communities. In our businesses we sit, atop the same power that created revolutions, gave birth to nations and changed cultural tastes. Are we harnessing it? In fact, before we do that, do we even understand what it is capable of? There is no community 'out there', the community has always to be created. For example, the communication for Pond's talcum powder in India is not merely targeted to the modern Indian woman. The task of the communication is to create this imagined community of modern women.

Paradigm shift # 2: redefining our starting point
If our job is to create an imagined community, then the starting point is identifying what values bind this community together. There are legendary brands that have already demonstrated this successfully. And achieved near cult status in the process. For example, Harley Davidson, whose values are freedom, individuality and respect. Identifying its core values and living up to them, is the key to building an imagined community around a brand. Simple. This means we don't start with a neatly defined target audience (though a likely target group is profiled at some stage) but we start with and focus on the values the brand wants to stand for.

Relatedly, a) These can be known or acceptable values such as 'eco friendly' is today or these can be unknown and radical values such as 'equal rights' was a few centuries back.
b) These values are going to be best articulated by leaders of the imagined community who may be inside or outside the particular media business. Their involvement at the starting point enriches the process of creation.

Paradigm shift # 3: redefining our measures
The measure of how well we do our job is what degree of connectedness or comradeship we build among members of our imagined community. This implies that measures of media effectiveness have to include more qualitative parameters. Using only quantitative measures, simplifies rather than manages the complexity of measuring media impact and effectiveness. If a handful of photocopied pamphlets can cause a revolution, we certainly have reason to believe that it is quality of involvement with the media in addition to size of audience that evidences its real effectiveness. And we need to figure out how to capture this. What the internet has taught us is that 'intrusion marketing' is going to die. 'Permission marketing' is in. Consumers will be part of communities that they like to be part of. Capturing people's imagination is a tough thing to do and a tough thing to measure. But we need to find out ways to do that.

Creating Bifocal Imagining
Since the media increasingly engender bifocal (global and local) imagining among people, this implies that potentially almost everyone can be well read and well travelled... just from sitting in front of the computer or television screen. Bifocal imagining holds rich promise for all our diverse media businesses - it simultaneously makes our canvass richer and demands that it be so. Creating 'killer content', providing the 'e' factor and other similar arguments build a strong case for 'content being king'. Of course, richer, sassier, friendlier, punchier content is always better. The concept of bifocal imagining provides an insight into how we can deliver it. In design and copy, there would be a need for richer and faster cross border flows of ethnic signs, symbols and lingo making for a more cosmopolitan creative canvass. To give a small example, today, guru (a Hindi word) and spiel (a Jewish word) are some imports into spoken and written English. However, in the future, copy and design, books and screenplays will be much richer due to increased "export-import" (a gem of 'Indian English', which is in itself an art form!) of cultural artefacts made possible due to bifocal imagining. The process has already begun. To quote Manoj Night Shyamalan, the 28 year old South Indian writer and director of the film 'The Sixth Sense': "I don't make choices that are just America, or just Philadelphia where I live, it's more about what my grandma is going to think, what my friends in Hong Kong are going to think. It's all a global feeling, [...] it's nice to think about that because it is a world audience."

A sign
These are exciting times to work in the media business. It's a business of ideas and of the imagination. And, as we've seen it can really have a powerful impact. A sign at one of the world's highest natural bungee jumps (111 metres) on the Zambezi river says: 'If you're standing on the edge you're occupying too much space'. It's a sign for media practitioners as well. Are they creating imagined communities and bifocal imagining or are they just occupying space?

The power and the glory: Coffee and Donuts/July 07/ Excerpts from JWT study on global Indians

The Power and the Glory
Highlights from recent JWT study on Global Indians

For the global Indian, work is clearly worship - at the altar of fame and money - and a stepping stone to playing God, some day soon.

• Work is worship
*Career is at the heart of life. * Work is an avenue for creativity and innovation * Independence, reduction of distance to the leadership and organizational backing of ideas are important values that companies must offer * There is a driving desire to have the power to take decisions and have people reporting to you * One must build one’s name to be bigger than the company one belongs to * There is growing unwillingness to work for others and need to get credit for one’s own work and not give it to the company * Younger men like the idea of having a hold on their leaders through being a specialist/expert * Dealing with younger, more talented people is one of the challenges for the older people.

• Globalness
*It is important to work for an international company * Ambitions must go beyond India. * Through work, they “want a name for boosting the country’s economy”. There is thirst to play a role in the global impact India is going to have; create jobs, wealth and technology * They feel a certain responsibility to make India a better place.

• Relationships
*All other areas of life stem from success at work and must contribute to the search for glory. * Family respect depends on career success * Wife must actively help and support the search for glory * Men feel wife is second to career, and she knows it and it is to her advantage, because his success brings her greater social respect * Friends and networks are important because “they come in handy”, “you never know who you will need, when” * Friends must help you with your ideas * Women want their spouses to be a source of inspiration.

• Money
* Money is a natural consequence of success at work * Money leads to better lifestyle, which again reflects success at work, and feeds back to climbing the social ladder, which is seen as an important part of work life rather than separate * Heightened personal confidence, ability to take risks, broadening of views and fearless expression of views, social and legal insulation, are some of the other payoffs of money * Relaxation is important but also a waste of time, the time is better spent making more money * Money is better spent, leveraged and shown-off in India rather than outside the country.

• Social give-back
*Extreme expertise at work and money allows one to transcend to social give-back, which actually makes you feel you are playing god. This benevolence too is a reflection of, and route to, glory.

• Spiritual liberation
* It’s the cushion of affluence that will allow and facilitate even spiritual liberation* Experiences * The value of life is now estimated in terms of the quality of experiences one has, and work is central to this too * Work itself is among the possible enriching experiences * Work leads to money, and money makes many new experiences possible – leisure experiences, tech experiences, entrepreneurial adventures as well as (supposedly) noble activities.

• Technology
* Increasing familiarity with technology and the fact that more numbers of people are actually involved in creating technology, means that technology products need to talk a different language – and this is not necessarily a marketing language * These workers take great pride in the ability of individuals and like minded groups to create revolutions; there is some disdain for large organizations even as they work in them * They see through organizations and “manufactured” claims very quickly * They demand proof, higher degree of relevance and demonstration of experiences.

• Masculinity
* Above all, the global Indian spirit is in fact driving the Indian male’s rediscovery of his masculinity, which was somewhat under question in the light of growing woman power, growing child power, and too much media talk on the feminine side of him.

• Implication for brands
1) Compliment, partner and further the newfound rediscovery of a high level of self worth.
2) Give him a role to play in shaping the brand’s success rather than be passive receivers of brand messages, co-custodian rather than consumer.
3) Stand for more elevated, inspiring, larger life purposes – brands that aim to transform economies, societies and the way individual lives are lived, will find greater relevance than brands that offer transient payoffs or operate in the area of just reflecting his personality, attracting female attention or being a statement of style and achievement.
4) Draw from the 16 hot payoffs that most resonate with this leading edge target group. Brands - with messages, products, services, activities and associations - should help to: look at life with courage, symbolise their influence over others, partner their goal oriented nature, reflect and reward their highly competitive spirit, make them feel more intelligent than others, bring out their creativity and innovative ideas, encourage them to do things that have not been done before, inspire them with wisdom for a higher level of leadership.

This study was done throught Brand Chakras™ - a proprietary toolkit of JWT India.

Brand Chakras is a strategic planning tool for brand development based on a 2,000 year-old system from the Indian Upanishads – the Chakra system as laid out in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras – the first system of understanding human behaviour based on the human body, that has never been applied to brands.

The seven major chakras are seven basic energy centers that create the seven driving life themes that we live by.These chakras correlate not only to levels of consciousness but also to archetypes and personality dimensions that shape everything from fundamental values and beliefs to fears, desires, motivations, habits and day-to-day behaviour of every human being.

Brand Chakras™ is constructed on seven different “playgrounds of desires” as it were.
The Brand Chakras™ toolkit spans quantitative and qualitative tools to understand and measure target groups, brands, as well as payoffs. This study used Chakra Payoffs Reading, which creates a battery of payoffs that brands can offer consumers and is useful for insight mining/qualitative research as well as quantitative analysis of consumer relationship with category or expectation from the brand.

Chakra 1: Muladhara:Urge for survival – Abundance and physical strength
Chakra 2: Swaddisthana:Pursuit of pleasure – Sexual vitality and physical creativity
Chakra 3: Manipura:Drive for power – Good will and right actions
Chakra 4: Anahata:Quest for love – Higher emotions
Chakra 5: Vishuddha:Voice of creative expression – Truth and higher creativity
Chakra 6: Ajna:Desire for transcendence – Active intelligence
Chakra 7: Sahasara:Surrender to spirituality – Mental and intuitive intelligence

This study found that the global Indian today is largely driven by:
* Manipura: the drive for power (solar plexus);
* Vishuddha: the voice of creative expression - in search of truth and higher creativity (throat);
* Ajna: desire for transcendence - active intelligence (third eye).

For more details on Brand Chakras™, see http://www.brandchakras.com/

11 August 2007

The performance matrix: Coffee and Donuts/April 07/Amit Sutha, JWT Planning, Mumbai

The Performance Matrix

Performance edge has always been the foundation of brand strength. Many of the world’s most successful brands appreciated and understood the power of their technical product difference (however minute it may have been) and were able to convert it into a mental distance, thus increasing consumer bonding with the brand.

Unfortunately, the more product parity increases, the more brands are getting dependant on either the much abused ‘emotional’ to create any kind of differentiation; Or it’s about the other brand buzz word: SALIENCE - Say the same thing but say it louder than any other!

So, is there a more rigorous way, or a thumb rule, or a quick ready reckoner by which we can build ‘perceptual advantages’ for brands on ‘functional aspects’? Turning technical product difference into mental distance?

The five mental fields of performance
These five fields are to do with the five different ways in which a consumer evaluates the claim of any brand or product.
1.Can I measure delivery in any way?
2.How do I reassure myself that it works?
3.What does it have that tells me ‘it works’?
4.Is there anything I can judge it against?
5.How does it connect to ‘my’ life?
The brand's ability to answer at least one of these questions unequivocally, credibly and better than competition, improves its chances of impressing the consumer and convincing him/her of the performance claim.

The Quantification Lever: Can I measure the brand's delivery?
The brand’s claim to be quantifiably and substantially better than any other competition or as evaluated against a pre-set category norm.
Xx% more…
• Pepsodent - Fights 10 teeth problems against five of any other
• Surf - Removes 99 stains
• Ford Fiesta Diesel - 32kmpl, 1570 km on a full tank

The Credibility Lever: How do I reassure myself that it works?

• Nothing works better than ‘word of mouth’
• Hearing someone who knows better than me
• By experiencing performance - seeing is believing
3 communication styles used - user testimonial, expert recommendation or performance
• Dove - Candid real user testimonials
• Colgate, Lifebuoy - Doctor testimonials
• Servo (2T Bike oil) - Performance demonstration

The Attribute Lever: What does it have that tells me ‘it works’?

What’s true about the product/brand that implies truth of its performance claim. The stories most commonly used by brands today are of an ingredient, a formulation or a technology. This ‘truth’ could be real (contains Aloe Vera) or could be created/branded (Quattro technology).
• VIM Bar - Lemon Power
• Samsung - NeoMosel LCD TV
• LG - Golden Eye
• Bajaj Pulsar – DTSi

The Judgement Lever: Is there anything I can judge it against?
This is all about comparing performance of the brand against an established benchmark. The benchmark could come from anywhere - technological specification, desired ideal, an icon of superiority, a gold standard, or a torture test… just about anything that is relevant to the promise.
• Bru Instant Coffee - As good as filter coffee
• Castrol Engine Oil - Performs even at 110 degrees
• Onida AC - Cools even in 48˚C

The Emotional Lever: How does brand performance connect to my life?
It’s about a promise that fulfills a certain need in ones’ life, it’s about building reassurance, trust, confidence…
• ICICI Bank - Hum hain na
• LG - Life's Good
• Asian Paints - Har rang kuch kehta hai
• Surf Excel Hai na

The Big Question

When should a brand use which lever to create mental distance in the mind? Needless to say, that will depend on how consumers evaluate a brand's performance. And at a basic level, consumers evaluate brand performance on 2 levels.
1. Extent of Technical Product Advantage.

2. Extent of consumer skepticism in category performance claims.

Based on how a consumer evaluates the performance of brands within a category; the category itself can be plotted on different positions in the framework. This framework can be further imploded. So each entry (category /sub-category) and the brands therein can be further plotted into another such framework. With TECHNICAL PRODUCT ADVANTAGE Perceptible/Marginal/None on one axis and CONSUMER SKEPTICISM High/Moderate/Low on another

But to create the ‘right way’ for a brand to arrive at an effective ‘performance position’ it is important to plot the five performance levers into the grid.


• Define position on the Performance Matrix Framework.
• Define position with respect to category, sub category and/or in the competitive context
• Given the brand's position on the map, framework will automatically indicate which levers work.
• And then, it’s all up to the brand team's judgment and creativity.

Ooh Aah India, Aaya India: Coffee and Donuts/March 07/Excerpts from article by Colvyn Harris, CEO, JWT India

Ooh Aah India, Aaya India!
What Indian brands need to do to become global brands

In Nation Brands of the 21st Century, Simon Anholt says: “Fifteen years ago, who would have believed that we Europeans could be happily consuming Chinese Tsingtao beer or Malaysian Proton cars? That one of the hottest-selling perfumes in Paris would be Urvashi, manufactured in India by a company that previously specialized in hydraulic brake fluid?”

Whether it is the realization of the advantages of a large young population or the newfound confidence – epitomized by the "India Everywhere" campaign in Davos this year, the message that is reaching all Indian manufacturers is that it is possible to “go global” and that it is now or never. And the Indian media is further fuelling this by aggressively, reporting and reflecting the same with pride and optimism.

Consultants who were advising multinationals on their entry strategy into India are now helping Indian companies chart their growth in world markets. While Brand India itself may be gaining recognition, all manufacturers are aware that Indian brands as such are yet to make their mark on the world map – unlike Japanese and Korean brands or even the Chinese Lenovo.

In this moment of history as it were, what could be a best practice framework for Indian brands wanting to become global brands?

1) Indian brands must work from India’s own unique DNA.
While there are plenty of lessons to learn from global /Western brands, blindly replicating their templates really will not work. Indian brands that have become successful have picked an essential Indian truth: Gandhi: alternative to violence; Deepak Chopra: alternative mental health; Kerala: an alternative tourist idea; Bollywood: extravaganza; Indian fantasy: Indian IT: cost, willingness to work round the clock; Indian Managers: intellect.

2) Industries need to get together.
Davos, Kerala, Nasscom, Bollywood … More Indian industries need to come together with a larger purpose, think long term, learn to manage collective money, share risks and develop opportunities. Indian industries like leather, tea, spices, must examine the processes and practices of world industries like diamonds, platinum, Woolmark, and Country of Origin brands like New Zealand Lamb. Once Indian industries start thinking in terms of labels, quality standards and stamps, the day may not be far off, when LVMH bags will have a small tag that reads “Made with Indian leather” or Marlboro cigarettes have “India tobacco inside”.

3) Back evangelists to the hilt.
Indian IT is an example. A few people became heroes, but thousands of smaller companies benefited. The Azim Premjis,Narayana Murthys, Ratan Tatas of this world have deep-rooted greatness, be it humility, integrity or quality. It serves our nation well as it epitomises our quest, so while industry may judge them on profits alone, their genuine philanthropy and compassion is equally legendary.

4) Take global gatherings/trade fairs and presence in other countries seriously.
“We had a stall” is not enough. “We export to 13 countries” is not enough. Indian companies need to make their presence felt in the countries that they operate in. They must think spectacular. Aim to shock and awe. It’s the new way to battle and it needs a plan.

5) Don’t imitate products of Western design; make R & D fashionable.
Indian companies do not invest enough in product planning based on consumer behavior and trend forecasting. There’s a lack of “finish” in the manufacturing. India should learn from the Koreans; they have managed stunning design and technology. The good news is India can do it, and now. Kurkure, a totally Indian brand of snacks created and developed by Frito Lay’s India operations, is so huge and fast-growing that it might soon be rolled out as a worldwide brand. If India can do it with something as basic as snack food, the sky is the limit. So give R&D its space in the sun. Treat R&D chiefs the way gastronomes treat celebrity chefs - with respect and awe for the feast they can put out.

6) Get a better understanding of value propositions.
A Korean lesson. Earlier, most Europeans and Americans may have bought Japanese products because they were significantly cheaper; but now they consistently pay more for it. The same applies to some Korean products. So it is possible to shed the “cheap” image if India can get its act together on the design-technology-value combination. This is what has been the defense strategy of most Indian brands that have given MNCs a run for their money. They found a differentiation, innovated, tapped into a native habit, sensed a trend, cracked a value equation. From shampoo sachets to SUVs, this is something Indian industry will need to understand if it wants to compete with the Chinese too.

7) Execution, execution, execution.
The Indian psychological make-up is more inclined to thinking rather than doing. The size and scale of the country and the different strata that people come from, often makes perfection in execution next to impossible. India’s expectations of its own service standards are very low. Indians tend to be not very demanding and in fact often dismiss poor quality standards with affectionate forgiveness and a strange pride that says “we are like this only”.

8) Hear the distant signals and take serious action.
Child labor, animal welfare, environment, human rights: Maybe in the future India could build products around ideas in this area. In an interview on branding Web site AllAboutBranding.com, Martin Lindstrom commented: “Far too few corporates seem prepared to go out on a limb, take a position and voice an opinion. They just want to mind their own business. But as national reputation awareness climbs, and consumers increasingly factor nationality and more particular national attitudes and actions into their consideration sets, companies may find they have little option but to think through and articulate where in the world they stand on a whole range of issues. It’s a whole new take on globalization.”

9) Documentation, sharing.
India realized it could generate its own case studies only when Harvard Business Review sited a few. Indian organizations in general are still reluctant to share details for mutual benefit.

10) Understand that messaging is an investment, not an expenditure.
Indian corporations will have to stop balking at communication costs in international media. But more than conventional messaging, India in the early stages will need offbeat ideas to “implant” the Indian story everywhere - whether it is through connections in high places, talks in colleges, unique distribution ideas, or extravagant shows and brand ambassadors.

“Like an international traveler, at any given time a global brand is simply a combination of two things: where it is from and where it is going. Long-term success in a high-speed, multi-layered, unpredictable global marketplace requires a clear understanding of both.” Elliot Polak in Going Global: How Local Origin Affects Brand Strategy.

Indian brands know where they are from. They just have to decide where they want to go. And how fast.

Read the original article here http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/261098.cms

Pre Mature Adults: Coffee and Donuts/Feb 07/ Anupama WaghKoppar, JWT Planning, Delhi

Pre Mature Adults
Are we raising our child consumers right?

By 2020 50% of India’s population will be under 35. Already, one-third of our population is under the age of 15 - which is clearly the reason why marketers are both targetting and using children in communication.

Are we reaching out to kids with adult messages and adding to an environment that is pushing them to grow up sooner than required? Are we developing a generation of cynics – and consequently a trap for ourselves, as they will pose greater challenges to marketers than any previous generation?

A few basic psychological truths about children

§ They consume messages in black and white without deeper processing.
§ They live life in the present and do not think about the future.
§ They may desire independence, but they also like to have clear guidelines as they cannot logically prioritize their activities.
§ They learn behavior from observation and shape their attitudes from role models.
§ They learn and experience through all the five senses as the cognitive abilities are just developing. Over-exposure leads to sensory overload, causing confusion and learning disability.

Signs and symptoms in the environment

§ Spaghetti strap dresses, tank tops and low waist jeans are more desirable than flowery frocks and little smock dresses.
§ Beyblade and play laptops are more exciting than the winding of the humble tops.
§ Vindictive dialogues and steamy lyrics are more top of mind than nursery rhymes.
§ Winning the grand prize at the birthday party is much more important than rolling on the grass and throwing pastries at one another.
§ Unnatural expectations of being super all rounders
§ Too many activities, too many choices, too much competition, leaving little room for unstructured play.
§ Exposure to adult messages before they are far from emotionally ready to handle the responsibility that comes with it.


What is PMA syndrome?

When kids behave like adults or clearly beyond their age and are not mentally ready to handle the consequences of their behavior or rationalize the experience.

Children learn through the process of socialization of which purchasing occasion is also one. Whether they shop alone or jointly with their parents, such occasions lend to imparting experiences necessary for their growing up and upbringing. Positive experiences are critical as negative experiences can make the child cynical about brands.


§ Destruction of sense of awe: one that keeps the mind fresh and open to things. Knowing too much too soon kills the joy of discovering taking away the excitement.
§ Role ambiguity : conflicting messages from parents and society creates confusion in childrens minds about their role and how they should conduct themselves. This create loss of confidence and complexes in a child’s psyche.
§ Limiting creativity and imagination : doing all the thinking for them and making everything available on a platter is bound to slow down their mind.
§ Growing cynicism : becoming bitter from the experiences in the past and prematurely disappointed in the future (Sidney J Harris). The accessibility and sensory overload gives rise to cynicism. These children will struggle to find something that is meaningful in life.
§ Affecting sense of self-worth: having to be an all rounder all the time destroys the sense of worth and cause individuals to become disillusioned


§ Brands will find it difficult to become iconic, for this needs consumers who are positive, love themselves and find expression of their identity in brands.
§ Brands will find it more difficult to build credibility around their propositions.
§ Brands will increasingly face not just lack of commitment but indifference.
THEREFORE : The need to walk the tight rope between being strategist and counsellor.


1. Retain the innocence in messages – resist the temptaion to layer messages with implied meanings and depiction of grey areas.
2. Be simple in delivering the messages – simple words and message reduce the confusion and increase effectiveness.
3. Be truthful – compromise product truth, and risk being seen through.
4. Be contextual - set the context for claims clearly.
5. Use symbolic language carefully –colour, sound, dress or body language.Do not confuse or over sensitize the child.
6. Help them decide- rather than trying to lure them.

Let’s attempt to raise balanced and happy consumers just like we attempt to raise our children.