Thursday, November 5, 2020

Personal leadership brand

Whether it is Elon Musk launching his new rocket, Baba Ramdev giving a stiff competition to FMCG majors of the country, or an Indian GenZ social media influencer, Ankita Chawla landing a coveted consultancy job purely through her Instagram resume; personal branding is more relevant now than ever in this flood of digital information, remote connections, and hyper competitiveness. 

Every individual brings in her own unique experiences and skills from different walks of life which shape them throughout - be it their personality, their leadership style, or the way to tackle a difficult situation. It is said that your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. How you use this personal branding to create and deliver a unique value to an organization, goes a long way in your digital footprint and inspiring others as well as your own self!
Being an ambivert, I have thought many a times about brand building and how its innate nature seems to be self-advertising. However, on deeper introspection, I have found that it is not about being narcissistic but rather bringing a high level of self-awareness, about what defines you. 
The differentiation that you bring to the table, when channeled to achieve a defined purpose is the foremost founding pillar to building your brand identity. The way you present your niche, personalize it and present it to your audience, then builds your own brand (refer infographic)

For instance, being a creative thinker can be your core strength. When you share your ideas with others, through your chosen medium of narration like a LinkedIn article, a Youtube channel, or a blog, that can become the first moment of truth for others to discover you, even before they meet you in person. This is just an example, and your own introspection can help you find a similar unique combination towards developing and representing your personal style.

It has also become very important to build your personal brand at work and distinguish your unique identity from the others to enable yourself in helping the organization. In the current climate where we are in a level playing field working across geographies yet equally connected over digital channels, it has become paramount to drive towards our common goals in a more synergistic fashion

The trick being, staying true to it and eventually influencing others. This form of an alignment leads to a strong sense of collective vision, thereby driving efficiency as well as productivity in the work that we do. Thus, I feel that each of us need to define our personal brands and go through the transformation cycle that follows.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

New year in the old blog

Unknowingly, I have got myself into the custom of starting the new year with a quick trek, thanks to the beautiful city Bangalore, or rather the beautiful outskirts of Bangalore. Unknowingly, I have also come to realize that there is a small push which makes me get outside the comfort of my soft blanket on a lovely weekend for a quick hike.

The push of trying to get a gasp of fresh air in the midst of this concrete jungle around, surrounded by the maddening and ever increasing honking of city traffic, while eyes glued to the greens of work namely Excel and Whatsapp. Unfortunately, the husband and friends were unavailable on the upcoming weekend, thanks to my spontenaiety, fuelled by the aforementioned push and hence this was to be my 1st solo trek. Hence, i log into the BMC website (as usual) and book for the easiest trek called Rayakottai.

I don't think i woke up this happy in the morning to start, that too on a weekend at 5:00 am. The moment you cross the obvious traffic hurdles aka toll gate / RTO check point, the quintessential beautiful countryside makes it all worth it :)


The scenery was totally instagram-worthy and the climb up was smoother than I anticipated. This maybe due to the fact that Rayakottai was once a fortess of Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan (whom I grew up watching on a TV series, courtesy papa). Hence, we were hiking on the ruins of the fortess, another first of the kind.


The old structures in between the trees and bushes had a charm of its own. We rather climbed it pretty quickly in around 2 hours, while the hike down was even quicker.



Overall, a perfect getaway to increase the step counts and get a fresh breather from just another day. Looking forward to more such and bigger getaways and treks in this Year and wish the same to you :) 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Consumer view of Digital Retail in India

Consumer view of Digital Retail in India

My digital marketing professor once told us – If you want to see response of an idea, just ask a person around you. That would be the smallest possible set to base your observations on, but is somehow a good common average for a feedback. When I watch standup comics perform (another rising segment!), I actually believe this to be true, as they make jokes on common situations around, and everyone relates to it. Usually what we experience and observe is something the majority around us is experiencing as well.

So taking a bottom up approach, here is my consumer view of the evolving Indian Retail Landscape.

The Why - First the context

India is at the intersection of highest growth of – 1. Total personal disposable income and 2. Smartphone users. It is estimated by IBEF that there will be 829 million smartphone users in India by 2022. Do you know that this is twice the estimated population of the 3rd most populated country (read the US)

Total personal disposable income (

 The What - What a consumer wants

It is to be spoilt, and where he/she is readily happy to open the wallet (umm.. the digital one if I may add)

Convenience - If I get my keto wrap and calorie specified cold coffee, delivered at home, within 20 minutes of ordering, the consumer has been pampered (Thanks @Swiggy). Also if calculations about time v/s money are done right, then paying a little premium for the quick food delivery is something eventually luring us. No doubt @Zomato claims its revenue to grow 3X in FY19 at 206Mn USD

Personalization - I have never owned a @NIKE pair but it still managed to reach me (and many other growing tribe of runners). It brings in one of the best personalized workout routine through the Nike run club app. That was how the brand struck it right over other local players, and even competing with the smart monitoring devices

Discounts – Taking a stroll in a book shop, picking up one and just before the checkout counter checking it on @Amazon/@Flipkart and ordering on a discount – Yep, guilty of that. Thanks to the growing VC money flowing in, discounts turned out to be the norm. Businesses scaled while waiting for consumers to develop a habit. Apps have made their way into our smartphones through cashbacks while we have uninstalled quite a few, as the offers dried up as well. But the winner will be the one which stays on, as a balance between habits and relying on cashback reaches a level of maturity for an industry. Back to focusing on unit economics and commercial viability, which adds to the longevity of the company, thereby to the macro-economics of the country!

Quality with affordability – Spotify, a late entrant in the music streaming industry in India, already claims over 2Mn users since Feb. With a right mix of hyper localization – content and cost, freemium package model, social media sharing, digital home compatibility, and its brand presence it has created exactly this.

The How (behind a future cash cow)

Starting with the most important – Technology (fueled by data). From hyper localization and personalization, augmented reality shopping, automated last mile delivery, checkouts and payment tech, smart dressing room and shopping carts, shelf monitoring, in-store analytics, and what not, it is everywhere. We are interacting more with technology than anything else. And so are the Brands!

Organizations are trying not to be left behind in the digitalization race. Remember the last time you visited a physical bank branch? The best mobile banking app is already taking in the most business, if they still exist in a far-fetched (yet) crypto future.

Open/Social Business – While marketplaces have connected the local community with a global audience, it’s an established and a continued story.

Completing the loop is another aspect of the 360 degrees connected world. @Xiaomi’s “Fan-based innovation” has positioned it as an internet platform provider and not just a leading smartphone maker. Crowdsourced development with fans pitching in for improvements and development, can be a good reason behind its 129% growth in a crowded market.

X-aaS, the subscription model – Flexibility and access over ownership can be the biggest ‘asset’ (ironically) for a huge consumer base like that of India. Entertainment, beauty and wellness, apparels (even socks @mojaclub!), storage, security, etc. are fast moving into a recurring revenue stream business and well received by consumers. What may start now as a small subscription to something as basic as monthly groceries may always have an added possibility to enhance the offering along with building a loyalty base.

It is this constant endeavor which makes interaction between consumers and brands frictionless, sustainable and transformational. A change, which will bring Nirvana to the fast growing lazy millennials.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Not just any new year post

First things first, welcome 2019!

We are now just an year away from the Cliched "2020", the year which used to be such a content driver to make all sort of predictions and future world fantasies. And no we are not yet run by the machines but they do increasingly occupy our lives. The data-driven machines or as the buzz word terms it around something 'artificial' :P

The 'data-is-the-new-oil' can't just be termed as a fad but it's a reality of everyday life. The Instagram picture which you clicked of your morning brunch, being liked and viewed by your social-media circle, provides a platform for sponsored advertisements following it, which again is based on your Facebook data or maybe something which you google or even talked about (scary but true!).

Source: The Economist

And this is not just limited to your online activities. Cross a retail outlet on your way back home and an ad for the same might just appear in your FB feed by the time you reach home, thanks to the real-time location based data which you unknowingly have provided and now you wonder, who reads your mind! Literally one thing leading to another and you are already being served a highly personalized content everywhere. This may lead you to think that life is good that way and you are the boss, but are you?

With data comes the power, to rate, rank, compare, judge, and what not! After all the better you extract this new oil, the more worth it gives. But more of that in the coming posts, as i resolve this year to blog a lot more and keep generating more of data which anyway machines can keep judging crunching about.