Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The right brained digital technologists

After almost 15 years in advertising and marketing, I, along with a friend, decided to 'work for ourselves'. We set up a company called Bright Angles Consulting. Our dream is to help people with their digital marketing strategies. So far so good.

But we stumbled upon a funny thing when we started meeting potential clients and friends - a tug of war between what we said and what they heard.
We said 'insight miners', they heard 'number crunchers.
We said 'mind mappers', they heard 'chart readers'.
We said 'story tellers' they heard 'code writers'.

It continues so on and so forth. The mind tends to hear what it is already programmed to hear. The world of digital technology has no place for 'right brained words'. After all, we are talking about the world of technology.  

The little nugget I collected from our meetings was - while the world technically has progressed from 'information age' to a 'conceptual age' ( a term coined by Daniel H Pink) somewhere along the way, we have forgotten to embed it into our minds. Consequently, most of us still believe that the 'T' word is a domain of the left brained where the right brain does not even play a supporting role.

Strange. For a minute, let's forget Facebook and others in the social media space whose foundation lies in an understanding of human behaviour. Let's think about our smartphones.

We live in an era where our smartphones now not only respond to our touch but also talk to us! That should be ample proof that logical, linear, analytical thinkers alone no longer create hard core technology in isolation. Apple perhaps was the first company that recognized the need to understand subtleties of human interaction and come up with aesthetically designed products the world did not know it was missing. Who would have ever imagined, a dash of empathy into a world of hard nosed linear logical thinkers could create a company this big (current market cap: $571.38 billion), helping it to zoom way ahead of established competitors such as Dell and HP ( current market cap $16.03 billion and $27.90 billion respectively.). It's time, decision makers recognize that numbers driven quantitative data in isolation will not help them arrive at a business solution. Be it for product development or  digital marketing.

The foundation of a good marketing strategy lies in a well answered 'why' for every piece of quantitative data. Only a well rounded team of right brained meaning makers and pattern recognizers along with left brained chart readers, number crunchers and code writers can arrive at insightful strategies, apt even for the digital world. It's not a job either can do well in isolation.

Sooner marketers integrate qualitative understanding in their digital marketing strategies and product development, the faster they will see the full utilization of the power of the digital technology.

Till then, wish us luck as we continue our uphill task of explaining what we the right brained technologists really do.

Monday, 12 November 2012

day in the life of a mobile user

7 AM : Wake up with an alarm app on mobile.

7:30 AM:  Stop hitting the snooze button to check out Facebook while sipping cup of tea.

8:15 AM : Quickly scan through news headlines on mobile twitter app.

9 AM: While getting into the car, scan through the day's schedule on the mobile calendar

9: 05 AM: Check route and traffic status to the client's office using a map app

9:25 AM : Update traffic status between Bandra and Powai on twitter while driving

12:20 PM: Use the chat app, WhatsApp to update colleague about the meeting

12:35 PM:  Look for a lunch deal while driving back to work - Zomato app to the rescue

1: 15 PM : While standing in the elevator queue, drown self in important tasks which run the economy - pay electricity bill, mobile bill and buy movie ticket for evening

1:25 PM On reaching office desk, the depressive environment prompts a quick walk to the pantry for a cup of coffee and a Tripadvisor scan to plan next holiday

2:30 PM : Destination found, ticket booked  between finishing coffee, reading mails and updating facebook status

2:32 PM : Ask boss for leave via BBM (bad mistake!)

2:35 PM:  Boss reads message message but does not respond.

2:52 PM Keep staring at the BBM screen for a response for 20 minutes but no luck (bad feeling at the pit the stomach)

2:55 PM Frustrated, start walking back to desk while looking up a new job on linkedin...      


Thursday, 8 November 2012

Mind blowing social media statistics

Here are some terrific social media statistics put together by Eric Qualman, the author of Socialnomics.

But before you press the play button, here is a thought I want to leave you with.

Eric says that social media is not a fad but a fundamental shift in the way we communicate and the social media ROI for a company is the business's existence after 5 years. I think all of us agree with him. But I have a question which I would like to ask the marketers, specially in India - why are we so hung up on numbers and not spending adequate resources (people, time or money) to get a real understanding of our consumer's behaviour online?

I rarely come across any insightful discussions on what makes people 'like' a brand, share an experience, help a digital friend test drive a car or repeatedly buy shoes from an online portal. Should we not look at our customers (or fans if you like) as people first and stats later? Should we not base our digital strategies on insights based on our understanding of motivators and barriers rather than inferences drawn from only numbers? How do we arrive at a strategy without eves dropping  on online conversations or spending time with their digital artifacts?  

We at Bright Angles would love to hear your views. Do write to us at or send us a tweet at bright_angles with your point of view.

Enjoy the video while I thank Eric for sharing this fabulous video with us.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Adaptive Path Co-Founder and UX Designer Jesse James Garrett interviewed...

The potential power of a good User Experience (UX) design is an area not very well understood by marketers and hence one of the most neglected part of marketing. It has the power to influence what customers feel, do and most importantly say about a brand.  A good user experience based on understanding consumer behavior and psychology has the potential to improve service and also overall customer relationships.  

Watch this video to get a first hand understanding from the UX design guru himself.