Have you watched these trending videos yet?

What engrosses most of our time on social media? Browsing our friends’ (and their friends’) pictures apart, Indians are apparently spending a whole lot of time watching online videos. A comScore report says that 55% of the Indian web-surfing populace view videos every single day! Global online video ad spending is expected to surpass $10 billion by 2015. India is in the top three video-consuming markets in the world and that video is clearly one of the biggest growth drivers of the Internet on mobile, says C V L Srinivas, CEO of media-buying agency GroupM, in an interview with Mint.

It’s heartening to note that a lot of positive video content is now available to Indian viewers. Let’s hope social change will arrive on a viral video view.

Here are the videos we are loving this week. (Yes we know, there’s an ad in the list, but you’ve gotta admit it, the treatment is great!)

  • Vikas Bahl, the director who gave us the rocking Queen, brings a new perspective to women’s safety issues with this video titled Going Home. The video features the smashing, spunky Alia Bhatt, who has been making some remarkable career choices of late. If you haven’t seen her in the AIB Genius of The Year video yet, please do check it out.

  • Then there’s the new Pepsi ad, which goes with the hashtag #GharWaliDiwali. It resonates with the viewer because surely, each of us has been too busy to ring up our parents, right? We wouldn’t want to admit it, but we believe a lot of us reached for the phone after watching this video.

  • You may have your opinions about Arnab Goswami, but there’s no denying the charm of ‘Barely Speaking with Arnub’ (note the ‘u’), which describes itself as a talk show featuring a host with a bad attitude. That Shah Rukh Khan so sportingly (and charmingly) came on the show, and laughed at himself is what makes this video a must-watch!

  • This one has been doing the rounds on Facebook and Whatsapp, but you can watch it again and really feel proud of the country, and its achievements. Makes you want to improve, to pitch in, to innovate. Get inspired!

Happy viewing!

Tell us which of these videos you liked the best! Or do you feel some other video should have made it to the list? Comment, and let us know.

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Build your brand’s digital and social presence right: we tell you how

Photo: freedigitalphotos.net/photoraidz
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net/photoraidz

Twenty years ago, brands had to plan extensive PR mechanisms to get their stories told; today the same PR mechanisms are hard at work, ensuring the right stories are gaining traction and trying to get a hang of popular sentiment about the brand, via the opinions and reviews floating free across all social media. So what changed in the last 20 years to bring about the change? A lot, of course, but the biggest contributing factor was the rebirth of the world wide web, via social media networks, and the pervasive usage of Internet via handheld devices including the ubiquitous mobile phone. Most cell phone users today use (or want to use) at least one social network from a phone app, so much so that on entry-level phones, sites like Facebook are often a newbie’s first exposure to the world wide web. Welcome to the virtual world!

The modes of storytelling and the avenues of networking have changed: both have gone virtual, and the possibility of virtual content going viral has multiplied manifold! One bad review, in the days of word-of-mouth, would not have hit a brand very hard; but these days, a well-worded, cheeky tweet could be retweeted and liked hundreds of times in a matter of minutes! Which also goes for happy product and user experiences too, of course. So how does a brand build build its digital presence right? We give you some pointers:

  1. Define your goals.
    And let your goals define your social media strategy. If you are looking to be a thought leader in your industry space, perhaps you need to focus more on blogging, LinkedIn and Twitter. Google+, Facebook and Twitter are excellent for customer interactions and engagement. So are a plethora of other social media platforms. If you need to choose the right one, you need to know what your goal is.
  2. No hardsell please.
    Let your ads do that. On social media networks, people are looking for information, engagement and real stories. Don’t use the space to exclusively market your products. What if that is your priority? You can talk about the difference or benefit your product or service can bring about, you can mention new developments in your industry, you can share happy client-speak and occasionally you can put up product-specific updates. Take some tips from Nike, one of the brands that leverages social media best.
  3. Be consistent, stay relevant.
    This may seem obvious but the truth is not many brands are consistent about implementing this: add your social media URLs to all your branding and marketing materials, from ads to visiting cards to signages used for an event and most importantly, your website. Help your customer stay connected to you by making it easier for them to find you on the social media platforms they use.
  4. Assign a budget.
    Signing up on a social media platform may be free but it takes time, effort and money to update and monitor your social media profiles perfectly. Defining a budget for social media activities and ads are crucial if you want to invest time in creating and sharing the right content. There are a lot of brands competing for attention on the social media space, and you need to allocate resources for your social media plans if you intend to take it seriously.

So what are your key goals when it comes to social media? What are the challenges you face when you are planning a social media strategy?

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© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

Social Media for the Uninitiated – I

“What is social media?” It is a question we often come across from friends, associates and mostly, prospective clients. The minute we mention names like Facebook and Twitter, most faces light up in recognition. However, even then, a majority of people do not understand what our scope of work is, or in the case of potential clients, they wonder how a page on Facebook or an account on Twitter can help their business.

We don’t blame them since the media (print and electronic, that is) has just about started talking about social media and the impact it has been making. For most people (read businesses), an account on Facebook is for youngsters who have nothing better to do. Having been in this business for over a year, and having made a difference to our clients’ businesses, it’s time we delved into the ‘whats’, ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of social media, once again. (No, we don’t get tired of doing this!)

Let’s start with something simple. Traditional businesses believe in keeping things under wraps. They like it quiet, and they love keeping ‘secrets’. But the ‘secret’ ingredient of Gen Y marketing is to SHARE. Share information, knowledge, news, tips, whatever there is to share and that will bring you one step closer to your client. Getting under the skin of your brand is just not enough. Look beyond selling; think bonding. And the best way to bond with your client is to get on to the same platform as him—reach him via social media. The mantra is to ‘Become Accessible!’ Clients love brands which are accessible.

According to the leading business daily, The Economic Times, Indian consumers use social media to convey grievances.

So if you are not on the network, how do you address these grievances? The complaints will largely remain unattended, and you will soon find your business going out to other companies (which are most likely to be social media savvy)!

It is high time businesses took social media seriously. Your online presence does not begin and end with a website. If you are a small business, how do you let people know you exist? If you are a large one, how do you convey that you are within reach? Start networking!

However, social media is not just about getting a page ready and inviting people to become fans or followers. Social media is 24/7. You have to be active round the clock and constantly stay in touch with your fan base. Answer questions, give people titbits to chew on, keep interactions alive, bond with your “fans”—do anything to stay top-of-the-mind. Clichéd but true; THINK OUT OF THE BOX!

We will leave you with this interesting video on the revolution called Social Media. 

Tell us what you think! Meanwhile, keep checking this space, because there is a lot more gyaan on Social Media coming up right here!

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Lit candle,cupcake for first birthday celebration

Whoa… it’s nearly a year!

Nearly there, nearly there, I think to myself as I sit before the laptop; and that applies both to the increased frequency of blogging I am charting out for our official account as well as the upcoming FIRST birthday of our start-up. See, I am already beaming as I write this!

Image courtesy: Corbis Images

Thinking of all the ways in which we are to mark the anniversary, which is, of course, a major milestone for us in more ways than one. DropCap Media has evolved in so many ways, from our fledgling–sometimes sure, sometimes quavering but never faltering–steps we took in April 2010. Wow! So much seems to have changed in a year, from the time I sat in my living room on a Sunday afternoon mulling on names that ranged from exciting-but-irrelevant to plain uninspired. A few months after the launch, DropCap went from being a proprietorship to a partnership with Sreedevi, and there’s been no looking back since.

We have gone from strength to strength, learning from our mistakes and mis-steps, doing things we have never done before (like marketing, presentations, accounting, and so much more) and getting better at the stuff we were good at. We are happy to have our clients keep coming back to us, and all those who have stood by us even when we were starting out need special mention here.

As a lot of our work is focused on an industry that is changing by the day–social media–we have had to be on our toes to keep ourselves updated and to keep innovating. Glad to say that after months of app-related heartbreak, we have been able to tie up with excellent third-party vendors for technical support.  So watch out for some exciting features on our clients’ FB, YouTube and other social media spaces!

I know it’s gonna sound Oscar-ish, or even worse Miss World-ish, but I just have to thank all the people who have given us unstinting support from the word ‘go’. Our families, of course, will find a mention when we do our respective personal blogs; the curious can find my personal world here and Sree’s here. This is for the rest of the gang out there, including our two team-mates Vidya and Anuroop (for laughing with us, hearing our rants, for doing everything that needs doing, and of course, for being there), our team of fabulous writers (hats off to each one of you for pitching in with your best every time, on time), our design partners (especially Anoop, who takes time off for from his lovely caricature works for us), my mentor Jacob who torments us with mock threats of acquisition and of course, Sree reminds me, a special mention for all the coffee shops in and around Panampilly Nagar–our preferred venues for client meets, discussions (of the intellectual kind and otherwise too), and some much-needed venting. 

Phew! That was some list, and I can still add to it, but I am not going to! Leaving you with some good news: DropCap Media is moving to a bigger, better space in April; in fact, we will be celebrating our anniversary there (putting all my faith in the carpenters working there as I write this).

Do you have any ideas as to how we should mark our first birthday? Do leave a comment here, or mail us at info@dropcapmedia.com.

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Why should businesses ‘do’ social media? Answers to your FAQs

As an ardent believer in the powers of social media, I have always upheld its importance as a novel tool for businesses in marketing, branding, customer relations and lead generation. Time and again, in my interaction with clients and peers, I have been asked to validate my stand. Here are the major queries I get and their answers, in a lighter vein:

Pic courtesy: americanhell.com

Q. Does my company/non-profit/brand need a social media presence?
A. Is your company/non-profit/brand relevant to others? [The client’s answer is often ‘Of course’ in an ‘Are you crazy?’ kind-of tone.] Then of course, you need a social media presence.

Q. So shall we just jump right in?
A. Hold it! Get your top management to sit down and discuss your social media goals, just as you would for any other major decision you may make. Once you have your goals in place, draw up a social media strategy. Get expert assistance if needed.

Q. Facebooking and Tweeting are simple! Why do I need a dedicated person/consultant for the job?
A. Because half-hearted attempts show up easily on social media. You don’t want the wrong kind of ‘viral’ effect, right? You are dealing with actual people–customers, influencers, critics, competition–on social media; and you need time, effort, consistency and clarity to build up a social media presence that suits your corporate profile/brand. It’s not enough that you care about your brand/product/clients/channel partner, you need to show that you care.


Q. OK, so what else do I need to know?
A. In addition to establishing your brand on social media, you need to track social media metrics. This involves both the engagements that have taken place on your sites/pages (like your FB page, blog, etc) as well as what people are talking about you elsewhere, away from your official pages. Is the predominant sentiment positive/negative? How is your brand being perceived? You can use premium tools from Radian6, ScoutLabs, etc for this or your social media consultant can track it for a fee.

Q. We are an old-fashioned company, operating on traditional values. Will a Facebook presence dilute/trivialise our essence? Will we have to develop a more youthful image to fit in?
A.Your customers and channel partners love you for who you are; you do not need a makeover in order to fit into the social media sphere. You may need to engage younger clients with specific content/activity geared to their likings, of course but that does not necessarily translate into rehashing your corporate identity. Look at social media as a place where people can connect to the soul of your business and you, in turn, get your message across in a more direct, interactive and consummate manner than ever before.

Want to know more? Mail me at sumithomas@dropcapmedia.com.

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