No idea……….Get idea

I fear to answer “No idea” on even simple queries these days. Thanks to the “No Idea…..Get Idea” campaign launched by Idea Cellular in India. Although the campaign was launched in the month of November promoting Mobile Number Portability(MNP) to all the 791 million telecom subscribers in India, it has successfully helped the company gain more than 150,000 customers over a period of time, second only to Vodafone which has led in MNP conversions.

The funnier side of the campaign has been the magical words “No Idea…..Get Idea” making an entry into our lives everywhere, among friends, colleagues, and every acquaintance we are aware about. Every query raised has to be answered carefully these days for the fear that the opposite party would answer “Get idea”. The other day, one of my clients jokingly said “Get idea” to a query we had no answer. Situations could sometimes be gleeful but other times quiet embarrassing too. Bosses in office have a new word added to their dictionary. In cinema theatre, the actor says “No Idea” and someone from the crowd pops out “Get idea”. The word has become so rife that one is forced not to contemplate any answer which we start with “No idea”. I try and frame new sentences in order to avoid such situations of listening “Get idea”.

The campaign too has equally done well for Idea Cellular and successfully increased its subscriber base in addition to the brand recall created among the millions in India. “Connecting with users” is the magic which has helped companies transform their bottom lines and I feel Idea Cellular has connected well this time. Although the company has a small subscriber base across India compared to the top players but it has strengthened its position in certain pockets in India. A jingle which not only connects with everyone’s life but also pushes our brain cells to re-collect the advertisement has proved to be a success.  I am not Idea Cellular subscriber but the campaign has entered into my life with the jingles as mentioned above and I am quiet sure it has put some impact in everyone’s life.

Everyday I see one or the other person going repetitive on this campaign among their friends. Although it may seem annoying but the fever still keeps growing and the campaign proves its success. I would term this a good work as an effective advertisement always connects with our lives and this one surely does.

Do let me know your “No idea…….Get idea” experiences.

Cheers :)


India Wins the Cup

We are the Champions”. “We rule the world”. The intense feeling of pride, jubilation, emotional outbursts around the euphoric victory in the world cup 2011 has proved to the world that India has arrived. In a country of 1.21 billion, more than 80% people follow a religion called “Cricket” and worship the God in one of his forms called “Sachin”. “Men in Blue” has proved to the world that they are the best in any form of the game and indeed they “Bleed Blue” (Campaign started by Nike”.

 

The journey to the cup was not so cozy and hence the emotional rush was high amid criticism and support from the largest democracy in the world. The entire nation goes crazy over the win and celebrations on the streets of India has been amazing. Dhoni & men gives us every chance to celebrate, go crazy and party for many more days to come. The victory over Australia in the quarter-finals proved to the world, that we are inching towards victory on the D-Day. Taking the arch rivals Pakistan after a long gap and crushing them in the semis left Rameez Raja falling short of words from his ever gabbing attitude. The pulsating environment created in all the three important matches India played was cheered ball by ball by the frenzied cricket maniacs around the world. India’s rise to the ranks of world number 1 cricketing nation could only be attributed to the Mr. Cool captain, MS Dhoni. Having watched Dhoni playing for railways at local MECON grounds in Ranchi, and on the D-Day proved only his determined idiosyncrasy towards achievement of the goal.

In the high-profile match watched by the heads of nations, bureaucrats, Bollywood and ever cheering crowd, the entire moment was cherished, and would remain to be so, by every Indian for many more years to come. The jubilation on streets around the country was ecstatic, people went frantic and a sea of flags, cars, and unabated dancing lingered till morning. Being part of the frantic crowd kept the adrenaline rush within me tight, my heart pumped to be proud of my nation. The slogan went from “Vande Matram” to “2011 hai, World Cup Humara hai” (It’s 2011 and the world cup is ours).

 

As the new channels cheer each moment of our victory, entire India feels the bond through the game, which is very popular in every nook and corner of the country. The evolution of Indian cricket has been phenomenal. India brings the cup home after 28 long years, but the waiting has been very sweet. The team does it for their own Sachin Tendulkar, and makes us proud. The no.1 team in the world has proved its mettle and takes on a new journey as Champions. I wish Indian team many more successes which provides us plethora of opportunity to be proud.

Cheers to Indian cricketing success :)

 

 


ICC World Cup 2011:Musings

Last one month kept me away from my favorite work of reaching to the readers of my blog. It has been quiet a hectic schedule but I am happy to manage my time and be back on track. With the world cup fun all around and people glued to the idiot box, we Indians prefer to catch the glimpse of each match through any form of media available to us these days. Of course, new channels of information like twitter, Facebook has overrun traditional forms, and people in urban centers prefer to belong to the so-called trends of new age media catching glimpse of news on twitter, Facebook etc. It is mindful that off late traditional media have been keen on analyzing cricket frenzied reactions over these channels.

As the schedule of World cup unfolds, teams from around the world are once again ready to battle out the odds and prove their mettle. Australian team, as always seems to be the invincible, the English team seems to have lost its luster having lost couple of matches to the minnows of the cricketing world (viz. Ireland & Bangladesh). The minnows seems to have gone berserk to prove to their fans, don’t underestimate my capability anymore, you call me minnow…………….Minnows who? You got me wrong again sweetheart. Team Pakistan seemed to be going well until they loss against New Zealand. Rameez Raja goes frantic for this but couldn’t help the situation. The Lankans have gone lackluster and the energy always seems to be missing with the team minus Jayasurya. The Caribbean’s are heavily dependent on Pollard (the disaster, of course for opponents) and Kiwis have gained from Allan Donald’s experience in the bowling department. None the less, the host and home favorites are Indian team, trying to re-store its lost glory in the last two world cup encounters. Team India had a brilliant one-sided start against Bangladesh, but the tempo seems to be subsiding with each battle in progress. South Africa, appears to have joined the typical herd mentality of “Chalta hai” (Let it be) and seems unprepared for the world cup.

Amid the entire hullabaloo, we cricket frenzied people are glued to the idiot box in the comfort of our homes and plush offices. I poured in one of the leading business newspapers in India that some of the leading brands have preferred to advertise during IPL over ICC World cup, the logic majorly refers to preferences of the women folks to IPL. As the cricket drama unfolds once again in the country, many players surreptitiously have started dreaming for the IPL matches which usher in more fun, money and are cool with their young and trendy attitude.

As the cricketing drama unfolds, I wish let the best team win, but being an Indian, I would always put my vote for Dhoni and boys. The theme to cheer India for every match as it displays on TV, I am pushed to think over the punch line “Teams only win matches, when you cheer for them”.  Let the cricketing drama unfold and make it ever exciting experience for all the cricketing fans around the world.

Cheers to favorites this world cup. Team India go…go…go….

 


National Customer Preference Register(NCPR)

On December 1st 2010, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India took a step forward to curb unsolicited commercial communications to Indian consumers from telemarketers using medium such as voice or Short Messaging Service (SMS). The regulation mandates telemarketers to register with TRAI in order to facilitate scrubbing of Do Not Call Registered numbers in India. India has more than 700 million mobile subscribers but only 10-15% is registered with TRAI. This leaves a huge task for TRAI to cover all the users PAN India under National Customer Register Preferences list.

A few terms as described by TRAI and the confusion they create

Telemarketer“Telemarketer” means a person or legal entity engaged in the activity of transmission of commercial communications.

Unsolicited Commercial Communication-“Unsolicited Commercial Communication” means any commercial communication which a subscriber opts not to receive but does not include, —-

(i) Any transactional message; or

(ii) Any message transmitted on the directions of central Government or State Government or agencies authorized by it

Telemarketer term has been used broadly by TRAI to identify any company which uses voice calls and Short Messages Service (SMS) to inform, solicit commercial transactions to subscribers. The main confusion which arises is the acceptance by Enterprises to identify themselves as Telemarketers for using SMS service for transactional and promotional purpose. Many entities have raised questions at the definition of Telemarketer by TRAI.

Commercial communication in Enterprise Messaging industry includes any communication which helps companies promote their products, services etc. With Enterprise applications based on SMS which help to automate processes within an organization, the term commercial communications does not attend to multifarious usage of SMS in any industry.

As the new regulation mandates enterprises to register online with TRAI and enter into an agreement with telecom operators/service providers by having a refundable security deposit as defined by TRAI. The deposit is to be used against any violation in future which operators would charge to enterprises for sending messages to National Customer Preference Registered numbers. The amount to be charged against first complaint has been increased from INR 500 earlier to INR 25,000 and INR 75,000 for subsequent complains. The amount increases to INR 250,000 for fifth complain and the service for the Enterprise is blocked after six complains. Enterprises can enter into two separate agreements based on the form of commercial communications (both voice calls and SMS) employed to reach subscribers.  The time duration for sending commercial communications has also been restricted between 9AM to 9PM.

For Subscribers (How to register)

Subscriber can register by three ways, either by sending SMS to 1909 (E.g. SMS < 0> to 1909) and opting for the options described under 0 to 7, with 0 being opting for fully blocked category (would receive only transaction messages), 1 to 7 categories have been counted under partial blocked condition and would receive messages from the below mentioned sectors based on the options selected while registering.

1 is for BFSI domain, customer opting for this category would receive only Banking and financial related information and promotional messages.

2 is for real estate sector

3 for Education sector

4 for Health sector

5 for Consumer Goods and Automobiles

6 for Communication, Entertainment, IT and Broadcasting

7 for Tourism and Leisure

Alternatively, subscribers can call the customer care of respective operators and also register for NCPR. Telecom subscribers can also call 1909 to register through Interactive Voice Response System.

How to identify a Transaction and promotional message

The new regulation segregate messages as Transaction and Promotional. Each transaction message would have a sender id. of six characters. For example XY-ABCDEF, where X is the code for telecom operator, Y is the telecom circle and ABCDEF is the sender id. as opted by Enterprises with their service providers.

For any Promotional message, the Sender id. Would be alphanumeric as XY-(0-7) ABCDE, where X is the code for telecom operator, Y is Telecom circle, (0-7) is the code for various sectors, and ABCDE is the five character sender id.

Implications for Enterprises and subscribers

  • Control in number of SMS received by the end-user, if the subscriber is registered under fully blocked category
  • There is no proper categorization for Enterprises to register and define the transaction messages if the purpose is to communicate internally with employees or is a system critical message.
  • All telecom subscribers registered prior to March 1st 2011(new date for launch of the service) with TRAI would automatically be moved to fully blocked category.
  • Prevention of misuse of sender id. which had moved from alphabetical to numeric over a period of time creating confusion over the sender’s identity.
  • As TRAI defines the time duration(9AM to 9PM) for sending messages, the SMS service providers and aggregators (service provider connected to more than one telecom operators for purchasing SMS and selling to Enterprises), the number of messages pushed is bound to get reduced hence less nuisance for subscribers.

As TRAI gears up for launch of service from March 1st 2011, after postponing the same twice, many more implications and amendments would certainly follow in months to come. The regulation creates confusion among Enterprises involved in using messaging services for critical and process oriented communications leaving enough scope for Telecom operators to go back to TRAI and ask for amendments.

For any more clarifications please drop in your comments, and I would revert with an answer.


Mobile Number Portability (MNP)

Mobile Number Portability or MNP is a telecommunication service which allows telecom subscribers to switch their operators as per their choice. It is common in our lives that we are sometimes pissed off with the telecom operator for connectivity, bill related and numerous others issues which leaves us in agony due to shady services. I am registered on National Do not Call registry (NDNC) in India, but off late, I have been receiving telemarketers call repeatedly from one of the credit card companies in India. In complete sync with my rights, I lodged a complaint with my operator to prohibit the number from making calls to my mobile handset. Still, I keep receiving calls from the same credit card company.

Come MNP, and I would have enough reasons to change my operator for their inefficiency to manage customer’s queries. Mobile Number Portability is the latest of telecom service to be launched on January 20th 2011, out of many services launched in the telecommunications industry. The service can be availed in India by minimum payment of INR 19 to the respective operator. We should note that, Singapore was one of the first countries in the world where MNP was launched in the year 1997 through call-forwarding facility. Let’s look at some of the effects of MNP in the Indian telecommunications sector which has more than 20 operators,in various telecom circles, striving hard to get their share of 700 million subscribers in the country.

Implications of MNP

  • The speed with which number activation takes place in India, verification of necessary documents and activation would take more time than as defined by the operator.
  • The pressure on operators would be more to retain subscribers, as the churn would increase manifold.
  • Operators would once again get involved into brand visibility drive to derive maximum benefits of the churn.
  • There is a greater chance of pre-pay customers changing their operator rather than post-pay customers.
  • Corporate customers under CUG plans would be less likely to churn as the benefits offered by operators to their corporate customers are in plenty.
  • Price war in telecom sector is to get even dirtier as the operators have now a feasible solution to lure customers with best offers without changing their numbers.

The implications of MNP can be numerous and the outcome can only be experienced once India has a tete a tete with the solution. I believe it would be totally dependent on our astuteness to judge an operator by their services and embrace them else, forget it.

 


IPL Auctions 2011

In a typical vegetables auction market, the scene is

Potatoes – Rs 40/ Kg (Base price)

Bidder 1- Rs 45/Kg, Bidder 2- Rs 50/Kg, Bidder 3- Rs 60/Kg, Bidder 1(again)- Rs 70/Kg

Bidder 1 bids at Rs 70/Kg against Bidder 3 and the bid is sold to Bidder 1.

Sophisticated IPL Auction: Cricketers on Sale

Bid for Player 1 from India (base price – $100,000)

Anyone for base price, yeah we have team Kochi go for it, the bid opens at $100,000.

Another bid from RCB $110,000, Kochi again $120,000,

Oh yeah, we have a new bid from entirely new team Daredevils at $130,000

Anyone against Daredevils price, no…. no…… and player 1 is sold at $130,000 to Daredevils

And there are claps all around for the purchase.

I was just watching the ongoing IPL Auction since yesterday and thinking, our players have just become analogous to vegetables or other commodities that are bid on online sites for purchase(Thanks to IPL and numerous other such events where franchisee purchase players in an auction). I understand the hoopla around the brand IPL and the success is noteworthy, but the selection process made me wary of the event altogether.

Some of the great players from all around the world went unsold like thing of the passé, while newbie’s were raked into the teams for heavy sum of money. There were instances where some of the players with less experience ran away with million dollars in their accounts leaving other experienced players with half of what they took from respective franchisees. I could not stop jumping off my bed watching the huge amount of money close to $ 9 million from each franchisee to empty their wallets for the ornate players of world cricket.

Well, in the words of cricketing professionals, “Cricket is a Game of Uncertainties” and so is IPL auctions.

I am a great admirer of the game, but this episode of auction was funny to me besides being baffling, with some of the great players remaining unsold. Well, that’s the game of cricket sweetheart, full of uncertainties. Sit back, relax and enjoy the game :)

Cheers to IPL :)


New Year Resolutions

New Year is a time to celebrate, and get involved in big plans for the year. Most of us start big with our self-made values and lose our way towards middle of the year and again resolve to make changes in our plans. This cycle goes on unabated in our lives all throughout each year. Every New Year welcomes with it a few resolutions that each of us takes to get a little more determined towards our goals. Although the importance of these resolutions have been effective in many of our lives but still a few of us fail to achieve our resolutions towards the mid or end of the year. The variety in resolutions that we take ranges from our personal choices and priorities that affects our lives each day.

This year I decided not to take any resolution and let things fall in place as the priority arises, but at the same time assign importance to certain areas of improvement. I thought to pick up top 5 resolutions of the year that can be of help to anyone and help them relate it with their lives.

Quit Smoking- I am a non-smoker, but I find this to be on top priority of every smoker around me. Numerous resolutions to quit smoking go haywire every year, but still a large number of people are able to sustain with their resolution all throughout the year. The increase in number of smokers every year especially in developing economies makes this to be on top priority for people. As per the statistics published by World Bank, there are 1.1 billion smokers in the world, and the number is expected to increase to 1.25 billion till 2025. I believe the figures itself should prompt smokers to make this on top of their lists.

Yoga and Fitness programs- This has been one of the most sought after resolution these days with lots of people resorting to various forms of exercise to reduce their weight. In the year 2010, I started taking power-yoga classes and this has helped me immensely to shed off extra fat, I believe people can definitely give it a try to reduce their weight. As per WHO statistics, there are more than 40 million children who are obese and 80% of these are from developing economies of the world. Going by the serious numbers, this definitely can be on resolution priority list of anybody.

Reading & writing- For bloggers like me, the resolution definitely is a priority but is often marred by various other factors and engagements that crop up in our day-to-day life. There are people around the world who blog or write books driven by their New Year resolutions, it is just upon us on how we manage time and the priority we assign to our resolution.

New Lessons- Well, learning anything new has always been on priority for all of us, whether it is any new language, dance, obtaining a degree, painting, swimming, art etc. The list can definitely be very long, with no end to the amount of knowledge available in the world.

Managing expenses- Expense management is always on the top priority for every one of us on day-to-day basis. The art of managing expenses lies in how meticulously we manage our wasteful or not so important expenditures. With the world economy being hit by recession, managing expense is one of the important resolutions in our lives. Although the art of saving is seen more in the developing economies than the developed ones, managing expenses have always been part of everyone’s life lately.

I believe there can be many more resolutions that can be added to this list depending on personal preferences, the only resolution that we need to take is to stick to our New Year resolutions for 365 days firmly.


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