Friday, September 4, 2020

The Best Commercials I’ve seen recently

In these very odd times of all-round lack of enthusiasm and cynicism, some brands are coming up with heartfelt campaigns that truly strike a chord.

Here are a few commercials that really resonated with me because of their heartfelt messaging, brilliant storytelling and execution.

First up is the #Dream11IPL campaign #EkSaathWaaliBaat - Making a case for togetherness, since nothing else brings fans together more than Cricket in India!

Next is this wonderful commercial from Jeep India celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi the social distancing way.
Have you come across any commercials lately that worked for you? I’d love to hear!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Powering My Career: 17 years of Growing and Learning on the Job!

I recently completed 17 years of working (non-stop) in the corporate world across 4 very different organizations and more than 10 different teams. And what a ride it has been – one that I survived and live to tell the tale!

When I started as a fresher right out of college interning at Mindshare, all I could care about is getting a half decent first job. And then the ‘what’s next’ cycle started – how do I grow my skills, how do get the next salary jump, how do I get the next promo. It is a never-ending cycle which can get tedious, reason why so many of my friends quit to follow their passion and start their own venture or just freelance on their own terms. I chose to stick on and pursue my passion for creative writing in my free time.

As I look back at what seems like a different lifetime, the amazing experiences i’ve had and the great people i’ve met and worked with could fill an entire book, but we will keep it short for the purpose of this post and focus on some of what I learnt along the way (and I wish I had known when I started out). 

1. Nurture relationships and friendships you make along the way. 
A network only gives. One of my mentors asked me to read ‘Love is the Killer App’ by Tim Sanders. If you need someone else to tell you how important networking and ‘building relationships’ is, read the book.  

2. Collaborate, don’t compete. 
Everyone is different, has different capabilities and strengths. If you are good, you will survive. Unfortunately, a lot of teams and managers play one person against the other. Competition only breeds insecurity. You end up undermining your abilities and trying too hard to be someone you are not, which is exhausting and doesn’t take you far as a professional. Collaborate instead and leverage someone else’ strengths and help others along the way. Eventually, you forget everything else and only fondly remember the people that treated you well and helped you. 

Which leads me to the next learning - 

3. Don’t be insecure.
Focus on your strengths, build new skills and learn on the job. Insecurity is a waste of time and causes unnecessary stress (I realize now when I look back). As cheesy as it may sound, it is true that what is meant to be will find a way to you. All you should (and can) do is focus on your work and growing yourself instead of focusing on others. 

But of course, 

4. Ask for what you think you deserve.
I learnt this quite late in life. I believed (quite naively) that a manager will give you what you deserve without asking, only to realize much later that the process can be accelerated if you ask for that promo or raise and work with them on the milestones they think you need to achieve to get there. This way they are as invested in the process and are a partner in your success. And sometimes you will find a manager who is not invested in your career and this process actually helps you save precious time and make the choice to stay or move on. Either way, at least you know where you stand. 

And don’t forget to - 

5. Talk about what you do. 
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to show up for yourself and take every opportunity to talk about the good work you are doing. But, please don’t be that person that just talks and never does anything to show for it :) 

And finally, 

6. Take all your vacations! 
Another one that I haven’t done enough of. Enjoy life outside of work, go out more often, travel, nurture hobbies, do things that help you grow as a person – they give you these vacation days to use and replenish yourself. No one cares that you worked so hard that all your vacation days expired at the end of the year, except that it leaves you fatigued. 

What are some of the lessons you've learnt along the way? 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Campaign Watch: Nike Membership #YouCantStopUs

Nike has a penchant (more often than not) for coming up with great messaging. The latest Nike Membership campaign is no different. It is restrained, motivating and topical in today’s volatile times. Who would have thought I would say this about a Membership program!

The campaign messaging is all about bringing about a sense of belonging to a community of people that inspire and cheer you on. Members get access to apps, products and rewards and the membership page brings together inspiring stories of grit and hope. Hope that we will come back from where we are today and that nothing can stop us even when the chips are down.
Promoted Tweet 

And while you’re at it check this out too. Let’s all be a part of the change. 

“No matter what we’re up against, we are never too far down to come back.”

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Campaign Watch: Maggi Kitchen Journeys

The campaign I’ve loved watching roll out in 2018 is Maggi Kitchen Journeys. Nestlé partnered with Zee Network earlier this year to come up inspiring stories of women across India who made a difference to their lives (and those around them) with cooking.

The thing about focusing on relevant and quality branded content is that you can devise an integrated media strategy to take the brand thematic to the customer as a next step, because it is content and good storytelling that resonates. Good content usually works across the board. In this case Nestlé leveraged TV, social media and the ubiquitous YouTube.

The series started mid-July and ended a couple of months back, but all the videos are available on YouTube to watch. Unfortunately, they haven’t created a YouTube playlist for the series (definitely something to consider) but check out the 12th episode here . 

The theme of the series was #kuchacchapakrahahai (something good is cooking), which does a great job of summarizing morale boosting stories the series brought together. The episodes celebrated women who brought their dreams to reality through sheer hard work and cooking skills. 

The production values are great including the choice of host, the ever ebullient, Renuka Shahane. The format is predominantly Q&A interspersed with recreating stories in a fictional format, followed by the guest cooking- with the inevitable Maggi masala plug.  I must say that the format is engaging, and the life stories of the women are uplifting. A complete win from a content perspective.

Screenshot from the Maggi Kitchen Journeys website

In addition to videos, the Maggi website takes the campaign a step further with learning courses that can help anyone take the first step to building their own food business. There is also a Maggi Wall of Fame where participants can share food recipes and ambitions to get featured. Surprised I haven’t seen a social media version of this, could have been a great Instagram concept in my opinion! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Campaign Watch: Pantene’s 14 Day Challenge

Pantene’s new #GreatHairDay14 Day Challenge is a social media campaign designed for women to share their feel good stories. The core idea being that a great hair day is not just about healthy hair, it is about feeling better and more confident.  

The campaign microsite has a nifty Hair Advisor tool where you can provide details on your hair routine, goals and challenges and it analyzes the input and provides a hair routine recommendation that fits your lifestyle and styling needs.

Screenshot from Pantene's Hair Advisor 

Pantene has enlisted bloggers and social media influencers for this campaign - which is a de rigueur for most brands today. Social Media influencer posts are a part of the “wall of fame” – which includes pictures of women taking the challenge and tagging their pictures on social media with #greathairday and #pantene14daychallenge. 

Screenshot from Pantene's Microsite

I have to say that this is a well put together initiative to drive social media buzz and generate user stories.

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