Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Below the Fold - Episode 1

Below-the-Fold-Episode1.amr Listen on Posterous

Below the Fold is a talk show that Jeanne and I have been wanting to do for a while. We talk about a lot of things, marketing, expat life, challenges of living and working in India, management, and raising puppies. Not necessarily in any order. This was the pilot episode. Hope you enjoy it. Write in the comments below to suggest us topics or give us questions!

Posted via email from Below the Fold

Sunday, October 24, 2010

How to Trick Your Dogs to Like Your Guests

I caught up with my friends Sanjay, and Kanika, and met a new friend, Rohit, yesterday. I hadn't seen Sanjay in years. I wasn't sure how the dogs were going to react. We have an American Greyhound, Grace, and two pure 'desi' Indian street dogs that we adopted almost a year ago. They're black and white (they look like they're wearing tuxedos) and they behave like Terriers. They actually look like Rat Terriers minus the bob tail and behave like Jack Terriers, very alert, very guard dog like in their senses and reactions. And they have scorpion tails black with white tips, and they wag in unison. It's the cutest thing in the world. I'm suspecting that they have a bit of Jonangi blood in them, but it's hard to tell, except when there's fish around. That's when they go crazy.

I say pure desi because, they're not like some other street dogs that look like mixed breeds of popular breeds like Labradors, and German shepards. It's a shame that people just throw their dogs away and face no consequences. Certain folks in India discriminate against street dogs, even if they're dog owners themselves. They also tend to treat bitches horribly compared to dogs.
Last night, my dogs were in their best behavior... no barking, no growling (well, except for psychotic Ethel for a short time because of food). And Grace whined a bit because she wasn't getting chicken. Now that they've grown a bit and both are healthy, it's hard to tell the two sisters apart. You have to look at the ears, Ehel has funny asymetric ears, while Eunice's look like a German Shephard's -- always erect.

My friends were really really impressed that "street dogs" can behave so well. HA! They were just keeping up appearances. Rohit at one point put something on the table for Grace and she wouldn't touch it. They were impressed about that, too.(And so was I!)

Best trick, if you have dogs that don't like strangers, give your guest(s) doggie treats and have them give it to the dogs. Works like a charm. It's like, "Oh, you give me treats, you must be a friend, I won't bark and growl at you, we're cool. Now, can you give me more treats?"

Posted via email from Yu Yu Din's posterous

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rebranding Burma

If you're aware of the situation, you know that Burma is no longer Burma. It's called Myanmar now.

Yangon (formerly Rangoon) is no longer the capital. Nayphyidaw is.

And this morning I learned that we have a new ugly flag:

No longer the red, white, and blue flag that I grew up with and am proud of:

All the old flags will be burnt. My guess is, the government is so anti-American that even having the same colors, albeit having socialist ideals, isn't going to work.

And in a couple of weeks, we will be voting. Some of us, for the first time in our lives. I voted two years ago at the consulate in Kolkata for the new constitution, in my late 20s, after growing up mostly in democratic countries.

Who will win? The government of course. Now that they're all civilians -- emperors in new clothes, with their new flag. They're going to have the country, too, one way or another. No matter what the people say, do, or think let alone the rest of the world. It doesn't matter what I write here or what you comment, tweet, or who you share this with.

Today, we enter into a new era with big brother China watching us and holding our hand. Today I feel that we've lost our sense of our true identity. I don't feel the same way I feel about US or UK elections -- hopeful for new leadership, excited for a better world. As a third culture kid, I've faced many identity crises, but this one, I believe will stay on.

We can only pray now, for a peaceful "transition", albeit eerie, and quiet. Pray for the people that they have the strength to continue on living in the conditions that they do. That their resillience will continue, that their country's re-branding will not effect their culture, rob their souls, or their sweet laughter, and sense of humor.

Posted via email from Yu Yu Din's posterous

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Walking Talking Positive Brand Image

How do you know if your team members or employees are walking and talking your brand image? In this highly networked, fast pace online world, the conduct of your employees can either help or destroy your company's brand image. It is assumed that we are all professionals, adults, and that our conduct does not need to be checked by HR or our superiors all the time, but what if things get out of hand?

I recently experienced such stark difference of two groups of employees and their conduct on a trip to Yangon. My favorite form of travel is with airplanes. On this trip, my friend happened to book me on my favorite airline -- Thai Airways. It's my favorite airline because my first childhood memory happened to be on a Thai Airways flight. I always thought of air travel as the best, most stylish way to get somewhere. It's like being in a posh moving restaurant with fancy waiters. On the way back to India to join my new marketing job, I thought of how being part of an airline is like being part of a big global brand. A brand image is upheld by people working across the world, people who are on the ground, in the kitchens, and are flying the airplanes.

This year, Thai Airways is celebrating their 50th year in service. As a result, they've been re-branding everything from uniforms, colorways, to their logo. I as a passenger felt the new vigor passed on by their air hosts and hostesses. They still have that royal "silk as smooth" touch that the old Thai Airways had but the people are still young, young-at-heart, and enthusiastic. I saw senior members of teams leading and showing the way for the newer members. I saw impeccable service that upheld that great brand image.

So it was with this image in mind that I boarded TG 315 to New Delhi. Little did I know that the positive marketing thoughts I was having was about to be destroyed as soon as the plane took off. Stay tuned for that story in my next post.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Measuring Results in Social Media

Online marketing is a bit different from other forms of traditional marketing because of analytics. The fun part is launching your campaign and watching what happens instantly. Within online marketing, email marketing is probably one of the most matured fields where parameters defined already. Deliverables are well defined, industry standards are pretty clear. And if you don't follow the rules, consequences are pretty clear, too.

Social media marketing on the other hand is still a new field. People are still trying to figure out what works and what really doesn't. Social media analytics not very clear yet but numbers matter a great deal. There are the easy ones that you can measure like retweets, forwards, mentions etc. Social rules which are generally "nice things to do" for someone which are easy to figure out but the technology still has to be perfected for tracking.

Just because social media is the new kid on the block doesn't mean old school ways of online marketing doesn't matter anymore either. SEO is still important, you should still take a look at unique visitors and click through rates, time spent on site etc. You need to get these things right because they are the foundation of your whole online marketing strategy. The tools for measuring your SMM campaign are out there but some things are still experimental, not defined like email marketing. Personally, I like GetClicky.com a lot -- it also integrates nicely with Wordpress. Trendrr is pretty cool and is worth a look. And I really like the stats that SocialMention gives out -- it's fantastic for monitoring reputation in the social media sphere.

I've been disappointed a bit with Google though. They just launched analytics for email marketing, which is integrated, but I have a sneaky feeling that it's still a bit experimental. I'm sure they're still developing social media analytics but who knows when they'd launch it. Analytics need to be in one complete package instead of having people run around looking at three or four different sites, tools and software. It's too time consuming, the main job for a social media strategist is to be able to analyse the numbers.

And of course, if you have funds, you should check out Omniture and Web Trends -- the two grand daddies of web analytics. Both of them have integrated their analytics software with real time social media tracking. But it will cost you a pretty penny. What are your favorite social monitoring tools? Which ones would you recommend?