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PR is among the top five functions of any successful organization

Public Relations (PR) is an important management function in any organization. A company’s ‘good name’ is its most valuable asset. Every organization whether small or big, start-up or one that has achieved critical mass and size is under constant public scrutiny. Public opinion is crucial to the success and sustainability of any organization. PR helps an organization in earning credibility that is essential to influence the public opinion.

Changing face of PR

The business scenario has changed dramatically. In the face of globalization PR has expanded its spectrum of activity exponentially in the past 25 years. It has become an integral part of the overall management function and global in its reach. Moreover, PR is not an isolated function. Any PR plan has to be perfectly in sync with the other marketing functions and corporate communications.

In today’s competitive environment it is essential to educate the market on new products, production breakthroughs, recognition awards, positive financial health etc. by using the voice and power of the media favorably.  It is essential to improve local and international communications by consistently making the company’s business and policies known better through effective public relations. This helps organizations raise money from investors, while other stock market constituents/achieve near accurate share values.

PR is necessary, perhaps even critical, in today’s competitive marketplace. It will be suicidal for any organization to ignore this important function. An effective communication, or public relations plan for an organization is developed to communicate to an audience (whether internal or external publics) in such a way that the message coincides with organizational goals and seeks to benefit mutual interests whenever possible. Regular media exposure legitimizes an organization’s work and enhances its reputation. Also, PR is an economical means of promoting an organization’s brand and overall perception.

The functioning of a PR agency can be divided into three departments:

Client Servicing: Responsible for day-to-day interface with the client. Their job includes- ideating and presenting strategies to the clients in order to achieve client’s business goals.

Business Development: Responsible for generating and closing leads for new business. They ensure the cash flow in the company. Their job includes- researching on the new leads, preparing presentations and pitching to the new clients. It could be on a retainer or per assignment basis.

Media Relations: Responsible for strategizing and pitching stories to the media on behalf of agency’s clients. They work closely with the client serving teams and play a key role in issues management and crisis situations. Their role includes- keeping a tab on media movements, pitching stories to the media and developing key messages for or on behalf of agency’s clients. They also play an important role in preparing / training the clients on how to face media and educate them on frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Although there’s a demarcation of roles, especially in the big agencies, all these departments work closely with each other. For instance, it is the client serving and media relation’s team who are responsible for developing key messages and strategist for the clients.

 

My eternal love for Media Relations

I have worked in the PR industry for many years and in all the three departments. It is the media relations function that I enjoy the most. The sheer thrill of connecting with the journalists and developing mutually beneficial relationship is a learning experience. It is a relationship that is based on trust and contrary to the conventional belief, it is a two-way process. The journalist want good stories as much as a PR professional’s need for positive media coverage his / her clients. There’s no bigger high for a journalist to get a byline on a lead story in a newspaper / magazine. So, developing a constructive working relationship among themselves is a recipe for a win-win situation for both media and PR professionals.

So, even if an agency has the best business development team and the best brains working in the client servicing department, if they don’t get appropriate support in terms of media relations, the agency cannot retains its clients for long. Hence, the role of effective media relations professionals assume importance, as they can create heroes out of nothing. Conversely an ineffectively media relations manager can spell doom for high and mighty…Is Rob Ford listening?

How ‘Old Spice’ successfully shed its Fuddy-Duddy image….

It’s not easy for a brand to shed its Fuddy-Duddy image. Companies or brands who do not respond to the changing market needs disappear from the competitive space sooner than what you think. On the other hand if a company takes timely and corrective measures, it can result in a complete turn-around of its fortunes. There have been many examples of how some companies successfully ran campaigns to respond to the changing market needs but let me share with you the story of one such campaign that impressed me the most. It was the Old Spice viral Ad campaign. It redefined the way companies used social media as a tool to promote its products / services.

The story

After almost five decades of market leadership position, Old Spice, the popular male grooming products brand, experienced a flat growth in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. The brand became associated with old men and didn’t find favours with the younger generation.

In 1999, Proctor and Gamble (P&G), which acquired the Old Spice from Shulton Inc. a decade ago changed its strategy to attract younger men and re-positioned Old Spice as a young and dynamic brand. It was a bold attempt to do something out-of-the-box and wacky, which was in sharp contrast to Old Spice’s image as a brand and P&G as a company.

Launch of a historical campaign

Old Spice Guy made his debut in a viral ad campaigns for Old Spice ‘Red Zone’ body wash that was broadcast during Super Bowl XLIV, in February 2010. Starring ex-football player and actor Isaiah Mustafa, it was clear from the start that the spot, called “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” was a daring restatement of the venerable Old Spice brand. The new Old Spice Guy was a handsome but somewhat mysterious figure who engaged in random acts of manliness, and pushed it to an absurd level.

This crazy-yet-crisp introduction to one of the most popular viral ad campaigns in history, sparked an Internet phenomenon, reaching more people than P & G could have possibly fathomed.

Through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit viewers were invited to send questions, comments, and fan mail to the shirtless hero of the campaign. He would carefully select his favourites, and within hours he would post a video reply, standing topless in the familiar comforts of his shower.

Within a week, Old Spice Guy had posted 186 video responses, which have been viewed 94 million times till date, while his YouTube site has become one of the most popular sponsored channel ever, with over 100 million followers.

Why was it so successful?

It followed basic requirements of any social media campaign such as transparency, easy to share and short enough so to capture viewers with the shortest attention span. Other than this it used a simple formula to tempt people into sharing and replicating it with their own spoofs. The strategy paid off as the campaign garnered responses from social media on other social media sites. Rather than tweet or message people back, Weiden and Kennedy, the agency for P&G took it to the next level and began to engage with their audience through filming short personalized response videos which were met with shock and delight, and thus encouraging others to engage with the campaign.

Inevitably, the campaign received some high profile tweets from celebrities, most notably: Ellen DeGeneres,Perez Hilton and Alyssa Milano. A shrewd move for the campaign as it was able to hook into those celebrity fan bases and readers and thus widen the audience and get some free celebrity endorsement.

Did it affect the bottom line?

Within three months of the launch of the campaign, the overall sales for all Old Spice body-wash products went up by 11% over the previous year, and 27% from the last six months.

Overall sales for Old Spice Body Wash rose 105 percent for that period. Old Spice retained its position of being the No. 1 brand of body wash and anti-perspirant/deodorant in both sales and volume with growth in the high single and double digits.

The Old Spice Guy campaign set the bar for how other companies and agencies can approach viral content by focusing on their target audience. Old Spice struck a perfect balance of content and advertising.

Four key takeaways from this campaign:

  • Create short, snappy video content
  • Create follow-up content for successful campaigns
  • Keep your audience engaged
  • Trust your communication teams

Not every company can be as brave as Procter & Gamble. The fact is, the company took an enormous chance with Wieden + Kennedy, since the campaign’s success was completely contingent upon how audiences would respond to the fast and absurd humor.

Many a times, companies and owners micromanage such important projects marketing and PR campaigns. Old Spice was able to balance careful monitoring with free reign, but in general, it’s best for companies to let the creative departments do their thing. By doing that your communication will not be confused by over-editing or muddled by too many voices. I truly believe that spontaneity is the mother of creativity!

Streaking in public is still considered a taboo in most countries…

Oscar Wilde once said, “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” Celebrities and public figures across the world believe in this quote in both letter and spirit. Does negative publicity bother them? ‘well’ I cannot speak on their behalf but I have seen many celebs going to any lengths to stay in the news. Positive or negative publicity is a secondary issue for most of them.

Having worked in the PR and media industry for years (I must confess) has made me cynical in the way I look at things. Nevertheless, I still strongly feel that public figures indulge in all sorts of gimmicks to be in the news. And ‘yes’ negative publicity increases the longevity or what they call ‘the shelf-life’ of the coverage they get.

Media shapes your opinion and on how you perceive things 

However, there’s a sharp contrast in how negative publicity works against a product / service as opposed to a public figure. Whereas, it can spell doom for a product, negative publicity can boost sagging careers of celebrities and bring them back to limelight. I have seen many examples but one such example that comes to my mind is the (in)famous ‘MJ’s’ controversy. Michael ‘BAD’ Jackson was probably the only star in the 1990s who had an unmatched fan following cutting across the political boundaries in the 80’s and 90’s. Till then I had never witnessed any public figure enjoy such a fan following across the globe. However, in the summer of 1993 Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse by a 13-year-old boy named Jordan Chandler. The news spread like wild fire was covered widely in the media. It even reached thousands of miles to my home country India (almost in real time) despite no satellite channels and internet in those days. I was hurt to see my ‘hero’ falling from grace and vowed never to watch Jackson’s videos again. But even at that age I realized the power of media and how we believed in every word written in our daily newspapers as ‘gospel truth.’

Many music lovers and opinion makers signaled obituary for Jackson’s career, however, the sales of Michael Jackson’s records rose during periods when the singer was “in the news for child-molestation charges” or dangling his baby over a balcony. Did negative publicity worked for him? ‘Yes’ it did…

Cultural beliefs are stronger than you think..

Maybe BAD’s alleged misdemeanor drew public anger from all quarters cutting across political boundaries and cultures but every ‘controversy’ doesn’t evoke a similar reactions across political boundaries. It is the culture of a particular country / race that determines the behavior of its people. For instance, streaking in public could have been an acceptable form of expression in America or certain parts of Europe during the ‘Bra Burning’ and the hippie movement in the 60’s but it was not considered ‘cool’ in India even in mid-70’s (even today it’s a complete no-no). In 1974, famous Indian model, Protima Bedi, came into the news for streaking during the daytime in the heart of Mumbai for the launch of a Bollywood magazine. It led to a fierce debate raged for years between the moral police and the ultra-feminists. Bedi went on defying every societal norm that every Indian woman was conditioned to believe as ‘normal’. Many however believe that this episode brought down curtains to her modelling career. However, in the following year Bedi came into contact with the ‘Oddissi’ dance form and dedicated rest of her life to it.

Hippie Movement of the 60's Picture Source: http://files.growery.org/files/g10-21/502851665-Nude_hippie_girl_bent_over_backwards.jpg

Hippie Movement of the 60’s
Picture Source: http://files.growery.org

Exposure to other cultures can make you think differently 

So, it is the culture that forms the basis of how we perceive things, it affects our learning process, especially in formative years of our lives. Let me give you an example- I was born in a Hindu Brahmin family and consuming beef equates to blasphemy in our religion and the Hindu culture. Although, I am not a Hindu fanatic and believe in equality of all religions, I have never tried beef- not even in Canada where I have lived for a few years. I would say that it is the result of my upbringing and my value system which is a result of my cultural ethos.

But what happens when one comes into contact with different cultures? That brings me to the question of change. They say ‘the only constant in life is change’ and learning is an integral part of any change. Given my lineage, a few years back I wouldn’t have bought my groceries from the store where they sell beef or wouldn’t have eaten at a restaurant where beef is served. However due to the opportunities I got i.e. to live in different parts of the world, I learned to respect different cultures. So, today I don’t mind breaking my bread sitting next to my friends who are relishing hamburger or steaks. I respect the way-of-life in other cultures because that is what I have learned from my culture. I am happy to enjoy my butter chicken while my friends dig into their American Lasagna.

“Pink Slime” Controversy: A case of too little and too late…

Pink Slime makers sues ABC News for $1.2 billion Picture: http://www.wrcb.images.worldnow.com/images/19537506_SA.jpg

The first rule of marketing is to ‘know your audience’. PR being an integral part of any marketing campaign is no different. It’s about pre-empting any negative media coverage or negative perception about a brand that a PR company represents.

There’s an age-old adage that “negative publicity is better than none”. I agree with this proverbial expression to some extend but to allow an ‘issues management’ situation turn into a full-fledged ‘crisis management’ scenario speaks volumes about a complete failure of an Industry’s marketing and PR machinery.

One example of such a PR disaster was Lean, finely textured ground beef (LFTB), or “Pink Slime” controversy, which resulted in major food product companies losing their reputation, revenue and some even filing for bankruptcy.

It did not happen overnight

It took almost a decade (2002-2012) for the LFTB manufacturers to go completely (well almost) out of business. However, I think it was the failure of the LFTB producing companies to engage its audience in a timely manner. What started as a harmless communication within closed doors of an office captured the imagination of the adversaries of LFTB products.

Companies have the full right to defend but they need to be transparent

Food is a very sensitive business. It is a high involvement product category as consumers want to know what goes into their stomachs. So it becomes imperative for all food product companies to be more transparent in their dealings. They need to communicate more with their consumers and like any other trade, they have the full right to defend their products / services. However, they must respect the concerns of its customers. By doing so they not only build trust but also anticipate any negative perception which may harm their reputation.

In Pink Slime’s case, the industry’s approach was reactive rather than proactive. It took them a decade to decide about educating its consumers. They should have done it in 2002 when Scientist, Gerald Zirnstein’s email went public and became a fodder for consumer groups to bash the LFTB manufacturers.

Failure to educate your customers in a timely manner can lead to disastrous consequences

No one knows how a product which was tested and proved to be safe for consumption suddenly found itself in a controversy again due to traces of Salmonella in 2009, but the manufacturers didn’t take any steps to clarify their position. They should have denied it if it was untrue or taken responsibility if it was an aberration. The failure of these companies to connect and educate its audience in a timely manner resulted in losing public trust and eventually going out of business. After this episode the controversy captured the imagination of people and the media alike.

The LFTB manufacturers should have foreseen this upsurge against its products and should have done something to change their product or reposition it. Unfortunately, by the time these companies decided to catch the bull by its horns and get their acts together, I guess, it was a case of too little and too late.

To ‘miss’ or to ‘meet’

A couple of months back Roland Marcoux, one of my instructors from university teaching ‘effective oral communications’, asked us to share any chosen topic for a presentations. I wrote “to meet or to miss” on the board. I noticed the look on some of our classmates’ faces. It was like, I am talking Chinese in America. And they were right. The topic appeared too abstract. But I can tell you with my experience that we miss very important things in life because we consider them not so important.

But what I am going to share with you today is one of the most important aspects in life – ‘to miss which means to fail, or to meet which means to succeed.’

This affects us every day. Even missing a bus becomes an issue on any given day and some people spend the whole day ruing about it. In the process, we miss other beautiful things that the day has to offer. We spend year after year thinking about lost opportunities or failures and what we couldn’t achieve rather than being thankful for what we have or what we did achieved.

We also forget the important lessons that we’ve learned after every failure that we would have never learned otherwise. We also forget that those very failures helped us discover the most unknown traits of our own personality.

Success and Failure

Let me share a small story. I didn’t get good marks in class 10th. People made fun of me, they deplored me, and some felt rejoiced that a bright student from the school will not be able to become a doctor or an engineer, which was a trend in those days (in my country). But I learned from it, I learned not to be complacent about things in life and opted for humanities for higher studies. And today I am sharing this story with you about life and what it has to offer in a language which I could never speak a few years back. My humanities background helped me polish my language skills. It helped me to be myself. It helped me to do things that were out of the ordinary.

Or else who would have left all the comforts of life at the age of 39 and go to school to learn something new? If I had done well in class 10th, I could’ve never done things out of the safe zone. I would not be writing a blog and sharing my life experiences with you, in a hope that it may inspire some of the readers.

But I am nobody; let’s talk about people who missed many things in life yet made a huge difference in others lives. So the question arises, did they miss or did they meet? I leave it to your discretion to decide.

Barack Obama lost his first ever election to the congress… did he miss?

Abraham Lincoln lost elections eight times before becoming the president of America….did he miss?

Three Men Who Succeeded Even After Failures

Some might argue that he got killed while in office but does anyone remembers who killed him? Not many people do. He was killed by a man called John Wilkes Booth. Everyone remembers that Lincoln abolished slavery from the USA but no one remembers the name of the person who killed Lincoln. So, did Lincoln meet or did he miss?

Martin Luther King JR met his goal by advocating rights for blacks in America. But one can argue that he was killed in the process. Does anyone remember who killed Martin Luther King JR? It was a man called James Earl Ray. Do we remember Ray? I don’t think so. But do we remember Martin Luther King? Yes we do…so did Dr. King meet or did he miss?

So friends’, missing is not all that bad. It teaches us many things, which we may have otherwise missed in the larger scheme of things. It makes us more empathetic, it makes us care for things, and it makes us realize the worth of things that we crave for, things that we value. It makes us realize that we should not take things for granted.

I am sharing a poem written by my late father. I hope it will put things in perspective.

To meet or to miss

To meet or to miss …….,
To meet is a nostalgic bliss ……..,
To miss is a memorable hitch ………,
To meet is fulfillment of a mission ……,
To miss is a tearful submission ……..,
To meet and be ones’ forever ……..,
Is the end of a story – altogether …….,
To miss once and for all ………,
Though sounds miserable; is a memorable cause ……..,
To meet leads to fulfillment of certain desires ……..,
Certain needs of a man’s greed …….,
To miss if, is misfortune ……..,
Is a saga of ‘castles of glory’ ……,
To meet is the end of a beginning …….,
Which tends to stop and forget its own past …….,
To miss is a tale untold ……..,
Which unfolds the past & eternal bliss ……,
To meet (sometimes) means no meaning …….,
Carries no weight – sometimes only hate ……..,
To miss is a game of bold people ……..,
One who could afford to be bold …….,
To meet is the end of all roads ……,
With no specific cause and rest is all ……,
To miss someone, one really adores ……,
Admires & accept, always retains some respect……,
To meet needs no quotation …….,
No fairy tales – no tittles – no name ……,
To miss someone one really loves …….,
Is a saga – a history untold ……,
Which is more nostalgic – more refreshing ……..,
Than the one who meets to be deleted once and forever ……,

Stereotypes

‘Hunger pangs, ‘poverty stricken neighborhoods’, ‘foods riots’ and many more such expressions are synonymous with the developing world. Well, many people in the western world still call it ‘the Third World’. The other day I asked my classmates at the University of Winnipeg, as to what comes to their mind when they hear expressions like ‘Third World Countries’? Most said they think about ‘poverty’, ‘food riots’, ‘human sufferings’ and the list was never-ending.

I was surprised that despite internet, drastic increase in the literacy levels across the world and many such factors, people still use ‘stereotypes’ while making decisions or forming opinions. However, it’s not that only people from this side of the globe who use ‘stereotypes’.  We all use stereotypes all the time.  Americans have an image to others outside the United States of being loud and boisterous, individualistic, spend their money freely, know very little about the rest of the world and have expectations of rest of the world to following them. This is a stereotype. We have seen many Americans who have contributed significantly to humanity cutting across political boundaries. Bill Gates is one such example whose philanthropic initiatives have significantly made a positive difference worldwide. It is one of the greatest example of selfless service to mankind and without tom-toming about it.

Whereas, many think that child labour, emancipation of women and exploitation of labour only exist in poor countries. On the other hand, people in the developing countries believe that everything is hunky dory in the western counties. They don’t realize the problems that are being faced by European countries such as high unemployment, coupled with inflation and rioting, has made life difficult for the common man in those countries. Even the most powerful nation of this world the United States of America is witnessing double digit unemployment for past few years.

So, what is stereotyping? ‘It is a tendency to apply generalized knowledge or belief about a group to all members of a group or a society indiscriminately.’

Let me give you an example- the other day we were discussing about a company who introduced pens only for women. Most of my class mates laughed over it as they thought it was a stupid idea to launch such a product. Maybe they were right. In an evolved society such as Canada it may not make any sense. But I had a different take on the issue. I told them that in many Asian countries, where there are many women who don’t work full time and use pen more than men, may like this idea and maybe this product can click there. As soon as I shared that idea one of the part time students in our class started talking about the “so called” treatment or ‘ill-treatment’ of women in Asian countries. I was taken aback. The issue under discussion had nothing to do with status of women in any of the countries but that student had such a strong stereotype against the Asian countries that she chose the strategic marketing class to talk about the social issues faced by some of the nations in Asia.

I have no issues with people having a different take on various issues but when we talk about subjugation of women in some Asian countries, we forget that the first women Prime Minister of the modern world was elected in a small continent nation of Sri-Lanka, way back in 60’s. She was Sirimavo Bandaranaike.  Mrs. Indira Gandhi, a woman, ruled the largest democracy (India) in the world for the longest time in the 20th century. Even in one of the most conservative societies such as Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was twice elected as the prime minister. I am in no way advocating the cause of developing country but to make sweeping statements about a nation or a society is a perfect example of stereotyping.

Stereotyping can put us in a tight spot, especially when the political boundaries are getting blurred and there’s a free movement of goods and human resource across the world. Canada is one of the best example of a true pluralistic society. You will find people from different ethnicities and backgrounds. Stereotyping hinders objective thinking and a holistic approach towards issues. Some of the disadvantages of stereotyping are:

Disadvantages of Stereotyping 

  • Using a stereotype to make a judgment about someone can be completely misguiding and incorrect. It can lead you to act differently towards others which can offend them and give you a bad reputation.
  • Stereotyping can create problems in many social situations like the workplace, at school or in the local community. For example, in the workplace if a female boss were to manage a group of men. The female might feel that she has to prove that she is capable to do the job because of the negative stereotyping that suggests that women are less capable, and the men might in turn assume that she is bossy and incompetent, this then creating negativity for her in the company.
  • Given the companies are going global, it is important to think objectively and not pre-judge cultures and people. Recently, a PR executive jokingly tweeted- ‘Going to Africa, Hope I don’t get Aids, Just kidding, I am White’. It led to a revolt on the social media resulting in her termination at work.

However, there can be a few advantages of stereotyping as well. Stereotypes enable you to categorize people into groups, which allows you to form expectations about people and situations making life more predictable and easier to understand. Also, in some cultures, people may like to be stereotyped, as they want their looks and how they dress to come across clearly to other people.  Some people want those pre-assumed judgments that result in people acting a certain way around them or bring out particular reactions.

In nutshell, it would be safe to say that all of us use stereotypes. It is a very common tendency across cultures and political boundaries. The good news is that people are aware of it and have become more sensitive towards its usage. The bad news is that it is there to stay for many more years or should I say centuries. But one should be careful of over generalizing situations. It does more harm than good to over simplify things as per our own convenience and thought process.

So next time when you encounter any new situation, culture or surroundings, think before you react- research on the subject, increase your knowledge base and understand that everyone is different and there’s nothing wrong with that. Lastly, just holding back for a moment and not jumping the gun can also do wonders.

********************

Chase your dreams..

Coming to Canada was a long cherished dream but a herculean task. It required a lot of effort and some divine intervention. My wife was apprehensive to give up all the comforts she had (maid, driver, etc.) and deep down inside I too feared how our son would adapt to his new school, new environment and new friends. Everyone was surprised with my decision to quit a job as an editor with one of the biggest media houses in India. But I believe in the theory that stagnation and complacency will only make me live a life of mediocrity… I wanted to reinvent myself and chose the path of lifelong learning.

So here I am -in Winnipeg- braving the cold winds yet enjoying each day as it comes. Coming to a place where I knew no one, facing the harsh weather and trying to excel in studies has been a big challenge. My perseverance and belief in myself was the only rescue I had. It’s been five months since I landed in Winnipeg with my wife and child but it feels like we have been living here for ages. For that, I thank all who have helped us in our smooth transition to Winnipeg.

The very first day of college, one of my instructors said, “Finish it, if it’s close.” He was referring to what I didn’t do five years back. I was on the verge of finishing my course at Centennial College in Toronto but quit the course half way through. I wasted almost half a decade of my life ruing that opportunity.

Nevertheless, the journey has begun. A journey with a clean slate, journey with a lot of hope and open mind, a journey that will (hopefully) make me complete. It will bring me the knowledge, which I could have attained 20 years back but I was too naive. I took things as they came and never paid heed to the age-old wisdom that states ‘time never waits for anyone’. 

Apart from learning, I am happy to be away from prying eyes ever ready to make a value judgment. I am on my own. I can speak my heart out without being bothered about rubbing people the wrong way, massaging those inflated egos or saying ‘yes’
when I want to say ‘no.’ This country gives you that right of self – expression. Everyone has the right to live with dignity, irrespective of their -surname- caste-social status and most importantly, the bank balance.

The reason why I chose to study in Canada is because it is a country that has embraced multiculturalism and can be described as the most successful pluralist society. Fairness, equality and freedom of expression is what fascinates me about this country.
So the journey has begun, albeit 20 years late, but as they say
‘Better Late than Never’….

My advice for future students coming to Canada:

  • Research, ask and explore: Before coming to Canada try and get information about the culture, demographics and basic whereabouts. Don’t hesitate to ask if you are new to certain ideas or place. Grades are extremely important but it is not the end all. Explore the city, make friends and enjoy each day.
  • Step out of your comfort zone: This is the most important part of learning. We all like to operate from our comfort zone but the real excitement is to prove yourself that your abilities are not just confined to certain areas. Leaving the familiar and exploring the unknown just a little bit will enhance your learning experience exponentially.
    • Dream big: Create a vision for yourself for the future. The clearer your vision and goals are the easier it is to achieve it. Creating a goal is the first step to success. Don’t settle for mediocrity. If you find the courage to pursue big dreams in life you will achieve them.

Me, Myself & I…..

I am from the country where you find God in every shape and form.

I am from a religion, which is one of the oldest, teaches love and mercy for all living creatures.

I am from a land of a billion people with many races and religions.

I am from a city with the highest number of cars in our country, lots of traffic and deafening noise.

I am from a family that is resilient, open-minded but yet avoid taking risks.

I see myself as old furniture with an antique look.

I grew up with teachings like- ‘no substitute for hard work’ and ‘no shortcuts to success’.

I am from a father who was a self-made man, a midnight child born during our country’s partition.

I am from a process called ‘love’, where meat meets the meat and bones meet the bones, spreading its emotions all around.

I am from a reason, a reason to make this world a better place, a reason to make a difference, hitherto and henceforth.

Newsjack your way to glory..

Did you know that there was a period in history when only few people got the opportunity to learn and even fewer to express their ideas? There were not many avenues or platforms from where they could influence others, or even participate in the decision making. Times changed and from mid-19th century education reached the masses. To the extent that it became a fundamental right in many countries in the later years.

However, the advent of media in the mid-19th century and the internet in late 20th century changed everything. A common man now had a platform to raise issues and influence the public opinion. But again there was a challenge. Only if you were a known personality, people took you seriously.

 Blogging opened the frontiers for ‘self-expression’

Finally in the first decade of 21st century blogging was introduced on the internet, where people could freely express their thoughts. Many took advantage of this and became thought leaders but there were still many who could not take full advantage of this platform.

So the question arises what can they do to participate on a bigger platform? and if they want to share their thoughts and ideas. Till about recently, I was under the impression that you have to be an extraordinary personality to be able to influence others, but then I heard about a new concept / process, where you can ride on someone else’s platform and put your point of view across. It not only gives you a bigger platform but also an opportunity where many people can react to what you write.

Inject ideas and generate public opinion

The process is known as Newsjacking. It is the term coined by marketing strategist, David Meerman-Scott, to describe the process of injecting your ideas or angles into breaking news, to generate media coverage in real-time, for yourself or your business. It creates a level playing field. Literally anyone can Newsjack but Newsjacking helps only if:-

  • You are observant
  • Act swiftly and
  • Good at communicating.

It is a powerful tool that can be used to derail the agenda on an opponent or simply draft off the news momentum to further your own ends. Basically you can ride on someone else’s platform to generate a favorable response for yourself, your client or your own business.

How I was introduced to Newsjacking?

Let me share a story with you. My classmate, Stella Nesca, came across an article on her Facebook page. It came up on her CNN feed. The title caught her attention, being an advocate for body modification, she was excited that CNN was doing something on her favorite subject, even in the slightest way.  However, she found the article offensive. It had a negative connotation without any solid proof. She decided to reply to that post, supported by her blog post, which had her point of view about the body modification industry. “I had to state my opinion on the matter, (and) after my reply, it blew up on the comments section. I was surprised to see the thousands of people commenting on the topic and my blog generated hundreds of view in a couple of days”, says Stella. Now, this is what I call a perfect example of Newsjacking. I thank Stella for showing me the way.

How Stella initiated a debate!

How Stella initiated a debate!

According to David Meerman-Scott, Newsjacking will provide you with:

  1. Tools that you can use to monitor the news
  2. Case studies and examples that demonstrate how to strike at the right time
  3. Information on how to make your content available online for journalists to find
  4. The potential risks of newsjacking
  5. Keys to developing the real-time mindset required to succeed with the strategies presented in the book

Newsjacking is powerful, but only when executed in real-time. It is about taking advantage of opportunities that pop up for a brief moment then disappear. In that very moment, if you are smart enough to add a new dimension to the story in real-time, the media will write about you.

Careful use of Newsjacking

However, like all social media tools, Newsjacking should also be used with lot of care and thought process. Making hasty, careless or insensitive news appearances can be disastrous because social media can quickly turn a marketing gaffe into unwanted headlines.

Unlike print media, the shelf life of online media much greater.  Any act of poor judgement will come to haunt you. It can damage your reputation or the brand your represent forever.

One should be careful while selecting a story angle. It helps to avoid unpredictable or sensitive topics. It is important to know that negative stories and blunder have the tendency to go viral, which can bring you more harm than good.

So what are you waiting for? Newsjack your way to glory…..