Friday, October 4, 2013

Seamless Communication

Communication has come a long way since mankind developed languages. It has evolved through many mediums leading to social innovation & creativity.  Ironically, as much as users promote themselves online, collecting friends as stamps, the person’s limit to maintain connections is 150 relationships maximum. We cannot stay in contact with more than 150 people at a time. Hence, the whole purpose of having a huge following online is the power to influence.

As a marketer, my goal is to connect people with brands and brands with people. Thus, I will emphasize on brand experience via social creativity.  The trick to social creativity is to first determine a social tension or passion that is relevant to the brand. Once that is identified, one must always integrate these 3 elements (playfulness, interactivity, ability to pass on) into his communication content to maximize share value across all channels. This way, the target audience will share the fun of your campaign due to being entertained and engaged.

Another way of ensuring a brand’s impact is by segmenting communication across these 4 spheres; Public, Social, Psychological, Tribal. As Saudi Hollandi Bank, we hit the public sphere by mass awareness through campaigns and PR activities. We hit the social sphere by solving a tension for SMEs seeking funds. We hit the psychological sphere by having our clients relate our slogan’s action “Banking made easy” to our brand. What remains is the tribal sphere, which we have lightly tapped by having clients associate themselves with our brand as promotion winners.

Key takeaways:
  • Behavior Shift: Solving a social tension relevant to the brand, e.g., trusting banks
  • Fun Theory: Campaign content to be entertaining, innovative, useful
  • Relationship has greater impact than the message itself
  • Brand community = social capital which leads to influence
For those of you who wish to delve further into the subject at hand, I recommend
- A book called Brand Washed
- A short video on human behavior

Friday, September 27, 2013

Everyone Has That Friend

In every group of friends, we either have a few or all of the following people whom I have categorized below. I will be emphasizing more on some, and unfortunately my social circle has them all!

The Pansy Boy:
The best way to describe him is by this quote “gay in everyway except for sexual orientation!” – Family Guy.  I can’t remember who let him in to our group but we should’ve seen the signs. The first time he tagged along to our house, he got lost in the neighborhood, and when he tried to ring the buzzer, it was out of order. Clearly the warning signs couldn’t have been more obvious than Michael Jackson between freaks.

The weeks passed by, and unfortunately we tolerated him then got accustomed to the fact that we’re hopeless and he will always be with us. You can’t imagine how much of a Tutti Frutti this guy is! He is so full of himself and always talking about his looks as well as showing us before and after photos of…dare I say it? Yes himself!
Once we were all sharing dating stories when all of a sudden he interrupted adding “yeah, a few weeks ago I was getting it on with this virgin, but when she saw me, she told me because I was so hot, she wanted to have my babies right then and there! “ Awkward silence followed because none of us knew how to react to that randomness.

The douche:
He’s such a dumbass, I don’t know where to start with his stupidity.  I bet if I yelled fascist to his face, he would be like yea that’s me I’m fancy! Though I must admit, watching him approach the ladies is pure entertainment.  He would walk up to a cute girl, lick his lips and point at other girls telling her “mmm the place is full of chikittas tonight!” NO COMMENT. Whenever someone has an experience to share, coincidentally he’s been through more extreme versions of our experiences. I am really anticipating the day a girl shares a female related incident, and we all get to see how he relates.

The Fake Girl:
You know how when babies are born doctors spank them to have them gasp for air. Well I’m sure when she was born she faked a laugh for air! Though I must give her credit she was about to keep it real once. I bumped into her at a bar and you could actually see her face twitch as she struggled within herself as to whether fake it or not. Then she couldn’t resist and stroke back with the weirdest nutcracker smile and an overly expressed “so happy to see you!”

The Pothead:
Whether he does pot or not doesn’t matter; end result is the same. Talk to him for an hour and it’s as if you were talking to your own foot. However, your foot doesn’t give you that frustrating blank stared “…what…?” every time you ask for an opinion. We did a mistake once of letting him pick up take out. We ordered Domino’s Pizza, and a after an hour of waiting, he actually brought back literal dominos from Toys ‘R’ Us!

Another time, I had him take my iPod to an Apple Store to fix it. Later that night I found out he gave it to some random waiter at Applebee’s!! Damn junkies!

The Weirdo.
I believe this guy inspired Lady Gaga. Each time we’d see him he would have a new accent.  Whenever we have metal or rock music playing in the background he would start twitching. He would stay quiet the whole time and only start talking while the movie was playing. 

Once in class, he came to flirt with my cousin asking her “did you fart!!?” my cousin responded “what the!!?...NO” but he insisted “oh come on just say yes…ok!....say yes” to get rid of him she replied “yes” which he immediately reacted to “I knew it! Cause you blew me away!”

This other time at band camp, no seriously but this other time during a gathering we were saying yomama jokes. He got all excited with powder in his hand yelling at the top of his lungs yomama’s so old she breast feeds like this; when he came to blow the powder out, he had his palm on his mouth, instead of shaping his hand like a cylinder. So inevitably, he blinded himself with powder bursting all over his face, it was like watching napoleon dynamite live!

The stinky one:
 He screeches like a cat yet he has a phobia of them. I’m pretty sure while the rest of us evolved from apes he evolved from an onion. I think he was sent to us as a punishment from God.  I swear when he enters a room it’s as if he enters just to leave a legacy behind; to plague the area with his scent then take off.  I bet we’d go blind if we looked directly at his armpits! He is immune to deodorants and showers! He must be capable of disproving detergents and disinfectants.

We once had to work on a project together; we were too close for safety measures. I was literally tearing. You really have to experience it for yourself. I don’t know if I’m becoming delusional but you can hear the word EVIL each time he lifts his armpits.

I can see him having face offs with skunks!

The Spoiled One.
This guy is so spoiled that dogs owned by Brit bourgeoisies and Miami cougars have nothing on him! Usually when we are out clubbing, we all have drinks at a pub or someone’s house before hand to avoid the pricy tab at the clubs. Also for tables we’d usually pitch in but for him money grows on trees.

Once we were all joking around checking out new summer destinations. I was like I’d have to rent a fishing boat the next time we hit St.Tropez to compete with Diddy’s yacht parties. Then out of nowhere, he goes yea I remember I reserved all of nikki beach for 20’000 Euros, pennies if you ask me. I swear my brother was going to kill him right then and there.

The damn problem is that if he actually earned all this money, then fine he would really have the bloody right to splurge, show off, and brag, but he is living off his parents!!

Miss knows It All.
Whether it is her field or not, she has the answer to everything. She’s so stubborn it’s ridiculous. Once she claimed herself to be the ultimate chef because she bought a pack of Betty Crocker and added extra sugar. She really considered opening her own bakery as if she was the one who invented flour.

Once we were all hanging out in our basement and she was like we will be having a storm tonight. So I told her that the weather forecasts and news channels didn’t mention anything. She snapped by saying “I read a lot.” Then my brother blurted out “let me guess!!!” That was a golden memory right there.

Twitter Mine and I'll twitter yours

"Taking a glimpse at the web you can easily realize that Twitter is no longer a trend, but a lifestyle. Millions around the world are talking about what they are doing at the exact minute of posting. they are sharing ideas and having conversations live. The best part is that anyone can join a conversation!" – Anonymous

MindDrive, an NPO focused on urban youth's innovative development, helped their students design & build a car fueled by social media! The car's engine converted online social activity into fuel. Check out their summer road trip from K.C. to D.C.

On another note, Larry, the Twitter bird, can virtually be found as a social network icon on every website. You will notice that they're all static and standardized, which pops the question, why not be different?

This is where artistic minds swoop in, reincarnating him from the ashes as the blue phoenix he is. Here are some of my favorite ones:


Friday, September 20, 2013

Flying Sky High: Episode 2

Getaways are a part of every person’s pursuit for fun, getting rid of stress, and maintaining sanity.  So before reading this, I advise you to shout out loud “VACATION!! VACATION!! THANK GOD NO CONSTIPATION!”  I know! Right! Eminem got nothing on me.

I have always opted for lively destinations rather than cities recommended by travel reviews. On this trip we were travelling to Beirut or what I like to call Gayrut because of the large joyful community there.  It was the usual crowd: Fuzz, Abz, Susu, Tammi, Yara, and I.

We all sat at CheChe Café to kill time while we waited to board the plane. Abz and Susu became frustrated trying to find sockets to charge their laptops, while Tammi and I took our books out and snickered at them because of our simplicity. I was reading Londonstani, while she was reading Twilight. In my opinion Stephenie Meyer’s books are no better than a fourth grader’s writing abilities. I mean come on! The whole franchise is based on a vampire who lives in the forest and sparkles; obviously he’s a fairy! And how does he get a boner, if there is no blood pumping through his veins?

All of us being distracted we lost track of time. Fuzz decided to check the boarding passes and yelled out “Move God damn it! We’re late!”  As we all packed our stuff in a rush, Yara spilled her milkshake all over the place. We ran around frantically like Mexicans around a piñata, trying to find gate 13. In all the confusion, we spread out. Tammi, Yara, Abz and I in one direction, while Fuzz and Susu headed the other way. After searching for gate 13 during what felt like forever, we realized that gate 13 does not exist and it was a typo on the damn tickets. Right then and there I felt elephants rather than butterflies in my stomach. We immediately heard the last call for our flight heading to Beirut at gate 11. As we were racing against time, Tammi’s heel flew off so I stopped to help her but she refused yelling dramatically, “Go on without me!” but I helped her anyways carrying her over my shoulder. She blurted out “thanks for shaving me…uh saving me! Haha this never happened!”  Yara and Abz decided to meet us ahead to stall the airline staff from closing the gate until we were all united.

As we settled on the plane, we sat in two parallel rows. I heard the kid behind us reassure his mother that he was wearing superman underwear to feel safe on the plane. We took off shortly. We were flying economy and the airhostess closed the curtain dividing the two classes with a smirk that said “no free champagne for you”. I had my elbow on the armrest when I suddenly heard a loud friction. I turned for a glance and was horrified by what I saw! It was guy with his feet up, flicking his toes like antennas, as if he were marking his territory.  I told him off while Tammi on my right was laughing silently and clapping like a retarded seal.
Susu was watching a film called “Midnight in Paris” but to her disadvantage her TV kept lagging so she kept changing seats to watch her movie. By the time she found a TV that streamed her film flawlessly, there was a guy reading the newspaper next to her. I guess it is karma for telling my grandma that the History Channel is the news channel.

An hour flew by and the airhostess arrived with the food kart. I did not know where to spit out my gum, so we decided to prank the people seated in front of us. I placed my gum on the corner of their armrest, while Yara kept pushing it closer to the woman’s elbow giggling loudly. Clearly, the concept of discretion is not familiar to her.  We chose our food, and it was so obvious that Abz was flirting with the airhostess. Fuzz and I decide to pull a prank by writing an inside joke on the piece of paper & slipping it to her. So when she gives it to Abz, he would think it is her phone number. Let us just say that the expression on his face, upon receiving and reading what was on that paper, was priceless.

We landed surprisingly fast, so I guessed the pilot must have been dying to go the rest rooms. As we got up from our seats, we notice Sarah passed out on the passenger next to her, with drool on his shoulder. She woke up so startled that she pretended to be going through her phone to avoid that awkward moment. Her thumb was moving so fast, that it must have developed abs!

As for my next flight I hope it is on a no gravity flight to float around on the plane. 

Job Interviews

Applying for a job interview at IKEA? Make a chair, and have a seat.
Whilst job-hunting, I stumbled upon many epic offers but sadly, none of them were local. For instance in the gaming industry, one actually gets paid to test out video games to submit feedback. How cool is that!? I can just imagine an announcement on an employee’s promotion go “Level up, achievement unlocked!” In Australia I found this amazing job, where you explore deserted islands for a year whilst giving inputs on your discoveries for tourism purposes.ß Tanning; the seal of quality.

Though out of all of the stunning offers I found, my friend Rashid had one of the most fun tasks as an engineer at Blackberry. He would test their phones’ durability by any means of destruction. Whether, it is running them over with his car, hitting them with a baseball bat, or throwing them from tremendous heights. So if a phone actually survives an impact, it is readjusted and transferred to sales.

Fun fact: if you find your phone lagging or experience any technical difficulties, just lift the lid up and notice the infamous signature “Thrown by Rashid, courtesy of RIM”.

I remember my first full time job, which was my internship at Microsoft. I was living the Indian dream, working at a tech giant. I remember how sympathetic management were by distributing stress balls to the staff. It is as if they were indirectly saying “We know you’ve only thought of quitting about 4 times today, so here you go.” Working there, I saw my boss more than I saw my mom.

The Call:

It’s Saturday, and it’s my second time seeing the sun this month. As a fresh graduate I have been vacationing for the past two months. I have spammed my CV out to selected companies for a career in either PR or Marketing.

The next day I wake up to find 3 missed calls from random numbers. I call back in excitement but my calls go unanswered. Moments later, I receive a call from that same number with a guy speaking to me in French 0.o Naturally, I thought it was a prank call, so I played along only to realize that it was an actual representative from a PR firm and to top it all off, he is the V.P. of the company. Dayum nukka dayum! I managed to pull it off but he wanted to interview me straight away that afternoon.

I do not have time to go back home and change, so I showered at my friend’s place and ran to Zara to buy a shirt. I go in, buy a shirt, and leave (confession: that was my fastest shopping spree without distractions). Changing in the car, I think to myself this must be how super heroes do it. Over taking people rudely on the road, I realize that I break into a song and hum to make it less awkward for myself. Two traffic lights away from my destination, I realize the shirt stinks! Who ever tried it on before me is a disgusting skunk! I stop by a perfume parlor and drench myself until my nose is numb. 2 minutes away from the building I promise myself to wash everything I buy fresh off the shelf before wearing them.

Suddenly it hits me. I realize that during the first five seconds of a first encounter, we make no less than four judgments about each other. We assess everything in an instant from appearance to educational level. As I mentally panic, I start thinking if I had made any mistakes on my CV. I once read a resume that stated “fluent in Spinach” instead of Spanish.  I even recalled this other one by a restaurant manager that stated that he cleaned & supervised employees.

I take a deep breath and walk in to the building hoping to bump into Walid Bin Talal, since Rotana is one of his sub companies. I can imagine each time someone would shake his hand, we would hear ka-ching. I take the elevator and walk in to the V.P.’s office. I notice his chair wasn’t authoritative enough, which got me thinking why don’t CEO’s have massage chairs as office chairs. I notice he was wearing a modern thobe with two green and white streaks across his sleeve. Spank God I held my tongue from blurting out my stupid comment “these must be the company’s colors”. It is enough I thought he was a prank caller.
I leave the office feeling good knowing that the interview went smoothly.

Lost in Translation:

The previous week, my friend decided to help me out by arranging an interview for me at Al-Faisal Foundation. It is the division of the Al-Faisal Group that is in charge of their educational and charitable projects. I thought to myself, I am either walking out of there as a free mason or a teacher, since the Late King Faisal and his sons are supposedly free masons.

I wake up the next morning and drive with confidence over there already having background information on the company. I park my car and call my friend up asking her which floor, so she responds “PWC on the 10th”.  I hit the roof thinking WTF! Her excuse was the infamous “I thought you knew”. When I entered the elevator, I noticed that all the buttons were pushed. So I thought to myself sarcastically, well I always wanted a tour of the building.

As I arrived at my destination, I reach out for the door. Little did I know, the door handle was like quick sand! The more I tugged at it the less responsive it became. So I pushed slowly until it clicked it with me. That moment felt like a lifetime. If it were a movie, it would have shown the hands of a clock spinning around, maybe a whole calendar flipping by.

I walk in with a poker face and a smile that says, “If you ever got hit by a bus, I’d be the one driving it”. As I am waiting in the meeting room, the coffee boy offers me some chef d’oeuvre called tamriah. Basically, it is some sort of finger food dessert made out of dates. It was my first time seeing and hearing of such a dessert. The instant I picked one up to smell it before tasting it, I hear another coffee boy behind me say in an Indian accent “don’t smell it, just gulp it… gulp… it” with the other coffee boy in front of me nodding his head.

I left the interview not pleased with their offer. They never called back (fakes fainting) but I am glad they did not because their workload was from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm oh ma gah! Haven’t they heard of a nine to fiver?

What I concluded from my interviews is that whenever you are asked whether or not you have any questions, it is to identify your area of interest. E.g., if you ask about the salary first then your primary interest is money and so forth. Also, whether you are switching careers or mid way through your current one, always remember this golden lazy boy rule. If you don’t want to do certain tasks asked from you, do them horribly so they will never ask from you to do them again.