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Messages - Tamanna Sharmin Chowdhury

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US social media giant Facebook Inc. Thursday filed a lawsuit against a mobile analytics company for illegally collecting private information of users from social media platforms.

Jessica Romero, director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation at Facebook, said Facebook brought the federal lawsuit in a California court against oneAudience LLC for improperly obtaining user data from its platform and other Internet companies including Google and Twitter.

New Jersey-based oneAudience paid app developers to install a malicious software in their apps to steal user information such as their login name, email address, geographical location, time zone, Facebook ID and even gender, a court document showed.

"Security researchers first flagged oneAudience's behavior to us as part of our data abuse bounty program," Romero said.

In November 2019, Facebook took technical ad legal enforcement measures against oneAudience, including disabling accounts, sending a cease and desist letter and notifying users of comprise risks.

Romero said Facebook's lawsuit, filed at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, represents the company's "efforts to protect people and increase accountability of those who abuse the technology industry and users."

Facebook said oneAudience refused to cooperate with it, and asked the court to order the defendant to pay punitive damages to the world's largest social network.

Source :

No sooner does she receive her pay cheque in Argentine pesos than 43-year-old lawyer Eugenia exchanges them for dollars and takes them home to hide away.

The fear of losing everything in a burglary pales in comparison with the mistrust she has for banks and her own country’s currency.

‘I don’t trust the peso; it’s not just now, it’s always been that way,’ she said.

Bludgeoned by an eighth major financial crisis since 1950, many Argentines prefer to seek refuge in the US dollar as a form of savings they can hide ‘under the mattress’.

Eugenia actually hides hers in the bathroom.

‘I’d rather be robbed by a thief than a bank,’ she said.

There’s nothing new about this mistrust.

‘Historically, things didn’t go well for those who tried to save in pesos,’ said Matias Rajnerman, chief economist at consultants Ecolatina.

‘Those who did so in dollars, did well. It’s the consequence of a broken financial system.’

For 18 months Argentina has been in a recession provoked by a currency collapse.

The poverty rate in the country of 44 million is over 40 per cent, inflation is around 55 per cent and unemployment has risen over 10 per cent.

The economy shrunk by 3.1 per cent in 2019, and Argentine debt is more than 90 per cent of GDP.

One of the country’s major problems is its citizens’ mistrust of the peso, which has deprived the government of much-needed dollars.

When the new government of centre-left Peronist Alberto Fernandez came to power, it moved to combat currency flight by slapping a 30 per cent tariff on foreign currency purchases and maintaining the previous government’s purchase cap of $200 per month.

Ahead of Fernandez’s assumption of power, 52-year-old interior decorator Sofia withdrew all her dollar savings.

‘What can I do?’ she asked, pointing out that the peso lost almost 40 per cent of its value in 2019, after losing more than 50 per cent in 2018.

Fernandez’s measures appear to be working, as the peso has stabilized at 63 to the dollar. The exchange rate was 18 to the dollar before the currency crash.

However, a black market exchange, with a rate of 83 to the dollar, has seen a surge in transactions due to the monthly limit on purchasing dollars.

But experts say that its unlikely Argentine faith in the peso will grow.

‘In this country there’s a systematic history of violating the saver’s legal security,’ said Rajnerman.

‘Private savings end up being seized by the government or exchanged into bonds. It happened several times, it happened in 2001,’ when Argentina suffered its worst economic crisis in modern times as it defaulted on a $100 billion debt.

It was the year that then-president Fernando de la Rua limited Argentines to withdrawing 250 pesos (then worth $250) a week from banks.

De la Rua inherited a ticking time bomb from the government of Carlos Menem (1989-1999) who had linked pesos to the dollar.

Since then, many Argentines have hoarded their dollars outside the country.

However, the government plans to increase taxes on personal and foreign assets, while also imposing tariffs on those who take their savings out of Argentina.

According to the country’s central bank, Argentines are holding $300 billion of savings in foreign accounts in the United States and Switzerland, among other places.

But economists say that this dollar flight causes a vicious cycle.

‘If we keep dollars under the mattress or take them out of the country, it reduces the financial system ... and that makes it difficult to turn things around,’ said Rajnerman.

Financial uncertainty has led to a spike in requests for safe deposit boxes in banks, some of which even have waiting lists.

Fabiana, a 56-year-old doctor, wanted to stash her $40,000 savings in one.

‘But I didn’t get it, many people got there before me,’ she said.

The desperation to escape from government controls, taxes and the banks has led many Argentines to emigrate, despite their country being one of the richest in the world in terms of natural resources.

‘In Argentina, no one respects your money,’ said a 40-year-old businessman who moved with his family to Uruguay and declined to give his name.

Source :

Four banks have moved to form special funds for the capital market investment complying with a Bangladesh Bank directive.

The four banks are Dhaka Bank, Sonali Bank, Rupali Bank and The City Bank, said sources in the BB and the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission.

The City Bank has applied to the central bank for renewal of Tk 50 crore in REPO facility, previously taken for the stock market investment purpose.

An official of The City Bank told New Age that the bank had initiated a process to form the special fund under the BB’s circular.

The boards of directors of the three other banks approved the formation of the special funds.

The Bangladesh Bank on February 10 allowed each bank to form a Tk 200-crore special fund by taking low-interest loans from the central bank to invest in the stock market. The BB came up with the decision in a bid to stabilise the ailing capital market.

The circular said that the fund would be valid till February, 2025 and the banks would be allowed to take money under the scope till January 13, 2025.

The investment is exempted from calculation of banks’ capital market exposure.

The central bank would issue the fund to the banks against the treasury bills or bonds held by them at the rate of 5 per cent.

The central bank had made the move following a proposal placed by the merchant banks to provide Tk 10,000 crore in loans to lessen liquidity crisis in the capital market.

Before the decision, the core index of Dhaka Stock Exchange had lost over 1,900 points in 11 consecutive months, which became a major headache for the government.

Therefore, the central bank made the mechanism to support the market.

After the BB’s circular on special fund, the core index gained 283 points in the following five trading sessions.


Salt farmers and refiners on Sunday demanded that the government check the import of edible salt in the guise of industrial salt to protect the domestic industry.

They made the request in a public hearing organised by the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission at its conference room in the capital.

Farmers and refiners alleged that they were losing business to the importers of industrial salt due to the loopholes in the government rules as importers were importing the item under duty facility as industrial raw materials and selling it in the local market illegally.

As per the import policy guidelines, the commercial import of salt is prohibited but the import of the item as raw material for the industries is allowed.

Refiners said that when the government allowed them to import salt considering any emergency situation, they had to pay 89.32 per cent duty.

But if the item is imported under the commercial letter of credit as industrial raw material, the rate of duty is 37 per cent, they said.

They alleged that a huge quantity of salt imported under duty benefit was being sold in the local market.

Nurul Kabir, president of Bangladesh Laban Mill Malik Samity, alleged that a huge quantity of edible salt was imported in the country under miss-declaration as sodium sulphate and a quarter of businesses were selling the salt in the local market.

‘Salt refiners are becoming sick as edible salt is entering the country with miss-declaration as sodium sulphate under duty facility,’ he said.

Kabir demanded lifting the bar on salt import and bringing down the duty structure equivalent to the item imported as industrial raw materials.

The duty structure should be the same for the import of both the edible and industrial salt, he said.

Paritosh Kanti Saha, president of Narayanganj Laban Mill Malik Samity, demanded allowing import of salt for all and reducing duty equivalent to industrial salt.

Mostafa Kamal, president of Bangladesh Laban Chashi  Kallyan Parishad, opposed the proposals put forward by refiners saying that their proposals to open import with reduced duty structure were nothing but a plot to destroy the local salt industry and livelihood of nearly 5 lakh marginalised people.

He demanded checking import of edible salt under the declaration of industrial raw materials and increasing duty on import of sodium sulphate to protect the miss declaration.

In the hearing, the government and refiners produced conflicting data on the demand for salt in the country.

According to the refiners, the demand for edible salt is 12 lakh tonnes per year while industrial salt is 12 lakh tonnes.

According to the government estimation, the yearly demand for salt including edible and industrial is 17.15 lakh tonnes.

Tapan Kanti Saha, chairman of the BTTC, presided over the public hearing.

He said that they would send a set of recommendations on the event to the commerce ministry and industries ministry within a short time.


Making online work for offline.
Does it sound counterproductive?

For the Bangladeshi Companies (other than e-commerce), it makes perfect sense. Every month, quarter, and year we look at those meager volumes from e-tailing and wonder how to justify spending in digital media. Internet usage has picked up, but internet transactions haven’t. When it comes to bread and butter, we still bank on our age-old network of branches, stores, and distributors.

So you need internet marketing strategies that can also drive offline volumes, or maintain the current state while bringing down marketing cost… something P&G is doing since 2013.

If you too want the same, sit tight and follow these 5 online marketing strategies that drive sales.

1) Buyer Persona and Journey Mapping

You know and use this. There are three simple stages each buyer goes through in buying a product or service.

Awareness – Understanding that there’s a problem that needs a solution
Consideration – Researching about possible solutions
Decision – Making a decision in favor of a particular solution
And we always have saved our biggest chunk of bucks for the last stage; creating ads and media buying. Because, touching the early two stages meant you had to go for seminars, workshops, activations…. where cost per contact is insanely high.

Now it is time to look at what the internet has in offer.

Create Buyer Personas

Say you’re in a business that sells healthy cooking oil. What are the distinct group of people that you can target?

Heart Patients
People with digestive problems
People who are health conscious
Other groups
Can one marketing message serve them all? Do they have the same questions in each stage of the buyer’s journey? Do they fall under the same demographic groups? If the answers are no, then you need to write down (even sketch an image) the distinct buyer personas you target.

This becomes the foundation for crafting content a content strategy and internet marketing campaigns for the audience. You may want to get in touch with an SEO company that specialises in Internet marketing if you would like to ensure that this is an effective method for your business to use.

And there’s a nice bonus of having buyer personas in writing. It saves you from Chinese Whispers while briefing a new agency or a new brand manager.

Identify What Information The Buyer Needs At Each Stage

I may have digestive issues but have no clue that my cooking oil is to blame. That means I’m at the awareness stage. I know something is wrong, but can’t figure it out.

If you’re the marketer, why not create a content that says

5 common reasons why some people have trouble digesting
5 early warning signs of a digestive disorder

There’s a higher chance of me consuming your content because you seem unselfish, you didn’t just drag me into buying your product. You gave me valuable information. For the consideration stage, I’ll look for tips from you.

How do I fix my problem otherwise? Buying your oil only won’t cut it. And when it comes to decision, the buyer (that’s me for now) wants to know benefits (and not features)

And they want to mitigate risks. What if the product doesn’t work? What if something goes wrong?

Do you have the buyer covered?

It is not always about the warranty. It is about after sales; answering simple questions that have become easier thanks to social media. It is about being dependable… more on that in next two points.

When you’re done identifying the information that buyer needs, all you need is a content strategy to provide that information.

2) Influencer Marketing

Brag about yourself as much as you want… there’s little effect today.

The Internet has freed information, and today we’ve influencers in every sector. These are the people whose opinions count, who have massive reach thanks to companies like upleap. Influencers don’t just say which product they use… which ones are good or bad… they talk about personal experience, use case scenarios.

Can’t think of an influencer in your industry? Reach me out via Brand Forum’s Facebook Page or directly, and I will name an influencer or two in your niche. Do you know how many nutritionists have a follower-count over 5k? Did you ever look at the mommy bloggers who write about recipes, or household tips? How many beauty bloggers (and vloggers) have you tracked? Do you know the influential persons in a variety of Facebook groups that we have in Bangladesh?

Once you’ve identified the influencers in your niche, you only need to approach them. Don’t bribe them to write a good review, seek honest opinion. Even if they write a bad review; Harvard says that it will still increase interest in your product. Influencers help reduce the fear of purchasing a bad product… that’s one way buyers mitigate risks. The second is social proof.

3) Build Social Proof

What is the best dish at this restaurant? By ‘best’ we refer to ‘most popular’. Before dining at a new place, we want to make sure that this food is popular among others.

Why so? Because we hate surprises. Social Proof mitigates our risks. How many people have used this product and what do they say – this is the question we ask before buying anything (other than impulse product).

In the age of internet, social proof has many forms. But most marketers are chasing the least effective one; fan count at Facebook. You may be a retail chain with massive social media following but all I care about is how many people have said positively about your Mirpur Branch. You may have centuries of dominance in hair care but all I care about the reviews on your newest shampoo formulation. So how do you build social proof?

It’s pretty simple, reach out your known customers and ask if they would write you a testimonial. You can also create a review contest. Even put all your products in a voting contest where people will vote for their most favorite products. These campaigns can build social proof and make the painful job of selling less painful.

4) Create a Landing Page

Do you now have influencers talking about your product and have built social proof? Congrats! But how do you use that in marketing? Let me guess, you were planning to post them on social media.

How can a new fan find it 3 months later? (FYI – the average lifetime of a Facebook post is 3 hours)

You need some way of keeping the information alive and discoverable. You need a website… being specific… you need a landing page. This is just one page (or a single page microsite) where you present your product benefits, use case scenarios, expert opinions, social proofs, price, and FAQs (never ignore FAQs!)

The best landing pages in the world are created by car and smartphone manufacturers. But there’s no reason why any other businesses can’t.

If you have content that tapped into each stage of buyer’s journey, it can link to your landing page where they will be able to make a decision. And having a landing page serves another sinister (!) purpose. Continue reading!

5) Making Marketing More Effective With Remarketing

As said earlier, we save the biggest share of our budget for advertising. That’s not what works in digital media. Instead of pushing product information to everyone, you need to push content which are valuable. That way a few dollars go a long way. And content can drive people to your landing page.

Now tell me, if you intend to sell a product to someone. Who is your best shot? Someone who never heard about you or someone who has navigated all the way to your landing page and learnt about your product?

It is possible to collect audience data from a landing page so you can target your ads to people who have visited your landing page. Using a bit more complex tracking, you can also segment them according to buyer persona.

Imagine you being able to tell who is a diabetic patient and who wants to lose weight, and serve different ads for the same product to them (provided your product can help them both).

Key Takeaways

Spending needs justification, and that’s our biggest concern in digital marketing.

You need to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. That way you can tell how they seek, get and validate information today.

Without understanding how information works, you cannot survive the information age.

There’s nothing against having the largest fan page or going viral. Only if you can take a piece of paper and write (or sketch) down how it connects to the ultimate goal (increasing sales).

It cannot be denied that today’s audiences are visual. With the increase in use of screens, people now eagerly consume videos. Video has become one of the best ways to capture attention, culture engagement, entertain and inform audiences around the world. Almost everything is being converted to the video format for making consumption easy and engaging.

Social media, especially Twitter is playing a huge role behind this shift in preferences. Video is Twitter’s fastest growing advertising tool. There are over 2 billion video views on Twitter each day. It is seen that Tweets with videos attract 10x more engagement than those without videos. They are also seen to drive the highest recall and emotional connection on any digital platform.


Given Twitter’s huge impact and success in this field, it is very pragmatic that trends will arise from these that brands will take advantage of.

Brands are now experimenting with videos to find innovative ways to capture the attention of their customers while at the same time promote their product or services. The most popular among all the trends are how-to videos, explainer shots, coverage of events and ultra-short shots.


These can be quick tutorials or in-depth showcases of complex products. Such videos help address concerns consumers have before and after buying.

Brands like Fenty beauty use how-to videos to promote their product while showing how to achieve the latest fashion trends on make-up.


Brands are also seen to focus on communicating through animated or white-board explainer videos. These videos can be used to explain, celebrate or inform things in an attractive way. The explainer video is becoming popular in marketing, if you would like to know more, you can look online or visit somewhere like Explainly to learn more about how it could help market your business.

Airbnb uses animated videos with compelling storylines that pull the audience to the story presented in the narrative. Last year they celebrated their ‘600,000 Superhosts’ with a simple yet vibrant animated video.


Many brands use pop-up retails, live events and other activities of customer appreciation to bring in a better customer experience.

Customer experience is a big trend in 2019 and brands are making the most of it. They are not only targeting the customers on the streets to give them a fantastic experience, but are also making sure the activity is recorded into a video format that they can present on their social media pages to reach more customers.

Sainsbury’s used this method last Christmas. They decorated one of their car tunnels with lights for a unique experience. While their customers thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the spectacle, the brand made sure to record it and showcase it online.


With the beginning of the era of 6-second ultra-short videos, more and more brands are opting to utilize this small yet powerful opportunity. Such videos are more seen as in-stream video ads where the ultra-short ad is paired with relevant videos. It is important to pair the ad with a relevant video or else brands will not reach their targeted customers.

Research shows that among short ads of 6-15 seconds, the 6 second ads drove brand recall and lifted brand awareness more.

Sephora used this opportunity to get their audiences excited about limited-time promotion to get a beauty blender sponge with the purchase of a certain foundation.

So, it can be seen clearly how these trends have taken Twitter by storm and how brands have taken advantage of it. Companies are gladly shifting their marketing efforts to video advertising on Twitter to get the most out of it. Opportunities are endless in this field.

Apart from the most popular trends, there are others that brands can take advantage of so that they can utilize their Twitter accounts to the fullest. There are emerging trends like boomerang videos (energetic one shot videos that repeat motion on a loop), stop motion videos (animation video where objects are moved in small increments between photographed planes to create the illusion of movement), tutorials (demonstration of products and creation of recipes), short-form or narrative videos (videos telling a story or conveying a message in 15 seconds or less), live videos, video trailers and videos sharing personal experiences of people.

All these Twitter video trends provide a gateway to excellent results for any company. More and more brands are improving their advertising practices through adopting these video trends. So, it is crucial for companies to discuss about these opportunities and make the most out of these trends.


The Twitter timeline algorithm is constantly changing. Two of the main things that are known about Twitter’s algorithm – timing is critical and engagement is key.

If tweets are properly timed, it will get engagement soon after being shared. When tweets receive many interactions, they are ranked at the top of timelines of followers and even appear in the timelines of people who do not follow. If the brand’s followers are not online, tweets won’t receive as much interactions as it would; decreasing its chances of being seen. So, keeping this in mind, brands should research on when most of their followers are online and keep scheduled posts ready. The best way to find optimal posting times is to experiment with various times. Twitter tools like Followerwonk and Tweriod can help in this case.

Again, to increase engagement, brands should interact with their followers. Users see more from people they engage with; so, being consistent in this case helps a lot. Twitter’s algorithm recognizes accounts that add value. If brands are posting and engaging with their followers online, the brand’s content is more likely to be prioritized and shown to more people.


Twitter is a massive platform with unending opportunities for marketing in the field of video advertising. Although video provides efficient yet lively communication of the core message, it should be kept in mind that the content needs to be as rich as possible.

Almost 93% of video views happens on mobile without the sound. So, the videos should focus on sharp visuals, clear branding and emphasize on motion and movement; including captions helps a lot in this case.

On the other hand, the brands also need to stop people from scrolling past their ads. To attract viewers, brands can feature people or tell stories with a good narrative. Featuring people in the videos significantly increases view rates and drives two times higher retention.

Furthermore, in the case of in-stream videos in Twitter, timing should be of 6-15 seconds; 6 seconds being the optimum. The message conveyed should be laser focused and targeted at the right category. The brand logo should be consistent throughout the video to increase ad-recall. For the website-card format in Twitter, it is important to grab viewer’s attention with an immersive auto-playing video showcasing the brand’s story.

From all these, it can be understood how big is the potentiality of Twitter video trends to impact on digital advertising. For brands to move forward in the digital era, it is vital for all of them to hop on this bandwagon to ensure a better future.

« on: March 01, 2020, 05:10:21 PM »
The present trend of branding in the digital era is now changing drastically and playing significant role in transforming the overall game for the brand marketers. Highlighting the best for the marketers is now the call which can shape modern business era.

Today, all the businesses are roughly following the same rule when it comes to branding. Marketers should consider the brand senses seriously for managing their identity. Brands are supposed to control all of these brand senses – Smell, Sound, Taste, Touch, Sight. These can ultimately drive authenticity of the businesses, the sales, loyalty of consumers and social media engagement. “Businesses are utilizing digital media for their identity management which is actually a positive use of technology”, said Jonathan.


Marketers should always be aware about researching and experimenting newer things and procedures. What customers are getting today, probably cannot satisfy them tomorrow. So, experimenting about newer ways of introducing something should also be the concern. “Whenever I come across some pieces of research articles, I always challenge them saying that the article could be even better if they had incorporated the facts with some other techniques and researches”, said Jonathan.


In the age of social media, people are the brands themselves. When it comes towards the case of themselves along with their brands, it becomes branding. People are now concerned about becoming the best version of themselves while being the actual themselves. People want the brand to be more efficient & creative. When the consumers see that certain brands are satisfying their needs keeping pace with the change of time, they actually become interested to spend money for it. Stressing on the importance of the fact, Jonathan said, “We actually have to show the process what we are doing to drive real and authentic customer experiences. You can control how you want to show people the best side of you. The moment you can do this, you will be able to actually make the way of wealth creation. And that’s really important.”


Taking into consideration the customer loyalty factor, Mohamed Geraldez brought out the fact that if consumers become happy with the service, they will keep coming back to a particular shop owner. The moment marketers can identify and satisfy the needs of the customers, be it customized or generic, they can build loyalty among them. “When I become satisfied with the service of a particular shop owner, I will go back to him repeatedly; maybe just to ask how he is doing in his business. That’s called loyalty,” said Geraldez.


Logo plays a very important role in Branding. A black t-shirt having the logo of Nike or Adidas becomes much more acceptable to the consumers. The more popular the brand is, the more the price goes up. This is the actual scenario of current trends. A little branding can boost up the preferences towards the product; however, the bigger the branding is, the more is the willingness to pay for the product. When these advertising, branding and communication get digital, greater influence on the purchase behavior can be seen.

Along with having a meaningful logo, brands need to tell a story, make promises to drive great consumer experience and build reputation by keeping the promises. It has to be converted into social and economic welfare for the consumers and the companies themselves. And digital becomes the most efficient tool to communicate all of these together.


Thinking about the personality of a brand and the culture of an organization is very important.

People’s psychology can be based on major 5 personality traits – Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism. Based on these traits, marketers can shape their branding strategy accordingly.

Openness: Brands should be open for newer course of action considering the fact that many individuals are more likely to prefer variety and spontaneity, new experiences, adventure and artistic interests.

Conscientiousness: People who often prefer a planned branding activity to spontaneity, are often considered extremely reliable. These people must be taken into consideration by the brand marketers.

Extraversion: Sometimes brands need to be extrovert by always publicizing themselves in public. This gives the brands greater exposure.

Agreeableness: Identifying the trusting and helpful people for brands can play a significant role in terms of brand existence.

Neuroticism: Brands should always consider innovation. This is how they can get neurotic about the people who gets bored easily and tend to build up negative notions out of it.

As technology continues to raise the bar on consumer expectations and experiences in every category, brands that survive and thrive in the future will need to be more agile than ever. The digital revolution has resulted in an explosion of choice for guests who are better informed and more discerning than ever before. By 2025, digital travel sales are forecasted to exceed one trillion dollars worldwide.

Every touch point in the hospitality customer journey is under attack. New players are disrupting the industry by choosing to specialize in distinct parts of the value chain to create disproportionate value for consumers. For example, Instagram is creating outstanding value for guests at the “Dream” stage of the customer journey while TripAdvisor is an excellent sharing platform in the “Advocacy” stage.

It is very clear to us that future winners and losers in hospitality will be determined based on how much they embrace digital to transform every aspect of their brand to create new, personalized, carefully curated and meaningfully differentiated emotional experiences for guests.

When it comes to marketing and branding, going digital is not just about countering the influence of OTAs and investing in performance marketing. It’s time to play offense not just defense; elevating the power of the brand by investing in digital to positively and profitably impact brand success. No doubt you have heard of the 4Ps of marketing. Well, here we present our 4Es of digital branding: excite, engage, empower, and embrace. Four best practice champions from the hospitality industry that are on the cutting edge of digital branding, organized by the 4Es, are summarized below.

EXCITE: Marriott’s content strategy across multiple platforms pays off
Our excite best practice champion is Marriott. Imagine if you could generate $600,000 in room revenue in just 60 days. Well, the Marriott just did that through one short film, French Kiss, on YouTube. With almost 500 million PR impressions, the film earned an ad value of more than $7M. Marriott brand interest, as measured through a Google Search lift study, saw a 63.2% lift after the film’s release, illustrating that the film achieved its objectives to drive brand awareness and consideration for Marriott brands. To promote the Paris premiere and elevate the film, they engaged with influencer Be Frassy. She shared the event with her more than 550K blog readers. Her posts covering the event garnered more than 6K engagements on Instagram. Imagine what their overall video and broader content strategy across brands is doing for their business.

What impressed us about Marriott’s approach to content is that it is not only strategically sound, but the execution is of the highest standard. They have taken the power of storytelling – both verbal and visual – to another level. This includes the quality of their content, its relevance, the emotional connect to the desired audiences and the production values of their videos. Their belief is that great content delivers tremendous value to their consumers which helps to build a community. This community then becomes a captive audience to drive commerce for Marriott.

The results of these investments have been impressive. Twitter grew 65%, LinkedIn grew 20%, Facebook grew to 1.2 million – and the brand’s CRM ‘Stay in Touch’ database has received over 1.6 million job applicants, with over 25% open rates.

ENGAGE: Virgin Hotels’ smartphone app sets a new standard
Our engage best practice champion is Virgin. Recent Research by mobile advertising network BuzzCity finds a 50% increase in mobile use across business and leisure travelers since 2013. 30% rely purely on their mobiles to make last minute bookings, making it the most preferred device for ticket or room bookings. Mobile is also a key tool for research and getting around, with 1 in 5 (24%) using their phones to find out about local tourist information, restaurants and attractions.

Virgin Hotels’ Lucy smartphone app is totally different. Ask for anything – extra pillows, laundry pick-ups, turndown service, valet – she’ll make it happen without you having to talk to anyone. She can help you book your stay. This includes reserving your room, adjusting bookings, check-in and check-out.

She can offer you suggestions of what to do in the city. She can connect you via a chat board to other guests to get suggestions or to meet someone new. She can connect you to the hotel staff. And you can even order room service and control the thermostat with Lucy.

EMPOWER: Wynn bets big on voice commands via Alexa
Our empower best practice champion is Wynn. Google says that one in five searches made on its platform is on voice— that’s 20 percent of all searches on the world’s most popular search platform! This is set to grow to 50 percent in just a few short years. Globally, Alexa is now available on 20,000 devices, from microwaves to cars.

As voice search becomes increasingly mainstream, we expect to see hospitality brands leveraging its power to enhance the customer experience. Wynn Las Vegas is already leading the way. They have recently made an announcement saying that they will integrate Amazon Echo to digitalize their 4,748 hotel rooms in order to offer their guests tremendous control over multiple facilities using their mere voice. It will start with controlling room lighting, temperature, TV, draperies, and they are likely to leverage Echo’s personal assistant services as well.

EMBRACE: Airbnb leads the pack in offering a one-stop travel solution
Our embrace best practice champion is Airbnb. On a recent family vacation to Los Angeles, we were amazed to discover that Airbnb totally embraced our trip offering us carefully curated options for everything we needed: lodging, transportation, restaurants, and excursions. Airbnb totally got our need for a total travel experience. We know they working on air travel so that will make the picture complete: in the future, Airbnb will be the only travel app we’ll ever need!

As for the next practices which will shape the next 12-18 months, we are keeping our eye 3 things: augmented reality, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning. Augmented reality is making the Dream stage of travel more engaging and inviting. Routinized tasks are being delegated to machines freeing up precious human talent for more complex and value-added tasks. With tons of data, loads of cheap computing power on the cloud, and advanced analytical techniques, divining the right value proposition for the right customer at the right time via the right channel of distribution communicated via the right message is coming out of the lab and into the marketplace. Recently, Expedia reported using AI to understand how travelers plan travel.

There exists a tremendous opportunity for hotel brands to harness the power of digital branding to excite, engage, empower and embrace their customers.

« on: March 01, 2020, 05:06:25 PM »
The role of brands in 2020 will have to go beyond selling, entertaining and CSR. The world needs brands to step up and participate in solving the real problems and not just be opportunists and ride on them on social media.

Here is the list of 20 needs which are born through four key catalysts – digital, politics, earth and gender.

1. Feed the curious: People are hungry to know more in every way possible. Everyone is trying to keep up with tech, news and the future.  Brand Implication – Help consumers keep up in every way. Brands of all categories that feed the curiosity with respect to their category will see more engagement

2. Colour the world green: Green is the colour of 2020. Consumers will listen to the brands which will talk green and walk green.   Brand Implication – Brands which don’t participate in the eco talk, by default will be perceived as brands which don’t care for the earth.

3. ‘Positive’ is oxygen: Positive is luxury, negative is reality. Digital media world is getting toxic. People are ‘over exposed’ to each other. This calls for any material/content/product which can bring positivity.   Brand Implication – Responsibility of people’s mental health will not only be limited to medical and pharma brands.

4. Don’t be politically correct: Politics has entered everything -friendships, families, offices and marriages.  Brands can no longer ignore, having a POV on political issues. Brands which are open, transparent and honest about their views will be seen as brave, real and honest.  Consumers are rejecting even celebrities who don’t have POV and trying to play safe.

Brand Implication- Don’t play safe.

5. Dark social: ‘Serve me’ different from the others. Consumers want customisation. They want the world of brands/services/content to be made just for them.     Brand Implication – Give them individual versions of the brand. Brands will have two messages, the message which they want the world to talk about and the individual messages which are customised.

6. Make it the ‘Woman’s World’:  World is ready to be the ‘woman’s world’. That’s the need. Brands have always projected progressive society and hence the opportunity.   Brand implication – Brands have a huge opportunity to play a crucial role in making the next decade the Woman’s World!

7. The purposeful Alpha: The Greta Thunberg effect is very empowering. 2020 will see a lot of young ones leading bigger agendas, inspiring all generations.   Brand Implication – The young leaders will need brands to give them platforms to lead various conversations.  The new influencers will be younger gen (Alpha).

8. Help everyone, travel the world:  Everyone wants to see the world. Travel is on everyone’s agenda.  It is not a part of just bucket lists, for a select few, or travel enthusiasts. It is mainstream. Consumers want all brands to remember their travel plans and help them with the same. The maximum searches in Nov 2019 with respect to 2020 were holiday calendars. To plan their travel calendars?   Brand Implication – Brands from any category can be their travel buddy – whether you are a baby diaper brand or an adult diaper brand, all can travel with the consumers.

9. Break LGBTQ stereotyping: Help the society get more comfortable and inclusive. The agenda for this should be driven by brands. Brands need to push the envelope on breaking the stereotypical portrayal of LGBTQ.

Brand Implication – Don’t limit LGBTQ as part of only inclusivity message but as a new normal milieu.

10. Don’t manage company reputation. Manage sentiment. CRM will be all about CSM (consumer sentiment management).   Brand Implication – Consumers are not expecting brands to solve all problems online but at least manage the emotions.

11. The seniors are back: 2020 will mark the new type of senior citizens. Healthier, digital/smartphone savvy senior citizens with purchasing power.   Brand Implication – Brands which can tap into the senior consumers will win more hearts.

12. Data pollution is the new crisis: With fake news factories mushrooming and social media scene becoming more mainstream than traditional media, data pollution is the new crisis.   Brand Implication – Brands will have to run data pollution cleaning drives/campaigns.

13. Help people make the world a better place: Theworld wants to become kinder. Digital has brought out the ‘giver’ in everyone. People have a power of their profile/vote/support for any cause they wish to indulge in.   Brand Implication – Give them something meaningful to do, even if it is an armchair support to a cause. Use them to make the world a better place.

14. Second innings of career will be common: These will not be limited to mothers joining work after a break, these could be individuals changing their career choices completely, or retired seniors joining work. All sorts of comebacks will need support.    Brand Implication – Brands, are you listening?

15. Definitions of luxury will change:  Green, water, clean air will be the new luxury, replacing bath ware, marble flooring and posh amenities.   Brand Implication – Brands need to offer and celebrate these luxuries.

16. The profile gap between metro and small-town audience is increasing despite both using similar smartphones and tech. One size does not fit all when it comes to content, brands and influencers. Digital is getting more regional.   Brand Implication – Brands need micro strategies to deal with the regions.

17. Everyone needs help with TMA (Time Management Administration): Anything that will help people manage life better. There is too much happening in their lives. Multi-tasking, multimedia and multiscreen.   Brand Implication – Brands which help manage time/life-balance will stay

18. Time to BBF (Bring Back Friends):  A lot of people have lost friends on social media due to expressing support or no support on various political topics.  Brand Implication – Brands can play a huge role in healing the relationships which are suffering from social media outrage due to political differences.

19. Be careful with religious cues in advertising: Advertising can no longer afford to use religion to cue culture without enough critical approvals, because the brands depicting any religion will have to go through a troll scrutiny.    Brand Implication – Give consumers a new religion to latch onto. Create a new one.

20. Get them ready for the next decade:  This is on everyone’s agenda. Brands which will prepare them for the next decade will be the ones which will stay with them in the next decade.

« on: March 01, 2020, 05:04:54 PM »
The fourth industrial revolution brought in concepts such as automation and artificial intelligence (AI) that have the potential to revolutionize the way businesses operate. Organizations around the world are already reaping the benefits of these changes. But this also comes with a foreboding that clouds our minds – isn’t automation going to take away our jobs? While the results of the rapidly developing technology are able to certain tasks with more accuracy and efficiency than humans, it will not make human contribution obsolete. Rather, it will allow us opportunities to grow and transform with it – making human contribution essential for success.


The Limits Of Technology

Concern regarding new technology and methods is nothing new – the industrial revolution made the agricultural jobs obsolete, and before that, agriculture put the hunter-gatherers out of work, but people found new ways to evolve and adapt to the changes.

Automation can surpass humans in many activities. A study from McKinsey demonstrated that around half the activities (not jobs) can be automated, while around 5 percent of occupations can be fully automated by currently demonstrated technologies.

Still, automation does not have the capacity to fully replace human input. Yes, automation can gain excellence over humans in only very specific tasks, and AI can assist in decision making, but we still have to rely on humans for the situations that are not tightly controlled, situations that require skills like creativity, empathy, critical thinking, and leadership.

Again, AI has its own setbacks. There are instances where AI can reflect human biases. As an example, we can take Amazon’s AI-driven hiring tool that displayed preference toward white candidates. This problem eventually led to Amazon’s scrapping of the project.


The Changing Skill-sets

Automation will accelerate the change in the skills required in the workforce. There will be a rising demand for advanced technological skills such as programming. The more complex skills including creativity and critical thinking will also see a rise in demand.

In the financial services industry, the need for a workforce with basic cognitive skills – data input and processing, basic numeracy – will decline, while professionals and technology experts will be required. Social and emotional skills for customer interaction and management will be preferred in the workforce.

The shift in skill requirements will be similar in the retail and manufacturing industry, manual and predictable tasks, for example – driving, the packing will be automated in the retail industry, and advanced technology and information processing skills will see a substantial rise in demand.

The healthcare industry will still require physical and manual skills for physical therapy, complex surgeries; and empathy and fine motor skills for nursing. Here, the back-end support will be automated, and demand for human skills will decrease.

Automation will only be taking over tasks or activities, not our jobs. It will merely change the nature of our jobs, where emotional, cognitive and advanced technological skills will be required. This can also create new jobs, and give birth to exciting new industries.


A Human-Centric Approach

Organizations will have to rethink the roles in their workforce and focus on adding value throughout their processes. In order for automation to be successful, companies will need to integrate human effort into their automation plans. For this to succeed, widespread adoption and acceptance of technology should be encouraged by the managers. Employees who might be affected by automation should be directly involved in defining the process automation. Engaging employees can lead to a better understanding of the impact that automation will have in the workplace. This improved understanding will help the employees adapt to the change.

The initial stage will only involve automating the regular, well-defined tasks. Input from employees can be used to improve the effectiveness of the automated function. As employees are freed from tedious work, they will have more time to focus on more creative work and make complex decisions. For example, an HR manager spends a lot of time doing easily automatable work – selecting job candidates, sending follow up emails, answering queries. After those tasks have been automated, the HR manager can focus on work that is not up for automation – building personal relationships, managing employee concerns, engaging employees and assist managers in solving problems.

After all, executing automation effectively will require a cross-functional team effort. Members from product, design, IT and the leaders can raise the important questions, expand their visions, create innovative solutions and make better decisions. An organization-wide approach would both benefit automation, the organization and the stakeholders.


Driving The Cultural Shift

Implementing automation is a complex process, requiring reinvention of the business processes.

The company will have to undergo a mindset shift and should prioritize continuous learning. The traditional hierarchical structure will shift towards cross-functional and team-based work, and collaboration between teams will be of key importance. The work allocation will undergo heavy changes, and work will be unbundled and bundled to create a rejuvenated workforce.

To help the workforce successfully adapt to new technology, companies will need to educate and train employees about technology, teach them to interpret data for maximum impact. The employees, in turn, should be shown appreciation for their contribution which machines cannot replicate, and for their experience, awareness of context and domain knowledge. The employees should also be encouraged to find innovative solutions and processes, and to find ways to get the most out of technology.


Case In Point

To illustrate the scope of human-automation collaboration, we’ll consider Troy Design and Manufacturing (TDM), a metal stamping subsidiary of Ford Motor Company. Automobile manufacturing is an industry that can exploit the benefits of automation to a great extent. TDM installed an automated tracking system to monitor and aid the vehicle conversion process.

Working with their partner, TDM installed vehicle tracking RFID technology after extensive research. This implementation led to an automated workflow with higher visibility and precise data collection. With the deployed infrastructure aiding the process, the employees now could focus more on their tasks and the workflow became more streamlined. This change could not have been possible without human interaction and participation in the process of change.

In 2008 Shwapno started its journey, and in the span of a few years, Shwapno was almost on the verge of closing down due to the dissatisfaction among customers regarding the service and stores. But today Shwapno has straggled its way to being the leading retail store in the country, has been winning the Best Brand for the past four years and last year received the title of “Superbrands Bangladesh”.

This success of Shwapno is a result of their philosophy of trying to understand the customers. And an important tool Shwapno has used along by learning to adopt the technology. Combining Big Data, IoT and technologies to enhance service, Shwapno has been able to provide its customers with the best value and experience and all these have been achieved through a journey of hard work and struggle.


Early Struggles

Shwapno’s initial concern was to achieve category points of parity- features that would allow customers to consider the brand. For Shwapno, this meant offering a wide range of products, removing odor from sections with perishable items, ensuring cleanliness and attaining a level of customer-centricity.

Although it was able to achieve parity, Shwapno lacked differentiation. So it started to brand itself as a value-for-money superstore. This attracted customers wanting low prices. However, such positioning drove away upper-middle-class and upper-class customers. To attract these types of customers, Shwapno started to build larger well-designed superstores including one in Gulshan (9,500 sq. ft) and one in Uttara (30,000 sq. ft).


Creating Value for Customers

Consumers seek fresh produce and keeping this in mind, Shwapno decided to buy directly from farmers. Initially, the scale of operations did not permit Shwapno to profit, but later, scaling up and improving efficiency allowed it to be profitable. This was done by utilizing analysts who prescribed optimal times to buy and sell products. As a result, Shwapno created an ideal product cycle and also provided value to its customers.

Shwapno went further in its effort to provide fresh produce. It put fish tanks and aquariums instead of unhygienic preservatives. It also installed systems to check for harmful preservatives such as formalin.


Increasing Value Through Big Data, IoT, and E-commerce

As part of its learning to be relevant to customers, Shwapno strives to understand customers using technology. At first, it used an ERP (enterprise resource planning) software called SAP R/3. But it was not effective as it could not seamlessly integrate with the legacy system.

Shwapno then decided to integrate Business Intelligence (BI) tools with its existing software. BI tools help users to collect, store, prepare, analyze and present data. These tools have been used by Netflix to provide recommendations to its users and American Express to detect fraud.

Aided by a number of data scientists, the BI tools used by Shwapno has helped it in many ways. The tools have generated a huge volume of data and given quick access to them. Shwapno also tracks the online and offline behavior of its customers.

The usage of such high volume and variety of data, now popularly known as ‘Big Data’ has helped Shwapno gain new insights-information it never had before. Shwapno once believed that areas with higher population density can ensure the success of a new store. Data pointed out that wealth distribution is rather a more effective determinant of success.

The use of technology does not stop here. Shwapno also uses Internet-of-Things (IoT) to optimize operations. IoT refers to connecting devices to the Internet and each other. To understand IoT, think about Fitbit- the wearable fitness device. This device records important health information of the wearer such as blood pressure and the number of calories burned. Analyzing the data, Fitbit provides health recommendations. Shwapno similarly uses IoT in order to understand customers better.

In addition to BI tools and IoT devices, Shwapno has an e-commerce platform. Although launched two years ago, the platform is still in its beta stage. Shwapno is capturing information from the platform and using it to design a new platform. It is also trying to combine online operations with its traditional brick-and-mortar operations.


Plans to Create Further Value

Shwapno’s quest to understand customers goes on. It has plans to enable automated quality checks. Such checks can be used to monitor the freshness of fish. However, challenges remain in such checks. For example, the visual cues may not represent the freshness of the fish or the fish may rot on the way to the customer’s home. For this, Shwapno is planning on a data-driven quality control system.

Shwapno is also planning to use technology to fix issues such as incorrect barcodes. It is also partnering up with the world’s largest loyalty platform. In addition, it is considering using Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) in its stores. Robotics is also under consideration but it will take two to three years to implement.

While concentrating on improving customer experience, Shwapno has not forgotten its value chain partners. Under ‘Shwapno Agro-banking’ project, it aims to ensure farmers get fair shares. In return, farmers have to ensure quality control for which Shwapno will give training. It also collaborated with United Commercial Bank to provide banking services for farmers. Shwapno is also the first member of Global G.A.P (Good Agricultural Practices) in Southeast Asia.


Keeping the Organization in Line with The Changes

As Shwapno is using new technology, it must also make its employees adapt to these changes. It is shifting from a presentation culture to a narrative culture- which promotes factfulness. It is also bringing changes to its organizational structure. Moreover, it is combining its technologies with six sigma philosophy, which aims to reduce defects and ensure quality.

As Shwapno is harnessing the power of Big Data to understand its customers, it needs to adapt its employees to the new technology as well. For this, it trains its employees of all levels about data science. It believes such training will help employees accept the new technology and not resist change.

Shwapno also has a project management department with flexible teams – members change teams after completion of a project. This department identifies agile projects and organizes stand-up meetings. The teams submit results using the language of data science.


Final Thoughts

Through its current operations, Shwapno is branding itself as a humble, honest and hard-working brand. This honesty and simplicity appear to be appealing to customers as it represents the characteristics of the average Bangladeshi. Shwapno has now become endearing to the customer through its struggles and ability to listen to them.


« on: March 01, 2020, 05:00:08 PM »
Retail in Bangladesh is quickly growing and becoming more organized. With Bangladesh being one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and transitioning into a middle-income economy, the change is also bringing with it some major implications for the retail industry. Organized retail, greater value, and more immersive experience is slowly being sought after as the standard of living in the country increases. The urban population is ready for an immersive and dynamic shopping experience.

As the global retail industry is undergoing massive changes, the retail industry of Bangladesh faces the challenge of not only developing itself but also taking into account the massive shifts undertaken by the experienced players in retail worldwide. Today, consumers are more inclined to shop online and on social media, research online before making a purchase, and using alternate payment methods such as digital wallets and more. To that extent, a concerted effort by the retailers of the country can bring about the changes needed to propel retail to the global stage.



The purpose of Retail is to make products available to the end customers. The first proper concept of retail propped up in ancient Greece with merchants selling goods at agoras. Retail has since then evolved and molded to meet customer needs and make the lives of people easier. In the 1700s, the colloquial “mom-and-pop” stores opened up, particularly in the United States, to provide a way for families to earn a good income. Eventually, these stores evolved to form general stores and by the 1950s, shopping malls came into prominence.

The introduction of cash registers, credit cards, general stores, and shopping malls were all revolutionary as they introduced greater convenience to the consumer experience. The end of the 20th century saw the rise of the internet and the birth of the next big evolution. Electronic Commerce began to take root as the internet started spreading and companies started opening websites and selling products online. B2B e-commerce initially comprised of the lion’s share of electronic but Amazon and eBay quickly changed the game raking in more consumers to the B2C environment of e-commerce.

In Bangladesh, the scenario of retail has remained different, being largely dominated by classic mom-and-pop stores “mudir dokan”. Even though the first superstore opened in 2001, organized retail, according to figures by Bangladesh Superstores Owner’s Association (BSOA), comprises only 1% of the market almost two decades later.


The 21st century has brought with its e-commerce and a looming fear that traditional retail may die out. The global market for e-commerce is expected to reach 6.5 trillion USD by 2022 whilst other predictions show that e-commerce will see massive growth in APAC regions in the coming years. Traditional retail still makes up for a large portion of total sales in comparison to e-commerce. However, it has witnessed a slight and steady decline in recent years during the same time that e-commerce witnessed rapid expansion. According to a recent study by Statista, more than a fifth of all retail sales in China occurred online in 2017.

In Bangladesh, e-commerce is yet to experience the massive growth and impact that the developed world, as well as neighboring countries like India, have been experiencing. Statista currently ranks Bangladesh in the 46th position in terms of e-commerce sales with a market value, according to a German research firm, of $1.6 billion. This number is expected to double in the next four years as Bangladesh builds upon and improves the digital and physical logistics infrastructure in the country.

While there are dedicated e-commerce websites for various purposes, online vendors and buyers have taken to social media to set up their own marketplaces. A great share of e-commerce sales takes place through these pages. Currently, the eCommerce Association of Bangladesh (E-CAB) estimates around 700 e-commerce sites and 8,000 e-commerce Facebook pages and groups. C2C sites like Bikroy and B2C sites like Daraz, Chaldal and more have all shown significant surges in growth and popularity in the country. B2B and B2E services also operate in various capacities in the country. A big obstacle to the growth of e-commerce in Bangladesh still remains as online payment and transaction infrastructure is yet to develop.


Omnichannel is an important building block in the emergence of Retail 4.0. A report by Mckinsey highlights the evolution of retail in 5 phases, with the fifth phase ‘Retail 4.0’ being characterized by seamless integration and interweaving of digital and physical worlds to create a highly immersive marketplace. Omnichannel is a rethinking of the role of multi-channel used by retailers with the aim of providing greater value than the sum of its component channels.

With more and more people shopping online and using smartphones, tablets, desktops, and seamless payment options, many retailers are experimenting with a new experience for customers, including virtual stores. Cashless stores are also emerging where customers are able to pick up their necessities from a store without having to go through the cash till as technology allows for automatic receipts being created upon self-checkout and credited to customers’ accounts.


The retail industry is facing the latest generation of consumers with an increasingly different palette of demands. The millennial and the digital natives are tech-savvy, perceptive of multi-channel communications, have a global mindset and the ability to filter out traditional, near-identical and unoriginal marketing efforts. They demand global quality, do not practice blind loyalty, and choose brands that best suit their personality and ideals. Thus, retailers are faced with a new challenge and a bouquet of new possibilities.

The growth of the economy and infrastructure, globalization, connectivity, a new generation of shoppers and more will shape the trends of Bangladesh for the future keeping it more in line with global trends. Mckinsey’s study of ‘Retail 4.0’, along with other studies, have uncovered trends to watch out for as Retail continues to evolve.

E-Grocery – The e-grocery segment offers greater profit margins for grocers as opposed to the traditionally low margins. By incorporating features such as virtual stores, low prices, effective delivery models that incorporate home delivery, click-and-collect, drive-through, and centralized lockers, e-grocers have the ability to rise in the future. In Bangladesh, one of the most popular e-commerce sites is an e-grocer, whilst supermarkets are also opening e-grocery segments.

Self-Checkouts and Digital Wallets – As more and more economies go cashless, retailers will be increasingly incorporating new features that use digital payment methods to compliment them. Self-checkout systems will be able to significantly reduce ques and bring about a greater degree of automation efficiency.

Real-time Pricing – E-commerce platforms have the ability to change their prices anytime they wish in order to capitalize on demand surges throughout the month, week, or even day. They offer flash sales and great discounts to customers as incentives for them to make online purchases. As electronic shelf labeling (ESL) technologies become widespread, brick-and-mortar retailers will be able to compete in real-time pricing with e-commerce sites easily.

Data-centrism and Personalization – Most customers like to have a tailored experience. Collecting customer data will enable companies to build customer profiles by observing patterns and to design customized offers for buyers.  Analyzing data from customer feedback can help retailers gain valuable insight into customer requirements. This will drive effective, personalized shopping experiences & offerings.

Mobile Content – To increase the likelihood of purchases, retailers have to consider keeping mobile content in their promotional activities. Customers are getting advertisements on social media platforms including YouTube, Instagram and Facebook that are usually operated through smartphones. This is especially true in the Bangladeshi context where mobile connections significantly outnumber desktop broadband. Retailers are beginning to consider smartphone users while they design their promotional activities to more effectively appeal to the consumer.

Mixing Content & Commerce – Retailers and Media brands are combining their expertise to engage customers and boost sales. Typical retail staff is working with graphic designers and video editors. Content creators are going deeper into commerce. Retailers are recruiting content developers to more effectively engage with consumers.



Today’s consumers are taking an eco-friendly stance. Consumer groups are trying to build a better world for future generations. They are avoiding using Plastics, accepting Recycled products and Green Products. Many corporate are aligned with the idea of creating a sustainable business and they are not using Plastic Bags, trying not to harm the environment in the production process. Sometimes corporates are promoting their sustainable attitude to their customers to have competitive benefits and to foster goodwill.  Retailers are learning how to become sustainable. They know it will help boost their business in the long run.

« on: March 01, 2020, 04:58:58 PM »
Before making a big step in taking a franchise opportunity, one must have a desire to go along with being a new business owner. Remembering the fact that putting up a business is more than just to have something to keep one busy, but also to make it a success.


Let’s start with the common questions that a franchiser may ask before one finally decides to sign a contract:

What is your main reason for franchising a business? Will this be your primary source of income? Is it something you will do alongside being employed? Do you have thoughts of owning more than one franchise in the future?
Do you have the resources to start with the business? Are you ready to shell out more money should the need arise?
How long do you intend to have the franchise?
How much of a risk-taker are you?
How involved can you be with the business?
Do you have the right skills to become a good business owner?

Without having a proper answer to all the questions above, starting a franchise would be just another thought. No business can start without funds and to start with just a small business, still, you must realize that more than paying the franchise cost, there are still a lot more that needs to be taken care of. In the first few months of a business, it will need the most amount of its capital, and make less or no profit at all. Some take up to 3 years, depending on the kind of products or services as well as location and several other factors.

Keeping the same enthusiasm all throughout the business journey is the key to properly manage the business or to pass it on to another group of individuals, like your children. On the Franchiser’s agreement, the duration of owning the franchise is always stated. The franchisee should be able to create strategic planning on how to make the most out of the number of years stated on the agreement.

You may have people to work for you. But a business owner must have time t no check on his business. Other people taking advantage of your absence may lead to a total downfall of the business.

Although you don’t need to be a business expert to run a franchise as most of the corporate responsibilities would be handled by the franchiser, you must have some basic people management skills.  You just need to reinvent yourself in a way that you mold yourself into the business that you plan to put up.


Narrowing Down Options

There are a lot of franchising opportunities that you may have crossed out after realizing what you really want. More than looking at different well-known brands try to check on the type of business and specific concepts, think of how it would well fit into the criteria that you have established regarding your set of skills, goals and risk tolerance.

Sometimes narrowing down your options may lead you to a point of choosing whether to put up a business that you are comfortable to start with or to learn something new because it is what is currently in demand. The risk may be a bit higher if you start with a business that you know nothing about but then, if you are more than 100% willing to take up training and seminars to be armed with the correct information and develop more skills, then by all means.


Help Your Franchisees Grow the Business

The franchisees, not necessarily, are experts in the field of marketing. Some may have just wanted to start with the business and carefully learn from it with your help. Franchisees expect that franchisers would give full support when it comes to marketing the franchise. The franchiser, being in the industry for quite some time may be able to provide valuable information on how to make things work. It can be done probably with the help of an expert to train the franchisees on how to handle the business better would be of greater help. Hiring a third-party expert to train own team can eventually make better resources for yourself to train future franchisees.

A subtle communication between the old and new franchisees can help a business grow. The experience that they may have while communicating with each other may help boost the confidence of the new franchisees in making good with the business. It is like having first-hand information and proven techniques that can help new franchisees to get their feet going with the business.

One must not get stuck with what he/she has been accustomed to training. There should always be room to innovate. Making marketing ‘gimmicks” is what makes the business succeed. Successful marketing techniques can be recognized by the number of franchisees of a business.

Finally, let the franchisees take heed in making the right decisions while running the business. Maybe they have something in mind that they think can be helpful in boosting their sales. But before they even jump into that, they should let you know if it is truly something that can be possibly done without harming anything or anyone in the process.

BBA Discussion Forum / The high five in marketing lexicon
« on: March 01, 2020, 04:46:17 PM »
Here are 5 much talked about brand aspects that many failed to study for their own brands
1. Brand Trust is the ultimate test:

Brand - trust seems to be the new mantra getting its attention. Brand - trust is an intangible and perhaps a complex attribute to measure.Traditionally most research studies capture Brand - trust from one or two prompted statements in their study amongst a battery of other statements. If Brand - trust is understood to be the most crucial aspect, then perhaps it deserves a dedicated study and tracking.
2. Storytelling for stronger engagement:Story-telling as a concept, as a strategy, as a special function and as an art have all got amplified as a marketing need in recent years. Yet, didn’t find brands measuring or tracking how good or relevant their brand stories are and how they are performing in the market. Gauging the success of a brand story-telling seems to be based on inferences and gut feel rather than a dedicated study to measure its relevance, execution and effectiveness.

Studying which part of the story is relevant and engaging, which part is losing its relevance, which part is not helping differentiate, which story is not leading up to the desired experience etc. becomes important for better ROS (Returns on Story-telling). Did the sum of all parts of the story-telling add up to the desired outcome? This needs constant tracking.
3. KYC – Know your Competition’s customers:

Knowing your competitor’s price, product features, promotional offerings, communication, market segmentation, sales, distribution etc. are hygiene requirements. Most brands have spent resources and time studying this year after year. The greater advantage will be if a brand could study its competitor’s consumers as a dedicated study.

Understanding competition’s consumers could dramatically change the way you look at your category or your markets. Understanding competitor’s consumer’s latent needs, fears, pain points, emotions, pride, aspirations, personal value systems, culture bias, usage experience etc. could throw up new insights for your own product mix and marketing mix strategy. Finding out what is going wrong with a competitor’s customers is just as important as knowing what they are doing right. Also, it helps in avoiding the same mistakes. In a cluttered market, discovering a chink in the competitor’s armour or packaging an approach with a fresh appeal can be extremely valuable. Dedicated research to study a brand’s competitor inside out qualitatively and quantitatively could enable breakthrough insights leading to disproportionate returns, innovation and possibly the need to redefine the brand’s purpose and positioning too.

4. Consistency is Key:

The theory of consistency continues to be spoken and lectured upon in the marketing fraternity. With today’s multi-layered mediums, highly fragmented media consumption, over-saturated digital content and cluttered OOH spaces, brands are struggling to keep up with the dynamic communication platforms with a consistent brand message and image.

New terminologies, new designations, new concepts and specialised functions have evolved to meet the new requirements. Content creators, Co-creators, crowdsourcing, brand story-tellers, Story –doers, Digital experience officer etc. to name a few. Now the brand owners based on their personal experience or wisdom are hoping or are assuming that all the various communication pieces are consistent and in line with the declared brand purpose, positioning and personality. Now the question is, did their consumers also see or experience the intended consistency? Is consistency an assumption or is it felt and experienced? If Consistency is the key, perhaps this also needs a dedicated consumer study to track if a consistent brand message or a brand story was experienced by their consumers.
5. ‘How they make you feel’:

In a dynamic digital marketing world, most of the measurements seem to be based on acts and numbers. The number of clicks, referrals, forwards or shares, feedback rating, reviews on product features, service promptness, post-purchase experience rating etc. The digital world seems to track and measure (most likely by a bot) anything that can be quantified at the end of the day.

The new brand emphasis seems to be beyond a mere consumption experience, the discussions and focuses are around how the brand made a difference to the feeling of a customer. This calls for a highly sensitive and emotion measurement skills and tools, unlikely for a bot to measure. How did the brand ‘make me feel’ is argued to be a very powerful brand aspect to know, strategize and manage. Capturing and reflecting upon a customer’s articulation of a ‘feeling’ becomes critical. The ‘feeling’ of associating with a brand could range from extreme emotions to the most predictable ones. The brand made me feel confident, made me feel wanted, made me feel small, made me feel guilty, made me feel proud, made me feel intelligent etc. are some of the possible types of articulation one could expect. Studying these ‘feelings’ and managing them seem to be more of a concept in 2019 and yet to be practised by most marketers.

They say what gets measured gets managed. It will be interesting to watch how the new buzz words, jargon and concepts are measured and put to practise in 2020.

Air travel can be daunting, for many a reason. Now add to that a worldwide outbreak of a deadly virus and the fear multiplies tenfold.

Most airports are now screening passengers for symptoms of coronavirus, which started in China’s Wuhan. But passengers who have to board a flight can still be weary of being stuck inside a metal box, hundreds of feet above in the sky with fellow passengers sneezing or coughing.

There is still much to learn about the outbreak but scientists do know a bit about similar coronaviruses and other respiratory illnesses like influenza. So how do those viruses spread, specifically on planes? And how can you protect yourself?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines contact with an infected person as being seated within two rows of one another in an airplane. But passengers do not always stay put in their seats. They move around and go for washroom breaks or walk around to stretch their legs on particularly longer flights. As such, the New England Journal of Medicine noted that the WHO criteria “would have missed 45 percent of the patients with SARS.”

During the 2003 outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), a passenger aboard a flight from Hong Kong to Beijing infected people well outside the WHO’s two-row boundary, reports National Geographic.

This prompted the “FlyHealthy Research Team” to observe the behaviours of passengers and crew on 10 transcontinental US flights of about three and a half to five hours, the report says.

The study was led by Emory University’s Vicki Stover Hertzberg and Howard Weiss and they looked at how people moved about the cabin and how that affected the number and duration of their contact with others. The objective was to estimate how many close encounters might allow for transmission during transcontinental flights.

“Suppose you are seated in an aisle seat or a middle seat and I walk by to go to the lavatory. We’re going to be in close contact, meaning we’ll be within a metre. So, if I’m infected, I could transmit to you...Ours was the first study to quantify this,” National Geographic quoted Weiss, professor of biology and mathematics at Penn State University.

The study findings were revealed in 2018 and it said most passengers left their seats at some point, usually to use the washroom or check their overhead bins, during medium haul flights. Understanding the movement of passengers helped scientists to predict the safest places to sit on an airplane.

The passengers who were least likely to get up were in window seats: only 43 percent moved around as opposed to 80 percent of people seated on the aisle, reports National Geographic quoting the study.

However, the team made a model that showed passengers in middle and aisle seats -- even those that are within the WHO’s two-seat range -- have a fairly low probability of getting infected.

But all of that changes if the ill person is a crew member as flight attendants spend much more time walking down the aisle and interacting with passengers and are likely to have close, prolonged contact with passengers.

The study found that a sick crew member has a probability of infecting 4.6 passengers, “thus, it is imperative that flight attendants not fly when they are ill.”


Not much is known about the how the new coronavirus transmits yet but earlier cases of similar viruses allow researchers to extrapolate the study findings.

They have concluded that it could transmit primarily through respiratory droplets, physical contact with saliva or diarrhea followed by oral consumption of viral material, or perhaps even aerosols.

As such experts have suggested to follow the guidance by Center for Disease Control on prevention of coronavirus. They are:

-Wash hands regularly with soap or alcohol-based hand sanitizer after touching any surface

-There is evidence that the virus lasts longer on surfaces, making it imperative to wash/sanitize after coming to contact with any surface 

-You should also avoid touching your face and contact with coughing passengers by whatever means possible

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