Sunday, 15 February 2015

Do spoofs and propaganda help brand building?

Marketers love propaganda and they think it helps promote a brand. However, sometimes you play with the sentiments of a community if you vilify their beliefs and denigrate their legends. Eventually, you end up losing a band of loyal customers. 

Recently, I was in Cebu and came across a marketing blunder of a company producing EQ brand diapers.

In early 2013 a television commercial of EQ diapers took resort to the history recalling the famous battle of Mactan. In the commercial, the Spanish conquistador Ferdinand Magellan arrives in Mactan and gifts the king of Mactan Lapu-Lapu a box of diapers. However, his wife Reyna Bulakna finds out that the diapers are of inferior quality. This enrages Lapu-Lapu and thus, begins the battle of Mactan.    

Many people found the advertisement funny and found nothing wrong about it. However, Balbino “Ka Bino” Guerrero, a tour guide and a tourism consultant of Lapu-Lapu City and Lapu-Lapu Mayor Paz Radaza, along with many others, found the advertisement insulting.

Ka Bino launched an online petition to pull out the commercial and the mayor demanded a public apology from the company and stoppage of advert airing.

Later, the Advertising Board of the Philippines recalled the clearance to air the EQ diapers commercial.

In another instance of marketing blunder, New England Brewing Company of Connecticut, USA, had been marketing its India pale ale under the name "Gandhi-Bot". On the label was a robot version of Gandhi.

Mahatma Gandhi, the father of nation, led India to freedom from the British rule and is revered by Indians throughout the world. The brewery drew the ire of Indian community for insulting the great soul.

The company had to apologise and stop using the name and image of Gandhi on the beer cans. It later decided to rebrand the beer. 

The company, however, claimed that they hoped the product would inspire people to learn about Mahatma Gandhi and his non-violent methods of civil obedience.

Likewise, the EQ diapers wanted the people to recall the famous battle of Mactan and remember their hero Lapu-Lapu.

However, in both the cases, playing with the sentiments of people backfired. Both the cases, along with many other similar cases, convey a simple message – though spoofs and propaganda bring a brand into limelight, it is short-lived and in the long term deter the brand building process.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Oxford comma: When to use it

The Oxford comma, also known as serial comma, becomes too much sometimes when you have a list of things to separate from. Generally, avoiding it is the best way to make your writing look clutter-free. However, in some cases if you don’t use it, the meaning turns out to be something else. 

Here’s a case where the use of serial comma becomes necessary.
The Oxford Comma
Below are two more examples.




Sunday, 8 February 2015

Smart ways to ask customer feedback and referrals

Recently while I was in Cebu, Philippines, I noticed some smart and honest ways of asking customer feedback and asking for referrals.

Being a public transport user, I have never been asked by any of the drivers how their driving is. However, while riding a jeepney, a long form of tuk-tuk or tempo in Nepal, I was happy to see a message asking about the drive. At least they considered about the passengers!

On the side of the jeepney was the message - “How’s my driving? Tel. No. …..”.

What a smart way of caring customers and asking for feedback? Because of the message I was tempted to ride a jeepney again and again instead of taking taxis.

In another incident, along with my friends, I was dining at a local restaurant. The restaurant was neither fancy nor a laid back sort of. The food was okay and the service was alright. However, the most fascinating thing about the restaurant for me was a message on its wall.

“If you like our food, tell someone. If you don’t, tell us.”

They had also provided numbers for texting comments to.

That’s what I liked about the restaurant most and when I returned to the hotel, I recommended my friends to go to the restaurant and taste the food.

So, if you are doing a business, never ever shy away from asking customer feedback and referrals. It helps you rope in more customers and develop a loyal customer base.