The essence of Virality – the ALS way!

All digital marketing gurus will tell you about 20 (plus or minus five) things that you should do to get your message across and how to ensure more and more people view it.
But, how do you really do this? Consider many videos, messages and feeds which have gone viral. These all have just the basic key elements common. If you take a step back, and connect your messaging (very deliberately) with your overall digital strategy, you will see the common factors are:

  • A Cause – that people can relate to. Or a need that people see getting fulfilled.
  • The Content – that touches people’ emotion somehow. Either in terms of goodness, something shocking or the best of the lot – humour
  • and the Hook – something that makes people do the share and the like. The content itself can, of course. But, the desire to show people “I did it” is even more powerful.

    Now, take a quick second and think about the ALS IceBucketChallenge. You have surely seen a few videos, or maybe actually have taken up the challenge and in return challenged some other friends too. Has all the three elements embedded. Its a cause, important enough for people to relate to. The content is humourous for sure, almost every time. The hook is of course, you can challenge other people by taking up this challenge. The only difference is that in this case it is not just one video which is going viral, but the message. That is what one finally cares for anyways…and this is brining in money (in donations).

The Power of Tier-2, and Tier-3 locations in India

If you are even remotely interested in the progress of Retail and Ecommerce in India, you are surely aware of how large an impetus our Tier-2, and Tier-3 cities and towns can provide. In our experience, the basic factors which create an impact in consumer behaviour in these locations are:

  • Penetration of mobile technology, and hardware thus creating easy access to the Internet.
  • Availability of cash to make purchases, and the existing desire created by other media.
  • Lack of easy availability of material for purchase.
  • Lack of steady internet connections, and thus dependence on Cyber Cafes for making purchases.

Read through the slides below to know more about these trends as we discovered from our study.

Retail 2020 for the Retail CIO

The last some years has been nothing less than a train wreck, and a traffic pile up put together. Things seem to look up for a bit and then go down into the dump. Maybe, its a W-shaped recession after all. But there is a bit of a silver lining.

Retail will have a very different shape in the next decade. How should the CIOs of retail companies prepare? Here are some pointers from my experience interacting with Retail CIOs worldover for about the last seven years.

Proactive alignment with business

IT not always being aligned with the mainline business has always been the bane of many a CIO organization. Right now is the opportunity to make the change. CIOs must choose to drive leadership in IT areas which directly add to the company value propositions, and not wait for business to set direction and strategy for IT.

Act local, think Global

All retailers must think of the world as their consumer base. Thinking global does not necessarily mean proliferation to the scale of Starbucks in which case you could see half a dozen starbucks signs standing any stop lights in downtown AnyCity in the US. The Body shop is a fairly decent example, and so is WHSmiths in gradual global expansion, and reducing overall risk by placing the eggs in different baskets. Of course, this needs the processes and systems to support such geographic diversity and this is where the CIO comes in to play a major part. In some geographies e.g. India, most of this progress will be through JVs, and the CIO plays a part in integration and adapting to local IT needs

Consumer and demand driven

Retailing is slowly becoming, and will completely be Customer driven rather than merchandise driven. The hammer and nail syndrome will have to go away. As shake downs happen, the retail geography changes. New specialty, and information driven retail comes to play very strongly. Here are two examples – Airtel is the largest seller of music in India today. Best Buy’s largest competitor perhaps is Amazon, and not other brick and mortar set ups (now that Circuit City is history). Better understanding the customer behaviour is what will make the difference.

Out of the box

Time to think differently, time to adapt and bring forth disparate step changes in technology. Retailers who are able to harness technology for bringing in innovation will see progress. Technology which brings in quick supply chain squeeze, inventory handling or deliver top-line increase will see being adapted, and CIOs need to be ready to move rapidly.

Getting it right – Part 1

We talk about the future, and what Retail will look like in 2020 (or 2010). We talk about how supply chain needs to be optimized and how we need to get customer centric. However, even now there are some basics of Retailing that are missing in our country. Many of these also have to do with their IT implementation. This is the first in the series of posts discussing such issues, with examples.

Making a promotion flow through

This is a pretty common one, and one would think that retailers could get this right in the first shot and in a jiffy. I have noticed this many times, and surely you have too. The shelf has a designated price for an SKU and has a promotion running. You pick the item, and when checking out the POS does not seem to recognize the promotion.