Marketing of Social Good

Commercial pace of the world is ever increasing. Marketing is one important ingredient that fuels this pace. Focus on reaping profits and more profits and some more is the usual norm. There is no denying that commercial marketing is necessary but somewhere it is also leading to wanton greed, recklessness and lack of responsibility towards environment. Commercial pursuits of organisations increasingly show their distancing from ‘social change for social good.’ Therefore, the need for marketing of social good, also called Social Marketing, which strives to promote positive human behaviours and progressive social welfare, through a well-planned strategy involving tactical and targeted research, design and outreach and last but not the least, an active feedback system.

Commercial marketing as we all know, thrives on competitive race for market share, brand building and profit maximisation. More importantly, it promotes consumption which many times goes unchecked. Commercial advertising plays its subtle tricks to cast a spell on the mind and reasoning ability of consumers. Social media bewitches and builds perceptions effortlessly and rewards any and all who know the art of killing your boredom with something worthwhile or who just kill our valuable time with just an information overload. In this scenario of a very influential commercial marketing atmosphere, people either callously spend, hoard or waste while being subconsciously ‘obeying’ the influencer (can be a product or idea or campaign trending that a consumer follows). Rampant consumption doesn’t make us responsible citizens and we tend to lose focus on society and its problems and our responsibility.

As opposed to commercial marketing, Social Marketing adopts a framework of building an ecosystem which helps nurture welfare, good will, good health and security. Social marketing takes the basic principles of commercial marketing and rolls out welfare strategies for a targeted approach towards promoting positive behaviours e.g. vaccination of children, breast feeding, better sanitation, safe driving, seatbelt/helmet use, no smoking, bicycling for better health and environment, addressing mental health, saying no to drugs, communal harmony, fighting casteism etc .  Participation of communities and partnerships of various stakeholders and philanthropists drive social marketing efforts. Apart from commodity or idea, a good behaviour is also the product the marketing campaign sells. The profit is in the social good. Consumers (and not beneficiaries) adopt positive behaviours with clear understanding, awareness and acceptance that it is for their welfare.

Time and again, governments, NGO’s, corporates and individuals have strived for social good through campaigns and interventions aimed to improve lives of people in a positive manner. To make such welfare programs more effective in terms of reach and building positive social behaviours, social marketing is the scientific and strategic answer. Many developments campaigns of Government of India with huge budget and resource allocations like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Ayushman Bharat etc. have huge potential to become robust and successful social marketing campaigns.

A welfare driven marketing approach is a necessary step for success of development programs and community outreach.  This marketing of social good will yield long term benefits, improving sustainability of a healthy and progressive ecosystem for human life and business.

Developing Emotional Resilience

The Coronavirus pandemic becoming more serious makes many of us experience a variety of negative emotions—especially  the uncertainty of the situation causing Anxiety

To build up Mental Resilience is the need of the hour.

Understand Negative Emotions

A  lot of anxious thoughts, will show up during this time,  and avoidance of such emotions will only make them stronger. Thus, we should not ignore the negative emotions and thoughts, but rat understand and analyze them, and with logic, release them .This can lead to inner peace and good Psychological Health.


 New Routines

Planning and executing new routines which connect us to what really matters in life; Very Important to have a sense of purpose fitted with a structure and a routine;  develop new recreational activities which befit the present scenario; meet essential human needs for which we could not take time out e.g. Learning to cook, music, painting or a language

 Emotional Health and Well-Being

Emotional well-being is linked to Exercise, Good Nutrition and Socializing which needs to be regimented on a daily basis. We can change to newer regimes of healthy living which can build our mental strength

Introspect and Evolve

Even during social distancing, there is an opportunity to build psychological togetherness with family and friends through talks and discussions, using audio and video technology to stay in touch.This opportunity also gives us the chance to know ourselves for better understanding.

Finally, when we go through hard times we emerge as stronger and evolved individuals ,and

with great care and planning, we can stay psychologically strong during the pandemic and be more enlightened about the blind corners of life.

So, where do I go now?-Dilemma post board exams

So we are done with class XIIth exams yet not feel any relief because Corona scare left us cocooned at home. How much we had wished for outings and catching up with friends and now this. Can be frustrating, isn’t it?

Well that is one way to look at the problem. As the pressure of performing in boards surpasses us another mounting pressure lies ahead- board results and choice of course/college which looks like where you will be for the rest of our life. Yes, I’m looking forward to my life of freedom and exploration in college, but wait, I don’t know if I can make right decisions with my life yet.

Yes, I want to be the in the best college, but not with any course just because my friends and family wants me to pursue it. We can empathize with this dilemma, as “we all have been there at least once in our lives”.

As much as it sounds like a repetition from elders, it leaves you with a sense of relief that it is OK to be baffled and unsure if what you plan to take now; is something you want to stay with for the rest of your life.  Also doubts like what if you do not enjoy environment of the college, new friends or the course itself; is there any looking back?

This blog could be helpful for all students irrespective of their streams to get a basic idea as to how to go forward in their next phase and may I say-the most exciting phase i.e., college life. Spend some time with yourself and a notepad and ask,

  • What makes you happy? What is it that you are ready to give 100% of yourself to?
  • Is there a dream that you want to accomplish? How do you picture yourself in that dream? Focus on yourself and craft a path as to how will you reach there. Internet explorer galore- ask, ask, ask and you shall find!

For some students, who have unfortunately not being able to make it to the place they desired, please talk to that little bruised person inside,

  • Ok, so I didn’t make to the place I wanted to, this is not the end.
  • I can still accomplish success in my life. I can be what I want myself to be.
  • What can be my plan B? What else do I like, where I’m committing 100% of myself to?

Mind you this plan is a store house of all successful people; no one is a failure if Plan A does not work out right. You have to give yourself some space and opportunities’ to excel; sometimes circumstances could not be in your favor and nagging will never help.

Take each day as it comes, at least my mantra after being locked down to corona virus is this. Please allow yourself to falter, dust yourself up and keep up with all the chatter in your head with what to do next as this too shall pass away.

Wishing you a happy academic year full of twists and turns, new courses, new life at campus, healthy body and a peaceful mind.

Every life is a dilemma that must be solved by the person living it.

Jo Coudert

Right time to get ready for future sustainability Challenges after COVID-19 (An opportunity to start practicing innovative sustainable business practices)

Today the whole world is fighting with the pandemic called COVID 19. Big economies and nations are finding it difficult to fight with this invisible virus. After the recovery of China back to the normal there is hope for us too to come back on the track again. Are we ready for the near future challenges like climate change, global warming, unemployment, recession, increasing poverty and inequality after COVID- 19?

Still, we have time to listen to the young environmentalist Greta Thunberg and United Nations’ report, “The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development,”.(1) Creating economic growth just by increasing consumption of material goods does not seem a viable option at the global level now.  Projections indicate that the global use of materials will be doubled between 2017 and 2060, from 89 Gigatons to 167 Gigatons, with correspondingly increased levels of greenhouse gas emissions. (2)    Now the time has come to re-imagine and change the way we have been doing businesses, consumption and production from last two centuries only motivated by the concepts of more production, more consumption, and more and more profitability without considering the capacity of mother earth to support our irresponsible and mad behavior.

Can we imagine the future scene when the wild climate changes, increase in temperature, increased sea levels will not allow us to be alive and safe in our homes like we are now in the time of COVID-19 attack? As per the UN report, the current development model is not sustainable. (2)  The progress made in the last two decades is in danger of being reversed through worsening social inequalities and irreversible declines in the natural environment that sustains us.

The present model of development has delivered prosperity to hundreds of millions. But at the same time, it also has led to continuing poverty and other deprivations and unprecedented levels of inequality. It has brought the world very close to tipping points with the global climate system and biodiversity loss.

To change it, the scientists say the world must transform a number of key areas of human activities, including food, energy, consumption and production, and cities. These transformations will come through coordinated action by governments, businesses, communities, civil society, and individuals. Science has a vital role to play, a role that can be further strengthened by increasing investment in science for sustainability and in natural and social science institutions based in developing countries. (2)

The report emphasizes that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals fundamentally requires decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation. The extensive transformation will not be easy, a deep scientific understanding is needed to anticipate and mitigate the tensions and tradeoffs inherent in widespread structural change.

The strong political will and similar kind of tuff decisions that have already been taken by the world leaders to handle the COVID 19 attack are required to make the needed transformations. There will not be any one-size-fits-all solutions, and the interventions in developed countries will look very different from those in developing countries.  We need to create a bigger level of awareness in the world to mentally prepare ourselves to win future challenges. If we adopt the sustainable developmental model for the future we would also be able to mitigate the possible virus pandemic again by maintaining ecological and environmental balance.



  1. The full report, “The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development,” can be found here:
  2. Press release by United Nations, “Scientists call for urgent, targeted, action to avoid reversing the development gains of recent decades”, Embargoed until 12:30 p.m. EDT, 11 September 2019.


Social Media -Creating Infodemic of a Pandemic?

In a lockdown or a curfew like situation, what do people commonly rely on, for updates? If the first thought in your mind is News Channels, , you’re deeply mistaken. With hours of idleness in hand, all the major part of the population does is procrastinate. And what better way to procrastinate than Social Media? A study shows a massive 87% increase in social media usage amid the present lockdown.

With every other person from the community having a significant amount of “followers”, and having unguided access so as to post whatsoever they wish to, this Social Media that seems harmless mode of communication and fun to many, may act as the biggest curse to mankind. One may ponder so as to why? In the times of a pandemic, fear, leading to widespread panic, can worsen the situation multiple folds. And “What causes unwanted fear, one may ask?

False Information.

False Information is news, stories or hoaxes created to deliberately (sometimes even without realising the consequences) misinform or deceive readers and thus creating panic.

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

One of the major observable effects of widespread panic is Panic Buying. People start buying large quantities of a particular commodity or product due to sudden fears of a forthcoming shortage.­­­

Another effect is people sorting to untrue, exaggerated and dubious medical claims and hoaxes which they see on Social Media. People don’t check facts behind these claims and hence start believing all the wrong information. A lot many times these are backed by the strong beliefs and faiths that the communities have been carrying for ages, some right -some wrong.

According to an article by The Guardian, UK Anti-Fake News Unit deals with up to 10 false Coronavirus articles a day. One can only imagine the scale of such articles and the harm they cause.

Despite of the above points Social Media has proven to be a double edged sword. It’s both – a blessing and a curse.

A blessing in the form of a platform for Global Communication. Pandemics require co-ordinated global response strategies. People across the globe are able to communicate with each other. The people in the affected areas are able to help out those who are not yet a part of these areas; doing so by preventing them from making the same mistakes they did. When a cure isn’t known, these precautions are the only ray of hope in these dark times.

Social Media also a huge role in spreading information such as the people getting to know the requirement of Social Distancing and implementing it.

People are starting to understand the need to implement quarantine measures and curfew in the cities.

And how can we forget its main advantage for all the procrastinators out there? ENTERTAINMENT. How could we ever survive isolation without social media?

Not only this, Social Media has proved to be a platform where a good initiative can be organised and scaled up. People have and are continuing to co-ordinate donations in order to help the needy in these dark times.

To sum it up, we the people need to be more responsible when we decide to share or when we receive information to scrutinise it well and check its validation. We need the check if there are any facts backing the claim of such posts and thoroughly research if it is actually true? We need to do this so as to prevent worsening of the situation that we are already in.

What is called for is the right balance of free speech and responsible conduct till the time we do not have well drafted policies and mechanisms that address the digital creation and spread of misinformation about disease outbreaks. Let’s decide not to create an infodemic of the Pandemic that we are all struggling to come out of, as winners.



Deconstructing the myth of Happiness

The enormity of what Goethe meant when he said, Nothing is harder to bear than a succession of fair Days, dawns on me as we tread our life paths each day with diminished physicality. Fair Day, here connotes idea of happiness sought. Succession of fair days imply consistency of happiness sought hitherto.

As we sit here and watch with astonishment the invisible hand of nature turning our lives upside down and outside in, a latent existential crisis seems to be surfacing. While in this zone, a presentation by two of my students in positive psychology class triggered a chain of thought that implored expression.  So, here I am cogitating the very idea of Happiness.

As a Psychological construct happiness  is treated in three key ways: happiness as a global assessment of Life and it’s facets; Happiness as a recollection of past emotional experiences and happiness as an aggregation of multiple emotional reactions across time. Thus, in general happiness entails satisfaction from one’s life, good mood, positive emotions and feeling enjoyment.

The glamour and allure associated with this human state is reflected in the Culture- expressed in art, cinema and literature; and institutions – Pursuit of Happiness is a key aspect of American constitution and now an officially accepted parameter of a nation’s vitality (UNO’s happiness index). Consequently, this chase for happiness puts happiness at a pedestal where it is eternally sought but seldom achieved.

A line of research demonstrates that more people value happiness or put it on pedestal more likely they are to experience lesser satisfaction from life. A very high value given to happiness is also associated with lower well being and even symptoms of depression. The explanation lies in the fact that constant pitting of life situation against these surreal goals leaves one dissatisfied, wanting and feeling inadequate. In the famous Madmen series, the protagonist quips – “What is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness”. Doesn’t it somehow capture the flimsiness of the notion of happiness; the more we seek happiness the more it alludes us.

A comprehensive research done in 2011 suggests that there are positive outcomes of happiness but these do have limitations of intensity, context and form. Intense happiness experienced, ceases to have positive outcomes and can be potentially detrimental as it increases the propensity for riskier behaviors. Tasks involving confrontation as against collaboration have been found to be facilitated by angrier emotional states than happier emotional states. Also, positive emotional states draw upon easily accessible cognition, belief and stereotypes where as negative emotional states lead to more reflective and systematic processing of information. In terms of form, the more spontaneous and “go with the flow” form of happiness leads to more desirable outcomes as against happiness modulated by increased attempt to control the positive emotions through heightened self-monitoring or self-centricity.

Intuitively, there are things that make us truly happy but  questions worth pondering -is that feeling perennial? felt to the same degree with the same intensity perpetually? If the answer is no, let’s rethink.

Have we ever wondered why nature endowed us with multiplicity of feelings and thoughts, probably the nature wanted it so as this ability enabled us to ensure survival and propagate species. Maybe the experience of happiness is overrated.  May be its time we reflect on our very personal notions of happiness, assess our very individual struggles in the pursuit of happiness and more importantly accept and embrace the rainbow of emotions we are pre-wired to experience.

The law abiding citizen

It was somewhere in December when most of us were settling in for the winter holiday season that we started to hear about a virus spreading in some part of China. By January 2020, Indian media had locked in on the virus and soon Covid-19 rose to the headlines. At the time of writing this, there are over 6 lakh infected worldwide and over 1000 detected in India. The numbers are climbing alarmingly.
India reported its first case of Covid-19 in January among returnees from the epicenter of the outbreak. The cases recovered and we were happy that the virus had been put in check with no new case in India for almost a month, while each day, the contagion reached new shores across the world. By the first week of March, however, our sense of vulnerability became real as new cases were detected, all with a recent history of overseas travel. The counter started ticking faster each day, as compounding started to play.
The government of India started with advisories and restrictions on people traveling from the epicenter of the outbreak from January 17. People arriving from countries with reported cases of the outbreak were being screened and quarantined if needed. This is when some cases were reported in the media which caught my attention.
There were instances of people being uncooperative during the screening and not disclosing their travel details accurately beyond ports of entry and exit. Positively tested cases or their co-traveling family members were reported of not only violating self-quarantine but recklessly absconding by train to their native places, jeopardizing the entire containment effort. What were they thinking? For sure, these people understood what was asked of them and why. As well as the impact of non-compliance. They didn’t belong to the cross-section of the demography which was impervious to facts of the contagion.
While the State pushed for social distancing, even its representatives and other public figures were blatantly flouting the prescription.
How can we explain such apparently nonchalant behavior? This is an important question. If we can better understand the mechanics of behavior, we will be wiser for the days ahead.
Knowing what is right doesn’t mean much unless you do what is right – Theodore Roosevelt.

Consumer Neuroscience: Bridging the gap between what a consumer says and what a consumer does

Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system including the brain and the spinal cord. Neuroscience is interdisciplinary and works closely with other disciplines of study like mathematics, computer science, chemistry, philosophy, psychology, and medicine.

Consumer neuroscience is the application of neuro-scientific approach to consumer behavior studies. Consumer neuroscience is an emerging field of study that integrates psychology, neuroscience, economics and marketing. Consumer neuroscience attempts to understand how a consumer makes choice leading to final purchase.

Neuroscience is gaining fast momentum in consumer behavior studies because researchers have expressed dissatisfaction over the outcome of conventional survey methods. By implementing neuro-scientific methods the marketers intends to obtain information that cannot be known through conventional market research methods.

The general belief is to trust what a customer does than what a customer says. The ultimate aim of consumer neuroscientists is to decipher why consumers behave the way they behave and know their probable future behavior. Likewise the motive of every marketer is to understand consumer behavior towards marketing strategies and design marketing plan to suit customer preferences.

Neuroscience Toolkit

Most popular and widely available toolkit to study consumer neuroscience are mentioned below:

  • EEG (electroencephalogram): This is used to detect brain-based signals that can relay information about consumers purchase intentions when exposed to external stimuli.
  • Eye tracking: Eye tracking is used to examine consumer attention when presented with various brand/product alternatives in the environment.
  • GSR (Galvanic skin response): GSR measures and registers slight changes in the responses of skin conductance of the consumer after his/her exposure to a marketing stimulus.
  • fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance): It is employed to map brain activity of consumer through detecting changes associated with blood flow in the body.
  • Facial Coding: measures the voluntary and involuntary movements of facial muscles, participants are exposed to investigation stimuli.

The list of tools/apparatus used for consumer neuroscience is long, attempted to mention only the popular ones. Depending on the financial viability and outcome required consumer neuroscientists may employ relevant tool or combination of tools.

The fascinating outcomes of neuro-marketing is yet to be realized, however it is emerging as a reliable tool to global marketing companies to know their customers in various cultures. Such consumer research will help bridge the gap in consumer understanding for companies operating in cross-cultural environment.

In India neuroscience research is still in nascent stage and its potential is yet to be realized here, barring few start-ups and some multi-national companies, consumer neuroscience research is yet to find some takers among the corporate houses. High cost involved in setting-up labs or outsourcing such services may be the reason for not using neuroscience as popular market research method.

Death by PowerPoint

Most of us would have sat through PowerPoint presentations where the right mix of content delivery and attention-grabbing slides was not achieved. That is how one sees the death of potential proposal through powerpoint even before it takes a shape. This article focuses on tips and tricks to make your slides appealing and help you leave the desired impact to push your proposal.

Figure 1: A poorly designed slide

I’ve found that a good structure to the talk is the best way to convey point across. The outline view in Microsoft Word is designed to give an overview and is a good place to start. Outlining the presentation makes it easy to concentrate on the topic and content, without being waylaid by details like colour and animation. The entire outline can be ported to PowerPoint using the send to PowerPoint command.

Figure 2: Outline view of MS Word

Do make use of the layout view in PowerPoint to keep the slides consistent. A large variety of layouts are available to suit any need. Use a clean sans serif font which will be readable from a distance. Use sentence case and do not reduce the size of the font below 22 points.
Make your sentences brief and to the point. Ideally, everything should be bulleted and no bullet should span more than 2 lines. Use simple words to cue you and keep the audience engaged.
Be careful about colour. Remember that projectors do not reproduce colours faithfully so try to test the colours on an external display. Avoid using too many colours for fonts and keep it consistent through the presentation.

Figure 3: The colour wheel – Colours opposite to each other go better together

Use illustrations charts, graphics wherever feasible. Source your pictures carefully and make sure they’re of a good resolution. A graphic that breaks up into pixels on the screen or appears skewed reflects poor preparation.
Remember to omit any unnecessary details so that you can stick to the time. You should never have to stand in front of an audience and skip through slides. Plan it so that the presentation carries the right amount of detail for the right amount of time.
Learn to use the presenters view of PowerPoint to practice. This allows you to see the slide, your own notes and the time, on one simple screen. A number of shortcuts are available to jump from slide to slide, show a black or white screen, see headings of slides bracket open (Ctrl-S). So you can jump neatly from one slide to another.

number+ENTER Go to slide number
A or = Show or hide arrow pointer
B or PERIOD Display black screen / return to slide
W or COMMA Display white screen / return to the slide
CTRL+P Show pointer / Pen mode; E to erase
H Go to the next hidden slide
CTRL+A; CTRL+H Redisplay / hide  hidden pointer
CTRL+M Show / hide ink markup
CTRL+T View task bar
CTRL+S All Slides dialog box

Figure 4: Some handy shortcuts while presenting

A good set of slides is important to keep the audience focused on the matter. Of course, the content and other skills matter as much. I hope the above points will help you make your presentation subtle yet powerful.

Role of Artificial Intelligence in Marketing

Role of Artificial Intelligence in Marketing

In today’s fast paced digital marketing landscape, marketers are all looking for innovative ways to tap customer and engage with them to provide a better customer experience. Artificial intelligence (AI) has great potential to create effective dynamic marketing strategies and improve sales and marketing efforts of the business. In fact without AI, it will be difficult for business to survive in competitive landscape and stay ahead in competition.
What is AI and how it is enhancing marketing efforts
As per the survey conducted by TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) of 835 companies in 2017, AI is most widely used by companies across various functional areas of organization, particularly to discuss about marketing AI could beneficial in following ways as shown in the diagram below

Artificial intelligence in marketing (AI Marketing) is a tool for leveraging customer data and AI concepts like machine learning, deep learning to predict customer behavior and their next move to enhance the customer experience and journey.

Below are the examples of leading brands which, successfully implemented AI in Marketing

1. Nike has launched an online store based on augmented reality and projection systems that allows customers to design their own sneakers in-store. The system displays the design on the blank shoes then the chosen designs are printed on the sneakers and available to the customer in about 90 minutes. This customer engaging feature serves two purpose one to collect data about customer preferences for sneaker brand and second it drove sales.  Further this data is analyzed with machine learning algorithms and Nike design its future products and deliver personalized product recommendations to the customer through different digital marketing tools.

2. Starbucks use mobile app and its loyalty card to collect and analyze customer data. It uses predictive analytics technique for data analysis and sends personalized content through marketing emails and messages to customers. These content include recommendations when they are approaching a local store also suggest offers to increase the customer’s average order value.

3. Alibaba a retail giant has opened a physical “Fashion AI” store in Hong Kong with aim of streamlining the fashion retail experience to the customer through the use of Artificial Intelligence.
4. Southeastern Europe’s Mobile Gaming Company  is also using AI to convert players from the free version of its game to paid version.

5. BMW’s has launched AI-enhanced sports car this is designed for those who values exclusivity and early adoption AI technology. The AI enhanced technology first learns about its driver and then automatically systems are adjusted to enhance cabin experience to suit an individual. BMW’s focus on connected cars and technology-enabled cars is to keep its customers brand loyal.

To summarize, AI is most widely used for customer targeting, to get customer insight and thereby anticipating future customer purchase and presenting personalized offers accordingly. It improves upon media buying and monitoring social media comments to determine overall brand affinity and issues. Advancements in Artificial Intelligence are offering companies, better ways to enhance customer engagement, customer experience and brand loyalty.

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