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MediAvataar's News Desk

MediAvataar's News Desk

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Monday, 13 July 2015 00:00

The Future of Business is Personal

It's sometimes hard to appreciate the power of a historical moment. An era isn't always defined by one seismic event, but sometimes by a thousand little tremors shaking-and reshaping-the world.

We are living in such a moment, quite literally on the cusp of a new age. As futurist David Brin theorized in late 2013, each century effectively begins in its 14th year. However dominant influences and technology from the previous century appear to be, new elements come to the fore and shift the mood. The arc of the rising century becomes perceptible. If that is so, then 2014 is no ordinary year.

For those of us in business, it may well be a pivot point-a time to pause, connect the dots, gain a broader view, and align our visions and our plans with the unstoppable currents carrying us forward.

But what are those currents? Which great advances and ideas have already set the future of business in motion? That is what we are going to explore in this 2014 edition of Best Global Brands.

But, first, we need to understand the nature of the moment we sit in as well as the history that has brought us to where we are now.

Horses and cars

In the early 20th century, life was changing at a pace never-before seen. From the introduction of electricity, indoor plumbing, and refrigeration to washing machines, telephones, and life-saving medical breakthroughs, modern progress was raising the standard of living on all fronts. And then there was the development that turbocharged modern civilization's ascent: the automobile.

For thousands of years, the most efficient mode of transportation usually involved a horse. By revolutionizing mobility, the car made things possible that simply weren't possible before. People now had more freedom to choose where they could live, where they could work, who and what they saw-and how often. It ignited a desire to travel, to explore. The car moved us collectively from a limited, static state of being to a more dynamic, expansive one. It catalyzed an evolutionary leap.

But did people at the time perceive it that way? When the car emerged, were they aware of its profound implications for society? Probably not. If they weren't, it was because the transformation, though rapid from a historical standpoint, was gradual-and the new, for a time, still mingled with the old. Yet, among the most perceptive, there was surely a moment, a "horses and cars" moment, when the trajectory of the future and magnitude of the oncoming cultural shift became evident.

In this transitional space, a period when horses and cars coexisted on city streets, a torch was passed. The long agrarian epoch that had defined and governed human life for so long was coming to a close, and a completely new chapter in human experience was about to begin.

The shifting of the ages

Given the rapidity and immensity of the changes we've witnessed since the dawn of industrialization-and the degree to which these changes altered the way we began to live and do business at various points-our modern era can be divided into distinct periods of time marked by distinguishing features and events. Through the lens of branding, we at Interbrand have determined four ages that have defined and reshaped business: the Age of Identity, the Age of Value, the Age of Experience, and the forthcoming Age of You.

Many of us in business know that the term "branding" referred originally to a crude mark of ownership, literally burned into the hides of cattle. While this is an interesting bit of trivia, it also gives us some perspective and helps us realize just how far the art and science of branding has come and how sophisticated it has grown.

In the post–World War II era, this mark of ownership evolved into a powerful symbol of differentiation and identification in the period we refer to as the Age of Identity. Mass communication media like TV, radio, and widely circulated print material that characterized this age elevated the status and significance of brands among both consumers and business owners. Here is where a relationship was cemented, trust was built, and a symbiotic evolutionary process began to accelerate. In the Age of Value, beginning in the late 1980s, quantifying the intangible aspects of branding proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that brands had concrete value-and that leading companies needed to take these business assets seriously.

As products and services multiplied exponentially and businesses gained a deeper appreciation of the role brands play in delivering satisfying and differentiated experiences to consumers, a new age-the Age of Experience-was under way. But coinciding with these deeper realizations about the importance of experience was the emergence of a phenomenon that would change the world forever: the internet. Benefitting immensely from the rise of digital and, later, mobile technology, savvy brands like Apple grew stronger and new category-killers like Google, Amazon, and Facebook soon reset customer expectations and significantly raised the bar for brand experiences.

Today, the multiplication of channels has pushed brands to strive for greater levels of clarity and consistency across touchpoints and necessitated the creation of ecosystems of integrated products, services, information, and entertainment: both physical and digital. And, due to another game-changer-social media-consumers are more empowered than ever before, more influential than ever before, and expect seamless interactions, responsiveness, 24/7 accessibility, customization options, and high levels of personalization. In a sense, they increasingly expect brands to know them.

The Age of You

As digital technology continues to weave its way into every aspect of our lives, and more of who we are is captured on servers and hard drives, the Age of Experience is giving way to a new era-one of ubiquitous computing. The shift in this direction is observable nearly everywhere and virtually unstoppable. In fact, we have reached a "horses and cars" moment of our own. Think, for instance, of people casually reading in a train or in a café these days. Some are reading books and magazines, and a growing number are engaging with a device-smartphones, tablets, laptops, and e-readers. The significance of this is greater than it appears

The nearly 600-year-old innovation that kicked off the original information age, the printing press-widely regarded as one of the most influential events in human history-has surely passed its peak, and is swiftly being replaced by text via digital interface. In the way that the automobile effectively ended the long agrarian period and ushered in the comforts, conveniences, and wonders of modernity, digital technology is ending the long reign of the book as a repository of knowledge and ushering in a world of extreme speed and efficiency, instant access, interconnectedness, intelligent machines, vast data sets, and powerful algorithms.

Like the printing press in its day, digital technology is revolutionizing the way we live and process information, impacting modes of production, improving traditional work processes, and increasing the demand for more devices that can do more things for us. And the key to getting our devices to do more for us is our data.

Now that the world is filling with devices, and more people own not only one, but several (including wearables), the world is quietly being filled with something else: sensors. As ecosystems become more fully integrated, these sensors (on our bodies, in our homes, and in our devices) will be able talk to each other in new ways. Already, our devices can check our pulses, count the calories we have burned, and calculate how close we are to our personalized fitness goals; they can save energy in our homes by controlling thermostats and lighting; they allow us to pay our bills and remind us when payments are coming up; they can track where we go and make recommendations based on where we are; and they keep us connected to everyone and everything we care about most.

All this activity, of course, generates massive amounts of data, which, if analyzed properly, can reveal the insight brands need in order to understand who customers really are and what they really need. As more of us come online as data repositories, machines get smarter, and all devices are working in concert, supply chains will reorganize around individuals. Ecosystems will become "Mecosystems"-ecosystems that revolve around and cater to you.

From the way we manage our personal brands and share pieces of ourselves through various social media platforms to the increasingly personalized world of commerce-which uses purchase histories and location-based services to tailor products, events, services, and offers to whoever we are, wherever we are-our data is creating value for ourselves, for brands, and for the system at large every second of every day.

Brands that seek to lead in the Age of You, ruled by Mecosystems, will have to recognize the human in the data, uncover genuine insights, and create a truly personalized and curated experience.

To put it simply, the future of business is personal.


Authored by Jez Frampton, Global CEO Interbrand


Last year my colleague Annabel Wren wrote a paper on reputation management in a crisis that won the B2B award at the MRS Awards 2014. Unlike my posts, which have tended to focus on the communication aspects of managing a crisis, Annabel’s paper covers the whole spectrum of activities, starting with the most important: be prepared.

No one knows when a crisis could strike, but that is all the more reason to be prepared. Toyota, Air Malaysia and others have learned that a slow and confused response to a crisis can be very costly. Companies thinking about crisis management need to answer three important questions as part of their planning.

How big is the risk?

The higher the reliance on branding to drive sales, the more quickly a company needs to act to defend its asset. For many consumer-packaged goods, the majority of sales result from the appeal of the brand name, so food and drink brands are particularly vulnerable to negative consumer reaction following a crisis. However, a crisis can affect more than direct sales. Investor confidence, staff morale, talent acquisition and partner confidence can all take a hit when crisis strikes.

Is our crisis radar is working?

A crisis management plan can be effective only if it is put into action at the right time. General Motors’ 2014 ignition-switch crisis developed from over a decade of related incidents and failed attempts to investigate and remedy the problem.

Internally, company personnel must have incentive to follow escalation procedures rather than trying to deal with a problem themselves or hoping it will simply go away.

Where do we stand now?

Consumer tracking, media and social monitoring systems need to be in place ahead of time to highlight emerging issues quickly and ensure an appropriate response. Make sure you are not just monitoring the vocal minority on social media. In a crisis you need to know how all your customers and stakeholders are feeling. Once the worst is past, custom research can help refine the longer-term recovery strategy. As Annabel details in her paper, Millward Brown conducted research and analyzed tracking results to advise a major investment bank on key stakeholder opinion and inform their strategy for the following year.

No one running a large corporation can assume that it will be crisis free. Preparation is critical if a crisis is to be dealt with effectively, so why do so many corporations fail to do so?


Written by Nigel Hollis,Executive Vice President and Chief Global Analyst, Millward Brown

Source: Millward Brown

Thursday, 09 July 2015 00:00

Star India launches Star Movies Select HD

Star India has announced the launch of its brand new English movie channel, Star Movies Select HD. The insight for this channel comes from an extensive consumer research that highlights how people yearn for variety and great stories.

As much as viewers need their action and superhero blockbusters, they need freshness and new stories ranging from dramas, comedies, thrillers and animation. The need of the hour was for a channel that’s dedicated to showcasing select movies that breathe fresh content and promise variety that will leave everyone spellbound.

Who better to take up this responsibility than the biggest storyteller of the country – Star India - a name synonymous with introducing Hollywood to Indian television. It’s natural then that the same company heralds the evolution of English movie channels in the true sense, a feat possible owing to the exclusive first output deals with three of the biggest studios in Hollywood – 21st Century Fox, NBC Universal and Disney.

This brand new English movie channel will redefine the movie viewing experience for a Hollywood buff.  The unique proposition of 365 days, 365 stories is based on the insight that this audience seeks new and enhanced experiences in life. Every day of the year at 9pm Star Movies Select HD will delight its viewers with the promise of a great story.

Some stories deserve to be celebrated and Star Movies Select HD promises to showcase stories that will mesmerize the audience with the television premieres of Gone Girl, Fault in our Stars, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood, Theory of Everything, Birdman to name a few. The line-up on this channel proudly proclaims to have over 30 premieres in the year, 7 out of 10 Oscar winning premieres, movies that stood out at the Golden Globes and more. To keep this experience exclusive, the channel will be available only in High Definition (HD) and the premieres and the 9 pm movies will not be screened on any of the other channels.

That’s not all; Star Movies Select HD will be the first English movie channel in the country to showcase films that were never released in India. The channel will celebrate the finest stories by creating festivals based on the strong consumer insights – movies based on True Stories, Book Adaptations, Iconic movies, Biopics and many more.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Kevin Vaz from Star India said, “Star Movies Select HD is not just a new English movie channel, it’s a promise - to deliver best of storytelling from the house of Star India. We have curated content from the biggest Hollywood studios, created a programming line-up that will need no introduction to our Select audience. Movies unreleased in India, award winning premieres and festivals are just some of the initiatives that will enthrall them with the sheer strength of spectacular stories.

Wudstay, an online marketplace for budget accommodations announced a USD 3 Million round of funding from former Skype investor, Mangrove Capital Partners and Nimbuzz CEO Vikas Saxena.

Travellers can use WudStay to book accommodations online and through mobile at very affordable prices and also guaranteed a quality experience along with complimentary breakfast and wifi. WudStay relies heavily on its technology backbone for standardising its guest houses so the user experience is uniform across all of its accommodations in any cities.

Currently available in Gurgaon and Jaipur, WudStay plans to expand to 65 cities in the next 18 months. Funds raised will be deployed in ramping up the technology platform and team building.

Excited about the new venture in India, Mark Tluszcz, Founder & CEO, Mangrove Capital Partners said, "We had a great outcome in our earlier investment in India through Nimbuzz and wanted to keep that going. WudStay was obvious from the start: huge unstructured market, great founder and an opportunity to define the standard in budget hotel segment.”

Vikas Saxena, CEO, Nimbuzz, remarked, “In my past ventures I have looked at scenarios where tech advancements can disrupt a large inefficient market and make the services cheaper and better for the consumers. With Internet penetration reaching critical mass in emerging markets I think time is ripe to repeat the same in budget stays. . With 2015 travel market size in India hitting a mark of USD 70 Billion, there is a huge potential for travel technology platform that WudStay has built.’’

According to Prafulla Mathur, Founder & CEO, Wudstay, ‘’I travel a lot for business and leisure and one thing I learnt in that is booking rooms in India through existing channels does not give you the confidence of getting value for money. Additionally safety and security is a concern too. We intend to solve that through the technology we have built to standardise these accommodations so a user is always sure of a quality experience. It is great to have Mangrove and Vikas onboard as they bring their experience of consumer internet through brands like Skype, Wix and Nimbuzz. ’’

Prafulla Mathur has been a serial entrepreneur and had earlier founded one of the most prominent mobile technology company called Queppelin with clients including Facebook, Snapdeal, Times of India, Gaana.com, Reliance Bigflix, HomeShop18, TastyKhana and many more. He created a mobile product in 2011 which was showcased by Oracle at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona and was also a Red Herring Winner.

The race for The Voice intensifies 11th July onwards every Saturday and Sunday at 9.00 pm on &TV

After an unprecedented start of The Voice India with the BLIND AUDITIONS, it’s time for the most entertaining and electrifying phase – THE BATTLE ROUNDS that is all set to bring the house down. So far, you cheered for your favourite coaches – Himesh, Shaan, Mika and Sunidhi as they formed their teams of 14 singers each. Now it’s time to see them choose between their own favorites as they whittle the list down. Don’t miss the unique, spellbinding and high voltage episodes of the fiery BATTLE ROUNDS starting July 11th every Saturday and Sunday at 9:00 pm only on &TV.

As The Voice India's battles commence, the premise is simple: one song + two voices = one contestant moves forward. You will be on the edge of your seat as each coach pits the singers of his/her own team against each other in a musical face off. Catch the coaches and battle advisors train the signers through songs and jamming sessions as the ultimate musical battle kickstarts in the boxing ring of The Voice.

The excitement among the four judges is palpable and the response overwhelming. Said Shaan – “The experience so far has been simply amazing, the quality of singers is exceptional. Blind auditions were challenging and with the Battle rounds it’s only going to intensify.”

Added Mika Singh – “I received some fabulous reviews on the Blind auditions from my colleagues in the industry. The Voice India is the purest form of singing reality show currently on television and an absolute entertainer. Selecting the team was a tough job and now eliminating artists from the team is going to be even tougher.”

Himesh Reshammiya further added – “The Blind audition rounds was a wonderful showcase of The Voice talent and the best of the lot have been chosen. In the Battle round, it is all about survival of the fittest. I have a wowtastic team and I am looking forward to coaching them to give it their best.”

The only female coach on the show, Sunidhi Chauhan expressed, “The Blind auditions was a tough call with superior quality voices auditioning for a chance to be a part of The Voice India. Now, with the battle rounds ahead the job is only getting tougher, the coaches will have to eliminate their own team members. The levels ahead are difficult yet exciting and I am looking forward to it.”

The Voice India became the talk of town with masses pouring in copious amounts of support for the show and the dazzling B-towners expressing their awe for the show with their fevered tweets. From Abhishek Bachchan calling it a “great show” with “great judges” to Riteish Deshmukh wishing them the best, everyone is talking about The Voice India. And now the excitement goes several notches higher as the battleground is set to choose the best.


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