What’s the difference between content marketing and native advertising?


Here’s the difference between content marketing and native advertising at a basic scientific level.

Native advertising makes customers look you up.

Content marketing can ‘convert’ the customers who look you up.

That’s as basic as it gets. First up, this article applies to you, if:

  1. You have product/service that can make a unique claim.
  2. You are a B2C company.

Your ad agency tells you that 30 crores/year is a good budget to get your brand noticed. They would be absolutely right. You have one crore in hand. Naturally, you are worried.

  1. What if my campaign gets missed?
  2. What if the consumer doesn’t see what I want to show?
  3. What if all the money gets spent and nothing happens?

Rule no. 1: Just because advertising is expensive, doesn’t mean that content marketing is going to come any cheap

Here are five great examples of content marketing that will tell you why it doesn’t come cheap.

  1. The Lego movie – obviously!
  2. Steve Jobs launching his products: biggest example of content marketing.
  3. Microsoft stories: have you visited the most persuasive story telling site in modern business history?
  4. Closer home – remember Kolaveri D? Catchy content that bulldozed language barriers.
  5. Visit Amul India’s Facebook page for a free MBA on content marketing. Yes, they do native advertising too, but Amul’s content gets shared willingly, at zero cost. Their books compiling decades of content are collector’s items.

Rule no. 2: In content marketing, you own the media. If you’re lucky, other established media will give your content free mileage

So you have one crore in funds and you have set up all your owned content pages; such as your Facebook page, YouTube channel, Blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, Slideshare channel and even an Instagram account. You also have a media relations team that constantly tells you what kind of content you need to create and where you need to pitch it.

Can you ‘put out’ content in the above mediums that will have ‘shock’, ‘interest’, ‘remark’ value? For content that is so remarkable will mediums with greater media outreach like television and print and online media write about your content free of charge? Will it be shared by people willingly?

You don’t buy any external media; but you spend on strengthening your proprietary pages and channels. Simply put, you may not have enough audience to drive your content program. Therefore, you advertise on social media platforms and work to drive traffic, engagement and conversion into your platform.

Key point – don’t fire on all platforms. Choose what works for you and then build that one.

Rule no. 3: Content marketing and native advertising, both are exact sciences.

There’s a cause–effect relationship between what you do and the outcome you generate. A good campaign takes this into account. Kim Kardashian knows this; and she’s is a great content marketer. If you shock people, they will talk about you.

Pope Francis blessed thousands of Harley riders and their bikes as part of a four-day Roman holiday celebrating the company’s 110th anniversary. Harley Davidson, which claims to spend only 15% on traditional media advertising, spends 85% on creating experiences for its customers. When you create ‘communities’ united by experiences, people will talk about you!

You focus on building relationships and appeal directly to the old brain. That’s plain science.

Rule no. 4: It’s always ‘us’ versus ‘them’

You may use technology to standardise a product/service but your customer communication has to be one on one. It has to focus on human beings connecting with other human beings.

Hence, while it is important to be very focused on what you are, it’s equally important to clarify ‘what you’re not’.

Hence, never put out puzzles and ‘low IQ’ contests (what is the colour of a tomato?) on your Facebook page just to have people respond to your post. The people who know what your brand represents, and are choosing to like your page, will disrespect the content you put out and go elsewhere.

Rule no. 5: Nobody is interested. You can keep shouting!

You can’t make people listen! No one’s life changes because you don’t put out your ad. People are really good at ignoring what does not apply to them.

You may be able to figure out who’s likely to listen. Whose life is likely to change because you put out your ad. Your aim is not to entertain people, but to market your product to them in an ‘eyeball-grabbing’ and memorable way.

Content will make its way to an interested audience, provided it has ‘glue-power’.

Shock, connect (hummable tunes), innovation, community value are forms of ‘glue-power.’

In native advertising, which is extremely powerful, provided you have the budget to do it effectively, you are paying someone else to distribute your content. It works just fine, and is extremely valuable, provided it also sticks to the principles of ‘glue-power.’

Both content marketing and native advertising have their own place in the life cycle of a customer-centric organisation. Content marketing also brings in the ‘early adopters,’ who are targeted initially by companies before they launch their native advertising. They subsequently become influencers.


originally published on yourstory.com

What’s the difference between content marketing and native advertising?




Can we bring the study of evolution to schools? Can children be taught that we are one big evolutionary entity? Can we instill the spirit of enquiry and keep young minds away from mischief?

A meeting in the midst of books was in order as I had the privilege to get some of Dr.David Christians’ time and views.

In this blog, I’ve been on ajourney, exploring how human beings got the gift of language. Consciousness has played a major role in human beings acquiring the gift of language. But by and large, we do not understand consciousness, yet.

Somewhere, since the beginning of time, 13.7 billion years ago, to the cognitive revolution roughly 70000 years ago, we got both consciousness and language- we don’t know the order.This is nothing short of a miracle- and our ability to communicate with each other has saved our species- and may save humanity itself in future.

The clue to ending the violence and unrest in the world, may just lie in a greater appreciation of where we have come from. Young minds in schools all over the world, can be instilled with the spirit of enquiry. A mind once opened by possibilities, is more likely to see all of humanity as one great evolutionary entity. There is nothing so dangerous as uninspired young minds- they set out to mischief & violence.

Dr. David Christian shared that most of our understanding of the world today is owed to scientific modesty- our scientists admit what they do not know- and keep looking for answers. Reproducing here a part of our discussions.

Would there be big history if there was no consciousness?

Neuroscientists around the world have been looking at consciousness, and have been advancing evidence-based theories about it- there’s a lot of good work being done. Consciousness is one of the three big questions we are grappling with today.

Consciousness is a complex arrangement within the brain- and it’s only fair that from time to time, we talk about collective consciousness, as opposed to individual consciousness.

Is consciousness fundamental?

Referencing the now famous discussion between Nagasena and Milinda, a lot of our answers may lie in the theory of emergence. The property of a system is said to be emergent if it is in some sense more than the “sum” of the properties of the systems’ parts. An emergent property is said to be dependent on some more basic properties (and their relationships and configuration), so that it can have no separate existence.

The Homo sapiens drove the most resilient species to extinction, the Homo erectus. What role did our consciousness play in that?

We certainly know that language played a role. But unless we have hardcore scientific evidence, any discussion on consciousness would only make for interesting theory. What science needs is evidence- not theory. For eg; there is scientific evidence that energy congeals to form matter- the very basis of big history; but none yet to show that energy could congeal to form consciousness.

Would you rather the earth was hit by another asteroid and wiped out Homo sapiens? Or will it be violence?

65 mn years ago, that’s how the dinosaurs bid adieu; thanks to an asteroid. Our history, at least over the last 200 years has seen a lot of violence. It is encouraging that; there is evidence that violence is declining around the world. However, to keep violence at bay, we need to inspire our young minds with the spirit of inquiry- there is nothing so dangerous as unemployed youth.

Finally, Dr Christian had a question for me-  if you never talked to one other human being in your whole life, would you be the same person?

No. Even though our experience of the world is uniquely ours, it is influenced by the collective; because consciousness is a social phenomenon and there is such a thing as a shared experiences and collective consciousness. In any group situation, revolutions around the world and

Two recent interviews of Dr. David Christian attached.

May 22, The Edge.org: “We Need a Modern Origin Story: A Big History”, electronic publication & video interview, The Edge.Org, http://edge.org/conversation/david_christian-we-need-a-modern-origin-story-a-big-history

May 23, the Australian Financial Review: “Lunch with the AFR: David Christian, Bill Gates and their Big Adventure”, http://www.afr.com/lifestyle/food-and-wine/lunch-with-the-afr-david-christian-bill-gates-and-their-big-history-adventure-20150522-13c9da.

About Dr.David Christian.

Dr. Christian is credited with coining the term Big History and he serves as president of the International Big History Association. His course entitled Big History caught the attention of philanthropist Bill Gates who is personally funding Christian’s efforts to develop a program to bring the course to high school students worldwide.

5 arguments: The X factor in entrepreneurship is courage

Reproducing here my column from your story.com


Entrepreneurs rarely bear grudges. Not for them, the expensive pursuits of the ego. Often, investors are dismissive of very raw ideas, and they don’t mince words. Entrepreneurs’ ideas get rejected  all the time — but it goes down only so far. The same investor is more than welcome to see logic in the business in 12 months’ time, and offer series A funding. The entrepreneur is only too happy to let bygones be bygones, forgive wholeheartedly and absorb the funding.

The ability to forgive anyone and everyone is the first argument that the X-factor in entrepreneurship is courage. Only the truly courageous can forgive and move on!

We all know we make our world more significant by the courage of our questions. Courage is the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty.

Let’s look at four more arguments.  (Please note that some of it is deliberately exaggerated for a hearty laugh.)

Argument 2: Perseverance

Entrepreneurs often forget which pocket they placed their visiting card in! (There are normally two suits, the college convocation suit and the wedding suit). Rummaging and fumbling, they mutter breathlessly about a project that has currently immersed them in its vice-like grip. It is a moment’s work for them to have rattled off 100 words in 30 seconds that make sense to them and them alone. Scan a networking dinner, and you will spot startups a mile away — because they don’t care how much food they spill, on themselves, or on the floor, as long as they get to meet ‘that VC guy’ whose wallet shines with possibility. And this goes on, dinner after dinner, rejection after rejection. There is no diminishing the enthusiasm of the startup that has a business idea to sell!  From an unrefined amoeba of an idea, to a full-blown revenue model, the startup stumbles in and out of half-meetings and networking dinners till he secures his first angel investment.

Argument 3: Danger is real, but fear is a choice.

The home rent is not paid. The better half is hopping mad and does not understand your passion. You have no idea where you will be in three months’ time. Better still, unless asked, these questions don’t even arise in your mind.

Somewhere inside, you know that, sooner or later, your work will do the talking. This belief is all-consuming and everything else can wait. The degree of self-belief, by itself, is often the defining factor in the varying levels of success between any two entrepreneurs.

Argument 4: Adaptability

Customer interfaces bring out the best in entrepreneurs. If a situation calls for it, they can instantly profess to have an interest in classical music – give them 24 hours, and before the next meeting, they have read up about Pdt. Bhimsen Joshi and Lalgudi Jayaraman, both! Interest areas can be newts, astrophilia or even Karl Marx! So long as the discussion can be put off till the next Google search (answer nature’s call if need be), love for unknown things can be professed to advance a conversation.

Argument 5: Venturing

All an entrepreneur needs to be told is: “Why don’t you go and meet this guy? He can really help you.” The dinner plate is down, and quicker than Edward Cullen in ‘Twilight’ saga, the entrepreneur will be out of the room,  looking up the  six degrees of separation between him and “the man who can help” on LinkedIn.

The best part is the awkwardness of wanting people’s time and attention without really knowing them or needing an introduction, does not cross the mind at all. Venturing wherever needed, taking charge and not worrying about upsetting people comes with the startup welcome kit. All in a day’s work.

Summing up

On a serious note, courage evolved through time when our ancestors wanted to overcome the climatic challenges to live. Courage evolved when there was something they wanted to call their own, and had the gumption to fight to claim it and preserve it. Courage evolved when human consciousness allowed for slightly more complex thought.

Forgiveness, perseverance, belief, adaptability and venturing are five manifestations of courage itself. Interestingly, courage is what we look for, even in leaders, in our spouses, our partners and our friends. Courage, by virtue of what it means, is closely related to “massive determined action.” This is the X-factor of all entrepreneurship.

Heres the link.

Develop a Google clone: That’s what our consciousness should do.


Most of us know that there is a lot of hoax on the internet – for instance Margaret Hello is Graham Bell’s girlfriend, and that’s why we say ‘hello’ when we pick up the phone.

Hypothetically, if we were to slowly re-write history, then in another 500 years, Google could potentially be representing new truths, which the next generation will not know better but to believe.

So, if I were to claim that it was not Alexander Graham Bell, but John Telephone who invented the said machine, and fed enough of it into Google, as arguments, in 500 years, there would be enough evidence that someone named John Telephone contested the invention.

Imagine the magnitude of hoaxes that vested interests could perpetrate! In 500 years, we can safely assume that library reading will at best be an esoteric, rare pursuit. So, our consciousness will be influenced, by what the internet says and that’s pretty much what Google throws up!

Google seems to have an incredible consciousness. It is predictive, intuitive and it knows a lot. It is incredibly useful. Yes, it can’t move physically, but it can track our movements- what is google maps all about?

So human beings have created another consciousness outside of ourselves, called Google, which will not be able to control, the expediency of vested interests that may rewrite history itself- and the impact of which cannot be fully grasped by one human generation.

We will need an Google clone to document things-just to keep things sacrosanct. Let’s try and create consciousness again and call this clone AlterEgo-Google. Lets start with a chemistry laboratory.

For the sake of argument, let us say that the chemical formula of consciousness is Tri-oxyTetra-carboTrihydoDiNitroPorphyrin evolutionase (crazy enough?)

This compound developed about 800 million years ago, when the first trace of multi cellular organisms appeared- at the hypothetical beginning of consciousness. So if it’s a compound, I should be able to see it. Makes sense! I distinctly remember reading that a quantum microscope had been able to see an “excited hydrogen atom.” (on google)

So lets mass produce consciousness. I’m told we cannot, because consciousness is a form of energy and permeates all living beings- it can neither be  created or destroyed. So chemistry lab needs to be revisited later.

Human consciousness is more complex than the world wide web, and is the only thing that probably knows more than Google itself. Tempered by morality, societal expectations and ethical considerations, humans have not killed each other, but have rather been vested in each other’s progress.

So the AlterEgo-Google will surely be created, but not by scientists and researchers. But by brilliant programmers and then run by equally brilliant businessmen; it will present a search alternative to Google.

Alternatives have always been important, even from an evolutionary perspective. The theory of natural selection its billion-year old infinite wisdom, has made several adjustments with our species, the brains and the bodies, primarily making us clued into surviving. Anarchy works only in favour of the anarchist- so we need to create some more consciousness outside of us. Isnt our consciousness telling us that we must allow Google and Alter-Ego Google to battle it out, hopefully on the battleground of facts, and may the best man win!

Google lovers, all of us, definitely need an Alter-Ego Google, just to keep facts under check, if not for anything else. The starting point for this could be questions such as was there another universe before ours? If the universe began 13.7 billion years ago, when there was no time and space, can we say conclusively, that this is the first cycle? Were there cycles before ours?

Let human consciousness first answer these questions. And then put it up on Alter-Ego Google.

Are we using 13.7 billion ears of evolution to make our lives easier or more expendable than ever before? Let the collective consciousness decide.



I’m writing this article- you’re reading it. Thanks to something called consciousness.

Some postulate that consciousness is fundamental, like gravity. (credit: David Chalmers)

In that case, is consciousness older than language? Lets examine what experts have said.

No discussion on consciousness, can be complete without a mention of Julian Jaynes, who said that that the human brain, until very recently (~3000 years ago) was truly split into very distinct hemispheres: the left half allowed a person to function in day-to-day routine matters; the right side came into play under stress, providing guidance through hallucinated voices, usually those of authority figures, alive or dead leaders, or gods.

People were not self-conscious, and operated almost as automatons in responding to the hallucinated voices. This phenomenon provided social stability, order, and safety in ancient societies.

Many experts argue against this today.

For instance, did homo habilis, who created tools, gesture to a fellow homo habilis to pass it to him?

And if yes, did that act demand consciousness? Possibly.

Considering that consciousness goes to sleep when we go to sleep, and awakens when we get up, isn’t consciousness much older than 3000 years? Walker and Stickold (2004) postulated that there is strong evidence that that sleep enhances or assists learning. Hence, sleep was an important part of evolution itself.

In that case, what went to sleep, when early homo went to sleep? Surely, it was their consciousness that went to sleep (even if it was not as evolved as we understand it today)

Earlier in this blog, we have surmised that somewhere between 90000 years ago and 40000 years ago, speech made its first appearance. Modern language is a much more evolved phenomenon, while sound and sign language could date 4mn years ago.

We needed consciousness to speak and gesture coherently.

Much of archaeological evidence has emerged after Jaynes published his theory. Hence, probably in relative terms, we can describe consciousness more accurately today. Chances are, logically, that more evidence will create better understanding in the future.

Our brains have a lot of similarities with those of our ancestors going back 40,000 years. It seems highly probable that consciousness co-evolved with brains as a successful survival strategy.

For instance, consciousness and communication would’ve been be critical to helping groups of homo sapiens to coordinate and survive great climactic changes.

My theory of consciousness is, that as each sense evolved, sight, touch, smell, hearing and speech, consciousness evolved in tandem with it, gradually, as a combination of all of the above. Consciousness is the glue that connects the meaning of all the other senses.

I also believe that consciousness evolves at a faster pace than the other senses. Ironically, it’s the other senses, that are helping consciousness evolve faster.

We adapt, accept and conceive things that do not exist, not because of sight, smell, taste, touch or speech alone, but thanks to our imagination.

I am sure everyone would agree that imagination definitely falls into the realm of what we call “conscious understanding of current surroundings and future possibilities.”

So I argue, further that consciousness, like energy, cannot be seen. This is logical. Borrowing some lines from David Christians brilliant Ted talk, “history of the world in 18 minutes”, we know that

  1. The universe began 13.7 billions ago. There was no time and no space.
  2. First energy congealed to form matter.
  3. Floating hydrogen and helium atoms, compacted by gravity, gave us stars.
  4. The solar system was formed 4.5 billion years ago. The universe gained chemical complexity. Then there were planets, with water in it.
  5. We definitely have carbon, and other exotic combinations between elements, to thank for all the living beings we have today.

So far, so good. Energy was the starting point. So is consciousness, like energy, also 13.7 billion years old?

Unlikely. Consciousness has been described as the state of being awake and aware of what is happening around you, and of having a sense of self.

This could be more easily applied to living beings- and perhaps modern day machines too?

So perhaps, we need to put a date to the first “conscious” act. Is “motion” the first conscious act? Moving towards something- food for instance?

If yes, then consciousness is definitely much older than we think it is today.

More thoughts soon!

Singlegrain.com : 60% visitors will watch video over reading text


Reproducing a post. Original here. http://singlegrain.com/just-stats-science-video-engagement/

In 2013, ReelSEO released their Video Marketing Survey and Business Trends Report, which incorporated feedback from over 600 marketing respondents. They discovered the following:

  • 93% of marketers are using video in their campaigns

  • 84% are using video for website marketing

  • 60% are using video for email marketing

  • 70% are optimizing video for search engines

  • 70% will increase spend on video

  • 82% confirmed that video had a positive impact on their business

Clearly, video marketing works. Or at least marketers think it works. But where are they getting their numbers from, and what makes them feel so confident?

As it turns out, there is a whole lot of data that explains the year-over-year increase in video marketing. Video engagement is analyzed religiously by industry sites like ReelSEO and Wistia, and big players like YouTube aren’t exactly shy about sharing. Visible Measures produced an excellent overview video on the state of online video that takes some of the more salient data points and throws them together, but we really should be paying more attention to the details.

What Does Video Engagement Look Like?

Before we talk about video marketing, though, we need to talk about video engagement.

One oft-quoted statistic is that viewer engagement has to happen within the first 10 seconds of watching a video. This little nugget of wisdom has been corroborated by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, which reports that the average attention span in 2013 was 9 seconds, one second less than the attention span of a goldfish.

Quite frankly, this factoid isn’t helpful. Videos run the gamut from 6-second Vines to 10-minute vlogs. This is what we really want to know: where does engagement begin and where does it end?

Fortunately, Wistia weighed in back in 2012 with this helpful video analytics chart, which was synthesized from years of video analytics:

As you can see, the longer a video drags on, the lower its retention, which is expected. Yet videos under 1 minute enjoy 80% viewer retention up to the 30-second mark, while videos 2-3 minutes in length still enjoy 60% retention. 5-10 minute videos (which is just about the cutoff for video marketing purposes) still see over 50% viewer retention halfway through.

In other words, humans are still smarter than goldfish, and your viewers base how much of your video they watch on how long they think it will take them to get the gist of it. This means that you don’t have to overload your production queue with Vines, Instagram videos, and 30-second shorts.

In other words, 100% viewer retention is not the goal. Neither is virality. The goal is engagement from your target viewer.

Except this still doesn’t really answer one important question: How effective is video marketing?

The Who and What of Video Marketing

Diode Digital found that video promotion is 600% more effective than print and direct mail combined. They also found that, before reading any text, 60% of site visitors will watch a video if available.

Viewers remember videos better, too. Online Publishers Association observed way back in 2007 that 80% of viewers recall a video ad they have seen in the past 30 days. 26% of viewers then look for more info about the product, 22% visit the product site, 15% visit the brand site, and 12% make the purchase.

Business execs prefer watching video, too. Specifically, 59% of senior executives prefer video over text (WeCapture), 75% of executives watch videos while working (Forbes), and 65% navigate over to a site after viewing a related YouTube video.

None of this is really surprising when you take into account that one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words (Forrester Research). Content marketing is the art of doing more with less, and there’s no question that video does this superbly.

But where, exactly, do we market videos to get our target viewers engaged?

Video can be used in lots of places, and proficient video marketing comes from an understanding of which channels work for your brand and target audience. Much of the supporting data has focused on video on websites, social media/YouTube, mobile, and in emails.

Branded Website

The first and most obvious place to incorporate video is your website. The home page, landing pages, blog posts, etc., any page is fair game for video enhancement, and the data proves it.

Landing pages with video lead to 800% more conversion (FunnelScience). In fact, 88% of visitors stay longer on a site with prominent video displayed (MistMedia). Those that stay longer spend an average of 120 seconds more on a retail site and are 64% more likely to purchase after viewing a single product video (comScore).

52% of shoppers confess that watching product videos makes them more confident in making a purchase (Invodo). 40% of shoppers will even visit a store online or in-person after watching a video (Google). Online Publishers Association backs this up with a similar finding that 46% of surveyed shoppers would be more likely to seek out additional information about a product after seeing an online video.

The bottom line? Retail sites with video increase conversion by 30% (L2 Specialty Retail Report), and that was back in 2010.

But the love doesn’t just stay at the top of the sales funnel. Even blog posts, traditionally used for bottom-of-the-funnel content marketing and loyalty, enjoy increased viewership with a simple spritzing of video. Moz found that incorporating video into a blog post attracts three times as many inbound links compared to blog posts without video.

According to Simply Measured, video is shared 1200% more times than links and text combined. Diode Digital also discovered that 60% of viewers will watch video before reading any site text, and will share their experience when presented with a “share this video” button. Even more encouraging, Invodoreports that 92% of mobile video viewers share video.

These stats should be enough for most brands to start including videos in their social media updates, but many have been slow on the uptake. In fact, only 700 tweets a minute include YouTube video and only 120 tweets a minute include Vines, but over 9,100 tweets are sent every second (Twitter)!

Obviously, video is useful for social media engagement, yet the number of videos being shared on social media is significantly lower than you’d expect. Back in 2011, while 71% of companies were on Facebook and 59% were on Twitter, only 33% were on YouTube (UMass Dartmouth). The numbers tell the story: video marketing still hasn’t been as readily adopted as other forms of content marketing.

In order to really get an idea of how video could be leveraged to increase a brand’s social media presence, YouTube statistics are in order. ReelSEO’s YouTube Statistics 2012 shed’s light on the massive video search engine’s reach by pointing out that 500 years’ worth of YouTube video are watched on Facebook every day. It’s no surprise that YouTube is the world’s second biggest search engine after Google, or that YouTube accounts for 28% of all Google searches.

500 years’ worth of video a day translates into 3042 hours worth of video watched simultaneously across the world each second. According to YouTube, more than 1 billion viewers watch its videos each month, clocking over 6 billion hours. One hour of video is uploaded to YouTube each second, 100 hours are uploaded each minute, and get this: more video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the 3 major US networks have created in the past 60 years.

YouTube’s Vice President of Global Content, Robert Kyncl, famously claimed that video will soon be 90% of all Internet traffic. No one’s going to argue with him on that one.

Surprisingly, over 80% of YouTube traffic actually comes from outside the US, pointing to a huge global viewership many businesses haven’t even begun to tap. Also surprising is the fact that mobile views make up more than 25 percent of YouTube’s global watch time, which turns our attention to yet another video marketing channel.

Many laptop and desktop viewers only stick with video for 2 minutes or less, while mobile users are more patient. iPhone users watch 2.4 minutes on average, Androids users give 3 minutes of their time, Symbian users 4 minutes, and iPad users 5 minutes (Visible Measures). Translated into percentages, mobile and tablet shoppers are 300% as likely to view a video as laptop/desktop users (Invodo).

This could just be because of the difference in venues: online video is about 50% of all mobile traffic (Bytemobile Mobile Analytics Report), and is predicted to become 75% of all mobile data traffic by 2016 (Cisco). So, it makes sense that mobile viewers would be more accustomed to using their mobile devices to watch video. It would certainly explain why, as mentioned earlier, 92% of mobile viewers share videos.

The reign of mobile video doesn’t look like it’s going to end anytime soon, either. This makes mobile-ready websites and landing pages an absolute must. And you know what else mobile devices are good for? Checking emails.

A great case study in product positioning and branding (reproduced from Ben M Bartlett’s blog)


Reproducing a very engaging post here. Ben M. Bartlett is an analyst, strategic planner and coach who specializes in business, marketing and high performance strategy

For the original post, please visit http://benmbartlett.com/a-great-case-study-in-product-positioning-and-branding/

I want to share with you a case study concerning one of the best product positioning and branding strategies you’ll ever come across.

It helped a Canadian company enjoy rapid growth, made its President a famous celebrity, and turned a serious product “flaw” into a huge selling point.

I’m a passionate user of the “flawed” product, even though I have an annoying love/hate relationship with it.  Why?  Let me explain.

Down here in New Zealand we’re just getting into winter and as is customary at this time of the year, we’ve armed ourselves to fight off the nasty coughs and colds.

When it comes to the sale of cough and cold remedies, supermarkets and pharmacies do a roaring trade during winter. And we’re spoilt for choice too.

You got night-time remedies, day-time remedies, cough mixtures for kids, cough mixtures for adults…you got pills, lotions, rubs…with pretty much all these products backed by the latest and greatest in medical science and supplied to us by multi-national pharmaceutical companies.

As for me, I prefer to use a 90 year old natural cough remedy made by Buckley’s.

Buckley’s? In case you’ve never heard of it, Buckley’s is a Canadian company that manufactures cough and cold remedies. Its flagship product is its natural cough remedy, which was developed by the company’s founder, W.K Buckley, way back in 1919.

Let me tell you.  This product works wonders and I have been faithfully using it for over six years.

Now even though the product is fantastic, you actually have to summon some serious courage just to shove it down your throat. The reason?  To put it bluntly, Buckley’s looks like semen, smells like gasoline and tastes like burnt oil.

Yes, the Buckley’s taste is horrendously bad.  But it works. And it’s this combination of bad taste with powerful product efficacy that led to the development of one of the best product positioning strategies you’ll ever come across.

In the mid 80s the people at Buckley’s took what is considered one of the products worst attributes – its taste – and combined it with the fact that the product does a great job.

That lead to the creation of the now famous Buckley’s tagline which is, “Buckley’s. It tastes awful.  And it works.”

Buckley’s then took this tagline and combined with a series of marketing campaigns built around its product’s best and worst attributes.

Here are some examples of ad headlines built around the “tastes bad” theme.

People swear by it.  And at it.

Our largest bottle is 200 ml.  Anything more would be cruel.

Feared by more people than ever before.

I’m dedicated to ensuring every new batch of Buckley’s tastes as bad as the last.

How bad does it taste?  That depends.  How bad is your cough?

Your cough won’t know what hit it.  Neither will you.

Four of the most dreaded words in the English language: “Get out the Buckley’s!”

I still remember the day when I first heard, “Buckleys. It tastes awful.  And it works” on the radio. Actually, it was this tagline that made me drive down to the supermarket to try the product out.

And after trying the product for the first time, I knew the marketing wasn’t a lie.  The product tasted awful…and it worked.

Some key points.

1.  Your business and brand strategy must be based around a strong competitive position.  In the case of Buckley’s, their position is that the products work, but they do taste awful.  What Buckley’s owners did was take a perceived negative and turn it into a positive.

2. A great tagline can do wonders for a business.  You can even build, like Buckley’s have done, an entire branding theme around a great tagline.


case study 1-pic

Reproducing here, my column for yourstory.com


Last month, we talked about the various kinds of startup entrepreneurs and their approach to business. We will now examine, via case studies, the most common mistakes that start-up entrepreneurs make. Here’s the first one:

Problem:  Selling to the wrong customer

This client, hereafter referred to as Plasma had an offering in the healthcare space.

As a part of his extensive, hungry travels, Plasma’s founder, Raj, had chanced upon a technology in Scandinavia that offered a full body scan. This was commonly used as a predictive tool- information about the patient on certain conditions that may cause future problems.

Raj was aware, that a full body scan cannot be used as a substitute for standard medical checkups. It was at best a complement to a regular ‘health check-up’, to provide the doctor with a better, more complete picture of your overall health.

1. Plasma approached radiology clinics with a view to sell these machines. Most radiology clinics, are themselves run by aggressive entrepreneurs. They were clear that if a machine was available, they could buy it too.

2. Plasma then proposed to develop a protocol around the scan machines, with the help of experienced doctors and provide the machine and the protocol to hospitals as an additional service. Hospitals refused on the grounds that patients would not opt for it.

3. Raj then opened its own clinics, called “Plasma” with specialized protocols around the machine. Raj felt that his “cardiac scoring” product was a winner- he could be able to tell someone that they had a cardiac risk 10 years down the line. They advertised, called themselves “your personal health predictor” targeted the HNI, ands spoke about predicting predisposition for cardiac scoring (presence of calcium in the artery) and lung screening for cancer. There were takers. But they needed more to be able to break even on the 10 machines installed in 10 different locations.

Raj realized that unless he hit the hammer on numbers, there would only be a trickle of elite interested patients, who would be interested. A validation of this was that clinics located in upmarket residential localities had more patients. Yet, for his 10 clinics to break even, he needed better footfalls, tie-ups etc.

“There is no product that does what mine can do, said Raj, Other imaging techniques in the market cannot do what my machine can do, and are not as safe as my machine is”- pitch after pitch, healthcare professionals heard Raj out and politely told him “we will get back to you”


Raj had a good product. He was trying hard to figure out which customer really needed his product.

While there were “communities” of people engaged in active self-monitoring, and these were the first adopters of the product, the word-of mouth proliferation of the idea was taking time.  He needed a way to find more such communities.

Raj’s machines had cutting edge technology. Their radiation levels were much lower than other machines in the market. His accurate cardiac scoring had started making waves. He was prescribing healthier lifestyles.

He needed to find a hook for someone who gave him 10000 patients at one shot. Or so he thought.

Raj explored the full range of services that the scan machines offered. He had suppressed some functionalities of the machine, in order to find a focused way to market it. That way, he had to train fewer people to operate the machine.

His low dose x-ray scanning could detect musculoskeletal, endocrine, and prostate and ovarian disease as well as tumors, aneurysms, osteoporosis, hernias, and kidney and gall stones. Was he underselling his product?


What was the one category of business who would benefit most from knowing how pre-disposed an individual was to cardiac and cancer, and other very expensive treatments? Will this category demand a steady stream of scans, as opposed to sporadic needs?


Plasma needed repositioning.

Plasma’s tagline was “your personal health predictor”

Three years into existence, and with negative responses from a 63 hospitals and doctors and radiology clinics, Plasma branded itself anew as a tool for “health risk assessment”.

Plasma was able to approach insurance companies. Insurance company managers had targets of their own, “we are bleeding. We have been told to bring down claim ratio to 30% of present levels in the next two years. The problem is, we don’t have the tools to calculate risk accurately.”

While the rest of the world was looking as “plasma” as a cost, here was a sector that was looking at Plasma as a “benefit”. In all businesses, this is almost always the tipping point.

The insurance company gave Raj a list of the top 10 expenses they incur in claims. Plasma realized that its scan could add value on predicting all of them. This, in conjunction with a basic test like the blood test, could change the way insurance companies calculated the premium they would charge.

Plasma had finally found a “market need” that it could solve. With three big insurance companies under its belt, Plasma was able to bring clients into its clinics.  This further spread the word on its safe technology and protocols, and gave rise to fresh communities who were interested in self-monitoring.

Summation: A state called the “thinking trap” can be our most basic flaw

Raj was basing his assumptions on various thinking traps, the most basic one being “all or nothing”. If it’s a healthcare product, then obviously hospitals and clinics would have the need for it. Better still, patients directly. The interdependence of various industries today is well-known. The solution may lie in an ancillary or affiliate industry, that we have not given thought to at all.