November 2020

Idea ReviewBy Mukul Bhartiya / November-09

Tanishq Ekatvam Ad Review

Last month’s Tanishq ad for their “Ekatvam” range of products was much talked, due to the topic it chose to show and message it conveyed. As soon as the digital advertisement was released, #boycotttanishq started trending on social media sites. It immediately drew the line of confrontation among two groups; one group were claiming to be of Hindus and other group were claiming to be of seculars and liberals. The concept of an expecting Hindu girl married in a Muslim household being nervously surprised for their in-laws celebrating “God Bharai” ritual for her didn’t go down well with a section of Hindus and they vowed to boycott Tansihq’s products. Not only that, they even started voicing their displeasure on social media. When they started voicing their displeasure on social media, another section of people jumped in the defence of Tanishq.

But this is all about responses it got; let me examine the communication decision taken by the Brand and Marketing Manager of Tanishq. Was this a brand communication or a statement of corporate or product team’s ideology?

Let us understand what it presumably showed:
-Love beyond the boundaries of religion.
-Acceptance of each other’s culture.
-Different customs and importance of jewelry in it.

And what was construed by a section of people:

-It pressed the raw nerve of inter-religious marriage where girl is necessarily a Hindu. This is a very hot social and political topic and evokes a very strong response. For many, this is a historical, political and narrational wrong perpetrated against one community.
-Some criticized the nervous surprise at girl’s face, which they took it as otherwise non-acceptance of her customs by her husband’s family.

Marketing and brand communication can’t overlook the prevalent social fault lines and it also can’t overlook the sentiments of major target customer group, because it may affect the sales. Very next day, share prices of Tanishq dropped by around 2.5% which confirmed the sentiments of that group which was angry over this advertisement.

Now let us analyse few more facts mentioned below, which are important to establish that whether it was a well planned communication to increase the sales or an ideological statement either coming from the corporate team or brand team:

-The theme of advertisement is a very controversial topic which evokes even stronger response. I will not get into the details.
-The community who were angry, i.e., Hindus have the custom of buying gold ornaments during different festivals like “Akshay Tritiya” and “Dhanteras”. They even buy gold when enter the new house. And of course, marriage is a huge thing. Women folks in villages save money to buy jewelry whether they have daughters or son, because at the time of marriage, they have to give it to the daughter or daughter-in-law. So, for them, not only it is their personal choice but social and religious ritual as well.
-Jewelry is not just a woman thing among Hindus, men also wear them.
-Muslim community doesn’t have the social or religious ritual to buy ornaments; it is completely their personal choice.
-Men from Muslim community are forbidden by their religious edicts from wearing gold jewelry.
-Population ratio of Hindus to Muslims in India is 8:1.5, so without Hindus form the main market segment.

So, when odds were so firmly placed against this brand and marketing communication, then it was definitely a statement of ideology by the team at brand or corporate level then a communication designed to boost the sales. May be the team was experimenting with an idea of brand identity they want to create or maybe they had designed it for Pakistan and not India.

Note: I tried looking for the advertisement on Official Youtube channel of Tanishq Jewelry but it wasn’t available there.

Idea ReviewBy Mukul Bhartiya / November-10

Review of Data Breach at Tech Companies

10th November 2020

I saw a news piece today on Linkedin that leading e-Grocer of India, BigBasket suffered a potential data breach and it could have compromised details of 20 Million users. The data included users’ full name, email IDs, passwords, contact number and every other bit of information and was put on sale for USD 40,000 on dark web. Now, every other bit of information could only mean the delivery address and amount of purchases made on BigBasket. Management of the company claimed that they don’t save the financial information on the website. If sales numbers are recorded, then potential target of fraud can easily be identified.

Few years back I was doing a course offered by Coursera, designed and delivered by NorthWestern University titled “Understanding media by understanding Google”. Among many reference study materials, statement by one gentleman in one of the video said something and it stayed with me since then. Responding on what is the difference between Apple and Google, he said, “Apple sells you a product and Google sells you as a product”. I can’t comment about Apple because I haven’t used any product of Apple so far, but I can definitely vouch for the statement made about Google. Every application installed in mobile wants access to phone state information, read and write access to message and many things more. As I tried to change the keypad of one of my mobile, I was prompted by information that by agreeing to activate it, I will be giving access to all the information I will be punching on it, including PINs and passwords. So, I immediately withdrew from the activity. Some seven-eight years back, I was using an app called Foursquare, which used to give points on every check in. Funnily enough, despite the fact that these points were not redeemable in money, getting points used to give me a high. One day I checked the statistics and charts of my check-ins and found that it has complete and accurate record of my movements. It gave chill in my spine that if this data reaches someone either by design or deceit, I and many people who are using this app like me are completely exposed naked of our travel, shopping and eating behavior. I immediately removed the app from my mobile. Not only that, I stopped checking-in on Facebook and giving random reviews on Google of the every visit I made. I simply don’t want to be available for everyone on the internet. I am not saying that my details can’t be accessed, but as far as possible, I will try to retain control of my information to myself.

In this digital and 5G age, every other tech company wants to know about us, they want to analyze our behavior, they want to control our behaviour for either corporate or political bosses or both. Facebook had started many information gathering campaigns either by itself or partner apps by allowing them to use its platform. Couple of them are “Ten Year Challenge” and “How will look on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Tinder”. By getting the photos of users of ten years’ gap, coders at Facebook can find it easy to predict how the person is aging and how his/her face is changing with the progress in age. This is helping them to sharpen their facial recognition skills. With four different photos, Facebook is getting the access to any change dress can have on the appearance of an individual. By participating in these campaigns in the name of having fun, users are actually being made fun by Facebook or any other app.

The moment we log in to some app or website, we give them entry to our private life, which is accessible to whole world and we can’t deny that. But we, as a user should be cautious of using the apps or sharing our information which could otherwise be used for some other purpose than making our user experience better. Tech companies also must be brought under strict rules about collecting the type of information about its users.

Imagine “Weather” app asking permission to manage your calls and read and write message. I was recently integrating my Microsoft account with Google and Microsoft was asking me the right to write or delete all the messages of Google. Whether Microsoft does that or not is a different question, but I don’t understand what purpose it will serve for Microsoft other than controlling all my online behavior. Tech companies must be forced not to collect information which has no connection whatsoever with the identity and nature of the product. Financial information may be the immediate fear, but manipulation of human behavior and controlling their actions are the biggest fear which needs to be fought forcefully as a society.

Idea ReviewBy Mukul Bhartiya / November-12

Misbehaving by Richard H Thaler

First time I read any book on behavioural economics was “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Nobel award winning Psychologist Daniel Kanheman around six years back and I got blown over by it. Having spent better part of my life in food retail, understanding human behaviour through historical data collected through weekly or monthly sales was quite a task, because the element of biases, heuristics, noise etc. are something I had just assumptions but no authoritarial backing. Many a times, standing on the floor of the store, I could sense the consumer behaviour but could not call it a behavioural pattern of financial decision making due to not being exposed to psychology part of human decision making. Nature of the job was to achieve the sales numbers, so academic aspect of conclusions coming from data never became a topic of discussion among peers and colleagues.

As my curiosity increased in this subject, I pursued many online courses available across different platforms and read many books on it along with neuroeconomics, neuromarketing and neuro-consumer Science. In this pursuit, I recently found a book “Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics”, written by Richard H. Thaler and published in 2015. Mr. Thaler is known as father of Behavioural Economics and won Nobel Prize for Economics in 2017.

This books describes his journey of exploring, experimenting, understanding, consolidating and presenting the role of different human behaviour behind economic decision making more famously known as “biases and heuristics”, the names given by famous Daniel Kanheman and Amos Tversky.

Written in eight blocks (Beginnings, Mental Accounting, Self-Control, Interlude, Working with Danny, Engaging with the Economics Profession, Finance, Welcome to Chicago, Helping Out) divided in thirty three chapters, this book is a revealation of a completely new dynamics of human financial decision making and revelation to read for anyone who is even not conversant with the idea of either psychology or economics.

From Endowment Effect to The List to Value Theory to The Gauntlet to Bargains and Rip-Offs to Sunk Cost to Buckets and Budgets to The Willpower to The Planner and The Doer to Misbehaving in the Real World to What Seems Fair to Fairness games to end with Save Money Tomorrow, Going Public and Nudging in U.K, this book is the journey of Behavioural Economics with the father of very concept himself.

I simply love the concept of “Endowment Effect”. We overvalue what we have regardless to what is its market value. If we are asked to pay surcharge to facilitate credit card transaction cost, we frown over that, but if that surcharge is included in the product cost, we don’t mind because that’s not obvious to us. While two are one and the same thing, but not getting discount is just a lost opportunity cost for the consumers while paying extra for credit card transaction looks like direct cost. This is not only true for the economic decisions but for ideological view points as well. People value their opinion more over others and they go out in public just to confirm their opinion. “Endowment Effect” coupled with “confirmation bias” becomes “myside bias”, the reason behind big ideological divides.

Mental accounting is another topic which I find fascinating. Recently I bought a laptop for Rs.39.450/- for multitasking of a little lesser known brand. I got a Rs.1500/- instant discount due the tie-up between my credit card issuing bank and seller. Few days later, another Rs.1250/- cash back was credited to my wallet. Along with the features, company offered two years service warranty as against of one year given by other known brands and I got one year Microsoft 365 subscription free as well. I had done good two weeks research before buying the laptop and had seen umpteen videos and read thousands of reviews of different brands before making this decision. Laptop of known brands with similar features and warranty were at more than Rs.65,000/-. So when I made this decision, got this product, set up my device and Microsoft account, I found it very smooth in operation. It proved to be great bargain for me. After that whomsoever I told about the purchase, I not only explained the discount and cash back, but also the cost of one year Microsoft 365 Subscription, cost of 1 TB storage on cloud, and cost of one extra years’ warranty. Before that, I was against the idea of having cloud storage space, because I not only found it costly but leaving the responsibility of my data on someone else. Hard Drive Storage meant complete control over my data to me. But after getting it along with Few days back, I had almost made the decision to buy a laptop for Rs.61,000/- with the same features but somehow I ended up not buying it. So, my satisfaction level from making the purchase decision which I made is like absolute bargain.

This book is full of real life experiments and examples and is a must read for everyone who wants to know the science behind financial decision making.

You can buy the book following this link Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics

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