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How may we help you Socially!

A sound marketing advice for any brand would be, to be where their customers are. Well one sector that has taken this advice seriously in the Indian market is their banking sector.

Research indicates a good adoption of social channels across geographies as well the readiness of the marketers to make social media a part of their integrated marketing campaigns.

In the Indian context the adoption of social channels like Facebook and Twitter is proceeding at a phenomenal rate and it doesn’t come as a surprise therefore that social accounts of leading private sector banks have got a huge traction.

‘Top 100 banks using Social Media’ report for Q1 2014 by Financial brand has three Indian banks in the top 10

The exponential rise of both internet and mobile communication has facilitated easy access to social media and the Indian BFSI sector has been quick to make the best of it

Like their global peers, top Indian banks are providing enhanced services to their social customers on various platforms and let’s understand how:

ICICI for example has a Facebook app ‘ Pockets ‘ primarily aimed at youngsters and provides features like splitting and sharing expenses, booking of movie tickets, recharge of tickets, carrying out bank transactions, etc. It’s just not business for them but features like Fan of the month and One Minute Challenge help them be in touch with the audiences.

HDFC on the other hand, over and above the conventional widgets provides apps related to auto sector in the form of ‘Ask Autocar Expert’ and shopping deals through ‘SmartBuy Offers’

Axis Bank takes a step further and has integrated the entire customer support on its Facebook page providing interesting features like ‘ Ask a Question’, ‘ Share and Idea’,  ‘ Report a problem’, ‘ Give Praise’ etc

Kotak Jifi in my view is a revolutionary idea in social banking . Through Twitter one can get an instant update on the account balance, pin generation, credit card inquires etc. Importantly you get rewarded for your social transactions which is a good way of promoting social banking

Another important thing done right by the brands is making the requisite content available to the end customer easily.

For instance if you are looking for information on mutual funds, ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund and HDFC Mutual Fund have dedicated Facebook pages which makes the search as well as reaching out the right representatives of the company a level easier.

Customer service in a B2C domain continues to be very competitive and challenging with rising expectations.  There’s a lot more the brands can do being social and it seems they have taken the right step forward

Internet – Beyond the Horizons

Is Sky the Limit? Well Google has been challenging this proposition with its highly innovative products but this time it does so quite literally with its Project Loon.

What is Project Loon?

Google who specializes in Internet related services and products, through this pilot project aims to make Internet accessibility possible in far fledged regions. If the experiment is successful, it can usher in a new revolution in how we access Internet.

Under this project, a network of balloons positioned in space is likely to facilitate Internet accessibility on earth. The project is currently implemented in New South Island, New Zealand with 50 pilot testers and 30 balloons

How does it work?

Project Loon balloons are approximately 20 kms above earth’s surface into the stratosphere.

Stratosphere comprises of different layers of wind with each layer having a different magnitude as well as direction of the wind. Selection of a particular layer for a balloon is controlled by complex computing algorithms from the earth.

Three important components here are:

  1. Envelope: It is the inflatable part of the balloon. Project Loon’s balloon envelopes are made from sheets of polyethylene plastic and are typically 15m wide and 12 m tall
  2. Solar Panels: Solar panels basically keep the show running here. Positioned between the hardware and the panel has a capacity to produce 100 watts of power in full sun
  3. Equipment: Beneath the envelope lies the heart of the mechanism i.e. the box containing the circuitry. This box contains circuit boards that control the system, radio antennas to communicate with other balloons and with Internet antennas on the ground, and batteries to store solar power so the balloons can operate during the night.

Each balloon can provide connectivity to a ground area about 40 km in diameter with speeds equivalent to 3G

Balloon-to- Balloon as well as Balloon-to-Ground communication is possible through antennas using specialized radio frequency technology and currently uses ISM bands specifically 2.4 and 5.8 GHz bands.

The project if successful will not revolutionize how we use Internet but also why, where and when do we use it. It would be interesting to know how best this can be leveraged in the aerospace.

 

Responsive Web Page – The next level of optimization

A few years ago and a company could do away with a formal website. But nowadays we observe that it’s a point of parity rather than being a point of differentiation.  With increased penetration of Smartphones, Tabs and Ipads, the modern day consumer is now becoming more Techno-Savvy and also better web enabled. He no longer accesses the web pages from his desktop alone but also from the gizmos mentioned above.

From a marketers perspective this is great news as you are able to reach out to a greater audience and that too at the consumer’s convenience. But here lies the catch, the underlying technology does play a spoilsport sometimes.

Many a times it is found that the web pages for Smartphones are not suitably optimized and users have to zoom in and zoom out to check out the content. Companies do need to understand that this too is a critical touch point and in case of highly competitive landscape a bad web experience can wean away your customers.

The most feasible solution from a layman’s perspective would be to have a web page that would automatically respond to the environment in which the page is being browsed and change its size and dimensions accordingly rather than the user having to engage himself in this frustrating experience.

Well this thought is now a reality and the solution comes in the form ‘Responsive Web Page’. The best one line that I can relate to for this solution is ‘one size fits all ‘. Keeping the technical aspects of it aside let us understand how exactly does this work.

With Responsive web pages, there will be only ‘one’ website but with components that are likely to respond differently when viewed from a 17 inch screen or a 14 inch screen.

Let us take an example of a consumer durable company focussing 9 of its products on its website in a 3X3 matrix i.e. 3 rows and 3 columns. Now a responsive web page when viewed from a Smartphone may just have a single column when viewed vertically or two columns when viewed horizontally. The user is therefore saved from the cumbersome experience of scrolling and zooming on the desired page

Although Responsive Web pages do provide an enhanced customer experience, it definitely comes with a cost. Before going for one, a thorough research can help in understanding the end user preferences in terms of various web enabled devices used and also how significant is their usage in browsing experience.

With web technology being easily assimilated by us, a one stop solution like Responsive web pages definitely is very promising and offers great potential of wider acceptability in near future.

Heres a link to Social Drivers 50 best Web Responsive pages for 2013

How #NaMo goes social

When Obama made history in US one of the noteworthy features of his winning formula was the effective leverage of social media in poll campaign. Another leader who is very actively involved on the social media circuit is India’s Narendra Modi.

Breaking the clutter of a typical Indian politician, Narendra Modi comes across as a very tech savvy leader. As per opinion polls carried out by leading Market Research agencies he is considered to be a darling of the urban Middle class and Youngsters. It therefore isn’t a surprise that he has strategically chosen to reach out to them via social media

Let us look at some of the stats:

Narendra Modi’s official facebook page can boast of 1.8M likes which is miles ahead of the other politicians in India

‘Narendra Modi for PM’ another community page for Narendra Modi has approximately 1Million likes. Also one has to separately take into account the other FB pages that are present with each of them having significant following.

He tweets regularly and currently has around 1.7 Million followers. He has till now tweeted about 2.5K tweets.

One also finds him active on Google + with around 0.5 Million users having included him in their connection circles. He is an active blogger and also his YouTube channel has a strong subscription base of 50k followers.

The above figures are highly impressive as this PR machinery is over and above the official party channels and other propaganda carried out by his fan groups.

A lot has been said that two India exists, one being India and other being Bharat. NaMo has struck an impressive chord with the  Indians through Social Media which typically is his target audience but in order to achieve overall success strategy, social media still doesn’t give significant leverage in India as Bharatiyas still are a dominant force in elections

Also social media is highly unregulated and the most recent incident of Narendra Modi fans expressing displeasure against Advani through tweets was not very well accepted by certain sections of the society.

Social Media as we all understand can make as well as break brands and hence well devised strategy and effective monitoring becomes extremely necessary