All posts by BoringBrands

Learnings from PRAXIS 2017

Twitter- the boon and the bane of our generation. It belongs to all- the armchair activists, the revolutionaries and the doers. However, what it has done for the PR Industry in India is unparalleled. We got #PRAXIS, the brainchild of Amith Prabhu, out of a solitary tweet that he did in 2011. The event, today, is the largest gathering of PR professionals in the world.

Last month, I was cruising down the highway to reach the sixth edition of PRAXIS, at Jaipur.  My second year at this magnanimous conference, which stumped me with its enormity last year! Just like last time, I was prepped up to meet the fellow PR pros and take home some learnings and discoveries.

Mingling among a set of 600+ eclectic professionals from India and overseas, known for immaculate dressing, with a worldview on practically everything, and passion for brands that sometimes outlives the brand itself, this year I had lots of learning. Here, I’m sharing my three takeaways from the event that not only changed me professionally but also personally.

(Team BoringBrands at Praxis6)
(Team BoringBrands at Praxis6)

PR is not marketing’s stepchild

As PR pros we tend to believe that nobody could ever doubt the power of what we’re doing. The fact is, though, public relations is still seen as the red-headed stepchild of marketing. For every great PR campaign, you have a marketing campaign that everyone’s talking about. You can work 1,000 hours on a PR campaign, gain enormous talkability, and then see your work overlooked because a commercial did well. But at PRAXIS, I got an opportunity to restore my faith in what we do (It’s not that I had forgotten, but it’s always good to get the reassurance, right?). How many of you remember the Reese’s (the Hershey company) product launch fiasco?

A photo on Facebook of Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cups – Reese’s cup filled with crunchy mini Reese’s Pieces – was leaked in April 2016, three months before the product was set to launch. As per reports, the image picked up 40,000 shares and led to a social media frenzy and widespread speculation online about the possible new product. The company’s social channels were also inundated with questions from consumers. That’s when the brand’s internal communications team and external PR partners, including Ketchum (who were present at PRAXIS), Havas, and UM, stepped in and turned the incident into a timely and fruitful campaign.

The company took ownership of the product conversation and drove traffic to branded channels by purposefully confusing consumers. With an implementation of a successful PR marketing strategy, Reese’s was able to make their product launch go viral. Proving that this industry will never be marketing’s stepchild. Rather, it has a vast pool of smart and driven people who have contributed in large part to make this thriving industry what it is today.  

The relevance of popularity

When we think of a new campaign, one of the first thoughts to follow should be ‘what would make it a popular campaign?’ It should be something so interesting that it impacts your audience in a way that they can’t help but share. Which brings us to the question, what social media should be relevant to achieve this scale of popularity? With obvious answers pointing towards Facebook, Whatsapp emerged as a winner.

During their talks at PRAXIS, at least three of the global CEO’s pointed out that it’s (Whatsapp) the only medium where a brand can’t pay to become famous. While one must not confuse it as a sure-shot measure, it can be considered as an indicator that the audience is listening to what the brand is trying to say. Relevance here is subjected to how popular your brand is with your audience and how relevant the brand is to them.

Go beyond a vanilla research

Of course, we all know and have implemented that. But I realised at PRAXIS that in a quest to build an amazing, well-researched and thorough PR pitch, we sometimes miss tightening the loose ends. While we make efforts to know the brand, what it does and what should/could be their goals, we at times forget to go beyond the obvious.

Go beyond a vanilla research
(In conversation with Fred Cook, Global CEO-Golin)

When Fred Cook, Global CEO, Golin shared findings of Golin’s extensive survey on the ‘trust deficit’, I was stunned. Not only with the findings, but with the enormity of the task undertaken by Golin and the entire team. With a sample size of 13 countries and over 13 thousand people, the research was an exhaustive one. Investing in proper research brings out the science into their work. The idea behind this research was to help find the relevance of brands and what makes a particular brand work. The survey made me realise that as an effective communicator our job goes beyond just understanding the problem statement. We must understand the business goals and find ways to bridge the gap between the client and customers thoroughly. While research is important, it’s essential to walk a mile extra and come up with solutions that address the pain point.

(Team BoringBrands with the legendary Fred Cook)
(Team BoringBrands with the legendary Fred Cook)

Golin ended his conversation with five questions (Which I’m going to talk about in my next blog) that left everyone in the room thinking and uncovered some essential PR behaviours, which we, even after working with clients day in and out fail to notice.

On that note, I’m going to leave you with some of the amazing tweets (READ Takeaways) I shared from and during the PRAXIS. After all, we got a chance to witness the event because of one tweet.  

We won the Foxglove Awards!

That’s right! We bagged an award for ‘The Journey’ at the third edition of Foxglove Awards 2017 in Mumbai’s Four Seasons Hotel, Worli. BoringBrands won in the Brand Integration Category for the short ad film we launched last Diwali with OnePlus.

It was an honour for us to have competed with some of the best, young and emerging creative agencies in the country. The fact that it comes from one of the oldest institution on the block, afaqs!, makes this even more rewarding.

The award is a testimony to the creative bunch at BoringBrands who pride themselves on turning briefs into powerful digital campaigns that don’t just work, but also make people smile. Here is to more such milestones and countless award-winning stories. Heartfelt thanks to everyone who believed in us.

From ‘Ambitious Couple’ to ‘Super Couple’: The Unconventional Story of BoringBrands’ Founders

Anshul_Aakriti_pic_to be used for bookBeing an inspirational couple is not just about staying together, it’s about changing and impacting many lives together. That’s how Anshul Sushil and Aakriti Bhargava (our founders), armed with their love for technology and communication respectively, decided to build BoringBrands with sheer determination and zest. And today, their remarkable journey from being just life partners to company partners has been featured in Prachi Garg’s latest book – ‘SuperCouples’.

bbThis book celebrates journey of couples who went a step ahead to become business partners! In the times of evolving startup ecosystem, finding the right partner is not an easy task. In lieu of finding honest partners, real life couples have started breaking boundaries, and exploring the idea of partnering up in businesses too. ‘SuperCouples’ documents real-life stories. Reading about couple-preneurs in this book, brings forth a crucial fact – it’s only a myth that husband-wife should not work together! This book talks to 19 couple-preneurs from the startup ecosystem and culls out lovely stories of their ‘enterprising’ lives.

 

Anshul and Aakriti’s partnership started in college (MICA) as lovers, which eventually led to their simple forever. Harnessing each other’s strengths and weaknesses to address the inherent need and a desire to work with startups – has today, turned into the most sought-after company, extending marketing and brand communication services to wide-ranging brands across geographies. In this whole journey, getting featured for who our Founders are and what went into making of their empire seems like a shining milestone!

If you are a couple, on your journey to build your passion into something meaningful and noteworthy, and are looking for inspiration, reach out to us today on founders@boringbrands.com.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to grab a copy of ‘SuperCouples’ here: http://amzn.to/2lARVRi

A blueprint for effective crisis communication

Crisis

Continuing our efforts to create an interactive and learning working milieu, where we believe in the philosophy of ‘sharing is caring’, team BoringBrands kick-started its Tuesday morning with a discussion on the ‘how and why of crisis communication’ and what are the basic commandments for brands to approach it in order to bounce back successfully in the game.

The discussion started by acknowledging the elephant in the room – a crisis can happen to any and every company/brand, and it is important to be prepared, rather than wait for it to die out eventually. The team discussed various infamous incidents- from Nestle’s Maggie fiasco to the recent Tata management scuffle and LeEco’s social-media-dominated screen defect sneer.

While all brands and organizations have faced quite different situations and have implemented their own individual best way to turn these around, here are the basic steps of crisis communication, as per team BoringBrands, that can help organizations be better prepared for any crisis:

Foresee a crisis

Somebody rightly said, ‘Bad news travels at the speed of light; good news travels like molasses.’ This has become particularly true in today’s time where social media and internet dominates our life. Therefore, for a brand, there’s nothing like being proactive and get ready for what can come your way.

Discover your Crisis Communication team 

If you think that having a corporate and a PR team at place can suffice a need during the crisis, you might need to think again. It is imperative for an organization to identify a small team of senior executives who could serve as the organization’s crisis communications team. The team should ensure that all the other important teams- advertising, sales, marketing, et al- are in tandem on what information to disseminate and how to convey it.

Start with a plan

The basics of entering a battlefield are to have a short- and-long term plan handy. Similarly, for a crisis communication, it is ideal to have a plan before you start working on it. A short-term plan could be something to bring the situation, at hand, under control by simply refuting the blame, while long-term is normally used for a comeback.

For instance, Maggie resorted to focusing on human touch to stage its comeback. The brand relied on highlighting its 42 years of legacy and how they share a special place in consumers’ life.

Monitor all channels

Reach out to your internal and external stakeholders through all the possible channels. They could prefer social media, traditional media, mail or anything. They are throwing a lot of hints and information on these channels and it’s important to gather this intelligence to both prevent and respond to a crisis.

Knowing what’s being said about you on these platforms by your employees, customers, and other stakeholders often allows you to catch a negative ‘trend’ that, if unchecked, turns into a crisis.

Know your stakeholders

Identify your stakeholders and try to communicate to them in a language they will understand. You cannot choose one strategy and fit it for everyone. There will be different way to communicate with your consumers, business and of course media.

Post-crisis analysis

Even after the situation gets under control, a brand and company must keep on putting a positive word around for the next three to six months, depending on the gravity of the situation.

Lastly, there must be a formal analysis of what was done right, what was done wrong and what could be done better next time to appear better prepared for a situation like that.

Have more tips to share?

‘The Journey’ led us to an award!

BoringBrands was awarded for ‘The Journey’ in the brand-videos category at Vdonxt Asia Awards 2017 last night at Westin, Mumbai, and we couldn’t get prouder! The short ad film was launched last Diwali by OnePlus.

BoringBrands was awarded for ‘The Journey’ at Vdonxt asia Awards 2017.

OnePlus, released this short film in an endeavor to celebrate the festive spirit of Diwali. The film portrays the story of Rohit (played by actor Amit Sadh), who is all set to spend Diwali with his girlfriend’s family, who he is about to meet for the very first time. As the story unfolds, Rohit is seen reaching the bus stand only to find his phone low on battery. He reaches out to a paan-wala to help him charge his phone – the OnePlus 3 – using the Dash Charging technology while waiting for his bus to arrive. Thanks to Dash Charge, his phone was able to get an entire day’s power in just half an hour. Rohit continues his journey, and as the bus rides through the picturesque roads of Ladakh towards his final destination, Rohit witnesses something truly gratifying that changes his mind and sets him towards another destination. The film ends with a surprise element.

While the story was conceptualized by OnePlus, the video was produced by BoringBrands and shot in Mumbai and Ladakh. Watch the film here:

Vdonxt Asia is India’s major convention on the swiftly growing digital video space. The awards initiative was aimed to identify best work, and celebrate people who played noteworthy role in pushing the evolution of digital videos.

We cannot thank the jury enough, and every soul who has helped us create this beautiful film. Thank you for believing in us.

TiE Global Summit 2016

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The TiE Global Summit kick-started today at Taj Palace hotel, New Delhi. This summit, in corporation with leading agencies of the Government of India, 20+ TiE chapters from India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and Dubai, and global venture capital funds happens to be one of the largest conferences for entrepreneurs anywhere in the world.

This year, BoringBrands is digital partner of TiE Global Summit.

TiE’s mission is to foster the spirit of entrepreneurship across the globe. The principle objective is focused on forming a platform to bring together aspirant entrepreneurs and industry leaders concerned in creating economic value to share transformational ideas.

TiE’s apparition is to create a healthy ecosystem for entrepreneurs internationally, by providing effective inter-connectivity between their members across chapters. Being one of the largest global entrepreneurial networks, TiE is a prevailing podium across global business ecosystem. The institution is committed to produce and deliver value to their partners, and works towards guaranteeing that all members accomplish their business objectives.

Here’s what industry stalwarts and TiE members had to say about the institution:

Deep Kalra, Founder and Group CEO at MakeMyTrip.com and Ex-President, TiE Delhi NCR – “I have been associated with TiE Delhi NCR for quite some time now. The startup industry is a mighty one, it often engulfs the best of us and leaves one dismantled. I realized the true potential of a support system once I joined TiE Delhi NCR. I have seen immense talent and recognition during my time at TiE. It was an enriching experience to navigate and channelize my expertise through the Indian Entrepreneurship ecosystem via the lens of TiE.”

Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Founder and VC – Info Edge, Internet Entrepreneur, Ex-President, TiE Delhi NCR – “While most founders in the Indian startup ecosystem get together to discuss their successes, TiE Delhi NCR is one such platform where I closely witnessed young entrepreneurs deriving insights from their failures, and chartering their path to success through various programs. I am very optimistic about the impact TiE Delhi NCR has crafted through their sheer determination and hard work. My time at Tie Delhi NCR has made me a better mentor, employer and entrepreneur.”

Prasanto K Roy, VP and Head, Internet, Mobile and Ecommerce Council, Nasscom – “TiE events are dramatically different, livewire, fast-paced, and busy. Young startup crowd. Far from a regular old corporate or association event.”

The TiE Delhi NCR conducts over 100 events every year covering aspects of entrepreneurship with special emphasis on education. The purpose is to guide young businesses as an incubating body that can support them through the particulars of funding and finance, marketing and sales, expanding into new geographies, business and organization management.

A peek into BoringBrands’ incredible journey

Armed with their love for communication and technology, Aakriti Bhargava and Anshul Sushil conceived BoringBrands in the lush lawns of MICA. Seven years and more than 175 clients later, the company has managed to carve out a niche for itself in the startup ecosystem.

Let us take a look into the incredible growth story of India’s new-age marketing agency.

007_boringbrands_infographic-2-1

HealthPlix is enabling people to take control of their diabetes

HealthPlix is enabling people to take control of their diabetes

With 70 million people in India being diabetic and an additional 80 million in pre-diabetes stage, there is a huge need to build a product to tackle the burgeoning problem of diabetes mismanagement.

That is exactly what HealthPlix app is doing. The company’s focus is to help diabetics improve treatment outcomes by using technology to make doctor-patient interaction for on-going chronic care seamless, quick and more efficient. Read on to learn about HealthPlix’s plans.

Click here to read more

BoringBrands is proud to partner HealthPlix in their PR endeavours.

Aspiring Minds is training future data scientists

data scientist_aspiring mindsData science is being touted as the hottest career option in 21st century and the need for data scientists in India has exploded. 

India’s big data market is expected to cross $1 billion in 2016. This is in line with the global trend where the global big data market is expected to hit a whopping $8 billion.

So the need for data scientists is immediate, a demand that is unlikely to abate in the near future.

Keeping pace with this demand, skills-assessment firm Aspiring Minds has developed and introduced a solution to evaluate skill sets of data scientists and data engineers. Read on to find out how they are doing it.

Click here to read more

BoringBrands is proud PR partner in their educational endeavours.