5 fun things to do on the internet today!

I love this time of week! It gives me a chance to drop everything else and spend time browsing the internet under the pretense of work!

This week, I’ve borrowed heavily from the good folks at Social Media Examiner and picked some favourites from their list of 23 Cool Tools for Social Media Marketers.

We Feel

Ok so I lied… this one isn’t on their list but it’s a goodie! We Feel analyses real-time signals of the world’s emotional condition, gathered from Twitter.

I checked North America, Nov 9th, at 1pm, (the day after the presidential election) there are 238K of sadness tweets. Compare that with the day before for the same time; it stands at about 66K. Interesting, no?

We feel

Ripl  

Admittedly, I came across (and unwittingly paid for) a subscription to this app before I saw it on Social Media Examiner. It was love at first sight! Ripl allows you to create fun animated posts and share them to your social media accounts or simply download the video to your phone gallery. For brands starting out on social media, this is a great little tool to put together some slick animations with almost zero investment.

FocusMusic

If you’re like me, listening to music to help you focus at work is pretty much the mother of all ironies. If you’re not trying to sing along (promise I don’t), you’re too busy shoulder-shimmying to allow for serious laptop typing. FocusMusic.fm aims to solve that for you. It’s an interesting little web app that allows you to listen to music at work but not be entirely distracted by it. It has electronic dance music, downtempo, classical and the like!

Focusmusic

Google Keep

I wish I’d discovered this one sooner! I use random sticky notes apps to keep track of grocery lists, things to do, blog ideas and milestone updates for my girls. With Google Keep, I can do the exact same thing except, it will immediately back it up to my Google account… this is absolute GOLD to me seeing as I often have pretty rotten luck with tech and the possibility of losing data keeps me up at night.

GoogleKeep

Ink Hunter

I generally find augmented reality apps fairly rough around the edges. And no, I’m not a Pokemon Go fan… I couldn’t even figure out how to use the thing (probably had something to do with my desk job)! Then necessity led me to this neat little app. And while this one is probably the most non-utilitarian app on the list, it is also my favourite one. I’ve spent many hours browsing Pinterest and Google images searching for just the right tattoo and then trying to imagine what it will look like before I actually head to the artist. This app just helped me visualize my next tattoo!

Advertisements

5 fun things to do on the internet today!

We’re back with our latest curation of 5 fun things to do on the internet today! While the last time’s edition consisted of fun things that had a common thread of sorts, this time we’re freewheeling a bit! Read on and enjoy (hopefully)!

New Tweetstorm app!

If you’re anything like me, 140 characters just doesn’t cut it when you’ve e-shopped your credit card into the ground, nothing fits and returns/ exchanges take forever! Say it with me… there’s an app for that! Stormcrow allows you to type out your message and then breaks it up automatically and in the correct order so you can shoot out a coherent rant!  The downside; it’s only available on iOS and is paid. Luckily, the concept isn’t new and you can download Storm it! On Android for free!

Tweetstorm
Winter is coming

That’s right… in the middle of July 2017, when Game of Thrones Season 7 airs, winter will come to Facebook and Twitter. These places will become graveyards of inactivity, because like me, millions of people will abstain from social media in order to avoid the inevitable fall out i.e. spoilers.

As it happens, Twitter recently launched a way for its users to mute individual words and even emoji! While you could already block individual profiles before, this new feature will make it easy to keep anything offensive (even GoT spoilers) at bay!

Mute words, phrases, hashtags & more for a specific time period in your timeline & notifications. On Web & Android.https://t.co/jhWKRu0cK1 pic.twitter.com/4pACn8GD3F

— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) March 23, 2017

Radio Garden

I feel like my life was missing meaning before I discovered Radio Garden. No matter where you are in the world, as long as you have a half way decent internet connection, you can listen to over 8000 radio stations from across the world! With a super easy UI, this web app allows you to navigate the globe by clicking on the lit up dots that magically transport you into another country. We’ve come a long way from the days of the transistor… and yes, I’m old enough to know that word!

Radio Garden

Trump with love

If you haven’t seen this one already, now is as good a time as any. In a time of uncertainty and a fair bit of negativity, this little website is a gem! It takes Donald Trump’s words and turns them into messages of love and positivity. While it has no utility in the real world, it does manage to put a smile on your face on a dull day.

Trump
The ultimate list of content marketing blogs

And of course, like I’ve said before, what’s a good curation without a good curation! Check out Curata’s ultimate list of content marketing blogs! I’m a huge fan of Jeff Bullas, Social Media  Examiner and Hubspot myself!

Curata
Image courtesy www.curata.com

This post was curated by Shahnaz K Jain, National Digital Lead at Text100 India.

Is video the new content mecca?

“Content is king” is probably the oldest and truest adage in the world of media. Even so, when we think content, many of us still think whitepapers, newsletters and blogs – admittedly, I’m kind of old school! But today, even for the absolute digital virgin, video is fast becoming a primary form of content. From the mother-in-law sharing festive wishes, the mommy sending cute baby videos or the crazy cat lady sharing the latest adventures of Maru! What all of these have in common are that they are shareable and relatable.

Some of the most interesting use cases for video content comes from even more interesting quarters.

Take for instance what WhatsApp has done to video sharing. The Better India, a platform that is committed to telling the smaller yet positive stories from around India  sends out a WhatsApp snapshot every day, and you can get into the broadcast list by sharing your number.

Then there are the larger brands and corporates that do a great job of creating their own video content.

Conversations with Hari – Owned by HolidayIQ this is a series of interviews conducted by its CEO, Hari Nair. Hari meets with prominent travel writers and interesting people whom he has engaging conversations with. While this capsule began last year, the guest profile has become more interesting already – the latest is a 10 minute conversation with William Dalrymple. This went out on March 30 and has racked up 301K views + 537 shares + 90 comments + 1.9K likes.

While the property doesn’t see too much traction just yet, I think it’s a great way to create original content without plugging the brand too obviously. As it picks up steam I believe there is great potential in creating a separate brand for “Conversations with Hari” on social media platforms as a way to amplify it.

Another great example of creating compelling video content is HCL and its decade and a half CSR work promoting Indian classical art forms – HCL Concerts. Beyond organizing concerts and posting videos of them, they’ve started to put together “Candid Conversations” which are short videos asking artistes everyday irreverent questions like “do you like chapathi or paratha” and such. A nice window into a classical musician’s life, who are generally not known to share these insights. The Candid Conversation with Shubha Mudgal was a runaway success in I’m sure in many cases, an eye-opener as to how well-spoken and graceful she is as a person.

But big brands come with big budgets too, which helps, but what of the smaller niche creators? For every content creator that aligns with multi-channel networks such as Culture Machine and the like, there are probably thousands of independents. Take Tushar Burman for instance. A journalist by profession, his chosen passion is automobiles and a little while ago, he went from writing behind a computer screen to creating videos in front of a camera. His unique brand of humour is what has helped him gather an army of loyal fans that refer to him as The Professor and proudly sport #TBArmy tees that he supplies for free! What will be interesting to see however, is how people like Tushar, monetize their platforms.

So from the brands to the niche, from WhatsApp shares to Facebook Lives – video is really the new killer content. Write to us in the comments with YOUR interesting video finds!

Written and curated by Zibi Jamal with inputs from Shahnaz Jain – a couple of old fogies at Text100 that find all things newfangled, fascinating!

 

5 fun things to explore on the interwebs today!

Hello! Today, I’m curating some of my favourite things from the internet/ app world! Utilities, educational resources… whatever I’ve found, fancied and believe is worth a share!

Google Primer

If you’re an aspiring digital marketer but you haven’t a clue, Google Primer would be a great place to start. Offering several lessons across multiple categories such as advertising, content, measurement and strategy. The interface is super easy to use and allows you to flip through lesson cards, ending every lesson with a quick quiz or mini practice session. Once a lesson is completed, the app automatically marks it as such so you don’t have to keep track.

Google Primer

AutoDraw

Another piece of art (quite literally) from the house of Google (I promise they pay me no royalties for this plugging – they’re just THAT good). AutoDraw makes even the worst doodler into something of an artist. You can draw the most unlikely rendition of a cat and Google will use machine learning to make it into something that actually resembles one!

AutoDraw

Creative Criminals

While we’re on the subject of art, Creative Criminals is an incredible little aggregation of the best creative ideas from across the world. The blog is run by three friends who studied marketing together in Belgium and they curate a fantastic selection of creative advertisements collected from around the world. A great source of inspiration for those struggling with writer’s or visualiser’s block!

 

Free Stock Images

What’s a nice curation without calling out another nice curation? Well known marketer Jeff Bullas’ blog has put together this incredible list of sites that offer free, high quality stock images. Now instead of running google image searches for free clipart and photos, you can browse through a pretty wide selection that seem to have something for everything!

What the f*** is my social media strategy

You know how you’re always looking for that EXACT cool sounding sentence to define your PR/ social media strategy? Or then you’re trying to write up a great media statement but end up with something United-esque. Somehow, you end up with a meaningless string of words that convey nothing but confusion. Yes, THAT. This site gives you SO MANY of those, you won’t have to look much further. On a serious note, its true aim is to at call out all the lame b***s**** marketers/ brands put out by way of mission statements and what not. A nice place to visit when you feel like you’re headed down that hellish path of meaninglessness… it will tell you what NOT to write!

If you’ve tried any of these and have something to say about them, tell me in the comments!

The world is changing. Dear consultant, are you?

Enough and more has been said about the ongoing era of digital disruption. So, I won’t go down that path. I am sure as you’re reading this, you must have received at least two notifications in your smartphone, a new hashtag must be trending on twitter, a brand campaign gone viral on social media and two of your friends on Facebook have already shared it on their timelines. Even the lines between C-suite is blurring and this has given rise to a new bracket of corporate ninja’s – the Chief Marketing Technologists. Brands are investing millions in data analysts and scientists, who are sitting neck-deep in data to figure out the answers that will resolve all their problems. Marketing gurus who once had a Midas touch, are now huddled, wondering how to re-position a certain brand, so it can be in the limelight again.

In a world so fast-paced that it can make gossip-vines in kitty-party circles seem sluggish, how does a communications professional ensure a brand’s voice is heard? And then not forgotten. As a professional myself, I think it’s a tall ask. And how.

creativity

While it is not the solution, creativity lies in the heart of it. As consultants, clients look at us for creative solutions that will push the envelope in their communication strategies. In today’s world, creativity is not just an ask, it is the life blood of communications consultancy. It is imperative for us to keep going back to the drawing-board to check how we can do things differently for our clients.

There are a few daunting questions for any PR novice: What will take to be a creative thinker? Am I creative enough? How do I learn to be a creative thinker?

Creative thinking lies in the roots of brand ideas and problem-solving. However, PR consultants largely, restrict themselves to just the ‘promotional’ aspect of their consultancy – product launches, promotional events, large-scale campaigns and of course new business pitches. If you don’t water the roots every day, how will the tree bear fruit?

If we are honest with ourselves, A-list celebs, top-Government professionals or God forbid! – a scandal is the quick-fire way to grab media-interest. In the absence of all of these, we come-up with innovative ideas to garner interest. As consultants, this is our skill to hone in every task that we do. Promotional activities or big-tickets events aside, consultants need to be constantly thinking on their feet to find innovative strategies, creative ways to nurture client-media relationships, the ever-so mundane reporting and even, crises management.

As a consultant, every morning, you step into the battlefield, where your client is pit against its competitors in the fight for higher recall or Share of Voice. It is critical, soldiers, to remember – great wars have been won by implementing strategies that weren’t previously imagined. Consultants need to break out of ‘the herd mentality’. While it is important to keep an eye-out at what the ‘other’ is doing. What got them here, may not get your client there.

Here are some quick points to keep in mind during the course of your creative journey:

  • Don’t complicate it – In your attempt to come-up with ‘brilliant’ ideas, don’t over-think the challenges. Sometimes, it is smarter to keep it simple.
  • Know your audience – What may be working for one audience, may completely fall flat with another. Ensure that your ideas are targeted toward the correct audience
  • It’s not an ego-battle – It’s okay if another team member is coming-up with better ideas. That should not deter you from voicing your thoughts. Remember, it’s not about you. It’s a larger vision.
  • Stay hungry, stay foolish – If you don’t constantly hone your creativity skills, you will stop growing. So think…think… THINK!
  • Don’t stray far from the brief – You are after all thinking for your client.
  • Voice it – Don’t let the idea keep growing and eventually die in your head. Speak to your seniors or peers. Believe me, everyone loves an innovative thinker. Maybe the other person will be able to help you polish your ideas. They may see a genius in what seems like a silly idea to you.

Cheers! To the little creative genius who lies in each one of us! Unleash the beast, I say!

 

Financial Communication is subject to interpretation risk

Recently, India’s National Pension Regulator had a tough situation. An advertisement about the National Pension System (NPS), a market-linked product, was labelled “safe”. Mutual fund managers questioned how the product could be called ‘safe’ when half of the investors’ funds were invested in a ‘risky’ portfolio of stocks. The ad was taken off in a flash, but not before the regulator was trolled on social media.

This situation could have been avoided, perhaps in many ways. One of these is in the role played by the respective stakeholders while creating the ad campaign in the first place – right from point of brief to appreciation of the brief to the creative process. There are several lessons for communications professionals from this instance.

  • Don’t dive if you don’t know the depth of the pool– Like any other sector, financial communication requires fine understanding of the products, market participants, and synergies with other sectors. The stakes are higher for communications and advertising professionals due to various regulatory compliances associated with the communication collateral in this sector. Communications experts may not be the sectoral experts, but it is imperative to nail the devil hiding in the details.
  • Go beyond the client brief- Clients may not always understand how much an agency needs to know. I have often played ‘investigative officer’ during client briefs. Believe me, it is more often than not, appreciated.
  • As YOU say is not as THEY hear- For sure, financial products are complex in nature. So is the communication around these. Merely being factually correct may not land the right message to your target audience. In the example of the NPS advertisement, the word ‘safe’ had two different connotations, i.e., fixed returns and government backed. So, while the intent may not have been to mislead, the message was interpreted differently, and the rest as they say is history.

In sum, the rule of thumb is to imagine how a layman might interpret the content, numbers or jargon. In fact, this holds true for any communicator and for any industry. If your family and friends do not understand what you mean easily, please REDO. After all, the average reader is not an expert.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the author. Text Hundred India Pvt Ltd assumes no responsibility or liability pertaining to this article. 

Diversity in a Women’s World

All this talk about ‘gender diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ at workplace is kind of lost on me. I don’t get it and you really can’t blame me. Having worked only in the PR world, I find it difficult to realize that it isn’t the norm.

A few years ago when I started my work-life and a career in communications, I was surrounded by women all around – bosses, colleagues, clients, media. Fresh out of college, it was so liberating to see smart, articulate, bossy women all around me. Women who would engage and consult the seniormost levels of CEO or MD, or silence them if needed. They could handle corporate crises on their own and also make elaborate lunch plans with their teams. A few years down the line, when I started interacting with and counselling clients independently, every time after a media interview/show when one of the top corporate honchos would turn to me and ask how they did, my inner ‘me’ would respond from seventh heaven. It was empowering and humbling at the same time. This profession taught me that without sex and age as bars, if you are focused and know your business, it can take you to the moon and back.

After nursing and teaching, I think PR is one of the rare professions in the corporate world heavily skewed towards the fairer sex. A rough estimate of the sector would put the female male ratio as 75:25. I have often wondered, what makes women better in this field vis-à-vis others. According to me, the two key reasons for women succeeding in communications world would be – we are better at communication skills and multi-tasking. While there might be reasons galore but this post does not intend to address those, let’s keep them for a different discussion.

Well, a lot of my male counterparts might disagree and debate the reasons endlessly. Have also heard the other side, male colleagues suggesting how the PR field is kind of sexist with pretty girls wielding their soft skills. But how far will your pretty face and soft skills take you? And sorry if we ate up your jobs and your success but we are good at it and you better acknowledge that.

But it’s a special day as all of you have been screaming and shoving it down my throat with offers, emo messages and discounts. In order to show solidarity, I have decided to undertake gender diversity in my own little way in this field. I have inducted a male colleague in the team servicing women’s beauty products. How is that as a small step for gender diversity in this female skewed world of PR? I know that’s not enough but I promise to do more in my own little ways. Hire more boys, appreciate their work more often, teach them to multi-task, give them more feminine products to work on and more. Do you have any more suggestions? After all why should women have all the fun?

This piece has been contributed by Liza Saha, a closet feminist trying to make a career in the communications world. Hates tokenism and chauvinism but appreciates chivalry.