Sep 14, 2015

Kolkata #BergerXP IndiBlogger meet, Marketing Insights, and some Blogging Tips

4 years, 4 long years. That's how long Kolkata bloggers have been waited for a blogger meet. Thankfully, I am more of a Nomad and I visited the Kose IndiBlogger Meet, which coincided with my IIM Indore interview. Being that pseudo Kolkatan that I am, I knew about the rich heritage of the Oberoi Grand. Add to it the spice of an IB meet, and I knew missing it would be stupid. What's more? I got my mother into it too.

If you know me, you would probably know that I am a developer (yes, I still consider myself one!) and developers are introverts. Introverts are good at blending into a crowd, and not stand out. In the previous meet, I had done so successfully, and managed to talk to others too, but this time I had Mamma with me, which changed the dynamics.
When Anoop (who's a wonderful host BTW) asked for artists in the crowd, Mamma's hand shot up instantly. She talked about her digital paintings and how convenient it is to sketch on a cell phone. There goes my effort to blend in.

Mamma with her impromptu speech, me trying to look intellectual

Mamma mentioned how I was the one who inspired her to start blogging. Hmmm... I did. Didn't I? Now that I realised I was not going to escape attention (That fact that we left such an effect on others that when I introduced her to Renie, he said that everyone in the room knew that she was my mother), I talked about my blogging experience. Unfortunately, I forgot to mention that my blog has a million hits. Pretty sure that was among the highest in the room.

I was also asked for some blogging tips. The controversial personality that I had made me divulge my big secret - keep it long. Someone else had already mentioned that it was important to keep your blogs short and crisp, but I believe that longer posts give you sincerer followers. (If you are reading this and you disagree, please look at the number of hits on my blog on the left - it's 1.1+ million and counting!)

Keep it long darth-bloggers, or a laser beam will come out of my fingers and burn your blog! Muhahaha!
People love controversies and I thrive on them. The business development officer of Berger, during his presentation, pointed out to be and said that he'd like to keep it short. I agreed, after all a presentation is not a blog post. However, he proceeded to show a 10 minute long video about Berger's new products (which I will come back to shortly) - I guess, he followed my advice unknowingly ;)

Time for a self five.
One more advice for fellow bloggers, which I should have mentioned, is that your greatest reader is the future version of you. If your readers are not interested in your posts anymore, they would stop reading your blog, but if future you is not interested, he would just stop working on the blog (and maybe, start a new one!)

I have noticed that these promotional activities have a lot of marketing insights behind them (after all, MM-I at IIM Lucknow did have an effect in me). In the Kose IndiBlogger Meet, which saw the launch of a new brand Spawake, the key marketing insight was that the Indian consumer was attracted to two key elements associated with fairness creams - enhanced fairness (like the whole range of Fair and Lovely products), and the use of natural elements (like Olay Natural White). Spawake targeted the segment from both angles though it's too early to say whether they were successful!

In the case of Berger Express Painting, Berger identified a key issue in the way consumers painted their houses. It is a tedious process and you need to get in professionals to work for a few days to get the work done. There is often a tendency to delay the whole process altogether. In addition to that, painting involves a lot of dust and who loves dust?

In the west, the process of painting is so costly that people often do it themselves. Berger Express Painting enables one to easily learn the process of painting and do it themselves using the tools by Berger. Berger Express Painting tackles two issues - innovation to retail and extend your market share, and challenging the status quo to change consumer behaviour.

An analogy with respect to challenging the status quo can be made with that of Starbucks. This example is explained wonderfully by Professor David Bell of Wharton School (on the Coursera course- Introduction to Marketing).

Several years ago Mr. Howard Schultz in founding Starbucks noticed that in the United States, people were drinking coffee. Most of it, however, was not very good coffee. It was just simply a product, without much peripheral experience or service to go with it.

Then he went to Europe and he noticed in Europe people also drank coffee. But when they drank coffee, they did so with their friends, they drank higher ends of coffee, they knew about things like macchiatos and lattes and so on. So, it was really, a completely different experience. It was the core product, with all of these other things wrapped around it.

And so when he came back to the United States and started Starbucks, in his mind, he had the notion of Starbucks being something what he refers to, or Starbucks refers to, as the third place. So, the first place is your home. The second place is our work life, workplace. That's certainly more difficult and more stressful, we're all working a lot harder. And the idea of Starbucks, is the third place. That's where can you go and all of your troubles float away, on a steamy latte.

Moving on from marketing to teamwork, there were two team tasks.

Making the walls smoother
The first one involved us..., well..., I don't remember exactly what the target was, because getting ready for it was definitely more exciting! The second one, though, was more challenging.

The final product!
A painting on women empowerment was the final result. Although we didn't win, the activity was wonderful. In particular, I loved intimidating the neighbouring groups about how great our task was going on!

Here's hoping Kolkata gets more blogger meets in the future! (And let's hope I am there to hop onto the IndiCar when it arrives!)

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