Crisis Accounting Banking Failure Financial Concept

Five best crisis communication strategies to deal with Covid-19 Pandemic

As the global pandemic Covid-19 has crumbled businesses, every company must choose effective crisis communication strategies to sail through. One needs to understand that both internal and external communication strategies are essential to respond to the global crisis. A general principle when dealing with a matter of public health and safety is to be proactive. You cannot escape from a global health crisis and therefore it’s essential to be prepared with effective crisis communication strategies. If you are still confused what to do, we are here to help you. Follow these five crisis communication steps and overcome the problems that are looming around you.

Build A Team For Centralised Communication 

Decentralized communications are comprehensible and even favoured by large, complex organizations. But in an emergency or fast-moving situation, you need a crisis-response team. With the coronavirus, we are seeing this happening at all levels. These teams comprising of four to six people from corporate communications, HR department, and an expert in the area of concern should be responsible in managing crisis within the organization. The main job of the team should be to monitor the situation closely as it continues to evolve. They must be the main source of information about the crisis and provide regular updates to key constituencies. It is also essential for the team to be transparent, let them explain what they know and be succinct. Long messages written by health professionals or lawyers will not be read or easily understood.

Make Your Communication Clear and Crisp With The Employees 

Employees are the backbone of a company. If they are not informed and aren’t aware of what the company is facing during the crisis of global pandemic, it will be very difficult for them to strategize their work. The company needs to demystify the situation for employees, put everyone’s mind at ease, and provide hope for the future. Researches have shown that leaders, in particular, have a special role reducing employee anxiety. To bridge the gap, the company needs to make the employees understand the advantages of work from home. Added to this, don’t forget to provide timely information rather than waiting until you know all of the answers. Post information regularly through email, WhatsApp group and Skype and keep them all motivated. This will help to overcome every hassle.

Make Sure To Communicate Regularly With Customers 

Customers require a different approach than employees given that companies do not have the same access, nor frequency with this constituency. That’s why it is important to focus on what is important to the customer. One way is to provide relief whenever possible. For instance, JetBlue was the first-ever airline to cancel fees for coronavirus-related concerns. The move went a long way towards reassuring current customers as well as bringing new ones on board. You must also find other means to communicate with your instances. The best example can be taken from Johnson & Johnson who established a set of best practices for communicating in a crisis, including speaking early and directly addressing the consumers.  Simultaneously, the company issued a national alert, telling people to stop consuming Tylenol products. It established a toll-free number for consumers to call with questions or concerns. Therefore, you have to understand that to retain your customers in future, you have to take a step forward in the present and provide them with facilities and compensations so that they develop a faith and trust in you.

Provide Assurance To Stakeholders

The epidemic has created intense volatility in the financial markets in the last two weeks and we are already in the recession period. With earnings season just around the corner, publicly listed companies have a special responsibility to communicate the impact of the virus on their operations. Be transparent in communicating near-term challenges. Make sure to use the crisis as an opportunity to reinforce the corporation’s long-term fundamentals and communicate what you are doing about the problem to all the external stakeholders.

Be Proactive With Communities 

Lastly, it is also very important for organizations to do their best to make sure their actions do not negatively affect members of the community. Instead, during a crisis through effective communication, you can enhance relationships with the local communities in which you operate. Make sure to provide them with resources like cleaning supplies or food for those in quarantine. Don’t forget to provide information to the local media to help to calm the communities down, while also enhancing your organization’s credibility. Instead of going radio silent, be transparent in your work and deeds and stay positive.

We all know, it is a hard time. At this point, the leaders need to look at communication from the perspective of the audience. This requires companies to provide accurate information, communicate as much as possible and be vigilant about correcting mistakes without worrying about the repercussions. Let not the champions stop playing until they make it right.

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Pr and Marketing

PR And Marketing Are Not Same: Here Lies The Differences

A lot of communication professionals often assume that Public Relations and Marketing are the same. This is highly mistaken and can hamper your career growth. Therefore, you need to understand the differences and we are here to help you with this. 

 

Firstly, let us understand that marketing is a business activity that aims at promoting, advertising and selling the company’s products and services. The term marketing has various definitions. Few call it shopping for products or services, others call it merchandising, while some link it with the selling of the product. In real sense, shopping, merchandising and selling all are covered under the activity jointly known as marketing. Therefore, in short, we can say that marketing is a management process, which is concerned with the buying and selling of products and services, that include all the activities that involve the movement of product from concept to the customer. Product designing, warehousing, packaging, transportation, delivering, advertising, branding, selling, pricing, etc. are all part of marketing activities. 

 

Whereas Public Relations or commonly known as PR is a communication process where the company seeks to build a strong and healthy relationship between the company and the general public, which is mutually beneficial for them. It is an act of managing and disseminating information amidst the company and the general public. It is a process, where an organisation gains exposure to the audience through third-party endorsements, wherein news or other topics of public interest are used to share the organisation’s positive stories. For instance, newsletters, press conferences, featured stories, speeches, public appearances and similar other forms of non-paid communication. Therefore, it can be concluded that PR aims at informing the public, investors, partners, potential customers, employees, clients, to influence them to make a positive perspective about the company and the brand. 

 

While marketing is mainly concerned with the promotion and sales of the product, Public Relations (PR) is intended to create and manage a favourable image and reputation of the company amongst the public. Now let us understand the major differences 

 

While Public Relations Is About Introducing A New Product To The World, Marketing Is Selling A Product

Every company today has a PR team so that the product that the company is launching is reached out to the world. The PR specialists contact relevant journalists and media houses and pitch stories so that that news is known by the world. It has no role in selling the product. Its main objective is to let the world know about the product and the work of the company behind it. On the other hand, marketing is all about convincing the audience to buy the product. 

 

While PR Has A Greater Impact, Marketing Is More Reliable 

PR not only takes time but is not always guaranteed, but has a greater effect. Marketing campaigns, however, are scheduled, processed, prescribed and what’s more guaranteed but has less of an effect. A brand can be sure that when they choose to market their brand in a specific way with a specific message, that message will appear exactly where they have paid for it to appear at exactly when they have scheduled it for. PR, however, is dependent on editorial and journalistic needs and integrity and is not always guaranteed because the success of a PR campaign relies on angles and stories that work for editorial teams which affects the readers’ perception in a more effective way than advertorial.

 

PR Is A Long-Term Process And Marketing Is A Short-Term 

As PR manages reputation, and stakeholder engagement, it is much harder to measure the ROI. Perception takes time to create and shift and may not translate into revenue and sales for months or even years. However, marketing is more concerned with the short-term effects on revenue, it is the direct promotional activity employed on behalf of a brand.

 

Thus, the goal for marketing teams is to reach consumers and make them think, believe or do some kind of sales-focused action. Essentially it is about selling the product or service. Whereas public relations building positive managing the communication channels between a company and its stakeholders. Overall, marketing activities are trying to achieve direct revenue, while PR is trying to drive a positive reputation through an effective PR strategy.

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Becoming-the-best-content-creator

Five Must-Do Tips for Start-Ups To Generate Good PR

Most start-ups face challenges when it comes to managing public relations. PR initiatives are essential because it is one of the effective ways small businesses can tell their story to the world and acquire customers. These small companies need to create a buzz through PR channels but often fail to have connections or manpower to stir up a good press. With the right PR initiative, even small companies can build a user base and attract interest from venture capitalists. It can build the image of the company and shout out to the world about its good deeds and new ventures. Never let a non-existent marketing budget or the lack of a dedicated marketing team discourage you. Use these tips to help your start-up to reach out to the world.

 

1. First Identify The Target Media Outlets And Relevant Journalists 

The first important thing that you must take care of is choosing the right media outlets that will publish your relevant story. Instead of reaching out to every media house, choose your time wisely and identify the right journalists that write for these outlets, read their work and follow them on social media. Once you do good research of the journalists, you can then identify the person that is most likely to be interested in your pitch. Simultaneously you can recognize particular journalists and create your pitch specifically tailored for them, even if you aren’t sending it directly to them. Such ways are very welcoming even for the journalists who are given stories that they find compelling as well as interesting. 

 

2. Use Strong Content As PR Bait 

There are thousands of start-ups who are approaching to the media for coverage. What is that one exact quality that will help you to stand out from the rest? Of course, engaging content. You must produce a clever and well-thought-out piece of content to present as part of your pitch. One great example is the Infographic. You can tell your story visually and get much more attention than you would if you just wrote it out. This can grab the attention of the journalists who can then introduce your start-up to a much larger audience simply because visual content is more engaging. You need to be creative and stand out from the other hundreds of pitches. 

 

3. Stop Copy/Pasting Pitches: Instead, Use Data And Statistics 

Journalists and editors can easily spot a copy/paste job. This will only garner a negative impression on your company and they will never respond to your emails and calls. They get pitched around the clock every single day with generic requests. Make your pitch completely personalized and tailored specifically around them and the publication they work for. Make it mandatory to include data and statistics on your pitch. Remember journalism is not about flowery language and creative writing rather presenting stories with facts that will inform the mass as a whole. The use of data and statistics makes your pitch authentic and real which every journalist needs to produce in their news article. 

 

4. Make Use of Twitter For Soft-Introductions

More or less every journalist has their profile on Twitter and many use it as their main communication source. Following them allows you to comment on their work and put your name in front of them. Instead of harassing them, take a way forward and start complimenting them on recent stories. However, compliments must be genuine. Twitter is also a great platform to use for identifying windows of opportunity. You can publish your business success stories, the product launch on Twitter itself and create a strong follower base. 

 

5. Develop Your Company’s Online Presence Actively 

It is important for your start-up to have a strong digital presence. There are many PR agencies in Delhi and only one way that can make you stand tall is by making a compelling website and increasing the digital presence. This prompts editors to view you or your company as the leader or expert in the field. Having a reputable online presence shows journalists that you are a source of valuable information and influence in your industry. This makes everything your company does more newsworthy because you are already aware of what direction your field is heading. To do this successfully, make sure to optimize all of your content so that all of it is visible online, specifically in searches. Embrace SEO tools so that you can get a higher rank in Google search. One more effective means is to provide exclusive and embargoed access to stories that can big headlines. Famous editors and publications generally like stories that nobody else has access to. This will be a boon for you if you make them realise that it will be the first-ever story covered by the particular journalist. 

 

We hope we could give you some effective tips to amp up your PR game. Next time, you pitch a story, don’t forget to remember these five effective points and shine like a star. 

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Coronavirus Business Impact

How Covid-19 Is Impacting Businesses Worldwide

The ongoing spread of the deadly Covid-19 has become one of the biggest challenges to business worldwide, including our coveted financial markets. According to World Health Organization, the virus that was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December has infected more than 110, 000 people in at least 110 countries and is expected to increase with time.  More than 80, 000 cases have been reported in China so far. Italy remains the most affected country as the death rate has surpassed China. The disease has now spread around the world with countries like Iran, the USA, South Korea, France, Germany, Spain and India affected severely. 

 

In order to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, countries like China, Italy, Spain, Russia, India have locked down cities, restricted movements of millions and suspended business operations. Moreover, travel bans, cancellation of sports events, the prohibition of mass gatherings, deserted shopping malls and freefall of the stock market have shaken the worldwide economy, affecting many businesses worldwide. 

According to the latest information from Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, China’s gross domestic product growth saw the largest downfall. The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index — a survey of private companies revealed that China’s factory activities recorded a low reading of 40.3 and a reading below 50 indicates contraction. Such a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing has hurt countries that have close economic ties with China such as Vietnam, Singapore and South Korea. Moreover, China is not only the country that has witnessed the weakening of the service sector. The service sector in the U.S., the world’s largest consumer market, also contracted in February, the lowest in the last 10 years. 

 

In the case of supply chain market, Airbus has halted its production line in Tianjin as travel restrictions imposed by Beijing take their toll. The plant builds about six A320 aircrafts every month and therefore its closure will negatively affect the manufacturer’s jet output. Other manufacturers that have stopped its production in China are Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen. 

 

The South Korean carmaker, Hyundai has shunned the production lines with China due to the disruption to the supply chain of parts that usually flow between the two countries. The Japanese economy minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura, said factory production and company profits could bring the business in doldrums due to the pandemic. Honda has three plants in Wuhan, the city at the centre of the epidemic. GSK, which is one of Britain’s largest drug makers took an initiative to close down the medicine packaging facility in Tianjin, which employs about 100 people. It remained closed after the extended lunar new year holiday. The company has 3,000 employees across China, many of whom are working from home. 

 

36Nike and H&M have shut half of their stores, thereby witnessing at a whopping loss. Disney remarked that its operating income could take a hit of $280m (£216m) after it was forced to close two theme parks that are usually busy over the lunar new year period. Ikea has closed all of its 30 stores in China, whereas McDonalds and Starbucks have shut half of their units. 

 

Tourism sector is witnessing the biggest loss in the decade. The number of Chinese tourists has seen a sharp increase in recent years, rising from only 10.5 million in 2000 to 150 million in 2018. This means tourism is likely to be one of the worst-affected industries worldwide, as cross-border travel has been halted to control the spread of the virus. The coronavirus outbreak is bad news for nearby destinations such as Japan, where Chinese visitors account for 40% of the tourist spend and cruise ships have been anchored offshore after passengers tested positive. Popular tourist destinations such as Bali and Thailand are facing the worst crisis. Added to this, the London-listed InterContinental Hotels, which has 443 outlets in China, has waived cancellation fees for a period, adding to the impact from a drop-off in domestic and inbound travel.

 

In India, according to the reports of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), over 50 percent of Indian companies have already seen an impact on their operations and nearly 80 percent have witnessed the decline in cash flows. The report further stated, “Besides the direct impact on demand and supply of goods and services, businesses are also facing reduced cash flows due to slowing economic activity, which in turn is having an impact on all payments including to those for employees, interest, loan repayments, and taxes.” 

 

Beyond the concerns associated with business operational continuity, employee protection, and market preservation, it is important for businesses to come out with an effective plan for the long run. However, once the COVID-19 is contained, much of the world is likely to return to complacency and remain under-prepared for the inevitable next outbreak. Therefore, it is essential for businesses to invest in strategic, operational and financial resilience to emerging global risks that will help them to be in a better position to respond and recover.

 

FOR HELP WITH CORONAVIRUS CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS, CONTACT US TO HELP YOUR BRAND

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Corona Communication 1

Will Corona Alter the Way We Communicate, Forever?

As I went about my daily routine of ‘Doomsurfing’ on Twitter, I came across a joke that hit home, way too hard. It spoke about how 50 years ago, our grandparents spoke about a future with flying cars. But instead, here we are, still teaching people how to wash their hands properly.

As we face what is possibly the biggest turning point of our lives, I am left to wonder how this is going to significantly impact the landscape of communication. Being extra sensitive and showing empathy seem to be key in winning the game of communication. It’s not about individual perceptions anymore; the world is leaning towards a dominant emotion, and everyone is taking it upon themselves to be the harbinger of awareness and sensitivity.

For instance, brands are constantly trying to outdo each other in trying to be the epitome of corporate social responsibility. Just this morning, I came across an advertisement by the legacy adhesive brand Fevicol. They effectively created a conversation around social distancing as a precautionary measure during the outbreak in order to strengthen bonds in the times to come.

From Amul to Bigbasket, all brands, big or small, are leaving no stone unturned to cash in on this great marketing opportunity, while also spreading awareness.

The government is not far behind either. Leaders across political spectrums are coming together to show they care about the welfare of their citizens. All governments are on war footing, constantly updating their social media handles, informing people of the pandemic, and assisting them in every possible way. A concerted, and cohesive communication plan is the need of the hour, and I truly applaud the way the Indian government has been handling this situation.

The effects of the pandemic on communication are more visible when people are coming across as not being emotionally aligned with the majority. Like in the case of actress Vanessa Hudgens, who was universally slammed online after a video of her complaining about the US response to Coronavirus in an Instagram Live video emerged.

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-vanessa-hudgens-criticised-for-heartless-comments-on-pandemic-11959421

The effects of what are her technically her ‘personal considerations’ were such that she had to take down the video soon after. She even had to issue a public apology, where she said “”I don’t take this situation lightly by any means. So, stay inside y’all.”

As the situation continues to intensify, the communication landscape is altering in a way we had never imagined. Everyone is exercising extreme sensitivity and caution while dishing out any form of communication. Everyone is looking to play a narrative that is going to educate the masses.

If there is one thing that the virus has shown, it is that we are all capable of coming together in the times of crisis, and supporting our communities at large; across any social, economic, or political barriers. This is probably why communication across geographies right now seems so unified. Could this moment in history eventually transform the way we speak? Is it possible that this will usher in an era of empathy, and improve the general public temperament? Or will we retreat to our old ways once we are past this global crisis?

FOR HELP WITH CORONAVIRUS CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS, CONTACT US TO HELP YOUR BRAND

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Startup Failure

Top 5 Reasons that Lead to Start-ups Failing. Know How to Avoid Them

We all go through a phase in our lives where we think about starting a company with some partners. But, 90% of the time start-ups fail within the initial three years, leaving behind just a corpse of an idea which could have been turned into a brand if it would have been initiated carefully.

Start-ups have always been a base for establishing any industry. All the big brands that we constantly see and hear about today, were mere start-ups at their initial stage. They grew into a brand through hours of dedicated research, preparation, and execution that was brought out through an unbreakable bond of team members.

Today, we are going to talk about some reasons that lead to start-up failure and how to overcome them.

1. Ineligibility for Market Requirements

This is one of the most common reasons that lead a start-up to the doorsteps of failure. Shockingly, 42% of the start-ups lack market demand that prevents them from gaining the required traction they need to survive.

Remedy: Most of the start-ups are initiated as a plan between some partners that thought it as a need of the hour. A start-up is not just about opening a company and hoping it would become a brand. Rather, it requires a full-proof marketing strategy determining why it will be successful, till when it will stay successful and most importantly, how it will become successful. When a business plan is initiated with a proper marketing strategy, it turns out to be fruitful.

2. Competitiveness above the Limit:

We all understand that competition is one of the main elements required for the success of a brand. But, when the competition is cut-throat, it can turn out to be a reason for a start-up’s failure. Having a first mover’s advantage in any industry is always a good thing but when you already have some established names in the industry, a start-up can be pounded to the ground due to too much competition.

Remedy: While entering into an industry, it is always a wise decision to check the industry thoroughly and prepare a report on how would your brand emerge as a trend changer in an existing sea of great players. Thoroughly check all the aspects of the industry before you take the plunge.

3. Selection of the Wrong Team

Once you are done with the analysis of the market and have a check on the competition, it is now time to assess whether you have the right team to carry out the activities in the correct direction. A team of people who do not work as a contributing factor can lead any business towards failure.

Remedy: With a cohesive group of highly motivated, persistent, and diversely skilled people, who are united around a common vision,it can solve all the issues related to a start-up’s growth.

4. Business Model not Appropriate

For any start-up to work and foster, the business model must be planned accurately. Lack of monetization strategy, focus on single-channel are some of the reasons that lead start-up to failure.

Remedy: A sound business model with confirmed ROI is the most efficient method that one can select for a business to flourish.

5. Lack of adaptiveness with Latest Trends of Marketing

In the era of digital marketing, the basic strength of a start-up’s success is being adaptive to the latest trends in internet marketing. Old school marketing is effective up to one extent but they do have some limits that would manipulate the growth of a business.

Remedy: The best method to solve such a problem is to match the percentage of old school as well as internet marketing and utilize it to work in favor of the business. There are several modules involved in digital or internet marketing and the best method to use those modules is to hire a digital marketing agency that would lead you towards success through effective marketing strategies.

It is important for a start-up to look into these factors before taking their first step into entrepreneurship. While it is sometimes unavoidable for start-ups to escape all these situations, with proper action towards the path of an effective remedy can help eradicate all the obstacles on the road to success.

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Top 10 reasons to choose digital marketing agency

Top 10 reasons to hire a digital marketing agency for your business

The right digital agency can make or break any organization.

This is not an exaggeration. In fact, according to Techjury, almost 90%of startups are prone to failure, with about 20% failing in their first year of existence, and poor marketing accounts for 14% of the failed businesses.

The right digital marketing agency can truly improve your ROI on marketing investment made in the digital medium. By being able to accurately analyze current marketing trends and data about your customers and target audience, a digital marketing agency can help you establish your business goals and strategies that will further drive up ROI.

Here are the top reasons to hire a digital marketing agency

1. You get to focus on running the business

Just like how a Chartered Accountant solves all your tax worries, a digital marketing agency will free you from taking care of day-to-day marketing needs, and instead, let you focus on the other important aspects of your business. This could range from deciding on a new revenue stream, hiring more professionals, fixing up operations, and much more.

2. Cut down unnecessary marketing costs

A lot of businesses fail because they are unable to manage their cash flow efficiently.  That happens when you hire multiple people for different roles such as Marketing, Content Writing, Graphic Designing because you end up paying much more in salaries and hold up spending on marketing efforts that may actually boost your business. On the other hand, hiring a digital marketing agency is cost-effective.

3. Get measurable and actionable results

A digital marketing agency works well because they are trained specifically to do that job. Hence, they can provide companies relevant analytics and reports that give you a measure of the results you are getting through all your marketing efforts. This proves the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the approach and helps you tweak your marketing strategies accordingly.

4. Access to the latest marketing tools

A digital marketing agency is always updated about the latest developments in marketing tools and the associated technologies, which further helps in getting out useful data from marketing initiatives. Considering that the tools are applied to various other projects handled by the agency, the cost of acquisition is distributed accordingly. But as a single entity, you are likely to incur more cost in purchasing these tools.

5. Gaining new perspectives

When you have an in-house team taking care of your digital needs, they are usually limited to a single perspective since this is the only client they are working on. But when you hire a digital marketing agency with a background across sectors and industries, they bring fresh ideas to the table and help you perceive your issues in a different light, which your team may have missed.  You can then tap into this experience and leverage their learnings for more growth of your business.

6. Scale without hiring

When your business grows, you usually end up hiring more people too. With a digital team, the issue is that the costs associated with hiring people are huge. Instead, hire a digital marketing agency so that you don’t have to get into the hassles of long-term hiring and salary payments. Business needs to keep changing and you can engage a digital marketing agency according to those needs.

7. Build a great digital presence

All your potential customers are probably doing online research about you and your rivals before making a purchasing decision, so we absolutely cannot overstate the importance of having an excellent digital presence. Unless you have lots of time to publish web content and manage social media accounts, it is best to hire a digital marketing agency to do the job.

8. Achieve goals in less time

The first job that your digital marketing agency will do is to set goals for your business. The right digital agency will be knowledgeable on the best approaches to extracting your business’ real goals. And to top that, they will also help you design and implement the best strategies to meet the objectives.

9. Help evaluate what competitors are doing

Digital marketing agencies have expertise across industries and clients, hence have better knowledge at measuring competitors. If you see that your competition is doing better than you, hiring a digital marketing agency will be your best bet to see what is it that they are doing to generate more leads. A digital agency will keep a close eye on your competitor’s strategy through tools.

10. Your brand gets more recognition

According to some studies, expenditure on digital adverts and media will hit US$375.80 billion globally by 2021. Online marketing is a crucial way for global outreach for businesses. Digital marketing agencies will dedicate their services to ensure that your brand gains extensive recognition and stands out amongst the crowd. The agency will make sure that the right people are talking about your brand and reach the target audience more effectively.

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How new-age media is changing content development

Scroll down your Twitter feed and every other ‘tweeter’ will have the prefix ‘Chowkidar’ attached to their handles. When the ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign hit our social media feeds, most of us dismissed it as just another gimmick. But we underestimated it grossly.

According to an ET report, 54 percent of the nation’s top digital media leaders believed that the ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign was impactful. That’s basically saying that a majority of voters have arguably sealed their votes in favour of one political party.

The power of new-age media is unprecedented. What is even more interesting to note is how it has also changed the type of content that is developed for consumption. Content consumers today have unknowingly become the most powerful audiences that most brands will ever see. So, whether or not they know this, they do end up dictating the kind of content companies, brands, and individuals create, and how it is distributed.

This has happened because technology has empowered this new-age audience to take control of conversations that are directed towards them. They have the tools to advocate, share their ideas, and hold leaders and brands accountable. This high level of involvement has changed everything.

This is probably why the Chowkidar campaign is seeing all this success. The campaign became a global movement, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging people to join the ranks of ‘Chowkidars’ who will guard the country against all things evil.

Chowkidar Tweet

One tweet got the support of crores of people, and the baton to carry this campaign forward was passed on to the audience. Every chowkidar on social media now started driving the discussion around elections — posting videos in support, engaging in conversations, driving leads, and eventually votes. All BJP did was create a social media strategy around one word and a tweet, and the consumers did the rest!

The singular work of brands should now be focused on giving relevant content. It’s the only gateway into the audience’s world and gaining their loyalty forever.

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Cricket Advertising in The Time of Digitization

Cricket Advertising in The Time of Digitization

World Cup season is in full swing, bringing back memories of being huddled together in front of our TV sets with friends and family or being glued to the radio for updates. While the country’s adulation for the game remains, what has definitely changed over the years is the way we now consume cricket.

As India walks on the path of a digital revolution, one can witness a visible shift towards mediums like video streaming platforms, OTTs, cricket portals, and connected TVs to watch the game. One of the major factors for this is an increase in internet penetration in India, that has managed to bring many fans on to digital platforms. According to a report by research agency Kantar IMRB, the number of internet users in India is expected to reach 627 million this year, driven by factors such as internet growth in rural areas, and increasing affordability of handsets and high-speed internet. That, in turn, has led to users from even Tier 2 and 3 cities to watch matches on digital platforms. Additionally, being able to watch a match on your phone is crucial in this day and age, especially for those who are constantly on the move because of their work commitments. Or even for those who think investing in a television set doesn’t justify the cost when they can simply watch it on their laptops or mobile screens.

This has been a great boon for advertisers, opening up many opportunities for various brands, reaching out to millions of cricket fans in the process. Take this data for instance –the World Cup is expected to contribute significantly to the expected 12% growth in advertising expenditure (adex) in India this year. Moreover, 2019 will also see ad spending cross the $10-billion mark for the first time. Cricket is basically an advertising paradise.

Advertisers have come a long way from their first ambitious cricket campaigns. While earlier the focus was entirely on reimagining cricketers outside their game persona, now it is all about the cricket fan. For instance, earlier our television screens would include a spectacle of soaps like Palmolive and Cinthol, being endorsed by the likes of Kapil Dev. Cut to this year, when smartphone manufacturer OPPO has launched a ‘Billion Beats’ campaign for the World Cup, inviting consumers to share their heartbeats through the OPPO Billion Beats App, which is available on Play Store. According to the company, the heartbeats will be used to create a team song which will be composed by the dynamic Bollywood music director duo of Meet Bros.

Everything about these new-age cricket commercials is based on the premise that as a fan, your love for cricket surpasses everything, enough to lead you into buying almost anything — whether it’s soap or a phone. These ads muscle their way into an emotional territory by appealing to this ‘irrational’ love for the sport.

Detractors of this form of advertising say that commerce has overtaken the enjoyment of the sport, with non-stop commercials interrupting the proper broadcast of the game, and robbing it of its emotion. However, to understand its true power, you have to see these ad films for what they are — an attempt to bring out cricket’s irreverent, funny or sentimental side and engage the audience well after the sport fiesta is over.

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Should a start-up hire freelancers?

Should a start-up hire freelancers?

You have your product up and about, and now the next step looms large — how do I scale quickly? The answer lies in hiring people. However, the next question that pops up is, should you hire freelancers to do it or share all tasks with your in-house team?

There is no right or wrong answer to this because it all depends on who you already have in your team and what stage of growth your company is at. However, there are some tips that can help you figure out whether or not you need freelancers. Because if done right, freelancers can be a great catalyst to your growth.

Do you know your priorities?

Is the work you need to hire freelancers for a priority? To understand that, you will need to figure out whether good content, or graphic design or digital marketing can actually move the needle in your favour. It’s okay to experiment, but at the end of the day, the projects need to bring the business some measurable value. It’s easy to get sidetracked by all the well-meaning suggestions to do podcasts, Instagram stories, video content, and everything ‘new-age’, but you’ve got to stay focused and not drown in never-ending ‘what-ifs’. Hiring freelancers for this can make it dangerous too because initially, it won’t cost too much, but if the content is not effective, it will all go to waste. So, don’t end up hiring too many freelancers who will only make lots of poor content. Instead, focus on rolling out one project, hire a few top-notch freelancers for the job and get the ball rolling. It’s a cliché, but it’s all about quality over quantity.

Can you afford a freelancer?

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While hiring a freelancer may be cheaper than getting on-board a full-time employee or an agency, you still do need to pay them. Especially if you want to hire freelancers who’ll promise quality work. You need to be transparent, consistent and reliable when it comes to paying them. You cannot also change the budget for a freelancer midway through the project. It’s their livelihood and not just a hobby. And please, don’t offer them ‘exposure’; it won’t pay their bills. They paid a hell lot to get educated, and it’s only fair they get compensated for their hard work with money.

Do you need to move quickly?

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As someone running a start-up, it’s understandable that you don’t have time to interview candidates, sort out paperwork or hand-hold them through their job. Here, hiring freelancers will prove useful as they will not only manage work on their own, they will also give you a platform to test all your creative ideas, and give you enough time to work on the gazillion other things more important for your business.

Is your team overworked?

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If you’re at the stage where your team is working 20 hours a day and are still unable to meet targets, it’s a good idea to unburden them a little by delegating that work to freelancers. This will also give your staff the opportunity to be more creative and even help you with strategy.

Make sure you have clarity and then brief right

Once you are clear in your head about hiring a freelancer, the next step is to get clarity on your project. The only way to do that is by understanding who your customer is, what they need, and whether this project will provide any value to them. Make sure you and your team are on the same page. If not, then maybe it’s not the right time to hire a freelancer.

Once you do get clarity and hire someone, make sure the brief is crystal clear. You can’t just tell the freelancer you need an infographic. You need to sit with them and make them understand how doing X, Y, Z project will help enhance brand awareness or bring revenue. That’s more likely to hit the mark and ensure that the freelancer gets it right. It’s also okay if you want the freelancer to take the ultimate creative decision, but then you cannot complain about how it doesn’t look the way you imagined it to be. Set the base expectation and then start working. Also, remember to factor in their time for research, and don’t rush them too much.

Think this through for the long run

While freelancing starts out as a short-term need, it does have the potential to transition to a full-time hire, especially if you end up finding the right person for the job.

With start-ups, deadlines are constantly moving and priorities keep changing. When you have a team with a common goal of getting things done, it’s easier to manage them and set your business on the path to growth. While freelancers are good in the beginning, they may end up falling behind when your business decides to go full throttle. Hence, remain open to the idea of offering them a full-time role when the need arises, define a work structure, and help them make the transition so they can deliver better results.

In the end, do remember that bad experiences can still happen. Any business owner or CEO has to make careful decisions about who they hire — whether freelancer or not. But for a start-up to grow, going the freelancer way is a good call. When done correctly, the positives will far outweigh the negatives and ultimately even get more revenue for your company.

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