Saturday, 27 April 2013

Marketing techniques

A marketing strategy is an overall marketing plan designed to meet the needs and requirements of customers. The plan should be based on clear objectives. A number of techniques will then be employed to make sure that the marketing plan is effectively delivered. Marketing techniques are the tools used by the marketing department. The marketing department will set out to identify the most appropriate techniques to employ in order to make profits. These marketing techniques include public relations, trade and consumer promotions, point-of-sale materials, editorial, publicity and sales literature.
Marketing techniques are employed at three stages of marketing:

Market research enables the organisation to identify the most appropriate marketing mix. The mix should consist of:
  • 1.the right product
  • 2.sold at the right price
  • the right place
  • 4.using the most suitable promotional techniques.

To create the right marketing mix, marketers have to ensure the following:
  • The product has to have the right features - for example, it must look good and work well.
  • The price must be right. Consumers will need to buy in large numbers to produce a healthy profit.
  • The goods must be in 'the right place at the right time'. Making sure that the goods arrive when and where they are wanted is an important operation.
  • The target group needs to be aware of the existence and availability of the product through promotion. Successful promotion helps a firm to spread costs over a larger output.

Friday, 26 April 2013

"Don't vote - it only encourages them."

This is not for Democrats, or Republicans, or Libertarians, or members of the Green or Reform parties. This is for people who are highly individualistic and don't identify themselves with any of the political parties in the Pakistani  political system. Not due to the fact that they don't share the ideology of the party, but because they don't believe in the ideology of the current political system. This is for people who believe in a pure (100%) democracy.

I don't believe our current government is "by the people, of the people, and for the people." This is the only valid government regardless of how it is achieved. Our government, looking at it very generously, is by the people through their elected representatives, of the elected representatives, and it is for people according to what the elected representatives think the people want." "Elected representative" translates to "politician" in this day and age. At this point, I shouldn't have to say more about the Pakistani political system, i.e., it should all be self evident from the words "career politician".

"The true distinction between these forms is, that in a Democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic, they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents."

a very true saying "Voters decide nothing; people who count votes decide everything."

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Pakistan & Economicl Crisis

Pakistan’s economy is currently passing through the most difficult phase of its 
economic history. A robust economy has been transformed into a fragile one. Pakistan 
is not a unique case since a number of countries have broadly encountered similar 
economic challenges, implemented appropriate policies, and have restored self sustaining 
rapid growth with internal and external stability over the medium term. 

The business cycle of Pakistan’s economy has shown anomalous behavior over the last 
many years. The growth rate peaked at 9% cent in 2005 before hitting the bottom in 
2009. It improved a bit to 4.2% last year, which is not enough to impact the grave 
issues such as economic growth, unemployment and poverty. All the serious 
challenges Pakistan’s economy is undergoing include: the ever widening budget and 
trade deficits, galloping inflationary pressures, incessant increase in the level of 
poverty, power outages, water shortages, closure of industries, food insecurity, and 
relying heavily on domestic borrowing due to lower revenue collections, have all 
diverted our attention from addressing the national economic plight. On the one hand, 
war against terrorism, global recession, ethnic and sectarian strife as well as the 
deteriorating law and order situation in Baluchistan and Karachi are contributing to the 
fiscal and trade deficits in Pakistan. On the other hand, lower foreign assistance 
disbursements are compelling the government to rely heavily on deficit financing a 
tool that would further impact negatively on the country’s real productivity. 

Weak investment climate, infrastructure gaps, sovereign creditworthiness concerns, 
and large fiscal deficits continue to pose obstacles to a sustained improvement in 
investment activity and economic performance. Electricity and gas shortages for the 
industrial and agricultural sectors, macroeconomic challenges including fiscal deficits 
and high inflation, and security uncertainties, have hampered productive business 
activities. While industrial activity had picked up in the previous quarter to 6.5% 
higher than a year earlier, inadequate electricity and gas supplies continue to 
stagger this positive trend in the industrial sector.

The unavoidable conclusion is that Pakistan will have to go to the IMF for a bailout 
package and this may have to be done by the interim government. IMF will have its 
conditions but more significantly is likely to insist on political consensus on those 
conditions to make sure that the next government does not back out of the 
commitments. The US$ 2 billion in Coalition Support Funds (CSF) have helped sustain 
expenses so far but there is likely to be a balance of payment crisis in the latter half 
of 2013 because of reduced capital inflows, rising debt and declining reserves. The 
IMF would want Pakistan to change its reform-averse image and pull out of the 
policy paralysis induced by political instability and a dangerous internal security 
situation. Pakistan, right now, has a weak investment climate, widening 
infrastructure gaps, sovereign creditworthiness concerns, large fiscal deficits, a 
declining industrial and agriculture sector because of energy shortfalls, rising 
inflation, negative production capacity, macroeconomic challenges and a very 
serious internal security situation. This has to be seen against a GDP growth rate of 
6-7% in the period 2003-2007 and the fact that investment has reduced by one third 
in the period 2008-2012. On the positive side there has been a marginal pick-up in 
industrial output, a slight rise in exports and migrant remittances remain strong.

Friday, 19 April 2013

From marketing brands to brand activation..... !!

As society moves into post modernism, new companies have evolved
and older ones have reformed their businesses to meet the changing
needs of people and companies. These companies have listened to their
customers, and they have learned that, both as companies and as
persons, we perceive ourselves as individuals with specific needs.
The enlightened individual is the focal point in the postmodern society.

Today, people are no longer a massive work force, or manipulated
consumers. Each individual brings competence and ideas valuable for
every kind of commercial business. We look upon ourselves as persons
with individual values and preferential needs. An increasing number of
industries have specialized in meeting the increased complexity of the
individual needs. Staffing service, with companies such as Manpower,
have flourished meeting the demands in a rapidly changing global
business environment where flexibility is key to a lot of companies.

Companies desire a stronger relationship with their customers, making
it harder to exchange the products for other offers, both on a functional
and on an emotional level. In this highly competitive and individual
world companies are increasingly depending on the brand as a competitive weapon. 

The brand has become the carrier of the emotional value
proposition towards the customers and a symbol of the specific
competence that builds up a company’s competitive advantage. Thus
the brand faces new challenges in giving meaning to a company’s whole
relationship with the customer.

Traditionally, branding has been a marketing communication tool, a visual
and verbal weapon owned by marketers and marketing consultants. In
order to earn trust and loyalty from the postmodern customer, it is time for
the rest of the company to take benefit of the assets embodied in the brand.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Strategic Planning and Business Development

The phrase strategic planning describes jobs that can vary considerably in their responsibilities, duration, 
and career path within an organization. Strategic planners explore, design, analyze, or evaluate specific 
business plans. This work may involve: 

 identifying and evaluating merger or acquisition proposals 
 analyzing the feasibility of a new product or service 
 designing or evaluating new service-delivery processes, distribution processes, vendor 
relationships, or business alliances.

Many people use the phrase business development synonymous with strategic planning. But, business development professionals typically have more of an external focus on: 

 potential mergers and acquisitions 
 negotiating deals (mergers, distribution deals, spin offs) 
 business alliances 
 joint ventures 
 new market opportunities 

Some strategic planners work as internal consultants within their companies. They may work on temporary 
assignments within a business unit while that unit is planning or evaluating new projects. Or, they may have 
a long-term position within a central strategic planning unit of a large corporation, where they evaluate the 
strategy of the corporation as a whole. Either type of work can eventually lead to general management 
roles within a company.

Unlike other functional responsibilities -- such as sales, marketing, finance, or manufacturing -- the strategic 
planning role does not have a sharply defined identity. It is defined uniquely in each organization. For 
example, in many companies, strategic planning constitutes an entry-level position, particularly for newly 
minted MBA graduates. 

In such cases, the organization benefits from the new employee's analytic abilities, and the employee gets 
a chance to learn about the organization from the vantage point of a relatively high-level staff role. After 
one to two years, the employee may advance to a line-management position in an operating unit of the 
company, which can lead to a career in line management. 

By contrast, many larger companies have a separate strategic-planning or business-development function 
that is staffed by professionals who develop their careers specifically within the strategic-planning area. 
When considering a career in strategic planning or business development, find out how a potential 
employer defines the strategic-management role, and whether that definition fits with your own career 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Brand equity

How strong is your brand? Is it a brand with many loyal buyers that people know and trust and are willing to pay a price premium for? Or is it a weak brand, commanding little loyalty and esteem? In sum, is your brand equity high or low? Strong brands enter the recession in a much more favorable position than weak brands. They are on the shelves of more retailers, have more shelf space and have a larger and more committed customer base. Marketing budgets for stronger brands also tend to be higher.
In recessions, retailers across the world devote more shelf space to their own brands (especially since they also command a higher margin). For example, to cater to the increased price sensitivity of UK consumers in the wake of the economic downturn, Tesco launched on September 17 2008, its fourth line of private labels, called “Discount Brands at Tesco.” Sales of Tesco’s discount and value ranges are up 65 per cent on last year, and one in four shoppers now purchases these ranges. This puts a pressure on the number of national brands the retailer still carries. Retailers are less likely to kill brands with a strong and loyal customer base.
High-equity brands are also better insulated against the switching to private labels behavior that is ubiquitous in recessions, if only because loyal customers incur higher switching costs when buying non-preferred items. High-equity brands are known to suffer less, and to recover faster, following a product-harm crisis. The same holds true when faced with an economic 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

21 Ways to Add Magic to Your Brand and Stand Out as a Creative!!

It is vital that, in the current climate, where people are clambering over each other to be seen, independent creatives take deliberate action in modelling a clearly defined brand for themselves.

People tell me that simply ‘being yourself’ is enough, for how you present your business to be called a brand. And this is certainly an important element of a brand, but there are more elements that make up a strong, recognisable brand.

The following are some ideas for clarifying the brand you are already building…

1. Identify your personal ‘quirks’ and make use of them

Your interesting traits, preferences and quirks are like fuel for a good brand. Have a think about what is particularly unique to you, and build it into how you present your brand’s message.

Author Seth Godin is particularly good at making his shiny bald head (one full of awesome insight) a part of his brand and a huge part of what makes him memorable.

2. Show you give a damn about presentation

Make sure that every aspect of how you present yourself, from your business cards, to your website, to your social media profile, shows care and effort.

Show that you care about your brand, your service and the people you deal with. This manifests itself in the smallest details, more than anything else.

3. Tidy Up

Tidy up anywhere you showcase the stuff you create, like your website and portfolio and your studio. This isn’t restricted to these areas. Your desk, your clothes and your own mind are other areas worth giving an occasional spring clean.

Tidying up creates clarity, not only in terms of your brand, but it will have a positive effect on your own vision of your own brand.

4. Start with your mission

Having a clear mission statement (or a main goal) to accompany your business and your brand is important. Everything else under ‘brand you’ can be defined by this, so it’s worth having one, and a good one at that.

5. Find out what your clients don’t know they want

This might require some research into some good old fashioned books on persuasion (of the good, positive kind) and marketing. Often people hire you or buy your products for reasons that aren’t explainable, but are actually more rooted to how human nature works.

If you can build this kind of awareness into how you present your stuff, you could really spice things up. And people wouldn’t even know how you did it.

6. Research the rest and do it differently

Know how your competition brands and sells themselves, then make your own brand entirely different and unique to you. Now you stand out.

7. Hire talent

Make use of the expertise of other talented people, paid or unpaid (asking for advice), to help build your brand based on your work and on what makes you tick. People with sound knowledge on branding in general could be a great help to you.

8. Add extra value

Strive for excellence and beyond. How can you add further value to your products and particularly your service? Adding consistent and unexpected extra value to your services will become part of your brand.

9. Incorporate ritual

Doing things ritualistically need not involve drinking snake’s blood every time you sit down to write your next short story, but taking consistent and repetitive action in the way you work, will build character and an image of you, which you can use to your advantage.

Believe it or not, but the way Raphael Nadal eats his bananas in the same way every time he sits down for a break between tennis games is now part of his image, and his brand.

What can you do as a creative that brings ritual into your day to day? This could be from the methods you use to regularly promote yourself, to how you work, to how you deal with prospects.

10. Dress like a pro

This can be elaborated on in two ways. Firstly, dressing like someone who is a professional in your industry in a way that you are comfortable, will make you begin to actually feel the part, and improve and strengthen your own brand in the process.

Secondly, perhaps you want to present your brand in the way you dress and present yourself. Got a favourite colour that you might want to wear consistently? Some of us would!

11. Make your own life more interesting

Going out and doing interesting things, including regularly pushing through your comfort zone, will not only enrichen your life and increase your confidence, but it build up a picture of you, that you can use in the way you present yourself, your life’s mission and your brand’s message.

Get out there!

12. Streamline what you are selling

It’s much better to focus on becoming an expert at one thing, than being mediocre at several. It’s also much harder to promote yourself if you are ‘master’ of everything.

13. Tell your story

Yes, we’ve heard it before, but people really do buy into the person just about as much as they buy into your skills and products.

Make your own story more prominent, and make it an integral part of your brand. People like stories, especially ones that reveal the reasons why you do what you do, and a passion towards something that can be shared and felt by others.

14. Think like Coca Cola, behave like you

Being an independent creative professional means you still need to be professional about your brand name and execute a level of ingenuity, adaptation and plain old business understanding.

At the same time, it is about being personal with how you deal with the people and prospects that come through your doors.

The being personal part is where you have a huge advantage over Coca-Cola.

15. Travel and learn

See the world and take note of what you see. It will build you as a person exponentially, and it will change your perspective. Widening your horizons in this way can only have a positive impact on the way your own message comes across.

16. Define your core strength, and milk it

Ask yourself, what do I do that I am most proud of, and revolve what you do and the way you sell yourself around that.

17. Copy others

Look to other creatives who are doing it well and running successful businesses. Research them, question them and make friends with them. ‘Borrow’ what works for them and make your own brand based on what you learn.

18. Fine-tune the types of clients you work with

Think of how much your brand name can be shaped by the clients you say no to or the kinds of clients you only say yes to. Maybe you only work with companies who have strictly environmentally-friendly policies.

Saying no to certain types of clients shows you have boundaries, and brand is all about boundaries.

19. Lead

Good brands are leaders. Accumulate a following through selfless and passionate leadership on something of interest related to the work you do.

20. Have one core communication channel

Is there a particular communication channel, be it social media, newsletters, and so on, that you use, or could use, more than any other?

A big chunk of your brand could base itself on the core method you use to communicate with friends and prospects. Whatever form of communication this is, this will become synonymous with you and people will know where to find you.

21. Bring awareness to a cause

Dedicating some of your time and energy to a good cause, can not only be hugely personally rewarding, as well as contributing to the well-being of the world, but it can also add depth to your brand.

When you engage with clients and followers, people will not only become aware of and support your business, but the cause in question as well.