Budgeting, Google, innovation, kaizen, Marketing innovation, Milward Brown, Product development, Worlds best brands

The Rule of 70-20-10

According to Milward Brown, the ranking of Most Valuable Brand in 2008 is as under.

1. Google…. 86,057 Mln$
2. GE (General Electric)… 71,379 Mln$
3. Microsoft… 70,887 Mln$
4. Coca Cola… 58,208 Mln$
5. China Mobile… 57,225 MLn$
6. IBM… 55,335 Mln$
7. Apple… 55,206 Mln$
8. McDonalds… 49,499 Mln$
9. Nokia… 43,975 Mln$
10. Marlboro… 37,324 Mln$

(Courtesy Milward Brown Optimor Brandz Top 100 Most Valuable Brands Ranking 2008)

It is indeed surprising to find Google at the top, a brand with almost 0$ advertising. One other striking things about the world’s most valuable brand is that very few of them are FMCGs, which dominate the traditional mass media and advertising, known as the most potent way to create brands. The inclusions in this list are Coca Cola, McDs & Marlboro. Differences aside, Google is still on top, with a growth of 30% over last year.

Google’s promise to adhere to the promise of “providing world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” is uncompromising. Google’s growth was led by word of mouth and recommendation. In a research, 44 percent of internet users bonded with Google and 73% agreed that it returned the most relevant information. In comparison to Yahoo, which was recommended by 21% , Google was recommended by 43% to others. What is again more interesting is that the growth was contributed by almost 0$ advertising. Google’s young, innovative and playful image is it’s most cutting edge advantage over competition. So, you might be thinking that this is another article on Google story and accolades and blah blah.

Well, that was not the idea of this article, but to introduce the concept of Kaizen, the Japanese word which connotes continuous improvement in work place. In the fast paced world of bottomlines and quarter ends, such concepts are hard to find. However, Google incidentally has been always been able to push the limits by continuous and consistently improved products and innovative new products. In addition to providing relevant and more accurate search results, Google has introduced e-mail, Piccasa (Photo-sharing application), online documents and other tools. Google in incidentally world’s no.4 in the list of best places to work.

It comes to the point again that the company culture is the first step to create a long term brand equity and word of mouth.

So, you might say sounds interesting and is a technology or a R&D concept. And there is also the fear that only one in 10 new products are a success. It has always been a great challenge for Marketers, where should one focus their energies.

In addition to the customary answer, “It depends…” there is a science to go about it, which I first came across in the book- What Sticks by Briggs and Stuart, and is called 70-20-10 solution. In his talk to MSN, Eric Schmidt shared the classic Silicon valley mix 70-20-10 and therefore its implication for marketers…

70% of budget/resources should go into marketing strategy that are proven to work and you know will work, supporting existing the product/line of business

20% of their time in extending their existing product for “sustaining” innovation. That is, figure out whether there are opportunities to better the ROIs.

10% on “wild skunk-work” ideas for new products or disruptive innovation.

Well, it is this 20+10 percent that will give an edge with the competition. Doesn’t require huge energies, but consistent effort and persistent vision. Some said- Common sense is not that common. In our effort to streamline bottomline and target pressure, we tend to forget the obvious.

Business battle is not fought in the design labs but the market place and consumer’s mind. Those marketers who are able to learn and innovate, learn faster and deploy the intelligence more effectively have more chances to win. Devote, say one week in a month for disruptive innovation, to get under the skin of the consumer. Cajole him/her, tickle them; drive engagement. Or the other choice is to cross your finger and wait for the miracle to happen.

I think, the former is a better bet.


acuvue wink gadget, coke bubble, Digital Marketing, ding, fidelity widget, gadget ads, Google, interesting gadgets, target gadget

Gadgets Ads et al…

It has been a while that I have put a new article on my blog. Pretty much, last few months everything was happening, and unfortunately was regular work which took lot of time. The realisation dawned upon me when I was going through the LinkedIn profile; now you can add tools to stay connected (You see I’m not that proficient user of Facebook). I found it a great way to stay connected.

That brings me the to the discussion of Content Vs The Gadget. How does one get access to a thousand of browsers out there- through content (traditional) or gadget/tool (Hmmm…)

Computers are getting personal and so are the the website. The scope of customising the websites to your taste and preference; There is a huge scope of customisation.(Though I belong to the old generation, who use the website as it is, but I’m sure the techies and the young new generation is adept at this art). I have seen my nephew customising his Google and Yahoo home page and close friend using Google reader to get himself updated with the latest happening. Small little gadgets does a save that extra effort that you might otherwise require to source the content.No wonder Google is promoting these dinky units in a big way. These can be rendered in multiple formats- HTML/Flash, can have live data feeds and can be placed on any web page, including iGoogle.

So for marketers, we might not yet bid Goodbye to the old world of CTR optimied, Geo and IP targeted ad units, but we would want to utilise the Gadget ads in a ever increasing way. comScore, the leading third party digital Media audit agency has reported and increase in popularity of this new offering.

This is a list of interesting gadgets/applications…

Coke bubble application
Fidelity instruments Market monitor
Southwest Airlines- Ding (my favourite :))
Target- The widget allows you to search Target products from your desktop
Acuvue- wink application

Here’s another great article that I came across on iMedia- Creative Primer on Power of Brand Widgets.


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Google, Internet Marketing, Permission Marketing Seth Godin, Viral Marketing

Permission Marketing

I always thought that Seth Godin, the well known Internet Marketing pioneer, was great writer. He coined the term a revolutionary concept called “Permission Marketing”. The concept severely criticises the traditional advertising method- whether it is TV ads that breaks into the favourite programme, or the telemarketing phone call, it is very intrusive. The goal is to snatch that piece of attention from whatever we are doing, and deliver the message. It might happen when you are watching your favourite movie or even while watching television, interruption is the approach. With the medium becoming increasingly fragmented and limited time, the only way to get through your TG is the noise factor.

The power of Internet as a medium is that extend the onus of decision making to the browser. The medium lets the consumer choose his options. He chooses the sites that he wants to go to, he chooses the content he wants to sample. He chooses the application he wants to downloads. More importantly he interacts and forms a perception. Instead of the interruption marketing, Seth Godin advocates PERMISSION MARKETING, which means that offer consumers incentives to accept advertising voluntarily. The marketer develops relationship, by getting the consent from his consumer and thereby building long term relationship and trust. Here the consumer is the advocate and the medium and advertising is done through the word of mouth, excellent experience and repeated interaction.

I came across the presentation sent by my one of my dear friends and discovered another facet of Mr Godin. This presentation is about Google and how it utilised permission marketing, spent $0 advertising monies, but still is the fastest growing company. Seth analyses the DNA, and goes through few more viral marketing concept of his. Please go through this in your leisure time, though it says 45 minutes, but once you start, you won’t realise the time 🙂 The presentation has an interesting subject- ALL MARKETERS ARE LIARS


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Google, Internet Industry, Merger and Acquisition, Microsoft, Microsoft's Bid for Yahoo, Yahoo

Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo!

$45 Billion is the figure. Steve Ballmer’s offer, a “bear hug” in M&A parlance, was the first step. The letter ended with a mix of conviviality and veiled threat that suggests what might come next. “My leadership team and I would be happy to make ourselves available to meet with you and your Board at your earliest convenience,” he writes. “Depending upon the nature of your response, Microsoft reserves the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure Yahoo shareholders are provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in our proposal.”

Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Jeffrey Lindsay wrote in a research note that “the Microsoft bid of $31 is very astute” because it puts pressure on Yahoo management to take actions that could unlock the underlying value of Yahoo assets, which he estimates are worth upward of $39-$45 a share.

If the Yahoo board digs in its heels, reject Microsoft’s offer, and resorts to its “poison pill”—an anti-takeover maneuver to dilute the value of a hostile bidder’s stake in the company—Microsoft’s next shot would be to file a tender offer and nominate a new slate of independent directors. This is otherwise known as throwing the bums out.

Under Yahoo’s bylaws, the notice for such a proposal and new slate of directors must be issued by March 13—enough time for the Yahoo directors to consider Microsoft’s offer, while each side burns through some very high-priced legal advice, and Microsoft heads toward a possible proxy fight.

Google Lawyers have been blogging about the antitrust, with Microsoft’s bid. Will they succeed? There are lot of action in this space. These are few good articles on this news…

The War for the Internet: Why Yahoo! is Microsoft’s best chance to “kill Google.” is my favourite 😉


brands, David Aaker, eBay, Google, Internet Marketing, Orkut, Philip Kotler, RIA, ROI Marketing, SEM, Television, Time spent on internet, Webisodes

Internet- A Sales Channel or a Branding Medium?

A food for thought, it didn’t strike me even when Google was making a presentation on Branding strategy. Spends more on building brands, as the cost of conversions on a brand keyword would be the least (roughly 5-10 times more than your average conversion). So invest in brand and reap benefits, increase your ROI and lower the cost of conversion. Perfect theory, instantly buyable. Another large part of their presentation was on how the brands will be built online- Content, display ads, RIAs video ads. You name it and it is on the internet. As a marketer and a category leader what would you do? Where would you
put the money and how much.

Lets go a little deeper, and recall the definition of brands (a difficult one and to my mind one of the very misued terms). A brand is a sum total of Product’s Physical attributes and its experience and has a name. A strong brand should be able to conjure images and experience (good/bad) in your mind. It is the holy grail of marketing, and in an ideal state, if your brand is big enough, you don’t need to advertise and waste monies (but you do that till you get there). All our B-school course, our strategy is around how to build great brands (Mr Arker has written 4 books on this theme and Mr Kotler tome must be in its 11th edition by now). However, we marketers are still pondering over on how to do it. More so, how to do it online. Or should we not?

Lets consider this small example, TV has 70 million households, and more than 500 channels. The black box has been the greatest invention for marketing so far (in my opinion and have no hard feeling with my other online loving folk). Experiments have proven that a communication has a greater impact and lasting impression when sound and Vision are in tandem. And then came the other inventions Computers and Mobiles (also with screens). And so it happened that someone (and followed by a number of whitepapers) announced the birth of second and third screen (please note that the first screen was television). And marketing was to be dominated by this genre.

In US it started about 20 years back and now they have 50% internet penetration, Singapore is 60% and Taiwan is 90%. For India, I only know the number of users and it also varries greatly, 25 Mln as per comScore, 35Mln as per IAMAI and 45 Mln as per NASSCOM. In short, though our sheer number is high, our penetration is very poor (i’ll update the penetration figures as soon I get it). In India, internet is still not a mass medium. Please consider the time spend by today’s youth on each medium (Source Business World Youth Report 2006, IAMAI 2006)

TV: 124 minutes/day
Newspaper: 30 Minutes/day
Radio: 84 minutes/day
Internet:61 Minutes/day

People do spend time online, where does the communication stick and occupy that little space, which creates a brand. Video ads, Social community, RIA, Viral, Flash Movies and webisodes are the answers. Huge engagement, huge interaction and best of all it is by choice and recommendation (by search engine). But is this good enough to create brands? Good enough to create recall and not to use the search engine to come to the website? Will it be a talking point?

Lot of brands have done it, and have been hugely successful. Google didn’t do any advertising (and maximised PR to its advantage). eBay utilised the online community and so did YouTube and MySpace. Orkut is very popular in India and they did it with 0 advertising.

And the most differentiating factor of our medium is the measurability. Internet is one of the few mediums that can define ROI (Direct Marketing is the other). So now we can use it to define goals and plan backwards to derive the ROI. The campaign have set goals and marketers can now be smarter and more accountable. However, this brings us back again to our moot point, can it create brands. At least in India can it replace TV. And will an emarketer choose Internet whole heatedly to drive the strategy to build brands?