Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Excellence’ Category

How was a king, preoccupied with affairs of the state, reluctantly giving time for listening into just one slokha (verse) ended up ‘buying’ a hundred thousand of them and more?

Read on to find more about this unparalleled feat of communication skills and story-telling!

Sage Vaisampayana came to Raja Janamejaya to teach him Dharma through Mahabharata (the epic) as written by sage Veda Vyasa.

The occasion:

Sarpa Satra

The Raja, a descendent of the Pandava’s, was performing Sarpa Satra, a sacrificial ritual designed to exterminate all living naga’s (serpents), to avenge the death of his father King Parikshit at the hands of Takshaka, the naga (serpent) chief.

While the sage was quite intent on narrating the story, the Raja rejected his proposal outright saying he was too busy for such stuff.

This did not dampen the enthusiasm of Vaisampayana. ‘No problem. There are 18 Parva’s (sections). I will just narrate to you only one Parva’.

Janamejya pushed him back: ‘Sorry, Sir, I have no time. I am very busy as you can see’.

The sage did not give up, ‘One chapter?’.

The Raja was curt now, ‘I repeat myself, I’m quite occupied now.’

The sage was the embodiment of patience. He insisted, ‘Won’t you permit me to tell you just one slokha from the one hundred thousand couplets?’.

“OK, Ok. That is fine, just one slokha, Sir. Hope that would not take too long. Please go ahead”, said the Raja.

Vaisampayana did not miss the opportunity. He began:

Dvaavimau purushau moodhau duryodhana­ dasaananau
Gograaham vanabhangam cha dhrishtvaa yuddham punah punah

Meaning: Here are these two fools, Duryodhana and Dashanana (Ravana, the 10-headed). Even after witnessing Gograhana and Vanabhangam, they went to war again and again (and finally to their demise).

Now this piqued the interest of the Raja: ‘I don’t understand head or tail of what you’re saying, Sir.’

He wanted to know why Duryodhana and Ravana were fools…what was the story behind Gograhana and Vanabhanga, why was the fight over mere cows (this didn’t seem right), etc. etc.

A bit of explanation is in order here:

Gograhana (seizing of cows) refers to the episode told in Virata Parva (fifth Parva of Mahabharatha) wherein Arjuna successfully retrieves all the stolen cows after defeating Kuru army, at the end of their period of exile. Vanabhangam in Ramayana refers to the destruction of forest Ashoka Vana and the great arson of the impregnable Lankapuri by Hanuman after his tail was set on fire in Ravana’s court.

The sage responded to the Raja’s mounting curiosity reciting slokha by slokha, all the time drawing the once-reluctant Raja deeper into the epic.

When the sage was finally done with his captivating narration, the Raja had listened to all of 125,000 slokha’s of Mahabharatha and 24,000 of Ramayana as well!!

Let’s pause here and go back to the innocuous slokha to see what it packed to hook the Raja so inexorably despite himself.

And herein are also the lessons for today’s honchos in corporates, teachers in pedagogy, leaders in politics and preachers in religion, all fighting for their audience’s ears.

Well, looking at the slokha,

  • It is very short and crisp – a mere two lines with 10+ words.
  • Does not make general statements like ‘Dharma always wins…’
  • It refers to some significant and very specific events and their protagonists that cannot be dismissed as a trifle.
  • The incidents are drawn from two different epics to show wider applicability of the points being made.
  • The protagonists are renowned kings like the Raja himself, immediately establishing a parallel and relevance. And one of them was an ancestor from his own family tree.
  • The events are ones where exemplary courage was displayed under difficult conditions, attributes that readily appeal to the warrior Raja.
  • The slokha is poised so tantalizingly at a point in narration, one had to find out what happened after and before.
  • What and why things go wrong always hold more interest than when things go right.

So, folks, that’s it. You may now want to revisit your elevator-pitches and stories.

As I’m signing off, I know I’m leaving a few ends loose here yet like…you’re curiouser about whatever happened to Janamejaya’s Sarpa Satra finally, did all the serpents perish in the sacrificial fire, why did Takshaka kill Parikshit, etc. etc. Regretfully I must leave you to your devices to find out (and you now how).  I’m no Vaisampayana!

Ha, Ha, in for a penny, in for a pound!

End

 

 

 

 

Sources: With many thanks, extracted and enhanced from quora.com/profile/Krishna-Koundinya-2, tamilandvedas.com, Wiki and Velukkudi Swamigal’s upanyasam on Vidhura Needhi

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

A significant new asset class is now named that may one day appear on Balance Sheets!!! What more, organizations already have these assets! No new acquisition costs to be incurred!

However, this asset is a double-edged sword, could make or mar. Some organizations have leveraged it to great advantage for their brands and business while for some it has turned out to be the cause for their hara-kiri.

An edited extract of a well-articulated article on this kind of asset taken from here  appears below

Take a moment to think about what a brand is. It’s the emotional and associational touch points that consumers have with your business. It’s what they see of you, and what that makes them feel about you.

Back when a business was a black box, the brand was limited to what was painted on the outside. The leaders of the business had a high degree of control over that. But now that a business is a glass box, the brand is everything that’s visible. Every person. Every process. Every value. Everything that happens, ever.

Glass Box

In 2017 your corporate culture is becoming your brand

You can sum up in a single word what people see when they look deep inside your organization. They see your culture. Once, your internal corporate culture was just that: internal. But now that a business is a glass box, there’s no such thing as an ‘internal’ culture.

The opportunity here? In 2017, your internal culture could become the most powerful brand and marketing asset you have.

Think about the power of stories such as those told by Starbucks: how they have a program to help staff in London raise a deposit on a home, or how they opened a store in Kuala Lumpur dedicated to hiring deaf people. Or that told by US-based yoghurt brand Chobani, which instituted paid parental leave for all staff after the birth of CEO Hamdi Ulukaya’s first child.

The danger? Internal culture could also become your most powerful brand liability.

The founder of Uber resigns after a culture of sexism and bullying is exposed. The CEO of HSBC in Taiwan walks a gay employee down the aisle after her father refuses to attend her wedding. A smartphone video of United Airlines staff forcibly dragging a passenger off a plane goes viral.

What to do about it?

Read more here.

End

Read Full Post »

Mike Shipluski

 

End

 

Source: shipluski.com

 

 

Read Full Post »

Part 1

An edited extract from an interesting article in here on brand messages (for that matter, any message sent out) getting thru to or lost on the audience:

“…

So why do we say we hate so much advertising, and yet there are clearly ads that inspire us? Is it just a quality thing, or is there more to it than that? Partially I believe social media and the ready availability of news, views and entertainment has shifted how we categorize what we are seeing. Increasingly we consciously or otherwise and mercilessly sift the streams of all the content that presents itself to us into two categories: noise and signal.

SkipAd

Noise is the stuff that clutters up our day, that interrupts and annoys and where we see little worth. The ads…loud, imposing, uninteresting selling. It has many of us reaching for the mute button within seconds, or hitting Skip Ad as soon as we can on the videos we watch online…

Much is made these days of our shortened attention spans, and that our ability to concentrate is now 0.5 seconds shorter than that of a pet goldfish. That, some commentators rush to explain, is why marketing increasingly doesn’t work…

Signal is different. It’s the stuff, from a range of sources, that we choose to form an opinion over. It does more than inform us. It entertains or provokes us. It makes us proud or angry…increasingly it’s this content that forms our talking points on a daily basis through sharing, commenting or liking …examples: two babies bouncing on a Powerfit machine, Jean-Claude Van Damme straddling a Volvo truck, the latest Air New Zealand safety video, TED talks, box sets of our favorite TV series and so much more…Signals are what people share, because they’re made up of items that are conversation drivers, because we agree with them or not, because they’re trending, because they amuse us or they bring us together in some way. And the format of that content is becoming less and less important. It may be an ad. It may be an interview. It may be gossip…

Jonah Berger, in his book Contagious: Why Things Catch On, argues that we are drawn to what affects us and to ideas that we remember and that we believe others will be interested in. He suggests six factors: 1) Social Currency – we’re fascinated by things that are remarkable, literally, in the sense of worthy of being remarked on…They are only as interesting as their ability to rise above the surrounding noise 2) Triggers – this one will be no surprise at all to marketers. We like things that we can remember easily and where the associations are well known, because they act as shortcuts (acronyms) for life. You say “Kit Kat”. Everyone around you gets “have a break”…3) Emotion – similar to social currency, in that we’re drawn to things that affect us…The emotions that a group share around an idea—for or against—can be a powerful cohesive factor 4) Public – these are the ideas that are easily replicable and that gain strength as they are adopted. Think of the Ice Bucket Challenge. They work because they enable people to share in an activity and at the same time provide their own interpretation 5) Practical Value – this, says Berger, is the news that makes living easier. It’s why YouTube is so popular – simple, visual, practical and 6) Stories – again, no surprise to marketers. The power of shareable narrative is now well established. Increasingly brands are looking to stories rather than just “spots” to weave a longer more intricate view of why they matter and the value they add.

We all look at Berger’s list, and, four years on, I don’t think there are any surprises here. And yet turn on the television and in your average commercial break, it’s getting harder and harder to find advertising that has any of these qualities…There are very few good stories. It feels to me that brand owners have failed to see that they are competing in a new context, and that media presence is, by default, noise—unless a brand makes specific effort to make it more than that…

Part 2

Here’s a success story (in an edited extract) from our own backyard appearing in here:

Ever witnessed a television brand not talking about any impressive features – such as high-definition picture quality, surround sound audio system, movie theatre-like attributes – in its ad film?

Have you ever seen an ad campaign for a television brand where the protagonist is a visually challenged person?

Well, chances are you haven’t!

For the first time, Samsung has dared to take an unconventional step, and stirred the emotional quotient of viewers, rather consumers, with its latest ad film ‘#SamsungService’. The home appliance major has launched an ad campaign as part of its initiative to take customer service to the doorsteps of consumers, in both urban and rural India. (In October last year, the television manufacturer launched 535 service vans to ensure timely service to customers in the remotest corners of the country) … With this, Samsung’s reach will extend to customers in over 6,000 talukas across 29 states and seven union territories.

The enormous success of the film is owed to a taut narrative with an element of surprise backed by a fine performance of the cast. The new campaign showcases the journey of a Samsung service engineer, who undaunted by rough terrain, reaches a house in a remote hilly area to repair a television. The story retains a certain freshness and induces a ‘what next?’ feeling though this theme of bridging distances has been already milked by telecom co’s (and perhaps by a few others) some years ago. The film ends with the visibly content engineer leaving the house as the voice over is played, “Rishtey nibhaney ke liye kabhi kabhi thoda door jaana padta hai. Isiliye Samsung service vans jaati hai desh ke kone kone tak” (At times one must venture a little further than usual for the sake of relationships. That’s why Samsung service vans go to every corner of the country). A simple yet stirring message that we can readily relate to even outside of its Samsung context in myriad ways in our daily lives amidst family and friends!

The four-minute-long film, neither overtly mushy nor tear-jerking, which was released on December 30, clocked in a whopping 18 million views on YouTube in the first couple of weeks and 103 million+ views till date…Yes, a 4-minute+ clip in times when companies are struggling to achieve even a 15-to-30 second stickiness!!

Watch here:

https://youtu.be/779KwjAYTeQ

End

 

 

Credits: Conceptualized by Cheil India, the film directed by Anupam Mishra, and produced by Crazy Few Films. Dhruv Ghanekar composed the music, while the song played in the background sung by Mohit Chauhan.

Source: Articles from brandingstrategyinsider.com/2017/08/how-brands-can-convert-noise-to-signal.html and afaqs.com/news/story/49662_18-million-views-in-6-days-Samsungs-4-minute-film-gathers-digital-moss

 

 

Read Full Post »

George Buckley

These words come in at a time when reality perceived to be very complex and no one claims to have all answers. Today organizations are said to prefer smart and empowered individuals homed in flatter structures to command-driven ‘tools’ embedded in deep hierarchies.

Reality is better served, one would think, by a middle ‘gray’ with a place, time and degree for either approaches..

Perhaps Buckley made the observation in a context that wasn’t included.

End

 

 

Source: managementtoday.co.uk

Read Full Post »

Sanmargam

unfortunately, remains unwritten. If only Lt Gen Krishnaswami Balaram (1927 – 2010) had put his pen to paper in his life time. Then as an army officer given to action and a practitioner, perhaps writing a book was not appealing to him.

BALARAM Report My Signal PVSM

I heard about him only a few days ago in my evening gup-shup session – an hour-long chit chat about this and that – in the park with a small group of seniors presently in US like me spending a couple of months with their sons and daughters. My source among them is S, a gentleman long retired from employment in the estate maintenance department at Kurukshetra University in Haryana. The anecdotes he shared with us about KB who was then the vice-chancellor of the university piqued my interest I decided to look him up on the net.  What I got was quite scanty. Not unusual – after…

View original post 1,151 more words

Read Full Post »

An interesting example of how a ticklish situation was turned into an opportunity to impress and gain business advantage.

Udaivilas Oberoi

From HBR March/April 2017:

M.S. Oberoi and the front-line obsession

Successful founders understand the economics of customer loyalty. In their early days they know every customer by name. Keeping that up becomes impossible as they grow, but nevertheless they remain obsessed with making sure that someone is looking out for every customer at all times.

Few business leaders have developed this attention to the front line as effectively as M.S. Oberoi, the founder of the Oberoi Group, a chain of luxury hotels in India. Oberoi obsessed about every detail in his hotels that might affect the customer experience. Even in his eighties he kept visiting his hotels to make sure employees were getting everything right, and in doing so he established a culture by which all employees shared in his obsession.

Poornima Bhambal, the assistant manager of the front office at the Oberoi Udaivilas, in Udaipur, described for us the company’s empowerment program, which encourages all employees to do what it takes to delight customers and even gives them access to small amounts of money in order to do so. “We love to surprise and delight guests with little gifts and niceties,” Bhambal said, “and the empowerment program allows this to happen.”

One example, related to us by Vikram Oberoi, a grandson of M.S. Oberoi who now serves as the group’s CEO, was what happened when the staff at one hotel discovered that an American family occupying two rooms was taking all the toiletries — twice a day. This seemed a bit much to the housekeeping staff, and the manager’s first instinct was to go to the family and politely point out that they probably had enough toiletries.

But instead, says Oberoi, after some coaching, “He created a basket of soaps and shampoos and oils used at the hotel’s spa, and wrote a note that was signed by the housekeeping staff. The note said, ‘We notice you like our toiletries and wanted to give you a supply you can take home and share with friends.’ The family loved this. They wrote us after, saying that we were the most fantastic hotel and that they would tell all their friends to visit. That’s a wonderful business result from the investment of a box of lotions!”

Image of Oberoi Udaivilas from theholidayindia.com

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »