Category: Social Media

GlobeTrotters on Twitter | Chris Christensen (The Amateur Traveler)

 GlobeTrotters on Twitter 2

Being a longtime listener and viewer of the Amateur Traveler podcasts I jumped at the first opportunity of speaking with Chris Christensen about travel and his perspectives of things that enable and supplement our travel experiences.

Chris Christensen - Amateur Traveler

Coffee – works best with Podcasting

Chris of course is the host of the Amateur Traveler, an extremely popular online travel show that focuses primarily on travel destinations. It includes a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog. The Amateur Traveler audio show started in 2005 and has averaged 1 million downloads over the last 3 years. Chris also is one of the 3 hosts of the award winning This Week in Travel podcast. Clearly the only thing “amateur” about it all is the name of the show itself.

Chris is a regular speaker at various industry events as well, and was recently involved in couple of sessions at TBEX 2013. TBEX is where world’s most prominent travel bloggers, writers and new media content creators gather to talk all things travel.

Apart from travel, I share with Chris another huge interest, that of podcasts. I like to describe myself as a podcast junkie and by his own admission Chris subscribes to over 70 podcasts himself. The idea of “The Amateur Travel” was germinated through his obsession with podcasts.

Excerpts from our chat:

  • I read that your love affair with traveling started way back in your childhood through your parents. Those road trips as a kid taught you a lot. That fascination has clearly trickled down quite well. I was curious to know if you’re a full time traveler now?

Chris – Actually I have a day job, I only worked as a full-time blogger for 8 months in 2010. While I did quit my day job last week, I plan to support myself with software development, not blogging.

  • With all the high quality work you produce regularly, it’s hard to believe this is not your full-time job. What do you think about flying? Any recent and notable flight experience?

Chris – I love flying. You get to soar through the air like a bird. I don’t see how anyone can tire of that. I had a chance to fly on one of the first Boeing Dreamliner 787s out of San Jose to Tokyo recently as a guest of ANA. Great plane to a great destination. (Read his report here)

  • Airports are an integral part of flying. Which one do you prefer?

Chris – I like San Francisco, which is my usual airport. Modern, spacious and my gateway to the world.

  • And which city has impressed you most while traveling? Any outstanding experience you would like to recall?

Chris – I loved Istanbul, Tanzania and Egypt. Egypt and Istanbul for the history, and Tanzania for both the wildlife and its people.

Overlook on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Overlook on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I had to pick my very favorite day traveling it would probably be visiting the Ngorongoro Crater on a safari in Tanzania. Being three feet away from a lioness (fortunately with a good strong car window in between us) when she growled was outstanding all right.

  • How would you like to improve the current crop of airports? What one addition (except Wi-Fi) can be most helpful for travelers in your view?

Chris – Lots and lots more places to plug in a laptop.

  • Traveling is not your full time day job but you still manage to balance your passion with profession pretty well. What advise can you give other aspiring travelers reading this?

Chris – Don’t quit your day job might be an odd advise to come from me, so let’s say at least don’t over estimate how much money you can make as a blogger until you are making money as a blogger. It can take a while to build up an audience and most full time bloggers are either a second income or live someplace cheap.

  • Wise words. Tell us your deep dark secrets of pre-travel research.

Chris – We look up hotels on TripAdvisor. I like visual guidebooks like the Eyewitness Guides and often where I go these days is influenced by episode of Amateur Traveler where someone has come on the show and told me of some amazing place.

  • And finally Chris, give us your 3 must follow twitter accounts.

Chris – My passion for travel predates social media by decades but I do like keeping in touch with social media. Some of my favorite twitter accounts to follow are:

@legalnomads

@ottsworld and

@airlinegossip

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GlobeTrotters on Twitter | Johnny Jet

GlobeTrotters on Twitter 2

From a man who couldn’t fly for his life to a man who basically flies for a living, John, or Johnny Jet as he is popularly known, has come a long way.

Johnny is a travel expert and editor-in-chief of the super popular travel information website, JohnnyJet.com. Johnny has visited over 60 countries, and is known to add a handful of new countries every year to his ever-growing list.

Johnny has frequently appeared in numerous publications including The LA Times, Outside Magazine, USA Today, and Travel and Leisure Magazine among others. He has made television appearances on CNN, Tech TV, Fox News, PBS, and various media outlets worldwide. In addition, Johnny frequently contributes articles to Frommers as well.

With a verified twitter account possessing over 45000 fans, Johnny Jet is a true “GlobeTrotter on Twitter”. Excerpts from our chat.

Johhny at the Taj

Johnny at the Taj

  • What’s so special about traveling, and air travel specifically?

Johnny – I’m just amazed with air travel and our ability to be able to do it for such reasonable prices. It’s really amazing the world we live in today.

  • And what’s your favorite part about air travel?

Johnny – I love to fly on new planes – especially inaugural flights because everyone is really friendly and bouncing around talking to each other. I’ve been lucky to do quite a few. Some of my favorites are:

Seattle to L.A. on Air New Zealand

Seattle to Dallas on American

Frankfurt to San Francisco on Lufthansa

Around the world on Singapore Airlines

  • Do you have a preferred airline?

Johnny – It all depends on the route but I really enjoyed my around the world flight on Jet Airways (video)

  • Tell us about your all-time favourite city? Any special moments associated with it?

Johnny – My favourite is New York City but I don’t have just one special moment.

  • Most modern airports these days have Wi-Fi, what other feature you would like to see them adopt?

Johnny – More electrical outlets, faster Wi-Fi and natural light.

  • Natural Light is a great suggestion. Makes the space looks bigger as well. What will you suggest to wannabe travellers out there who are afraid of expenses associated with traveling?

Johnny – Not having money is not a good excuse for not to travel. People either need to cut back on their daily habits like buying coffee or magazines and save that money. You can also travel for free. There are websites where you can sleep on people’s couches (couchsurfing.com). There are always good deals too. In our deals newsletter we’ve published deals like California to Brazil for under $300 RT. Or New York to Istanbul for under $400 R/T.

  • Wow! Those two deals sound incredible. I think I’m going to subscribe to your newsletter right away. But which website, guide book etc. you refer to during your travels?

Johnny – I price out my tickets using our JohnnyJet.com search engine. Then I usually ask my friends/followers on Facebook and Twitter what they recommend.

  • All right, that’s great info Johnny. Give us your 3 must follow twitter accounts please?

Johnny – Three best is tough but

@AirFareWatchDog (for airline deals),

@cjmcginnis (we co-host a weekly #TravelSkills Twitter chat),

@BreakingNews (for what’s going on in the world)

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join many other amazing readers who have followed this blog to receive blog posts via email. No spamming guaranteed :)

GlobeTrotters on Twitter | Gary Leff

GlobeTrotters on Twitter 2

If you’re a frequent flyer, fond of tracking your air miles and points and generally follow the aviation community closely, you know Gary and you know him well.

And if by some twist of fate you don’t, let me make it easier for you.

Gary Leff is the co-founder of Milepoint.com, a popular online community for frequent flyers. Gary also manages Freddie awards and blogs frequently at View From the Wing. In fact, Gary’s blog was the first to exclusively focus on frequent travel and loyalty programs and he’s been leading the way for over 11 years now.

Not just that, Gary has also served as a moderator of Flyertalk.com from 2003 till the beginning of 2011 and was the senior founding moderator of Flyertalk’s member-elected TalkBoard. He’s been cited and profiled in New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and Washington post among others.

And in his “real day job”, He is the chief numbers guy for university research centers. Phew!!

Reading about him prior to our chat I chanced upon this. Read this and you will know why he is so revered within the aviation/frequent flyer community.

“Gary Leff is so proficient at the frequent-travel game that in 2008 he redeemed enough miles to fly first class with his wife from Washington, D.C., to Spain for dinner at the famous three-Michelin-starred El Bulli restaurant near Barcelona. After the meal, they turned around and flew home.”   (Via Executive Travel)

13000 kilometers for a Dinner, eh?

13000 kilometers for a Dinner, eh?

Yes, he flew across the pond. For a dinner. Excerpts from our chat:

  • What makes you travel? And why you love getting on planes?

Gary – It would take a really narrow focus or a lot of hubris to believe that wherever one is at a given time is the single greatest place in the world to be.  There’s so much out there in terms of diversity of experiences, creativity and achievement, food and spectacle.  We’re on the earth for such a short time, and experiencing as much as possible seems just so fundamentally…. human.

And I’ve had the great fortune to connect with people, I get on planes to reduce the distance and maintain that connectedness.  And to try new things, broaden my horizons.   My life is so much richer, so much more fulfilled because of travel.  An early morning flight or a groping at security can’t begin to detract from that.

  • No problems with early morning flights or groping certainly means you enjoy flying, if I hadn’t figured that one out yet. What has been the most unforgettable flying experience for you?

Gary – The destination will always be more interesting than flying, though flight itself is a tremendous achievement of humankind over nature and it’s certainly possible to enjoy getting there alongside being there.

I suppose my most memorable flight experience was circling New York airspace before I was a teenager, when the landing gear just wouldn’t go down. Until it did.  Truly, though, in all of my flights few have really been that memorable which is to say that nearly all have been marvels of human achievement.

  • Safe to say all that circling over New York airports is not always so pleasant. Which is your favorite airport and which airline is most impressive in terms of their first class/business class product?

Gary – There’s no question that the Singapore airport impresses me most.  The amenities there are unrivaled.  I like the Seoul airport, and though far from a favorite I think Bangkok is undervalued.  I can’t think of any major airports in Europe that I like (though the first class terminal in Frankfurt is my favorite *terminal*). Dallas is a really good experience overall, and Rick Bayless’ Tortas Frontera almost redeems O’Hare.

My favorite international airline is Cathay Pacific.  I love their first class product, it’s solid all around and I sleep better in their seat than anyone else’s.  Their long haul business class seat is fantastic as well.  My favorite domestic airline is American — overall good service, excellent treatment as a top tier elite, wireless internet across the mainline fleet, pretty good food, and a great new business class seat.  Award redemption for international first class is unrivaled.

  • Talking about award redemption, which is your favorite city to travel to?

Gary – My favorite city has to be Singapore, because it’s at once far away and accessible, and probably better for food at both the high and low end than anywhere else.  Little matches sitting out at the beach in the evening at the East Coast Lagoon Village hawker center, open air, enjoying great food and a walk along the water.

  • What about airports? Wi-Fi is becoming all too common. As a frequent traveler which other amenity you would like to see them incorporate within their premises?

Gary – Starbucks or similar (or higher!) quality coffee airside.  There’s no excuse not to have decent coffee available near the gate in a world where the TSA continues to prosecute the War on Water.

  • Do you consult any specific website before and while your traveling?

Gary – Milepoint.com – frequent flyer community, a friendly group of experienced travelers that are happy to share their advice and experiences.

  • What counsel would you give to the average Joe? She/he wants to travel but is scared about incurring heavy expenses while doing so.

Gary – Though it’s possible to travel frugally, and to cover much of the cost of travel with points, it isn’t free.  There’s nothing wrong with – and indeed tremendous virtue in — traveling on a tight budget.  But if you’re in significant debt, well I’d strongly suggest paying off credit cards before making discretionary travel spend decisions.  Don’t finance your travel on a credit card.  That’s not only good advice; it’s also a way to travel much more in the future. Your travel experiences will pay dividends, but don’t incur interest to have them.

  • That’s very well explained Gary. In the end, as this series is “GlobeTrotters on Twitter“, please tell us your 3 must follow twitter accounts?

Gary –  @GlobeTrotScott for the latest airline news

@onemileatatime for witty commentary about the travel experience

@boardingarea updates from all the best travel blogs in one place

 

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GlobeTrotters on Twitter | Shashank Nigam

GlobeTrotters on Twitter 2

If your wondering what all this is about, then you should probably go here before proceeding further.

For the first profile of my most ambitious blog series yet, I wanted to have someone who straddles the aviation, travel as well as digital marketing aspects together and really sets the benchmark for this initiative. Luckily enough for me I did not have to look around hard as Shashank kindly agreed to be featured as a “GlobeTrotter on Twitter”.

Shashank Nigam in Cockpit

Cockpit access tips, Shashank?

Shashank Nigam of course is much more than just that. He is the Founder/CEO of SimpliFlying, one of the world’s leading aviation marketing consultancies, which advises over 25 airlines. airports and even aircraft manufacturers on profitable customer engagement strategies. On top of that, SimpliFlying.com is one of the Top 2 blogs on aviation, and their Twitter handle (@simpliflying ) is also one of the Top 5 most influential on airlines.

Excerpts from my geek-out with him

  • Air Travel used to be a breeze back in the day but not anymore. What is your greatest motivation to travel?

Shashank – I love watching planes, being on planes, just being near them. And I realise that I, like many others, have jet-fuel running through my veins. I get excited each time I need to search for a new flight, go through the booking process, in anticipation of the flight itself. The joy of flying is greater than any hassles. And through all this, I’ve now been to 51 countries!

  • 51 countries is impressive indeed. But tell me do you enjoy the flying part of your travel more or the city sightseeing? Of all the thousands of flights that you may have taken, any particularly memorable experience you recount?

Shashank – I cherish the flying part of travel as much as sightseeing, and meeting people from different cultures. There are a few in-flight memories that have left an impact. My first flight – it was on an Aeroflot Illyushin in 1994, from Delhi to Singapore. Everyone was drinking, playing cards and I smelled like an ashtray when I stepped out. But my first flight, nevertheless. My first ultra-long haul flight was on Thai Airways, from Bangkok to New York, non-stop, over 17 hours! The first time I flew Business Class – it was on Cathay Pacific, from New York to Singapore, via Hong Kong. Loved the experience and service. The first time I flew the 787 Dreamliner, on a private invite-only flight at the Singapore Airshow was unforgettable. And as recently as last week, when I flew from Dar-e-salam to Zanzibar on a 17-seater, and the Captain was kind enough to let me sit in the cockpit, next to him for the full flight!

  • Which is your favourite airport and which is your favourite airline? and tell us why?

Shashank – Favourite airport has to be Singapore Changi Airport – there’s so much to do, and if you want to get out, you go from plane to taxi in 10 mins.

Favorite airline differs depending on the class. My favourite First Class experiences has been on Emirates – the Suites are very private and luxurious and you get treated like a king. Their lounges in Dubai are superb too. The best Business Class experience has been on Turkish Airlines, long haul – where you get your own butler in-flight, and their lounge in Istanbul is possibly the best Star Alliance lounge in the world. The best Economy Class is on Singapore Airlines – true value for the premium you pay. Among LCCs, I love Virgin America, jetBlue and Volaris, for treating us like real people and offering a differentiated service!

  • Alright, that makes me ask you your favourite aircraft?

Shashank – To look at – A340-600 – I think it’s the best looking aircraft out there. Beautiful silhouette. To fly, A380 – it’s the quietest and most comfortable aircraft I’ve flown.

  • Couldn’t agree more with you there. In fact A340 is my favourite aircraft as well. Pity its not as popular among airlines now. Which city you’re particularly fond of?

Shashank – Istanbul is my favourite city – the perfect mix of culture and modernity. Though, from an #avgeek perspective, I love London and Los Angeles, with the huge variety of aircraft flying low, throughout the day, prior to landing.

  • Leaving aside wifi, what would you like to see airports world over to adopt?

Shashank – “Quiet zones” will be welcome, where travellers with longer lay overs can just relax.

  • Which website, guide book etc. you consult before and while your traveling? What’s your research for a country/city like?

Shashank – I always check seatguru.com to select the best seat before I check-in, Tripadvisor is a must for the hotels and Hipmunk for flight bookings. Most of my research on a city is last minute – a tweet or Facebook message to friends before I take off ensures I have 2-3 solid recommendations of things to do in a city.

  • You run a successful consultancy and of course have jet-fuel running through your veins 😉 but what would you to tell the average guy who wants to travel but is afraid of the expenses associated with it?

Shashank – With the advent of LCCs, anyone can fly. So look out for those cheap deals and book a ticket. You might score one that’s cheaper than the train or the bus too. It’s never too late to fly!

  • and finally, what role do you think twitter has played in encouraging people to travel? Also, as this is “GlobeTrotters on Twitter”, your 3 favourite twitter user accounts?

Shashank – I love to meet my Twitter friends at airports while I’m in transit, or in the city that I’m visiting. Social media, especially Facebook and Pinterest are great for seeking inspiration on where to go next too!

My top 3 favourite Twitter users –

@ApexMary – she is the girlgeek of travel, who knows everything there is to know inside the cabin.

@airlinetrends/@capa_aviation keep me updated with the latest industry analysis.

And fellow avgeeks like @arun4, @airlinereporter and yourself (@vishal1mehra) are great company online!

Thanks Shashank, That’s little more than 3 but because you mentioned one certain Vishal Mehra, we would let that pass.

GlobeTrotters on Twitter | an Introduction

GlobeTrotters on Twitter 2

So I have wanted to do this for a while now.

My absolute love for Twitter, Travel and Aviation is well known and it was only a matter of time before I decided to bring it all together in one place.

The idea for “GlobeTrotters on Twitter” sparked to me where most of the ideas in the world are born, while sitting on the throne.

To put it simply, the plan is to connect with top travel experts and aviation geeks who are active on twitter and briefly talk about things, which excite them and all of us.

I have always been curious about some aspects of the business while flying and traveling, and I’m sure there are plenty of others like me thinking the same. I could not find a single place on the web, which would talk about those things, with all the people I would want to ask, leading me to starting this blog series.

The best news of them all? Every single superstar I got in touch with has been more than kind for this humble initiative. 70% of them have already sent in their response to my queries.  And the rest will roll in hopefully by the end of this week.

Simply Amazing.

I will start rolling out the first part of this series in a couple of days, and then a new post every 3-4 days, depending on my schedule.

To say I’m excited to do this would be an understatement. I hope you enjoy this as much as I have enjoyed putting this together over the past few weeks.

Hit me up if you have any feedback or queries. Till then, Happy geeking out! 🙂

Using Unconventional Methods to Build an Airline Brand

Using unconventional methods to build an airline brand

This article by P.R. Sanjai from Mint, talks about unconventional methods adopted by various airline bosses to market themselves and their airlines.

It features couple of perspectives from my side as well, but overall encapsulates well the enormous progress made by social media over the last couple of years.

Lemp Incident Highlights Social Media as the Answer

Indian like in Social Media

It’s been over 2 days “Lemp” has been a top trending topic for over 20 million users of Twitter in India. Surprisingly Lemp is not the name of a champion Indian cricketer, a famous Bollywood actor or a corrupt politician caught in yet another scandal.

Lemp is a name of a brewery-restaurant located in the New Delhi suburb of Gurgaon, caught in the eye of a social media storm after a group of youngsters were cheated and mentally harassed by the management and owners of the property.

Due to whatever reason the original blog post has been removed, but thanks to Google cache it will forever live on. I would strongly suggest you to read more about the incident here before proceeding further. Scribd also has a copy of the deleted post.

It is yet another example of how a young, educated & web savvy population in India is making sure their voice is not muzzled & their rights not being taken for granted by people in power.

A visit to a restaurant for a ‘Hawaiian Sunday Brunch’ turned out to be too ghastly for a group of youngsters this Sunday, after they had checked out Sunday brunch events listed in the review site, Zomato. Apart from not being served any advertised Hawaiian food, they were overcharged when they wished to leave and threatened with police arrest when they protested about the bill. Besides, the Haryana/Gurgaon police instead of coming to their rescue, chose to side with the owner and manager of the restaurant. The youngsters were just short of being detained for not paying the ‘overcharged’ bill.

The youngsters decided to blog about their experience and since then the Indian twitterverse has been enraged to the say the least. The news is even picked up by the biggest newspaper of the country, Times of India besides other major publications and one of the biggest online news publishers, FirstPost.

Zomato has even come out with a blog post on it’s website supporting the youngsters.

Incidentally, the user rating for Lemp Brewpub & Kitchen on Zomato has had a huge fall to 1.2 from its earlier 3 point something, after the blog post went viral on Social Media.

Lemp opted for a rebuttal by a fake customer, who incidentally has access to all of their CCTV footage. They also threatened the diners with a defamation suit in a very cocky reply to their review, although the unrelenting attack has also forced them to change their name to PurpleBar. So much for transparency.

There were two possible options for Lemp:

1)   Brazen this out, offer their version and prove that those diners were indeed trying to fleece the restaurant. One of the better ways could have been to show CCTV footage of the altercation, without obvious editing of the same. Their press release mentions the same but even after 4 days of the incident, nothing has been released yet.

2)   Apologize. Admit that they messed up, a spur-of-the-hour moment for them, which shall never be repeated, with sincere apologies on video by the management and the owner. Convince those youngsters to visit the restaurant once more and actually organize a Hawaiian Sunday brunch, on the house for them. Considering the egos involved, this certainly seems like a definite no-go and I’m not surprised that Lemp has decided to go ahead with option 1.

After much hullabaloo, Lemp issued a statement last night (on Scribd) offering their version of events, including insights from their social media agency, as to who could be behind all of this, clearly going on the offensive.

In a country where consumer rights are always taken for granted, our proud history of free speech and the opportunities provided by the power of social media is making sure that the voice of the common man can be heard loud and clear.

It’s a welcome change and one that the common Indian hopes will make the “high and mighty” think twice before taking him for a ride.

This blog post has also been featured by The WALL here, one of the world’s leading blog on Digital and Social Media.

The Magic of Twitter and it’s 11 Tricks

Twitter LogoWhat started off as a SMS service to communicate within a small group on 21st March 2006 has swiftly transformed itself into a leading indicator of everything from political to pop culture for 200 million citizens of our planet.

Twitter is used from everything to break global news (the unfortunate Boston marathon blasts news was on twitter 20 minutes before it reached TV channels), help stranded travelers, being a virtual water cooler for TV viewing or even igniting revolutions.

17 October 2008 was the date when I joined twitter, and more than 1600 days later I’m still as excited as my first day on the network.

I have expressed my admiration, love and lust for twitter very many times over the web, in person, on the phone and possibly every other way I could have. People, who know me, know my proud fetish for it. Over the period of my last 32000 odd tweets I have been able to derive immeasurable value out of twitter and I hope to continue doing that over a long time to come.

There’s no other platform which has given me so much value, both personally and professionally, like twitter has that it is the only social network I would be more than willing to pay for, if it decides to go paid or premium in the future.

I know I know, there’s app.net for that, and I do have a registered account there as well, but it is difficult to compare that against a 200 million-user strong twitter base.

Here are few best practices for twitter I have learned and stumbled across, on the way till now:

  1. Build your Twitter following by following those that follow companies/people similar to you. The discover section of Twitter lets you see what those you follow are doing; what tweets have they favourited? And whom have they followed?
  2. Ensure your profile has a picture (the egg doesn’t count), Avoid changing it often, have an interesting background & customise your profile to be consistent with your online presence.
  3. Interact with key influencers in your industry, discuss with respect and intelligence and you may gain some following. Some folks use online tools like Klout to recognize influencers, I have had low success ratio with that technique & have found those tools to be usually inaccurate in their assessments.
  4. The easiest way for me to find more influencers has been to follow leading known influencers & then see whom they follow. Handy technique, always works well.
  5. Keep track of your most engrossed followers so you can give them a shout when you want to share content.  But don’t annoy them by tweeting too much & expecting swift replies.
  6. The more tweeting you do the more clicks you’ll get but overdoing it gets labeled as spamming by followers. No one wants his or her timelines spammed. Tweeting keyword rich, relevant content throughout the day will attract followers’ specific to your industry/interests.
  7. #hashtags are a nifty way to get eyeballs during big news days or events. It also helps in recognizing users with similar interests. Be sensitive and careful while tweeting #tags during tragic events or accidents.
  8. Favouriting tweets are a simple way of acknowledging people and in return may get you some recognition.
  9. Use platforms like TweetDeck and Hootsuite to schedule tweets.  Divide your tweets across the day to get maximum exposure for your tweets. Scheduling tweets during peak times will result in more eyeballs for your views.  You can even use tools like Social Bro to get the right time to tweet.
  10. Tweets including pictures or infographics get more eyeballs; consider appropriate content to increase clicks.
  11. Research has proved keeping the length of your tweets between 70 to 100 characters increases engagement rate, helping in readability while glancing through the timeline.

Geek mention: This post would be grossly incomplete without me thanking the programming languages of JavaScript, Ruby, Scala, and Java, without which good folks like Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Evan Williams and the usually un-mentioned Noah Glass (often referred to as Twitter’s 5th Beatle) would never have been able to develop twitter.

This post also appeared on Bite’s official blog as a slightly altered post

(Picture courtesy : Twitter)

The King of Real Time Marketing

This promises to be a crisp and concise post and I had to share this as a follow up to my last post, Real Time Marketing in India, where I discussed brands like Tide, Calvin Klein & Pepsi but Oreo‘s efforts during that fateful evening of SuperBowl stood out.

Real time marketing is gaining prominence in different forms all over the world, apparently even Blackberry is giving it a shot for Z10. You know what they say about “has-been” brands and RTM right? me neither.

anyways Oreo is making sure it stands out as the undisputed king of Real Time Marketing on interwebs.

How?

So this started out quite harmlessly, when a Rihanna fan known as Laura Ellen tweeted this

Laura Ellen Tweet on Oreo and KitKat

Things stayed quite pretty much for 2 days & Laura went about her business. But then suddenly KitKat woke up

KitKat replies to LauraSo it was the crunchiness of KitKat vs the darkness of Oreo in Tic Tac Toe. Even Laura could not believe what was transpiring

Laura replies

The smart alec types started having their own little fun, look at the second comment by John Haywood above 🙂 Meanwhile Laura was getting increasingly anxious

Laura is all over tumblr because of Kitkat

Her challenge was  getting attention far and wide. Images of twitter war between Taco Bell and Old Spice came running back.

But then, the team at Oreo tweeted the unthinkable

and Oreo closes the social media battle

They could not resist and rightly so I could not resist discussing this as a short post. Needless to say KitKat got some brownie points (touche’) but Oreo won that fair and square by being the nice guy. Brands need to have a human face, Consumers miss that most about them.

Real Time Marketing in India

RTM in India

Real Time Marketing in India

Few weeks back when I wrote about the top digital marketing trends for India, RTM (Real Time Marketing) did not figure in the list. But then February 3rd, also known as Super Bowl Blackout day happened & the world of marketing promised not to be the same ever again.

I started thinking about RTM scenarios for the Indian market & how our marketers could take advantage of those opportunities. But what really drove me to write this post was a session during ad:tech new delhi 2013.

RTM is not a new phenomena which spawned one fine evening when Oreo & it’s agency partner decided to dunk in the dark, & in the process became a lifelong case study for this marketing genre. Instead Real Time Marketing techniques were developed in 1990s with initial deployments of CRM solutions in major sectors, but it wasn’t so glamorous & thus not thought about much during that time.

Marketing has altered radically in the last few years — perhaps more than any other business role — and the progression will absolutely continue as marketers become more single-minded, swift and supple.

Oreo Super Bowl Blackout Tweet

Oreo Super Bowl Blackout Tweet

With over 150 million internet users, & 100 million social network user base, India as a market is ripe for some RTM action but this form of marketing goes far beyond simply posting a timely tweet (see Oreo/Tide during blackout), a status update or even a vine posting (see Calvin Klein). Brands have to expand the use of real time social analytics, create great content to drive engagement & make on-the-fly decisions around trending relevant topics. That certainly is hard to fathom in current Indian marketing culture.

Current culture being the key statement in the last paragraph.

Because Indian consumers have moved on & so must the marketing techniques employed to entertain & engage them. A recent study in fact did say, “Engaging customers through content & other outreach techniques is getting increased attention from marketers in India”.

Tide Super Bowl Blackout Tweet

Tide Super Bowl Blackout Tweet

But most Indian marketers still find it challenging to cut through the information clutter today to resonate. Mostly because they are not used to customers driving interactions (after all it was one way shouting till a while back) & taking control of the relationship they share.

Marketing strategies still rely heavily on arranging everything, to the T. That practice has to give way. Marketers can plan, but can’t choreograph consumer behavior.

With the sixth edition of Indian Premier League starting in April, Indian brands have a grand stage to get daring with their consumers & in the process get embraced.

The biggest opportunity out of all brands clearly lies with Pepsi. Pepsi is not just the official presenting sponsor for IPL 6; it is a youth driven brand urging its TA to “Live for Now”. In India its latest brand tagline “Oh Yes, Abhi” conveys the same spirit of Now, Instant & Dynamism to the impatient Indian youth.

Although my views about Pepsi not introducing the new logo in the Indian market even after 4+ years is widely known on twitter, I still believe being a challenger cola brand a new approach can have a positive impact for them.

That new approach is not just premiering new TVCs on YouTube, because that is passé, it is not just dumb tweets asking who your favorite cricketer is, it is making custom content for its online consumers which needs to be fun & useful.

& If some of that can be made at twitter speed, it would be Quaker oats on the milk (let me know if you have a better suggestion for this?)

I should also note that the instant Oreo Super Bowl ad followed a 100-day program called “Daily Twist” that began in June 2012 and ended on October 2nd, 2012. It was 100 days of real-time posting of Oreo’s responses to what was happening in the news, such as the Mars Rover landing and the anniversary of the ATM. So in no way it was a fluke or a creative that popped out of nowhere.

Another extensively acknowledged case study has been the work done on Old Spice campaign through YouTube, “The man your man could smell like”. Here’s a helpful link to take you back to 2010.

Real Time Marketing is clearly not cut out for every brand, nor it can be done without extensive resources on a continuous basis. Probably the easiest way to implement it would be to start using it in select functions & not across the marketing department off the bat.

I firmly believe that RTM has few unique principles:

1)   Focus on individual interactions

2)   Need for adaptive campaigns

3)   Strong alignment with other key departments like sales

4)   Customer collaboration

That certainly is not a comprehensive list & just like it’s core, these principles are ever changing & dynamic in nature.

In today’s aggressive and rapidly fluid economy, brands are determined to remain at the vanguard of their industries, which gives Real time marketing its spotlight. By allowing marketing to be “better, faster, and cheaper,” and be more flexible in the face of change, RTM 24/7 can help brands in their efforts to create a competitive advantage.

Brands can also expect RTM to benefit their offerings by increasing WOM (Word of Mouth), Media Receptivity, Social Media Presence and increased chances of consideration by the consumer.

Let me conclude with one of my key learning’s from ad:tech new delhi 2013 about marketing “Don’t wait to be perfect, just start”, after all Brands can afford to be “flawsome”

This piece has also appeared on India Digital Review as a Guest Article