Friday, 28 May 2010

Make your brand more visible

What are the cheapest ways to step up your brand recognition? This is the most asked and nerve-wracking question to the brand managers and corporate communication specialists. And the frequent reply is – “Rome was not built in a day, it takes time to get your brand recognised”.

However, apart from your brand manager or corporate communications specialist, you too can help raise your brand recall everyday. There are simple solutions that can be implemented without expending an extra penny from the office coffers.

Let’s start from the workplace. Displaying a visible and large size board in the office premises gives the passers-by a chance to glance and a point to ponder over the brand. If the office is located in a busy street, then of course, daily hundreds of people get to see the brand and out of those hundreds, some will have the brand in the subconscious corner of their minds. Their brains will recall and reiterate the brand if they happen to see it somewhere else. Just have a look at the corporate offices of some of the big brands.

Now let’s get the brand moving. By moving I mean to say put the brand sticker with some catchy slogans on the back of your vehicles. At least some hundreds of followers on the busy road will get to see the brand daily while you are driving to or from work. Especially, at traffic lights and jam, the followers will notice the brand.

There’s another amplification factor to make this more effective. If the office has a pick and drop facility – then the whole bus or car can be painted with the brand. Or a huge, easily visible sticker can be stuck to the vehicle. This will not only make the brand more visible but give a dynamic touch to the brand – more people will get to see the brand everyday. You can imagine how much the DHL vehicle running across the city advertises its company.

If you can spare a day for your office and environment, there’s another cheapest mean to spread your brand visibility. Wear the office tee shirt and cycle to your office every Friday. This will obviously get your brand noted on the streets. And you will feel proud to go green at least once a week.

Word of mouth branding leads to tipping point results. Talk about your brand while talking with your friends during get together and parties. If they find it interesting, they will again talk to more of their friends and it will in fact bring the chain effect to spread the message. Haven’t you been tempted when one of your friends recommends a particular eatery to you? So effective is the word of mouth branding.

The buzzword social marketing can prove profitable in your organisation’s case. Partner with a media house to occasionally place the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) messages in the media. The intermittent messages in the media keep people interested and curious towards your brand. Haven’t you seen the WWF messages to save the endangered species? It reinvigorates the brand everyday.

Celebrate some important days which matches with your organisational values. This will again rejuvenate your brand once or twice a year. Have you not heard about the “Walkathon” organised by Standard Chartered Bank? It obviously gets you noticed – on the streets and in the minds of probable clients.

Corporate gifts, especially calendars and desk souvenirs which have a long shelf-life give your brand that extra space in somebody else’s office. Not only the holder but the visitors to the office of the holder get to see your brand and appreciate it (if it’s really good). Everybody will look at the calendar if it’s from Pirelli!

Appoint an ambassador. Of course s/he should be a public figure. It will not only connect your brand with the admirers of the public persona but will also highlight your organisation’s cause. Just ponder why UN appoints goodwill ambassadors every year.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Cattle oldage home to conserve vultures

When a man dies, people come together, praise the good deeds of the person and take his body for the final rites. However, in Lalmatiya village of western Nepal, the local communities organize an honouring procession when old cattle die. They cover the carcass with a white piece of cloth, offer flowers and incense to the dead, chant mantras and dispose the body to a platform meant to be an eating table for vultures.

As soon as the men leave the platform, the carcass is covered by a venue of vultures and they eat up the whole body within hours. Few years ago, the whole village used to be drenched in a strong stench of the dead animal for weeks, because there were no vultures around.

“The vultures had vanished from this area,” says Shyamesh Chaudhary, the President of the Kalika Community Forest Users’ Group. “After we banned Diclofenac and started feeding the vultures, they started coming back.”

The community forest users’ group opened an oldage home for old livestock two years ago. The local communities also banned Diclofenac in Lalmatiya and nearby Sisahaniya village.

When the cattle die, they are fed to vultures. Before accepting the old cattle, they confirm that they were not treated with the anti-inflammatory drug, Diclofenac. The drug has been the main cause of drastic decline of vulture population in Nepal. The vultures die of kidney failure after eating the carcass of cattle administered with Diclofenac.

“The oldage home for livestock is a unique way of conserving vultures and respecting the old cattle,” says Moti Adhikary, the coordinator of the oldage home. “Earlier the old cattle used to stray in the nearby community forest and village after being deserted by the owners. Now they have a safe place to stay before they die.”

The oldage home pays a nominal amount to the owners for providing the old cattle. The cattle are well taken care of and fed properly. “Right now we have 25 old cattle with us,” says Dil Bahadur Kumal, the caretaker of the oldage home. “In total we have had 152 cattle and we fed them to vultures after they died.”

After the oldage home’s establishment, five different species of vultures have flown to this area with many building nests in the nearby community forests. “We have located 22 nests in our community forest,” says Chaudhary. “More vultures have built nests in the neighbouring community forests and people come here to watch vultures.”

With a simple innovation, the villagers have not only taken care of old cattle and revived the vulture population but also attracted many visitors to this area.